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Sarah Orr & Fernando Graduate Grade 1

Sarah Orr from Scotland graduated in the Straightness Training Academy in Grade 1. Congratulations Sarah, keep up the fabulous work in the Premium Scholar Program! 

And thanks, Sarah, for taking the time to share your experience with the program:

❝ When I joined ST back in Jan 2017, I had no idea how steep a mountain I had ahead, as after 35 years of horses I thought I knew a thing or two! I love helping horses and helping people, and I have dreams of changing my career and becoming an instructor, but I want to ensure that I become really competent myself first.

I was really attracted to this program with its body, mind, heart, and soul approach, the comprehensive Mastery, Evaluation and Instructor programs, and network of great instructors. I love the whole ethos of Straightness Training where the WHY is key to everything we do and it is all about helping our horses.

At the start of my journey in ST, I was a little conflicted, as I had been training for several years under another style of classical training, with a quite different approach, so at first, I had to empty my cup and work out whether I really understood and agreed with what I was now learning, as I was turning my back on years of prior training.

Well, my horses soon helped me to realize that I was on the right path. Fernando, my partner on this Mastery journey, has really blossomed. He is the most amazing trier, with the sweetest nature but this has been a complete turnaround, as he and I were very opposed initially.

In my first few months with him, I found him very challenging emotionally and physically. He was incredibly nappy and insecure. Although the sweet nature was there underlying, he had come to me with a lot of issues and anxiety and was quite defensive and dangerous at times both on the ground and ridden. He has been an amazing teacher as I have really had to dig deep and change my ways in order to get through to him, really gain his trust and find ways to motivate him and build his confidence.

Now we are partners on an exciting journey and we have a really warm friendly relationship, he is a super horse, brave and full of try, but he will still tell me loud and clear when I get things wrong! I have been blown away by how he has blossomed and developed both physically and mentally with this training.

I love also how ST itself is a program that continues to evolve, I believe in the evaluation process and have submitted many Touchstones, sometimes just for feedback on where I am, sometimes to try to pass in a specific pillar. It has been quite a long, slow, steady journey to pass the entire Grade 1. Liberty has been hardest for me, I cannot believe how much I have changed since I first started. I have a long way to go still on this journey even to improve on my Grade 1, but finally, I have achieved a good basic to build upon.

I would say that being part of the Rising Stars program earlier this year, and then joining the Premium Scholars program, has been a game-changer for me. In the Premium Scholars, I have had the opportunity to submit Hotseats, Breakthrough videos, and a Touchstone each month. This ‘cycle’ has given me quick feedback on my progress and advice on what to focus on improving. Marijke is an amazing coach and hones in on our key problems instantly.

Marijke helped me realize it was me who needed to make the changes needed to pass Liberty 1 – in my way of moving, my dosing and timing of pressure and release, and mainly, my congruency! I have also received fabulous insights into the training of others, at all stages of their journeys; this month we were treated to seeing ST Instructor Zaneta Georgiades working at Grade 1 Liberty with her appaloosa gelding Moon, what an inspiration that was!

I have also invested in additional coaching with Zaneta and ST Instructor Rebecca Gilbert following on from submitted Touchstones. All of this has been instrumental to my progress – helping me overcome my plateaus, helping me to search for the essence of the exercises, and find ways to break old patterns and create new more effective patterns. I have had so much support and encouragement!

Through all of this, I have learned to be more grounded, walk properly, think before I act, keep the end goal in sight, be kind to myself, and above all listen to my horses!!! It has been and will continue to be very challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.

I had no idea when I started ST, how much I would have to strip away, and build back up! Keeping an eye on the essence and mind on the muscle is my new mantra and I look forward to where the next levels of Straightness Training will take me and my horses.❞

~ Sarah Orr from New Zealand, based in the UK – Scotland

Sarah is a Premium Scholar in the ST Academy, and this month, she passed her Liberty Grade 1 Touchstone with her gelding Fernando, and with that milestone, she has passed all 5 Touchstones in Grade 1 – learn more here »

🤎 Straightness Training Scholars Program ‍‍

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