ST Instructor and manager of the ST Evaluation system Zaneta Georgiades shares her latest insights about her evaluation process.
The cool thing is that she is not only managing the Evaluations ‘behind the scenes’ and evaluating Touchstones of students.
She also actively takes part in the process of submitting Touchstones herself.
So she writes about the process of submitting Touchstones from the inside out, where she deals with:
- losing some essences and finding it back again
- ‘blame and shame’ gremlins
- making mistakes
- and finally, finding the art!
Zaneta has this to share about the evaluation process:
“So far 2018 has brought a whole new learning curve to life for myself and Delightful (and my other horses too!) because we have dived into submitting our Grade 4 Touchstones.
The process of:
- working with the scripts,
- videoing each week and watching the video to see the progress,
- then submitting and getting the written feedback,
- booking additional coaching to broaden, deepen, and widen my understanding of the feedback,
- then applying the new tips and concepts,
has taken our growth to a new and much deeper level!
First of all, it has been great experiencing the Evaluation process from the inside out again and reliving the ‘why’ behind the process – how each step has a purpose in bringing more quality out of my ST laboratory. And it has been wonderful being able to share this journey with the community through the in-depth Mastermind sessions with Marijke de Jong!
The insights I have gained this year so far are incredibly valuable to my own journey with my horses but also in growing my skills to be a better instructor for my students!
In my search for the Grade 4 essence, I tried to go beyond the Grade 1, 2, and 3 concepts and only focus on the qualities necessary for Grade 4.
Not surprisingly, this caused me to lose my bearings so I swung from one extreme to the other until Marijke recalibrated my compass by reminding me how each pillar and each grade link together and give back to each other in their own unique ways. They are not each separated but they build onto each other:
- the basic LFS (lateral bend, forward down, stepping under) of Grade 1,
- the fundamental BSSTR (balance, suppleness, shape, tempo, and rhythm) of Grade 2,︎
- and the CC (connection and collection) of Grade 3.
They all stay relevant and important. Together they blossom into the Athletic horse, Athletic rider, and Artfulness of Grade 4.
So I am never ‘finished’ with the LFS or ‘finished’ with one of the grades. The fundamental essences are my compass that keep me heading in the right direction because without these qualities the exercises will become ‘look-a-likes’ and lose their purpose. If those qualities start to fade, then I will get lost in the Grade 4 wilderness!
When I am in my stretch zone and putting myself out there for feedback, I can so easily fall into the ‘perfectionist’ trap and beat myself up for not getting it ‘right’ straight away. The conscious incompetence level is an uncomfortable place to be because all the ‘blame and shame’ gremlins come crawling out of the woodwork. It becomes so easy to fall into the trap of making excuses rather than just stepping up to the plate, accepting that I do indeed suck at this right now and that is ok because I am in the arena learning and that is what it means to be a forever student!
So throughout the process I kept reminding myself to keep my cup empty, I don’t know what I don’t know yet, and I am a work in progress. ‘Failing’ is unavoidable, necessary, and can even be a fantaSTic opportunity depending on how willing I am to be humble, ask for help, and see the gift in the mistake…
I experienced how semantics can really throw a spanner in the works because how I perceive and understand something is not necessarily how it was meant. But it is such a cool laboratory because I learned how many different ways I can look at something and how many layers each concept has.
Art is not an absolute truth – even though having a black and white recipe may make it feel more comfortable – but as Marijke says, the magic is in the grey! In the process of bringing all the ST metaphors into the arena and letting go of an ‘absolute truth’ in favor of a few more paradoxical shades of grey, I felt moments made up of many truths that melted together into something that looked and felt harmonious and beautiful i.e. art.
Thank goodness for my wise and patient four-legged partners who travel this journey with me! They are my most accurate barometer for what is going on inside of me and Marijke reminded me in my feedback to tap into the wisdom of my horse, see him as my partner, assume the best of him and set him up for success.
I am so grateful to be part of a program where my horses’ bodies, minds, hearts, and souls are so greatly respected and encouraged to flourish along with mine. Thank you Marijke for continuously putting your heart and soul into the ST Mastery and Evaluation programmes, they are life-changing!”
~ ST Instructor Zaneta Georgiades, South Africa
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