Check out the STory of ST Mastery student Vivienne Day and her adorable horse Harry:
"Hi everyone, I thought that I'd share Harry and my STory and some observations and pictures from yesterday with you all (it's a bit long, oops 🙂 ).
Our story started around 8 years ago when I went to see Harry at a dealer's yard and fell in love with him. He was a lot smaller then (I could lean over his back easily from the ground) and I didn't realise quite how young he was - the dealer had a new passport which was very uninformative. To this day I don't know his actual breeding or exactly how old he is.
Since then we've been on an incredible journey.
Harry is an extremely sensitive soul and quite clear about his opinions, he's taught me loads. Along the way I've been dealing with some quite extreme gremlins especially with anything ridden.
Several years ago we found Parelli natural horsemanship. This helped our relationship in lots of ways but I still had issues with Harry's behaviour on the ground and with riding. I'd "feel" something happening and panic but didn't know why and others would say to me that he "wasn't doing anything" but the gremlin took over. I'd get so far and then we'd end up almost back where we started.
In late 2014 I was recommended to have a look at Straightness Training by my great friend and mentor, ST InstructorElaine Coxon. I listened to one of Marijke's webinars, totally related to everything that she said, took a leap of faith and joined the Mastery Program in January 2015. We haven't looked back, it was the BEST thing that we've ever done.
I completed Harry's natural asymmetry report - it was no wonder we had issues with ridden.
Pictures from above showed clearly how crooked he was with a pushing left hind leg and a highly developed front right shoulder. Lateral bending to the right was almost impossible for him so his right hind leg couldn't possibly step under his centre of mass, in fact it stepped out to the side instead.
We started working our way through the program, one pillar at a time. The crookedness started to even out really quickly. Within a couple of months his back was looking much straighter and he began to find lateral bending a possibility.
We had a few bumps along the way but then came to ridden - oops, gremlin was there BUT I got the answer to the question - what was the trigger and what did it mean. When Harry has his weight back and not on his forehand I was ok, as soon as his weight went forward the gremlin was there screaming in my brain. AHA, now I knew "why" I could start to deal with the gremlin.
The ridden pillar has given us the biggest challenges and the biggest rewards. Harry is extremely wide and I'm having to learn how to open my hips around him, no easy task.
I've realised along the way that I needed to get out of my saddle and onto the bareback pad - something I didn't think I'd ever be able to do.
I've had fantastic feedback from my ridden evaluation submissions, we're gradually improving and have lots to work on before I submit again.
I've attended as many clinics as possible as a spectator and have picked up loads of tips along the way.
Last year we had the opportunity to watch our instructor's learn from Marijke. It was so inspiring and I really appreciate how much time and effort that each and every one of them has had to take to get to where they are. ST may be simple but it sure isn't easy, everyone has their own journey and their own challenges to overcome. The key is to keep going, trust the process and it will deliver.
Last weekend I attended the UK Mastery clinic withST Instructor Rebecca Gilbert.
It was such an amazing weekend, I took so much away and finally managed to rediscover my ability to see the inner picture - something that I'd been able to do (at a conscious level) in the past but somehow lost along the way.
This week we've had another breakthrough - it was absolutely amazing. I used my inner picture with Harry when riding him yesterday and even got on board in spite of a huge distraction outside of the school. The gremlin stayed well inside his box! Harry was soft, yielding and we had consistency in the LFS on the circle in both directions from the point that we took the first step. It felt amazing. I'd had little glimpses before but this time we had a couple of complete circles.
Thanks to Helen Wallis I have some pictures to remind me of the day.
That leap of faith that I took in early 2015 has paid off in spades.
Is his behaviour perfect?
No, but its so much better than ever.
We are making so much progress in the ridden each and every time we're in the scholl together.
Thanks to you for reading this far.
Big thanks to ST Instructor Elaine Coxon for being such an awesome instructor, mentor, inspiration and friend. Your continued support is appreciated so much.
Thanks also to ST Instructor Rebecca Gilbert for your comprehensive feedback on the evaluation which has helped us to continue to make progress in our journey.
Thanks to my STudy buddies Denise Jones and Helen Wallis for giving me so much help and support - it means a lot.
Biggest thanks of all go to Marijke for providing the blueprint and pathway for us to follow.
I know that there is so much more for us to find along the way.
Onwards and upwards..... 🙂 "