I remember, when I first started Straightness Training, commenting to one of the instructors how good their eye was, never thinking I would be able to see what they saw just by looking at a horse move, or even just a picture. But then one day, a few years later, I suddenly realised - I absolutely could! I could see as clear as day when a horse is falling through their inside shoulder or outside shoulder, when the inside or outside hind leg is not finding the centre of mass, when there is diagonal, horizontal or vertical imbalance. Essentially my eye can track the centre of mass so I can see what I need to do as a trainer to help the horse to find a better physical (and, as it follows naturally, mental) balance.
This is no happy accident. The only way this came about was by watching clinics and videos. I watched every clinic I possibly could when Marijke de Jong came to the UK. By intently watching and listening to the lessons, was I gradually able to understand what I was looking at, bit by bit absorbing the information like a sponge. Through watching all those lessons with individual horses, each one unique, I was able to see how the smallest shift of the centre of mass affects the horse in such a dramatic way. I learned how to address the different challenges that each individual horse threw up. And most importantly I learned what I needed to change in myself to be the trainer my horse needs me to be.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a lifetime study and the more you get attuned to the nuances of what you can see, feel, learn, the more you realise you don’t know. I love to re-watch the videos of my lessons, and the videos in the Mastery course. I love to approach them again with a beginner’s mind, and discover the nuances that I missed before. Because over time, as our knowledge develops we see more details than we did before.
And you know what, I always felt that I learned the most at the clinics that I attended without my horse! I could settle down, wrapped up in a blanket, and just relax and absorb the lessons – each one of which I found quite fascinating. I went on my own, but never felt lonely. I always found myself in good company.
So I can’t recommend highly enough, if you have the opportunity, go and watch as many workshops with ST Instructors as you possibly can. Go on your own if you have nobody to go with! Allow yourself to be fully absorbed by each fascinating horse and trainer combination. You may not need the lessons now with your own horse but as you develop as a trainer you will certainly draw on the knowledge in future.
There is a Mastery Clinic next weekend, 12-13 May 2018, which will be a brilliant learning opportunity in great company. This clinic is limited to Mastery or Home Study Course students, but you can join the course at any time if you would like to come along. All 4 of the UK instructors will be there, with the wonderful Rebecca teaching, and myself, Roz and Elaine with our horses. There will be a pub meal on the Saturday and lunch provided both days. https://www.facebook.com/events/1725340404192198/
Check out the Facebook ST Events Page to find Straightness Training workshops near you! https://www.facebook.com/groups/867629676620282/events/