Five days of total immersion at the Straightness Training instructors’ clinic the first week in September 2017 was an AMAZING learning experience. The clinic was held by Marijke de Jong at her private yard in Amsterdam and it was attended by a fabulous group of ST instructors from all over the world – Holland, Germany, Brazil, USA, South Africa and UK.
The main theme for the week was liberty. It is all too easy to get caught up using tools too much in our training but our horses need us to be more than that for them to be motivated to offer us their best performance.
So if you are on a plateau with your training and don’t feel like you are progressing, then liberty training is the way to go to get you out of it, create a bond with your horse and build up credit in your relationship bank account. It brings the horse into a much more open mental state so that they are ready and willing to work with us rather than for us.
It was a real treat to see the awesome Marijke working with her 5 amazing horses Maestro, Romanesque, Prince Elmelund, Toronto and El Blanco, at liberty, and explaining how it all works. Yes, all totally different characters – all at once!
I picked up loads of insights and inspiration. Some main points that come to mind are:
There was also a lot of focus on the riding pillar. Lots of insights about connection and collection, and one main point that resonated with me:
The liberty and riding combined with the introduction of stick riding, which enables us to communicate with the horse without the use of the reins. So valuable because most of us tend to rely on the reins too much which can cause the horse to become closed mentally, to go against us and to stop thinking.
Watching a clinic is so powerful, and can give you so many lightbulb moments. My own training has instantly improved!
I had a great time and came back full of big ideas after a week of intensive learning with good friends.