Laila Lorentzen from Denmark graduated in the Straightness Training Academy in Grade 1. Congratulations Laila, keep up the fabulous work in the Scholar Program!
And thanks, Laila, for taking the time to share your experience with the program:
❝I first came across Marijke and ST in 2015. I think the picture of her and her horse Maestro doing the levade got me intrigued. As a child, I was always so fascinated by the beautiful pictures from the Spanish Riding school in the horsy magazines I read. And here I found something that maybe if I worked hard enough I would be able to do the same one day.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the money to go all-in so I started with the Entry Course, then on to the Home Study Course. Between job, family, and a busy stable I found it difficult to get the training going on a regular basis, so I really only trained ST from time to time. A move to a different stable made it easier to train but now I found that I lacked motivation due to being the only one doing ST.
Then the opportunity to attend a clinic with Kim Steutel came along. My own horse Orpheus can’t travel unless heavily sedated so I had to go without him. But I was so lucky that I could loan a horse so I got to have 3 lessons. It was such a fantastic experience trying it out myself and watching the others as well.
It really sparked my motivation to get going again!
Soon after we had to move stable again, and that meant I now could train as much as I liked. With an offer from Marijke to get the whole Groundwork module including a Touchstone, I started working towards submitting my very first Touchstone.
Of course, with my very developed skill of procrastination, I didn’t get it done before the last minute.
Around the same time, I finally had enough money to upgrade to Mastery Student. And now I could get into all the five pillars. It was an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time following the emails and doing the steps. I quickly became very fond of the Liberty pillar. So every time I found anything a bit challenging I would turn to liberty for a break.
I feel that this pillar gives a lot to our relationship with our horses. Giving the horse a chance to choose if he wants to participate. The feeling you get when he joins you and you walk around doing exercises together.
I also discovered that Straightness Training isn’t just about training your horse, it’s also has a big section about Self-Mastery.
There are so many nuggets here to be found. On how we can change our mindset to become relaxed, grounded, and staying in the ‘now’ thus being a better version of ourselves and therefore become a better trainer for our horse.
Emotions are optional! There are no good or bad feelings. It’s only how we choose to react on those feelings.
It’s foolish to keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome.
If you change the way you look at things the things you look at will change.
I have come to realize that working on ourselves is key. If we get this right training our horses will become so much easier.
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And having a bad day is okay. Just do something else instead.
I can say that I wish I had paid more attention to that back then because when I got the feedback from that first Touchstone I went into victim mode big time, for a very long time. It was a resubmit but I took it as I wasn’t good enough.
Luckily I have come a long way since then and have learned that we have the most fantastic instructors and evaluators that give us great feedback on what to improve to get to where we want to be and they do so in a very positive and supporting way.
A year after my first Touchstone I submitted my next one. I did Liberty this time because I felt most comfortable doing that. And to my big surprise, I passed it! Simultaneously Marijke opened up for a free trial month in November as an auditor in the Scholars program which she had launched six months earlier. Needless to say, I joined. It was too good to miss.
Og my God, it was an epiphany how much there was to learn from watching others doing the Scholar cycles of Hot Seat, Breakthrough, Mastermind, and at the end a Touchstone. The way the coaches pinpointed where improvements could be made. And seeing those improvements come about a week later. Amazing!
During the free month, besides gaining a lot of knowledge, I also won a coaching session with Rosan. The session was a lovely experience. With this in mind, I really wanted to try Scholars out myself at least for a couple of months, and see how far it would take us. So I stayed in Scholars because I wanted that kind of progress for me and Orpheus.
With a lot of hard work. Through highs and lows. Help from family and friends and a little luck, here we are reaching my goal of passing Grade 1.
So now we will see what comes next.
Orpheus will be 25 soon so we probably won’t make it as far as to the levade shown in that lovely picture of Marijke and Maestro that first drew me to start Straightness Training. But it doesn’t matter because as I have learned doing all this, it’s not so much about the destination as is it about the journey getting there. And all that knowledge I gained I can bring with me to train another horse when and if I get a new one.
So thanks to Hanne Friberg and Kim Steutel for all your help and support.
To Rosan Veer for taking me through the whole Grade 1 with great advice and kind guidance.
To our amazing community who always are there to give advice or a word of solace if needed.
And finally to Marijke de Jong for giving us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and training horses in a healthy way ❞
~ Laila Lorentzen from Denmark
Laila is a Scholar in the ST Academy, and this month, she passed her Riding Grade 1 Touchstone with her gelding Orpheus, and with that milestone, she has passed all 5 Touchstones in Grade 1!
If you’d like to get started with Straightness Training, join our 30-day Groundwork Challenge in July. Just join Scholars for €1 and learn the skills you need to teach your horse the basic and advanced Groundwork exercises. Join us today»