Marijke de Jong's ST Academy

Mastery Student Reviews

They Did It. So Can You.

Hear from Mastery Students from who made their dream with their horse come true!

Reviews From Mastery Students With Other Breeds

"With ST I learned about the WHY! To let the communication with the horse arise with inner picture and feeling before ST, I got " look-alikes" because the essences of exercises I could not transfer from books and other videos. Now I am aware that a tiny movement of the center of mass can not only disturb the balance of the physical body but lead to emotional and mental unbalance, too. And best of all, I can influence this center of mass! It's about becoming the best trainer you can be, and I really feel the difference in my family life, the bond to my horse has grown so much - it's not just about riding concepts but life-changing. More than words can describe!”

Wiebke Rudolf | Bretten, Germany

Jonna, Norwegian horse, mare, 7 yo

"The Mastery Program has offered me a classical and holistic method for training horses. However it is more than this, it has proven to be a personal journey of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual balance and awareness and so far, the program has aided me in laying a solid foundation on which I am building and strengthening my relationship with not only my horses but everyone around me.

The incomparable benefit of the program has been the sense of community fostered by like-minded people. I am truly blessed to be sharing this journey of responsible and accountable horsemanship and horse training with so many ST Mastery students in South Africa.

ST is not a quick-fix solution but a lifelong expedition to enrichment for horse and human alike, and for left-brained people like myself the Mastery Program is a well thought through and documented map for this expedition, while still helping me focus on the essence that it is about balance, incorporating the flow and feel required for working with horses."

Astrid van der Laan | Pretoria, South Africa

Navi, Appaloosa, gelding, 7 yo

“The Mastery Program has made a huge difference in the connection between my horse and me

I also understand more deeply why a horse isn´t able to some dressage movements and that true collection needs a lot of time and practice and patience.

I have gained my horse's trust and respect even he was very shut down and non-cooperative at the beginning.

I have also realized not only my horse´s asymmetry but mine and started to work on that too to help my horse when I am riding.

It all starts with me."

Theresa Silfver | Kormu, Finland

Hiski, Finn horse, gelding, 15 yo

"I started the Mastery Program in January 2017. The thoroughness of the videos is incredible, the theory and explanations of exercises answered many questions I had.

As a student and instructor of Natural Horsemanship; although I loved the philosophy, I had started to see soundness issues. Straightness Training not only helped me understand the importance of balance but I realized what I was studying would help the soundness issues.

My Haflinger and I compete in Horse Agility, and for the first 3 months, I had to give her bute for to be able to finish the monthly competition. Started using the ST methods in February and by April I was no longer giving her pain meds. We finished the year 1st in the world!

Thanks Marijke, for this amazing program!"

Kim Gieseke | Brighton, USA

 

"The Mastery Program - has turned a Dobbin into a proud athletic 'Dressage' horse - who shines from the inside out. A very kind ex-trekker - that was totally uncoordinated, shut down and introverted has now blossomed into a horse that wants to work, learn, engage, and communicate.

For me, it has shown me the tools to actually DO something for my horses NOT TO them. It has given me the confidence to experiment. It has extended way beyond the STable into my own personal development, and I have achieved so much more than I ever thought possible.

In this day and age, we can get a bit cynical with all the different 'must have' 'early bird' 'sign now' etc. etc. 'best thing since sliced bread' blah, blah, blah! BUT here is the rub ST is genuinely the exception to the rule - it is the 'Real Deal' and is worth that leap of faith and diving in, taking your horse with you. You truly do get out whatever you are prepared to put in, it is not a quick fix - but it is a fix, it may not suit every human - BUT - it does suit every horse. If you are open to change, challenge and prepared to be the best human you can be for your horse - then this is moST certainly the program for you."
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Denise Jones | Abergavenny, UK

My Laddie, Gypsy horse, gelding, 18 yo

"Being into the Mastery program, I see horses we've had for years with new eyes after learning how to do a natural asymmetry analysis. I'm blown away by the depth and breadth of content Marijke has developed for the Mastery program. Our horses and I are thoroughly enjoying the exercises. :) The online instructions and the accompanying videos are very helpful. To anyone who wants to do a deep dive into the foundations of classical dressage, I would highly recommend this program."

Sarah Packowski | Ottawa, Canada

Rex Bellorum (Bello), Warlander, gelding

"It has made a huge differents to both of us. I redirected my training from a make, negative approach, both of us were unhappy to a listening to my horse, positive approach being happier and having fun. I have never ever imagined that I would be able to teach my horse all this movements I never done before. The connections between my and my horses has grown to a partnership, and I am forever grateful that Marijke has brought enjoyment back to my time with them."

Katja Ziegenfuss | Smith, USA

Peppy, Quarter, gelding, 9 yo

"I can say that by joining the Mastery Program turned the whole new page in my life. The amount of theoretical and practical material is huge, I have learned a lot. It has given knowledge about horses, their needs, behavior, learning skills, how to train them by maintaining their personal character and good relationship between the rider and the horse during the training process.

But what I personally value the most in this program is the part of human psychology. How we communicate with each other, with animals, how to obtain a better mindset, emotions, and thoughts, how to move towards our goals. I can say that for me, the horse training part is a pure bonus in this program!

After training my horse with the principles of ST for more than 1,5 years, I can say that my horse has become much more balanced mentally and physically. I can easily understand her behavior when something is out of balance. Of course, we have had several plateaus during the training process, but when you get there, you have a lot of theoretical material and practical videos to dig into and find a proper solution.”

Kadri Mäkišev | Põltsamaa, Estonia

Lemmi, Tori, gelding, 6 yo

The Mastery Program has helped me become a more empathetic and competent horse trainer. The program has given me the ability to recognize and the tools to address the asymmetries that my pony exhibits. Through the Straightness Training (ST) exercises she has become more fit, supple, happy, and relaxed. Each ST pillar allows me to experiment with a different dimension of training while keeping the 3 primary keys of Lateral bending, Forward down, and Stepping under as the connecting thread through all the exercises. The program challenges us a step at a time to venture outside our comfort zone and into the stretch zone while still maintaining quality in our work and growth in our learning. The relationship I have with Abra as well as each horse I work with has become very connected and more spiritual.... we are more like one soul... a unity, rather than two separate entities. The transformation this program has brought to me and my horses on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels is breathtaking.... I am truly inspired by the positive changes we have all made. I am a forever student and supporter of this program and am very grateful to have found it.

Carolyn McEvitt | Amston, USA

Ripleigh's Abra Cadabra (Abra), Connemara, mare, 9 yo

"High on Marijke de Jong’s Straightness Training Course
I’ve been watching Marijke de Jong’s Straightness Training (ST) program for a couple of years and finally decided to take the plunge and sign up for a course.

Wow! I’m blown away by the way it clarifies my understanding about training horses. The language and concepts in the ST program are familiar to me; I have a long history with classical dressage, beginning with training at the Potomac Horse Center in Gaithersburg, MD in the 1970’s, but the focus and clarity this course brings is welcomed.

I am doing case studies with my 5-year-old Arabian mare, Jalila, and another Arabian mare, Shiraz. Jalila’s compromises were not caused at the hand of man, but Shiraz has experienced the full brunt of misguided training and suffered both physically and mentally from it. The two are exact opposites in their needs and responses; so working with both of them is a perfect storm to enhance my learning curve."

Nancy Camp | Carey Idaho, USA

Jalila, Arab, mare, 5 yo

I joined the Mastery Program after a year in the starters course. I have to say that it has been life-changing. I expected an online course to show me the a, b, c of horse training, use this rein here, stand here, etc. What I did not expect was the self-mastery, the development of me and the different parts of me. I have had to look internally and discover the truth about myself and my life so far, where it is now and how I want it to be in the future. Through ST, I have developed emotionally, physically and surprising to me, spiritually. I have made enormous changes to my life since joining Mastery, changing my job, starting my dream business and turning away from competitive horsemanship for the benefit of my horse and me. I found ST to address my mares asymmetry, so she would be more balanced in body and limbs. I now have a sound horse, who is growing in confidence and who I look forward to sharing my life with. With Mastery the impossible has been made possible!! Recently my 7-year-old daughter has been joining me with our sessions. She has always sat on my mare during groundwork, but now she is keen to learn how to do ST with both my mare and also her pony."
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Joanna Smith | Leicester, UK

Lottie, Connemara, mare, 8 yo

"For the new Mastery Students here, I want to recap my first year of ST and hopefully offer encouragement.

I have an ordinary 5-year-old quarter horse. In the US we might refer to him as a Western horse through and through. He is not a fancy mover; he's only 15.1 and had little previous training other than breaking out and frankly he's lazy. When we began ST, he was 4.

I am a 58-year-old grandmother, I work, and I keep my horse at my daughter's house 30 minutes away. As a private horse owner for years, I had just begun back at my passion after 10 years off. I am not the best rider and have a passion for groundwork which came out of necessity years ago when my daughter began showing, and her horse was a handful.

The bottom line is that ST works and works well. After 10 months I have a responsive, beautiful moving, well balanced, working equine partner. This has not come easily or quickly. We also still have issues.

However, I have begun riding him in formal Western Dressage training, and my instructor who is a well-known teacher and a judge in our area is amazed at my little guy. We are quickly moving into higher level moves.

I have worked at the ST exercises on a regular basis. I have walked and walked and walked around my arena through snow, wind, heat and wonderful weather too. I have gotten frustrated to the point of giving up. I have gotten mad at my horse.

I have also experienced wonderment, increased physical strength, a much softer approach to training and frankly life, and have become a fairly confident horsewoman.

I followed the written material and videos. I attended one of Meg Brauch ST Instructor clinics (well worth it!) which I had to fly to get to. I was on my own at home with only this fabulous community on FB... which is an amazing help. I believe that the ST exercises are the key to physical well being on my horse such that he is able to carry me with confidence and is beginning to show that he is actually thinking on his own. I am excited to keep moving to higher levels of ST if only I can walk that fast... lol...

If you have gotten this far... thanks for reading and best wishes on your journey!

Kristin Kill | Dexter, United States

Flynn, Quarter, gelding, 5 yo

The Mastery Program helped me to become a focused trainer of my pony, knowing how to read and change (!) the behavior of it, to understand the biomechanics and the WHY beyond the exercises. It`s an amazing collection of insights, frameworks, and philosophy and it shows the way to (self-)mastery. So it is a great help to become a better horse trainer but also become a better wife and mum. The Mastery Program is a wonderful instrument to create growth, connection on a high level of quality and collection of unique moments with the partner horse. I do now understand, how and why horses (or people) react the way they do and that way I can react with much more patience. Since the day I started the Mastery Program, every single moment with my pony had a clear purpose, and with that focus, it was much more fun, and I achieved a quality of harmony, I only dreamed of before.”

Simone Reindl | Gondelsheim, Germany

Malinn, Norwegian, mare, 14 yo

"The Mastery Program is teaching me how to work towards being an independent horse trainer, and the theory helped me understand the biomechanics and essence behind the exercises. It has given me the tools, skills, and encouragement necessary to figure out how to achieve things for myself, seeing the training as a ‘laboratory’ rather than learning mechanically. By learning how to assess your horse’s natural asymmetry and focusing on the simple exercises first, you can see the changes that happen even when you are just starting out; this encourages you to go wider and deeper into the programme to develop your skills. The changes I see in my ‘ordinary’ gypsy pony since we started the program together are awesome. I started ST to help him with his physical issues, and he has improved beyond measure, feeling and looking taller as he’s developed his muscles and carriage and feeling so much better to ride. He is able to do things I would never have known how to teach him without ST, and he really loves thinking about what he’s doing during his sessions. Best of all, he is developing into a proud and independent spirit."

Kerri Stone | Thirsk, UK

Anton, Gypsy Cob, gelding, 8 yo

"The Mastery Program was a significant factor in helping me change me. I started the Mastery Program during a very difficult and vulnerable time in my life when my son was battling against a life-threatening disease. Although I dedicated most of my time to my son, I still had my horse and even though I didn't have time to ride him, the little time I spent with him each day (20-30 mins) was good for me because it gave me something positive to focus on other than the sadness, desperation, and anxiety that filled most of my day as I waited to know whether or not we would find a bone marrow donor for my son. Even though I spent so little time with my horse, I saw big changes in him. The step by step approach in ST helped me to be able to explain things to him that I had previously been unable to explain with the approaches I had been taught. He had been a racehorse and then an endurance horse and had quite a difficult life before I got him, and I had been trying to teach him classical equitation, but the things that worked well with the lovely Lusitanos I was used to, didn't work at all well with my Arab and until ST I didn't have another way to do things. The Mastery Program opened up new horizons for me."

Kathleen Beesley | Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico

Tanseem, Arab, gelding, 18 yo

"The Mastery Program has made a big impact on my attitude to horse training. A huge amount of theory, manuals, examples, tips, everyday FB mottos, support, and chats is unique. Unlike working with trainers, visiting all kind of seminars, reading books and then returning to old manners this program really enables to become a better horse trainer and as extra bonus becoming a better version of oneself. The program is so complex that now affects my relationship with all living beings around me. 

ST has brought me to many disclosures. Finally, I have grasped the truth that I have to change from inside out to change the outcomes. The more I think about it the more I know all is what lies in my head. The more I try to be calm, grounded, patient and giving, the more my horse thrives. It can be a challenging process indeed, but, after one year of ST experience, I know for sure it is the right direction.

Thank you team ST for helping me so much with my horse training and for making my days bright!"

Ivana Kovaříková | Prague, Czech Republic

Spotty Doc Chex, APH x Belarussian, gelding, 8 yo

"We had tried numerous training methods, worked with three professional trainers, vet, chiropractors, dentist, and professional saddle fitter with no results.

My horse, Silken, was anxious, unbalanced, and would not canter and no one could tell me why or what to do about it!

I found the Mastery Program while doing research of my own. In the Mastery Program, I have found a logical explanation for all of the training issues we were facing as well as the connection between them.

More importantly, we now have a progressive, step-by-step plan of how we can correct these problems!

We still have a long way to go, but I have already learned so much about proper horse training, and Silken is visibly calmer and more balanced in her movements!"

Quiana Casamayor | Calgary, Canada

Silken, Georgian Grande, mare, 12 yo

This Program Has Helped Riders Just Like You

"My young mustang and I have grown in so many ways using the Mastery Program. The last week of December 2017 I challenged her by hauling her 4 hours to a strange place for a winter trail ride. A friend of mine and my other mustang also came along. This was the first trip away from home since I adopted these wonderful mustangs from Nevada in 2014. They crossed belly deep rivers, crossed ice-crusted streams and performed in ways I had only dreamed of. I know it was because of the Mastery program. The program starts at the beginning of training, by starting with the human. So many programs don't address the human. I can only imagine how difficult it is for this perceptive animal to understand what we desire. I highly recommend this program as a total package for you and your horse."

Sharon Yeagle | Marshall, USA

"It's amazing to see and feel the huge difference a change in mental state can make with my Mérens Ciaran!"

Rosan Veer
ST Instructor, Netherlands

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