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!

ST Evaluation Program Reviews

"The Evaluation Program is brilliant! It is basically the reason that Marijke can teach us all, all over the world and the reason that I can progress in ST, without even putting my horse in a trailer! I get motivated from planning when my next submission can be, and my training becomes more focused. I have submitted 8 touchstones over the last 18 months, and each and every one of them has given me new insights. The details and advice, that is so precise and on the second, are what I need to move on and up in my ST journey!'

Hanne Friberg | Chalottelund, Denmark

Bucefalo xxxv, PRE, gelding, 9 yo

"The Evaluation Program helped me in two ways:

First, it made me deal with comments, lots of comments (read: feedback :-) ). It really made me clear how serious and how detailed the ST Evaluators work. No quick fix, no look-alike, no pretending, they see all the small details and really go to the smallest details to make you understand. And to grow, I need a lot of studying, lots of knowledge, lots of concentration, lots of being with my horse. 

The second thing I learned was that it is absolutely necessary to have lessons/sending in Touchstones to be able to grow. I work on my own, no instructors around, no study buddy nearby, so the things I don't know, I am not aware of, so I can't see, I can't correct. I want to send in Touchstones regularly to grow and learn from the comments and tips and see the Touchstones as a lesson."

Heleen van Tongeren-Bouman | Gan, France 

Vlex, Dutch Warmblood (KWPN), gelding, 16 yo

"The Mastery Program would not have been as much fun without the Evaluation Program! This is a very IMPORTANT Program for me. This is where I sharpen and create new tools to put in my toolbox. Every 2 mm that I can improve helps me to get a step closer to my training goals with my horse. The Evaluators feedback are so helpful and motivating that I can't wait to go and try it on my horse. With the improvement notes in my head and figuring it out with my horse in my laboratory, I can grow as I go. The Evaluation Program helps us grow. To become better than I was yesterday.

On the program, I can learn from watching how other STudents are improving on the Program. It is OK to struggle sometime, BUT Always know that the Evaluation Program is there to help you and guide you through it. And YES! I love a challenge. I am aiming for 2 stars in my next touchstone in the evaluation program BUT, it is not to say that I am going to get it immediately. With the help from the evaluators, I know that it is definitively POSSIBLE to achieve. I need to work hard, listen to the advice and changes that need to be made and Go and Do my absolute BEST! As with ST, we all become our beST!"

Nastalia Gaude | Groblersdal, South Africa

Silver Express (Lex), TB, gelding, 6 yo

 

"The Evaluation Program is a wonderful and unique structure manifesting the actual territories of Straightness Training through logical sequences, pillars, and grades in groundwork, longing, work-in-hand, riding, and liberty.

For me, coming from a dressage background, it has been a phenomenal mind shift to work through a touchstone as a checkpoint or lesson rather than a test in which to score. Practicing and using touchstone sequences as steps to train as well as the incredible support from Zaneta have provided me with strategies to keep striving for better quality in my training, mitigating the "hitting a plateau" feeling.

The evaluation portal also helped me to keep myself accountable to be a little better for my horses every day. It has helped me cultivate a learning rather than a fixed mindset. I love seeing and learning from fellow students feedback and videos as well.

The collection of evaluations illustrate that it's not about where we mind end up, but about the path, we take to get there, and the better people, horsemen, trainers we become because of this journey."

Astrid van der Laan | Pretoria, South Africa

Navi, Appaloosa, gelding, 7 yo

"In the beginning, the ST Evaluation Program seemed challenging and frightening. I made many touchstone videos and didn't send in. But then I realized how useful it is. It's like you have a personal training session with some of the ST Instructors. That is a good step to develop our skills forward and doesn't stick in same mistakes again and again. It is a coaching system of dedicated instructors directly to every horse and student. It isn't kind of examination, but it is for self-mastery and development."

Gita Andersone | Riga, Latvia

Lady Dee, Latvian breed, mare, 13 yo

"The Evaluation Program I see as the most valuable part. Monthly evaluation requests are my routine now. It helps me enormously to keep the right track in the training pyramid. The ST Evaluators can see what is hidden for me so far. The written lessons are very positive, always available and full of precise tips.

Following the Email Coaching steps, I sent my first evaluation request to find out I need these ''lessons on paper" every month to be sure of doing the right steps.  Each lesson kicked me forward to find out what was missing.

Thank you Marijke de Jong, thank you ST Evaluatior Miriam Sherman, thank you ST Evaluator Zaneta Georgiades 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

"The Evaluation portal is my new Netflix because there is so much to watch and learn from other students, really amazing!"
‍‍
Imke Smit | Ootmarsum, Netherlands

 

"With the Touchstones, we get very specific feedback and advice on what is achieved and what can be better. I feel it is a much helpful design than the traditional competition scoring system."

Hans Tzeng 曾漢斯 | Hsinchu, Taiwan

"The Evaluation Program has helped me improve. It is one way of having contact with instructors and experienced eyes when there is no one physically close."

Linda Ketteridge | Perth, Australia

"I have over 15 yrs of experience in a remote working scenario in the Software industry and I can confidently state that ST provides one of the top distance learning programs available in the equine world today.

Included in the learning is the Evaluation Program, where you can receive feedback as to where you are in the development of you and your horse, in the ST program.

The Evaluation Program has provided me with tips and guidance, that are broken down to a step-by-step instruction on how to overcome some obstacles you may be facing. It is a measurement of your current state, but I best think of it as a private lesson guiding you towards the progression through the program, providing feedback that is very detailed and accompanied by suggestions for improvement.

The Support offered from your ST Evaluator, the ST Team, and the ST Community will always leave you feeling supported."

Lisa Byers | Blackstock, Canada

Harvey, gelding, 8 yo

"I put off submitting touchstones for almost a year, relying on the information in the mastery library alone and trying to get everything perfect myself. When I finally submitted my first touchstone I realized that I shouldn't have put it off... We didn't pass, but it the evaluation was a great lesson! The instructor, Roz, pointed out mistakes that I hadn't even noticed, explained the training goals in a way that made them feel more applicable, and gave practical instructions on how we could improve in each area. I have found through experience that the evaluation program is a very necessary tool which saves me a lot of wasted time and saves Silken a lot of unnecessary frustration and confusion!"

Quiana Casamayor | Calgary, Canada

Silken, Georgian Grande, mare, 12 yo

"The Evaluation Program has made it possible for me to have a lesson with a Straightness Training Instructor even though I am very far from them.

The evaluations and invaluable tips have really helped me improve on little things I didn't realize I was missing.

It encourages me to get out of my comfort zone and submit my videos.

It is SO very helpful and exciting to wait and see what advice you get from the ST Evaluator!"

Jamillah Almutawakil | Litchfield Park, USA

Snookie, mare, 10 yo

"Being evaluated is like being given an in-depth lesson that you can refer back to anytime you need the reminder. You are given detailed suggestions on how to improve the quality of the work. Always given with the best intentions in a positive and encouraging manner. Wonderful tool to keep one on track and solidify the basics upon which the higher movements depend."
‍‍
Mary OConnor | Southlake, United States  

Everett, TB/Hanoverian, gelding, 17 yo

Vinnie learning his script while waiting for the camera to be set up ;-) 

Mary-Anne Forder‎ | Gauteng, South Africa

"The ST Evaluation Program really helped inspire me and redirected me onto the right path when needed. The feedback was so positive but definitely constructive and useful, so I knew what to focus on with my horse. It empowered me to take action because I knew what I was meant to be working on and the correct way forward. It also saved me lots of time and heartache going down the wrong path for too long, that's for sure!"

Carly Reid | Castella, Australia

Ruby, WB/TB Cross, mare, 13 yo

 

"The Evaluation Program is an invaluable tool for people without easy access to instruction. The touchstones provide the opportunity for really detailed feedback, and in a way are even better than a life lesson, as I can re-watch my performance while reading the feedback and see exactly where the 2mm improvements can be made. It is also useful to look back on past touchstones and remember how much progress we have made, like having our lessons in a library to re-visit whenever I want to.”

Fiona Tyson | Ysbyty Ystwyth, United Kingdom

Gola, Icelandic, mare, 8 yo

"In the beginning, it is not easy to see little shift of the center of mass. The evaluators help me to school my feeling and my eye for the tiny details and give tips "what happens before what happens happens". The feedback is the huge bridge between watching a video and work on my own. My growth of knowledge comes a lot from making videos, watching them and learn how to see the differences in the movement of the horse or why the different emotions arise. The ST Evaluators see much more than I, and it's a great chance to get such exact hints. And the logical order of exercises helps to make the training effective because I know where I want to go, on a daily basis and in the future!"

Wiebke Rudolf | Bretten, Germany

Jonna, Norwegian horse, mare, 7 yo

"The Evaluation Program for me is the icing on the cake of this program. The words " I'm not telling you it's going to be easy......I'm telling you it's going to be worth it" ring so true here for me. Each and every time that I press "send" on my evaluation request form I have grown and improved myself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. This is where you get the most valuable help, feedback and direction on all the time that you and your horse have spent in your laboratory, figuring out how to learn and improve your abilities and training."

'Kim Alford | Durban, KZN, South Africa

Show Girl, Lusitano x Boerperd, mare, 9 yo

"The Evaluation Program has played an essential part in our journey and together with the Mastery Program has given me the tools to have the most unbelievable relationships my horses and the keys to unlock development of their minds, emotions, spirits, and bodies better than I ever thought possible. I have two mares La’Zamara and Binti who are both 8 years old: La’Zamara and I have passed our groundwork1, longing1, and workinhand1 and we are currently working on our liberty1 and riding1 touchstones. Binti and I are working on her groundwork1 and longing1 touchstones. The evaluation program pushes one out of your comfort zone and if you are willing to jump in; it will stretch you and continue to do so in a challenging yet safe way that will enable you to continue growing. The feedback provided is balanced, it is both corrective and supportive, giving you an understanding of what is working and what is not working and the main points to focus on to improve even further."

Jola Stansfield | Pretoria, South Africa

La'Zamara, Mare, 8 yo

"The Evaluation Program - at first it was a bit new for me to film myself but WOW! When you film yourself you learn so much more about you and your horses attitude! So even if you don’t send in a touchstone you will benefit ;) "

Julia Vögl | Vienna, Austria

"The Evaluation Program has made me practice more often and with a purpose and also helped to plan daily work with my horse. As there are scripts to follow it is easier to focus and what to do. When given feedback is helpful to know if we are on the right track or off track. As there are no ST Instructors yet living in my country, this is the only way of checking how things are going."

Theresa Silfver | Kormu, Finland

Hiski, Finn horse, gelding, 15 yo 

"The Evaluation Program has really pushed me, not just with my horsemanship skills but with the technological stuff. I have made so many mistakes pushing buttons when I shouldn't have! But now learning to video and watch yourself is a huge learning curve, the lessons that come back from your own evaluation and from others are fantastic." 

Lynley Bolt | Masterton, New Zealand

"The ST Evaluation Program is a dynamic feedback system to keep you on track. As a Mastery Student I am able to study the modules, use the exercises in my lab and then provide a video for review.

They are the BEST LESSONS one can use to see where you are in your training and if you are ready for the next steps. And because this programs works for all disciplines and levels there are many avenues from which to choose.

An additional benefit is that the ST Instructors all have the ability, know how as well as graciousness to encourage you with positive feedback and the steps to get to your next accomplishment.

Lastly there are touchstone videos and evaluations to review of other students just like us ! What a great idea!!"

Kristin Kill | Dexter, United States

Flynn, Quarter, gelding, 5 yo

 

"The structure of the Evaluation Program has been the additional incentive and support that I needed. The feedback is individual and specific. I found that my own self-evaluation was an important aspect that I would have skipped but for the program. The touchstones provided concrete goals for me as well while allowing me to move at my own pace and improve at my own rate. The Evaluation Program is the perfect complement to the ST Mastery library."

Elizabeth Micheel | Houston, USA

"I must admit that first I was skeptical about an online evaluation program.

But I went along with it and followed as instructed, I now find that the online touchstones are just as (if not even more) valuable as a live lesson.

I can watch and reanalyze my performance, read the evaluator feedback, digest all the information and slow it down to the second where I do things right vs. wrong.

I now consider the ST Evaluation Program a very helpful feedback tool.

ST Evaluators are positive, constructive and encouraging; their goal is to help me move along this training path."

Christine Markut | Naraganssett, United States

Mia Stella, Hanoverian/Canadian Warmblood Cross, mare, 18 yo

"The Evaluation Program is extremely helpful feedback. Perhaps even better than an in-person lesson. I am able to watch my video's back and read through the feedback several times over. I can go into the next session with my horse with a checklist and plan as to what I need to work on."

Tracy Betteridge | Ada, Michigan, US

"I love how the Evaluation Program provides a home alternative for getting real feedback on your actual work with your horse, pretty much like a home-based lesson program. It's the next best thing to traveling to an ST Instructor yourself in person! ...Better, when traveling to clinics is not an option :) Now, those who are working mostly on their own, have a wonderful option for advancing their skill with their horse."

Shannon Olson | Washington, USA

 

"The Evaluation Program is the essence of the learning process. It encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and helps me grow even if I don’t have an ST instructor in my area. The feedback provided by an ST Evaluator is very constructive and supportive at the same time, giving an understanding of what works and what does not and advising the points to focus on to grow further."

Ela Pryka | Krakow Poland

"The Evaluation Program is a gem! It is such a wonderful educational tool. Its value is in what each evaluator offers you, not whether you pass or have to resubmit. The details and truly thoughtful suggestions and instruction that one finds on their evaluation are so very instrumental in helping you succeed as a horse trainer regardless of the pillar you are working in. Yes, I admit to feeling like a completely inept human when I get a 'resubmit' and that I have no business trying to train horses....oftentimes I think maybe I should just find good homes for them all. BUT, then I take the time to REALLY read my evaluation, and then I go back to my laboratory, and then I try the suggestions, AND THEN I start getting a glimmer of understanding. It is a learning process for both me and my pony. I cannot be too hard on myself as long as we are trying. I am in it for the long haul. And, we DO improve. Those evaluations are pearls of wisdom...they need to be embraced!"

Carolyn McEvitt | Amston, USA

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

The ST Evaluation Program has been invaluable over the last year, enabling me to endure the quality of the work we have been doing. Once I got over not seeing the touchstones as a test, and more as an online lesson, which they are, I relaxed, and the feedback is so so helpful. The detailed report means you can study your touchstones in detail afterwards and find trends and patterns within the feedback to work on, with the suggestions of the ST Evaluators, to achieve not only a better mark but a better standard at which to work to. I have had 1 resubmit, and I have to say that this was more valuable than those I passed first time. I took the time to evaluate my evaluation, which has taught me more than if I had 'scraped a pass' first time. I look forward to submitting touchstones with my daughter’s pony, to help us to progress correctly and continuing to work through the grades with my mare also."
‍‍
Joanna Smith | Leicester, UK

Lottie, Connemara, mare, 8 yo

"The Evaluation Program is very helpful. It gives you goals to work towards and a structure to work within. By doing the touchstones, you get really good feedback that you can take back into your training sessions in order to improve yourself and your horse. The ST Evaluators really try to help by explaining things in a way you can understand."

Kerri Stone | Thirsk, UK

Anton, Gypsy Cob, gelding, 8 yo

"The Evaluation Program is the best way of sharing your laboratory with people who have "been there, done that" and help you change your approach. And to know how to change your approach with horses is vital."

Tina Petrera | Altamura, Italy

I have found the Evaluation Program a very useful tool for increasing my training expertise. It is a wonderful way of guiding you and your horse through the grades in the program. It is not always possible to see yourself where things may need adjusting, altering to make improvements and further progress to help improve your horse. The feedback in invaluable information to keep making progress and moving forward. All the instructors are fair and generous in their comments to make this progress possible.” 

Gilly Prime | Staffs, UK

Ellie May, mare, 21 yo

"The Evaluation Program helps me very well. With the detailed feedback on my submitted videos, I can see exactly how to improve myself. It also helps me to have all the reports and videos from the other students available. I can learn from them, understand one or the other task better and train my perception."

Nadja Schmid | Bubikon, Switzerland

Glóð frá Syðri-Hofdölum, Icelandic, mare, 10 yo

"The Evaluation Program is a brilliant way to get your own personal lesson without leaving your own yard. I admit I have not submitted anything myself as yet for various reasons, but I do feel extremely privileged to view other evaluations and see how detailed the feedback is, including exactly what point in the video that comment refers to. The amount of time and effort that must go into that sort of feedback confirms to me just how dedicated the ST Evaluators are to help us become the best trainers we can be for our horses.”

Sharon Richards | Buckinghamshire, UK

I have found the Evaluation Program invaluable - I do use it as lessons and will submit an evaluation as soon as we can do something resembling the requirements of the touchstone. This means that I get lots of valuable tips early on in my venture into a new pillar and can attempt to address the issues throughout the learning process and build on the tips and advice provided by the ST Evaluators."
‍‍
Nicola Belfield | Flint Mountain, UK

Ginny, Shire, gelding, 8 yo

"Working thru the Touchstones has been a life-altering process. Having always been an "A+" student, having to face a resubmit was crushing the first time. But then I reread what my Evaluator wrote, and realized this is a progression, not a test to pass.

The Evaluation Report is precise, with in-depth observations and suggestions. The Program is designed for you to succeed, but to hold you to a high bar of excellence. That high bar is set not for the program itself, but, I believe, for the horses under our tutelage. And that is what makes the resubmits as valuable and exhilarating as the passes."

Lara Burau | Cherry Valley, USA

Squire, gelding, 5 yo

This Evaluation Program Has Helped Riders Just Like You

"The Evaluation Program - is AWESOME - the level of detail in the feedback far exceeds expectation. That you can re-visit the videos along with the feedback and be told where and when you are either on track or a little adrift, helps you train your eyes for the all-important mm details where you can improve and help your horses. In the beginning, it can be uncomfortable - seeing yourself on film, getting to grips with technology, etc. etc. BUT every STep on the way to making a submission is an opportunity to learn and grow, and the feedback gives you even more opportunities. It is beST to re-visit the feedback a number of times, for with each reading you will discover even more golden nuggets of information and opportunities to delve deeper and deeper into the program with fresh eyes and an open mind."

Denise Jones | Abergavenny, UK

“The Evaluation Program is a very helpful way to have the possibility to improve myself, even I don't have a personal trainer in my area. It is fun and very helpful to be able to progress in little steps.”

Katja Thieme | Cologne, Germany

"The Evaluation Program is unique! You send in your touchstone, and in short time you get a step by step evaluation of your video, minute by minute you get directions, tips, hints, and praise. Not only is the valuation given to a present video, but also will be compared to your previous video to show the progress made. It blows my mind that the ST Instructors care so much to set you up for success. You keep your touchstone video and evaluation for a lifetime; you always can go back an watch your progress and go back to lessons learned. Nothing gets lost!"

Sabine Nussbaum | Ostuni, Italy

 "It took me ages to submit my first Touchstone. I had so much ground to cover with behaviour issues before I could apply something that represented a sequence!!!! 9 months in I finally submitted my first Touchstone. I felt I was ready for the lesson and needed the help to progress. It came back as a resubmit which I was expecting. WOW! The feedback was amazing. I was able to immediately go and practice the 2mm changes suggested with very positive results. My submits are now going to come thick and fast.”

Liz Groves | Faulkland, UK

"The Mastery Program has deepened and broadened my knowledge about training horses, physically and mentally. When I look back, I see the difference, and I am so grateful for the progress that I can see when looking at my video recordings. Without knowledge, there cannot be any progress. By going out and using the knowledge in the riding arena and filming some of these sessions, you can see what has to be improved. Your eye will be trained accordingly to your knowledge from the Mastery Program. The Evaluation Program is irreplaceable! The written feedback to our video with the touchstone is fantastic because it's so detailed. The kind advice is always genuine and honest. The ST Evaluators do not compromise, and therefore we will not always get the notes we would like to have. But I have learned to see, how these not compromising ST Evaluators help us to develop our skills. When we think about it, and go back to study relevant themes in the Mastery Program, we will get it, and we will grow as we go! Dealing with the feedback from the Evaluation of the Touchstones made me make progress. It's so wonderful to look back at all those first attempts, realising that there has been a great deal of growth since then!”

Susanne Hansen | Læsø, Denmark

The Mastermind Sessions are such a clever way of connecting with MARIJKE and other Mastery students. I had some very clear AHA moments during these sessions and felt like part of a huge community with a shared goal. I also like that you cannot predict what the content will be... sometimes personal stories and experiences and sometimes diving into 2mm detail of tack, rein aids or levels of consciousness. Very very helpful.”

Holly Flynn | Bristol, United Kingdom

The Evaluation Program was, to begin with, a wee bit fearsome... not only from being in front of the camera but also being conscious of not knowing how to be more 'public' with my awkwardness and overcoming that. However, having managed, yes managed to conquer that feeling and actually post my evaluation, I felt a huge sense of relief and furthermore, after checking and double checking that I had sent it... I received my evaluation... incredibly detailed and totally positive comments... and the fantastic reward and sense of achievement my first Touchstone... total elation! A boost to achieve more....”

Sally Lugg | Belper, United Kingdom

" I think the best thing about the ST Evaluation Program is that I can submit videos I am satisfied with and get out the most of the submit that way. Sometimes you might have a bad day while training with a trainer in real life. But during recording for the Evaluation Program, you will never have to care if the recording day happened to be at a bad day, you can just try to record the next day instead. Also, after getting my feedback on my submitted video I learn something new every time I read it through. More than that, this way I remember every comment on our training better than when hearing it once."

Marleen Saarloos| Vittsjö, Sweden 

"The Evaluation Program is fantastic, and incredibly good value for money when you consider the amount of work that it takes for the ST Evaluators to provide the comprehensive and invaluable evaluation feedback. Through submitting and resubmitting you are able to get detailed advice on what you need to improve and how to achieve those little improvements. The evaluations have helped me to progress and refine and have identified bad habits before they become too ingrained. They are very positive, but the standard is high, and I really admire that as without the right quality you can never progress and achieve the best benefit for your horses."

Sarah Orr| Fife, United Kingdom

"The Evaluation Program is essential for our growth. 90% of the time we work alone and the touchstones keep us on the right path. Initially, I submitted every time I felt like we were getting close to achieving the standard for our current grade. But I have since changed my approach and now submit every time I feel like we are at a place where we need feedback. It is such a great resource."

Zuzanna Poprawski | Malibu, United States

"The Evaluation Program is an amazing tool to have lessons as many times as you need them. You get the option to watch, re-watch and watch again. For me, this has been invaluable in getting the next 2mm I need to help my horses and myself improve. The ST Evaluators are an amazing team, and I really appreciate all their hard work."

Helen Wallis | Marlborough, United Kingdom

"The Evaluation Program is an integral part of ST as a whole since it essentially supports distance learning with in-depth practical guidance from the well-qualified instructors. I personally am quite isolated in my ST practice, and I find that feedback from my video lessons (touchstones) provides me with invaluable input on where I am going right and where wrong, with clear pointers about how to improve. It's also very useful to look at other students' work, learn from their performances and instructors' feedback on it. At first, I think the tendency can be to look at the Evaluation Program as something stressful - reminiscent of tests and exams - but as one progresses, it becomes more clear that it's really a vehicle for assistance and guidance. It's very helpful."

Gisela Marnewecke | Cape Town, South Africa

"I took a while to decide to try it - but now that I have started - I don't want to stop!"

Kat Herrington
Dargle Valley, Kwazulu Natal South Africa

"The Evaluation Program is very cool, because you have a private lesson whenever you need one with good detailed feedback."

Katja Ziegenfuss
Smith, United States

"The Evaluation Program keeps me on track and keeps me progressing so that I don't stay in kindergarten."

Liz Keen
United Kingdom

"The feedback is amazingly detailed and constructive. "

Liz Ward-Holmes
Shoreham-by-Sea, UK

Facts

Here are some ST Academy statistics that you might find interesting:

Your Questions Answered

Program Details

Learn about the curriculum, timing, and tuition.

LEARN MORE »

FAQ

Answers to your top questions and concerns.

LEARN MORE »

Get On The Waitlist

Get notified of the next Class enrollment.

LEARN MORE »