Getting the Most Out of a Clinic

With many riders more interested in their horse?s behaviour and wanting to deal with problems in a humane and safe manner, it is no wonder that clinics with top trainers are so popular.? If you are dedicated to a particular discipline, want an objective comment on your riding abilities, or simply wish to understand your horse better, it is likely that you will attend a clinic at some point.? Clinics can be expensive and time consuming, so here?s how to get the most out of attending one.

Many clinicians will allow horse owners to ?audit? the clinic at a highly discounted price.? This means that you attend the clinic as a spectator, without your horse, and observe the class.? This can be very useful if you are unfamiliar with the clinician and would prefer to observe before bringing your horse to attend.? It can also work for horse owners who have horses that either cannot travel or who might not be able to be worked in an unfamiliar place with new horses.? As an auditor, you will need to be prepared by bringing your own chair, a lunch, and a pen and pad of paper to take notes.? You will probably be sitting in the sun as well, so be sure to have a hat and lots of sunscreen.? Don?t interrupt the clinician when they are teaching, and only ask questions if this has been invited.? Remember, you are there to observe techniques, so the clinician may not be able to spend time with you discussing your horse?s particular behaviour.? Finally, keep chatting to a minimum as it is distracting and disrespectful to all parties involved.

If you are attending a clinic with your horse, it is important to remember that it won?t be the same as your regular riding lesson.? Not only will your horse likely be in a strange environment, but you might also be feeling a bit nervous around people you aren?t familiar with.? Additionally, expect the clinician to be kind but objective.? They will possibly be blunter than your regular riding coach. Clinicians don?t have time to get to know all horse and riders, and also don?t know their history.? They can only comment on the behaviour they are seeing in the moment, and it is their job to acknowledge this behaviour and try to teach you how to improve.? If you disagree with the clinician, try asking them about their approach rather than taking the attitude that they are wrong.

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