So you have just audited a clinic on XYZ from Mr. Horsemanship and are excited to get back to your barn to try out what you’ve learned. It’s great to be empowered, but how do you know if what you’re doing is correct or right for your horse? In today’s world with YouTube videos and “Everyday Joes” giving clinics, there is a lot of bad information out there. There are also horseman who prey on individuals that are looking for the simple solution. For instance, the clinician states that this $75 halter will solve all of your ground manner problems with your horse. Unfortunately, it is not that simple and it can be dangerous.
It is important to do some homework prior to auditing a clinic. This article will provide tips on how to select a clinician and how to make the most of what was taught when you return to the barn.
1) Before attending any clinic, research the clinician. Find out how many years he or she has been doing this and if he or she have any accolades. These could be books written or articles for major publications. It could also include any awards he or she, or his or her students have received. Any certifications the individual has should also be noted. Is he or she a judge? All things to make a note of.
2) Find out what people who attended this person’s clinics before are saying. You can use Google to find discussion forums. In some cases, the clinician can have all the awards in the world, but if he or she is a poor teacher then you’re not going to learn much and your money could be spent elsewhere. I once was riding in a clinic and the clinician spent almost the entire 45 minutes name dropping and paid very little attention to my horse and I. Disappointing.
3) Plan to take a friend because two brains are always better than one. You may be surprised at what you each take away from the clinic.
4) While watching the riders in the clinic, take notes on the exercises or record it. Many times there will be so much information that your brain will go into overload and you will only retain a fraction of what you observed. At a clinic recently, I used the notes app on my phone to capture certain exercises that I thought would be excellent for my horse. I have re-read them at least 50 times!
5) When you return home, take it slow with your horse. Only select a few things to try. Small steps with positive reinforcement. If you find an exercise is getting you or your horse upset, don’t do it. Good horsemanship should not be a struggle. You know your horse best so use your best judgement. Just because Mr. Horsemanship said you should do it, doesn’t mean it is right for you or your horse.
6) Beware of gimmicks. It seems everywhere you turn, someone is trying to sell you something to make your horse better. A flag, a halter, a special lead rope. Many times these are just ways to increase revenue. Use your common sense to know if what they are selling is really necessary.
Horse enthusiasts today have more opportunities than ever to improve their skills and relationships with their horses. Unfortunately, there are lots of different approaches to training. Doing a little homework up front before a clinic can pay off in the end. You have the power to decide what is right for you and your horse. Happy Riding!
Written By, Heather Benedict. Share this on Facebook if you found it helpful!