Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Teach Me Tuesday: When Do You Clinic?

I'll be the first to admit I grew up riding in a pretty amazing situation--the trainer was kind and knowledgeable and encouraged us to get outside opinions as well as brought in clinicians that were complimentary to her training style. It was great.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out some trainers don't want their clients riding with other people and worse, not all clinicians are worth that much.

Then pile on top of that a horse who requires a VERY particular kind of ride and I find myself being increasingly picky about who I'll lesson or clinic with and even WHEN I'll do that lesson or clinic.
neither me nor my horse

So tell me, people of blogland, what factors influence your decision to do a clinic with an outside trainer? Are there times you absolutely won't? Do you hit every opportunity within reason? What's your happy middle ground?

28 comments:

  1. Because Stinker doesn't handle pressure very well I am very careful about who I lesson and clinic with. First they have to be open to Saddlebreds because that turns a lot of people off right away. Second they have to be excellent with hot horses. Finally they have to be ok with me saying no that won't work for my horse. I've worked too hard to figure out how to get my horse to trust me and I know what buttons I can and can't push. I'm more than happy to try new things but I also know somethings just won't work. I won't ride with anyone I haven't seen teach regardless of what I have heard from other people. I would rather miss out on a clinic than have a bad clinic.

    That being said I love clinics and new people so I wouldn't be as picky if it weren't for Stinker. I think it is good to branch out and get a new set of eyes. And sometimes it just takes different phrasing to make something click.

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    1. #pickyponyproblems

      The struggle is real.

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  2. When I first switched to dressage, I was desperate for help so I was pretty willing to ride with anyone. Now that I have a trainer who lives so far away, riding with her once a month (twice if I am lucky) feels like a clinic. So for me, if I am going to spend money on a clinic, it's going to be with her. The only exception is the German trainer who comes a couple of times a year specifically to work with us. Since my trainer also rides with him, I do clinic with him as they both subscribe to the same dressage principals.

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  3. My trainer brings in two BNTs over Memorial Day Weekend every year, and sets up a weekend of clinics for us. It's really great because she's known these guys for years, and they come right to our barn, and it's a good way to get another set of eyes on our riding and our horses. Other than that though, I don't really clinic that much.

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  4. I will do clinics if I'm able to talk to someone I know and trust who's ridden with the clinician before. Any trainer or clinician I work with needs to be respectful of my mental hang-ups and my pony's... unique way of going and attitude. I look for trainers who will push us, but also take me seriously when I say "that won't work for us" and not over-face me or Dino. So far this has given me some very good clinic experiences!

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    1. I have a really hard time in a clinic situation finding the balance of what works for my horse vs what I'm just a little chicken to try. Does that make sense? I'm more ok pushing boundaries with my regular trainer because she knows my guy and he's a bit of a special snowflake.

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    2. Totally! It's a tough balance to hit.. But I have no problem telling a trainer that if they tell me to beat my pony to "make" him do something, he WILL shut down and there will be no good work done that day. Then again, D will never do anything that approaches Courage's extreme level of NOPE.

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  5. Being new to the formal lesson world, I've only cliniced a handful of times. Mostly I compare costs to personal experiences (myself or people I know) with the clinician. If I'm going to be paying 3-4 times what a regular lesson costs me, I have to be pretty sure going in that I'm going to learn something worth that extra cost.

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  6. I love clinics and hit every one that comes to the barn or that I can get a ride to see. There's a nugget of useful information from everyone, it's just a matter of how much BS you get along the way. I've even ridden with primarily western clinicians. So long as it's in my budget, I'm gone. I've ridden long enough and with enough different trainers to feel confident getting lots of view points and frankly don't want to ride with a trainer that won't let me go out and hear new things. Now which clinics I repeat? That's a whole other conversation. I have to get a lot of good out of it to go back. Giuda and Wanless are the two I'm currently planning on repeating.

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    1. I was way more open to riding with new people on my old guy because he wasn't as fragile mentally. We could have a bad ride, shake it off, and be fine the next day. Courage may get there eventually, but he isn't there now. At all.

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  7. I'm very picky about who I ride with. I also have to be very particular about how I spend my money. Those two things combined equal very few clinics.

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  8. I audit every chance I get! I don't get to ride in many clinics because I don't have a horse in regular work and I don't have a truck and trailer and I keep my guys at home in the yard without any facilities. I'd love to participate in ALL THE CLINICS but that's not on the table right now :(

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  9. Because I don't show much, I try to clinic as much as I can. I'm in the same boat as you with a horse that has a very particular ride; I need to be pickier about who I clinic with, but not many names come through my area.

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  10. If there's a somewhat dressage related clinic within 100km of me, I am there! That has only been 2 different clinicians in the last 3 years so it's not a lot. I don't have a regular trainer and I do believe you can learn something from everyone even if it's just what doesn't work for you. In an ideal world, I would audit first and all that, but in my area I simply can't be picky. I'll ride with whoever for a first time, but I am critical as to how well they work for us before I decide to ride with them again. That said, my horse isn't pressure adverse, and doing something new for a weekend isn't going to set us back much so it's worth it for me to try.

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    1. Yeah that's a whole different conversation.

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  11. I will not take a clinic with anyone until I have audited first. I learned that lesson the hard way signing up for a very expensive clinic with a BNT who was AWFUL

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  12. If we had more clinics in our area I would attend a lot more of them, but there are some clinicians I would rather audit than ride with. If I'm not familiar with the pro as a clinician, I will do as much research as possible to find out more about their philosophies, watch videos of their riding and their students, etc. etc. I've always been pretty please with the clinics I've done based on those practices.

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  13. I second Amanda. Not only are clinics stupid expensive (like $300-$500/weekend), not every clinician can work with or LIKES every horse. Sometimes they would make suggestions that I flat-out knew wouldn't and kindly declined and then they ignored me the rest of the lesson. As some have said, YOU know your horse, YOU know what may and may not set them off so you call the shots. You're paying them to help YOU. Its their job.

    Its definitely helpful to audit first! If possible.

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  14. I've never attended a clinic... they don't particularly appeal to me, TBH.

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  15. i clinic whenever I can afford to. I love riding with other people. I also like getting babyhorse out in the ring with other people.

    I do think you have to be mindful that the person you're riding with doesn't know you or the horse. There are definitely times when I've straight up ignored the clinician while outwardly going "uh huh, yeah!"

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  16. I will audit anything I can make it to, but I only ride if I've previously audited and/or someone I trust (like my coach) recommends the person AND I have a specific issue I think the clinician could help with. FWIW though, I've been burned twice in the last 2 years with expensive bad clinics, so I'm not sure I'm doing it right!

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    1. Yeah I definitely run potential clinicians past my trainer--she gets me horse and she's been around long enough/knows enough people to generally have an idea if it will be a good fit. Some are a HELLZ TO THE NO reaction and some she's like "yeah I think that would be great".

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  17. I have attended very few clinics, but if the money and time were allowing, I would attend more. There's always something to learn, even if it is how Not to do something. That being said, for me it all boils down to respect and how much I have for them.

    If they have shown and done well on a grand scale- I'm interested. If they are showing on the local levels and I like the way their horses are going, it may be worth my time and effort even if it is only to go and audit. Even with all of this though, I still understand that they can be an arrogant douche all the same, letting their ego get the best of them.

    If they are showing and their horses look and move like crap, I see gadgets galore in use and they treat their clients poorly- No thanks. I'll pass!

    When I do clinic it is nice to have a certain issue in mind to work on. Something the likes of having hit a roadblock in our training and I need some new ideas on how to get past it and move on. Other than that, sometimes I find, I may not have anything in specific in mind, but they picked up on something I don't even realize I'm doing and it fixes a Bunch of other things too. Those are the best, at least to me.

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  18. I'm also very picky who I clinic with. I'll audit any clinic and always learn something but being such an untraditional pair I'm picky about who I'll ride with. The last thing that either Katai or I need at this point is to be over faced, yelled at, talked down to etc. this is supposed to be fun and I'm not trying to be competitive so I really don't want to be yelled at, pushed absolutely, teased, no big deal, have all our flaws pointed out, hell yes, I just don't want to deal with negativity or crabbiness, or a larger than life attitude

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    1. I really don't understand people who are intentionally mean. Hellooooooo I'm here because I like horses and having fun, not because I make my living at this. Definitely tell me how to fix things but I will not pay to be derided by assholes.

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  19. I clinic when I can afford it and if I like the trainer's training style.

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  20. i basically see clinics as fun and exciting adventures to try with my horse. within reason. if it's affordable and the logistics aren't crazy, why not, right? and for the most part they've turned out to be really fantastic experiences. with... a few exceptions lol

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  21. The hunter/jumper world is so weird when it comes to clinicians. Some trainers are totally against you seeking outside help, while some are super encouraging. Most group with the former.

    I’ve had some clinics, George Morris, Bobbie Reber, and was going to do one with Christina Schlusmeyer. Thankfully most were with encouraging trainers though!

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