What I mean is: "If you could watch a clinic given by a western trainer who gets the very best 'brokeness' from his horses AND correct self-carriage, who would that be?"
And some more background: I'd like to go watch someone produce great western dressage horses. No, I don't mean Western Dressage in the sense of the new, hyped discipline. I mean a horse who lifts his shoulders, has pure gaits and has the reliable responsiveness anyone would want in a horse we call trained.
And yet more background: Back when Cleve Wells was producing his colt-starting series for Western Horseman (and before he was charged with animal abuse), the man came to East Jesus, NY to give a clinic. I went because the dude was at the top of his game and the colt starting series made a lot of sense to me.
Man, did I learn a lot. I didn't think I could be as hard on a horse as he was, but the horses he rode weren't doing any BS peanut rolling or that weird, diagonal canter-like thing that passes for a lope in Western Pleasure.
For my purposes, I don't care if the guru makes WP horses, reiners, cutters or whathaveyou.
He's an all-round horseman and has produced mutilpe world champions across all disciplines, including major snaffle bit futurities.
One of things I admire about Bob (and is true of a lot of western trainers) is that he's a conformation guru. He totally understands the role good conformation plays in a horse's success in the show pen and career longevity.
Of course, Bob learned from a "real" cowboy in his youth...his father, Don.
I would say Jason Martin or Charlie Cole of Highpoint Performance Horses. They have consistently proven themselves and their clients in the showpen for years and always run a tight ship with happy healthy horses.
Robin Frid also does excellent work as does Dana Hokana.
I would love to see Buck Brannaman, even if I just audited the clinic.
Bryan Neubert, I have done 2 of his clinics, loved them. I just did a Joe Wolter clinic, nice guy, learned a lot but Bryan was way better and would really take the time to figure out your horse. Joe gives cryptic comments and says what do you think? Still I learned a lot, but probably wouldn't do another of his clinics.
Greg Eliel is a very good clinician, too. He was and is a friend of Buck Brannaman's and he does a lot of clinics on the East coast.
Several of the really top cutting horse trainers produce a beautifully schooled horse. Eddie Flynn, for one. If you ride behind him, you are riding a horse that may wear a western saddle but truly has an excellent dressage foundation. Unfortunately, most of those top cutting trainers don't give clinics or even teach lessons. To appreciate their skill, you either have to ride a horse they trained, work for them, or sneak a peak at their training methods while standing outside the practice pen at shows.
Also Harry Whitney, Joel Elliot, Bryan Neubert, Bryan's 20-something kids Jim, Luke or Kate, Tom Curtin, Joe Wolter, Martin Black, Charles Snell, Ricky Quinn.
The above folks learned along with Buck, from Ray Hunt and the Dorrance brothers, and some also studied with Buck.
Also, a friend of mine has a horse who internalizes stress badly. The beast is very hard to read, even by professional horse interpreters. I'd love to see him in Buck Brannaman's hands and have the dude narrate the conversation he was having with this mysterious horse. IME with this horse and some good trainers, the western roper guy did the very best.
Buck Brannaman is good I would love to ride in one of his clinics, Lynn Palm believes is dressage basics for her all around horses, and on a personal note John Rannenberg, an arabian trainer, can make a horse broke
my favorite horse of all was trained and shown by him, she did Western Pleasure but you could show her breed show hunter or dressage all at the same show, she was broke but did not have a depressed personality and was not a deadhead, ask wrong and it did not happen, ask right and it was magic, I learned so much from that mare
Mark Shaffer (100X World Champion). I've loved the clinics of his I have attended! Western Pleasure based. His Mechanics in Motion DVD's and excerises are great. His "professional series" set of DVD's is line-driving, starting training, based.
I wouldn't attend another Lynn Palm clinic.