I recently audited one of Bernie's clinics and I agree with all of the above, both good and bad. He is a traditionalist but always open to other ways of doing something, once you have mastered a good solid foundation. He will check your bit, even putting his fingers inside the mouth to test how sharp the twists are, and will ask you questions about why you use that particular bit. He will want you to be able to adjust your stirrups properly, and he insists on flatting with a longer stirrup and then shortening when you start jumping. He dislikes gimmicks of any type, including the angled stirrup pads one girl was using. As someone said, much like GM in his preferences but without the insults. He has a quiet way of getting his disapproval across though. And he will point out tack that is inappropriate for the division, for example the clinic I audited was a TCP clinic and the groups were divided into hunter, jumper and eq groups. There were people in the hunter groups using gag bits, draw reins, square pads, running martingales, etc. and he made sure they understood these were not acceptable in a hunter class.
The people who rode in this particular clinic were sometimes very rude, in that they just didn't pay attention, even when he asked them to change direction, etc. You're paying a lot of money so listen good, he has a lot to offer and he gave a masterful performance on the horses he rode, I was very impressed.
I loved the discussion period after every group, it was very relaxed and very beneficial to be able to question him afterwards.
And go for the higher jumping group, as he isn't especially concerned about height, more about doing it properly, so I am sure you won't be overfaced if you go in the 3' - 3'6" group.
I found this annoying as well. The horse was very, very hot and feisty, (just the way it went and the girl had enough control), and the second day he spent an hour switching it's tack and flatting it around while the other 5 people just sat on the rail... I believe he got on one horse each day in each group. IMO a very unruly horse with 0 control he should get on, but I don't think he utilized his time very well by spending so much time riding one horse.
So pretty much the same thing the second day. Darn.The horse was MUCH better after he rode it (day 1) but he didn't correct some glaring errors in her stirrup length and use of her hands and legs which, by my less experienced eye, could have helped her ride that hot horse.
Former Long Islander now in the middle of the Great Lakes
the only gimmick he seems to like is those new fangled weighted stirrups with those lock in metal pads .. and I guess for some riders with a loose leg they might help. He is not opposed to things that work he tries new stuff all the time , he just has to see the benefit in the new technologies
At the clinic I audited he did spend a lot of time riding one girl's horse, I would have been upset if I had paid all that money as the other riders got very little attention. He rode several other horses in other groups but only briefly. I did really enjoy watching him ride though and in every case the horse was much improved.
He does spend a lot of time checking bits, changing them if necessary and going over the rest of the horse's tack and boots.
And as someone already mentioned I think, he definitely prefers you keep your spurs either under the spur rest or just above it. And sit the canter, as already mentioned, no half seat until you are hand galloping.
His principles are simple and direct to the point. He gives loads of encouragement. He hates it when you don't try hard enough or don't listen. He is very specific about what bit you use because it is fundamental in your communication with your horse.
Contrary to what others might think, I see a very clear and methodical system when he gives a clinic: he listens to you in the beginning when you explain your troubles, he works with you on the path to a solution and he ends the clinic giving you homework and specific tips to keep you focused on your new path. All of the clinics I rode in had a corollary to it. Each time I came out a step ahead in my riding.
I have done clinics with many, many BNT (Fargis, Madden, Pessoa, L. Burr, Garson, Simpson, etc) and I can only compare him with DeNemethy (who I rode with in Buenos Aires many, many years ago) although I have found Bernie to be more patient and congenial than Bert (and I can certainly understand his english more! ).
He loves to train, has mounds of wisdom and will push you because he knows you can do it.
I can't recommend him enough.
Oh! Don't forget he has his website, www.equestriancoach.com .
It's a great support system to continue your work after the clinic. Superb!
Over what hill? Where? When? I don\'t remember any hill....