Best: (audited) Anne Rawle. I am a hunter rider and she had me so engaged and interested in her dressage horses. Everything she was working on could be translated to the hunter horse and they really worked on self carriage and not forcing the horse's head into a set position and finding a rhythm.
Worst: Eugene Something or other. Dressage guy that got so flustered that he couldn't get my horse "on the bit" that he spent an extra 30 minutes past the clinic time fighting with her. He left a bad taste in my mouth about dressage until I met Anne (mentioned above)
"People who think their brains are not worth protecting are probably right!"
- quoted by Martha Drum
Best (audited): Michael Paige, he's such a character to listen and watch. He also sets up great jumping exercises for all levels.
Hmm. Paige did a clinic at a Central NY barn for years and years and it was always the same. In each case, many riders working on the rail, all doing the same thing or going through a grid conveyer-belt style. I audited and tried to get stuff from it. But there wasn't much there.
Best, Jimmy Wofford. He wanted event riders to ride their horses with tact. He did some great gymnastics work, actually caring that horses jumped rounder. He correctly laid into me when I made a last jump in the XC into way more work than it needed to be. The intention was an easy, fun reward for the horse, not what I did. He praised riders with "show ring basics" (his words) who rode up and down banks nicely. Great horseman, valued correctness and showed us how those basics actually got the job done better.
Worst (though I don't remember a whole lot): Brian Sabo. His catch-phrase was "Give that horse a dental job!" Sabo was young and about all there was in the NorCal eventing scene at the time. But it left the impression with me that eventing was rough-n-ready.
Good to know. He often clinics at a dressage barn just down the road from me, so I have been tempted to check him out. I would love to hear the gory details (via PM of course).
I am talking out of my butt here, since I have never seen him in person, but I watched a few videos of him instructing & he was just an a88. He kept yelling at whoever he was instructing, but I felt like he never told them how to do what he wanted. Never really elucidated what exactly they were doing incorrectly, either. These were vids he or his ppl posted.
He was terribly rude, IMHO. If I was paying $$ to have someone be mean to me, I would at least expect some actual instruction at the same time.
This is hard! Best: Ryan Yap, Carla Smyader. Ryan is a horse god who has an uncanny ability to push rider and horse without overfacing either and being incredibly kind. Same thing when he rides - what a beautiful and sympathetic rider, who rides everything from ponies to upper level warmbloods. Carla is very German because she's German, but I never knew what "forward" was before riding with her. There are many many others that I learned so much from, it is very hard to pick one. The worse was an Olympian because she thought she could re-train my horse's tempi changes by changing the aids....4 days before my Championship rides (she rode my horse). Needless to say, it didn't go very well and my horse was displeased. That said, I did learn a lot from her, I just didn't need that experience 4 days before my fourth level championship rides. Oh well!
This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows how much I post about his clinics, but best for me would be Greg Best. I like his clinics so much that I ride with him as many times a year as I can. I learn something on every single horse I ride with him every single time. No exceptions.
I've had a lot of "worsts" over the years. I had one very BNT who was getting married the next weekend who was so distracted I'm not sure he would even have remembered that he taught that weekend if he were still alive. I had another very BNT who told me that my mare wasn't capable of being a 1.30m horse (this was my winning-est horse ever with a LOT of 1.30m championships and a few forays into 1.40m). After the last jump of the weekend (a 5' vertical) he looked at me and said, "well, I've changed my mind. Maybe she's got more in there than I thought. I would have done different things if I'd realized that."
There are a few other horror stories (like the trainer who drilled us for so long over jumps in a clinic that 4 of 5 horses in the session were lame the next day). But most clinics I've found to be mediocre. The trainers might be great trainers, they might be great riders, but they just weren't able to concentrate it down to 3 days worth of teaching that would make an impact.
Oh, oh, I remember another wasted $500! I had my (very dead-type) mare in a clinic at a barn with pretty much only hot horses. So there were 3 super hot/anxious horses and then my went-around-like-a-drugged-horse mare. Every exercise was set up to slow a horse down. Yeah, not an issue for us. Every time I went through, the (olympic medalist trainer) would tell me how brilliant I was and how amazing of a rider I was to get my horse through the exercise so well. At the end of the weekend he said, "you know, you could be good enough to compete against those amateurs down in California who do nothing but ride all day every day....." Um, gee, thanks?
So these days I pretty much stick to riding with Greg because I know I'll get something for the money every time.
Did not ride but audited and thought both Greg Best and Joe Fargis were great clinicians. Simple but effective exercises, tailored to the level of the rider, clinician patient and willing to explain. It was my trainer (at the time) riding in the JF clinic and watching what JF could get out of an already talented pro was pretty amazing.
I won't name names but I audited a pretty amazingly terrible centered riding clinic. She should have PAID ME to watch and not vice versa. It was that bad.
She really should have been ashamed taking my money for that audit (and, in fact, she seemed slightly embarassed when she did).
There is also a very popular pony club clinician who I did not enjoy riding with. he repated the same comment 100x notwithstanding what anyone was doing/trying and could not explain beyond that. I was also riding a very big, large-strided warmblood (he can easily leave 2 strides out of a line and make it seamless)) in a group with 3 kids on ponies and he seemed annoyed at me that I was having trouble maintaining my distance on a circle over poles from the ponies. Um, I don't know how much you want me to collect but I just CAN'T go at the pace/stride they do. I just can't!
Saw a train wreck of a ride at a Walter Zettl clinic once. I was really disappointed he told the girl just to get out of the ring instead of giving her some solid ideas/excersizes to work through the issue (it wasn't like the horse was misbehaving or anything, the rider was trying, but I am guessing was getting more and more tense with his uncalled for criticism and badgering). Its the only time I have ever seen him act this way, maybe it was a bad day for him. I usually really enjoy his clinics as well. Subsequent rides/clinics I have seen of his were great.
I can't afford to actually ride in a clinic with either
Many years ago I was able to audit a Jack LeGoff clinic in a very small group. It was fascinating. I also audited two Buck Brannaman clinics and thought he was interesting.
The worst was a Linda Tellington Jones clinic where the horse was so annoyed with the wand, aka carriage whip, that he completely wigged out. The horse was a complete saint, and I could see he was trying to say to the owner, "If you tap me on the fetlock joint One More Time with that stinking whip, I'm gonna completely lose it." She did - and he did and they were excused from the ring.
Jeff Ashton Moore - every single team of horse/rider improved over the 3 days.
No breed snobbery. Period.
I brought my TWH the first time I rode with him - into DressageLand! <this despite some of the YouDon'tDARE Naysayers who posted on here.
Both the 2 clinics I was able to ride in and the 3 I audited had the same results.
Would sell my eyeteeth for another chance to ride with him.
Many years ago my trainer brought his personal friend and BNR - Bodo Hangen - to our little school barn for a clinic.
Three of us Dressage Newbies, mounted on school horses were asked "So? These are the horses you compete on?"
Then treated to 45min of Bodo concentrating on one rider while the others stood on the rail.
I was a WS at the time and when the poor horse came out BH had tightened the flash down so hard I had to get one of the men present to unlatch it.
This was over 25yrs ago, so you can see what a bad taste it left.
To be even minimally fair-minded, BH did come back another time to do a demo ride (for charity) on Edith Kosterka's Trakhener stallion Troubador who was (at the time) short-listed for the Olympics.
A much better experience for all.
Some can ride, some can teach, few can do both.
OH MY GOSH, I rode With Bodo, a HUNDREd years ago. He was arrogant as all get out. And ignored all but the owner of the farm and the host of the clinic.
My favorite to ride with is Jane Hannigan-down to earth and very honest in a kind way. I would also ride with Lendon Gray again-good stuff, though she can be snarky. Absolute worse was Susan Hoffman-Peacock and her little minion, Pamela something. Neither could teach their way out of a paper bag, and did not read the horses and riders well at all. Boring, and my horse-and several others-were worse at the end of the clinic.
Best to audit was Charlotte Bredahl-Baker-took home multiple exercises and pages of notes. Worst to audit was Cesar Parra-spent most of his time looking at his cell phone and barely noticing the lower level riders. Pompous jerk.