Does anyone only ride in clinics, and not with a trainer regularly?
I board at a barn with no trainer, and try as I might to trailer out for lessons, it does not happen regularly.
Has anyone just foregone having a regular trainer and spend time going to clinics instead?
My frequency of showing is minimal, and I am an old hat at going to shows on my own, so I don't 'need' a trainer for that. I suppose I miss the social aspect of having a barn to hang out with, but I have a good time nonetheless.
The idea of spending money on clinics than shows is more appealing to me. I've shown a lot in the past, and have very little desire to obtain more ribbons other than just taking my green horse out and proving ourselves at different levels, i.e. moving up from 2'6 to 3' hunters to 3'6 hunters.
There are no decent H/J barns near me, so I board at a backyard little-bit-of-everything barn and work mostly on my own. I've done the occassional clinic, but honestly there aren't many of those around me either. So, I do work with a not-ridiculously-distant trainer, but not on a weekly basis. More like 1 a month, plus we occassionally meet up at shows if I want to go to whatever one he's at. Though in the interest of budget, I often go to the smaller (B and local) shows on my own sans coach.
I do enjoy showing, and feel I get as much out of those as a good lesson, in many cases. I'm also trying to move up the levels (just started the AOs for me, and hoping to move up to the 3' with my green horse this summer).
I have a good coach who understands I can't (due to financial and time constraints) be in a regular program (ie boarding with him, or even weekly lessons) but I do my homework between sessions.
Our progress is much slower than it would be if I were getting two lessons a week and my horse was getting pro rides, but we are moving forward
I think a semi "regular" trainer is better than a clinician, in that you can at least get stuff to work on, and then build on that the next time. I've had some clinics with some BNTs, and some are too easy, some are good but just not a good fit, and some are great. But there's no sense of "building" in a series of clinics, they are all stand-alone. Finding a good coach and doing a 1-2 lessons every 1-2 months might be more beneficial. Just my thoughts.
A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...
I agree: A semi-regular trainer will work better than a series of (different) clinicians.
If I were going to try to get my horse's training done via clinics, I'd audit the person first. Remember that the clinician is at a huge disadvantage because he/she doesn't know you and your horse well. That puts pressure on them to show you quick results-- not always the coolest way to train a horse. And it puts real pressure on you because you have to try to fold whatever the clinician is telling you to do into your horse's overall program. It's hard, IMO: You want to be respectful of the clinician's expertise and take some risks with new things in order to get your money's worth, but you also have to know when to say No. If you are experienced with training, as it sounds like you are, OP, you just need to be able to communicate your horse's education, holes/problems and such well. If you have a pretty correct/conventional way of training, this can work out.
Don't stop your search for a local pro who does nice things with horses students. I have found trainers who don't have huge names or slick advertising budgets by watching at shows. Those haul-in relationships have worked out really well for me.
My horse is away for 90 days to be backed, but I will have to haul now by default since the two local instructors I would ride with have moved. There is a dressage instructor who comes from out-of-state and does once a month clinics within a 45 minute drive, and if I can get on the list I will do those (they are usually full). Then I will have to haul 3 hours to Omaha to get any over-fence instruction.
Not exactly what I was daydreaming about when I bred my mare 4 years ago. Riding/training a 3 year old green-as-grass horse largely on my own! I will be moving her to my home too (boarding barn is just too far away). I'm trying not to think about it too much--it (lack of instruction in our area) really depresses me. Like I was in a honest-to-God-real funk when I found out everyone was moving away. I'm a social person and would rather board with a trainer. Plus all this hauling is a huge time drain, big fuel costs, and the lessons cost double or more than I paid locally.
OP, I would try to find a regular coach, even if it is once a month.
I have done that, but I would not do it with random clinics. Instead, I'd recommend finding someone you can work with regularly - so that they can give you homework, will remember you, and see your progress. It could be once a month or once a quarter, depending on what you need and have available.
This could be a clinician who travels in to your area or it could also be that you haul in to an established trainer's barn on some regular basis.
Creating the long term relationship adds a lot more value for you as the student, and it also creates the right kind of pressure (for me anyway) to keep thinking about homework and being ready for the next lesson.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
Thanks everyone - after your comments, having a regular trainer seems like a better idea, even if it is occasional. I might cast my net a little further then to find someone to work with me o/f. Right now my occasional lessons are with a dressage trainer, although it has been instrumental for both horse and me to get in touch with these basics. GM himself would be proud of our flatwork!
The dressage trainer is perfectly OK with my random lessons, even on short notice, because of my hectic work schedule. I have not found a h/j trainer that was willing to allow me to trailer in for lessons if I was not in a regular program among other things (i.e., if I went to a show, would need to stable with them with all associated fees, etc.); I also felt very pressured for the need to board there. I am very happy where my horse is at - close to home, all day turnout (a rarity), huge indoor, trails, and the ability to come and go as I please and do what I wish with my horse.
I don't feel the need for my horse to be in the 'program' because I truly enjoy the management of my own horse - braiding, mucking and feeding at shows, grooming, making my own vet and farrier appointments, etc. I don't need my hand held - I just need someone to yell at me when I am riding.
Have you thought of hauling one weekend a month and staying over for 2 or 3 lessons ( if you can get up Friday evening)?
Many trainers have spare rooms for visiting clients and basic hotels are affordable if you pack a cooler instead of eating out. That works for a lot of people assuming they are not novices . Beats a revolving door of clinicians and lets you build a ratio ship with a regular trainer and program.
I was in a AA barn with a head trainer on the road most of the year. I most did my own thing if/when I did not care for the current stay at home assistant (or knew more then they did). We had the same clinician in twice a year for almost 10 years and I rode for him, worked with head trainer at the 12 to 14 shows a year I was able to hit and sometimes the clinician. But head trainer and clinician were on the same page and that's a must in these situations.
Its fine to try new things and get new eyes on you but you have to have a consistent program in place regardless who does it or it won't work.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.