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Horrible clinic, what would you do??

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  • Brian is outstanding at giving you the tools to ride on your own and understand why they work. I still use things he taught me years ago, and it improved my riding on the whole, as opposed to the 45 minutes in the ring. The "why and how" gets ingrained on a more macro level, making the ways that I ride outside of the clinic more effective.

    I have seen many people judge a lesson or clinic by the number of fences or how high they jumped (and I have jumped some of my biggest fences in clinics, which is fun and confidence building). But at the end of the day, the shift in the way that I ride, because I understand more about the "why and how" , is more valuable to me, regardless of whether I learned it over a 3'6" oxer, trotting through a pole exercise, or listening to a trainer talk.

    I watched a rider with Brian some years ago be clearly frustrated when he wanted to work on correcting their form and try to talk through some changes. The rider muttered angrily for him to hear "I just want to jump the fences". He continued to try to help them and the clinic ended as well as it could. Several years and several head injuries later, the rider still hasn't figured out that "how" and "why" makes a difference.
    Last edited by SevenDogs; May. 11, 2013, 02:38 PM.


    • Originally posted by SevenDogs View Post
      Brian is outstanding at giving you the tools to ride on your own and understand why they work. I have seen many people judge a lesson or clinic by the number of fences or how high they jumped (and I have jumped some of my biggest fences in clinics, which is fun and confidence building). But at the end of the day, the shift in the way that I ride, because I understand more about the "why and how" , is more valuable to me, regardless of whether I learned it over a 3'6" oxer, trotting through a pole exercise, or listening to a trainer talk.
      if you want theory, you could buy a book, read practical horseman (i think brian had an article in it a few months ago, you could purchase a video. this is much cheaper than paying for a clinic.
      you expect at a clinic to jump around and learn that theory as you are jumping around. the OP claimed that she barely jumped. that is just wrong. i used to have group lessons and some of the instructors were very efficient. they could get a large group of 9+ riders jumping a few warmups and then jumping around 3 courses in a little over an hour. then there were the other trainers that chatted away and poof the hour was over and you barely got to jump. i did not learn anything in the lessons that my instructor was chatting about theory. i learned in the lessons where i jumped around and made mistakes. i understand the theory very well. i really do! but i cant execute it really well. my current trainer has said to me that i am going around the course calling out things like öh no i am pulling" knowing that i am not supposed to be pulling, but i am doing it anyway. she said she didnt even need to be there because i understand what i am doing wrong. but she does need to be there, because she reminds me when fear takes over and she also gives me the confidence to try to do it the right way. somehow if she is not there, i dont do it the right way even though i understand the theory of the right way.
      i think the OP got ripped off. and this is why i dont do clinics. the last one i did, i barely got to jump and waited around for my turn while others kept repeating the exerercise because they couldnt get it right. a total waste of money. and 2 days later i rode with my regular trainer over the same course in a half hour lesson and i got so much more out of that lesson. and i paid 1/3 the cost of that clinic.


      • A book or article isn't the same thing.

        You seem to have had a lot of negative experiences and made a decision that is right for you. I agree that a rider's primary instruction should come from their regular trainer. As many have said, the best use of clinicians appears to be to find a great regular trainer and use good clinicians to supplement regular training, if possible.

        I would also agree that if money is tight (like it is for many of us) clinics may not be the best value. I, personally, consider clinics and shows valuable learning experiences, but they are also a luxury and get reduced or eliminate when funds get tight. Horse care, followed by regular instruction by a good trainer, are my priorities.


        • Originally posted by SevenDogs View Post
          A book or article isn't the same thing.
          You seem to have had a lot of negative experiences and made a decision that is right for you.
          yes my clinic experiences have been negative, because while being fun, i felt they were a rip off.
          you advocated that it was okay for brian to chat away the clinic because you have to understand theory. the OP was very disappointed that she didnt get to apply theory to actual riding.
          what you are saying then is that brian can talk in a clinic and you get more out of it than him talking on a video or writing down his thoughts in an article in practical horseman. i just dont understand this? talk is talk whether its in an article, a book a video or live talk.
          riding is not learned by talk. its by doing. sorry i still think the OP got ripped off.


          • TSWJB: you seem like you want to fight and I'm not interested. Theory has to be broken down and taught for the level of horse and rider. That may be different for the same horse and rider at different time intervals. Books and videos have value, but I don't believe they are the same thing. Just as one person's value might be another person's ripped off. You don't agree and that's fine. We can have differing opinions.


            • I've been reading this thread with interest. I do think the OP expected to get more actual ride time, but, like others have posted, I have no idea what her clinic etiquette was to know if she got ripped off or just didn't have the tools/experience to gain from the clinic environment.

              I've audited as many dressage clinics as I have eventing clinics (which isn't really saying that much) and I think we could benefit from adopting some of the dressage methodology.

              Many "big name" dressage clinics use demo riders and explain theory as the riders ride. If I went to a group lesson I would expect to ride, if I went to a clinic I would expect to have more listening than riding. Some of the best morsels of knowledge I have is from listening to the clinician as he explained something while a demo rider is riding. Lots of us have similar shortcomings in the saddle and for me being able to see the issue and simultaneously hear how to correct it is invaluable.
              Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

              The Grove at Five Points


              • Originally posted by Rallycairn View Post
                @Wayside -- exactly the way I read it. OP didn't just make a blanket statement "Clinician SUX" but made a statement and then offered the details to back up why she felt the statement was accurate. Sure, statement was strong -- but she didn't use any epithets or insults. Horrible is a strong word, but hardly name calling or mud slinging, to me.
                That's not the way I read it. It laid all the blame on the clinician---when we all know that there is probably more to it. As I read it I was already thinking this OP didn't have the right attitude for a clinic (any clinic) if all they cared about was how much they jumped. It came across as whiny and all about how horrible it was...but not really about learning. For me, riding in clinics is about listening and watching. I learn a ton by hearing what is said to others and seeing how it changes them probably more than riding. I do ride and have learned something worth my time in EVERY clinic I've ever ridden in. EVERY one. Now this could be because I'm careful about what clinics I ride in...but probably is more to do with the fact that I'm more open to learn and not just there expecting to ride and be taught. It is a two way process.
                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                • Originally posted by alto View Post
                  One cannot use unexpected participant numbers as an excuse, clinicians can/do set limits for the organizer.
                  Not mine. Mine never give me any guidance about groups. I'm lucky if I can get them to tell me what they eat for breakfast.
                  Big Idea Eventing


                  • A reason I am happy to pay $$$ to the big name old dogs is their ability to pick out the bits of theory that I need to focus on now with this horse.

                    I often say anyone can look at any horse and rider and comment on something they are doing wrong. Knowing which thing is creating other problems and is fixable that day or with practice - that's worth a lot more.



                    • I do agree that when I clinic'ed with Wofford, the most valuable part BY FAR was the talk each morning before all the lessons. My horse decided to be an absolute devil - literally as if he had been possessed by some spawn of a demon with none of his normal personality or even movement. So while it was helpful to learn a few tools to handle him like that, the biggest lesson I learned that unlocked a whole new level of thinking riding for me was from asking Jim a question during the lecture and listening and taking notes. Having his eyes on me and my horse meant that he also could tailor an answer to us, which for him, takes about 3 minutes to assess, LOL! That is what I paid for. I also ALWAYS, even if just at a farm for lesson, stick around to watch as many other lessons and rides as I can. Even if I just learn what NOT to do, it's always been valuable.

                      I'm also EXCRUCIATINGLY picky about who I will clinic with as I agree that lessons are more valuable with someone who sees your horse more than once. At this point, there are two, maybe three people I would pay and travel to for an expensive clinic even though I live in a hotbed of BNR/T's. I live on zero money so if I am not 100% certain the teacher will significantly impact my riding and training, I will skip or audit.
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