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Horrible clinic, what would you do??

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  • Original Poster

    Im not, in any way, looking for a "public lynching" of the clinician. Hence, why I didnt say their name to begin with. I was more asking for advice on what to do since I don't want to sit around and do nothing about it.

    I talked to two other people in the group afterwards. One, who's been eventing her entire life and the other who's bringing along her young horse. Both said the same thing I experienced, and said they would not pay to ride with this person ever again. I would completely understand where you're coming from if I just went ahead and entered the Prelim group since my horse and I used to show at 3"6 but thats exactly why I entered at a lower level.....to learn as much as much as I can.

    Originally posted by subk View Post
    All I'm trying to say is take it in context.

    I've sat in many low level groups at clinics where there was more discussion than riding and come away feeling like I learned a lot. By the same token I could imagine someone without much experience in the sport sitting in the same group and getting exactly nothing precisely because they have no frame of reference.

    I've been eventing for years, but have little to no frame of reference to take to a George Morris clinic. I would expect to miss out on a lot of information because I don't have the experience in the sport to recognize and absorb a lot information he would impart.

    I'm not saying the OP didn't have a bad clinic, I'm not saying the clinician wasn't the worst thing that ever taught. But I am saying that before there is a public lynching it is important to consider that most people riding in event clinics have been eventing longer than 2 months and it is quite possible that the OP's lack of experience just might have something to do with the problem.


    • #42
      IIRC, the OP describes riding in a clinic with a BNT whom others have posted was terrific. First day had minimal exercises and lots of story telling. On day 2 (XC day) there was a little more riding: 6 different jumps were used. But what caught my attention was that the BNT was insulting to those who did not do the exercises perfectly. Did I get that right?

      I come to a clinic with my mind open and my mouth shut, and I do my best to perform what the clinician asks. I've been fortunate to participate in some great clinics, both jumping and flat.

      But I am at a sufficiently advanced age that I don't accept rudeness. Had I been in that clinic and circumstances were as described, I would probably sit down and write a nice letter to the clinician. It would be pleasant but reasonably direct about what your expectations were, what your experience was and whether this is what you should expect from future clinics. I'd give him a chance to explain.

      And I'd cc the organizer on the letter, too.

      Yup, I'm just an old battle axe.
      They don't call me frugal for nothing.
      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


      • #43
        I'd be upset, too. Personally OP I think you should let us all know the name of the clinician.

        A lot of people check these forums for clinician reviews/recommendations, and I for one would like to know who this was so I could avoid riding with him in the future.
        runnjump86 Instagram

        Horse Junkies United guest blogger


        • #44
          Was the clinic in CO? Not sure where you are?? But I agree- we are all adult enough to know that its one persons opinion and that is what makes the horse world go round!


          • #45
            I would contact the clinician and tell them what you thought of the riding time. If I paid for a service and wasn't satisfied I would do the same thing no matter what the service is (food, a product, etc etc). You paid money to learn something and ride and they didn't follow through. They are riders, not gods, lol. They should be able to handle the critique and people should feel they can talk to the URLs as well.


            • #46
              Eh, bad clinics happen. Sometimes the clinician isn't very good, sometimes good clinician have a bad day, sometimes the rider's learning style doesn't mesh with the clinician.

              I do wish that OP would tell us who this is.
              Unrepentant carb eater


              • #47
                Yes, OP, please say who the clinician is. Otherwise this thread will be completely useless to all future readers who are trying to discover who to clinic with or avoid. If you like, feel free to include links to past threads which raved about the clinician. Nothing wrong with conflicting viewpoints.


                • #48
                  By not listing the clinician's name, the OP is likely trying to avoid bringing up specific conflicting opinions about the clinician directly, however by stating that the clinic was this past weekend, and that it was with a BNT it makes it pretty easy to find out who it was by looking at the USEA calendar tbh. At this point, providing such specifics as weekend, and teaching style (ie talking a lot ect) it may be even worse to not name the clinician, as we are all assuming we know who it may be....


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by Stoney447 View Post
                    By not listing the clinician's name, the OP is likely trying to avoid bringing up specific conflicting opinions about the clinician directly, however by stating that the clinic was this past weekend, and that it was with a BNT it makes it pretty easy to find out who it was by looking at the USEA calendar tbh. At this point, providing such specifics as weekend, and teaching style (ie talking a lot ect) it may be even worse to not name the clinician, as we are all assuming we know who it may be....

                    True...we are all probably assuming different people. For example...Jimmy Wofford talks a lot...but I knew those exercises didn't sound like him and he was coaching at Badminton this past weekend.

                    Can't be Phillip...as he doesn't talk much. Boyd was coaching at MCTA. I can start clicking off others. In the end...I decided while I was curious...it really didn't matter. I follow retreds advice about clinics....and I think the OPs thread is a good reminder to be careful about spending money on clinics. Do your homework...and sometimes it just doesn't work out.

                    Don't waste energy on it. Sorry it happened and you've learned an unfortunately expensive lesson. Hopefully a others have read this and will learn from the warning (gad, I hate it when I become a warning for others) but that is the best that can come of the situation.
                    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; May. 6, 2013, 09:45 PM.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                    • #50
                      I agree with contact the organizers, and vote with your wallet - don't go to another for sure!

                      I have cliniced with a few Canadian BNTs. One (Jessica Pheoenix) was totally amazing - and if I could afford to lesson with her regularly I would. Fantastic exeperience, and my horse's first time to an off-property event as well! She was great with all the levels that rode that day.

                      There was another who was not so helpful. Our "entry" level group's excersises entailed the clinician essentially warming up each of our horses for us somehow, and we did a bit of gridwork, in which I fell off thanks to the fact that the clinician insisted we must ride it fully in 2pt as soon as we were straight to the grid. My horse was green, and had never been jumped this way - he got over the first fence, then didn't keep going for the 2nd one! (good boy was waiting for his seat aids to continue!). I fell off the side in slow-mo as he got confused and stopped!

                      It was a waste of the $ to deal with that clinician again. She might make a good regular coach mind you - one on one to work on your basics, but not as a one day or one weekend thing!


                      • #51
                        One of the things I've started doing now is searching around for a youtube video of the clinician in action...then I know what I'm in for and where I want to spend $.
                        And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."


                        • #52
                          I can understand the OP not wanting to create an online lynching of the clinician, however I'm pretty sure the vast majority of us would post on Facebook if we didn't like a movie, restaurant, concert, etc.

                          To be fair, the person I cliniced with on Saturday, Tami Smith, was a good fit for me. She has an edge to her that some people probably couldn't handle. She doesn't sugar-coat things, and isn't afraid to tell you something you don't want to hear. However, I kept my mouth shut, ears open, did what she told me, and got great results. I loved how she would ask us how we should approach an obstacle, and even if we were wrong (I was) we were not made to feel ignorant or incompetent, she simply said "No" and explained why, and the correct approach. She is someone I will ride with again in a heartbeat.

                          If OP doesn't post the name, then oh well. But I love the idea of looking up videos on YouTube for future references! I tried to recruit a friend to video for me, but she had a time conflict. Love that idea though!
                          runnjump86 Instagram

                          Horse Junkies United guest blogger


                          • #53
                            I'm almost 100% positive I know which clinician. I've never ridden with this person and have no opinion on their teaching method or clinics at all.

                            But just coincidentally, a friend audited the BN/N section and was telling me yesterday how amazing it was to see how much this particular group of riders improved over the course of the clinic...apparently most were having trouble with basic balance, appropriate pace, and proper distances. After breaking things down to absolute basics, my friend told me, the riders and horses in this group went from kind of cowboying around to actually being in control and presenting a much nicer picture by the end.

                            I wasn't there so I can't speak to whether this is true or whether what the OP says is on or off base, but I will say that sometimes the best lessons I've ever had have been the ones where during the lesson I felt like everything was going wrong...the fun, jumping-3'6"-courses-all-afternoon-and-hearing-I'm-a-rock star lessons are fabulous, but I don't know that I've learned so much from those.

                            Food for thought.


                            • #54
                              I believe I was at this clinic, so unless the OP tells me the pieces don't fit, I'll assume it was so. If OP does tell me the pieces don't fit, they have my heartfelt apologies, and you all have just gotten an earful of a clinic I watched this weekend.

                              I watched all of the groups go, and heard all of the instruction. Clinician is in fact a big deal. Of "presidential" proportions.

                              The instruction was appropriate for the (sizable, more than clinician was expecting) groups the clinician was faced with. A few of the groups did in fact jump many of the same fences, as the tenets being taught were applicable to all. Something most people picked up on by listening to said clinician explaining this at the start of the session. (Except the riders who were chatting and B.S.ing while other riders in their group were going and clinician was actively talking and teaching. Don't fear OP, your group wasn't the only group who made this HUGE fauxpa. Clinician is not George Morris-like, so clinician did not make a spectacle of it, but clinician did seem to take note of who was there to listen and learn).

                              Two of the "I think six jumps" worked on were also water and bank complexes, so of course there were options for every level accordingly, and each was jumped in more than one compilation to include more than one concept. The same levels might have been at those same jumps, but the questions, exercises and heights were very different. The other non complex jumps that were the same between Training, Novice, and your Beginner Novice/Novice (combined) group were terrain questions. Related fences at the top and bottom of a swale. Lots to learn on those for everyone no matter the height.

                              If you are the rider I think you were, it may have seemed the clinician was yelling, but frankly clinician was yelling because the wind made it hard for riders to hear, and clinician was frustrated after an hour and a half of telling certain riders in this group the same thing over and over and over. Clinician did not expect anyone to do it perfectly or get ripped apart. Clinician expected the riders to state what they would do the next time instead of say what they did wrong to try to change the rider's thought process from negative to positive. And actually try to attempt it instead of doing the same thing again expecting a different result. Again, something clinician explained while the group was busy chatting amongst themselves. I saw clinician congratulate other riders in other groups for at least giving it a college try.

                              Clinician was rightly concerned that the things clinician was having to repeat over and over and over with no result are things that are paramount to coming out alive from cross country fences. Being able to extend and compress the horse in the open, up and down hills. Getting ones heels under themselves before a fence so one can land into their feet, letting xc green horses pick their spot instead of chasing them to it when there is a drop or terrain change on the other side...etc etc etc. All things clinician worked on at the start of the xc session, which, incidentally, ran later than the time allowed. When it still wasn't happening an hour and a half into the session, clinician was frustrated. Clinician rightly picked up on the fact that some riders either weren't listening, or didn't care to understand the ramifications of riding those obstacles with a less than stellar h/j position.

                              There is a large chasm between the 3'6" jumpers and beginner novice/novice eventing, my friend. And a very different way your very cool horse needs to "go". (Said by someone who has been through the levels of both disciplines). The potential for a life changing accident on cross country is so much larger when it isn't given the respect and thought it deserves. The fences are a lot smaller. But the questions have much, much different answers for both rider and horse than anything you are used to answering. As someone watching I didn't get a sense that you were interested in the difference.

                              You didn't do too badly for your first time on a cross country course. I wish you had taken the opportunity to school at least a handful of cross country fences before you attended a clinic with this gem of the sport. I wish everyone had listened more closely to realize clinician's talking about "random" stuff was actually clinician making stellar analogies to help folks understand better, and that clinician was honestly imparting a lot of wisdom and information in an amusing format. I wish you realized you were actually allowed and encouraged to jump things well above the BN level and that just because you can jump your way around a mid sized jumper course doesn't mean this stellar and beloved clinician who wanted to see more from you was rude or didn't know what they were talking about.

                              Just another opinion from a different set of eyes.


                              • #55
                                Count me in among those who would like to know who the clinician was to guide decision-making in future. A PM would be great if you get a chance, OP.


                                • #56
                                  I think it depends somewhat on learning styles too.

                                  For example I don't learn physical skills from listening to someone talk about technique. It's pretty useless for me as I just can't process the information.
                                  I have to try it out to learn. I learn a bit better from observation but really I learn by doing.

                                  I hate it when clinicians spent too much time just talking. I need to ride through the exercise in parts or just try it. If the clinician demonstrates then that helps a lot, but just standing around talking - I would be annoyed too.


                                  • #57
                                    There was an excellent review of clinicians on another forum and thread. I can't find it. I think it was on the h/j thread. The critique of this clinician was consistent with the OP's critique. I see nothing wrong with critiquing clinicians by name and acknowledging we all have our unique takes on each of them. A clinic is a product that we purchase.

                                    Interestingly, the thread was quite negative about one clinician, Lucinda Green, who I adore. So it's not like the OP is stating fact. It is her experience and her reported experience of others. And the critique of LG did not steer me away from her because those who didn't like her were bothered by her being tough on those who were "having problems." I for one like for someone to be tough. I don't like sarcasm or flippancy.

                                    And there's no reason to critique the OP. is there? We aren't thinking of purchasing her product. OTOH, I want to read critiques on clinics, positive and negative. It's a consumer product review of sorts.



                                    • #58
                                      Gleefully tearing apart someone's riding is not an appropriate response to their concerns about a clinic. That was entirely uncalled for and says more about your character then someone who at least has the decency to not name the clinician. If you were there and felt the need to say anything at all perhaps a "I was there and I felt the clinic was apropriate for each participant" would be sufficient. If the OP did indeed have problems like that and saw their experiences as different then yours then the organizer and clinician would be aware and would know how to deal with her complaint.


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                        Gleefully tearing apart someone's riding is not an appropriate response to their concerns about a clinic. That was entirely uncalled for and says more about your character then someone who at least has the decency to not name the clinician. If you were there and felt the need to say anything at all perhaps a "I was there and I felt the clinic was apropriate for each participant" would be sufficient. If the OP did indeed have problems like that and saw their experiences as different then yours then the organizer and clinician would be aware and would know how to deal with her complaint.

                                        What she said. I commend the OP for her thoughtful and appropriate comments and she certainly didn't deserve this.


                                        • #60
                                          Without knowing which clinician this was, it is truly hard for us to say what to do. I regularly clinic with a dressage BNT. Really enjoyed each and every session. Raved about him to people I knew, and even convinced my trainer to ride at the last clinic. BNT had a really "off" weekend. If it had been my first experience with him, I would have been mad about the money (and don't get me wrong - for what he charges, he really doesn't get a pass on a bad weekend) and would be telling everyone I know that it was not worth the money. I felt quite bad about having convinced my trainer to spend the money, based soley on my experience prior with BNT.

                                          The reality is that clinicians are only human. We all have bad/off days at work. It just sucks if you have spent money and get the off day.

                                          OP - I think you are handling it correctly by asking for general opinions on what went on, and were I you, I would give the clinician's name to people who would like to know through PMs only.