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Horrible clinic, what would you do??

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  • Well honestly I wasn't taking BlissTate's post as gospel. BUT I did think it demonstrated a DIFFERENT point of view. And was an example that it may not be that the Clinician sucked. BUT it is clear from the OP's post that it wasn't a good clinic for the OP for whatever reason. And really those reasons do not really matter. They are unique to the OP.

    And honestly...I don't care what the reason was. To me it is NOT about the clinician. It is about the OP going to a clinic that they didn't feel they got their money's worth. IMO that is often really not the fault of the clinician. The clinician is the clinician. It is the OP who next time needs to do more research and make sure that before they buy a service, they think it will suit them. And going to clinics does NOT suit everyone all the time....you have to make that decision for yourself based on your specific situation.

    For example, I've not ridden with Lucinda Green. It isn't because I think she is a bad clinician or trainer. BUT I've done my homework, audited her teaching and made an educated decision that her teaching style in a clinic situation would NOT be suitable for me and the current horse I'm riding for a number of reasons (one of which is the cost of the clinic for the benefit). I absolutely wouldn't bash her because for someone else....it may certainly be worth the money. But before I pay out a large sum for training with someone other than my trainer....I do some research. I will not always be right (that a clinic was worth the money---but I have always learned something even if it it may only be that the next time I wont spend that money as it isn't worth it FOR ME (and chalk that up as the learning experience).
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

    Comment


    • Just as an aside saying you have only been eventing for 2 months does not mean you have not had any xc experience. I am a jumper rider and have never acutally competed at an event but I have foxhunted, ridden with eventing instructors, schooled water, hills, banks, ditches, etc. I would say that I am as competent out of the ring as in it. Until very recently most of my horses' fitness came from exercise outside the ring, mostly hill work and long trail rides. It still would be if I had not moved to a different state has made that impossible for the moment. I know there is a steriotype that h/j people are hopeless outside of the ring and in most cases, I would say that is just not true. I do not know any good h/j rider who would have trouble with a bn/novice xc school.

      I feel like there is a lot of assumption about OP's skills xc based on her just switching to eventing, but no one knows her real background at all. I doubt her coach would have recommended a clinic for her if she was going to be way over her head.
      Impossible is nothing.

      Comment


      • I bet I know exactly who the clinician was.

        Originally posted by horselover1117 View Post
        So I rode in a two day clinic this weekend (not sure if I should name the clinician) and want to get your guys opinion. It was quite possibly one of the worst experiences I've had and Im not sure if I should do anything about it.

        Saturday was supposed to be dressage/stadium jumping. We all walked into the arena and talked for a little about our horses etc. and then immediately began to do four trot poles on the ground. After we went through that about two times, we stopped and talked in the middle for about 20min. Then they changed it to three canter poles to a teeny tiny vertical which everyone went through no problem. Again, stopped after this and talked for about 20min. After doing another vertical after the canter poles again, talked for 20min. My friend came to audit and to film my rides and when I got home that night, I watched the video. There was 6 TOTAL MINUTES of riding footage in the entire 2 and half hour lesson. The rest (and Im not even being sarcastic) was spent standing in the middle of the arena listening to the clinician tell jokes and make random references about things.

        I went home feeling completely bummed out that I had just spend a ton of money on that but figured I'd wait to see what Sunday held before I got too upset.

        So Sunday was cross country. Started off a bit better this time, in terms of actually riding more, but still not what I was expecting. We spent the first hour on very simple exercises where all of the horses in the group had no problem. Again, seemed to spend more time talking, than riding. Then moved on to something else that was a little more challenging but not too bad. Spent another hour or so on this. The entire session, the clinician was being blatantly rude and saying things that were completely inappropriate (I thought). I never felt encouraged, only that I better do it perfect or I'm gonna get ripped apart. On the other hand though, I WANTED to mess up just so I could do it again and have more riding time. Looking back, we did about 6 total xc fences.

        Basically, I walked away from this weekend feeling worse about everything and with nothing to go home and work on. This clinician has a very big name for being "one of the best there is" and it was not cheap to ride with them. I saved and saved so I could do this and now I just don't know what to do. I did talk to two other people in my group who said the same thing… that they would NEVER pay to ride with this person again and that it was one of the worst (in not THE worst clinic they’ve ever done). It was so bad that I feel I need to do something. So my question is, what would you guys do?? Would you write the clinician a letter?? Write the organizer a letter? Ask for your money back?? Do nothing??
        DulciusexAsperis
        http://www.facebook.com/Susanlvs2jmp

        Comment


        • Originally posted by SueCoo2 View Post
          I bet I know exactly who the clinician was.
          Long since covered in this thread.

          For what is worth - I did not really care enough to PM the OP for the clinician's name. I thought she did a decent job explaining why she was unhappy and asking for some opinions on whether there were reasonable avenues to address it with either the organizers or the clinician WITHOUT giving enough information for most people to be able to suss out who she was referrring to.

          I found BT's post to be insightful for a different view of what went on. What I found unnecessary was the blatant naming without naming of the clinician. And to then pick apart who BT assumes to be the OP from an auditor's point of view. What could have been a very useful discussion about we as riders and auditors can communicate our experiences, good and bad, to organizers and clinicians, has disinegrated into a pretty unnecessary trashing of either BT or OP, depending on which side you fall.

          I actually did have a discussion with the organizer of a clinic once when I specifically watched the clinician spend half of the ride time checking a cell phone. For what I paid - clinician had better have been watching me the whole time.

          I do agree with those who have said that you should be sure any clinician's style is compatible with yours before spending big money. If I am considering a new clinician and don't have a chance to audit prior to the clinic, I will youtube search them and have never failed to find at least half a dozen clips, if not full sessions from any BN clinician.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by chillydc View Post
            Just as an aside saying you have only been eventing for 2 months does not mean you have not had any xc experience.
            No, but suggesting that because you did 3'6" jumpers that maybe you should have ridden in the Preliminary division pretty much tells me all I need to know.


            The problem for me is that if I were to take up a brand new sport and go to a clinic with someone I understand to be very well respected, but I didn't get anything from the experience my first response would be: "This person is highly respected for a reason and by many people who know a lot more about this new sport than I do, so what is it the *I* didn't get." My response would not have been to come to a public bulletin board and ask who I should bitch to and what my recourse is.


            .

            Comment


            • Originally posted by subk View Post
              No, but suggesting that because you did 3'6" jumpers that maybe you should have ridden in the Preliminary division pretty much tells me all I need to know.


              The problem for me is that if I were to take up a brand new sport and go to a clinic with someone I understand to be very well respected, but I didn't get anything from the experience my first response would be: "This person is highly respected for a reason and by many people who know a lot more about this new sport than I do, so what is it the *I* didn't get." My response would not have been to come to a public bulletin board and ask who I should bitch to and what my recourse is.


              .
              Where exactly did the OP suggest that she thinks she should have been in the Prelim group? All I can find is a statement by the OP that even though she normally shows at 3'6" in the jumper ring, she signed up for the BN/N group because of her inexperience on XC.

              Comment


              • Somewhere a few pages in. I suggested that maybe the lack of context from not knowing the sport was part of the problem and she responded saying something to the effect that she thought she could learn more in a lower level even though she did 3'6" jumpers and could have done the Preliminary group.

                Comment


                • Maybe she could have. Who are we to decide....

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
                    Maybe she could have. Who are we to decide....
                    Who is deciding anything? We read then compare what we read to our own base of experience.

                    I happen to have ridden or audited a few dozen BNT clinics in the last couple decades. My experience tells me that anyone who thinks that H/J competition height is relative to appropriate XC level has little to no frame of reference and I'm going to be very, very suspect to any opinions on the sport they might have. She might be perfectly capable of jumping Prelim XC, but if the reason she thinks she can is based on her H/J competition height I sure don't want to be watching when she tries!

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by subk View Post
                      Who is deciding anything? We read then compare what we read to our own base of experience.

                      I happen to have ridden or audited a few dozen BNT clinics in the last couple decades. My experience tells me that anyone who thinks that H/J competition height is relative to appropriate XC level has little to no frame of reference and I'm going to be very, very suspect to any opinions on the sport they might have. She might be perfectly capable of jumping Prelim XC, but if the reason she thinks she can is based on her H/J competition height I sure don't want to be watching when she tries!
                      Originally posted by horselover1117 View Post
                      I was definitely in the right group, I've only been eventing for about 2 months and I was in the Beginner Novice/Novice group. I watched the Novice, Training and Prelim groups and they did the exact same exercises (I dont even think the jump heights were changed for the Novice group).

                      I have no idea what this clinic was like, or how this clinician teaches, or how the OP rode, or whether she had good manners. I agree strongly that we need to do our research before signing up for clinics, to make sure it is a good fit and we will get our money's worth. For me, it almost never is. I get so much out of my regular lessons, from someone who really understands my horse and me already/

                      But I also think that it goes without saying that clinics (and lesson, and x-c course) reports are subjective. When you are talking about a very famous/popular clinician, of course they aren't bad for everyone. It's interesting, in that you learn a bit more about whose style might suit you, but hundreds of participants who attend these clinics are not wrong.

                      But if saying a clinic didn't suit you opens you up to this sort of personal critique of your riding/manners, we aren't going to get that kind of feedback. Personally, I had a terrible time with one of the most popular clinicians out there, but I can only imagine the internet feedback I would get if I mentioned it.

                      Comment


                      • So, who is Bliss Tate - Blythe Tate's wife? I'm not in that loop I guess.
                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                        Comment


                        • But the OP already said that although she did 3' 6" jumpers she entered the BN group, and she already said that her current eventing instructor suggested she do the clinic. She also said she had been eventing for a few months already.

                          I can't help but feel had this been a seasoned eventer the responses would be totally different, but since she admitted to riding hunters (oh the horrors) she is instantly a snobby hunter princess.
                          http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                            I can't help but feel had this been a seasoned eventer the responses would be totally different, but since she admitted to riding hunters (oh the horrors) she is instantly a snobby hunter princess.
                            My response would have still been to make sure the clinician teaches in a style that agrees with your learning type and there is nothing wrong with sending a polite letter (email/paper type, whichever type you like best) to the host of the clinic and the clinician giving your feedback.
                            Shrug.

                            Comment


                            • If the OP and BlissTate are talking about the same clinic, which it seems they are, the OP states she didn't feel she got to do much in the clinic and BT describes the groups as sizeable and bigger than the clinician expected. So that would be good feedback to the organizer, who is the person that decided how big to make the groups.

                              However, from organizing clinics in the past, I know it is difficult to balance out group size with the need to at least break even on a clinic. Bigger name clinicians charge more for the weekend, and if you price the clinic for smaller groups you might not even get enough to fill the clinic, but if you drop the price to bring in more riders you end up with unwieldy groups.

                              I try to listen to every word a clinician says, and audit the other groups after I've cooled out, but in a large group on a windy day it would be difficult to arrange all the horses where they could see and hear what is going on. Maybe the conversations between riders in the bigger groups were "what did he say?" "I don't know, did anyone else hear it". Don't always assume people are gossiping.

                              The organizer won't be able to give a refund because they've already paid the clinician and other fees for the clinic. And yeah, even BNTs have a bad day, but they won't refund your money either.

                              I'm also one of the "never ride with a clinician I haven't audited" types. I've also found that many times I get more out of a clinic by auditing several groups than by riding in it. Much more information for much less money! I also learn a lot by watching several hours of stadium rounds or watching a whole division jump a few x-c fences. Maybe I'm a visual learner.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
                                Maybe she could have. Who are we to decide....
                                Pretty much any BNT who has taught for a while has had students who have been seriously injured or killed riding cross country. Safety is a serious thing. When you think about it, it's pretty remarkable for a clinician to take a large group of students he doesn't know out to school cross-country.

                                Hunter riders, while taught with secure bases and solid foundations, tend to make their mistakes with their balance in front of the motion. This can be deadly cross country. It is easily changed by a rider with a good foundation, but it does take a few lessons to learn. It is not something riders should learn at Training or Prelim height, which is where those accidents start happening.

                                One of the comments in the Bliss Tate post was that the clinic groups were unusually large. This is the responsibility of the organizer. "Large" was not defined, but to me more than five would be a large group. This also affects how the clinic will run.

                                I mentioned that I grew up in H/J and came to eventing from there with a strong equitation background. Yes, I had all the skills I needed to go right to successful BN eventing. However, I did need my skills and strategy rearranged and I would not have been safe to go out at more height the first time - and I did not know that then. I think there is much to learn from discipline cross-polination - it is remarkable to me, sometimes, how little we know about each other.

                                Even though this thread has gotten a little bitey at times, I think there is a lot of good feedback in here once you cut through some of the emotion. I wrote the comment I did not so much to chastise OP (if she felt that way, I'm sorry) but to provide feedback to the next rider new to eventing who comes along and reads this thread. I think the different points of view of the clinic are valuable and work together to make a more rounded sense of what happened.

                                I think there is a lot to be gained from this - the importance of choosing clinics carefully, not just for the clinician, but also for the size and context based on your current riding situation. The importance for organizers to create a good experience for the people who sign up, both by setting their expectations and by creating good groups, and also by ensuring that there's the right amount of time.

                                I recently went to a clinic with a BNT that was in my podunk neighborhood. If it had been in Virginia, full of skilled regular eventers, I never would have dared to show up with my unfit green pony. But, I was able to get two private lessons, and I knew that by agreeing to come up here, Clinician would not be expecting (or getting) sophisticated, fit riders ready to tackle prelim. I signed up, figuring worst case I'd help encourage more quality clinics in my area, and that we were unlikely to be the least capable pair he'd teach that day.

                                It worked out great - he tailored the lesson for my unfit pony and my haven't-had-a-jumping-lesson-in-years self, and he made a demanding exercise of poles on the ground, something that I could take home for homework. But that theoretical Virginia clinic with a group of fit, capable pairs would have been a disaster.

                                Similarly, had I ridden in one of the groups that ran that day, I would probably have gotten little out of it, because the group riders were struggling with some very basic issues and horses that were being spooky and difficult. I learned a lot by watching those rides, and the instruction he gave them, but I would have been very frustrated if I'd been mounted and hoping to get instruction during that time.

                                (To be fair, part of the reason I signed up for the private is because I thought *my* horse might be spooky and difficult. Lucky for me, she was a star. But I rode in my most secure saddle just in case. )

                                Same clinic, same clinician, same day, wholly different experience.
                                Last edited by poltroon; May. 10, 2013, 01:45 PM.
                                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

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by subk View Post
                                  I read the OPs first few post and I thought that was EXACTLY what she said: Clinician sucked, complete waste of time. Did anyone really read it otherwise?
                                  I read it the same way, subk.

                                  Originally posted by subk View Post
                                  Saying you went to a really BNTs clinic and revealing the date goes a very long way in outing the clinician--especially if the clinic date is the same date as a 4*. Being brand new to eventing the OP probably didn't realize that but it is true non the less. I knew who the clinician was before BT's post.
                                  Agree here, as well. I have clinic'd with this person and can attest that this clinician has a lot to offer me and I value their instruction tremendously. That doesn't mean they are a fit for everyone.

                                  I hesitated to comment on this thread, since I am admittedly biased. I am fine with the OP stating that this wasn't a good fit for her, but she went much further than that, IMO. Using words like "Horrible" in the thread title kind of tell you where the OP was headed unless it suddenly became a tale of a horse blow up or something similar.

                                  Safety is a serious thing. When you think about it, it's pretty remarkable for a clinician to take a large group of students he doesn't know out to school cross-country.
                                  I completely agree with Poltroon above. My regular trainer has gotten to the place where he doesn't accept non-students into his clinics. His cross country schoolings are open to his students only. He is probably foregoing viable income, but the risk of teaching someone you have never seen before out on a cross country course, isn't worth it.

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by subk View Post
                                    No, but suggesting that because you did 3'6" jumpers that maybe you should have ridden in the Preliminary division pretty much tells me all I need to know.
                                    And vice versa. A person competing at Prelim is probably not goin to be well suited to take a HUNTER clinic at 3'6".
                                    Janet

                                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by SevenDogs View Post
                                      I hesitated to comment on this thread, since I am admittedly biased. I am fine with the OP stating that this wasn't a good fit for her, but she went much further than that, IMO. Using words like "Horrible" in the thread title kind of tell you where the OP was headed unless it suddenly became a tale of a horse blow up or something similar.
                                      I agree with you. While I do feel badly the OP did not feel she got her money's worth, it sounds like there were factors beyond the clinician's control such as the coordinator making the groups too big. If people were indeed talking when they should have been listening, I don't blame him for feeling a bit put out, no matter what he was talking about.

                                      I think what bothers me the most about this thread, is the number of people who automatically took in the OP's opinion before finding out more information, and assumed this clinician is bad and should be avoided.

                                      This man is well respected within the eventing community, and ONE person who is new to eventing had an experience she didn't like, complains and then posts like this appear:

                                      Please PM me - I'd like to know who this person is so I can tell my eventing friends who to avoid.
                                      A good take away from this thread is that if you are considering riding with someone for the first time, start a thread BEFORE you commit, asking what to expect from the clinician. If the OP had done this, it's possible she may have learned this person's teaching style is not for her and saved her money.

                                      To come on a thread bashing someone and leading people to believe he can't teach is just wrong.

                                      I should also add that in doing a search on this clinician's name, only one thread comes up asking about him as a clinician, and each response about him was positive. However, the thread was from 2009 so it might have been a good idea to start a new one.
                                      Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                                      http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                                      http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by jenm View Post
                                        I think what bothers me the most about this thread, is the number of people who automatically took in the OP's opinion before finding out more information, and assumed this clinician is bad and should be avoided.
                                        I felt exactly the same way. Thanks jenm for expressing it so well.

                                        Comment


                                        • to learn

                                          I was auditing a very similar clinic and it would seem a similar outcome but I think there are a lot of things learned that might not be apparent out right. It was a day to make the horses wild. All the horses were difficult. All the horses needed some sensitive prep work to get their minds on their work and actually the riders minds as well. If you are in a group ride you are going to learn everyones lesson..that is part of it. If you go in with your attention only on what you get out of the experience many clinic will be pretty shallow lessons. The group method has pluses and minuses...it is not a private experince you are going to be held back by horses and or riders who are having trouble. If you develop a relationship with a clinician over years they will know how to help you better. If you skip from BNC to BNC you will have a more limited experience unless you know what you came for from the particular clinician. I saw every horse learn something that day...from patience standing and waiting...to teaching the riders to stay un involved in their horses drama...to the actual jumping lesson in grids. What each rider came expecting to learn would have been interesting to hear...if they thought they "learned" anything...they could have if they were open to all kinds of learning. It may be they learned how not to teach a clinic session when they are in charge. Sometimes you learn you or your horse are not fit enough for an hours concentrated attention or 2 1/2 hours of riding. Sometimes you learn not to use that instructor because they didn't give you the experience you expected. I would be careful to place blame on the why and instead take a good look at the experience so you can make a better choice the next time. PatO

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