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Clinics v. Lessons

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  • Clinics v. Lessons

    Okay, so since clinics seem to be the hot topic of the week, I have a question. This is coming from someone who is highly inexperienced in the world of clinics, btw. What do you guys expect out of a clinic? What would you expect to learn in a clinic v. your weekly lessons? I do take weekly lessons, and because I'm coming back from a very long break (been ~5 years since I've lessoned consistently) we are working on what I would call "the basics" right now. Obviously if you are paying a fortune for a clinic you don't want to waste time on the basics, so I'm not going to be clinic-ing anytime soon. But what do you work on? Do you go in with something in mind, or go in planning to "go with the flow"? Is it ok to ask questions, or get suggestions on some more specific problem? etc.
    Last edited by Event4Life; May. 10, 2013, 06:42 PM.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

  • #2
    This is a timely question for me also because I have been doing lessons and have a clinic the first week in June, my first. Maybe, since I take lessons with only 1 instructor, I am hoping a different pair of eyes and instructing style will build on what I am learning from my current instructor, whom I love.
    "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


    • #3
      Originally posted by CindyCRNA View Post
      This is a timely question for me also because I have been doing lessons and have a clinic the first week in June, my first. Maybe, since I take lessons with only 1 instructor, I am hoping a different pair of eyes and instructing style will build on what I am learning from my current instructor, whom I love.
      This is true for me. Sometimes I need to hear something in a different way for the light bulb to go off.

      Patience and Consistency are Your Friends


      • #4
        Clinicians often have a different training method than your regular instructor. This means that they will phrase things differently, maybe in such a way that you get something your instructor has been trying to tell you in different words, and they have different tools to address issues, one of which may work really well for your horse.


        • #5
          Originally posted by dbolte View Post
          Clinicians often have a different training method than your regular instructor. This means that they will phrase things differently, maybe in such a way that you get something your instructor has been trying to tell you in different words, and they have different tools to address issues, one of which may work really well for your horse.

          Yes, this! Even for an advanced beginner, I think clinics can be very helpful. I struggled for ages not understanding collection and the role of using a lot of leg on a quick horse to get them off the forehand. TOTAL lightbulb moment during a clinic and I've carried that lesson around ever since. Different trainers have different exercises they use to correct things. Sometimes a new approach can make a big breakthrough.
          Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
          Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
          Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)


          • #6
            I tend to clinic with trainers that fit into my coach's philosophy. This means that I primarily clinic for two reasons:

            1. rephrase what my coach has been trying to tell me for what seems like forever;

            2. get the chance to ride my horse in a different environment, with different horses, to allow me to develop a better tool kit on how to deal with my 'horse show' horse as opposed to my every day horse.

            I like clinics. I'm not picky and am fine taking away the nuggets (big and small) that fit in my brain and are useful. We have fun, we make mistakes and learn how to fix them and it's all good. If I had my own trailer I would be out visiting different trainers even more often!


            • #7
              I RARELY clinic. I've always had access to good, regular coaching, which to me is far more beneficial than any clinic.

              So, for me, regular lessons are where I have a relationship with the coach and they are invested in our progress. They know what issues we really struggle with, get the event reports so know where holes may have showed up, and help develop a game plan.

              If I clinic, I want something that will compliment my regular instruction. I don't expect to do anything earth shattering. In fact, most of the best clinics I've audited or ridden in have all had fairly simple exercises used (which is smart of a clinician considering you don't know WHO is going to show up). But the real benefit comes from what is said or how things are taught. I usually walk away from the good clinics with a handful of tidbits that really hit home for me that I can readily apply to my riding. Often times, when it gets right down to it, the things that are said are the SAME THINGS I work on with my regular coach, but said differently or tweaked ever so slightly that makes me have a light bulb moment. This isn't a BAD thing...this just goes to show that good teaching is good teaching is good teaching.


              • #8
                I love the way my instructor teaches, but clinics have something to offer as well.

                When I first started eventing, over a decade ago, I went to a Buck Davidson clinic, at Bruce Davidson's place. I don't remember exactly why I went, but it turned out to be great for my mare. I think I had done one elementary level event at this point - and had done elementary because my mare was being SO spooky about stuff and really difficult about the water. We did a lot of jumping in lines, especially in cross country. So, my mare followed another horse over a log and landed, to her surprise, in a lake. She got over her water issues that day. There were frustrating parts of that day, but it was really good for her in other ways.

                About a year and a half ago, I went to a Phillip Dutton clinic. He teaches very similarly to my instructor, but he had different exercises in mind, which were helpful. He also told me the same thing my instructor had told me, but in a different way that made it more clear. My instructor was able to attend this clinic, so we were able to talk about it later and come up with a game plan for after the clinic.

                That's what I get out of clinics - riding in an environment you would not normally be able to ride in (the Davidson farm's private cross country course, as example), and hearing different points of view, or the same point of view worded differently.


                • #9
                  Everyone I've cliniced with has had a very similar philosophy to my trainer and on the flip side, my trainer has done an EXCELLENT job preparing me to answer questions I might face in a clinic environment. I've ridden with the same trainer since I started eventing, so for me, clinics are just a chance to branch out and hear the same thing in a different way. I'm a fairly confident rider, as, well, so I usually come out on the flip side of a clinic with more confidence in myself and my riding and some new tools and sayings to keep in mind.
                  Big Idea Eventing