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Anyone have stories of standing up to or disagreeing with clinicians?

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  • #61
    Em,

    Too funny that you knew *exactly* who it was!
    The plural of anecdote is not data.

    Comment


    • #62
      I attended a George Morris clinic (one of many) and got to watch him handle such a situation. He had worked with the riders for 15-20 minutes. He pulled one rider in and asked her to switch to a different bit. She answered that a different bit wouldn't work on her horse, blah, blah, blah. George was actually quite cool about it. He listened to her explanation, then shrugged and said, (I paraphrase here) "The purpose of coming to my clinic is to get my take, my experience, my eyes on you and your horse. If you're unwilling to accept my instruction then I see no reason for you to be here. You're welcome to excuse yourself at this time". She did and we all saw her trailer pull out of the farm 30 minutes later.

      I thought George handled it tactfully and professionally.
      http://patchworkfarmga.com

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by McGurk View Post
        Em,

        Too funny that you knew *exactly* who it was!
        Lets just say that my reins have been taken away PLENTY!!!!!!!!

        Not to mention the driving reins trick.

        Not to mention 2 winters of lunge line lessons where I could barely walk as we tried very hard to get my hands not to be the source of all corrections.

        Wofford is my hero and has a solid role in being impactful in my life in so many ways. I can only thank the stars that the voice I hear when I screw up is his soft voiced... "oh Em..." with a tsk tsk undertone. That tiny sound makes me fight harder and work to become a rider he could be proud of. Even if I have 'gone to the dark side' according to him.

        Em
        "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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        • #64
          Originally posted by RAyers View Post
          Arguing with a teacher/clinician is NEVER appropriate. It is immature and unprofessional.

          Remember, a clinic is a snap shot of knowledge and a clinician will oversimplify things to fit into a short teaching schedule, leaving out sometimes important things.

          If one disagrees with what is being taught, the better perspective is to look at if perhaps one is not understanding the concepts or the teaching methods. Thus, initiating a true interrogatory with the clinician can be a GREAT addition to the clinic, giving the clinician time to expound on their ideas as well as perhaps answering questions other riders may have but are afraid to ask.

          I believe clinics should be open to an exchange between the riders and the clinician. To simply shut up and do is just as bad as arguing, especially if you don't understand.

          In my experiences, many times I will ask a question using my background for context while explaining my understanding to the concept being taught, seeking clarification.

          Examples:

          Clinic with Bernie Traurig. I'm an eventer (reformed jumper) who was trying to understand why he was having the riders jam their heels down and throw their shoulders back before a turn. I explained my background (knowing Bernie's eventing history) and asked him to clarify the exercise. It turned into a very good conversation that we continued after the clinic for another 30 minutes. I learned he was oversimplifying to accommodate the lower level riders to get better results immediately so they could grasp the larger concepts being taught (balance on the ends of the ring).

          Clinic with Gary Rockwell (Judge in Dressage at the Hong Kong Olympics): I asked why he had me riding more off the inside rein in on the 20 meter circle initially with my horse. He provided a very good explanation that he continued to discuss with the auditors while I continued the exercise.

          In both cases I was always aware that I was there to learn and my ego needed to be checked at the door. In both cases my "disagreement" turned into a learning experience and a good conversation with the teacher. I even was able to to get multiple private lessons with Gary as time went on because he appreciated how I approached him. Bernie and I shook hands and he wished me great luck.

          I have many more examples but those are the most recent.

          Take from it what you will.

          Reed


          What was Gary Rockwell's explanation for using more inside rein? (Just purely out of curiousity).

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post



            What was Gary Rockwell's explanation for using more inside rein? (Just purely out of curiousity).
            In my case, I had a long format conditioned and trained eventer (so 15 years ago?). We used the direct rein to initiate a bend while I used my body and legs to help him develop connection to the outside rein via strengthening the inside hind leg. Gary was very good at showing me a progression of training to create the connection and not follow the mistaken "dogma" that a horse must always go inside leg to outside rein. He taught me to work to develop the hind end first then to go to the outside rein as the front door.

            So, the indside rein was initially used to create the bend on the circle (give and release once my horse accepted the leg and hip position to hold the bend), all while the outside rein was simply there to support. Once that was done, then I could get the bend and balance via my body and leg with a push into a stable outside rein. I use this on all my horses since.

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            • Original Poster

              #66
              Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
              I attended a George Morris clinic (one of many) and got to watch him handle such a situation. He had worked with the riders for 15-20 minutes. He pulled one rider in and asked her to switch to a different bit. She answered that a different bit wouldn't work on her horse, blah, blah, blah. George was actually quite cool about it. He listened to her explanation, then shrugged and said, (I paraphrase here) "The purpose of coming to my clinic is to get my take, my experience, my eyes on you and your horse. If you're unwilling to accept my instruction then I see no reason for you to be here. You're welcome to excuse yourself at this time". She did and we all saw her trailer pull out of the farm 30 minutes later.

              I thought George handled it tactfully and professionally.
              This type of expression is a classic George to me.
              Life and times of a mediocre amateur...
              www.another-bay.com

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                I attended a George Morris clinic (one of many) and got to watch him handle such a situation. He had worked with the riders for 15-20 minutes. He pulled one rider in and asked her to switch to a different bit. She answered that a different bit wouldn't work on her horse, blah, blah, blah. George was actually quite cool about it. He listened to her explanation, then shrugged and said, (I paraphrase here) "The purpose of coming to my clinic is to get my take, my experience, my eyes on you and your horse. If you're unwilling to accept my instruction then I see no reason for you to be here. You're welcome to excuse yourself at this time". She did and we all saw her trailer pull out of the farm 30 minutes later.

                I thought George handled it tactfully and professionally.
                I'm sure the rider's tone had more to do with the outcome than her disagreement. I could see responding kind of like this, as in explaining that maybe your horse has some sort of problem the clinician doesn't know about, e.g. I don't think my horse wouldn't do better with a thicker mouthpiece because he has a small mouth or maybe a gag wouldn't be a good idea because he can be very sensitive to poll pressure. Or explaining that you've already tried that or a similar solution and it didn't work because xyz.

                That being said, of course you have to approach the situation with the knowledge that the clinician has much more experience than you and has a good reason for making the suggestion. You also should be willing to try it, as long as you don't think the result will be catastrophic. But there are some cases where you do know your horse better than the clinician and you should definitely speak up in that case!

                As far as bringing "unsuitable" horses for a clinic, of course no horse is perfect and everyone has bad days, but it can be so frustrating to be in a group with a horse that is totally unprepared for that level. As an example, last summer I rode in a clinic with a BNT event rider in the beginner novice section. Of the 3 other horses in the group, 2 had never gone XC before. It was pretty frustrating to know that the clinician had so much knowledge that I could have learned from, but instead we spent 30 mins trying to get one horse to go in the water. Of course, that horse and rider got a ton out of the experience and I learned something about getting a horse to go into the water so it wasn't a complete waste. But I still felt like it was a little inconsiderate of them to bring horses that had never jumped XC to a clinic in the beginner novice section when there was an intro level available to sign up for.

                Comment


                • #68
                  I know at least one BNT clinician looks on the Day 1 flat & low jumping exercises as a sort of try-out for what the groups will actually be for cross-country, as opposed to who signed up for what. By the end of Day 1 this clinician has re-organized the groups and gives everyone their actual group and ride time for cross-country. Some move up, some move down, a few stay where they were, based on where horse and rider are as a pair. The clinician doesn't teach so much to a specific level as to what the group needs on the day. I am all for this approach, I think it works very well.

                  I think clinicians should focus on the group, and be prepared to take a weaker group member aside and tell them they will be limited in the exercises they can do with this group. Rather than putting everyone behind the weakest member, which defeats the purpose of the clinic. I find that enormously frustrating and usually won't sign up with that clinician again.

                  I also think this is a worthwhile conversation before the clinic between the organizer and the clinician, so that everyone is on the same page, and the clinician understands that the organizer will back them up if there is a weaker horse-rider pair in the group that needs to be re-directed.

                  I've gotten to where I don't register based on a clinician's name status, but solely based their reputation as a clinician, partly for these reasons.

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