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Bernie Traurig clinic- what should I know

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    Bernie Traurig clinic- what should I know

    Going to do a clinic with Bernie Traurig next month and I am super excited (and a little nervous TBH). I'm just doing the 2'6"-3' with a horse that's well educated on the flat and very good and brave to the jumps. I'm an adult, just looking to increase my skill set, not trying to set the world on fire. What do I need to be prepared for as far as riding and tack? I'm ramping up my no stirrups endurance, I'll have spurs and a crop and all the usuals. I know he doesn't like fuzzy girths so I will leave that at home. Is he ok with "plastic" stirrups? (they save my back and knees). I know he can get mixed reviews here but I am excited for the opportunity to have a weekend of learning and working just on me!
    Me: In a long-winded explanation of who GM is and why he is Important to the Sport
    Mr EmJ: So what you're saying is GM is so Important he could get Chik-Fil-A on Sunday?

    He generally does very positive clinics. You work a lot on transitions. The most important thing with Bernie is to make sure you are listening and trying. Do not argue with him. Just listen and try your best. You’re there to learn. The only time I’ve ever seen him upset was when someone was not listening, argued with him and didn’t even try. It was completely disrespectful and his displeasure was more than warranted IMO.


      There are several threads on this forum specifically about the Bernie clinics. Check them out!


        I have heard you should bring several alternative bits for your horse.
        I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


          Originally posted by Dewey View Post
          I have heard you should bring several alternative bits for your horse.
          Yes. Be prepared to defend what you ride in - why you chose that. He had several riders change, particularly the one in the segunda he was really unhappy with - FWIW the horse was a total freight train for the clinic, because he switched her to a flat snaffle.


            I took my 4 y/o mare to his clinic this fall, and I audited his clinic this past weekend. IMO he's very methodical in his approach and we had a fantastic experience.

            2 things he tends to hyper focus on is a following arm and solid leg with a good heel-depth. He also teaches the "eye on top rail until it disappears between your horses' ears". I look beyond the jump 3-strides out, so it was an adjustment I had to make for the clinic.

            I'll echo endlessclimb that he is a minimalist when it comes to bits, so bring options if you have them and tack up the first day with the most minimal bit you feel comfortable with. He also comes a slew of bit options too.


              Honestly I was underwhelmed with the clinic I did with him a few years ago. Lots of talking about people he knows, and talking to the audience. Also lots of advertising for his on-line service.

              The jumping exercises were okay, lots of work on adjustability and smooth turns and transitions. As others have said, he'll want a strong justification for riding in anything other than a plain snaffle. Also, justifiably, he expects riders to quietly and respectfully watch the others and listen to his comments. Nothing makes him madder than participants chatting away and not paying attention. The same goes for the volunteer jump crew.

              I signed up for the 3' section on a decent AA hunter with a sticky lead change. The jumps never got over 2'6-2'9 and I didn't get any help at all on the lead change.

              It is always fun to hear a new perspective and ideas, and I didn't hate riding with him. But I wouldn't waste the money to clinic with him again when there are better options out there.
              A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's does that...



                Bernie is money well spent. Bites are a big thing to him and he prefers you start with the softest bite possible. He will be happy to switch to a stronger if needed. Listen, follow instructions. He wants you to succeed, but he expects you to try. Yes, he has his mentors and loves to talk about them. He does not get too hung up on detail. His message is clear and simple. I’ve seen him help riders with difficult horses and in the end see them ride them like pros. What ever tips he gives you, practice it everyday


                  I loved auditing with him when he came to my college and I got the chance to ride with him. Riding wasn't great, as he didn't like how sluggish my still learning hunter was at the time. He was weak to the jumps and I didn't have the skill set at the time to change it, and there wasn't a lot of help from Bernie except to be more powerful off the ground. Now I know that that means I need to really ride the guy through the corner and keep my leg on in the air. Then, I had no idea how to change it.
                  From a riding perspective, it was a bad clinic for me, I left crying (when I got to the barn and was untacking alone in my stall, not in the arena ).
                  I don't remember anything else from the ride except that, sadly. I do remember how much I respect him and his training philosophies, but watching him on his online service during college (we had to do a lot of work with it in my equine program) helped me more, PERSONALLY.
                  I'd say go in super open minded, and if something confuses you or you just aren't getting it, possibly ask for help, or clarification. If I hadn't been so star struck and done so, I think I would have gotten a lot more out of the experience.
                  Savannah College of Art and Design Equestrian


                    I echo the others about the bits. My friend used my gelding to ride with him and he goes in a Myler D. The bit had too much of a curve for Bernie so my trainer bought a different D. It still had a bit of a curve, which Bernie noticed, but not as noticeable as the Myler. My horse went back to the Myler after the clinic.


                      Great guy, fun, positive and most come away having learned something.


                        He will be near me next month, I anticipate auditing. Can't pass up a chance to hear what he says. 😁
                        Bethe Mounce
                        Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                        Brentwood CA


                          I've ridden with him several times. He's a traditionalist. Metal stirrups for sure. I sort of think of him as George Morris Lite. I wouldn't probably ask questions unless you're really confused.

                          That said, the last time I rode with him, I asked him directly if he had an idea of a different bit to ride my hot horse in. He blew me off and told me to watch his video (I did but it was just him saying this bit is bad, this bit is good, but no explanation). The next day I tried a new bit and he ripped into me for changing the bit, even though he still wouldn't offer me a suggestion. (I figured it out on my own. I put a softer bit on the strong horse and she got easier to ride.)


                            Sometimes you can get as much, or more, by using what you would spend on any Clinic by a BNT to take 4 lessons ( more or less) from a lesser known but still very accomplished trainer more local and accessible to you. All trainers can give a bad lesson but if it’s a Clinic, it can be discouraging. And not worth the money.

                            If you want to go Clinic, fine. Just understand one time only clinician can only build on what you already know and get the lightbulb in your brain to turn on , can’t reinvent the wheel.

                            Think it’s always best to audit any clinician first before signing up to spend hundreds on a one time lesson.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.