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Which Horse for a Clinic?

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  • Which Horse for a Clinic?

    I'm attending a clinic in a couple weeks and I have a horse dilemma! I am very lucky to have several horses available for me to ride, but I've having trouble deciding which one to pick.

    Horse #1: Young, (5-6yrs), gelding that is starting to come along nicely. Definitely has his moments, but has been wonderful lately. Lead changes are pretty solid. Very wiggly going towards jumps, but will jump from anywhere as long as you make him.

    Horse #2: 4yr old mare. Has been having meltdowns lately about the terrifying trees next to the arena. Not as responsive as I'd like about picking up leads when asked. No lead changes yet. I ride this mare a lot, so I'm wondering if riding her in the clinic would help me gain some extra insight into furthering her training.

    Horse #3: Older teenaged gelding. Been there, done that show hunter. Very easy to ride so I could really work on myself.

    Horse #4: Young, (5yrs), pony mare. Gorgeous mover, super smooth, easy to jump. Lead changes are there most of the time, but could definitely be cleaned up a bit. I'm not that tall, but I still look big on her so I don't know if she'd be appropriate to ride in the clinic...

    Overall, I'm not quite sure if I want to ride one of the greenies I normally ride and get some extra help on them or if I just want to focus on myself. These are not my horses, so making great progress with one doesn't mean he won't be sold and gone tomorrow! Since I ride a wide variety of horses, I'm wondering if working on just myself would be best; however, I do ride a lot of young, green horses so maybe riding one of them would be quite beneficial also. From what I've heard, the clinician is very kind and patient, so riding a greenie wouldn't be an issue.

    Any advice as to which horse, (or type of horse), I should ride?

  • #2
    You need to decide if you want to work on you or the horse. Once you decide that, it's easier.

    I don't think I'd take the 4y/o. Sounds like it wouldn't be very productive. The 5/6y/o or the pony would be my choice if you want to improve the horse. Ride the older guy if you want to work on you.
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    • #3
      Since none of the horses belong to you, I wouldn't spend my money to focus on bettering a horse that I might not even see tomorrow or reap any of the benefits from the sale of.

      I would ride horse #3 and have a lovely time and work on YOU.


      • #4
        Since they are not your horses? Horse #3 for sure.

        The younger ones are not going to get that much out of it unless they are in a consistent program (that you can control) with a regular rider that will continue after the clinic. You risk spending your hard earned clinic $$$ solving horse problems you can't follow up with.

        No, if you are paying for it? Get the most bang for YOUR buck working on YOU, not somebody else's horse.

        Remember clinicians are not miracle workers, they just give you the tools to take home and get it done yourself-kind of hard when it's not your horse to finish training. Now, if the owner wants to pay for the clinic??? Changes that up a little but you will still get more out of it on that been there done that type.

        Besides that, the Pony is too small for you size wise to get a good Eq drill done.

        The 4 year old mare that has meltdowns instead of changes is going to be a total waste of your money and, worst case, everybody's time as they wait on you to get an exercise done. Not things that can be fixed in a day and doubt you will gain any meaningful training insights you can follow up on when it's not your horse.

        If the #3 old campaigner is unavailable, take the #1 horse. You won't fix all that he doesn't know in a clinic and you will spend way more effort on his lack of skill then your riding. But that one sounds like you can get somewhere in the clinic session.

        I always have been a supporter of the "you ride what you got and make it work" theory. But not when it's not your horse, you have to pay for that ride and there is a selection available. Good horses make good riders and you need to spend some time on them as well as the knotheads.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • #5
          I'd go with number 3. Work on yourself. Don't waste your clinic money on helping someone else's horse. Then my next choice would be the 5/6 year old.


          • #6
            I would also vote for working on yourself, unless the owner of any of the others wants you to do this to further their training and is willing to foot some of the bill.

            Curious, who is the clinician? I am always interested in auditing clinics in our area.


            • #7
              I never think "just focusing on myself" is a good plan.

              If you want to ride like a pro, or at least as close to "excellent" as you can approximate, your job on the back of a horse is to effectively solve problems, and turn the ride toward a progressive and positive outcome, and use your skills to develop the horse's skills.

              Learning how to fix problems, even if they are presented by somebody else's horse, is much more beneficial to you as a rider than just riding easy on a straight shooter who has very little work left to do.

              Therefore, if you take a lesson and have a trainer work you through how to steer a problem with a horse toward a progressive and positive outcome, you have a new tool in your tool kit. You have learned how to address that problem with that horse and can file it away for future horses down the road.

              If you ride a more difficult horse and learn how to effectively fix a particular problem, and then later sit on an easier horse, you'll be overprepared. If you ride your easy peasy horse in the clinic nd then later sit on a problematic horse, you'll be sitting there going, "Now wtf do I do?" Which is the better rider?

              So I would pick the horse that you feel you need the most help with and learn how to improve your toolkit for that horse and others like it.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                So I would pick the horse that you feel you need the most help with and learn how to improve your toolkit for that horse and others like it.
                Absolutely agree with meupatdoes except for this line. I would take Horse #1 even though it sounds like you need the most help with #2. With Horse #1, you'll have enough to work with that you don't slow down the others and don't have the potential to spend your entire time battling with an irritated mare, but you will also (hopefully!) learn something about dealing with greenie problems like the wiggle to the jump.

                If you've clinced with this person before, or if you clinic with them in the future, and know they work well with you, then take a horse like #2 where you need some more intense problem-solving.


                • Original Poster

                  meupatdoes--That's exactly what I was thinking as far as why I would ride a greenie in the clinic. I do ride a fair amount of young, green horses so any advice and insight I get into riding a particular greenie better, would most likely help me in riding future young ones.

                  On the other hand, if I rode the made horse, then I could focus on polishing my position on the flat and over jumps, which I think could also help my riding.

                  I'll have to make a decision soon enough since the clinic is approaching! The clinic isn't some godly amount of money and it's two days long so I'm not as concerned about spending my own money to ride someone else's inexperienced horse, if it can help my riding as well. I think I have it narrowed down to Horse #1 and #3, so then it's down to what I want out of the clinic. I think I'll be able to learn a lot with either horse.


                  • #10
                    #1 or #3. If you want to focus on training, than #1 will help you learn to improve the horse while still being able to complete the exercises and working on yourself. Or, since these aren't your horses, take #3 and work on yourself.

                    Don't take #2. It's a waste of you time, and a huge waste of the other riders time. If you want to work on her problems, take one-on-one lessons with a trainer. Clinics aren't the place to deal with major problems. It's not fair to the other clinicians to wait while you deal with melt downs and struggle to do the exercises.


                    • #11
                      A trainer chiming in here: ride the horse you ride the worst. Anything you learn will be adding to your tool box for future success with SOME FUTURE HORSE. Even if the horse you ride in this clinic is sold the next day, you will keep those tools forever. They will be tools you don't already have, since the horse is giving you difficulties. It is never a waste of time to ride some one else's horse or a short term horse in an educational situation.


                      • #12
                        if it were me i'd pick horse #1.


                        • #13
                          I'd take #1, because it sounds like you could work on not only completing the exercises but also being able to then teach it to a greener mount. But #1 sounds like he's far enough along that you could focus on yourself as well.


                          • #14
                            I think it depends on the clinician... if it is a Young Horse expert you will get a LOT out of that with one of the greenies... if it is more of an Equitation person that does not do much with young horses then focusing on you and your position may be more helpful... What a nice problem to have!
                            Specialized Equine Rehabilitation, Reproduction, and Fitness in the Wine Country of Northern California


                            • #15
                              #1. #2 is too green, #3 you won't learn as much, #4 you are too big.