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Clinic Blues

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  • Clinic Blues

    I have attended clinics in the past and I know that every clinician has a different style. However, I witnessed some major bullying by a clinician to a participant and I'm still trying to understand it. No one said anything. It was never addressed in any way by anyone that I spoke to. Is this normal? Why was it completely ignored? Really would appreciate any kind of input as I've been struggling to understand if this is generally accepted in the horse world? Thanks!

  • #2
    Well without seeing a video clip of the incident, honestly I can't say where on the spectrum such a vaguely described event sits. Riding instruction in some disciplines has roots in the military, and also can borrow from the tough coach style common to men's team sports. Plus sometimes a coach does have to yell to get the attention of a particularly spaced out student

    I would say in general if the other participants took whatever happened in stride and weren't bothered, then it isn't bullying. Because the definition of bullying turns on how the target feels about the interaction.

    This may not be a good clinician for you. It would not be a good clinician for me! But it may be just fine for the people involved who may feel they need a push out of their comfort zone

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Readytoride View Post
      I have attended clinics in the past and I know that every clinician has a different style. However, I witnessed some major bullying by a clinician to a participant and I'm still trying to understand it. No one said anything. It was never addressed in any way by anyone that I spoke to. Is this normal? Why was it completely ignored? Really would appreciate any kind of input as I've been struggling to understand if this is generally accepted in the horse world? Thanks!
      I wonder why you posted this in the western forum?

      One of the top clinicians in the world for decades is part of the English disciplines and known always for being extremely tough and demanding, some may have felt bullied and maybe they were.
      There really is no place for anyone in any clinic of any kind to be pushing participants to extremes by treating them roughly, much less bullying them.

      We don't have enough information in your post to know if there was really over the top demands made on that clinic's participant, or if it was a mere perception of such.

      Comment


      • #4
        Shrug.

        Clinicians (and trainers and instructors) all have different personalities, approaches, and sensibilities. There are popular clinicians in every discipline who I would never ride with.

        However, that's me. I was the child who never got spanked because a harsh word was enough to make me dissolve into a puddle of tears. There are other people who seem to thrive in an environment that I would find hostile. There are clinicians that some people rave about but others would never ride with.

        If you really want to be helpful, you need to provide an honest report on the clinic (good and bad) and name the clinician. That way, people who might be considering a clinic with that person can get an idea of what to expect and make an informed decision about whether or not that clinician is the right one for them.
        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
        that's even remotely true."

        Homer Simpson

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Readytoride View Post
          I have attended clinics in the past and I know that every clinician has a different style. However, I witnessed some major bullying by a clinician to a participant and I'm still trying to understand it. No one said anything. It was never addressed in any way by anyone that I spoke to. Is this normal? Why was it completely ignored? Really would appreciate any kind of input as I've been struggling to understand if this is generally accepted in the horse world? Thanks!
          Well without any of us being there to witness, it's impossible to know what exactly happened.

          Was it really bullying? Or was the clinician just blunt and to-the-point?

          What exactly did the clinician do?

          If you thought it was bullying .... why didn't YOU speak up?
          It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

          Comment


          • #6
            Readytoride --I'm going to jump in here. I taught high school for 41 years --to the observer, I suspect some of the daily activities [probably every day] could be considered "teacher bullying student" behavior. I don't mean physical --"Do this essay, mister, or I'll take you in the hall beat you!" but things like simple proximity. If I had a student who was resistant --reluctant?-to do what I asked, read a story, write a paragraph --and I knew what I was asking was within the student's ability and would cause him/her no harm --and would ultimately benefit the student --I would ask the student beside him to move, and I'd sit beside him/her. Really close. One might say that a teacher "crowding" a student is bullying. And I'd tell the reluctant student --"let's get your name on the paper, and a working title. Then start the first sentence (or outline) and I'll go help someone else." --OK to get rid of me --the big bad bully teacher --the student needed to do something easy and simple --name, sentence --and POOF I was gone to help someone else. And yes, often it was the same student --who would say, "Missus, why do you pick on me?" And to the outside observer, I was singling this student out --bullying? But, once the name was on the paper, the first sentence started --the paper often was written! Win-win!

            So to your clinician who was bullying a rider --I can clearly see how this could appear to you --clinician asks each participant to trot ten steps then pick up a canter. Five do so. Number six does not. Clinician turns to # 6 and says, "Hey, cowboy, can't you count! Do it again! Ten steps, NOW and then CANTER unless you are too lazy to kick that fat horse!" Only this time, because the choice is TRY or be singled out again as the "cowboy who can't count," and is "lazy" the rider does as asked. Ok --rider has taught the clinician that what works to motivate him/her is FEAR of the clinician's sharp remarks. Another rider might fail to do as asked, and be told, "Hey, Reining Champion the World --you are NEVER going to score higher than -1 if you don't sit deeper in that saddle." Rider does and has a better seat. Clinician has learned that the second rider is motivated by a desire to win shows.

            To me, bullying at a clinic would have to be a clinician who asks riders to do the impossible or what is dangerous. Or worse a certain well-respected Eventing clinician who either ignores riders above a certain age completely, or points out that a rider won't be able to be successful until he/she loses weight. -in that case, the clinician is not doing his or her job --helping the rider improve, but instead --is bullying or humiliating the rider.

            But as always, one person's bullying can be another person's motivation. I am sure that of the 4000+ students I taught --someone (probably more than one) felt I was a bully because I MADE him/her write essays, do speeches, read books.

            Comment


            • #7
              Who would you say anything to? It's not a horse show you need to show at for points and prizes with rules of conduct and a judge you don't pick, It's a private clinic, an expensive glorified lesson, the clinician was hired to teach it, students paid to be taught by them. There's no points or awards involved, it's voluntary and they know who is teaching before they paid for it.

              The person who could do something would be the rider involved or their parent , not a bystander. The rider can step out or a parent step in if they feel mistreated and go to the organizer running the clinic. But it's voluntary participation and there's no lock on the ring gate.

              And ,yes, I have seen riders exercise their right to excuse themselves if they felt they were being bullied or over faced at a clinic they paid for. I stepped out of a regular lesson with a new assistant trainer once, others loved her. Their choice as my leaving was my choice for the 18yo lease horse I didn't own and who, IMO, was physically not up to what was being asked with ever larger gymnastic combinations while clinician was harping on me to do anyway. I suffered no ill effects..
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't know. Yes, I've often heard of clinicians being absolute jerks - although none of them were in any of the western disciplines. I've always wondered why people continue to pay for the privilege of being insulted.

                I don't clinic often, but I've had instructors ask me to do things I wasn't going to do, for one reason or another. I try not to be confrontational - because it's kind of stupid to pay someone for their opinion and then argue with them - but I'll often suggest an alternative, e.g. "How about, instead of hitting my horse with the dressage whip when he forges ahead, I snap this flag a foot or so in front of his nose? Let's see if that stops him forging - look, it worked!"

                But if I were a participant at a clinic, I don't think I'd insert myself into a situation between the clinician and another rider. I'd think it would be up to that rider to take up for him/herself. Why do you think someone should've spoken up on the rider's behalf? Was this person a child or otherwise unable to defend him/herself?
                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are....abrasive...clinicians on the Western side too. Even in NH.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by findeight View Post
                    There are....abrasive...clinicians on the Western side too. Even in NH.
                    Oh, I'm sure there are. I just don't know about them, probably because the only people I know who clinic are english riders. I've only been to Buck Brannaman and Linda Hoover, both of whom were extremely polite.
                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      George Morris calling girls fat and speaking in a derogatory fashion about their weight in a clinic or anywhere else is bullying. Who knows what happened in OP's situation since OP is being obtuse.

                      OP, if you don't like the way the clinician acts, don't go to his or her clinics.
                      "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                      Comment

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