CLINICS – Are They Right for YOU? by Monty Bruce
It’s that time of year and everyone is looking to get out and get him or herself and their horses ready for show season, or maybe just an enjoyable summer of casual riding! A great way to do that is attend a clinic, socialize with people that love doing the same thing that you do and walk away feeling ready to go. You and your horse will both be primed and ready to head down the show season path, or whatever path you have in mind!
Now obviously not everyone has the same goals for when they are done with a clinic. There are some that are definitely there for the very serious purpose of making great strides of improvement, rather it be the horse or the rider. Then you have the other extreme that are really there just because they love to interact with others and their horses and enjoy a fun day of learning. These are reasons for attending a clinic that is relative to your level of riding ability.
Clinics are essentially a crash course in riding improvement. They are a way to provide a learning experience and new information that can be added to the rider’s existing base of knowledge in hopes of fostering improvement and new skills. For this reason, it is important that riders have realistic expectations when they attend a clinic.
Part of being realistic is knowing that miracles are not going to happen in one or two days. This is not enough time to fix serious problems. Regard- less of how amazing a clinician is they will not be able to wave a magic wand and turn inexperienced riders into smooth, World Champ riders nor green-broke broncs into World Champions during a two or three day clinic. Hopefully they will be able to lay some ground work on a clear path to head down. This may include additional training, private lessons, or just simply continuing to build on the program that they already have in place.
The clinic atmosphere offers the chance to not only learn from what you are doing with your horse, but also what others are experiencing. Although the clinic may be with a large group of participants you are able to see firsthand someone, other than yourself, struggle with an issue, work through it and hopefully succeed at finding a solution. It is a great way to put yourself in a show-like environment to do runs with others watching. In a clinic it is a controlled situation with someone coaching you every step of the way.
What to consider when you are choosing a clinic for you and your horse:
- Rider ability
- Horse ability
- Length of clinic
- Location and Cost
- Desired outcome
When I run a clinic I believe it is important that everyone is comfortable and that the atmosphere is relaxed. A relaxed atmosphere is the best way to ensure that participants are going to be able to listen, learn, implement and walk away with the most knowledge. Confidence is what drives a rider’s ability to succeed. I believe you need to constantly build on the rider/horse confidence in order to have a successful partnership. This is done by spending time in the saddle and creating new experiences.
We lay out a plan for you to be able to steadily improve your horse and your skills to control each part of the horse’s body, sometimes in training it’s easy to get lost and not know what to work on next. Our clinics help you always know what to do to keep moving forward.
If you are getting coached by a trainer at home, it is always important to run new ideas or techniques by them to make sure you are on the same page and avoid any confusion.
Monty Bruce is a multi-time Reined Cow Horse and Reining Futurity and Derby champion. Monty, his assistants, and students have won numerous World and Reserve championships and are continuing to succeed in the show pen.
The Monty Bruce Training Center is a full service equine facility that specializes in Reined Cow Horse, Reining, and the Performance Horse. The Center strives to provide superior care and training for all equine needs. Visit MontyBruce.com for more info.