The simple answer is yes! The reasons we go may vary, but one thing is certain; if we attend a clinic we shall learn something. You may learn you didn’t really like the clinic but we’ll bet you still learned something of value while you were there. Sometimes we can learn what to do in various situations, and sometimes we learn what not to do. We think this latter statement is at least as important as the former. (Above all, we should always remember that riding and time spent with our horse is supposed to be fun. That’s why we bought the horse in the first place.) Good clinicians are not there to try to embarrass you or show how much they know; but rather to help you have more fun with your horse. The advice, wisdom and tips on training are offered to try to make your horse a safer, happier partner for you.
When you learn to have more control, your safety becomes more assured and you can have more fun. If you ride and teach your horse in a horse friendly manner, the session or clinic can be fun for him or her too!
Obviously you can have a more enjoyable time attending a clinic when you pick one that is suited to what you need or what you want. Check out what the clinic will teach and how it will be taught before you load Trigger into the trailer. If your sole purpose in life revolves around a 30 foot sliding stop, you might be disappointed at a clinic that doesn’t address reining. Then again you might learn something new that you never suspected you would find useful. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn it. If it’s a riding clinic, be prepared to ride (bring your horse, lead, halter, bridle, saddle, pads, helmet, reins, weather protection for you and your horse, etc.) or to take notes if it’s a demonstration. Have a good idea of how much time you will be “in the saddle” or “on the ground” or “in the chair”. If clinic is held outdoors, don’t forget your shades and sunscreen.
Be open to what the clinician is saying, and, at least while you’re there, try to do what they’re asking you to. If you don’t agree with some particular point that they’re making, try it anyway; often the point isn’t clear until they put it together near the end of the clinic and then you might regret not giving the earlier moments your best. Take what you want from the clinic and incorporate it into your own special style.
Going to a clinic can also be a new or exciting time to meet other equestrians and for sharing stories or experiences. Folks at our clinics have formed ongoing friendships and now make a date to hook up each year for the clinics. Remember to bring that “plastic” as there are usually vendors selling their wares, tack being sold often at great prices and the entire atmosphere is usually festive. Try to go to as many different clinics as you can for the sheer knowledge and fun of it.
©Two as One, LLC 8/07