It was an interesting request and one I had to think about. As I pondered I realized that I did have things that I wanted to say so decided to take her up on the offer. However, I am going to be true to myself and not say things that I do not believe (Carole was clear that she agreed with this).
I am a firm believer that a rider will get more out $500 in lessons then spending $500 on a single clinic. However, I also believe that there is a lot to be gained from a clinic whether you are auditing or a rider.
I have done a number of clinics already this year that covered a wide range of skills and from every single one of them I have left with a valuable tool in my tool box.
In many ways having a regular coach is like having a family Doctor. Shanea knows Carmen's and my history together. She knows where we've been, what my ambitions are, what helps us and what holds us back. Shanea has worked with us for a couple years now and can bring great insights to our lessons.
Sometimes though, I get bogged down in that history and way of going.
An outside clinician is like a specialist. A good clinician brings a laser focus to a particular issue/topic that they see in the few minutes of warm up that they watch. They are able to put aside some of the baggage and help the rider hone in specifically on something that will move them forward. Sometimes they have a way of expressing something that resonates.
For example, Cindy Ishoy helped me understand how bend is critical to engaging the hind end and the brain. Johanna helped me be more aware of my seat and how it contributes to Carmen's tension (creating a negative feedback loop) and Mike and Nikki helped me see the importance of attention.
Putting together my learning from the clinics and my my regular lessons has really helped me develop as a rider.
So, while I used to be sceptical about attending clinics, I have learned that they are like every other learning experience. If I am prepared to put aside my baggage and focus on what is being taught I can usually take something away. Are there less effective clinicians? Of course. I have had some bad experiences and have read of others.
I think if you are planning to attend a clinic google can be your friend. Auditing is also a great way to figure out if that person's style is right for you. Word of mouth can be helpful but I find that I need to ask for details. Learning that someone loved or hated an experience is not helpful until I understand the 'why'.
Here in Nova Scotia clinic attendance can be hit or miss. I am not sure why. It could be financial or worry about looking like a fool or just lack of time. I have certainly experienced all of these reasons. I admire the people who put on clinics because it is a ton of work and effort with often little financial gain. I really admire the riders who put themselves on display so that they and others can learn from the experience.
I love that the ones that Carole and Jo are bringing in are all Canadian. Brittany Fraser is from NS (and I think I remember her from my early forays into Dressage but let's not talk about how she's young enough to be my daughter...). I was excited to read that Janine Little has experience with showing and training Friesians and Andalusians! I had not really heard of Jaimey Irwin but in reading about him, he seems to be a straightforward and honest clinician. All seem to have knowledge to offer and I am hopeful that I will be able to see all of them.
And now for the Giveaway!
I have free Audit passess to the upcoming clinics:
- Janine Little Dressage Clinic – July 24, 25, 26
- Jaimey Irwin Dressage Clinic – August 18, 19
- Brittany Fraser Beaulieu Dressage Clinic – October 27, 28
- Jaimey Irwin Dressage Clinic – November 3, 4
- comment on this blog (or on the FB post) about your views or experiences in clinics (good or bad) or what makes you choose a specific clinic to attend.
- tell me which clinic(s) you would like to audit
I will do a random draw and contact the winners by Saturday, July 21st. Even if you cannot benefit from winning I'd still love to hear about your experiences.
I don't suppose airfare is included for the winner?ReplyDelete
I've been hit or miss for clinics. I have always picked up something that made me feel like I got value for my money, but the actual experience has been meh, and I generally haven't wanted to ride with that person again. Not that I've ridden in many clinics - with my small lesson budget I'd rather get multi lessons than spend it all on one weekend.
I wish I could send the plane fare. But I can provide accommodations :) . I agree that with a limited budget you are probably well off to spend it on lessons than a clinic.Delete
oh man, i love the idea of clinics, and have had a lot of positive experiences. definitely agree with what you say about the value of an outsider perspective coming in and being able to evaluate the situation with fresh eyes. sometimes tho i just have such a hard time parting with the money for the unknown vs one of my tried 'n true current coaches...ReplyDelete
I hear you on the difficulty of parting with hard-earned cash. That's why auditing is a also a good option.Delete
My philosophy about clinicians is that the money is better spent on my weekly lessons, unless they are specific to WE and will work on the obstacles. My trainer is awesome to work with and she is great about applying our dressage to the obstacles, but sometimes there are little tricks that really enhance our performance on specific tasks.ReplyDelete
Most of the outside clinicians I work with are also judges for my sport, so getting insight via the clinic also gives me feedback and information to improve my performance under that judge. At this point, we are talking about nuances to improve a score by a half to full point in the EOH course.
I would also consider using a specialist clinician if I were working on a specific issue that my trainer and I were having issues with. In that case, I would have my trainer also audit the clinic, if possible, in order for her to see what techniques might be employed.
And I would love to win your contest, but I have no time to travel to your neck of the woods, so keep me off the list. :)
That makes sense to me- a clinic needs to match your focus. I can't see myself doing a jumping clinic, for example, but would jump in a lesson.Delete
Would love to if I lived in North America *pout*ReplyDelete
I'm so happy about the progress you've made with Charlante.
I've now added her to my short list (2) of horses I'd like to ride if ever given a chance. I had a dressage past ya know: ) Training level only, but I got to experience advanced horses and we FLEW!
You are more than welcome to come. :) I'm thrilled that Carmen made your short list! I'd love to wonder the trails at your place too.Delete
Well, I love clinics, even though I haven't ridden in many. I usually choose the smallest I can find where I trust the instructor. I've heard stories of larger clinics where people didn't get the one-on-one they needed and clinics where the instructor pushed them to do things they weren't comfortable doing. I was at one desensitizing clinic where I felt pushed to get through each obstacle and wasn't given the time to help Cowboy work through it at his own pace. The instructors thought he was "dangerous," which was silly because he is my LEAST dangerous horse, but he doesn't like crowds of horses. He's always the omega. Given the choice, of course, I want lessons over clinics, but being with other horses is good exposure, and we also learn from others and get that socialization that horses and humans need.ReplyDelete
There is nothing worse than not getting your money's worth!Delete
I have to budget so carefully that chances of me riding in a clinic are so very slim; my carefully budgeted money goes a lot further in lessons, sparse as they are. I love auditing clinics though! I've been to a few with Austen and have really enjoyed them and taken a lot of good points away to work on at home.ReplyDelete
And as lovely as it would be to visit with you and see the gorgeous area you call home, I don't have enough leave to travel up there this year so don't count me in the running for the contest. =)
I've been there! It's hard to find money for all the horse things! Auditing is a great way to learn, sometimes it's even better.Delete
I think your family doctor/specialist idea is spot on. I have had mostly good luck with clinicians save a few who seemed more bent on pushing their own specific training method than trying to understand my horse and doing what was right for her/what she needed in order to improve.ReplyDelete
thank you. The analogy made sense to me. :)Delete
I like both.ReplyDelete
My lesson format used to be to trailer (150 miles away) to my trainer's farm on a Friday, and have three lessons over the weekend - so we had time to focus on specific issues and (hopefully) see some results before I had to leave.
The one time I did ride in an actual clinic it was a five day affair with Erik Herbermann. Before and after my rides I audited every other rider I could, so it was a dressage immersion experience lol. Besides being an amazing instructor, Mr. Herbermann was very affordable too - I think it was $600 (plus stabling) for a five full hour individual sessions at the time.
Not sure when my house will be finished so sadly - traveling is not in the cards this fall...��
That lesson format sounds intense but it makes the most sense given how far you had to travel.Delete
I am to the point where I won't spend the money on a clinic unless I reeeeeeally like the clinician. But other than the clinician that comes to my barn 1-2 times per year, I have to trailer at least 2 hours to get to anyone. So that makes it tough. I moved 6 hours away from my "regular" trainer several years ago, but I love her so much that I usually just save my money and go for a week a couple times a year. That might not work though if I were having serious issues with my horse.ReplyDelete
And not to derail the conversation but...what dressage saddle are you riding in? I am saddle shopping (ugh!) for something that works better for me and my Lusitano gelding. From the pictures, yours looks like one that might work??
Your plan makes sense to me!Delete
My saddle is a Kent And Masters- the cob series. it works great for the iberian horses. :)
Hi Erin! Another option for saddles you might consider is WOW. I have worked with/bred many Iberian horses and WOW saddles have worked with every one. Another option to consider.Delete
Thanks for the recommendation! I have a K&M coming to me on trial :)Delete
As a riding instructor I have a love/hate relationship with clinics. I have worked with a number of students who have gone to several different clinicians and ended up totally confusing themselves and their horses because they are either not experienced enough or not able to distill the best from each clinic. This is not a criticism of those people - not everyone is good at that kind of synthesis. And when they get different messages from different clinicians inevitably it is their horses that suffer. I have seen it many times. I also have had the personal experience of auditing a well known clinician, liking what I saw and heard, signing up for an expensive clinic and having a horrible experience because the clinician didn't take the time to get to know what my horse and I really needed to work on (this was not just my own experience but that if others). And I have been to useful clinics too. So my advice to any rider is find an excellent instructor and work with them regularly. If you want to go to a clinic, discuss the reasons and your goals with your instructor and if at all possible, get your instructor to go with you so she can help you integrate your clinic experience into your regular learning path.ReplyDelete
All excellent points. I find it helpful to work with my regular trainer so that she can help us put it into context.Delete
I love clinics and I will audit about anyone, especially if I want to maybe ride in their clinic I find auditing super helpful first to decide if its really for my horse and our skill level together. I can't wait until Dante is ready to go do a clinic!ReplyDelete
I agree that auditing is a great way to figure out if the style suits you and your horse.Delete
I do'nt live locally and can't benefit from your audit prize, but was wondering if you can point me to a post bout your experience with Johanna and the relationship between your seat and Carmen's way of going?ReplyDelete
I am not sure if my posts about it would be helpful or not but they start here: https://journeywithadancinghorse.blogspot.com/2018/05/on-road-again.html.Delete
Essentially my seat needs to follow but not over rotate backwards. Instead it's supposed ot go from neutral to forward.