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:
- 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.