A clinician’s wishlist for new students at a clinic:
- Bring an open mind. Some of the things we’ll be working on might be different than you’ve heard or are used to doing. I’ll do my best to give you the reasons why, but ask you to do your best to give it a shot and give it time to work.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t understand,” “that isn’t what I thought,” or “why?” You won’t offend me by asking for more detail or explaining what you thought. If my information is correct, I should have no problem explaining it in a way that makes sense. If it isn’t, we should arrive at a better conclusion together.
- Bring a halter that fits, and a good lead rope. It puts me and you both at risk when your nervous horse is in a sloppy, ill fitting halter with a short, light weight lead rope. I don’t mind if it’s a rope halter or web, but I prefer they fit well (not loose and not tight) and that the lead rope is able to convey a clear feel with enough length for us to work with. I personally prefer no double knotted rope halters (with the 4 knots) as I find them too severe, no clips as they are messy, don’t give clear feel because of the big bobble they put in the rope, and rope halters that are too light like the kind you can get in your average feed store are sloppy as well.
My personal preference is a good fitting web halter with a tree line lead rope, or a nicely fitting rope halter with a 12 foot lead.
Rope halter links
4. Feel free to tell me your horse’s story, but please don’t get so caught up in it that we can’t move on to the lesson. Generally the horse today is showing clearly what we need to work on, and the story isn’t always even necessary for me to see where you and the horse are. However some details are helpful, for example: previous injuries or current physical issues, fear issues, your goals, etc. It’s easy to get caught up in the story so we can’t see what’s in front of us currently, and as horses live in the now and not the past, I prefer not to dwell so much on the history that I miss the changes happening in front of me.
5. Please tell me if you’re afraid, if something hurts, if you have concerns about what we’re doing, or other concerns in general. Im more than happy to adjust the exercise or the plan for you to suit you and your horse.
6. Please know that critique is not personal. I want the best for you and your horse, and if I can give you honest critique without you getting defensive or offended, I can really help you. I know how hard it can be to hear critique, and I know how much a student can want validation. I’ll try to make sure I give you clear guidance, praise for what you’re doing well, and constructive criticism to improve. And sometimes, the truth will hurt – but if you or your horse are at risk as it concerns your safety, or not a good fit for each other, I have a responsibility to let you know. Your feelings can be repaired more easily than your bones.Know that the real changes come from your day to day dedication to the details we’ve worked on. Sometimes in a clinic you can get dramatic changes in a short time, but the reality is I’m introducing you to some ideas or techniques that will work only with your continued practice.
Thanks to everyone who takes a chance at doing things a little differently in a clinic with me, and know that I truly enjoy working with everyone and their horses!