4 Simple Clinic Tips
Clinics are great and simple opportunities to receive riding tips and advice from some great trainers. But if you’ve never ridden in a clinic before, attending your first clinic can be an intimidating experience. These simple clinic tips can help you to prepare so you’re ready to ride and learn at your first clinic.
Research the Clinician
Before you even sign up for a clinic, it’s a good idea to spend some time researching the clinician. Different trainers have very different approaches to both training and to their clinics, so you will want to find a clinician whose methods you respect and agree with. You’ll also find that some clinicians are a bit harsher on the riders and the horses than others; if you’re riding in your first clinic, you’ll probably want to find a trainer who’s methods you agree with. I have discovered that I am much more tolerant of someone who is a bit abrasive with me, but when it comes to my animals – Forget It! I only accept kindness.
Do your research. Read the trainer’s book and watch any videos available. Head to their website and learn about their training approaches. The more you understand about the trainer’s methods, the better you’ll be able to understand the methods they’re talking about in the clinic.
Even once you’ve signed up and are attending, be vigilant about what you accept for your horse. That old saying about not to ‘judge a book by its cover’ can be quite revealing. People don’t always turn out to be what you expect.
I know this sounds a bit negative. The reason I am saying it, is just to highlight that you always have a choice, even right to the end. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. Simple!
Dress Appropriately… Simple!
This one sounds like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, I remember being very cold and wet at my first clinic. So, not only was I a bit nervous with my first real horse expedition, I was shivering cold. Not pleasant. Some say you should approach dressing for a clinic almost like dressing for a show, but just a step down in terms of formality. One of the places I like to go to for good value for money is Smart Pak. Here is a link to their garment page. Click Here. However, I’ve found that being comfortable is a bigger priority. You’ll find that most clinicians have specific tack expectations for you or your horse. It’s a good idea to adhere to this for your best learning experience. But if they want you to dress up for show rather than comfort, give it a miss.
Clinics are both physically and emotionally demanding, especially if they’re spread out over multiple days. Make sure that both you and your horse are physically conditioned to be able to withstand the clinic to make life more simple. Start conditioning early on so that you are both fit and well-prepared by the time the clinic arrives. And remember that the body operates as a unit so being emotionally prepared can go a long way towards keeping you both physically comfortable and free of pain. Make sure to check out The Total Comfort System Saddle Pads to protect both your backs for those long hours. Of course, hoof care is a big part of the equation here. If you are in a sandy riding ring and your horse is conditioned, he may be able to remain barefoot for parts of the sessions. Of course, there will be additional weight and stress on his hoofs when under saddle so hoof protection will be important. Use your Cavallo Hoof Boots in the ring or whenever under saddle and to ensure safety, use your Cavallo Boots for transportation and protection in the trailer as well.
Bring Along a Friend
It’s a great idea to bring along a friend, whether they are a rider and participant or not. It’s nice to have that familiarity and support. After all you may be in very new surroundings with very big demands placed on you and your horse. Your friend can help to get both you and your horse ready, and more importantly, they can help to keep you as calm as possible. Additionally, your friend can take video and simple notes for you to review after the clinic. This is particularly important, since you may not retain everything the clinician says during the clinic.
Clinics can help both you and your horse to grow as a team.
The most important thing is that you have a positive experience. So, Have FUN!
Have a great time at your first clinic!