Riding clinics are valuable tools in learning to better ride, compete with, and train your horse. Clinics give you a chance to receive instruction from a trainer that you might not otherwise have access to, and riding in a clinic can open up opportunities and training advancements. But clinics are expensive and can require travel and time, so your chances to ride in them may be limited. When you do get to ride in a clinic, use these tips to get the most out of the experience.
Choose Your Clinician Strategically
Clinics are valuable learning opportunities, but only if you’re riding with a clinician who’s a good fit for your personality, learning style, and skill level. Clinicians all have different approaches to teaching, and you’ll need to be prepared for the types of teaching you’ll encounter during a clinic.
Start by researching any clinician you’re considering riding with. Be sure that you agree with their training methods and respect them as a horseperson. If possible, audit some of their clinics or review video footage.
It’s also a good idea to talk to other riders who have ridden in clinics with that horse trainer. Get a sense of the value that they found in the clinic and ask about the clinician’s teaching methods.
Don’t Work on Perfection at Home
Clinics are about fixing issues and finding solutions to riding challenges, so don’t drill on the skills that you’ll be working on before the clinic arrives. Instead, show up to the clinic with your flaws, and do it proudly. It will ensure the clinician has something to work on with you and your horse, and you’ll receive some valuable instruction, as a result.
Try to bring a few friends to the clinic with you. Having friends on the grounds can help to keep you calm before the clinic, and you can ask your friends to take notes, photos, and video during the clinic for you to review later on. Make sure that the clinician allows recording first, but then ask your friends to record as much as possible. It can be difficult to absorb everything that’s going on during a busy clinic, and these recordings can help you to process the information later on.
Be Open to New Ideas
One of the major benefits of riding with a new trainer is that they bring new ideas to your riding, but you’ll need to be open to these new ideas. It’s easy to become habitual in your riding, but during the clinic, try to forget all of your old habits and be receptive to what the clinician is saying. A fresh set of eyes and a new approach may be able to help you and your horse get past a training issue or roadblock.
If you have the chance to ride in a clinic, you have a valuable opportunity. Have a good time and enjoy everything that you and your horse will learn.