Any equestrian student is no stranger to the clinic — an opportunity to further your equestrian education through professional horsemanship training. But just like no teacher or instructor is the same, no clinic is going to be the same experience. Nonetheless, here are a few tips to remember for each one:
1. Set goals.
What do you want to accomplish with your horse? What do you want to learn?
In an article for Horse & Rider, Sara Simons, an all-around trainer and judge says that you want to choose a clinician based on your riding style and goals with your horse. “Research his or her riding and teaching styles, if possible,” she says.
Once you’ve scheduled a clinic, think about goals for that day/weekend. What do you want to accomplish at the clinic?
2. Make sure you and your horse are physically prepared.
“Riding in a clinic might mean being in the saddle from four to eight hours during the day. If you and your horse are only used to riding three to four hours a week, this can be physically taxing” according to one article on Info Horse by Richard Winters.
“Start getting you and your horse physically and mentally “legged-up” before the clinic date rolls around. If the clinic encompasses ground work, then you know that part of the day will be spent being physically active – practicing these ground games. Being physically fit and prepared will help you glean the most from your clinic experience.”
3. Ask questions.
Get the most out of your money. If there is something you’re particularly struggling with or want to know, don’t be afraid to ask. According to Winters, most clinicians appreciate riders who want to learn.
“If you’re struggling with a particular exercise, ask for help. Ask for clarification if you didn’t quite understand the instructions. Ask the clinician to observe your maneuver and critique your performance,” he said.
William Woods University hosts world-renowned clinicians on a regular basis — like George Morris last year, a 4H FFA Judging Clinic in February, and the upcoming Jeff Cook Hunter Jumper Clinic on April 21-22. Keep an eye out for more added to the calendar as the year continues, and talk to your professors and instructors for information on other great clinics coming to the Missouri area.