What is a Clinician and What Qualifies a Person to be a Clinician?

A clinician is an individual who works with a horse in front of an audience coaching and demonstrating training methods and techniques. A clinician must have several qualities and to me, the primary one is to be a good horseman. I should really say horse person as there are may women who do an outstanding job with horses. I believe that the key to being a good horseman is communication. Not only must a clinician communicate with the horse, but also with the audience or student.

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Versatility and Cross Training

A horse that is versatile can do a variety of things. It does not have to be really good at every task. The horse may have one discipline that it excels in but it is also able to do other types of activities. For example, you may have a good trail horse and at the same time that horse is able to work with cows and perhaps do some jumping. A trail horse needs to be familiar with cows and you never know when you may need to jump over an obstacle on the trail.

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Dealing With a Horse That Pulls Back

Does your horse pull back when tied to a rail or the trailer? Horses that continually pull back are common. This problem is found throughout the horse industry, not just with dressage and jumping horses. With many riders, a horse’s ground manners are the last thing the rider thinks about.

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Correcting a Lead Change Problem

Some riders tell me they have a problem when a course they are riding requires a roll back and a lead change. Some horses pick up the lead change in front but not in back. This is a problem that can pop up in any discipline and the cause is one of three things. The first is simply that the rider is not clearly communicating the desired action and is the cue is confusing the horse.

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Rushing the Jumps

Many times I have seen horses rushing the jumps. Riders try to regulate the speed through a series of half-halts but when this doesn’t work, many end up putting on a tie down or using a stronger bit. All that can be eliminated if you teach your horse to listen to the rein aids and seat aids and to understand what you are asking for with the half-halt cues.

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Handling a Horse That is Nervous at Shows

I received a question about a really nice thoroughbred off the track that does really well at home shies at everything when he is taken to a show. He is quiet at home but very nervous when he goes to a show. This is a very common problem in every discipline but I have probably seen it more in the English world.

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Evaluating a Horse

When I am looking for a horse I start by looking at conformation. While not the most critical aspect it is an important consideration. The more perfect the conformation is, the more you will probably need to pay for the horse but poor conformation may lead to problems later. There are many good all around horses that do not have perfect conformation. And while conformation is important, I also keep in mind what the horse will be used for.

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The Warm Up

Regardless of the discipline in which you ride, warm up time is important. Whether you ride for performance or leisure, the warm up routine should be the same. For every horse there is a certain amount of flat work, particular exercises and maneuvers that need to be done.

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Accepting Bad Behavior

I remember growing up and hearing that we must use light hands and not pull on our horses. However, when we kept our hands light on the reins, we did not necessarily communicate with the horse. So, through lack of education and knowledge we ended up making our horses heavier.

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Feel and Timing

One of the current topics of discussion and an important part of horsemanship is timing and feel. For me it is more correct to say feel and timing. You must feel what the horse is doing and then act promptly. Let’s look at what these aspects are and why they are important?

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