For some, attending a horsemanship clinic with a particular clinician, is a bucket-list item that they work toward for years. For others, attending horsemanship clinics with teachers who are leaders in the field is a way to further their careers and boost their horsemanship. And then there are the “clinic junkies,”
When a horse’s training is either lacking or confused, we often talk about going “back to basics.” Last month, I talked about basic training from the ground—and how important it is to have a well-mannered, attentive and cooperative horse on the ground—before moving up to training under-saddle.
When was the last time you felt a lack of control while riding your horse, even if only for a moment? Was he spooked? Did your horse freak out because the other horses took off? During a tantrum your horse threw about leaving his herd mate?
It’s never easy to witness. There’s something about their power… their free spirit… the image of running like the wind, that makes it especially hard to watch a horse go down. Seeing a happy and carefree horse suddenly fall ill and struggle to survive or watching an old beloved friend suffer and grow weak…
When you own horses, and especially if you keep them at home, sometimes it seems like your whole life revolves around doing their bidding—food service, housekeeping, valet service, maintenance. Most people who dream of bringing their horses home (after boarding them forever) are stunned to discover they have even less time to ride.
Horsemanship clinics are intensive training opportunities, usually with an expert from another area. As a horsemanship clinician, I generally work with riders and horses I’ve never met, and usually on a one-time basis.
There are both pros and cons of working with horses and their owners only once. The obvious benefit is that I have no preconceived notions about horse or rider;
I grew up in Florida, where the main riding season is the winter. Our main chore to get ready for winter was body clipping the horses, to get rid of the winter coat they were not going to need. For the last 30+ years, I’ve lived in the mountains of Colorado, at an altitude of 8000 feet, where the winters are long and cold and preparing your horse and barn for the winter comes with some important concerns.
Horses rise or fall to your level of expectation, no matter how high or low. If you think he’s going to spook at something, he generally will. If you think he is going to throw a fit about getting in the trailer, he will oblige (especially if his emotional outbursts have gotten him what he wanted in the past).
I’m 15 and have been riding for 11 years. I just bought a Halflinger pony that stands at 14.2. He’s a pleasure to own but rests his head on the reins and often pulls. I would like to find out a way to get him lighter on the reins with lighter contact—but without him zooming off when I’m schooling him.