What do you love and hate about attending a horse clinic?

I love teaching horses and teaching people. So giving clinics seems like a win-win…and for the most part it is.

What do you love or hate about horse clinics?

Describe the perfect clinic; cost, length, group size, etc

The difficult thing for me is typically the group size. I like small groups. I want to know your name and your horses name and I like to take my time.

There are two issues with this;

  1. the smaller the group the higher the cost per person- unless you come to me I have fuel or airfare, hotel, eating out, etc which is still lower than everyone traveling to me but still it raises the price.
  2. Retention rate; I give a lot of info…and there is a limit to how much anyone (or horse) can absorb in one session. Eight hours alone with me teaching might sound good…but your brain will start to get fried after 2-3 hours…I have seen it happen!

So maybe there is such a thing as too small a group. Especially when I get feedback that people like watching other people get instruction and ask questions.

I asked and I explained…now it is your turn!

Please leave your comments and ideas about what is ideal in a clinic setting; things you have loved or hated (leave out names please) and while you are at it…go ahead and throw in prices.

How many days?

How big of a group?

Is the group divided during the day?

Do you like specific topics during the day or leave it open to what comes up?

Location; arena setting? Trail? Other?

Is watching almost as beneficial as riding?

Suggested horse and rider price-

Suggested auditor (spectator) price-

Describe the perfect clinic; cost, length, group size, etc

Describe the perfect clinic; cost, length, group size, etc


  1. samanthajayeblog on March 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    As a clinician, my maximum number of participants is 12. Anymore is very hard to watch and people dont get the attention they need. I charge $350 per person min 10 people. I dont think qualified clinician at a certain level can do it for less. We need to travel and pay expenses out of that money. Sometimes I will bunk up with the host. Also I think people dont understand, many times we need to pay the host Stable a fee to use the facility. I know of a very well known clinician that charges 700 for four half days which is two full and puts 25 people in the class. Thats absurd.
    There is no way he can give helpful instruction to all the riders.

    Sonny Garguilo

  2. Martina Braden on May 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Stacy
    The clinic at your place was great!! The one thing that I enjoyed at your clinic was that you had us take notes at the end of the day on what we learned and reflect on on how our horse did and what we could do to improve. I especially enjoyed being able to talk to you one on one. I also still have the certificate you gave me. It showed that you took interest in each person there and you wrote on the back recommendations on what each person could work on. You personalized the clinic to each person which was very nice. It was a very special day and a wonderful learning experience. I hope one day I will be able to attend another one.

  3. Kathie W on May 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Stacy, you are dead on about small groups being best. I think 6 – 8 people is a nice size, 6 if the arena or working area is smaller, so everyone has room to work and be safe. Getting to know the riders and their horses and their individual needs and problems is important for a clinician to do a good job, and one of yours and Jesse’s strengths. It is important for riders to get one-on-one time with the clinician to address their issues in the best way possible, tweaking the exercises for the individuals.

    The reason for going to a clinic is to get answers to your individual problems, and the way to get them is from one-on-one work with the expert.

    It’s best if the clinics are for similar levels of participants. E.g. a clinic for general horsemanship, green horses, pre-showing or already showing. This way everyone can work on similar things and the group can relate to what each other is doing, and the least advanced rider/horse is not holding the others back.

    I feel that two full days of riding is enough. After that you are too physically tired and mentally drained to get the most out of another day. You are right, a person (or horse) can only absorb so much at a time, and it gets worse when you’re tired (and sore!).

    As for price – to get a problem resolved hat you’ve been working on an unable to fix yourself is invaluable! However, about $150 – 200/day to be part of a reasonably sized group with individual time with a top-notch clinician is good. Spectators can get a lot out of watching, and $25 – 40 day is a reasonable price for auditing.

    I sure hope you will be coming to Ontario and I can ride with you again. You and Jesse are such wonderful, giving people and so generous with your time and knowledge.

  4. Lori Tucker on April 27, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I like when the clinic is broken down in groups of around 3- 6 based on experience of horse and rider. It is nice to watch each level and have a break for horse and rider but allows participants to move at a more equal pace. Two and a half days seems good. First half day to assess into groups. It would be a life dream to attend and participate in one of your clinics.

  5. Baylee desroches on April 26, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    One thing that I have yet to see in a clinic is having each person (this would only work with a smaller clinic of 12 or less) say a common mistake that is made when with your horse, and then having you elaborate on what you can do to prevent this from happening, weather it be having a few jog steps before they sucessfully canter after the rollback or whatever, I still feel like this would get people more intrigued and definitely make them feel like they are being listened too.

    Also, showing some tips and tricks will keep focus. I know at one clinic, the man drove around his yard with the people at the clinic in his horse trailer, he was trying to show some people that drive like lunatics that the horses feel every little bump! Although some people were ticked off from being thrown around the trailer, a very wonderful lesson was learnt! I’m sure that there were a few more horses who enjoyed there rides home!

    Hope this helps!

  6. Esta on April 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Big hello from Portugal.
    I started to organize a clinic with two fabulous trainers from Berlin. For me the most important thing was to gather people who are willing to attend the clinic not for one time but twice a year. I achieved my goal. Also for the trainers it is very pleasant as they can see the changes over the years. We are always 6 to 7 people on two trainers. tha is pure luxury. i would say not more than 6 on one person two hours a day for 2 1/2 days. Extra half day to chat. so three days in total. Costs? 300- 400 each. Themes? Pic up ever person/horse where there are. Riding or groundwork? whatever is needed!!!
    So much love from the other side of the ocean.
    You inspire……but keeping the kids busy so they don´t keep you busy sounds more easy than it is:)

  7. Betty Maloy on April 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Number of attendees depends on size of arena. But the smaller the better. Other people other than the teacher telling me what to do.
    After three days I am worn out! To tired to learn.

  8. Janette on April 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I asked a great clinician here in Australia if he felt he was giving too much information for people to absorb. His perfect response was ; it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, I need to show people the hole picture on the box. The clinic will help everyone find some pieces. Not everyone will find the same pieces, but I need to show the hole picture.
    The same fellow likes to have about 24 students . He has everyone do the ground work for the first 2 hrs. Then he splits the group in half.

  9. Nikki Bieber on April 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    First of all how I would love to get some clinic time with you, but that wont ever happen. A Girl can dream so, right – 😀

    Anyways, I did attend some clinics…. and believe, with or without horse you can Benefit from it.
    Of course with a horse, you can practice right away and got already a feel for it, while as a spectator, sometimes I sit on my horse thinking, what and how did they do it!? :-/

    Here is my thoughts of your questions…..

    How many days? 2-3

    How big of a group? between 6-10

    Is the group divided during the day? maybe in pairs

    Do you like specific topics during the day or leave it open to what comes up?

    I would suggest both. For us for example, trust is a BIG issue, so i always address that one at the clinic, and then work on what ever is suggested, plus some riding or ground skills.
    At one of our last clinics, I especially like, that there was a theory part. Where we had a PowerPoint, some Videos, lots of talk and each could ask questions.

    Location; arena setting? Trail? Other? Depending on the Workshop.

    Is watching almost as beneficial as riding? I believe you can learn lots during watching.

    Suggested horse and rider price- Our Clinics, run between 150- 350 and higher per Weekend, depending on the Trainer / Teacher

    Suggested auditor (spectator) price- very common is 25-30 per day, but I also was at Clinics, where I paid 60.

    We live in Europe, but I believe its pretty much everywhere the same.

    Hope to meet you in Person some day.

    Big cheers Nikki

  10. Vernone Armistead on April 26, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I am from Australia and mainly do low level dressage. I purchased several of your videos and used your techniques on my foal which is now my riding horse aged 4 ½yo. I have attended many clinics and group lesson over my 40 years of riding so here is some feedback:
    How many days? – At least 2, but 3 would be better; this will reinforce the understanding of the pupils and give them time to ask questions to clarify things.
    How big of a group?- I feel that group dynamics is very important and to have people at the same level & understanding in the same group, or you will spend more time on the ones who don’t understand leaving the other with less of your time or visa versa. I think smaller groups (2-4) but for less time (1hour).
    Is the group divided during the day? Most Clinics I attend the instructor can have up to 20 riders for the day – example 3-5 groups of 2-4 riders for about an hour X 2 lessons a day, one in the morning & one in the afternoon. Then you unsaddle and watch the other groups which is just as educational. Often high level instructors can charge $10-$50 for non-riding spectators at a clinic.
    Do you like specific topics during the day or leave it open to what comes up? I think the instructor needs to have some plans and ideas to present to their pupils but it’s a good idea to ask if there is something pacific that someone wants to achieve from your clinic.

  11. Shelley Massey on April 26, 2014 at 10:30 am

    As a 47 year old adult women who has ridden since age 5. I have lived in Colorado 45 of those years. Clinics are a way to wade through the winter!

    We have an outfitting (hunting) business full time Sept.-Dec., but do not use horses there; the business operates 75 miles from where we live, so my horses have a “babysitter” and we move to hunting camp. When we come home, we operate hay business the other nine months. I do get to ride a bunch then,(mostly trail riding these days) though “making hay while the sun shines” becomes more than a cliche…I ride all I can until it’s time to make money! We have no hired hands at the farm–just my husband, his 84 year old father, and myself.

    I have attended a couple of local shows in the past 10 years (since we moved here). Fun, but I really can’t be as prepared as I like with our strange schedule. Our community used to have some gymkhanas. I attended a couple of those, when time allowed, and had a blast.

    I do enjoy clinics. I have learned something at every clinic I have attended. I have been to two clinics in the past ten years. I really got a lot out of them. One had 17 participants, $200 I believe, about 2 hours away. The group was split in two and at the end of the day, we had a mini competition (it was a reining clinic) between the groups. The horse I chose to take is not a reining type horse (TB/Paint–real big), but the things he can do are pretty awesome. Any training time never hurts. I just wanted to try something different with him…. (almost) no one there minded! I found out one major thing at the clinics with him. When another horse trotted or loped up behind him warming up, he panicked! Not out of control, but something I never experienced, since I nearly always ride alone. The boogie man I guess, for a guy who is not spooky! One lady got pretty irritated at him, but everyone else was very helpful. How can I replicate that?!? There was a meal, and some small prizes for everyone.

    Holidays, etc. bring the little relatives flocking to the older horses, but other than that and an occasional part-time rider/friend, I primarily ride alone. My husband is WONDERFUL, but is perfectly content to ride on Mother’s Day each year, and tolerates my horse habit without complaint. You are very fortunate Jesse has your passion!

    The other clinic was probably 25-30 participants, two hours away in another direction; we switched clinicians 1/2 way through the first day. One clinician was a halter specialist, and the other focused on riding. The second day was supposed to be a “Hairy Horse Show” type of show–pretty informal. I was unable to stay for that. A young mare I brought (not my mare, a relative owns her) decided she didn’t like that thing called a “stall”. The new footing they had was going to be gone with her pawing antics, so I elected to pull out that evening….That one was $250 I believe, with meals available for purchase. I enjoyed and learned something different at both clinics.

    The groups at both clinics were pretty broad in skill level. I would consider myself intermediate in skill. In a perfect world the skill levels could be closer, but I also remember when I was first learning how awed I was with the more advanced riders. We need to remember that those folks could be our future horse people. Horses are already out of reach economically for many. Those who are making an effort could be the next big thing!

    Another thought…when a clinic concludes, how about in a period of time having another one….at the same location….to see what came of the learning.

    I do think even auditing can be beneficial. As a kid I often went and watched if my parents could not get my horse to the clinic. MANY times, someone would have a spare horse and I would end up getting to ride. So my lunch money went for the clinic! I was so blessed to live in a small community!

    In our county, there are two small towns, 2,000 and 2,500 people. The other side of the county (county seat) has an indoor arena, this side does not. I don’t think they charge for just riding at the indoor or the outdoor over there, unless you use the lights. Here there is $5 per horse per day unless you board up there. I have tons of pasture and corrals, so I would not board there. I guess I would rather pay for instruction (clinic or lessons) than pay to just ride. I do use the arena occasionally, to get my horses away from their “friends”.

    I apologize for the length, but what a great topic…..love your stuff!

  12. Mary on April 26, 2014 at 7:19 am

    The best clinic I ever attended had eight participants. Just enough to get plenty of individual attention but yet also enough variety to learn and observe from others. It was a three day clinic (3 hours of groundwork in the AM, 3 hours of riding in the PM with a trail ride in the evening one day 1 and arena cow work in the evening on day 2). It cost about $450 total for the three days including lodging for me and my horse. Some meals were included as well. It was tiring but doable (by the afternoon of Day 3, my horse and I were done learning- we just could not absorb more- maybe a 2 1/2 day clinic would have been just right)and the BEST experience I’ve ever had with my horse!

  13. Elvira Lanham on April 26, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Hi Stacy, I agree with Kate! Come to Australia.
    As for the other questions, I used to organise clinics and have been to loads (before kids)…. I think splitting into a beginners and more advanced clinic on each day is good, with a lot of encouragement to audit at the other “session”. 2-3 days is good, with the option of private sessions on the 4th day. Costs $100-$150 per day is ok, if its important, people will save up for it (and sacrifice the latest rug or browband), I think a mixture of work with what you have, but also do a small segment on a pre-determined topic (maybe as a lunchtime “intermission” for both groups)…. Set the “rules” at the beginning of the day… everyone gets more out of it if things are strict and everyone knows their responsibilities… I agree that “demos” can get out of hand, but at the same time it is nice to watch a change in a horse without the pressure of it being your horse… I also like to watch the instructor ride theirs or another horse, but sometimes it can be obvious they have a “favourite” which is always a bit disappointing for everyone else. I can get a lot out of a clinic with up to 12 riders, its good to be able to go away from the crowd, practice a few things and come back. Undercover arena is best, so you don’t have to worry about the weather, maybe with the option of a ride out at the end if everyone is keen and the weather holds up. Thanks for your articles and loved your sessions at Equitana in Sydney a couple of years ago.

  14. Kirsten on April 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Ok this might sound odd, but I am a teacher and while I was at Equine Affair in Ohio this year I was watching a clinic that had a lot of potential, but lacked engagement ( not yours – yours was great 🙂 ) . While sitting there I thought to myself that if only he knew how the brain worked his audience could actually process this and retain this information . If you want your audience (in my case 8th graders) to stay engaged and retain two things need to happen . The first, recognize that the brain can really only listen attentively for seven minutes to ten minutes. Second, recognize that to process information your audience needs what we call a processing pause- time to take in information at that moment and fit it in to their existing framework. So when one is teaching something very complex or new a “pause” is needed. This pause doesn’t have to be long- 20-30 seconds. It might be a statement like … In a clinic it might sound like “Imagine this was your horse how might this work for you? This is probably way off base to your question, but it is the way our brain learns regardless of the subject, teacher or classroom. Also, be repetitive with concepts and plan on only a few big ideas . I am not directing any of these at your clinics personally just throwing out some thoughts. And I might add your clinics do have a lot of elements that work well with how our brain learns.

  15. n2cruella on April 25, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I hope this post is not out of place because I do not have horses now, I have dogs. But, being in my mid-sixties I have attended enough classes over the years that I have lost count. Some classes I have attended have been a treat and some a pure nightmare.
    I want enclosed class areas that are large and secure enough I don’t feel like my animal or myself are in danger. I want a good sound system but not so loud it makes my ears ring. I don’t want an open field by a super highway or be crammed into a small area where I cant keep a safe distance from every one else. I want everyone’s animal current on all vaccines, current heath certificate, no exceptions. I like a list of preferred hotels with a break for attending the classes during my stay. I don’t want an audience, I find it distracting. I am there to learn not perform for a spectator. If spectators are allowed they should pay at least 40-50 per day. They are learning while watching so they should pay for attending. I also want a tee shirt or hat. Crazy but for some reason I want that shirt I can show off in my home town as part of my fees for attending. I want plenty of chances to buy products suggested and maybe a chance of winning a special item, like a DVD, childish but fun.
    The best classes I have attended are ones that are over a three day period like conformation classes without the points. Learning, practice learning practice. The event is broke up into different half days each with lunch. You pay for the classes you will attend but everyone pays for the first day as a full day then each class there after. If the classes are being held by a well known trainer in the animal world there is almost a celebrity factor involved. I want to talk with them and learn one on one even if it is in a class with forty other people. The first half day is without our animals. It is questions and answers Q&A’s.the instructors animal showing what we will learn, questions and corrections shown plus tips. If we are lucky and have time a new equipment class and proper use of each. Lunch break, the instructor also attends and we all get to know each other a little better.. After all most of us is not from the area the classes are being held and most are staying in the same hotel. It gives us a chance for some after class get together’s later that night.
    That afternoon is the problem children and is spent with the problem animals. The ones that are giving some real problems. These are very limited classes and very seldom over four or five animals. The instructor does not have their animals it is almost one on one with each until the end of the day. Others taking classes may watch from the stsnd area as spectators.
    Day 2 morning they normally have the teens, good beginners or goofy guys that are just silly. This is the silly things that in dogs like you say stay and they crawl on their tummy until they reach your feet or you say down and go down then they roll over on their back. Or a horse when you get ready to mount does the little circle dance.This is always a fun class with lots of laughs but everyone is really deep down embarrassed. No one from class one or the problem children are allowed in this class. Normally 50 percent of the class attends this one. Lunch then intermediates . This is the ones that have it down and ready for the next steps in training. Here again learning, practice, learning, practice
    Day three: continued class training , lunch and privates in the afternoon. Privates are normally trainers associates with trainer making rounds though out the classes. Event ending with Q & A
    I would gladly pay a good trainer $150.00 a day for classes that are kept at a reasonable amount of people and animals. Privates $100-$150 hr.
    The worst classes have been a trainer taking a upper hand with my animal without my permission and playing favorites of a real sweet beauty over the rowdy little plain Jane. Also, playing favorites with the people attending giving more attention to the ones they feel like could further their cause more than the others attending.

  16. Kathy Doman on April 25, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    a common thread through out the reply’s is not accommodating to all the riders levels and individual goals. in the teaching world this is referred to as differentiating the curriculum, where what is being taught is taught in a variety of ways and each students level, to cater for different abilities and learning styles. Just putting it out their as food for thought if you are looking at improving the way you conduct a clinic and increase the learning outcomes of all horse and riders, time needs to be taken to get to know the riders and horses so you can conduct a clinic/lesson that will continue to build on the knowledge and skills of all riders. This might be as simple as having people complete a questionnaire or send in a video of themselves riding so you know as the teacher where your lessons needs to start and hopefully end up.

    • Kirsten on April 25, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      I just read your post – funny I made analogies to teaching too!

    • Shona Fox on April 26, 2014 at 12:00 am

      Yes and let us not forget that at least in my experience I always learn something of value from a clinic whether auditing or as a student even if it is just one tiny piece of information that helps me put the puzzle together better when working with my horse!

  17. Nikki B on April 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Each year we have a local horse trainer come to our club and do a two day clinic, we separate the day into two sessions and have beginners in the mornings and intermediate in the afternoons, no more than 8 in any session. We pay $85 a day. Spectators are $30 a day. This works really well, participants from sessions not running are free to watch the other sessions so they are still learning. Our trainer is great and always has a mic that works well and he is happy to jump on any horse (along as it’s not too small) and show what he is trying to explain. Of course he makes everything look easy and all the horses just love him!! When we first started learning with him he had us leave our horses tied up and we had to get into pairs and try out moving each other around as if we were horses – very funny and we learnt a lot. We always have a chance at the end of the day and also lunch to chat with him and he is very forthcoming with information.

  18. Phyllis Maks on April 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    My husband took his mules to several horse and mule clinics. He liked to participate and I liked to watch and listen. The one thing that irked me the most were the people that came and paid absolutely no attention to the clinician, and did their own thing like they already knew it all. Why did they waste their money and everyone’s time? I don’t get it. Most people go to learn how to be a better rider and how to improve their horse/mule and move forward. You can never quit learning.

  19. K. Bockus on April 25, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Dear Stacy,
    My perfect clinic would be something like this.

    1. People& horses divided into groups of same level. No more than 6 to 10 persons.
    2. After 3 hours, no one or horse has a brain left. So first 1.5 hours is without a horse, and purely questions and dialogue. A break, then next 1.5 hours with horses. This way each person can discuss what they are looking for, and if everyone is at the same level, they learn from each other.
    3. Or a morning of dialogue and afternoon of riding with individual attention.
    4. Generally it’s information overload, and no one really benefits.

    Clinics should be eg: green as grass, trail riders no show experience, riders who have never worked with a trainer, or have only had limited riding lessons.

    Actively club level showing, actively showing AQHA level for example., different disciplines seem to bring their own areas of confusion.

    A certain level of horse and rider fitness comes into play.
    A good questionnaire would help sort most of the groups out.
    I feel that the most important thing is for the participants to be at the same level as much as possible.

    Just a few observations from the peanut gallery. Loved the JAC training!!!!!

  20. Kate Butterworth on April 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Please come and do some in Australia. Specifically queensland. I went to your clinic in Sydney, but wished I was with a horse. By the amount of people at your clinic, I reckon you’d do well.

  21. Paige Macfarland on April 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I think six people works. In a group like that, everyone should get a fair amount of individual time. Since everyone is usually at a different level, sometimes you may not get to work on your individual issue. I would do better in a clinic where I am with people on my similar level so we may likely have common denominators. Two days is a good amount of time. It is always good to watch others in your group. I would pay more for individual instruction.

    Sent from my iPad


  22. Shona Fox on April 25, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    How many days?
    2-3 – maybe a fourth for private sessions

    How big of a group?
    4-6 If it is bigger then it is hard for the instructor to work individually with students and the students also can feel that they are not getting the feedback they need for their specific needs with their individual relationship with their horse.

    Is the group divided during the day?
    It would be best to have clinics with levels for beginner, intermediate or advanced and possibly be broken into groundwork vs riding sessions vs arena or trail.

    Do you like specific topics during the day or leave it open to what comes up?
    Both – it is great to have an outline of what will be covered each session but as we are working with horses, you can’t anticipate how the session will sidetrack into something not planned for but which could still be extremely valuable to the horse and the rider.

    Location; arena setting? Trail? Other?
    I think both can work but they may need to be in different clinics or based on skill level and riding discipline.

    Is watching almost as beneficial as riding?
    YES! It certainly can be! Auditing can be such an educational experience without the added pressure of being in the actual clinic. You get to see the different ways people approach the process of learning with their horses and the way the instructor is offering the feel to both human and horse.

    Suggested horse and rider price- I would say if it was hosted at your location then $75 – $100.00 for per day – $300 for a 3 day event

    Suggested auditor (spectator) price- $ 20 / per day

    *** I would love to come and do a clinic with you Stacy!! I would need to actually use a local horse as I live in Hawaii. Please think on this as an option to your Texas based clinics- or if you want to come to Kauai we would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have you!!!

  23. Michelle Curry on April 25, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I recently attended a clinic in my area, central Texas. The group was 13 to 15 plus the instructor. Two of the attendees where helpers. This clinic was horsemanship and cow clinic.
    In the morning we learned the maneuvers we would need to work the cattle in the afternoon. The helpers helped the attendees in groups of 2-3, with the different maneuvers in the arena in the morning (then we worked our cow just before lunch) and the instructor took two attendees to the cow pen to work cows.
    In the afternoon, the instructor showed us short patterns using the maneuvers we had learned earlier in thee day. We then went to the cow pen and two at a time, took turns working a cow.
    This seemed to me to go very smoothly and everyone.
    I liked this clinic and the cost was $120. for the day.
    We brought our own lunches and drinks.

  24. Nikki Schleppe on April 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    My most memorable clinic was with a local clinician who was teaching us about moving buffalo. It was one day, about 10 people, I don’t know the price as our club subsidized the clinic. The thing I liked most was that horsemanship was first priority, he has no problem calling you out if your you’re horse isn’t understanding you and stopping the clinic to correct it. Not only do you fix your communication in real time but everyone else sees the correction and can learn from it. The little breaks help absorb information. I was having a specific issue with my horse that was stopping me from enjoying and moving forward with the clinic so just before we broke for lunch he took me aside with a few others that he needed for props and we worked through it… an entirely different mini clinic before lunch… im sure the others learned from it too and it helped me enjoy the rest of the day. It also taught everyone that sometimes you have to take a detour to get where you want to be. Going too fast and focusing only on the end goal of the clinic takes away from the real reason we’re all there unless you’re already going pro and are pushing for better in a specialized area.

  25. Paula on April 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I’ve audited 2 clinics and have not taken my horse to any.

    My favorite was a clinic with 4-5 participants. There was a group ‘theory’ session in the morning without horses. Then, in the afternoon, each participant had a 1-1hr lesson giving them exactly what they and their horse needed at that point in their journey. Everyone watched all of the lessons. I thought it was a good overall plan. Participants paid less than $100 each, I think auditing was $20 – and well worth it. As an auditor, I was able to ask questions during the morning session and during the breaks – not during the lessons as the instructor was really focused on that student during the lesson time.

    It seemed like all participants learned from all of the lessons. And, with not being ‘on’ all day, there was time to process.

  26. sue on April 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Wish the clinics where closer to home – live in a small town in ND & not many clinics are available. I have gone to a couple & really enjoyed them. Each one was very different and as a student you just need to listen & accept the critism – i went to learn what i was doing wrong – some people got very offended but that was what I want to learn. I went to Minnesota Horse expo the year you had seminars there – LOVED them – wish i could take get to a clinic you give. Like the idea of a trail ride at the end of the clinic also – gives the particpants a relaxing fun time at the end of a hard day of learning….

  27. Ashley on April 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I like 1-2 day clinics with the option to attend one or both days. I have a max price point of $100/day. I have no idea if that is in your comfort area or not, but as a budget strapped horse owner, that is the max I’m willing to pay. Most clinics around here are in the $50-$85 range. For an auditor, I think $20-$30/day is fair. I am not a big fan of large groups. If I take the time to bring my horse to a clinic, I expect some riding time. Yes, watching others is beneficial, but I have my own set of things I’d like to work on. 20 is a large group to me, so I’d say less than that at one time. It is possible you could have a clinic for 20 people. and only work 10 or so for an hour or so and then rotate. (the other group could watch and the horses could get a break).

    I would say my pet peeve at clinics (which I doubt is likely to happen with you) is that an instructor is giving a clinic but uses one of their own students as the demonstrator. The clinic can then easily turn into a “lesson” for the student that the others get very little benefit from.

    The other dislike I have of clinics is that you often have a vast difference in skill level of horses/riders. So those that are more advanced tend to get less targeted/relevant information for them because the clinic goes to the “lowest common denominator”. Again this goes to the “watch me ride and give me specific advice that is relevant to me” idea.

    I do like the idea of leaving “open format” time in the clinic to discuss whatever issues/topics may come up.

    Thanks, as always Staci! I’d love to come to a clinic of yours one day!

    • darlaflack1arla on April 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      you have a lot of great comments! One thing that blows me away is talking about 20 people in a clinic at once??? I have taken many many over the years and it really is up to the organizer to choose riders that are at the same level of competence to share lessons. Auditing is a Great introduction to the clinic format and well worth the fee. I live in a weird area, no money and have put on wonderful clinics with Marion Weisskopff here at out place, but her fee is So reasonable I can get enough people to cover her cost. I also clinic coordinate for Daryl Gibb, and it is getting tough to get enough people to cover his fee. I think in our area $100 a day is Max! Totally depend s on area. We have many rich localities in BC where top rate clinicians are brought in because there are enough riders with money to do it.

  28. debby on April 25, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Been to a few and ridden and audited a bunch. Biggest mistake of clinics – horses and riders are NOT on the same level. So the clinic ends up becoming less so the lower folks can catch up (putting inexperienced riders on experienced horses and vice versa in the same category). You can never learn when you have unruly horses either (kickers, bitters, mishandled). Folks have to listen and follow the teacher and not get feelings hurt, you are there to learn! Arena size – clinic size = very important. Perfect arena/size is probably less than 12 folks. Need plenty of room to ride. Yes breaks in day to process information. 2 day clinics or more are best. Cost is huge, a lot or riders out there who don’t have a lot of $$, but want to learn. If you cant afford to ride – you can always learn as an auditor too!

  29. Karla on April 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    For me this one is easy. I’ve not been to many clinics so. I went to one that everyone in the area had same experience not to crowded and spoke in a tone I could understand (I’m hard of hearing so not every where is good for me).

    Another I went to was horrible. There was like 30 people and horses crowded in the size of a small round pen they were all different levels and types of horses (one a known kicker and bitter) trying to stay out of peoples way was more than difficult my horse was very nervous in the tight area. Not to mention the person had a cheap mic that sounded like he was talking with his mouth full. I could not understand a word he said and tried to follow everyone else with a mare that was so antsy in the crowd she felt like she was going to start bucking at any minute. Not a good experience like the first one.

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