Going to my first clinic!
Hey all! So at the end of March (I know still a while to go, but I'm a 'preparer' :lol:) I am going to my first clinic with my gelding Xander! It's a jumping clinic (obviously :-)) and its about an hour and a half trailer drive. I haven't gotten my time slot yet, but I did pay for a day stall, since its our first I want it to be relaxed. Since I've never been to a clinic, I have a few questions:
1. How should Xander be turned out? I'm assuming clean saddle pad, tack, and boots...anything else?
2. How should I be turned out? Polo, breeches, clean boots, hair tucked under helmet etc?
3. Is there anything I should expect/watch out for when riding with a group? Any unspoken rules? I should be riding in a group of 3-4 people.
I'm sure I'll have more questions after these are answered....but this is all I could think of for now! Thanks! :)
First off, congrats on the first clinic! Your first is something you will remember,ESP jumping!
Im off to my first clinic of the year on tuesday! It's a 2 day/overnight dressage clinic :)
Your correct on how both you and your horse should be turned out. I just pulls ollies mane so it's clean and neat looking, also got rid of those long muzzle whiskers and cleaned up his fetlocks.
The day we go his legs and tail will be getting washed!
One thing I'd say is don't be affraid to ask questions, why? How? Explain this more please? Your there to learn!
Remember it's not a show! Learning and fun! So you dont have to be perfect.
I will be getting video, so I can look back over it. I think that is a huge must if you have the resources to do so!
My riding preparing advice...
Make sure your horse is really listening to you, fine-tune the transitions and make sure your body position is strong.
Its your first clinic so go out and have fun :)
We better see pictures too! Video would be awesome!
Forgot to put in since you said you will be in a group, make sure your horse isn't just sitting if your taking turns, i wouldn't want to stand then jump then stand. I'd keep standing to 5 minutes so ask your clinician about that maybe? If it wasn't a jump clinic I wouldn't worry about it too much, and only really your doing course work and jumping 2'6 and higher....
Watch the other riders, watch their hands,their legs...everything! Ask questions about their rides! Your all there to learn!
Questions: Do you know what level your lesson is going to be foccused at? Is this a one day or two day clinic?
I forgot about his beard haha, "clip pony beard and hairy legs" is now on my list :)
We don't have a decent video camera, so I will ask my mom to be my paparazzi, we have a Nikon DSLR that has a sports mode and takes a series of pictures so its almost as good as a video. And yes those will definitely be shared on here!
Hm, I'll stay aware of the standing thing too, thanks, its a thing I wouldn't have thought about. Its a one day clinic, and a bit of a drive there and back so its going to be a looong day haha :) As for riding level, I would call myself pretty advanced in this type of setting (ride out a buck, jump 3'6") but I'm not entirely sure about what level our lesson will be at.
Since its only a one day clinic, is there anything I need to bring besides the kind of stuff I would normally bring to a one day show?
Have tons of fun! I love clinics!
1) I'd turn Xander out as clean and neat as you can. I think I put more of an effort in turn out for clinics then I do for shows... I pull mane, bathe, trim every lose hair I can find. For days before the clinic I curry curry curry, lots of show sheen to the tail, etc. I even polish hooves when I ride with a certain clinician that is known for being particularly detailed about turn out... Don't forget to clean your tack too! When riding with afore mentioned clinician I even polish my bits/spurs/stirrups. I don't do that with everyone though.
2) I make sure I'm as neat and trim as possible too. Show breeches, polished boots, nice belt, clean trim polo, etc. I always put my hair under my helmet too with a hairnet. (I'm a hunter, we love our hairnets)
3. I would not walk around unless the clinician allows you to. Yes, it would in theory be better for the horse but I know several clinicians who do not allow it because they want you to watch the other riders and they don't want you to get in the way. I'd do what he tells you to and nothing more. Pay attention to whatever he/she says, even to the other riders, follow directions, and have fun!
I also would recommend bringing a notebook. I like to write notes at the end of the day of what the clinician told me or others, even if I don't always agree, I like to keep notes of what people think. I also draw out the diagrams of all the courses and write out what exercises we did so I can go back and do them at home.
Then come back to HF with lots of pictures and tell us how it went!
While I myself have done lots of clinics, I recently attended a clinic with a bunch of my barn mates who had never done a clinic before, so a LOT of things came up with them that I never would have thought of beforehand. I'm actually in the process of writing an article on "What To Expect From Your First Clinic" :)
It sounds like you're good with the attire and turnout, be neat and tidy. Always carry a crop for jumping, even if you don't use it. Use whatever other equipment you usually use when you jump, spurs, breastplate, running martingale, etc. Do NOT come in draw reins/german martingale, etc.
Since you are traveling for the clinic, I would definitely arrive early and give time for your horse to chill and settle in. Bring water buckets just in case and some hay for your guy to nibble on. I would also make a point to give yourself time to watch a session or two with the clinician before you ride if possible, so you know what to expect. Get a feel of their teaching style, the exercises you are going to do, and what sort of things you will be working on. You'll feel more prepared knowing what's coming and what to expect.
Be tacked up and ready to enter the ring as soon as the group before you is done, and start warming up as you usually would at home. The clinician will usually observe the group for a short time before calling everyone over to chat. They will do introductions and ask a bit about you and your horse. Usually I like to say my name and my horses name and age, I like to say what level we've been showing if applicable, what level we are schooling, and then just a sentence or two on what I feel needs the most work (we need to work on pace and rhythm, he hangs his front legs, we have an oxer phobia, etc). I would also tell them that this your first clinic as well, some clinicians get excited when they have a "clinic virgin", haha. :)
Some clinicians will do some flat work or more of an organized warm up as a group, and some will get you right into jumping. Every clinic I've been to prefers everyone to stand out of the way and watch while someone is doing a course or exercise, or if the arena is large enough that you have room to walk around in a small circle without obstructing anyone and can still pay attention that would be fine as well.
As far as mental preparation beforehand try not to be too nervous. Clinics are fun and a great way to learn new exercises and techniques. The clinician may ask you to do things a different way, or things you haven't done before. As long as they're not asking you to do anything dangerous or way out of your comfort zone, I wouldn't be concerned. Basically the whole point of a clinic is to get a new perspective on you and your horse, try new things, and then from that you can take what works for you and your horse and keep using it, or store that information for down the road when you are riding a different horse or advance up the levels or whatever. The biggest thing is to keep an open mind, and be willing to give things 100%! Ask LOTS of questions! Definitely take advantage of the clinician's time, you've paid to be there, so make sure you get as much out of it as you can. Watch the other riders go, and listen and learn from what they do and what the clinician tells them. Stick around and watch the groups after you if you can, there is SO much to be gained from just watching and learning!
If the clinician asks to get on your horse, definitely let them! Not very many clinicians will ask to ride the horses, but in my experience it has been an incredible learning experience, and almost like an honor that they like your horse enough to get on! Most of the time they will explain what they're doing as they're doing it, whether it's on the flat and over fences, they may get to school the horse on something specific, or may just demonstrate something to the class. So if this happens definitely pay close attention, basically it's like getting a training ride for free with someone explaining everything as they go, definitely take advantage of i, it doesn't happen very often! :)
At the end of the session, that's the time to ask any other questions you have brewing around in your head, and the clinician will usually talk a moment with each rider to recap the things covered and anything else that they feel went well/needs improvement, etc. And THANK THEM, that's so important!
I LOVE clinics, and do many of them. You really get out of them what you put in, you have to be ready and willing to try new things and give it 100%! Lots of time you're not going to have that crazy amazing breakthrough with your horse, but sometimes you may! As long as you come away with some good work and some new things to try and work on afterwards, I would consider it a success. You're not always going to mesh with every coach or clinician, but you can learn something from everyone regardless. You don't gain anything if you don't go outside your safe little bubble and try new things:)
Wow, that turned into a novel! I hope this helps! :)
Thank you for all this awesome information! You really answered all my questions! Unfortunately, my gelding has had an unfortunately timed string of injures and we aren't going to make it to the clinic :( so I'm bumming about that, but another time hopefully! :)
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