Even better in person
I had the chance to meet Sharon Camarillo & Al Dunning in person this last weekend. I'm not a huge follower of hers, although I did learn a lot from her. She's very pleasent in person, but most definately a talker, not so much a sales person, but a politition almost, lol. Not exactly sure that I'd go out of my way for a clinic of hers, but I wouldn't turn it down either. It's not so much WHAT she does, it's HOW she presents it that doesn't quite work for me.
But Al Dunning, who I've read stuff by on occaision, but never gone out of my way to follow...I'm hooked!!! The man is AMAZING!! He wants to be known as a trainer, NOT a clinician. He actually gets slightly offended by the term. He doesn't have bad things to say about "clinicians", just that they are out to sell their products. He actually said, "do you ever get frusterated when they are trying to teach you how to fix a problem on a horse that doesn't have the problem? Or how the horses they ride are always trained? To me that's not a trainer, that's a salesman. When you see me to learn, you're going to see me on a horse that has just as many issues as yours."
AND IT'S TRUE!! I watched some of his demonstrations, and he was riding horses that weren't finished!! Yeah, they were top dollar horses, and you could tell that they were bred for what they were doing, BUT they made mistakes, they bucked, they didn't do what he wanted them to, he told you how to do something, tried to do it himself, AND IT DIDN'T ALWAYS WORK!!! I got more out of watching him work thru that that any other clinic or DVD I've ever seen.
Sure, I can see how some or a lot of his methods aren't for everyone. But the fact that he wasn't afraid to be seen making a mistake, or trying something other than planned says a lot about the type of trainer he is.
On a more personal side, when I met him, it was a Q & A breakfast. He took the time to sit at everyones table and talk to each person (Sharon didn't, she hung out with the publicity photographer most of the time). Anyway, he asked about your horses, plans, story, etc. Later in the day, I bumped into him when I was shopping. Not only did he remember my name, but Odie's. My daughter had bought Odie a monogrammed halter, & I was holding onto it. Mr. Dunning, commented how great it would look on a buckskin. Then he asked about what else I found. So I showed him the bits I found to try on Odie. He took the time to tell me the pros & cons of each, how he thought they'd work best with what I had told him that morning about Odie, and gave me a few suggestions.
Not once did he try to sell me any of his products, or tell me how little I know. He pointed out where I might have a problem, and offered a few suggestions. To me, THAT is a true horseman.
OK, that turned into a novel, lol. But I've never been so impressed by a well known horseman.
I get a kick out of Road to the Horse as it's always babies they are starting. We need a reality show. How about each one take on a really spoiled older horse that's learned the ropes. Think of it, if they do a good job they likely just saved those horses from the slaughter house. Where was the clinic (training session) held? They all seem so far from where I live. By far, I'm talking at least two airplanes and a bus.
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