and others- sorry you have had bad experiences at clinics. I've ridden for over 55 years but had very little instruction- basically my grandfather stuck me on a lazy old horse when I was a little kid and told me to make him do what I wanted. 20 years ago when I wanted to show a horse and improve my horsemanship, clinics were the only way I could accomplish that goal. Actually I could have really benefitted from some basic lessons to overcome some bad habits, but I didn't take that route.
I rode in clinics by Teddy Robinson, Ron Ralls, Lynn Anderson, Sandy Collier, Jon Roeser, Todd Crawford, and Bergen & Slack. Pretty much all big name reined cow horse trainers- not all were great but I learned enough at each one to make it worth going. And all were willing to teach some of what they knew and were pleasant to be around. In my opinion, the best of the bunch was Lynn even though she chewed my butt a little for being too wild in the fence work saying the goal is to exhibit at least SOME control over the horse and cow- something I really needed to hear.
The best clinic however was one I went to just a couple of years ago. Just a few months after Clayton Edsall won the World's Greatest Horseman, he and his assistant trainer stopped by our little town to visit the assistant's brother who lives just a couple of miles from me. It so happened that there was a big ranch rodeo held that same week. The guy putting on the rodeo asked Clayton if he would do a clinic. He charged each rider $150 just to cover his expenses and Clayton's and the assistants' entry to the rodeo. I thought it would be good for my grand daughter so I talked her into going. There were eight riders, three buckaroos from the big ranches in Nevada (Simplot) who were real good hands, one of the buckaroos' brother in law who had a town job and was an intermediate rider, a farmer who was a beginner, a reined cowhorse trainer who had made the intermediate open finals in Reno, a ranch kid who was doing cow horse in high school rodeo, and my grand daughter who is upper intermediate rider. So all but the farmer could ride pretty well, Clayton was fun and he made my grand daughter feel comfortable and welcome.
The first day when we were all sizing each other up, one of the buckaroos had a palomino mare he had just bought that was real rude in the face. He really had to work to get her to give at all. Clayton worked with him for a while and didn't make much progress. I thought to myself, "In a week I could have that horse giving her face". Clayton asked the buckaroo if he minded if he rode the horse. In 5 minutes he had that mare softened up and riding around giving to the bit. That impressed the heck out of me (and others).
On the second day my grand daughter had a commitment so I took her place and showed that an old man could take a cow down the fence. Clayton gave me a couple of pointers- horse's position just before the turn and my hand position while circling. Both minor things but helpful.
So what I am trying to say is don't let one bad experience completely sour you on clinics. With the right clinician you can have a lot of fun and learn something that is difficult to learn elsewhere.
P.S. Clayton and his assistant's team won the branding and took second place overall in the ranch rodeo.