Warwick Schiller clinic review - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-12-2020, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Warwick Schiller clinic review

Be interesting to hear from others who have been to one of his clinics too - here's my opinion...

Went to watch a Warwick Schiller clinic on the weekend, and was VERY impressed by his horsemanship & principles. I think I can say I heard/saw absolutely nothing I remotely disagreed with - which for my opinionated self is saying a lot - can't recall anyone who I have agreed with 100% with before!

Boy he is a rambler tho - reckon he can ramble on more than me even! Kept going off on tangents... albeit interesting ones. He talked virtually non stop, with only a couple very short breaks, so it was also almost unbroken lecture all day - bit of 'information overload', hard to recall much specifics, so this thread is also a bit of a 'memory jog' & getting what I do remember down.

While I can't say I actually learned anything horse-wise(Tho I was reminded of a few forgotten or discounted gems), he is big on 'self help' & there were a few little... mindset /mindfulness exercises I think I will find very valuable. Darcy, my 16yo who came with me said they don't think they saw/learned anything new either, but that they felt certain things I'd taught them already were worthy of more focus, getting more particular about than they thought before.

I found his attitude refreshing... eg. he spent quite a bit of time with 2 participants, when they were riding, on helping them get better at 'bending to a stop' - what I call teaching a 'one rein stop' - but then spent time explaining he doesnt agree with 'one rein stops' as his perception of that is to force. He also came across to me as a 'natural horsemanship' type but explained that he hated the term & felt it was largely meaningless & often no less forceful, no more considerate of the horse than non labled approaches. He explained his mindset on those type 'discrepancies' very well I thought. He was also very slow & clear & very low key/gentle with the horses (generally - there was one mare that a couple of times...).

While people participating seemed relative 'beginners' & don't know if he has more advanced workshops & if he runs those any differently, didn't really like the way he did the clinic personally - 12 participants who after he just talked to us for nearly 2 hours, brought their horses in, 3 at a time, for 2 hours. In that time, they were told to be completely focussed on their horses, totally ignore him, audience or other participants unless he was actively talking to/helping them personally. Great principle I reckon, to be really 'present' & focussed when you're with your horse, but for the sake of attending a clinic... meant that between him doing bits with everyone else & talking to the audience, they prob got about a half hour max hands on instruction from him in the day and didn't have all that much opportunity to learn by watching others with their horses, which is a big plus of group workshops IMO.

Another fantastic principle that he stuck to, which many 'experts'(see the recent 'experts' thread for definition. If you can find it...) tend to foresake, in favour of a better show, was not doing more than the very basics, if he felt that was needed. For e.g. he is big on getting a connection first & foremost & with a horse who was a little anxious & distracted, he advised the owner just 'match steps' & essentially just walk around beside her horse wherever it wanted to go. Another girl who's horse was rather... jaded & dull, he advised she let the horse loose in the arena & just spend the time letting her go wherever, but frequently just asking the horse to look at the girl. So thats what these 2 did for the whole time. Might have been an important principle to impress on them, but i would have felt rather... ripped off if I'd paid for a clinic to only do that. Also for the rest of us, it was little more interesting than watching paint dry after the first 5 minutes.

So... considering they were important principles, not sure how he could have done that better - maybe explaining he feels those things should be done 'ad-nauseum' for a certain horse, but here & now, for the sake of the clinic, lets do 10 mins then learn some different things the pair may be ready for. And learning from others... Maybe if he had only one person in at a time - then they would have his undivided attention & they would also not miss watching how he helps 8/12 of the others, but only the one either side of their 'slot'.

I was going to book Darcy in for one of his clinics but I left thinking while a private lesson would be awesome if he did them, one of his vids would likely be more worthwhile than a clinic.
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-12-2020, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Oh & was surprised to hear how much he said was relatively new for him, that he was still learning. I know he's been training horses for some years but seems a lot of what he does/says now is quite different for him too.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-12-2020, 05:45 PM
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I've been to (as an auditor) two big name , large, clinics; both Buck Branaman. The first I learned something from, the second was a waste of money. Buck works so much from a formulaic approach to teaching his riders that it's plainly obvious he is basically going through the motions of teaching anything. Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics.



Just the oppostite of what you are describing, he spent time teaching the riders to do different actions with the hrose, with no mention at all as to the whether or not the hrose was anxious, or mentally present or not, and how to address that. The riders were all bound up in doing things without really looking at the horse to see what was happening, nor understanding what was it they were looking to have change.


Really, when you are teaching/learning something, it's about affecting a change. Certainly, this is ever so true in training animals (or raising children). you do something, looking for your pupil to make a change of some kind.
What these clinicians need to teach is how to get humans to look for , and reward, the 'change'. It requires learning to truly be observant of horse behavior.

@DanteDressageNerd posted a really neat video of the TRT guy (Tristan somebody) and how he worked in hand with a very nervous mare, and in just a few minutes affected a change that might go unnoticed by many horsepeople, but that had profound meaning to the horse.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-12-2020, 06:06 PM
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WS is changing a lot of his ways lately, getting more in touch with the "feelings" which I think is awesome. But one has to remember, he is selling a program based on repeat sales, not so much clinics.

TRT has a lot of the same stuff, much more feeling too. English focused, so maybe does more work sooner? Hard to tell but I like to watch his stuff.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Oh & was surprised to hear how much he said was relatively new for him, that he was still learning. I know he's been training horses for some years but seems a lot of what he does/says now is quite different for him too.

I've not been to one of his clinics, but I love watching him on Youtube, most especially the videos about horses that made him rethink everything he thought he knew.


He's certainly not afraid to admit he was wrong about something in the past, and that there may be better ways of approaching certain issues. That alone gained a lot of respect points with me.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I've been to (as an auditor) two big name , large, clinics; both Buck Branaman. The first I learned something from, the second was a waste of money. Buck works so much from a formulaic approach to teaching his riders that it's plainly obvious he is basically going through the motions of teaching anything. Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics.



Just the oppostite of what you are describing, he spent time teaching the riders to do different actions with the hrose, with no mention at all as to the whether or not the hrose was anxious, or mentally present or not, and how to address that. The riders were all bound up in doing things without really looking at the horse to see what was happening, nor understanding what was it they were looking to have change.


Really, when you are teaching/learning something, it's about affecting a change. Certainly, this is ever so true in training animals (or raising children). you do something, looking for your pupil to make a change of some kind.
What these clinicians need to teach is how to get humans to look for , and reward, the 'change'. It requires learning to truly be observant of horse behavior.

@DanteDressageNerd posted a really neat video of the TRT guy (Tristan somebody) and how he worked in hand with a very nervous mare, and in just a few minutes affected a change that might go unnoticed by many horsepeople, but that had profound meaning to the horse.
I like Buck, Tom & BIll Dorrance, and Ray Hunt. I think if you had all day to mess with one horse and years to figure out what the hell these masters are talking about you would learn a lot and have nice horses.

One of my biggest criticisms of a young horse trainer I've come across a few times is he knows how to sound like them and get some decent results with problemed horses, but I'm not sure he knows how to make a clear point yet. That is something nobody from this school of horsemanship is able to get done.

Proclaiming "there!" when the horse does something good is just not an effective teaching tool for people. I half think they have such a following because there are just that many people out there that are way over-horsed with a hot mess and don't ride very well to begin with.

Warwick Schiller is a gifted trainer, but I don't care for the esoteric lectures on human psychology. That definitely plays a part in the relationship but if you have an actual problem to get solved his newer stuff is like listening to a monk who answers questions on legitimate problems with a haiku.

The more I see different trainers, the more I think basically anything works as long as the horse understands it.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 02:47 PM
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The trainer/instructor needs to explain what they are looking for and what they have seen when they say, "There, see that? now he is relaxed."


The person who has the problem with the horse, or who has even created the problem with the horse , obviously cannot see that thing that the training is looking to have happen. So, the trainer needs to be able to concretely explain and point out this 'change'. That is ever so true.


As to why that change matters, sometimes you just have to take it on faith. What happens a lot is that people don't really see what the difference is, but they see the mechanics and they go home, thrashing around with the mechanics, affecting no change and simply dulling out the horse in the process. That's why so-called Natural horsemanship taught via video often ends up a total mess at home.


still, sometimes you learn something. Sometimes it takes three or four times listening, and making a lot of mistakes. And, learning some of the mechanics , (things like how to swing a rope tail, how and where to stand, where to direct your energy, etc.) is essential. You just don't want to be thinking that that's all there is to it or you won't look to the horse for answering the 'is this helping?' question.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 06:50 PM
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I attended a WS clinic at a horse expo that was held locally a few years ago.

I really, really like his Youtube videos, but had a hard time at the clinic. I feel like he just talked and told stories the whole time. While some stuff was interesting, I didn't see a lot of hands on stuff. There were 2 participants in the clinic and I actually felt bad that they would have spent money to participate.

He discussed a few tools they could use, but essentially they just rode their horses around the arena for 90 minutes while he talked.

I had thought about paying to audit the Buck Brannaman clinic that was held in our province in November, but from feedback from others decided it might not be worth the driving time & money.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-15-2020, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgnmoose View Post
Warwick Schiller is a gifted trainer, but I don't care for the esoteric lectures on human psychology. ...
The more I see different trainers, the more I think basically anything works as long as the horse understands it.
Yeah, the 'esoteric lectures'... I thought there were many good, relevant bits there, but also they were... way much. & as cbar said, he talked the whole time & didn't really give the participants much, I thought.

As for 'anything works'... yeah, but HOW does it work? Eg CA might have extremely 'obedient', almost robotic horses, but they're not doing it out of willingness, true respect, rather learned helplessness - they have learned the excrement will hit the turbine if they don't. I think with basic understanding & skill with the fundamental training principles, yeah, anyone can make a horse obedient, but to be considerate, respectFUL of the horse, have them *willing* is so very important IMO & something, IME, most trainers do not get, often do not even seem to know how, realisee it's missing.
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