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.