Monday, May 16, 2016

Clinic Etiquette: Help Requested

Our Karen Healey clinic was moved back to this weekend. Turns out she had double booked herself judging a show at Old Salem Farm. No big deal of course!

I just have another week to stew over it! Having never ridden in a clinic myself, and only audited a few...., I'd ask my fellow bloggers what their tips and tricks are for riding in a clinic!

A few thoughts thus far:
* Dress conservatively
* Be polite
* Don't be afraid to ask for additional direction
* Bring a notebook (for auditing the other divisions)
* Listen

What else! I mean,.... I'm concerned about the basics.....whether I do my usual walk down to the ring and mount....or do I get on at the barn and walk down? Do I use my show girth or do I use my "old faithful" because I know exactly what holes will be tight?

Help! What am I forgetting!


  1. Always use my best tack, spit shined. Also I mount up at the barn and then walk down into the ring. If you get a chance to watch a group before you do. How exciting!

    1. Ahh! Sadly the 2'6" group goes first at 8:30 am both days! A blessing in disguise so I don't sit around in a ball of nerves whole auditing!

  2. Though I'm not a GM fan, I use his guidelines for riding in clinics: navy/black polo shirt (or long-sleeved shirt depending on the weather, but definitely something with a collar), tan breeches, tall boots, white saddle pad, with my show-quality tack. Our mounting block is right in our ring, so I don't have the option of riding down to our ring. Basic rule of thumb: look as polished and professional as possible. Good luck!

  3. Our stable policy is to dress to impress, collared shirt, show tack, everything perfectly cleaned including horse. With O I always wore my spurs to begin with, way easier to take off than put on (and it wastes your time with them). I also thought out a short elevator type of speech about myself, my horse, and our goals. I tend to jabber if caught off guard. :)

  4. I haven't had the pleasure of participating in a clinic yet but I am sure you will do great!

  5. Mentally prepare a brief description of you and your horse- what level you're at, what you're working on, what you'd like to achieve. I've also been caught off guard by not having a description of my warm-up routine! (I think I stammered something like "Um we walk a lot? Because my horse is old?")

  6. Exciting! Have fun, and really try. If something seems too hard or weird that you're asked to do, try it best you can. If you can't get it exactly correct, she will appreciate your effort and most likely break it down or help you out. Can't wait to hear about it!!

  7. My tack is usually nicer and cleaner for a clinic than for a show. In a clinic the instructor is going to be closer to you, and maybe actually touching your stuff. Have it clean! In a show, the judge is further away. :)

    I usually go crazy with the matching everything for a clinic. (Navy pad + navy polos + navy shirt + navy bonnet, etc). I just feel like that brings a level of coordination. I wouldn't go all out with bright colors in hunterland, though.

    Mainly, I like to go in knowing what the horse and I are good at and where our training holes and problem spots are. I'll often mention what we're working towards (shows, levels, life goals) to help direct the instruction.

  8. I second what everyone else said. Have a good time!

  9. I have no suggestion that someone else hasn't already mentioned. I LOVE auditing and participating in clinics! Have fun! :)

  10. I would use nice tack, but maybe clean old faithful girth and use that instead of fancy show girth that might not be as reliable. I tend to not ask a lot of questions in clinics, but that's just my personality and now always the best plan.

  11. Ok, I didn't have time to read all the comments but here's my 2 cents from years of clinicing (I LOVE IT). Yes to everything you said and...have realistic expectations, she might see one thing and you'll work on it the whole time. That's awesome! She can't fix all the things, if you make an improvement with one thing, that's a great clinic. Don't over share when you introduce yourself and your horse, it wastes your minutes with her! Give her the highlight reel, maybe what you want to get out of the ride/want help with (pick one thing) or give her free rein to watch you warm up and let her pick. Then get riding! You want her wisdom, so ask questions if needed, but soak up the knowledge as she instructs you, let her do most of the talking/explaining.

  12. Ooh so exciting!! Like what others said, be prepared to provide the summarized version of who you and your horse are, and maybe also have an idea of some areas that need improvement. The clinician may already have exercises planned out for your group but can potentially tailor it to your needs. Mostly tho have fun! Don't be afraid to ask questions and participate to maximize the experience!