Monday, January 16, 2012

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word

"Where seldom is heard a discouraging word..."

This does not describe my last clinic on Ri-Ri. I have a confessional personality, and would post even the most unhappy of  scenes--but Bob did not get much footage. Last time he videotaped he filled up the HD drive on the cam, and I could barely retrieve/edit the humungous file on my little Macbook are. This time I suggested he break the session into segments. Well,   he only shot a minute or two at a time, and he missed a lot. I'd intended to share a whole segment of sitting trot work but it didn't get captured.

 I'm not sure there is anything with sufficient context, or sufficiently instructive, to share. Some of it's a bit harsh -- wish he hadn't captured that. I learned a lot but not all of it was easy to hear. I'll write more later...


  1. Don't be discouraged. Not every clinic is a winner. A lot depends on the horse you are riding that day and the clinician's ability to assess the true quality of your training.

    I've had a harsh clinician or two in my day. Good ones always work to find the positive instead of the negative or work hard to fix the problems without being too negatively critical.

    A good clinician takes the horse and rider before him/her and finds ways to improve things no matter how much talent in either they see. That is a good teacher. The pony gaited mover and the magnificent mover should both be better after a good clinic.

    The only exception to this would be working with a trainer with whom you have already established a solid, honest personal relationship and then expectations can be much more demanding.

  2. Sorry you had a negative reaction to the clinic!

    I've had some clinics where I rode out feeling as if I hadn't a clue how to ride. However, they left me with things to work on which significantly improved future work. Funny how that can happen! But I love a good kick in the butt, and my trainer knows I want her to be as hard on me as possible, and I pick clinicians who will be, too. I tend to distrust the word of those who are too kind!

    I hope you were able to ride away from this clinic with positive learning even if you feel more negative about how it went.

    (Also, I'm the one who commented on your youtube today - I'm not sure what username shows up over there or if it helps you make the connection.)

  3. Hi, I guess it just hit a little too close to home. I appreciate hearing the unvarnished truth, put in plain but not mean-spirited language. I think highly of this clinician, but am not sure my -- lets call it a 'reflective style' -- is a good match.

    Net, I'm posting the video I uploaded tomorrow, i thought it crystallized the tone of the session. There is one other "theme" from the clinic that may explain my down-in-the-dumps post.

  4. I can see that! The clip I saw didn't seem mean, but in the context of the entire clinic very well could have been, plus it matters how it felt to you. I am very sensitive if I feel someone is being mean to my horse, but am super critical of myself so tend to be less sensitive to criticism about my riding. I think if this person was a poor fit for your learning style, you are absolutely within your rights to not ride with him again; also, really, anything you feel is totally valid, and there's just no reason to feel bad when riding - it should be fun, especially when you have done such a great job with such a nice boy!

  5. I once had some clinician tell me right in front of the group that my horse was rank, mean and unhappy in general and that I would probably never amount to anything as a rider. Ever. Does that beat your scenario?

    Granted, the clinician was ALSO rank, mean and unhappy in general, so the words eventually meant nothing to me. My horse and I went on to kick some a$$ and leave her words in the dust.

  6. I left a "trainer" because of her treatment of me--I wasn't one of her two $2k-a-month clients with horse in full board and training. I was hauling in for a lesson every two weeks. She played favorites and was a liar. Her high dollar clients (she had two of them) were more important than her reputation, which is in the toilet. I stayed with her longer than I should have, but I learned my lesson. Lower level backyard trainers stay that way for a reason.

    You pay money to these clinicians, and they should be, at the very least, tactful. A lot of them cannot work with the horse you rode in on because perhaps they see themselves working with the Olympic team short list and that isn't what most of us are.

    For what my opinion is worth, I think you ride quite well, your horse is obedient and lovely, and you two make a very pretty picture. Don't let one bad experience discourage you from clinics OR from working again with this clinician. Maybe he/she had a bad day, too.

  7. I think there is a fine line between being instruction that is strict, stern, and honest, and instruction that is demoralizing. My own personal instructor is brutally honest about my flaws, and spends a lot of time making me more correct so that I can ride more effectively. He is also quick to let me know when I am doing something right.

    I have ridden with people in the past that have do nothing but criticize and do nothing to build the confidence of their students. I have come to find that I take criticism from an instructor much better when I feel confident in my ability to make an improvement, and if they at least even pretend like they have confidence in me as well, then that's even better.


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