Monday, August 26, 2013

BNTs or Clinicians: What you should know...

Dear clinician:

I just wanted to make some comments on our training session. Thanks, first of all. Second, during our session a few thoughts may have crossed your mind. Thoughts like "Can she not hear me?" "She looks so tentative." "Why can't she just follow my instructions?"

There are some answers. I'm...
  1. Too starstruck to ride. I'm riding in front of someone I admire or hope to impress--but things are not going how I'd dreamed they would go.  I'm trying too hard, and I care too much, which is a near-guarantee that things will go pear-shaped.
  2. Having some karmic payback. I'm aware of others watching, and I know what kind of comments get made among clinic auditors. Worse still, I recall my own behavior as an auditor, making smug statements about the poor chap riding in front of a BNT. When seated in a chair in an indoor arena, with no chance that my riding will come under scrutiny, it's easy to feel superior and make pronouncements. I've done it, so it's even harder to be at the other end of the stick.
  3. Not yet transformed. Somehow you think that the clinician's mere presence will make you better. Alas, not so. They're only human, and a lot of the time they are saying the precise words you have heard dozens of times from your regular instructor.  
But here is my assurance. It may seem that I'm mentally making my grocery list during my time with you, but I am absorbing every word. If I can't act on your words, or make your instructions HAPPEN in the session, you need to know that I will think about every syllable you utter for the next several days, and I will incorporate your instructions and advice in my riding. I'll drive my regular instructor, my husband, and my friends and acquaintances nuts by recounting the points you made during our session. Your clinic will change me, and it will change my riding. 

Your words are having an effect -- you just might not see it.

Oh, and a special note to Catherine Haddad: Real teachers know that their impact is far greater than they realize -- from people who audit to people who encounter the people who audit and participate. We're all so hungry for advice from people in the know! 


  1. I am so ready for you whiny people to lay off of Haddad.

  2. I'm loving this series sparked by Haddad! Keep it up!

  3. Anon, you have a long wait, honey. The woman's got a brass set and she deserves every syllable.

  4. Well written! This strikes a cord with me as overweight fumbling ammy on a so-so horse that tolerates my attempts at training level dressage. I might go to 2 clinics a year if that, and am careful to choose clinicians that i feel can offer something to me and my horse.

    There is a certain standard of behavior that ANY professional should be held against. No matter how successful the clinician! My money is just as green as some upper level rider and I deserve respect as a customer. Going on a public forum after taking god knows how much $$ from star struck ammies and stating that she feels they are disrespecting her for showing up was just tacky.

    Just because CHS has had the good fortune and luck (yes I said luck) to be in the position that she is, does not mean that she can lord it over us little folk.

    Anon, The blog post that generated all of the hullabaloo, showed her true colors as a professional and as an individual. She may have a small group of people that make excuses for her because she is who she is, but i am glad I found out before I blew $150+ for an hour of just wasting CHS's time.

  5. Whooooa cowgirls! Let's not fight. ;) Instead, let's look at it in a moderate sense. Voice of reason.

    1) There really is no place for rudeness in professionalism. There's no need to be a jerk; it doesn't help anyone. You can be good at your job, but a total *heehaw* in manners. I think Haddad proved that point, and the proof is in the pudding. I guarantee she's made her own bed and will lose clients and followers. I'm not likely to follow her; I'm sensitive and likely to lose my confidence under that teaching style. ;)

    2) Horses and riding should also be FUN. Amateurs may have less money to spend on BNTs, but they have every last drop of will to improve their skills. There's no need to insult a well-meaning ammy wanting to improve herself and her horse's experience. None at all.

    3) Haddad probably has a slight point, but her delivery is tragically poor and therefore loses its clout and target audience. It's rendered impotent by her motives and her manners. Had she stated it in such a way as to encourage the ammy riders ... as opposed to DIScourage, we might still be listening. ;) As it is, I now view her as a snob. Was she never a beginner? Was she born in the saddle?

    Stacey, I feel your pain. I, too, have experienced the anxiety associated with riding with BNTs. I find myself always saying, "But, I swear we can do this at HOME!! He NEVER acts this way! I promise my legs are NEVER this floppy!" ;)

  6. I don't consider this fighting. And after all, a good lather is half the shave :-).

  7. Wow - so I just took the time to read the original CoH post. Wow. Wow. Wow. I had no idea someone who makes their living, or at least part of it, off of clinics could be foolish enough to write a post like that. My personal horsey idol is Jimmy Wofford, and I can't ever imagine him writing something like that.

  8. It always takes me a complete day to process all that I get in a clinic. On my way home, usually my husband goes and he drives, I will write down everything they told me. It is always much clearer AFTER the ride.


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