Sunday, June 1, 2014

I know dressage riders love clinics and all, but...

Clinics can be wonderful learning experiences, but
does the cost of the clinic reflected in the learning experience?
I finally saw it. A dressage clinic advertised for $250 for 45 minutes.


In 2013 the average doctor earned $80 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

  • The top commercial pilots make $120/hour
  • Anesthesiologists make $100/hour
  • Legal professionals make $130/hour
  • Orthodontists make $98/hour
  • Clinical pharmacists make $53/hour
  • Engineers make $61/hour
  • Dentists make $78/hour
  • Network and computer system admins make $35/hour
What makes a clinician worth that kind of money? 
Well, I guess they are really, really accomplished riders and teachers. But how much can be gleaned from a 45-minute session? I guess that depends on you, the rider, and your goals for you and your horse. If a clinician can get you past a problem holding you back, $250 might seem like a bargain. Putting the money down is a leap of faith, though. For the average amateur on the typical horse, who is making progress with proper regular instruction,  it may not be worth it.

In my own experience, the best instructors have gotten the chance to know me and my horse over the course of many sessions. Their insights are invaluable. I've had some valuable insights in clinics, but the value of the clinic session had absolutely no relation to the price tag.  It seemed to be related to the clinician's focus and interest in me and my horse, and their determination to assess and help.

In fact, if anything I've found that the more expensive clinicians can be more distant


  1. Hate to say it, but prices like that are not uncommon here in NJ. I've seen rates even higher sometimes.

    If the clinician is traveling from a distance, the extra cost may be for airfare, even lodging. Some might be for rental of a facility. And, then, often the people putting on the clinic might want to make a profit. All of it MAY not be going to the trainer, but I'd still think the bulk of the fee is.

  2. Jean is right--the per-ride cost doesn't go completely to the clinician. It also has to cover their hotel & airfare, and any additional food & venue expenses.

  3. I am somewhere in the middle of agreeing some of the prices are reasonable and thinking they are nuts. As a hunter/jumper I've paid an embarrassing amount of money for a clinic. No, I didn't think it was worth it. I did clinic with the same person again when the rate dropped (she was still just as accomplished and sought-after). I think you have to come with definite goals for the clinic, and express them, to get the most out of it. But that also depends, haha. They are good for a different perspective from regular coaching, not a substitute for it.

    But really, I'm wondering about Harv and how he is doing.

  4. The most expensive clinic I have ridden in was nearly $200/hour. It was VERY worth it. It was a clinician who has since moved somewhere with less expensive airfare, so his clinics are actually less despite the fact I'm sure he gets paid more now. Anyway, I was having specific explosiveness problems with my horse away from home which he demonstrated in our first canter transition, and this clinician specialized in working through those type of issues. (Plus works with riders from walk/trot through GP - and has made both WB and off breed horses into GP horses.) It was the single most valuable clinic I have ridden in, despite costing the most - and was worth several rides in the other clinics for sure.


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