A Positive Difference: Rules for Making a Clinic Attendance Worth It
There are three reasons people attend clinics: education, socialization, and experimentation. Clinics are an investment, to say the least. You give up your time, your money, and go to a new place (either with or without your horse) to learn from industry professionals and leaders. Whether you gain on your investment is up to you, though. And whatever reason you chose to attend one, there are a few rules to follow to make any clinic a success.
Identify a goal. Whether you're attending a dressage clinic or a horsemanship clinic, you're going with something in mind. Do you need help getting your mare ready to breed? Interested in learning how to maintain your composure in the show ring? Maybe you're looking for guidance on how to improve your communication with your mount. Whatever your reason, carefully research what the clinic is about, and make sure to go into it with at least one goal in mind.
Put in the preparation. Focus your prep work with both your horse and your tack, making sure both are in the best shape for the clinic, especially if it's mounted. If it's unmounted, then prep your horse with training so that you know specifically what you're looking for and what you believe the problem is. It could be anything, so expect to hear anything. This brings us to the next point.
Go into it with an open mind. Don't assume that there is only one way to fix a problem. Listen to what is being said and demonstrated. Imagine how to incorporate it with your horse. Take notes if you get the chance. It's not very often you'll get the opportunity to receive information from people in such an intimate setting, and you're a paying customer. Use the time as best you can.
Positive reinforcement. It's understandable that horses can act up when responding to a new environment, a stressful situation, or a new way to communicate a rider's need. Be patient, and remember that when the clinic is over, don't forget what you learned. Be sure to apply the lessons learned to your horse, but remember that your relationship with your horse is your responsibility, as is ensuring the lesson sticks with you both.
Finding the perfect clinic for you depends on your needs. Facebook is full of various clinics being offered, and all it takes is a simple search through local events. If you're not near a local one, then try looking at the state level. Go to local feed stores to see if they have any flyers for upcoming events. Get in touch with any local stables to see if they know of anything.
If you're in Georgia (USA) and looking for a good clinic, I highly recommend the 2018 Georgia Arabian Horse Association Horsemanship Clinic. Members and non-members are welcome, and you sign up by going to www.georgia-arabian.com and clicking the Activities tab, or simply click here to go to the sign up sheet. This is an unmounted clinic, meaning that you won't need your horse. There will be a plethora of speakers and demonstrations, with topics of discussion ranging from broodmare care to sports psychology. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided, which is included in the clinic prices. This is a clinic for all disciplines and ages. It is being hosted at Talaria Farms in Newnan, GA. For more information on this and the GAHA in general, visit their website listed abvoe or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.