PREPARATION BEFORE A HORSE CLINICBookmark this
Attending a clinic can be a big investment of time and money and you want to make the most of it. The better you prepare yourself and your horse the more likely you’ll have a successful outing.
Most of the time we secure our clinic spot months out, then it sneaks up on us quickly, and we forget the purpose on why we originally secured our spot.
Instead of arriving totally unprepared, below are some tips on preparing you both for a positive experience….
1) RESEARCH THE VENUE
Research the venue beforehand and find out what facilities are available. Do you require to carry water? Are there yards available?
Toilets? Catering? It’s also a great idea to pack plenty of hay, hard feed and buckets for water to avoid sharing troughs.
2) PACK APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT
Understand what you will be doing at your clinic and pack the appropriate equipment. It is best to ride in your usual gear and know that it fits.
Place boots or bell boots on your horse. Depending on the clinic, you maybe asking your horse to move in unfamiliar ways. It is unfair to allow them to hurt themselves by knocking their legs without protection on them.
Pack extra rugs to keep your horse warm in between sessions.
Check the weather and dress accordingly as we can get cold and stiffen up in between sessions.
3) PREPARE YOUR HORSE
Depending on the type of clinic, some may require a level of fitness. If you haven’t ridden in awhile, you cannot expect your horse to go as well or for as long as it did last time you rode it. A certain level of fitness will make your experience more beneficial. You may also risk short and long term muscle injury to your horse if it doesn’t have an appropriate level of fitness for the clinic tasks.
4) SET SOME ACHIEVABLE GOALS
Take some time out one night before your clinic, and work on some realistic, achievable goals.
Write down your strengths and write down your weaknesses.
Be honest with yourself, there’s no point working on something your fabulous at, as a clinic is usually designed to find areas for improvement.
If you’ve never performed a flying change before, I would write it down in your improvement column, however, at a clinic you may only realistically learn how to set shoulders up for the transition, and In a walk! Please don’t expect miracles in one day.
5) PREPARE YOUR MIND
Once you’ve worked through your goal setting exercise, you’ll encounter a clearer and more focused outlook on your event.
a) Have an open mind. There is no point investing and attending a clinic if you are going to refuse to even attempt what the clinician is asking you to do. Make the most of the learning opportunity by trying to do what they are teaching. Expect and accept that both the horse and you are likely to be asked to work outside your comfort zone.
b) Be physically prepared. Often a clinician is going to challenge you and the horse. While we would all prefer that the horse never offers any resistance, sometimes the horse needs time to work out the right answer to a question or an aid. YOU need to be fit enough to persevere when required so the intended release is well timed.
c) Drink plenty of water throughout the day! Poor hydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, poor concentration and can affect our learning ability.
d) Be Honest with your clinician. If they ask, “Did you feel that?” don’t answer yes, if you didn’t. You are there to learn so be honest and ask questions if you don’t understand what is being requested.
To make your Clinic Packing less stressful, click the link below and download my simple Clinic Checklist in the Blog Section