By Paige Cerulli
You’ve been accepted to ride in your first clinic and the date is fast approaching. If you’re nervous or not sure what to expect, then you will definitely want to check out these tips we’ve gathered below for you to help prepare for your first clinic.
Do Your Research
This is a step that many riders overlook and can land you in trouble. Before you start worrying about what to wear or what to bring to the clinic, take some time to do your research. Research the clinician, their approaches to riding, and how they typically conduct their clinics. If the clinician has books or videos out, watch them to familiarize yourself with their techniques.
You will also want to review the clinic’s description carefully to familiarize yourself with what will be covered. If you want to improve particular areas of your riding or need help with a certain issue, then make sure that the clinic will encompass that. You don’t want to put in the effort and expense of attending a clinic only to discover that it’s not what you needed.
Check out YouTube to see if there are any videos of the clinician’s previous clinics. This can give you valuable insight to what the clinician likes and doesn’t like. You can also evaluate what the riders are wearing to get a sense of the types of turnout that the clinician prefers.
Next, reach out to your horse network to find out if anyone has ridden with the clinician previously. Check with your friends and trainer, but you might also post on a few online horse forums to see if anyone is willing to share their experience. Many riders are helpful to offer tips to others who are heading into their first clinics, and finding someone who has previously ridden with the clinician can help you to better prepare.
Get Proper Attire
Your turnout during the clinic is a sign of respect for the clinician and for the other riders. It’s important that you find out the type of attire that is preferred. As a general rule, you should dress for the clinic as if you were going to a show, but take your wardrobe down a step. Rather than wearing a jacket or vest, wearing a polo or collared shirt is considered appropriate. Your attire needs to be clean, well-fitting, and safe – don’t forget your show helmet
or hat and gloves
You’ll also need to consider your horse’s attire. You should approach preparing your horse for the clinic like you do preparing him for a show. Your tack should be clean and well-fitting, and your horse needs to be groomed, neat, and tidy. It’s a good idea to use a super-clean show saddle pad
, or buy a new pad for the clinic. These little things make a big difference in your overall appearance.
Work With Your Horse On Trailering
It’s a good idea to hold a brush-up training session on loading and unloading into a trailer before the clinic date approaches. Keeping your horse’s trailering skills fresh can help to reduce the chances that you’ll run into an issue on the morning of the clinic. Be sure to leave plenty of extra time for loading your horse, just in case.
Enlist a Friend to Help
When heading to your first clinic, it can be helpful to have a friend along. Your friend can act as a groom to help you get prepared, and can then observe the clinic, take notes, and potentially videotape or take photos. You’ll be presented with lots of information during a clinic, so being able to review the information later on can ensure that you get the most out of the clinic.
We hope you have a great time during your first clinic. Remember, you’re there to improve, so don’t get too nervous. Have fun and be open to what the clinician will teach you.