Canter & Candor

Canter and Candor; an honest account of an amateur equestrian and her life with an OTTB

Clinics and Grids and Evasions, oh my!


This past Saturday a clinician came to my barn to do a grid jumping clinic. Since I’d never done a real clinic before, I thought it could be a learning experience, so I signed me and C up.

From the start he was on his best behavior, but as soon as we left warmup and got into the ring, he was trying new evasive tactics. Shoulder popping struck again, a bout of Sideways Head Syndrome, and the classic ‘here-let-me-run-very-fast-to-avoid-real-work’. Still, C wasn’t being a terror, just little things that made me growl at him really quietly so the clinician wouldn’t hear.


but I forgave him after ’cause look how cute he is in neon pink

I don’t think I’m going to head far into detail about the clinic but I felt really awful after. It wasn’t that the clinician wasn’t good, but she didn’t teach in a way that worked with me. I don’t need my hand held, but I do need occasional encouragement that I’m getting somewhere, or pointing out that maybe every one thing out of ten is going right. As it was, that didn’t really happen, and it felt like everything had gone so terribly wrong that, being the crybaby I am, I left the clinic and promptly burst into tears (we’re talking the ugliest crying ever– if you’ve never seen me cry, count yourself lucky).

kim crying gif blog

like this but redder

I have no doubt that for a different type of person, the clinic would’ve been awesome. I also have no doubt that I still learned from it, even if I felt like absolute crap after. I just think that it would’ve been more conducive to my learning to have it taught a different way. So I’m going to write down and list the parts of it that I found most helpful, so I can halt this negative Nancy train!

What I learned:

  • Sharper turns as a result of outside leg and both reins
  • Avoid noodle-ness by applying leg instead of trying to straighten with rein (bad habit of mine)
  • Ride the tempo that I want
  • Everything on my terms, not C’s
  • C does respect crossrails, but forgets they’re there when he’s too busy fighting me.
  • Keep my upper body still
  • I really hate jumping from the trot (okay, I knew this before, but now I really know this!)

Anyway, now that I’ve had a couple days to clear my head, I can definitely see the benefits. Another thing the clinician said was that I have been babying C a little too much. I told her I thought the turns were too sharp for us (~5-8m turn) and she essentially went, “No. Make him turn.” Turn he did! In lowering my expectations, I may have dropped them a little too far. Oops.

I will probably choose not to clinic with her again, even though she did have helpful input, just because I feel the best way for me to learn unfortunately doesn’t jive with the way she teaches. For thicker-skinned folk? Sure! Sadly, that’s not the best way for me (yeah, George Morris would probably flay me. I’d probably never recover from the trauma).

As a side note, the saddle saga continues– I bought an Albion Kontact off ebay for a screaming deal and again it just doesn’t quite fit him. Dammit, horse!

Current scoreboard… Saddles: 7. M: 0.

— M


3 thoughts on “Clinics and Grids and Evasions, oh my!

  1. I’m the same way with trainers. I like to be corrected, but I also need to be told when I do manage to get something right.


    • Definitely! During critiques in art classes past we went by the rule of thumb 3:1 critiques to compliments. I don’t think the ratio needs to be as high in the equestrian world, but I think it’s the right idea to cultivate a more confident rider. 🙂


  2. Pingback: 2016 Resolutions and Goals | Canter & Candor


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