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Clinics: A Stepping Stone from Home to Horse Show

Just a few short weeks ago my 6-year-old mare and I had the opportunity to attend a clinic with David Oliynyk. It had been a few years since I had the chance to attend a clinic like this, so we were excited to have the chance to get another perspective. One thing that reigns true in the horse world is that there’s always more than one way to get the job done, and having an outside perspective and different point of view from such a well-known and knowledgeable trainer was very beneficial to us.

We live in New Hampshire, so by the end of April, we hadn’t ventured off property to any horse shows. Naturally, I was a little anxious about jumping right into the busy horse show setting with a very good but young horse. It had been about 10 months since the last time we were off property, so we decided that the clinic would provide a wonderful stepping stone between home and going to a horse show. The day went amazing and my horse blew past all my expectations, acting more like a seasoned 16-year-old and not the baby that she is. David had great advice to give and stayed very patient with all of the riders no matter their skill level.

So, if you’re reading this and thinking that maybe doing a clinic would be good for you and your horse, my advice would be to clinic and clinic often! A lot of times they’re cheaper than horse shows, provide a more relaxed setting for horse and rider, and allow for more schooling opportunities. I learned so much from the 1.5-hour session that I participated in. Even though my horse went beautifully, David noticed subtle movements and offered me great advice on how to make the necessary corrections to get the best jump from my horse. Looking back, I’m thrilled that we went and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a great confidence booster for both of us. It gave us that horse showing feel without all the stress and the expense. When you head to a clinic, just remember to stay open-minded, to try your best, and be willing to learn. If you give it your best effort, you’re sure to walk away with a positive experience and some lessons learned.

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