You’ve just registered to ride in your first clinic – congratulations! Riding in a clinic is a great way to improve your skills and horsemanship. Clinics can be intimidating, but the better that you prepare, the more relaxed you’ll feel on the day of the clinic. Here are 6 ways that you should prepare to ride in a clinic.
1. Research the Clinician
Start your preparation by learning about the clinician you’ll be riding with. Visit the clinician’s website and read up on their approaches to riding. By familiarizing yourself with the clinician, their history, and their riding style, hopefully they won’t seem too intimidating on the day of the clinic.
2. Find Out About Dress Code
When you ride in a clinic, the way that you dress matters. While most clinicians won’t ask you to show up in full show apparel, it’s still important to appear neat, professional, and polished. Some clinicians have detailed specifications about what they want riders to wear. Ask the manager of the clinic about the expected dress code, and make sure that you have the necessary clothing and supplies.
3. School Your Horse Like You Normally Do
It may be tempting to school your horse intensely on the topics that you will be studying in the clinic, but remember that the purpose of a clinic is to learn and improve as a rider. It’s expected that you and your horse will have weaknesses in some areas, so instead of drilling on these areas until they’re perfect, continue schooling your horse as you normally do. There will be time to work on your weaknesses during the clinic.
4. Make a Packing List
Packing for a clinic can be chaotic, and you don’t want to arrive to the grounds only to realize that you’ve left something important back home. Start making a packing list so that you can check off each item as you pack it.
5. Clean Your Tack and Equipment
When it comes to your horse’s tack and equipment, prepare for a clinic much in the same way that you would prepare for a show. You should clean your horse’s tack and wash his saddle pad so that he is clean and presentable.
6. Stay Calm
Lastly, try to keep yourself calm throughout the process. Clinics are great educational opportunities, and they can even be fun. Try to find a friend to come along with you to help keep you relaxed and to keep you company.