Let me start by saying that I think Allison is a fabulous clinician. Do you want to take a clinic with her? Well, I’m not sure you do.
Allison picked me apart. And it was hard to hear. Really, really hard. At one point I wanted to yell at her “stop *#!* picking on me!” But, thankfully, I didn’t.
Was her picking on me pointless and mean? Absolutely not. She was trying to make me a more effective rider. As well as make my riding as fair to my horse as possible.
Allison starts the day with a lecture about pressure and how horses respond to pressure. Its clear from the lecture that horsemanship is very important to her. The lecture is short and sweet but gives the clinic participants an idea of why she teaches the way she does and why she nitpicks.
And she does nitpick. Be prepared for that if you ride with her. That said, it seems she finds one person in each group that she really focuses on, and I can’t say why she does that. Maybe we are struggling the most in the group? I will say I was definitely the least experienced person in my group, and at first it irritated me that I was her focus student. But in the end, as hard as it all was to hear, I really learned a lot and got some great take aways. Were any of the things she told me different than what I hear in lessons? No, not really, but she did have some great explanations for why I was doing certain things.
For example, because I have an ineffective lower leg (no surprise to me), I sit in order to get Georgie in front of my leg. Allison insisted I not sit, but instead tap Georgie with my whip to get her to be more forward. I shouldn’t have to sit and get back into two point so often, but Georgie SHOULD be in front of my leg, and until my leg is more effective in two point, this option will work.
She also insisted Georgie be more forward more often. I tend to let her go into neutral and then our distances are off, we struggle over jumps and honestly it’s all a mess. Allison insisted I keep her forward (by yelling at me a lot) and she was completely right. When Georgie stayed in front of my leg we got better distances and everything was so much easier. I like it when it’s easier.
So, should you take a clinic with Allison? I have no idea. Some people walked away from the clinic without much of a take away. Some people don’t like being yelled at in front of other adults and made to feel like they don’t know how to ride. Trust me, it’s not fun. But for me, I don’t want a clinician telling me “good job” over and over. There’s always room to improve, and even if Allison doesn’t say it in the kindest way, at least she says it.
The best part of the clinic? On the second day, when I was feeling pretty run down despite trying really hard and Allison says “This is world’s better than yesterday. Good job.” What? We improved? In one day??? YES!!! You know what, that is all I need to know-that I can improve and should keep doing this.
And now onto Rebecca. With Georgie in front of my leg.