As previously mentioned, Susanne Winslade http://susannewinslade.com/ was at my barn for a clinic from Friday last week through Tuesday this week. I was lucky enough to be able to audit (free so I took as much advantage of it as I could!) on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. On Saturday and Monday I only saw a rider or two but on Sunday I was able to stay and watch four riders including P who recently moved to this barn but who I boarded with at J’s barn.
She worked on very similar things to Jennifer Truett and there was a lot of consistency there. She worked a lot on stretching the horse and helping them carry themselves properly as well as working a lot on rider biomechanics. She did use some gadgets which surprised me a little since I think she was the first clinician that I’ve ever seen used them. She did use them “properly” in my mind which was to show the horse/rider a different way of going and then remove them. I also liked that she does lunge lessons since that’s also not something I see with a lot of clincians. She was very kindly and had a great sense of humor. She also asked people to share how they were feeling a lot which I think was helpful since sometimes you can’t tell if the rider has the same understanding as the clinician. I was especially excited to watch this clinic since L wants me to take a lesson with her next time she is at my barn which I think will be early next year.
Honestly I wasn’t as impressed as I hoped I’d be. It’s really odd for me to feel this way and normally I’m impressed by every clinician I’ve seen. It’s not that she wasn’t making changes in horses she worked with but I guess the information just seemed so similar to what I get from L that I’m not sure how I feel about paying x5 the amount for even a small amount of additional improvement. I was also surprised by a few things that left me feeling a little negative. The gadgets was one, I’d be comfortable using something with her there but not sure I could replicate it appropriately once she left. I also felt like sometimes she did too much of one thing and not enough of another. For example she had one rider “nose to the wall” leg yield around the entire, regulation size, arena twice in each direction at a walk which just seems like a lot of repetition of something that is new, difficult, and taxing to the horse. She also had a rider use a wall to stop a horse from a walk, trot, and canter and did this several times in a row at each gait in each direction . I can see teaching the concept but the drilling seemed like a lot in a clinic setting. I’m really not trying to be critical, just slightly surprised at my own reaction to the clinic and trying to understand why I feel the way I do.
I do think that I will take at least one lesson next time she is there since I think it would be good to ride with someone else and since we are in a much different place than the other people who I saw ride so will likely get very different advice that may feel more valuable when it is customized to what we need. Again, not saying that she’s not an amazing clinician just that I felt like I wasn’t surprised by anything she said. Ultimately probably a good thing but a very different clinic experience.