Wednesday, April 18, 2012


There is an opportunity for us dressage riders that is being completely overlooked.  I hear so many people talking about all the dressage clinics that are being offered in our area, and how they "would" participate, if only they had the money (yes, riding in a clinic can be expensive).
Another thing I hear is that the person doesn't feel like they are "ready" to ride with a particular clinician.  I get that.
But what I don't get is that those same people who were lamenting about a lack of money (often $150-400.00 per ride), or lacking the expertise to ride in the clinic don't take advantage of the wonderful learning opportunity they would have by auditing (watching) the clinic.
I think the most well-attended clinic I have been to (auditing-wise) has had a grand total of about 15 auditors.
Talk about a missed opportunity!  Most clinics' auditing fee is between $15-25.00, and a lot of times includes a lunch!!  That is for all day!  And you get to take notes, and in a lot of clinics, you can talk with and ask questions of the clinician!!  That is a fraction of what it costs to ride for just 45 minutes in front of this instructor!  And you get 8 hours of instruction/lecture. And you don't have to worry about your horse, or transport, or anything can enjoy yourself, no stress...what could be better?
This is an incredible learning opportunity, and most people miss it.
We should be PACKING the clinics with auditors!  We, as riders, should audit every clinic that we don't ride in.
Why is this not happening? Can someone tell me, because I really want to know.  We have great clinicians come to our area of Florida (I know we are very lucky!) to give clinics at both private and public barns.  Big names such as Henk van Bergen and Kathy Connelly (both of whom I have actually ridden in clinics with), Jane Savoie, Betsy Steiner, Conrad Schumacher, Arthur Kottas (although not for a while), Marius Schreiner from the SRS, and many others from all over the world, some world leaders, and some lesser-knowns, but just as effective.
And every one of these clinics had just a spattering of auditors.
I am going to make it even more of a priority to audit the clinics that I don't ride in, to learn even more, to support the people who commit many hard hours of work to make these clinics happen, and to support my sport in my area.  Who else feels the way I do about this?  Please let me know your opinions.


  1. I totally agree that auditing is very valuable and frequently available. I make an effort to audit clinics as often as possible. Not owning a horse right now I can't ride in the clinics but even when I had a horse I tried to audit once before committing my money to ride with someone new. We are fortunate in this area (ATL Metro) to have many, many good clinicians visiting on a regular basis. I encourage all of my friends to audit rather than jump right into a clinic. It saves a lot of money and often they will find out they will work well, or not, with an instructor and can ride with him/her the next time they are in town.

  2. Okay, one more comment. Lilo Fore is going to be at Shannondale Farm in Milton, GA, for the USDF Adult Clinic May 5-6 (see usdf for tix). Then Guenter Seidel will also be at Shanondale May 12-13 (see for tix). I am not affiliated with Shannondale in any way. I just happen to be auditing both clinics. Who else will be there?

    1. That is excellent, Junneebee! Thanks for commenting. I will be in Rome, GA next week teaching a dressage clinic myself, then riding in a Henk van Bergen clinic here in Florida on April 29-May 1, so I won't be in the area to ride in or audit the two clinics you mention. But I have audited a clinic with Lilo Fore (many moons ago), and she is fabulous! And I would love to attend one with Guenther as well--they are both top-quality instructors! Thanks for the info, and I will certainly pass it on to my clinic participants in Rome!

  3. I loooooove auditing clinics...I just have to remind myself to take notes and not just watch (I generally take a lot of notes, because I have a terrible memory). I find it helps to blog my notes afterwards too, especially since I can tag the posts and go through later to look at everything I've blogged about shoulder in or leg yielding.

  4. Thanks for postng, Dressage Nomad! I love auditing, too! That is cool that you blog your notes--is it public or private? I think writing them down also helps cement them in my memory, but I am not a good note-taker! LOL