There are a few really big name riders/trainers coming to our area this winter for clinics, and I’ve been giving them a bit of thought. I’ve only done one clinic before, way back in 2003ish with Phyllis Dawson. To be honest, I really got nothing out of it. I don’t remember a single thing about it except for her telling me how much she hated Waterford bits (what my horse at the time was going in, because she pulled like a freight train and the Waterford was magic). That experience put me off a bit.
But now Henry and I have jumped into this eventing thing with all 6 of our feet and I have actual goals that include possibly another level beyond the one we’re at. We also don’t get super frequent instruction over fences, and almost never have XC schools with a trainer present (if we’re counting, we’ve had a supervised XC school a grand total of twice) so maybe we would actually get some useful tidbits out of a weekend clinic. Of course, my devil’s advocate side says we’d probably get just as many useful tidbits from a weekend XC school with one of our other local trainers, and I have one planned in July. There’s still something kind of fun about the idea of riding with a big name and the possibility of gleaning a little extra wisdom from their wealth of experience.
The thing I’m stuck on is – are they really worth the money? By the time you factor in the cost of the clinic, the cost to the facility, the stall, the gas money, the hotel, etc etc it would probably cost me as much as a recognized event. That’s not astronomical, but it’s not chump change either, especially when your budget isn’t exactly overflowing with extra cash.
I know that whether or not a two day clinic is really worthwhile depends a lot on who the clinician is, which has factored into my thought process as well. Of the ones that are coming down here, really only two interest me: Buck Davidson and Boyd Martin. From reading articles, clinic reviews, and watching videos, I’d probably lean more toward Buck (too bad because Boyd is dreamy AF and it’d be nice to stare at that for 3 days) but would need to look into both of them more.
I also have the possibility of clinicing with Charles de Kunffy at some point this year. Not as expensive as Buck or Boyd, but still not cheap for a 45 minute ride.
What do you think – are big name clinics worth the expense, or are you better off just using that money to take more lessons with your regular trainers?