Friday, March 6, 2015

A Clinic Description - by popular demand!

I keep getting asked, 'What is one of Ted's clinics like?'.   So finally - here is my attempt to give a somewhat coherent description of one! 

Outdoor classroom at Oreana! We chose whether to place chairs in shade or out of shade based on the temperature!

If you're not already familiar with Ted this page is a good intro to him 'About Ted and Foundations and Beyond'. He is in no way officially affiliated with Downunder Horsemanship and/or Clinton Anderson but he absolutely recommends and uses the DUH method of training. He has extensively studied and practiced the application of the Downunder Horsemanship training method and adheres to it because he firmly believes it to be the best method for helping the most horses and their owners. (Check out the What About Texas and Clinton Anderson's Academy page of this blog if you'd like a little more of that back story.)

First of all, the bare facts - they are almost always three days, with 'official' clinic times of 9 - 5 with an hour and a half break for lunch from noon - 1:30.  Ted always has some who come early and stay late so the hours are never only 9-5. 
The clinic begins with about an hour of Ted explaining the philosophy and reasoning of the training methods he uses.  He is a big believer in the importance of horse owners not only knowing WHAT works but understanding HOW and WHY it works. After class the participants head out to the arena with their horses; for the next two hours they will be busy learning (and teaching their horses) several groundwork exercises. There is an unbelievably short feeling hour and a half break for lunch - then we are all back to work until five. At five some of the participants wrap up for the day and some of them stay in the arena for up to two hours (or more!) getting extra help.  
On day two everyone reconvenes in the classroom area  for the classroom session. By this time everyone knows each others name and it is a fun combination of class instruction and questions and answers. At some clinics this class time is changed by popular demand to 8 am so we can get an earlier start in the arena! On the other hand at some clinics participants have chosen to be in the arena getting some extra practice in from 8:00 (or even earlier) until the official class start time of 9:00. Part of the fun of keeping the clinics small is being able to adjust to whatever works best for the needs of the particular group. At last falls Oreana clinic Ted was requested to start day three with a round penning demonstration - we love how keeping our groups small allows us not only to give tons of individual instruction but also lets us adjust to the needs of the clients.  
On day two saddle work commences after lunch break. Those clients who are perhaps a little uncomfortable riding in a group to begin with sometimes have Ted or one of his helpers ride their horse during or right after that day two lunch break. By the end of day two folks have covered a lot of material and are starting to see the results of their hard work. Day three is always too short - we are never really ready for the weekend to end. Everyone is enjoying applying the new tools they've acquired, their horses are beginning to master the exercises and it's starting to feel like practicing skills instead of trying to remember too much stuff! At the same time; by the end of day three everyone is tired and ready to take their notes home and apply all these tools in regular length training sessions versus working at it all day long.  Day three winds up with a barbecue/potluck meal; it is fun for everyone to unwind, talk about their experiences together and enjoy some camaraderie out of the arena. 

I find it a little difficult to sum up, it seems like each one is different though in many ways they are all very similar. The clinic experience is different for every participant I suppose. Every horse is different; so is every handler and horse relationship and so are each handler's individual goals. As Ted will repeatedly tell you at a clinic, "Everyone is at their own place in their own horsemanship journey with each horse, do not compare yourself or your horse to others, focus on and enjoy your own journey!"  

This is part of a classroom session, photo taken last fall at Oreana clinic. 

Some comments from clinic participants and/or observers have been:

Karen Vining: I loved my experience at Ted's fundamentals clinic last spring. I now have a calm, respectful horse! I am attending again this year as a review/tuneup for mainly myself.

Steph Teeter - Awesome clinic! Three days was just right. I gained a lot of confidence (with new skills) in my young horse and myself. By the end we were calmly galloping the arena in any direction the horse chose - 'cruising' - no direction from the rider - having fun. We got there step by step, progressively improving communication and respect - it was really an impressive job of teaching by Ted Nicholes. I HIGHLY recommend his clinic for anybody wanting to work through issues or problems that they have with their horse, or simply wanting to gain a higher level of communication. We are already trying to schedule another Oreana clinic for next spring!

Karen Bumgarner - Best money ever spent! 

 Trish Frahm - Ted gave me the confidence I needed to ride my young horse. He helped me teach her the necessary basics, giving to the bit, one rein stop and building me as a leader. I was able to take what I learned from Ted's clinic and start taking her out on the trails with confidence. Trish Frahm

Carrie Johnson - When Ted put his clinic on at the Teeter Ranch I jumped at the opportunity.   The clinic started with a short presentation explaining his program.  We proceed with groundwork learning the exercises with the stick.  Ted is a very patient person and explains his methods very well.  The second day we were riding our horses using what we had learned the first day.  If you are having a problem Ted would take the time that was needed to make sure you and your horse understood it.  If you were uncomfortable about doing something Ted would help you through it until it was comfortable for you and the horse. Ted's children Beth and Terrence were there to help with anyone one that needed it. They were great!  This is one of the best programs I have attended.  Thank You Ted.
Carrie Johnson
Boise, ID

Sam Nicholes (one of Ted's sons) - The horse people learn from my dad about horses while I catch lizards.

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