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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > wondering if a clinician is recommended, can I name 'em?

wondering if a clinician is recommended, can I name 'em?
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Joined: Mon Oct 31st, 2016
Location: Guelph, Ontario Canada
Posts: 22
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 Posted: Wed Jan 17th, 2018 03:09 am
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Hi all,

Happy new year!

As I continue working with Mr. spooky/nappy (much less so) horse, and seek and possibly find answers to my own questions posted in that thread, I meanwhile have heard of a clinic nearby . . . said clinician seems to have a decent rep, might be interesting. I recall reading in this forum something about not naming names of trainers . . . however I'm interested in others' thoughts about whether this may or may not be a clinic to consider auditing.

So . . . can I name the name?

Speaking of which, I've also read that we use our real names here. Can't seem to change it in my account settings, but Beate Schwirtlich here.


Super Moderator

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Posts: 3307
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 Posted: Wed Jan 17th, 2018 07:31 am
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Devvie, the horsemanship clinicians whom I recommend, and whose names can be mentioned and are welcome to be mentioned at this Forum, are (in no particular order):

1. Harry Whitney
2. Buck Brannaman
3. Josh Nichol
4. Joe Wolter
5. Tom Curtin
6. Melanie Smith-Taylor
7. Bryan Neubert and/or his daughter and sons

....and of course, Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, and Bill Dorrance, going back to times past.

There are certain other top-class horsemen whom I recommend -- not necessarily because they are members of our school; none of them on the following list knew either Tom nor Ray, but I recommend them because a) they are primarily committed to teaching the student, not taking your money; b) they have great expertise in "traditional" skills like acquiring a good seat or the proper use of aids and arena figures, skills which you will need also to succeed in our school; or c) their approach resembles and/or is essentially identical to ours, in terms of priorities, attitude, and what they ask the horse and rider to do:

1. George Morris
2. Tony Uytendaal
3. Mike Schaffer
4. Marie Zdunic
5. Lendon Gray

As far as other horsemen and horsewomen who are no longer with us -- i.e. those we know about through books, video or DVD, or other historical record -- by all means delve into:

1. Francois Baucher
2. Captain Beaudant
3. Nuno Oliviera
4. Angel Peralta (the bullfight tapes I have shown for years in class are now available in full at YouTube -- go watch 'em)
5. Freddy Knie, Sr. (ditto the Circus Knie tapes, as far as I know these are in short chunks so you'll have to work a little harder to get all of those; watch the elephant work as much as the horses)
6. John Solomon Rarey (all his known writings are compiled on the 2001 or 2002 "Inner Horseman" back issues, go look in "Membership" section because I can't remember which of those it is)
7. Tom Bass (there's a wonderful book about him called 'Whisper on the Wind')
8. And I also recommend my book 'Conquerors' as a handy compilation of that thread or basis for our school which harks back to Spain via Mexico, i.e. the Buckaroo/Vaquero thread, including the origin and history of the bosal and what it means to train a horse 'in the four reins'.
9. And don't leave out Boone's "Kinship With All Life" and Sally Swift's original "Centered Riding".

If you go to some clinician who is not on either of the first two lists, you can discuss and/or query anything you heard, or thought you heard; or anything that you did if you were a riding participant at their clinic -- but without naming the clinician's name. This keeps us away from "my clinician can beat up your clinician" while still allowing students to ask the questions they need to ask and make the decisions they need to make.

As to your own name, I'm fine with a nickname or screen moniker, but you can use your own name if you like.

As to auditing a clinic: I think always a better idea the first time, rather than jumping right in and riding -- and that goes for my "A-List" people above just as much as anyone else. By all means go and watch; and strictly reserve any negative judgements, in the knowledge that there are some differences between even my "A-List" people: no two clinicians are exactly alike. I believe it's a total waste of time and money to go to people that are too far "off" the above lists, because I do not agree that "you can learn something from anybody, even if it's what 'not' to do." I think instead you'd be much better off just sticking to the clinicians I recommend. In the process, what I am hoping that all students will do is learn how to tell the difference between those students who knew Tom, Bill, or Ray AND who heard them "aright". This is what makes those 7 people, out of all the hundreds who I saw attending Ray's clinics or riding with Tom back in the 1980's and 1990's, qualify for my "A" list.

Of course, you must also realize that I don't know absolutely every person; there may be somebody wonderful out there giving clinics that I don't know about, someone who also knew our principals and learned aright from them; but since you are asking for "my" recommendation, obviously I can't recommend anyone I don't know. Neither will I be able to recommend them at any time until a) I myself have seen them work with horses, and b) I have gotten to know them enough on a personal level to know what their business ethics are.

I am hoping that students will be aware and will protect themselves from contact with clinicians who are more about how many people attend their events and how much money they can make, than about teaching the right stuff.

I am also hoping that you will learn how to tell when, for example, leg-yielding is being taught wrongly, or why the term "disengaging the hindquarters" is totally bogus, ignorant, and misleading. Ditto the phrase "natural" when attached to any aspect of horsemanship.

You learn these things, you'll be on the right track to progress and success -- "success" being defined as "having a right relationship with horses" and also "becoming able to effectively train any horse." -- Dr. Deb

Kuhaylan Heify

Joined: Fri Jan 30th, 2015
Posts: 87
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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2018 11:54 am
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Devvie: several of the reccomended list folks know and value each others work. This goes across ,'schools,' of horsemanship.In Corvallis last year Buck told us to get to a George Morrris clinic. At last months George Morris clinic he(George) said," Buck Brannamans got it going on one thousand percent." Theres more to this than just good horsemanship is good horsemanship. I found that the soft feel that Buck teaches dovetails with Georges reccomended way of using your hands.Just for one example
Bruce Peek


Joined: Mon Oct 31st, 2016
Location: Guelph, Ontario Canada
Posts: 22
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Mar 2nd, 2018 01:58 am
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Hello all,

Just checking in here briefly to say that I've found a Josh Nichols clinic (two actually, one this spring and one this fall) upcoming in my area and have written to the organizer. I'm fairly excited by the prospect of getting some help with spooky-nappy beast on the ground, face to face with a recommended trainer.

Thanks Dr. Deb for your full response regarding my question, much appreciated. I didn't end up going to audit that clinic, which was my idea originally (wasn't thinking of taking Lou the horse).

Lots going on in my horse life (birdie birdie birdie) but less time to write: I'm an editor and I really get my fill of words and screen time most days. I expect that I'll be back with more questions and an update soon.

This forum (and originally those excellent USEF lectures from Dr. Deb via the George Morris Horsemastership Clinic which sent me in this direction) has started me off on such a wonderful time of new learning in my life with horses. I'm grateful to have found it. Thanks George Morris and thanks to everyone here.

All the best,

Last edited on Fri Mar 2nd, 2018 02:00 am by devvie

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