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By Maddy B. Gray
I dropped by Andwemet Farm in Brunswick recently to check out Terry McClare's clinic.
I was thrilled to see so many folks out for the day, enjoying their horses, the unseasonably warm March sun, and tuning up for the season.
Thrilled, too, to see the older set out in force. (And by "older set," I mean 30 year-olds and up).
Too often, learning is geared toward to youth. But us old coots know:
You never really stop learning!
Here's some feedback from the clinic, when I asked why they attend:
Please note: photos do not correspond to responding individuals.
For me, it's simple. I want to be a better partner for my horses. I do have quite a bit of horse talk down, however when they whispered to me I failed to hear them (poor horses).
And it seems to me they whisper a lot!
I find myself looking and thinking:
Does that poor horse have a mouth left?
Did she get the chance to gather herself before she got yanked on?
Did I sit first or say whoa before I picked up on my reins?
Yes - it's now time for me to listen and listen closely and be aware of what I'm doing, when I'm doing it, and to adjust myself accordingly.
I believe there is never an end to the things you can learn by attending clinics. Terry McClare is excellent at what she does. Horsemanship at its finest.
I need a refresher every once in a while on what you can accomplish on the ground because I would rather just climb in the saddle and do everything from there. I know that is not always the best way do things especially when you are starting a young horse.
So I enjoy bringing my young ones through at least one clinic that starts on the ground and then transfers into the saddle.
I attend Terry's clinics because she trained my horse, Moon. He was in a stampede, recovered physically, but not mentally. He became more agitated and spooky every time I got on him, which made me do the same. Moon threw me three times…one of those times I was unconscious with a fractured collar bone.
But I knew there was a good horse in there. I myself have anxiety issues, and I just couldn't believe there wasn't a way to help this gorgeous animal.
Sharon's answer to my cry was, “Let’s call Terry.” My hat goes of to Sharon on this one, how many trainers do you know that say...I can't help you, but here is one I think can help?
Sharon took us to Terry and she came to study with me on my weekly visits.
Terry had Moon several weeks. He was so twisted with anxiety that he could not move any of his feet independently or bend at the neck or poll! He was braced from head to toe. It took four days before Terry would say, “Yes, I can help him.”
She was able to ride him and ask me questions and tell me things about Moon that I had not shared with her previously. How did she know these things? Is she a horse whisperer?
In my mind she is....she is quiet and as you know talks to the horse through his eyes and how he moves. Terry is a woman of few words when it comes to talking to people, but problem horses, there is not another trainer I've met yet, that I would trust like I do her.
Another thing I like about Terry is if you (the rider) are the problem, she will tell you and not sugar coat any of it. It's either do the work or don't waste my time. I like that in a trainer.
I love to take clinics every so often, not only to increase my knowledge, but to change up and increase my horse's knowledge. With a young horse in training now, it is all the more important to make sure that he's the best horse he can be. When I spend so much time teaching others how to ride and communicate with their horse, I have to spend some time teaching myself and having a knowledgable horse trainer critique me so that I can keep ahead of the game.
I went into the clinic with a game plan....everyone should have one, every time they ride. But at this clinic, I had to be flexible and change my plans so that I could train my horse to what he needed at that moment.
I had loads of fun and my horse and I were better off when we ended than when we began. I continue to look for opportunities to work with different trainers as my budget and time will allow, and I certainly look forward to the next time I can train with Terry!!
View Reader Comments:
I'm one of the "old coots" that attended Terry's clinic and she is amazing!I can't wait to soak up more of her knowledge.I've only had horses for 11 years and barrel racing for 10.I've been to many clinics and they have all been helpful but in hind sight Terry's should have been my first.
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"Speak kindly to your little horse, and soothe him when he wheezes, or he may turn his back on you, and kick you where he pleases" - Anonymous
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