The Adult Amateur Clinic – Is It For You?

Linda O'Connor Clinic

Not sure you should take your horse to that fancy dressage clinic?

Signs it might not be for you:

  • Your horse has not been off property for 5 + years.
  • You’re not ready to sweat.  In front of others.
  • Your horse is lame.
  • You don’t like when there’s giggling coming from the peanut gallery.  (Imagined or not.)

It will most likely work out excellent if:

  • You’d love to try riding for a top-notch trainer with the ability to teach all sorts of riders and horses.
  • You come with an open mind and willingness to try something new.
  • Your horse is a ______  (Insert breed here – it really works fine to show up with any breed.

Melissa Creswick clinic

The 2016 Linda O’ Carrol Memorial CDS Adult Amateur Clinic Series is held in North, Central and Southern California.  This year held with Melissa Creswick, – I had the chance for some auditing at the Northern clinic, at Starr Vaughn.

Riders and horses of all various background – Melissa honed in on their weakness within the first few minutes, all in an encouraging environment.

dressage clinic at starr vaughn

Talented riders, I’d love to test it out with my mare one day too.

I watched Melissa teach a beautiful well-built gelding, with a very nice strong hind end but with shorter front legs than rear.  Within minutes she had him raising up from his inside hind, lifting his neck up, along with the forehand.

Some quick snippets from the clinic to various riders:

  • Don’t always reflect, because there’s something going on. A dog.  A flag. That’s the amateur way. Then we just end up doing less.
  • You don’t have to reorganise, get going. (At a horse falling out of a rushing canter.)
  • You’re riding tentative, own it.
  • In shoulder in:  Create the feeling of the inside hind stepping up and under your crotch.
  • Pulling the longitudinal horse back from the hand will always make them want to go on the forehand.
  • Engage the hindquarters, forget the wheelbarrow, and the forehand will lift.
  • Ask for the trot, and if there’s no response – light a fire.
amateur dressage clinic
Not sure if you, or horse, are ready to brave it in a large clinic with an unknown instructor, with an audience?!  Auditing is the way to go.
Watching just a few riders sweating it out, improving by the minute, will make anyone want to give it a try, no?
Northern California Adult Amateur Dressage Clinic


why should you ride in a dressage clinic

14 thoughts on “The Adult Amateur Clinic – Is It For You?

  1. Fantastic article, Elinor! I’m dying to do it!!! But I never know how to get in. I guess you apply through your chapter? Plus of course this year my mare was really too green and too new. Maybe next year we bring BOTH our Andalusian Princess Mares, eh? Wouldn’t that be fun?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s correct – you apply through your Chapter, and to qualify (at least in mine) you’d need to have some volunteer hours logged for the chapter.
      I didn’t exactly feel ready to bring out my green mare this year, but next would be an absolute treat! And of course, I would love to meet you at an event again!!!


        1. I’m always up for an adventure! 🙂 And, by the time she’s gone completely white, yes, maybe we’d be ready.
          But. I’d feel like a complete fraud – she can’t fly the true Andalusian card, as a half bred 😉


          1. Close enough, and who is going to be asking for papers? She looks like one and I think they’d make a gorgeous pair. It would be a fun thing to do some day 🙂 Let’s just hope the girls like each other if that day ever comes. Star seems to like most horses pretty well but you never know with mares…

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Think you’re right!
            And Valiosa hasn’t met a horse she doesn’t like so far, very submissive and friendly. Being raised in pasture in a mixed herd for over 3 years has its points. She may let Star take the lead and keep the peace 😉
            Then we’ll just have to hope we can even keep up, haha!


          3. Awesome! Lets them learn how to be in a group, I love it.
            Then again, not every mare can be submissive 🙂 I’ve met a few that were super pushy in the herd, already at 2…
            I’m hoping both of our girls will get to keep their personalities! I know they’re still young, but I’m hoping this will be the way for many years 🙂


          4. Oh, I think they are who they are. Maybe a slight change in personality (a bit of mellowing?) but you know who your mare is by now. LOVE these wonderful mares, they are the best. I don’t think a pushy personality is part of the PRE personality for the most part. They are bred to be more “How would you like me to serve you, master?” SUCH a nice change after all the (fun but challenging) ponies I’ve owned. My big challenge now is Star’s over-achieving worrying (“oh dear, I’m not doing it well enough for the master, have to try harder…”). No, Star, that’s plenty good enough, relax, relax, relax.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Smiling at this. I can see how you’ve completely fallen for her. And who wouldn’t! !
            And now, in a sort of Harry Potter way, buy her a saddle pad. -“Master has presented Dobby with clothes, Dobby is free!!” 🎶

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Great points! It is so good to just get out there and participate in clinics, but auditing can be just as beneficial. My one word of advice: take notes! It’s amazing how many useful tidbits you can pick up with a good clinician and easy to forget a few weeks later. 🙂


Comments are closed.