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    Dear Dana: What tips do you have for an attendee to a training clinic so that they go home with the most benefit?
    Anne Read
    Pomona, CA

    Dear Anne,
    That is such a great question – and it’s one that I believe many people share. Here are some tips:

    1. Be clear in your mind what your goals are in attending the clinic. Define what you want to learn and also what issues you have that you need help with. That way, you can be ready with some questions if you get the opportunity to ask them – and I highly recommend asking questions! When I give a clinic, I love it when people ask me questions since I want every attendee to get all they can out of it. I also tell my rider teams that I always have one or two that are shy and don’t ask a lot of questions and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. So be bold and ask. There is no such thing as a dumb question!

    2. Bring a pen and paper and take notes. You will most likely receive a lot of information and it helps to have notes so that you can go over it and remind yourself what you learned. Early in my career, I would go and learn from great horsemen and I would always take notes. I would then go home and really study them. It helped a lot!

    3 – If they have books or DVD’s for sale, I would recommend that you invest in them. That way you can study the material and remind yourself of what you have learned. I’ve been told that you have to hear something six times before it really “sinks in” — so if that’s true, that really establishes the value in studying books and DVD’s. Good luck at your clinic… I hope this helps!
    Dana

    DEAR DANA : What is the best way to prepare a young horse for flying lead changes?
    Ashley James
    Placerville, CA

    DEAR ASHLEY: I like to layer a strong foundation on my young horses and that includes a lot of exercises and maneuvers that teach your horse to allow you to control your horses body position. A flying lead change is nothing more than a change of arc with forward motion. I teach my horse collection and to bridle his head and I drive him forward to his face. I also teach my horse to move over off of my leg, while we are going forward at the trot or the lope. To prepare for lead changes I will lope circles and counter canter (to lope on a right lead while making a left circle or vice versa) this will help strengthen him and as I am counter cantering I am sweeping him over off of my leg. I will also set my horse up for the change such as if I’m loping on a right lead I will move him over off of my left lead pulling his head slightly to the left. Then releasing the cue and continuing on my right lead. I will do this both directions and ask for a lead change one out of every three or four times do this maneuver. I also add a lot of forward motion when I ask for lead changes as that makes it easier for the horse to perform the maneuver.

    If your horse gets angry or nervous while training for lead changes, don’t panic — this is normal at first. Also, don’t punish him just keep going forward and do a little every day until it becomes no big deal. Good luck to you!
    Dana

    P.S. — My DVD that would really help is “Maximizing Your Western Pleasure Horse”

    Do you have a question for Dana? Simply go to www.horsetrader.com and click on the “Dear Dana” section, then submit it! If your question is selected, you will be entered into a monthly drawing for a FREE “Winning Strides” DVD from Dana’s training video series.

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