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girthing up

How NOT to Prep for Your First Clinic

I’m participating in my first ever (small and informal) clinic in early December… and I’m a little nervous about it. Couple those butterflies with the fact that I’m going in completely and utterly unprepared, you could say I’m a tiny bit stressed.about the ordeal. Hopefully though you can learn from my mistakes and NOT prepare how I’ve prepared.

Step One: Give Your Horse Time Off… and then Don’t Leg Him Back Up

After the show season ended, I wanted to give Miles some time off. So he got a break, and we’ve been mostly trail riding. So this is all great for him mentally and physically, except for the part where that’s all we’ve done. Since the beginning of October I’ve jumped Miles over exactly three jumps… and we haven’t taken a single lesson since. Getting him back into shape is… not happening. So hopefully he’s retained enough fitness to make it through one one-hour lesson. Because at this point my plan is to just pray.

warm fall day 2014

Step Two: Don’t Take Regular Lessons… In Fact, Don’t Ride Much At All

Despite some time off, a few good lessons (or even regular rides) can get you back to fighting shape pretty quickly. But instead of doing that, I scheduled other things that conflicted with lessons… and then promptly got pneumonia. So not only am I NOT taking lessons… I’m not really riding much at all. So… there’s that. Maybe if I just visualize myself in the saddle it will have the same effects?

Step Three: Host a Major Holiday Two Weeks Before the Clinic

Thanksgiving falls just about two weeks before the clinic. Which would be great, except that I offered to host it. Don’t get me wrong — I’m really excited to have all my family together and in one place, and I actually like hosting. But in terms of riding and preparing for the clinic, it’s a big, fat roadblock. Oh, you want to ride tonight? HAHA GO BUY A TURKEY. Also, don’t forget to clean your entire house. Do we even have enough plates for everyone?

girthing up

Step Four: Get Sick… Like Really Sick

Okay, so I’m probably over exaggerating a little bit, but pneumonia really fucking sucks.  I don’t feel bad enough to lay around in bed all day, but walking my dogs around the block leaves me out of breath. Also, dirt and dust could permanently scar my lungs so the barn is a no-go. Mostly, I’m just a miserable person to be around when I’m sick, and it’s making crossing off items on my (very long) to do list quite the challenge.


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

15 thoughts on “How NOT to Prep for Your First Clinic

  1. Everything will be fiiiiine! I mean you will probably be 200% physically and mentally exhausted afterwards, but speaking from experience with a crank monster horse that only wants to trail ride, ever, Miles will probably feel fresh and ready to roll after his break! YOU GOT THIS!

  2. I’m sure you will be fine! I jumped Stamp very limited times between shows all summer and hadn’t jumped him in over a year before last spring and was still able to go in and show fine. You had success all season and I’m sure it’s still in there. Hope you are feeling better!

  3. Oh yuck – I had the pneumonia plague last year. I hope you’re feeling better very soon!

    Also, don’t worry about the clinic! The best part about clinicians is they have zero preconceived ideas about you. They just help you with wherever you’re at on the day 🙂

  4. Ha doesn’t it always seem to work out like that?!? All the same tho I bet you and miles will have a blast – you’ve got the right attitude to make the experience count even if the prep isn’t optimal 🙂

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