Hi, I am going to my first clinic this Saturday and I am super nervous. It is a Jeff Cook clinic and I was just asking for some tips on what to wear, what tack should I use/ bring, and if I should wear makeup and if so what should I wear. And it is also cold where I live . If I could get some help that would be so great!
First of all relax.
Dress conservatively in weather appropriate clothes that are well fitted. Your tack should be immaculate and you should bring a couple of extra bits, spurs and commonly used items such as a martingale, spurs and a crop.
If you normally wear make up to ride then do so for the clinic, whatever you are comfortable with…within reason. Skip most jewelry and any other form of bling. If it is cold, dress in layers and be able to remove them without assistance .
Above all, pay attention to everything Jeff has to say whether he is addressing you or someone else. Respond to his directions promptly and in an orderly manner. Listen to directions and try your best to execute the exercises. That’s all he can expect of you.
Rather than copying and pasting, here’s a link to a post I wrote about what to wear to a clinic (you would definitely be going for the “informal” look; what I refer to as “formal” is very rare for clinics):
As far as make-up and that sort of thing goes, wear it if you normally wear it, but don’t add it if you wouldn’t usually. It’s not a fashion show or anything, you just want to look neat and professional.
If by next Saturday you mean the 6th? I know where that one is and it’s not going to be that cold-lows above freezing, highs mid 40s and that indoor is pretty tight. Unheated but not drafty. I would wear a lightweight turtleneck or long sleeved shirt with a thin vest or light pull over vee neck sweater. BELT please, no bling. Wear a jacket over the top you can remove when you warm up. Gloves. Wear Spurs, carry crop, better to have and not need then need and be helpless to correct misbehavior. Clean, clean, clean, clean. Hunter hair if you can or at least netted, no flapping pony tails.
Be prepared to identify your bit and possibly explain why you use it. He does ask a few questions and expect some knowledge in the answers. He dislikes bendy stirrups for most riders, says it allows a weak leg and position, use plain fillis if you can. But he won’t shoot you or embarrass you if you have the bendy one. He will check all adjustments on tack and ask if it’s not standard, that’s not a bad thing if you can state why, like horse goes better with the bit higher ir lower. He may change your stirrup length and will probably be on you for rein length and thumbs up the whole time as he is with most riders. Common faults often ignored by regular trainers, or they gave up trying;)
If you use a martingale, be sure it is adjusted properly, it needs to be tight enough to do the job, too loose just flops around as a fashion accessory. Be prepared to state why you use it and what it does.
Skip the make up, he doesn’t care, the watching parents, SOs and auditors don’t care and you will be sweating after his typical 40 min of flatwork.
You must listen. Expect to make mistakes but don’t make the same mistake the riders ahead of you make or you will go to " the doghouse", lose your turn too, no do overs in shows. And dont keep making the same mistake. You will hear about that if you do. Try not to make excuses, just say yes sir or ask a question if you don’t understand how to get the result e wants,
First day is mostly flatwork ending with low jump work. If you will not be there Sunday, ask him if he can work with you a few extra minutes after the session. He often does that with the more advanced in each session anyway, particularly the second day. The ones that are done can leave and he can concentrate on specific issues or raise the fences.
Anyway, Jeff is NICE so never be afraid to ask a question, step off the rail to remove or put on a jacket or stuff like that. If there are alot of…mature…adults in the group, a potty break may be necessary…and be surprised how many Juniors hop and sprint for the facilities once an…elder…speaks up:lol:. Sessions may run well overtime on the first day, sometimes second day too if he’s flying out and needs to wrap on time. But it’s often more like 2:30 then 2:00.
Nice only goes so far though. Arguing, whining, not following directions, watching 3 riders do an exercise then going off course, treating the horse harshly with hand, spur or stick or failing to discipline/correct with hand, spur or stick allowing disobedience to continue? You will hear about it and if it’s more then once it’s not so nice.
RELAX. Eat something before you get on and enjoy the experience.
Thank you so much for your words of wisdom i will remember everything you told me
Thank you everyone I will keep all of your words of wisdom in mind!!!