Clinton Anderson? Your thought?

AJ Yammie

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Aug 24, 2021
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Hi everyone,
I was recently surfing the web and found some articles about Clinton Anderson using abusive methods like rollkur, I’ve never really been a fan of him as I have noticed he is very harsh but he does have some wise words. What are your thoughts on him? Do you guys know of any other good western trainers? I personally like Matt Mills, Warrick Schiller, Stacy Westfall, Dan James and Dan Steers.
Just curious,
AJ
 
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Jillaroo_

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Oct 6, 2021
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Bargepole for Clinton Anderson personally. He's very much a bully in my opinion. If you search on Google there was a big thread about him on an American horse forum; possibly Chronicle of the Horse. He basically used those same tactics to insult and bully female participants and spectators. It's even a while since I looked but there was a lot of negativity on the Internet about Clinton and how he treated horses and people.

I watched a Warwick Schiller clinic in the flesh way back in 2014 or 2015 and was not impressed. Another arrogant bully who was coarse with the horses (kneed one in the underside of its stomach).
However he had some sort of breakdown (he writes about it on his fb pages) and totally changed how he viewed and worked with horses.

His methods do work and his new way of working definitely puts the horse first. For me he's gone a bit too far the other way and it's all a bit "airy fairy" self help type stuff now. I'm not dissing him or his current approach; it's just not for me. Lots of his training videos are available on YouTube and he has a podcast so lots of information out there.

I like Matt Mills too but I don't know much about his horsemanship beyond what's available on YouTube. It does still make me cringe to see 2yr olds doing stops with men/anyone on their backs.

Buck Brannaman, Mark Rashid, Ray Hunt, Tom and Bill Dorrrace are my favourites. Sadly never seen any work in the flesh but I'll hopefully get to a Buck and/or Mark clinic at some point.

If you are in the UK I recommend Joe Midgely. He has a really good way with horses and gets results. I've watched him in the flesh a few times and have been very impressed by his way around horses. He has a subscription service too for me training videos and feedback.
 

Jessey

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A lot of his basic exercises are things I’ve used long before seeing him do them, his basics make a lot of sense to me and structured progression does work well. There’s some of his techniques I’m not a fan of (for example he seems to bridle up his established horses more than I like to see) but as with every trainer you can pick and choose what bits you use and what bits you don’t. He’s pretty blunt in his manner, it might offend some but I like it in a trainer, some spend too much time stroking egos.
 
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Jillaroo_

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There's nothing new under the sun when it comes to horses.

The exercises that "modern" horsemen (why is nearly always men?) use all seem traceable back to the likes of Ray Hunt ad the Dorraces.

I like blunt too but to me there's a very thick line between blunt and rude.

I'm in the camp that "we" expect and accept too little from our horses. Sometimes watching the likes of Buck can seem harsh to an uneducated eye but for me Clinton goes way beyond that.

Back in the day when Horse & Country TV was free they ran at least one series of his. One particular episode he overrode a previosuly injured ex racer and lamed it. There was a thread on Horse and Hound forum at the time, perhaps around 2008? I do know if you're allowed to link to other forums on here?

Just had a quick check a quick search of Clinton Amderson on HHO brings it up quite a few post about him. All overwhelmingly negative, in fact if you just Google him and get past the links to his site it's mostly negative.

There was a blog "writing of riding" circa 2015 who wrote about him too. I'm sure there was a public outcry about his treatment of horses too. I'm sure he made an "apology" video where he pretty much just said that women were hysterical and no one would ever be as good as him to understand why he does what he does 😏
 
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Jillaroo_

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Lollykay

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I have Zero use for 99% of the “trainers” out there collecting money for their thoughts.

I am one of the fortunate few to have been blessed with a grandfather who, by all accounts in the rural county where we lived, was “born on a horse”.

He was about a half generation ahead of Ray Hunt & the Dorrance Brothers. It is with respect (because I do like those fellas) that I say grandad may have been able to share a thing or two with them🥰

I am not a fancy rider, nor have I ever wanted to be. My heart has always been in trail riding - sliding down river banks, digging up the other side, finding deer trails and following them. Hacks in city parks were always insulting to me, when I could still ride, lol

Thanks to my grandfather and his gentle heart, I learned how to train horses, breaking my own, and re-schooling/rehoming several that idiot people had ruined.

My horses are not finitely broke, rather they are broke to the inth in the basics and were/are capable of taking control when the person sitting in the saddle did something really REALLY stupid. I witnessed one act of stupidity where my onriest horse and the rider could have easily gone over the edge and landed in a heap 50-75 feet below but my horse froze and wouldn’t move until the situation was resolved and he felt it was safe to move.<<THAT to me is a great thinking and well broke horse.

Now that I’ve said all of that, there is only ONE trainer in today’s modern world that I have respect for and that is Mark Rashid. I even bought his first five books because he reminds me so much of my grandfather.

His books are not for everyone, however, because he doesn’t slam you in the face with answers - at least he didn’t used to. He writes in anecdotal form rather than academic, forcing the reader to figure out the answer for themselve. Some folks don’t like that because they can’t think for themselves, lol

I haven’t kept up with Mark Rashid for several years, hopefully some marketeer has not changed his ideals for the sake of mone.


So there’s my two cents from an old retired trail rider, who has owned and reschooled several horses in my lifetime and never had a horse of any breed, cross, or mindset refuse me for very long; they were all also broke to riding in heavy traffic, some handling that better than others.. II don’t have any of those fancy credentials and “merch”, nor have I ever aspired to more than having well mannered & willing trail companions who don’t know of intricate things, but the basics they do know are rock solid and able to be trusted on any cliffhanger of a trail :)
 
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carthorse

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I think a lot of the big names are very good at marketing, have improved things for themselves significantly, and have had very little positive impact on horse training and welfare. As has been said earlier there's very little new in horse handling and riding, it's all salesmanship and all too often I feel it starts by making people feel incompetent and vulnerable so they then become reliant on the salesman.
 

chunky monkey

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I was lucky enough to be offered a ticket to a Monty Roberts and Kelly Marks demonstration a few years ago. When i went i knew nothing about the term natural horsemanship etc. I didnt even know what the term ment. I didnt even know what Monty Roberts did so i went completely blind. The demo was a real eye opener of what could be achieved in a short space of time. However i didnt like all what i saw. Having not long got my second horse who was proving to be a bit of a challenge it made me think more about my approach and handling of my horse. What i saw at the demo i knew wouldnt completely work for me and in fact unknowingly i was already doing some of the things he recommended.
This then got me looking at videos on the internet and ive watched a few Warwick Schiller and Clinton Anderson videos and a few others. This has also led me onto the clicker training approach. Which i have used bits of.

I dont look at the person and there methods specifically and judge them. I agree some of it is just salesmanship. In fact some of it doesnt really doesnt show you the nitty gritty of how they achieve these results and theres what you hear about bullying and abusive.
If i have a problem i prefer to look at various videos on how to deal with my issue and then try to use there suggestions to figure out a way to fix my horses issues.
 
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Skib

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I haven’t kept up with Mark Rashid for several years, hopefully some marketeer has not changed his ideals for the sake of mone.

I learned from his clinics and was taught by Mark Rashid for years.

The mention of money is important. Trainers need to earn a living. One should not sneer at a trainer either in USA or UK for selling their advice. I have just subscribed to his facebook group but have not yet watched much of the content. I planned to ask his advice about a horse that leaned on her reins, but I bought her new reins (non rubber, with no grip) and she stopped of her own accord.

I paid because I am not having lessons at the moment and I would like to refresh my memory and ride the mare better than I do.

Mark has changed over the years. He is honest about that. (So have I) Any person or horseman learns from experience so develops their thinking. One example Rashid gave at the last clinic I went to was teachng a horse to stand still at the mounting block. My reaction has been to stay with the method I first learned from him because if something works for me, and with the horse I am currently riding, there is no need to change it.
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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Ellen Cochrane is really really good. She was in a competition with her mule Inara and 2 of the judges thought she was brilliant and I think it may have been Clinton who dissed her and marked her down, so she came second.
 

Lollykay

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I learned from his clinics and was taught by Mark Rashid for years.

The mention of money is important. Trainers need to earn a living. One should not sneer at a trainer either in USA or UK for selling their advice.

Agreed but it depends what they’re selling and how legitimate it is. In times past, I have had many an argument with Quarter Horse trainers who thought they had all the answers to train Arabians. Time is money to most trainers and if they can fit a square peg in a round hole in 30 days, no matter the cost to the horse, so be it.

Years ago, when Parelli was first starting out, I thought he was pretty good. Fast forward to now being married several years and he held a clinic in a town close to where I live.

At intermission, my friend went to the vendor booths and I went to the mezzanine to watch Mr. Parelli work his very well mannered stallion In the arena behind the show ring. Imagine my shock when I saw Parelli give that horse a real jerking on the reins and rake his spurs down that horses side. I’m a very experienced horse person and can say that stallion did not do anything to deserve such treatment, and it was a shock to see Parelli lose his temper like that.

Further to that, from reading stories on line from credible horse folks, I have little respect for the bulk of trainers and am happy I am “just” a trail rider and perfectly capable of training a horse to give even the most timid novice one happy ride out on the trail without them killing themselves. I’ve had a couple of my horses stop dead and not move because they were so unsure of the rider. Of course the rider(s) tried to throw my horses under the bus, except I was right there on my lead horse and saw what happened.
 
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Skib

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I too went to a Parelli demo. I was urged to watch everyone. But there is a major difference between you whio werre raised with horsemen and training your own, and me aged 61 beginning to ride in a UK BHS RS.
I was unaffected by Parelli as the movement was highy organised round private owners and I had no horse. I was once allowed to watch and my grand daughter much later had some Parelli style (Australian version) lessons.
There is a very interesting book Miller and Lamb, "The Revolution in Horsemanship" suggesting that the development of NH was due to a gender shift from mostly male trainers in the 19th c. to mostly female owners in 20th c. Moreover many of those female owners being on their own - private ownership having replaced the ranch owners.
I have a shocking pic of my UK grandfather and his stable staff roping a colt. They were brutal too in teaching people to ride. Someone (male) was put on a horse. They slapped the rump and that was it.
Each of us comes from a personal history too. I had raised my kids in the light of work done by one of my friends in Chicago on behaviourism. It s interesting that both in child rearng and in horse training, behaviourism failed to develop the intelligent choices of the horse and the kids, so things moved on. And thus it was with Rashid progressing beyond Kelly Marks.
Mothers are very used to teaching their children to do things - so once I understood (from watching Rashid) that one could teach ones horse to do stuff, I was clean away. The horse I rode at that time was my regular ride for 8 years.
The difference now is I am told that the mare I ride is ridden by lots of people every week so (staff say) it is no use showing her how I personally want to ride. But that contradicts my experience to date.
One of the reasons that Rashid became interested in me was that he was instructing private clients riding their own horses. But I used his problem solving on the RS horses and it worked.
 
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Lollykay

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@Skib what an interesting (and relevant) post!

I am one of those people who believe people “manner” their horses in the same fashion we “manner” our children and it is mostly the moms who do that:). I have always said if one isnt capable of being strong enough to fairly discipline their children, they shouldn’t get a horse:)

I think your grandfather was polar opposite of my grandfather but it isn’t a matter of where someone lives, it’s the heart condition they have for dealing with living breathing creatures. I have read horrible stories of how horses have been broke (literally from a mental perspective.) on some ranches in the U.S.

Believe me, my grandfather was a gentle-hearted exception to the rule and my biggest regret to this day is not ever telling him, how very much I STILL appreciate his teachings. His MIL was in a wheel chair during her last years. Every spring when the foals were born and the mares would give him the ok, grandad would carry the foals up to the house and place them beside her wheelchair for her to touch and hug as best she could. I am 74 and that is still a vivid memory🥰🥰

That is the sort of gentle soul everyone should have as a horse mentor and is why it doesn’t take much for me to rail against many trainers in today’s world😇😇
 
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