Becoming a Thinking Horseman

During her time at the ranch, Amy worked with a variety of horses that refined her feel and timing and gave her experience to have the confidence to handle all types of horses as well as any behavioral problem a horse might have. “Some of the horses I got to work with came to the program with ingrained habits that were a challenge,” Amy says.

Having Clinton help her get through to those horses and get results was exactly why Amy decided to enroll in the Academy. “The most valuable lesson Clinton taught me was how to be a thinking horseman. He taught me how to look at a situation and decide what the biggest problem was and how to handle it,” she says.

The days when she’d encounter a roadblock in a horse’s training and then work through it and come out the other side with a better partnership with the horse, made the sacrifices and hard work she put toward the Academy worth it. “There was nothing like achieving results with a horse and creating that bond. At those moments, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be and working on the goal I needed to be,” Amy says.

Along with horsemanship skills, the Academy focuses on building the clinicians’ abilities as instructors. While training horses, the clinicians are in regular contact with the horses’ owners and spend a day with the owners at the end of their horses’ training sessions, showing them what their horses know and how to work with their horses. “When you can take a horse through the Method and erase dangerous behaviors and set new habits and give the owner back a horse that they don’t have to be scared of and can have fun with, it’s extremely satisfying,” Amy says. “Some of the horses come into the program as last-ditch efforts, so when you’re able to turn those horses around and show their owners that they can be safe, reliable partners, it’s something special.”

As Amy progressed through the Academy and continued her training with Clinton, she honed her skills as an instructor. “I got to the point where I could get a horse to do everything I wanted, but I was really struggling with how to get the horse and the owner connected. I studied how Clinton worked with people and watched how he broke lessons down in order for people to understand, and my ability got better and better,” Amy says.

One of the things Amy admires most about Clinton is his ability to read a situation with a horse and instantly know what to do. “He can read what’s going on between a horse and rider quickly and he figures out what the biggest issue is and how to best fix it. Since being at the ranch and gaining the experience I have, I’ve now got that skillset as well, which builds people’s trust and confidence in you as a trainer and instructor,” Amy says.