Take Two ~ Ranch Clinic Post

Blogger ate my first carefully crafted blog post, about last weekends Doug Bogart Ranch Clinic - part one {edit expletive} so, here is my second half hearted attempt. New name, for one long combination post. I apologize to Shirley & Arliene who had already read & commented my original post. I retrieved them from my email notifications, and added them to the comments. I had started the post on my laptop, and added the photos from my desk top computer. Apparently they didn't want to talk to each other. Won't make that mistake again!

Our trainers barn has undergone some transformation, and she has decided to host clinics. A ton of work went into preparing her place for this new venture. I am SO happy for her, our barn friends, & the horse community at large.

The inaugural Doug Bogart Ranch Riding Clinic was held last weekend. It was bitter cold and windy for April in WI. Unfortunately, the clinic had to be held in the indoor arena. It is much smaller then the outdoor, and as a photographer - to put it bluntly indoor florescent lighting sucks! When I originally agreed to take clinic photos I said "outdoor only". Which is my MO. However, I didn't want to miss the opportunity and not be part of the clinic. I had to do more editing then normal, and smooth out the grainy noise from ramped up camera settings. Not remotely my processing style. I'm holding tight to my mantra of not using flash around horses, and did the best I could under the circumstances. 

A group of us clinic/barn contributers went out for supper with Doug the Friday night prior to the clinic. It was a lively conversation & we enjoyed hearing his sage perspective on horses and training. It revolved around horses individuality, and the expectation some trainers have. Horses either fit their style of training, or are no good. Many push too hard, too fast for their gain. Especially in the show world. Resulting in a wrecked horse. Not this guy. It was refreshing to hear. 

There were several cancellations due to the weather. We had a good turn out regardless, and attendees came from as far as Iowa, Illinois & Michigan. There were a lot of auditors wearing winter gear, and huddling under blankets. Two groups of four horse/rider combos participated (vs 12 riders). First group were advanced riders, the second "beginners". Surprisingly, only two riders had previously showed Ranch. Doug was a skilled clinician and challenged each rider at *their* respective levels. Sprinkling in funny comments. It was really fun to watch!

Doug is a kind knowledgeable horseman, and throughout the clinic it became very clear he is an experienced instructor. Doug had riders doing different things, based on their level of riding. No clue how he kept track of it all, but he did. Everyone really learned a lot, especially the riders. 

Here are some shots & experiences from the clinic: 

Doug Bogart

Doug coaching Brad

Cierra has a lot of go in her, and Brad continues working on the finesse of consistent light effective handling. It's not easy with a powerhouse. He got a different perspective on riding her through her excess energy, as well as some different show tips. One tip that comes to mind, is to not hold reins way up high by horses ears on an extended trot. Of course, it's all a difference of opinion - and we liked his.

Peggy & Checkers
counting lope steps between poles
Doug brought genuine smiles out of everyone
Every rider counted lope steps between two poles. Doug adjusted numbers based on each horses first count. He gradually raised the count up/down, and with some riders not so gradually. The lesson was to feel your horse extend vs their normal gait. It looked like fun, and made for great photos!

Doug & his many training poles
He strategically placed his poles, and would have made some extra $ if he collected on his coaching prompts. Especially with this 4-H (youth group) girl, who he took a special interest in. She is from our barn and was the youngest clinic rider. She is extremely quiet, but really stepped up to the plate and brought her A game. She had never ridden Ranch style before. It was a ton of fun watching her (and her pleasure horse) blossom!

I also enjoyed watching this beautiful Morgan, who worked with his owner on not riding like a saddle bred. Doug had most riders neck rein, and switch them from one hand to the other, to aid with body positioning.

There were four other horse/riders. A previous long-time barn employee, who helped train Koda & Nemo, a pretty Buckskin that did well in the beginners group, and two other riders from our barn. One who was petrified. I felt so bad for her. She was way out of her league, and really struggled to the point of tears. Doug gently included and encouraged her, when she was able to set nerves aside. 

The other rider was downright dangerous. I felt so bad for her borrowed horse. She wasn't steering him and all but rammed him into walls several times. I don't give a damn what horse your riding. If you can't steer it, get off. I was in a corner, where no horse goes, when he was loped inches into me. I was not amused. I just stopped taking photos, took cover and bit my tongue. This woman is far from a beginner and an okay rider, just didn't seem to care. The beautiful horse is well trained, and was being a good boy. Poor thing. Glad no one was hurt.

Overall it was a fantastic clinic. They even served coffee & donuts, lunch and dinner. Purina had a display. Some lucky winners took home door prizes. I didn't go on Sunday. I was still thawing out & without any sunlight the photos would have been worse.

Saturdays attendee's & second group horses

completely immersed

tender moment

Everyone is looking forward to more clinics. My guess is they will eventually bring Doug back. Doubt I'll ever ride in clinics at this barn, as they are intended to revolve around showing. I would however love to take lessons from Doug, too bad he is in another State! He is a savvy instructor who reads horses, cares about their longevity, and clearly loves teaching all levels.

If you are interested in seeing more photos, they are posted 


aurora said...

Here are the lost post clinic comments:

From Shirley: Isn't the weather awful this spring? We are fortunate where I live to be in a mild micro climate- for example we got heavy rain today and within a 10 mile radius they are getting lots of snow.
Your clinician sound like a treasure! And you are so right about all the horses who are being pushed to hard too fast to suit a show discipline. Shayla works at a cutting barn and recently bought one of their show horses who couldn't handle the pressure to the point where she was rearing; now she is a sweet mare who is about to learn barrel racing and seems to be enjoying it.
Cierra sure is a beautiful mare!

From Grey Horse Matters: Doug Bogart sounds like a wonderful trainer and person in general. There should be more horsemen like him. I agree that each horse should be treated as an individual and have a training plan that works with them not against them. There is a tendency to always go too fast and put pressure on yourself and your horse to perform the way others are. I say let the horse learn at its own pace and everyone will reap the benefits of taking the time needed to accomplish a goal. What's the rush? Glad everyone had a good experience.

Grey Horse Matters said...

And the second day of the clinic looks informative and fun. I have no idea how you're supposed to ride in a ranch competition. Looking at the pictures its hard for me to understand why you would put the reins up by the horses ears but I guess there's a reason for it. It looks a little bit of an uncomfortable way to ride. But I'm sure there are lots of Western riders that can't figure out a reason why some of us English riders do what we do. To each his own. ;)

The one woman sounds like just a rude person who didn't give a crap about anybody else. Sometimes I think people like that are just showing off and looking for attention. Glad no one was hurt.

Dont you hate when blogger does stupid stuff like eating your previous post! You'd think since they're tracking your every move on the computer they would be smart enough not to screw things up so often!

aurora said...

Ranch Riding is suppose to emulate how horses are ridden on a ranch. Where they are ridden long miles, and need to move out when rounding up cattle etc. The movement is more natural, walk is faster, and gaits are frequently extended. It's a fairly new discipline, that is evolving. The judging requirements are all over the board, at least locally.

The photo of Cierra moving is her extended trot. Riders can 2-point, post or sit. Brad's reins are half way up her neck, in correct placement. There is an earlier photo of him at the clinic (on my website link) that shows the way he was taught to place the reins previously, they are up by her ears. Wish I could post the visual here. The rein concept is that it's part of what cue's them to move out. According to Doug, unless you are trying to go at a full out gallop it's not necessarily. Mid neck placement is preferred.

Yes & yes to losing a post and the air-head rider. I spent so much time on the first post, and wanted to blog in greater detail. Oh well, live & learn!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Thanks for the explanation. Now I get it...it takes me a while😏

aurora said...

No worries. We are all still trying to figure Ranch out & these are common questions.

Linda said...

“Horses either fit their style of training, or are no good. Many push too hard, too fast for their gain. Especially in the show world. Resulting in a wrecked horse.”

Yesterday, I was pondering how it has taken me 2.5 years to do with Leah what a pro could do in a few months. But that wasn’t really correct. A lot of pros speed things up because you’re paying them and want fast results, but the owner could still spend years following that up and making a true partnership. It has taken me all this time to find out who Leah is and what makes her happy and motivated. So, I can deeply relate to his philosophy of training. Tom Dorrance said the same thing. If you take your time, you’ll save time—or something like that. Here it is, “It may seem like you will never get anything accomplished, but sometimes going slow is the quickest way to get there.” I’ve found that to be true.

I would loved to have audited his clinic. Next year, when Leah is carrying herself at the lope better, I want to do some ranch work clinics and maybe competitions. I think that would be fun.

I love your picture of the spectators! I saw that one on Facebook, too. It really captures the intense curiosity about what was being taught there. 👍 That would be me!

Shirley said...

Now I am going to go google Doug Bogart....

Mrs Shoes said...

You wrote:
"I also enjoyed watching this beautiful Morgan, who worked with his owner on not riding like a saddle bred"

Okay, I feel dumb (often), but I don't really get what is meant here? Does it mean the rider not riding in chair seat, or is it referring to the horses' head set, or...?

Great pics!

aurora said...

There are no dumb questions Mrs. Shoes. I personally don't care for Saddlebreds, so I don't know very much about them or how they are ridden. I believe Doug was referring to the riders riding position/rein placement. Not head set.

In Ranch Riding, one handed neck reining is required. She was riding two handed. If you do that in a Ranch class show ring, it's considered schooling and an auto DQ. If I remember correctly, she was pretty rigid when she started out, feet may have been braced forward.

My understanding for head set in a Ranch class, horse head position should be natural, looking engaged and comfortable with what is being asked of them. Unfortunately, we frequently have Pleasure judges locally judging AQHA Ranch classes and placing slo-mo Pleasure head set horses above the Ranch horses who meet the requirements & could actually round up cattle if needed! Hoping this improves as the discipline grows. I'm not holding my breath. Ranch Classes are just a few in the looong list of classes held at AQHA shows. I wonder how the Pleasure riders would like their classes judged with Ranch riding in mind *yikes*

C-ingspots said...

Sounds like a fantastic clinic to ride in. I would have loved it. We're having colder weather than is usual for this time of year too. Lots of rain this April! Looking forward to getting back on my horse and trying out my new-to-me saddle. It's different, so I'm sure there's going to be an adjustment period, just hope it fits Eagle.

That rude rider...people need to speak up and directly to her so she's aware that her behavior is not appreciated, and it's not safe. All horse riders, especially in a clinic need to be considerate and acutely aware of each other. If we don't speak out on behalf of each other, someone will likely get hurt unnecessarily.