Here are some simple tips from Buster and Sheryl McLaury on getting the most out of a clinic.

Buster McLaury clinic
Buster McLaury works a young colt at a 2015 clinic in Colorado.

Buster and Sheryl McLaury have been working together as clinicians since 1996, based out of their home in Paducah, Texas. Their horsemanship is grounded in lessons Buster learned from Ray Hunt while starting colts for the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas.

“We want everybody to leave with the feeling that they’ve learned something that benefits them or their horse,” Sheryl McLaury says of their clinic goals. They constantly work on ways to improve their clinic experiences for people, whether participants are riding or auditing from the stands.

However, learning is a two-way street. Sheryl has some great tips on what clinic participants can do to help themselves get the most out of a clinic.

  1. Ask questions. “We always ask for questions, and so often there’s no response. But as soon as we cut the microphone off, here come 20 people, and 10 will ask the same thing!” Sheryl says. “If you have a question, ask it. Chances are, there’s someone else who needed to hear the answer. And it might bring up discussions we wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t asked.”
  2. Take notes. “Especially if you are auditing: take notes,” she says. “At our home clinic I give out little note pads and pens so people can do that.”
  3. Pay attention. “You’d be surprised how often we see people get distracted by their cell phones. Listen and pay attention. The clinic is your investment, and give the clinician that respect.”
  4. Just try. “When you come to a clinic, we’re going to challenge you to do some things that you might not have done before. All we ask you to do is try. And keep an open mind. If it works and you understand it, take it. If you don’t, that’s fine.” “That’s all I would ask of any person or any horse,” Buster adds. “If I can get him to try once, I can get him to try again.”
Sheryl McLaury clinic
Sheryl McLaury encourages clinic participants to ask questions.

Read more on how a clinic experience can reboot your riding in the September 2015 issue of Western Horseman.

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