The Clinton Anderson Walkabout Tour

The Clinton Anderson Walkabout Tour

G’day and Welcome to Downunder Horsemanship with Clinton Anderson.  I attended the Clinton Anderson Walkabout Tour at the South Point Equestrian Center June 12 and 13. 

Clinton Anderson Australian Horse Trainer and Clinician brought his method to Las Vegas, and showed us the partnership that can be formed between a rider and their horse.

Clinton moved from Australia to the United States in 1997.  Clinton’s accomplishments include winning the Australian National Reining Futurity in 1997, and winning the Road to the Horse Colt Starting Challenge in 2003 and 2005.
Clinton apprenticed under Gordon McKinlay and Ian Francis in Australia, and started over six hundred horses.  In 1996 Clinton came to the United States to train and learn from Al Dunning who has won numerous American Quarter Horse Association World Championships.

The South Point was set up differently than when other horse events have been held there.  There were almost no vendors on the concourse, which meant there wasn’t mobs of people standing in the way to the arena and the event could be comfortably viewed from the concourse.

The arena was split one-third for Downunder Horsemanship merchandise and autograph booth, and the other two-thirds was arena with a round pen.  At least fifteen hundred people attended the clinic, which is a great turn out.
The lights were dimmed when Clinton was working with a horse, with overhead track lighting providing focus on Clinton and the horse he was working with. Clinton would talk to the horse’s owner to let the audience know why the horse was brought to him.  From there Clinton would work with the horse for about an hour and an half, depending on the horse and their needs.

Clinton has three main tools for working with a horse in the round pen.  The first tool is the halter.  Clinton’s halter of choice is a rope halter because it is more uncomfortable for the horse to lean on the halter when compared to a web halter, and it also helps teach the horse to give to pressure.  The second tool is a lead rope that is fourteen feet in length.  At that length you are able to do all the groundwork with your horse, and if you encounter a disrespectful horse you can still get out of their way.  The end of the rope is weighted allowing the rope to be twirled or thrown easily.  The rope is designed in a way that allows the slightest wiggle to cue your horse, as it travels from you to your horse.  The third and finally tool is a stick and a string, officially known as a Downunder Handy-Stick with String.  The stick and a string could be considered an extension of your arm, and a reinforcer of cues that you give your horse.
Throughout the clinic Clinton would reinforce the importance of working safely around your horse, and gaining the horse’s respect.  When you are working with your horse you always want to have ‘two eyes,’ towards you rather than ‘two heels.’

Clinton talked throughout clinic explaining why he was doing something or what he was looking for in the horse.  Clinton explained what he would do with the horse if he was at home, and why he does what he does.  Clinton worked very well with the horses, and never raised his voice and remained calm.  Focusing on keeping the horse and helping them understand what he wanted.

Ground work is a very important element in getting respect in your horse; if they don’t respect you on the ground they won’t respect you in the saddle.  Clinton worked with the stick and the string to encourage the horse to move away from him.  He would start by pointing in the direction the horse was to go, clucking if the horse didn’t follow through, smacking the ground by the horse was the third step, and the fourth was to smack the horse on the butt.  And as Clinton pointed out, he wasn’t beating on the horse merely enforcing his previous requests.

Clinton also worked on getting the horse used to the lead rope being tossed around them, around their legs, head, neck, back.  A horse that is more used to these movements will less likely to over react in a similar situation. Clinton also talked about psychology, and how as a trainer and rider once you understand how the horse thinks you can improve your horse’s confidence and mutual respect towards you.

This was a great clinic for anyone who wanted to improve not only their skills as a Horseman, but their partnership with their horse. 

Thank you to Clinton Anderson for bringing his methods to Las Vegas.

Equestrian Moments ~ KJ Anthony ~

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