A few years ago I discovered the methods and training of Philippe Karl. From the moment I read his book, Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage, I was hooked by his methodology and techniques. I understood there was a way to train dressage that was not forceful or combative.
Last July I flew to Chase, British Columbia to audit the teacher’s training course taught by Bertrand Ravoux, a student of Philippe Karl’s. At the clinic I paid $450 to audit the four-day seminar. I also paid over $1,000 in flight and hotel expense. I walked away from the clinic with the understanding that it was the best-spent money of my entire life.
Last September I the opportunity to ride with another certified instructor, Nicole Weinauge. When the clinic organizer emailed me the fee I had a huge moment of sticker shock, but I paid the fee because I was learning something incredible. After the clinic I realized it was worth every penny. I paid $750 to ride with Nicole, plus additional hotel, stabling, and traveling expenses. Riding with Nicole was the most informative clinic experience that I’ve ever had. Very simply, I finally understood the basic building blocks that create the foundation in a horse trained in the methods of Légèreté. I learned so many valuable tools and techniques from the clinic, and since acquiring these skills, it’s had a tremendous impact on the way I teach and train.
In April I began the journey of becoming a full course auditor of the PKINPA course located in Mercersberg, PA. This course is a three-year commitment that requires I audit the four-day course in April, July, and October of each year. The clinic in April provided wonderful insight into the training progression, and once again I learned information that could contribute to my teaching and training.
The reason I continue to pursue these clinics and education is because it has a huge impact on the way I ride, teach, and train. I find Philippe Karl’s methodology to be incredibly logical and correct. It is a training system that truly puts the horse first. As someone that rides and retrains OTTBs, I’m not sure how I could successfully rehab OTTBs and start green horses without the knowledge I’ve learned from the course.
The success I found using these methods on my horses led me to organize clinics with Nicole Weinauge and Irene Boss, both of which are certified instructors of the school. I’m sure that many of you have severe sticker shock when you look at the price for these clinics. In an effort to help everyone understand what goes into these clinics, I’ve broken down the price for everyone to see. After totaling things up, I think I need to cross my fingers and pray for a few more auditors.
Take a look:
Expenses for clinic with Irene Boss
Flight for Irene (from Frankfurt Germany to Syracuse, NY): $1,500
Payment for Irene (subject to change based on the conversion rate the day I make the wire transfer) 2400 Euros = approx. $3500 USD
Wire Transfer fee: $40
Three days lunch clinician: $30
Hotel 3 nights: $450
Breakfast/Dinner Meals 3 days & 1 dinner: $150
Transportation to and from airport: $50
Clinic supplies: $75 (PA system, utilities, toilet paper, water, snacks, etc)
Cancellation fee (25% of 2400 Euros, this comes out of my personal pocket if the clinic is cancelled) = 600 Euros or approximately $780 USD. I didn’t include this fee in totaling the expenses.
Total Expenses = $5970
7 rides @ $799 each = $5593
3 full auditors @$199 each = $597
I chose to represent only three auditors here because that is the number that signed up for the last clinic.
Total Income: $6190
Total Balance $6190 - $5970 = $220 (which may cover utilities, gas for dragging the arena, and additional hidden expenses that I’ve failed to mention).
I really hope that providing this budget can help everyone understand what goes into hosting a clinic with an international clinician. I can assure you that participating in this clinic will be the best-spent money of your entire life. These clinics have dramatically changed the way that I teach and train. It is something that is very profound and once you “get it” the light finally goes on and dressage finally makes sense. I never truly understood what it meant to have the horse follow the bit until I read Philippe Karl’s book Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage and played with the techniques.
Now you may be wondering, why do I host clinics if I am breaking even or losing money? Personally, I find education to be the most powerful tool you have to train your horse. Often it’s really not the horse that causes the problem, but rather the rider needs a larger toolbox to handle the issue. There is a tremendous wealth of knowledge shared in these clinics. The Légèreté coursework has rapidly spread on the west cost of the United States. I hope that here on the east coast there is soon a similar following.
I am really looking forward to this clinic with Irene Boss. I’ve scheduled this clinic on a weekend so that everyone with busy work schedules can attend. If you haven’t made summer plans yet, keep in mind this clinic may just be the best vacation of your entire life.