I've never participated to a barrel racing "clinic" although I have years of private instruction from my great friend and mentor Mary Ketchum. The foundation she gave me is incredible. However, in my quest to learn more, I decided to go to my first barrel racing clinic. At the time, I was in a very low spot in my confidence and having trouble. I was willing to change everything because what I was doing just wasn't working (in my low self esteem mind).
I learned a different style and changed how I worked my horse. This style is proven through and through with champion after champion winning from it. However, it wasn't me. The rest of that summer I tried and tried. I worked and worked. In my desperation, I flung almost everything I knew out the window and adopted this new style. Now, I'm not going to say it screwed up my horses or me, but it just wasn't me and it wasn't working for me.
I see fads all the time in barrel racing. People will flock to those that are winning and just like me, forget their foundation in a sheep - follow the flock - type of mentality. There is much to be learned from everyone from those winning to those that are not. I decided to go back to my roots and incorporate tidbits that I'd learned from the clinic that I felt would be useful to my style. The reality of things hit me like a slap in the face. I realized that I needed to stay true to myself. After all, my foundation was what got me to where I was - I was just needing help to build to the next level.
My training is made up of my foundation from Mary Ketchum and has been tweaked and tuned and turned into my own through trial and error and learning from other people and horses. What I've realized most is this; Be the best version of yourself and never quit working or most of all learning. Find what works best for you and throw out what doesn't. Don't be afraid to pick up bits and pieces from someone else to help fill in the cracks or to build you to the next level, but never lose track of your foundation. I'm excited to go to another clinic, work with another person, work with Mary but I'll always keep in mind this - Stay true to yourself and don't become a victim of a "fad".
Disclaimer: I am by no means saying or meaning anything negative about any clinician, especially the clinician that I went to. They are a wealth of knowledge and their clinic is a great opportunity to take their knowledge and apply it to our own.