Friday, March 29, 2013

clinton anderson's "letter of agreement" for horse training

This is on CA's website and must be signed to enter your horse into training with him.  Very interesting reading.


 I have read the Letter of Understanding and I agree and accept the terms and conditions of the Academy Training Horse Program.
Payment Info

Total: $ 500.00 (Deposit ONLY)
Enroll Now
Please thoroughly read the Academy Horse Program contract. After reading the contract in its entirety and checking "I Agree" on all 9 sections of the agreement, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "I Agree" button to acknowledge your consent with all the terms and conditions of the Academy Horse Program. After agreeing to the contract, you'll continue with the registration process.
To exit without accepting the contract, press the "Cancel Enrollment" button to the right.
Before enrolling your horse in the Academy Horse program, please review the points below to ensure we're all on the same level of understanding about what will and could possibly happen to your horse during his stay at the Downunder Horsemanship Ranch.

Once your horse has been accepted you'll be given a tentative assignment date for a specific six-week training session. Your assigned date is tentative, is not guaranteed, and may be subject to change perhaps even multiple times. We do our very best to avoid rescheduling, but in training horses, Academy students, and other unforeseen circumstances and commitments we may be required to do so. We'll certainly do everything possible to avoid any such inconvenience, and will only do so when truly necessary. Our foremost priority is to ensure your horse receives our full attention throughout his training. We'd rather withstand any potential inconvenience associated with rescheduling than compromise on the quality of training our customers expect and Clinton demands.
 I Agree

Your horse will receive the best care possible.
Downunder Horsemanship will ensure that your horse receives the best care and nutrition possible during his training session. All horses in training will be stabled on the clinic side of the ranch in 25' x 30' runs that are each attached to a two-sided shelter. Runs come equipped with automatic waterers, hay mangers and no-tip feeders. Your horse will be fed free-choice hay, including both alfalfa and grass hay. Starting after the second week of training, or when the horse is doing well mentally - he's not hot or nervous, he will receive grain twice daily. If you feed supplements to your horse, we'll be happy to administer them as long as they are provided. We'll also be happy to put fly masks on and off the horse if you supply one.

In short, your horse will be treated just like Clinton's personal horses - receiving the best care possible. However, it's inevitable, especially when your horse enters the rigorous training schedule and is worked over the obstacle course, that he's going to get a few cuts and scrapes. Or, if your horse has been in the habit of pulling people around, he's probably going to lose some hair on his face from the halter. While cuts and scrapes are superficial injuries that heal quickly, it's important to understand that your horse may be missing some hair when you come to pick him up. The majority of the horses coming in for training will be here on a last-ditch sort of effort, meaning that the horses are deemed problems and have been to other trainers with no success. Look at your horse coming to the ranch like remodeling a house. You can't remodel and have everything looking pretty all at the same time. When you're remodeling, you're tearing wall paper off the walls, dust covers the floor, paint is splattered everywhere, etc. Your house is basically a disaster zone for several weeks. Then right towards the end, everything starts to come together. The contractor puts the finishing touches on and spit shines everything, and you're left with a product you're proud of. Your horse is going to go through a similar process during the first three to four weeks. He's going to lose some weight when he enters training fulltime; he'll rub hair off his body and will have a few bumps and bruises.

It's also common for these horses to develop girth gall - sores from the girth rubbing behind their elbow because they haven't been ridden very much. When colts are started at the ranch, seven out of ten of them on average will develop girth gall. The area behind the horse's elbow is soft and tender like a baby's bottom, so oftentimes when the horse gets girthed up and really worked, they get sore. It's not a major problem, in most cases you can put Vetericyn and Corona on it and it'll heal just fine. In more severe cases, the horse will have to be off work for a week or two to let the sore heal. In both cases, when the horse is back to full health, they very rarely develop girth gall again because the area has toughened up. It's kind of like if you are an office worker and one day you're asked to dig ditches. Your hands would be blistered within an hour from handling the shovel because they're not used to manual labor - they're soft and tender. But after a few weeks of digging ditches, your hands will be covered in calluses and not be bothered by handling the shovel at all because they've toughened up.

We highly recommend that your horse gets shod before his arrival at the ranch. Most of the training will be done outside - on the obstacle course, through the woods, around the ranch, down the road, etc. and most horses' bare feet cannot hold up to so much riding on hard ground. If your horse comes in with bare feet, there is a good chance that he will at some point become sore. At that point, we'll have to put shoes on him anyway, plus he may need time off to recover from the soreness, which will interrupt his training process. If your horse doesn't normally wear shoes, keep in mind that 6 weeks of being shod will not affect the well-being of his feet. You are more than welcome to remove them when he gets back home, and it will help ensure that the training process goes as smoothly as possible. Besides going through all of the Fundamentals exercises on the ground and under saddle, your horse will receive additional training including work over the obstacle course, trail riding and general tasks Clinton expects all horses to be able to do such as hobbling and ground tying. It's common for horses to struggle when first hobbled because it feels unnatural to them. If the horse struggles, he'll lose some hair around his pasterns. After the second week of training, the horses will be taught to ground tie - a great respect and patience building exercise, in which the horses are tied to a tire. Besides patience, ground tying teaches the horse not to panic if he gets his leg over the rope in a safe, controlled setting. If the horse struggles at first, he will get rope burn. Any bumps, bruises or rope burn will be treated promptly and doctored well with Corona. As stated before, your horse will receive the same care Clinton gives to his personal horses. It's far better to teach a horse not to panic now and have him potentially get a little rope burn than it is for him to get his legs caught up in a fence a year down the road and seriously injure himself. Clinton firmly believes that prevention is better than cure and teaches all of his horses on the ranch to hobble and ground tie, including Mindy and Diez, all his Signature Horses and performance horses. If the horse was at the ranch for 12 weeks of training rather than 6 weeks, his hair would be grown back and you'd never be the wiser. The fact is that the horse is only here for 6 weeks and it's not enough time for his hair to grow back.

If you're the kind of owner that wants your horse to learn while not losing a pound of weight and keep an immaculately shiny coat, you're unrealistic. That would be like saying we were going to remodel your house without inconveniencing you - it's not going to happen. Remember, your horse is only in training for 6 weeks. If you're the type of owner who is a worry-wart or gets upset if your horse is missing a bit of hair off his back foot, this program isn't for you.

The reality is most of the horses in for training have existing problems or are coming with baggage. Our commitment is to teach your horse the Fundamentals Level of the Method, bringing out a respectful partner who is safe and enjoyable to be around. It's a given that it's taken him longer than 6 weeks to develop his bad habits, but we're only going to have 6 weeks to turn him around.
 I Agree

The possibility of extended training.
As a horse owner, you know that illness and lameness are a reality when training horses. While we don't foresee your horse becoming lame or getting injured, and will do everything in our power to ensure he doesn't, horses are horses - you can never bet on anything. You can be assured that if your horse does become ill or lame, you will be contacted immediately and the best care possible will be given to him. If we feel veterinary care is required, we'll notify you and see to it that he is treated. In the event of an emergency, you'll always be contacted, but if we can't get in touch with you immediately, we'll go ahead with care. You will be responsible for covering all veterinary expenses.

Each horse will be treated as an individual and progressed at his own rate of learning. With that being said, we can't guarantee how quickly each horse will learn. The majority of horses will be able to complete the Fundamentals within 6 weeks; however, if the horse came with really bad behavior or goes lame and needs time off, it'll take longer to get him to that level.

If the situation arises in which your horse does experience a learning curve or becomes ill or lame and can't be worked, his time on the ranch will be extended by two weeks to ensure that he receives his full training through the Fundamentals Level of the Method. While the training fee won't increase (you'll receive an extra $1,500 worth of training), you will be responsible for paying for his additional board and care, which the clinician training your horse will discuss with you.

Your horse's training could also get extended if there's a clinic at the ranch. Where Academy students are concerned, assisting at clinics takes priority over training horses. Therefore if the Academy students are helping in the clinic, their training horses will not be worked during that time. When that happens, your horse's board will be reduced to $10/day rather than the regular $17/day. This reduction actually costs Downunder Horsemanship money, but we offer it as a gift to offset the horse's time off. Keep in mind that any time missed during the training period will need to be added to the end of the session.

If you're on a strict schedule, where if your horse had to stay on an extra two weeks you couldn't do it, then it's highly recommended not going forward with the program. If Clinton feels it's in the best interest of the horse, and ultimately your satisfaction and safety, to keep the horse an extra two weeks, he'll ask that he does. Our number one concern is to bring out your horse's full potential and make sure you're happy with the results.
 I Agree

The training program is intense.
Horses learn best with consistency and repetition, and your horse will be worked two hours a day, six days a week. So if your horse has been worked very little leading up to his stay at the ranch, or if he hauled in a long distance and is sore from the trip, he may need an extra week or two to get with the program. If your horse isn't used to being worked on a regular basis, don't be surprised if when you come to pick him up he's lost some weight. His nutritional needs will be met with the best quality hay and grain, but if he was overweight, he certainly won't be when he's completed his training. He will however have gained muscle and be physically fit.

In fact, to best ensure horses leave the ranch in good weight, we encourage you to generously feed your horse before bringing him in for training. Due to the program's intensity, it is best if the horse is fleshy and a little fat coming into the program. If you've underfed your horse and he's skinny, he'll have a much harder time gaining weight while in training. Remember, the horses are worked six days a week, for at least two hours a day. While your horse will certainly be fed a high quality forage and grain, he'll burn a lot of calories during training. If the horse comes into the program a little fat, by the end of the 6-week course, he'll have a perfect body condition score and be in good weight.
 I Agree

Seasonal Effects and Transport Illness Exposure.
During Texas' summer months when temperatures reach 100 degrees and higher, it's common for horses to lose their appetites, not eat as much and drop a little bit of weight. Horses are much like human beings in that regard. Typically we don't want to sit down to a three course meal when it's hot outside. We prefer to drink more fluids and eat light meals. Clinton experiences this with his own performance and signature horses that are in intense training during peak summer months, and can count on 1/3 of them consuming less food and losing a little bit of weight. As soon as the weather cools down, the horses' appetites pick right back up and they start gaining weight. It's nothing to worry about, but just something to be aware of.

In addition to consideration of the summer's heat, the weather here during the winter may be quite chilly even bitter cold for brief periods. It is certainly not uncommon for horses to develop a mild cold or runny nose particularly when shipped to us during the cooler months. If this does occur we’ll treat the symptoms with the appropriate medication(s). If improvement doesn’t occur within a few days and certainly if the symptoms worsen, we'll contact you in the event we believe an examination from the veterinarian is warranted. Just as with we humans, horses tend to get runny noses and have cold-like symptoms most often during the winter months, and as a general rule it's of little or no serious consequence. Also, regardless of the season please be aware if your horse is delivered to us via an equine transport company there’s a chance he may be exposed to and/or contract an illness during the trip. Though uncommon this does happen from time to time, and in the few instances where it has occurred our experience has indeed proven the illnesses to be minor, with mild symptoms, the horses have recovered quickly, and had little if any effect on their training.
 I Agree

We'll bring out the best in each horse.
Our goal is to get each horse to perform the Fundamentals Level of the Method to an A-level, and we will make every effort to meet this expectation. However, each horse is an individual. Not all horses are good-minded, having willing attitudes and possess the athletic ability to reach an A-level. If a horse has a sorry attitude and can't move well, he might only get to a B-level, but he'll certainly be improved from when he was brought to us. Just keep in mind we're not magicians - we can't turn a lump of coal into a nugget of gold. We'll give it our best effort, but reality is reality.
 I Agree

Keep up to date on your horse's progress.
Throughout his training, you'll be kept up to date on your horse's progress through the Fundamentals every two weeks by the Academy student training your horse. You'll receive your first phone call two weeks after the horse has been in training, and then four weeks into the horse's training you'll receive another phone call. During this call, the Academy student will indicate whether the horse will be ready to complete the course in 6 weeks or whether he may need additional time to get to the desired level of performance. If additional training is required, you won't be billed for the training, but you will be responsible for the extended board ($17/day). Additional training would be necessary if the horse came to the ranch with extreme training issues, has a bad attitude and/or had time off due to lameness or illness.

Other than the phone calls listed above, you will be contacted if your horse becomes ill or gets injured and veterinary attention is needed now or possibly in the future. That means if the horse is injured beyond a basic cut or scrape, you'll receive a call notifying you.

Because of Clinton's and the ranch staff's rigorous schedules, all phone calls will be by appointment only. Please do not call the Academy student training your horse every other day or stop by the ranch on your own accord.
 I Agree

Your horse's training is between you and Downunder Horsemanship.
We ask that you do not blog about your horse's training at the Downunder Horsemanship Ranch on the NWC site or elsewhere, either positively or negatively. Your horse's training is between you, Clinton and the clinician training your horse. Other people do not know your horse's history, the condition he arrived at the ranch in or his training progress. It's far too easy for someone to take two or three sentences out of context, especially when they don't know the whole story. Then Clinton and his staff are left putting fires out that are caused by simple misunderstandings. Quite frankly, Clinton and his clinicians would rather focus their energies on training your horse rather than dealing with a blog entry that's been misunderstood. We ask that you please keep your horse's training between you, Clinton and the clinician working with your horse. Of course, we can't stop you from blogging online, but we hope that you respect our wishes and understand where we're coming from as a business.
 I Agree

Your lesson day and taking your horse home.
Once your horse has successfully completed his Fundamentals training, you will be invited to the ranch for a day's lesson with the clinician who trained your horse. During this lesson, the clinician will work with you one-on-one, showing you exactly what your horse knows and helping you refine your application of the Method. The date of your lesson and when you'll pick your horse up will be finalized during your horse's fifth or sixth week of training. (Lesson and pick up dates depend on the horse's progress and therefore can't be scheduled until he's completed his fifth or sixth week of training.)

Please note that this lesson day is meant for you and your horse in training. It's not meant to be a social occasion for your friends, or an opportunity for you to bring another horse to the ranch to receive lessons on. Throughout his training, you have been kept up to date on your horse's progress, his strengths, his weaknesses, etc. By the time you arrive at the ranch for your lesson and to take your horse home, you thoroughly understand where he is in his training and what he has gone through. Others who aren't privy to the horse's background can be quick to make judgments or jump to conclusions based on what they see during the private lesson. Rather than spending time answering others' questions or concerns, Clinton would rather the clinician concentrated on helping you learn how to work with your horse. Having one of Clinton's students at your disposal for an entire day is a great learning opportunity, and we want you to take full advantage of it! The clinician will take you and the horse through both the groundwork and riding exercises as well as over the obstacle course and riding outside the arena.
 I Agree

Set yourself up for success with the Fundamentals Kit
It is highly recommended that you own the Fundamentals kit so that you can continue to understand and train your horse after you've gotten him home. Think of the Fundamentals kit as your owner's manual for your horse. It wouldn't be practical to invest $3,500 into your horse's training and spend this much time to get him trained without really understanding what he knows or how to operate him. It is absolutely crucial to your success. In fact, if we have a choice between taking in a horse whose owner has the Fundamentals kit and one who doesn't, we will always take the one that does. Even though you receive an entire day's lesson at the ranch, you won't possibly be able to remember everything the clinician taught you. Being a No Worries Club member is encouraged and you can receive valuable information through the club, but the information from the club alone is nowhere near as thorough as the Fundamentals kit.

If you purchase the Fundamentals kit at the time you sign your horse up for training and he's selected to come to the ranch, you will be offered a one-time 10% discount off the kit, whether you're a club member or not. This is an exclusive bonus Clinton wishes to offer those who believe in the Method and send their horses to the ranch for training, because he believes the Fundamentals kit is absolutely vital to the horses' continued success and the owners' enjoyment.

On behalf of your horse congratulations in your decision to apply for his acceptance in our training program. If accepted, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will put a solid foundation in place on which you can build, and with a willing respectful partner you will have a chance to experience all of the joy the journey toward achieving your horsemanship dreams can bring. We’re very confident you're going to be amazed at the level of softness and control your horse will acquire.

I have read, fully understand, and accept the terms of sending my horse to Downunder Horsemanship for the Academy Horse program to be trained by Clinton's Academy students.
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Kate said...

I've never liked Clinton Anderson or what I've seen of his training methods - not my cup of tea at all, and everything you've posted just reinforces my original impression - there's not much in there about putting the interests of the horse first.

Grey Horse Matters said...

You've got to be kidding me. I can't believe what I just read. This isn't about training horses with professionalism and their best interests at heart. It's about making money quickly and so what if your horse gets the worst of it. As I said in the last post, I've never liked this guy or his training methods. It's hard to believe how many people hire him to "train" their horses and pay to go to clinics.

jme said...

"If you're the kind of owner that wants your horse to learn while not losing a pound of weight and keep an immaculately shiny coat, you're unrealistic."

really? because somehow i've manage to start, rehab and retrain a ton of horses, including the kinds of problem horses he's describing, without them losing hair off their backs and faces, getting bruises, girth galls, losing weight, becoming stressed, needing to be hobbled and tied to tires or giving them aneurisms/heart attacks. am i doing it wrong? because i've always thought horses learned better when they weren't exhausted, hungry, bruised and freaked out. but i'm not famous, so what do i know?

it's sad that so many owners are manipulated by jerks like this. they're in a place with their horse where they're desperate and vulnerable, and he's offering 'solutions,' but in a way that's so chauvinist and bullying. not cool.

Máire said...

Oh my, oh my. What is there to say? That is quite unbelievable. Who reads that, signs each paragraph and still gives him their horse?

I came across his statement through facebook. I know very little about him - what an ass.

Simply Marvelous said...

Training or abuse? I wouldn't let Clinton Anderson touch any of my horses. His arrogance reveals his lack of understanding of horses. It makes me angry/sad for the horses subjected to his style of "training".

JP3 said...

I signed and put a really lazy over reactive horse through his "bootcamp for horses" and was told I would receive a full refund if I wasn't happy when I picked up the horse. This was in week 4 when I wasn't liking what I heard about the progress of the horse. Well he's been home about 6 months and I still can't train him due to a L shoulder tear. Anyway, the phone call from CA after I expressed my dissatisfaction with the results would have been rated R except the phone could barely handle the screaming rage coming out of his mouth. I still use his method religously without any blood or girty gall. I've trained over a couple dozed with his method and where he and I differ immensely is taking the horses personality into consideration. You can easily confuse disrespect with confusion unless you know the horse. It DOES matter which of them the horse is feeling and the trainer needs to adapt to either situation. I go out for every lesson with a plan. The horse tells me if I'm sticking to the plan or if I need to adapt my plans to fit the need of the horse. Personally I believe he hates horses because he's dependent on them for his multi $M livelyhood. Know this, he has a horrible temper and any patience he shows in video is momentary at best.

billie said...

JP3 - thank you for sharing your experience. Based on what I've seen and been told, I am not surprised that he has a temper. I have no doubt that he lets it loose on a regular basis with horses and people who cross him.

I hope your horse recovers - and applaud your taking the horse's personality into consideration when training.

Anonymous said...

Amy. - Thank you for your blogg very informative .

Anonymous said...

After reading the legal agreement that Clinton Anderson has an owner sign related to his so called "trainin" it is apparent he is trying to state everything that can happen to your horse (and should not by the way) so he can't be sued. Any owner who sends a horse to him obivioulsy thinks they are without any other resourses for their horse or they would not be sending it for training with someone who is only about the money not the care and training of a horse.

billie said...

Anon, yes, and that is precisely why I am posting this - so that hopefully if anyone does look him up they will at least see some alternative info to his own self-aggrandized marketing.