It's Clinic Season!

Winter and horses go together about as well as a peanut butter and mustard sandwich.  Sure, the weather is cooler and Pinterest has some beautiful photos of horses in the snow, but the reality of my winter riding tends to be muddy paddocks, lost shoes in said mud, hooves packed solid with said mud (or the wet arena footing), and hyper horses that have been stall bound due to inclement weather.
But the upside of the winter riding season is that it is clinic season! 

Summer is for showing, and winter is the time to improve techniques and prepare for the next show season ahead.  In winter I work on riding without stirrups (helps keep me warm too!) and repetitive exercises to work on my horse's responsiveness.  This is why clinics are so perfect for winter, particularly if the clinic is held at a facility with an indoor!

I love to ride in clinics that give me specific homework for the dreary months ahead, or I love to audit clinics if I can't ride in it (and I always bring a thermos of hot tea because auditing always seems to be freezing!).

An important part of a clinic is the Clinician Agreement.  The Clinician Agreement can work in a couple different ways:
First, between the facility host and the clinician
Secondly, between the facility and the clinic participant

The facility should always use Clinician Agreements to help protect itself from liability.  Liability can arise if the relationship between the clinician and the facility isn't clear.  For example, does the clinician have aspects that make him/ her appear as an employee of the facility? Or an independent contractor?
How is payment made (or not made) between the facility and the clinician? What are the expectations of profit sharing (which can look like a default legal partnership if you aren't careful!)?

The facility should have also have a Clinic Agreement with the participants to clarify who has the legal duty of care.  If the clinician instructs a rider to ride a grid that the clinician should know far exceeds the rider's capability, and the rider falls and dies (legal examples are always better when they show worst case scenarios!), then the facility wants to have a signed Agreement on record in which the participant has relieved the facility from any liability arising from the clinician's instructions or teaching style.  And in this example, the Clinic Agreement should also clearly state that the participant understands and accepts the risk of harm or death from participating in equestrian activities.
If a facility uses a standard Release of Liability for the participants, then the Release should specify that it applies to clinics or lessons with independent clinicians on site.

This weekend my barn is hosting a clinic this weekend with Rob Gage, a hunter/ jumper rider who has been Rider of the Year four times and has won over forty Grand Prix show jumping events throughout the world.
I encourage you to seek out riding in or auditing as many clinics as possible this winter- it will help inspire your training for spring riding and showing!

Any fun clinics coming up for you? Let me know if you ever sign a Clinic Agreement!


I know, things have been a little silent.  I hope you have had a wonderful summer and fall!  

There are some exciting things coming up on the blog: projects to launch, posts to write, announcements to share, and more! 

Have you missed your dose of equine law and business?! Let me know what it is you want to see more of on the blog.

And for you small business owners who market to the horse world... keep your eyes peeled on this space because we have something BIG and EXCITING and game changing coming at you!

May is for Mares and Mothers!

Continuing our series on Motherhood and Riding, we have a special treat today! 
Two professional women, who love horses and their young children, share HOW and WHY they have stayed active in the horse community during this busy chapter in their lives.

I think it is a shame that women leave the saddle during the young-child phase, though I can certainly understand why.  Horses and children can both be expensive, time consuming, and demanding.  But I believe that with the right planning (such as co-leasing your horse), and the right collaboration with your horse service providers (your stable, your trainers), more mothers may be able to stay in horses.  Even if this period of your life requires you to sell your horse in your family's or your horse's best interests, I would still advocate the value in continuing to be involved in the horse community, even if you are not regularly mounted yourself.  The soul-soothing it can give you, the value in exposing your children to the barn, and the value and encouragement you can add to your fellow equestrians are all compelling reasons to make it to the next horse show or clinic or lesson to audit, help set jumps, or to just be refreshed by being in and around the horse world.

Have a read to see what our two contributing working/ riding/ mothering women have to say about horses and motherhood!

Dr. Camille Knopf, who has contributed regularly to Ribbons and Red Tape, starting with an introduction in this post, shared about stallion STD testing in mares, about Sex Ed for Mr. Ed, and many more! 

Jackie of Regarding Horses writes a personal blog about her life with horses as a mother, on horsemanship and training, equestrian event coverage, tutorials, product reviews, and more.  She recently offered a very honest post, "6 Confessions of a Postpartum horse back rider" which is essential reading for any expecting equestrian mother...and for horse businesses that serve mothers and want to understand their target market a bit better!


Do any of these reasons resonate with you, either as a riding mother, a horse-crazy mom who had to leave the barn during the hectic years, or as a barn that loses the income stream when moms can't keep up a horse while also raising young children?