This last weekend I took the opportunity to go to Clinton Anderson's 2012 Walkabout Tour in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a blast! The states I saw represented (for sure) included: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and even Florida! Overall the tour was great, watching Clinton work with the problem horses is the best part to me. His timing is pretty much perfect, and it's clear by how fast the horses he is working with improve that he is communicating clearly with them. Side note: the problem horses Clinton works with are all local horses that their owners applied to have used as demonstration horses at the tour.
For those of you who have never been to or heard of the CA Walkabout Tour, here's the general schedule:
9-9:15 am: Clinton performs groundwork with Diez, a horse he has trained and takes on his tour. It's impressive to watch as they move together gracefully. This year this demonstration didn't happen, and it was hinted that Diez was having a problem.
9:15-10:30 am: Clinton talks about his Method, gives the audience his philosophy and explains where he came from and what his Method is about.
10:30-11 am: Break/Autograph signing
11-12:30 pm: Clinton round pens a disrespectful/pushy horse. This time, it was a really lazy paint horse of some type that the owner bought because he is beautiful. I think he had blue eyes, and was named "Gus." He was using his shoulders to push his owner around, literally turning his head and moving into her with his chest. She obligingly moved for him. She said that Gus' issue was kicking out when he decided he'd had enough of lunging or round penning. He never kicked out at Clinton, but I was much more concerned with the way Gus moved his owner around. Clinton set clear boundaries with the fellow, and while Gus tried to slow down a lot he wasn't aggressive in the round pen.
12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch
1:30-3 pm: Problem horse #2, generally has issues under saddle that the owner is worried about. This year, the mare was brought in because she liked to move out quickly and I think she had bucked or something. She was a pretty buckskin mare, and was another good example of a horse moving their owner all about the arena. The mare had no respect for the human at the end of her lead rope and did generally as she pleased. Clinton did ground work with her, teaching her to lunge respectfully.
3-3:30 pm- Break/Autograph signing
3:30- 5 pm: Clinton rides Diez, showing off what you can achieve if you follow his Method. They do reining patterns, back in circles, side pass all around the arena, etc. They did do this, but I noticed a few steps of Diez's where he seemed a little off. It didn't appear to be anything major.
I'm going to cut this post off here, but I will talk about Day 2 soon, including the gorgeous Tennessee Walker I drooled over :).