Clinton Anderson Academy Horse Training Application & Administrative Process
Our primary purpose and focus with this program is to train our Academy Students to teach Clinton’s Method to others upon graduation. With that in mind, the number of students we have available to train the Academy horses is not always constant, and sometimes does have an effect on the number of horses we can accept in each training session. The students have additional responsibilities on Tour with Clinton, and with our Clinics held at the ranch in Stephenville that may affect the actual length of your horse’s training, as well. When making your decision a willingness on your part to be very flexible is absolutely critical. Be sure to carefully read the contract, agree to the terms and conditions, and submit the online application information form along with a $500 non-refundable deposit.
We’ll contact you when you’re eligible for an opening in one of the training sessions, and understand this may be several months after you’ve submitted your initial application and deposit. So, we ask that you please be patient, and remember your application and deposit doesn’t automatically guarantee we’ll accept your horse into the program.
Once we contact you, your horse’s enrollment in the training program is dependent upon a telephone interview. The interview is to ensure the program is suitable for both you and the needs of your horse. Upon acceptance and enrollment into the program you’ll receive an invoice for the remaining balance of the training fee which is due in-full four (4) weeks prior to the actual start of your horse’s training session.
Next, you’ll receive an email from us requesting the information as to the delivery of your horse to us here at the ranch in Stephenville. Including the date, approximate time, mode of transport, etc.
Two (2) weeks prior to the actual start of your horse’s training session you’ll receive a telephone call from the Academy Student Clinician assigned to conduct your horse’s training. At that time you and your Clinician will discuss your horse, and his training in great detail.
Then your horse arrives and his training session begins.
Throughout the training session period you can expect to receive a telephone call from your Clinician approximately every two (2) weeks to update you and discuss your horse’s progress.
Your lesson and pick-up date will be scheduled two (2) weeks in advance to allow you to make the necessary travel arrangements.
Approximately one (1) week prior to your lesson and pick-up date you’ll receive a final invoice from us for any incidentals such as, but not limited to, farrier, medications, and additional board if applicable.
Last but not least, you’ll experience one full day of lessons with your Clinician before taking your horse home to enjoy and continue to progress with Clinton’s Method.
I have read and agreed to the Clinton Anderson Academy Horse Training Application & Administrative Process.
Fill in the required fields below to enroll your horse in the Academy. Sessions fill quickly, so we recommend planning your horse's training in advance. After your information is submitted, you'll be contacted by Downunder Horsemanship to further discuss your horse's enrollment and training in the Fundamentals.
Are You A NWC Member?
I have read the Letter of Understanding and I agree and accept the terms and conditions of the Academy Training Horse Program.
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.
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. For the first three to five days, 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. The purpose of keeping the horse in a run the first few days is to allow him to get acclimated to his new environment and a new diet before starting the training program.
As soon as the horse’s training begins, he will be kept on a ground tire 24/7 for several weeks. The ground tire is a beneficial tool to teach the horse to ground tie and to give, yield and bend to halter pressure. All of Clinton’s personal horses spend eight weeks on a ground tire to teach them how to ground tie. It’s a beneficial skill to teach your horse, especially in emergency situations. If you fall off your horse and the horse has been properly taught to ground tie, when the rein hits the ground, the horse should stand still.
The ground tire is a regular tire filled with concrete in place of the inner tube. A 7-foot long lead rope is attached to the tire. The lead rope is threaded through a rubber hose so that the rope doesn’t become tangled around the horse’s legs. A swivel snap is fastened to the end of the lead rope and then attached to the horse’s halter. The ground tire is very much like a Patience Pole, but instead of the horse being tied high, he’s tied low to the ground.
While tied to the ground tire, the horse can walk all around the tire, he can lie down, stretch out, graze, etc. If the horse would pull back against the tire, he can move it. In that respect, the ground tire acts off the same theory as the Aussie Tie Ring - when the horse uses the reactive side of his brain and panics, as long as he’s allowed to move his feet, he doesn’t resist pressure and stops struggling. But, if he feels trapped and can’t move his feet, that’s when he fights to survive the situation. The horse can actually move the tire, but most horses don’t ever move it more than 15 feet because once they realize they’re not tied to something solid and they can move their feet, they stop resisting the pressure.
Incorporating the ground tire in the horse’s curriculum increases his progression of learning groundwork exercises tenfold and it teaches the horse not to panic when he feels an object moving around his legs. Every once in a while, a horse will kick out at the lead rope covered with the rubber hose, but the worst scenario that’s ever happened is the horse has rubbed some hair off his legs.
The horse is tied to the ground tire outside in an open area. When it’s cold, the horse is blanketed, and during the heat of the day in the summer, the horse is tied to a Patience Pole under a shaded tree. Forage is available to the horse 24/7, and he is offered water multiple times throughout the day and after his training session.
If having your horse tied to a ground tire is something that worries you, this program is not for you. Please do not send your horse to us.
The last two weeks of training, the horse will be stabled in a run again. While in the run, the horse will be wearing sideline hobbles (switched from one side of the horse’s body to the other side from day to day) in preparation for the hobbling lessons.
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 a fly mask 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 six 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. Please be honest with yourself and with us. To put it plain and simple, if you feel like you’re what Clinton calls a "tree hugger" or you overreact quickly, do not send your horse to us. You will not be happy with our service. We cannot stress this enough.
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.
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 and tours 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 $12/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.
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.
When you drop your horse off at the Downunder Horsemanship Ranch, we will take a photo of your horse to document his condition at the start of the six-week training course.
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 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 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.
If you choose to use an equine transport to get your horse to and from the ranch, please be aware of the following. 1) Regardless of the season, 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. 2) It is normal for a horse to lose weight during travel. Traveling is a stressful situation for horses, and they usually do not eat or drink as much as they normally would. 3) During transport, the horse's legs may get stocked up (swollen) due to standing in an enclosed area for an extended period of time. This is especially likely to happen if the horse has been in rigorous training for six weeks and then immediately goes on a transport for several days where his movement is restricted. This is normal, and the swelling will most likely go down once the horse is able to move around again.
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, have 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.
There is no guarantee that at the end of the training program the horse will be suitable for what your goals or needs are. The only guarantee we can give you is that we’ll work with the horse for 2 ½ hours a day, six days a week, we’ll give you two updates about his training at two weeks into his training and then again at four weeks, and we will be extremely honest about all of the horse’s good qualities and all of his bad qualities. We hope that the horse works out for what you’re looking for, but just because he went through the program doesn’t guarantee he’ll be suitable for your needs. You may want a quiet horse for your grandchildren to learn how to ride on, but the horse may not be suitable for that task. Reality is every horse is an individual and has his own strengths and weaknesses.
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. (Please note that the student will contact you within a 48-hour period at the designated time. If we don’t contact you exactly two or four weeks from the hour you dropped the horse off, don’t panic. We will get in touch with you.) 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 or email the Academy student training your horse every other day or stop by the ranch on your own accord.
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.
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. Along with showing you the Fundamentals groundwork and riding exercises your horse knows in the roundpen and in the arena, the Academy student will work your horse over the obstacle course and on the trail to demonstrate how your horse handles the obstacles and being ridden outside. Your lesson will begin in the roundpen with the Academy student teaching you or helping you fine-tune the groundwork and riding exercises with your horse. If the Academy student feels confident in your riding ability, they will have you ride the horse in the arena. If weather conditions are unsafe or have created unsafe conditions to work the horse outside, your lesson will be held in the covered arena. For example, if it’s rained and the ground is slippery, making injury to the horse, you or the Academy student a risk, your lesson will be held indoors.
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.) Understand that because each Academy student is training four horses, just because your horse has completed his training at the six-week mark it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pick him up and receive your lesson on that exact day. Because the Academy student spends an entire day showing you what the horse has learned and working with the two of you, they can only teach one lesson a day. With that in mind, it’s likely that your lesson day will be several days after the horse’s sixth week anniversary on the ranch. How do we determine the date each horse is picked up if they all complete the Fundamentals training within the six-week time period? Luck of the draw - whichever owner we’re able to contact first. You will be responsible for the horse’s board for each additional day he is here. However, the horse will also remain in training until the day you arrive at the ranch. So while you have to pay $17/day for his board, you’re getting extra training at no cost that’s only making your horse a better partner.
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!
Your final invoice.
Your final invoice, which includes incidentals such as farrier charges, extra board, etc., must be paid in full before your horse leaves the ranch. Our accountant will email you an invoice a few days prior to your scheduled lesson day. You have a few options as to how you'd like to pay the final invoice: 1) You may call the Downunder Horsemanship office and speak with our accountant directly at 888-287-7432 x8106. Our accountant will take your credit card information to pay the bill, or you can use a card you left on file to pay the invoice. 2) If your lesson is on a weekday, you may come into the office and pay the invoice in person. 3) You may bring a check with you to your lesson day.
Please note that if your horse is scheduled to leave on an equine transport and the date of his pickup is unconfirmed by your lesson day, you will be charged for an additional two weeks of board. You will be refunded any unused funds after your horse leaves the ranch.
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 $4,500 in training and another $700 - $1,000 on board, depending on how long the horse is on the ranch, into your horse 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.
This program is successful for 98% of owners who bring their horses to the ranch. For the other 2%, the program is unsuccessful because both parties don’t share the same philosophies and we shouldn’t have accepted the owner and their horse into the program. We want to do a great job of training your horse for you, but you have to allow us to do our job. We’re the expert, that’s why you’re interested in having us train your horse. Please be very honest with yourself. If anything that you’ve read in this document strikes a nerve with you, or makes you feel uncomfortable or causes concern, do not send your horse to us for training. You will not be happy and will be doing yourself a disservice.
If your horse is 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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