Clinton Anderson brings his Walkabout Tour to Virginia Horse Center

Clinton Anderson rides one of his performance
horses during a session on Saturday.

Clinton Anderson’s Walkabout Tour came to the horse center in Lexington, Virginia, this weekend, bringing Anderson’s message of demanding respect from our equine partners.

Demonstrating his method throughout the sessions, all problems there were illustrated along the way come back to the same refrain. Equestrians were shown that they don’t have a problem with spookiness or trailers or [insert bad horse habit here], they have a problem with respect.

Working with a combination of his own horses and local horses brought to the tour to fix a problem, Anderson showed how gaining respect is the door to fixing any problem.

Anderson mixes humor with a no nonsense approach to horse training while introducing his life’s work of his method for training horses. While Anderson rides Western and is now competing on Western performance horses for events such as reining and be used for any discipline.

The tour is informative, but if you are fairly familiar with his method and already a believer, you may only pick up a few tidbits. It’s not a how-to session, but an impressive demonstration of how the method can completely change a horse. Just like his TV show on RFD-TV, the sessions are mixed with product endorsements from his sponsors. Anderson is an excellent salesman, and you’ll find yourself talked into products you never knew you wanted. Those pitches are accompanied by giveaways, with winners dancing and screaming at times to earn a prize. But all the dancing in the world couldn’t beat little girl cuteness and one lucky little girl was chosen to receive a saddle from Anderson when her program number was picked. There are times when you start to feel like you have a ticket to a weekend-long, live infomercial.

One of the local horses enters the arena to begin its groundwork.
Clinton Anderson’s student Diego comes forward to take the lead from the owner. The horse wouldn’t stand still and would push into and circle his owner repeatedly.
Diego begins driving the gelding out of his personal space
by hitting the lead with his stick to back the horse away.

Diego drives the gelding to move his feet.

The gelding gets some time to rest, his head down and licking his lips,
showing his change in attitude.
Anderson stresses that if your horse is having fun, you won’t be.
The local palomino came back with a much different attitude for his second lesson on Sunday.

Later on Sunday, the gelding was ridden, demonstrating
using the fundamentals under saddle.

The humor kept the crown laughing, and often at their own expense. Anderson takes shots at just about everyone along the way, often ribbing those who ride English, Gaited horses or blondes from California. If you are sensitive and looking for politically correct, you’re likely to be offended at least once during the weekend. The sessions are kept lively and fun, and the crowd remained attentive and interactive with Anderson.

Anderson’s methods are criticized by some as being too aggressive, but he explains that the only gets as rough with them as is necessary to get the job done. Anderson and his students, who did much of the training work at the tour while he talked about what was going on to the crowd, have incredible feel for the horse. And Anderson continually repeats that the horse doesn’t learn from pressure, but the release of that pressure.

Several local horses were used on the tour and each of them showed an incredible change in attitude even in a very short period of time. One of the most impressive may have been a chestnut quarter horse who wouldn’t load into a trailer without first being drugged. After about an hour of work with Anderson’s student, the horse was loading and craving being inside the trailer. “Make the good thing easy, and the bad thing hard” is behind much of the method. Moving the horse’s feet is the key to progress.

Clinton Anderson warms up for a riding session.

Clinton Anderson warms up a performance horse gelding.

Clinton Anderson stands with one of his horses.

Diez lopes a circle around his handler, waiting to be told to yield.

One of Clinton Anderson’s students works with Diez.

Clinton Anderson shows a few tricks with his star horse, Diez.

Clinton Anderson jokes as he starts to work with a Chincoteague pony that it’s going to make him look like a jerk because the pony is so little and cute.

Clinton Anderson works with a Chincoteague rescue pony who acted afraid of people. Anderson spoke about how the pony had gotten very good at training people to remove pressure and get away from him.

Dancing for a prize.

Dancing the “Macarena” to win a prize.

A winner of one of the drawings cheers.

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