Academy Horse Frequently Asked Questions

Academy Horse Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long is the training session?
    The Academy Horse Program is 6 weeks in length.
  • What is the payment plan?
    Each 6-week level of the Academy Horse Program costs $3,999/No Worries Club members or $4,499/non-members for training and $20/day for board. A $500 nonrefundable deposit is required at the time of sign up and will be applied to the training fee.
  • Is there an age limit on the horses you accept?
    All horses must be between the ages of 2 and 12 and be halter broke.
  • Do you accept stallions into the program?

    No.

  • Do you accept mules into the program?

    No.

  • What breed of horses do you accept into the program?
    We accept all breeds of horses for training.
  • Can I submit more than one horse to be trained at a time?
    Clinton highly discourages owners from sending two horses to the same training session. The reason is that just because the horses start the session at the same time it does not guarantee that they will finish at the same time. We always do our best to keep every horse on the six-week training schedule, but there are a million things that can happen during a training session that could cause one horse’s training to be prolonged. For starters, each horse is an individual and progresses at his own rate, and some horses need extra training to get to where they need to be in the program. And, if one of the horses got sick or lame or injured himself and needed some time off, his training would also be delayed. If a horse’s training is delayed or prolonged, the price for his training session stays the same at $3,999. However, with that being said, if one of your horses has successfully finished the program and is ready to go home and the other horse needs three additional weeks of training, you would have two choices. 1) You could come to the ranch for your lesson with the first horse, and then make a separate trip to come for your lesson with the other horse. Or, 2) You could leave both horses in training until they were both ready to leave the ranch. However, keep in mind that because the first horse successfully finished the program, you would be charged an additional training fee of $500/week for the extra training he’d receive until you came to pick him up on your lesson day. You would not incur any additional training fees for the horse that required extra time at the ranch to successfully finish the program. The bottom line is that if everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan it can become expensive to send multiple horses to the Academy at the same time.
  • How do you determine which clinician trains which horses?
    We receive a variety of horses in for training from those with longstanding behavioral problems to colts needing started. To give each clinician experience working with each type of horse, we divvy the horses up so that each clinician is given a mix of horses to work with. Rest assured that Clinton and Professional Clinician Shana Terry oversee all of the horses’ training to ensure that no matter which clinician is training a particular horse, every horse is reaching the best of their individual ability.
  • Can I request a particular clinician to train my horse?
    When enrolling your horse in the program, you may mention a clinician you’d prefer to have train your horse. We will try to meet your request, but can’t guarantee it will happen.
  • Will my gaited horse be expected to canter?
    Yes. All horses in the training program will be expected to canter.
  • Will my horse be expected to go over the obstacle course?
    Yes. All horses will be worked over the obstacle course on a regular basis. Some of the obstacles on the course include water hazards, logs, a cowboy curtain, trenches, gullies, bridges, banks, hills and coops. Going over obstacles is a great way to practice the Fundamentals exercises without boring the horse in the arena and encourages the horse to watch where he’s placing his feet.
  • What health requirements does my horse need before he arrives at the ranch?
    Your horse will need to have proof of a current negative Coggins. If your horse will be coming from out of state, you will also need to have a current health certificate for him. Health certificates expire every 30 days, and since your horse will be at the ranch for longer than 30 days, we’ll have our veterinarian provide an up to date health certificate for you. That way, when you come to pick the horse up, all your paperwork will be in order. Health papers generally cost about $15. We recommend checking with your local veterinarian about health requirements when traveling across state lines.
  • What if I can’t trailer my horse?
    If you are interested in the training program but are unable to trailer your horse to the Downunder Horsemanship Ranch, you can use an equine transport company. We’ve had customers in the past use Equine Express www.equineexpress.com with great success.
  • Does my horse need to be shod?
    We prefer horses to arrive at the ranch shod since the horses will be worked over rough terrain. Shoeing your horse acts as a preventative measure to protect his feet. Most of the horses that come for training are either young colts or are older horses that have been turned out to pasture and are not used to being worked with daily. We tell people to view shoeing the horse like an insurance policy. We only have 6 weeks to work with your horse, and we want to ensure you get the most out of the program. We’d hate to see your horse laid up because his feet couldn’t handle the rigors of the training program.
  • What if I can’t shoe my horse?
    We understand that because of limited handling or a horse’s habit of kicking, etc. that not all horses will be able to be shod before arriving at the ranch. If you are unable to have your horse shod before he arrives, we’ll be happy to have shoes put on him. We have a local farrier who shoes all of our training horses. Shoeing generally costs about $90 and will be added to your bill.
  • I’ve heard that horses that aren’t used to being worked every day often develop girth gall. Is this true? And if so, what exactly is girth gall?
    It’s common for 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.
  • Should I work with my horse prior to sending him to the ranch?
    While we ask that you don’t work with your horse prior to training, to best ensure he leaves the ranch in good weight, we encourage you to generously feed him before dropping him off at the ranch. 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, 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.
  • Will you teach my horse Intermediate or Advanced exercises in Level 1 of the program?
    No. Your horse will only be taught the Fundamentals exercises during the first level of the program. He will, however, be ridden extensively outside the arena, worked on the obstacle course, taught to trailer load and stand calmly while tied. If Clinton and the clinician training your horse feel that he has the ability and aptitude to continue through the Intermediate and Advanced levels of the Method, you will be approached about continuing his education at the ranch.
  • Do I need to provide any equipment for my horse?
    No. We have all of the equipment that we’ll need to train your horse while he’s at the ranch.
  • When does my horse arrive at the ranch for the training session?
    Downunder Horsemanship will schedule a designated arrival date for your horse that will be about two or three days before the start of the training session. We like to have the horses on the ranch at least a day before the training session begins so that the horse can adjust to his new environment. You will first be contacted by Downunder Horsemanship after you enroll your horse in the program by filling out the enrollment application and paying a nonrefundable $500 deposit.
  • Where will my horse stay while at the ranch?
    Your horse will be stabled on the clinic side of the ranch in a 25’ by 30’ run that is attached to a two-sided shelter. Each run is equipped with an automatic waterer, hay manger and no tip-feeder.
  • What will my horse be fed?
    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. Our grain of choice is ADM’s SENIORGLO. Downunder Horsemanship will safely incorporate grain into the horse’s diet. Therefore, there is no need to change your horse’s grain before bringing him to the ranch.
  • Will my horse be fed supplements?
    If you currently feed supplements to your horse, we’ll be happy to administer them as long as they are provided in disposable containers and are well labeled. Be sure to supply us with enough of the supplement to last the entire 6-week course. Please keep in mind that with the quality of hay and grain your horse will receive, supplements are not necessary.
  • If I currently braid and band my horse’s mane and tail, can I expect that to be maintained throughout his training?
    No. Training horses are groomed and bathed daily, but we will not band manes or braid tails.
  • Will you blanket and/or put a fly mask on my horse?
    When necessary, we will blanket your horse and provide a fly mask.
  • If my horse is not suitable for my needs, how will I know?
    When you enroll your horse in the training program, we’ll have a detailed discussion on what your horse’s problems are, what you hope to be able to do with him and what your goals as a rider are. If during the course of his training it becomes evident to us that your horse will not fit your needs, we will let you know immediately. You’ve heard Clinton say before that there are horses for courses and people for horses. Not all horses excel in or like every discipline, and not all people get along with all horses. We stand by that theory and take it very seriously. Having a horse that fits your needs and skill level is crucial to developing a safe and enjoyable partnership.
  • What if my horse becomes ill or lame during the training program?

    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 the situation arises in which your horse does become 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 will be responsible for paying for his additional board and care ($20/day), which the clinician training your horse will discuss with you.

  • What if my horse needs veterinary care during the training program?
    If we feel veterinary care is required, we’ll notify you and see to it that your horse 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.
  • What if my horse doesn’t progress as fast as the other horses?

    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 training program 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, 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 will be responsible for paying for his additional board and care ($20/day), which the clinician training your horse will discuss with you.

  • Is my horse guaranteed to be able to perform the Fundamentals at an A-level?
    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.
  • How will I be kept up to date on my horse’s training progress?

    Throughout his training, you’ll be kept up to date on your horse’s progress through the Fundamentals every two weeks by the clinician 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 clinician 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 ($20/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 notification call.

    Because of the clinician’s rigorous schedules, all phone calls will be by appointment only. Please do not call the clinician training your horse every other day or stop by the ranch on your own accord.

  • Can I visit my horse during the 6-week course?
    No, personal visits to the ranch are not permitted. Clinicians are responsible for training several horses each and are committed to training each horse to the best of his ability and are very focused on achieving this goal. Allowing owners to randomly visit their horses would consume large amounts of the clinicians’ valuable time. You will be kept up to date on your horse’s progress through telephone calls scheduled with the clinician your horse.
  • How will I know what my horse has learned during each 6-week course?
    Once your horse has successfully completed each level of training (Fundamentals, Intermediate and Advanced), 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.)
  • How much time will I get with the clinician when I pick my horse up?
    The clinician who trained your horse will spend an entire day with you ($1,000 value) to ensure that you thoroughly understand the training that your horse has received. It’s important to us that you understand how to continue your horse’s training at home so you can experience the same level of success and continue to strengthen your partnership with him. On your lesson day, the clinician will work your horse in the arena, over the obstacle course and on the trail, showing you how your horse was trained and all that he knows. You will then get to do groundwork with your horse and ride your horse in an arena while the clinician coaches you. Throughout the lesson, you’ll be encouraged to ask the clinician questions, and they’ll help you refine your understanding of the Fundamentals.
  • Can I invite my friends to attend my day’s lesson at the ranch or bring another horse with me?
    No. 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 will be 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, you will 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 clinicians 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.
  • How can I ensure my horse progresses at home?
    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 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. Even though you receive an entire day’s lesson at the ranch, you won’t possibly be able to remember everything the Academy student 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.

So what are you waiting for? Enroll Your Horse Today!

 

Enroll Today!