Living Legends Super Clinic 2015

Words by Dr Portland Jones. Photographs by Sophie Warren

The first Living Legends Super Clinic began with a question: How can we bridge the gap between the science of horse behaviour and mainstream, competitive riding? It seemed to us, that the study of equine behaviour had much to offer everyday riders but getting that knowledge out of universities and onto arenas was not going to be straightforward.

Enter our living legends - equine behaviourist and equitation scientist Dr Andrew McLean and six time Badminton winner Lucinda Green MBE. Here were two internationally renowned trainers with training methods honed by years of practice and with very definite ideas about training outcomes. We planned to put them into an arena together with a group of talented riders, sit back and watch what happened.

What we discovered was just how well the two trainers were able to work together. Lucinda may phrase her ideas differently from Andrew but the underlying principles are very similar. Lucinda’s focus on rider safety and horse welfare is closely aligned to the concerns of most equitation science trainers like Andrew, as is the way she de-emphasises the role of longitudinal flexion in training and teaches riders to eliminate expressions of the flight response related to jumping.

Both trainers have a fantastic ability to articulate and demonstrate the truly necessary aspects of any given exercise and they both emphasise the importance of clear basic responses trained and maintained through clear pressure and release training.

L-R Lucinda Green, Horseland Midland store
owner Cheryl Campbell, Dr Andrew McLean.
Sophie Warren Photographs

Sophie Warren and Dance Hall Diva work through a tricky exercise with Lucinda Green.   Lucinda imparting her knowledge on keen eyes and ears   Let's Impress back in action and having fun.

Over the past few years the Super Clinic concept has grown and evolved. This year we decided to run an more informal format at a smaller venue so Lucinda and Andrew would have more time to workshop ideas and training methods. Watching them work together, discussing ideas and techniques was an absolute highlight for us and one we will not forget in a hurry. The most obvious commonality between them, apart from their love of horses and their passion for welfare, is their intense curiosity and their generosity of spirit. It was a very inspiring three days and we're very much looking forward to Super Clinic 2016!

Alyson Brett working with Andrew McLean on her young horse