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"Ride with Respect" Horse-friendly riding clinics

Open clinics with Licenced Teacher of Philippe Karl's School of Légèreté, Derek Clark

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  • For riders looking for an alternative to the 'just make him do it' approach to riding and training. 
  • Learn how to make effective progress with any type of horse.
  • Solve common difficulties with kindness and respect instead of brute force or gadgets. 
  • Join us for a refreshing and uplifting weekend. 
  • Suitable for all levels of rider and any type of horse.


Why should you attend this clinic?

  • Are you stuck, failing to progress or even having problems with your horse?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable about what you're being asked to do to your horse during riding lessons?
  • Or perhaps you have a youngster or new horse and just want to know how to 'do it right'?

If any of these statements describe you then this clinic with Licenced Teacher of Philippe Karl's School of Légèreté, Derek Clark, will give you the answers you're looking for. 

Riding and schooling horses can be easy, rewarding and fun for both you and your horse when you know the 'secrets'. On the other hand, it can quickly and easily turn into a physical battle if you don't. In the modern day, the kind and respectful ways of schooling horses - even to the highest levels - that were once more widely known seem to have been almost completely forgotten.

Nowadays, unfortunately, you are much more likely to find instructors demanding you drive your horse forward into shorter and shorter reins or resorting to ever more elaborate gadgets in a desperate search for quick fixes and instant results. Not surprisingly, many horses protest and refuse these approaches leading to wide range of symptoms including a lack of forward, running away, napping, spooking, difficulties with the mouth or bit, bucking, rearing, bolting or worse!

If you are one of the many riders who are looking for a better way then don't give up hope because there is an alternative and the alternative works for EVERY horse!

Derek's approach to riding and training is based on empathy, compassion and his deep understanding of horse-friendly methods that have been tried and tested over hundreds of years. Derek and his methods are equally effective whether working with horses or riders who are complete beginners or who are already at higher levels. So, whatever your current level of riding experience or type of horse, this clinic has something for you. 


Who is Derek and why can he help you?

As one of French classical master Philippe Karl's licenced teachers - and with his unusual background as a former Olympic rowing coach and sports psychology expert - Derek Clark is uniquely qualified to help both you and your horse make the progress you want AND enjoy the time you spend together while you're doing it. Derek treats riding and schooling horses as a process of friendly education instead of coercion, with methods and techniques that work with your horse's nature rather than against it.

Derek is known for his warm and friendly style and has a deep understanding of how riding has developed through history. He will help you make sense of things you may have read about or heard before and translate these ideas into practical steps that are easy for you to put into practice with kindness and respect for your horse.

His deep understanding of how different people learn, his decades of experience in coaching (from novice to Olympic level) and over 15 years working with difficult and 'rehab' horses also give him a unique perspective, enabling him to help riders of any standard overcome the challenges of riding and training even the most sensitive equine. In fact, people often say Derek has a gift for spotting just what you and your horse need to help you 'join the dots' and make rapid progress.

What will you learn in this clinic?

Although lessons will be tailored to the individual needs of each horse and rider, here are a few common themes:

  • How to develop a better relationship with your horse and communicate through lightness and respect
  • What exactly are 'contact' and 'lightness' and how should they feel?
  • How to put any horse 'on the bit', what it really means and how to obtain it without gadgets or force 
  • How to lighten a horse who leans on the bit
  • How to round a horse who inverts his neck or hollows his back to avoid the contact
  • How to easily tell the difference between a horse that is 'light' and a horse that is 'behind the bit'
  • How to get a free flowing walk, trot and canter - even with 'lazy' horses
  • How to ride lateral work with ease

How will the clinic be organised?

Lessons will be held over 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) at The Holistic Equitation Centre on the following dates during 2018:

  • Feb   3/4
  • May 12/13
  • July  21/22
  • Sept  1/2
  • Nov   3/4
Derek will also give a FREE theory lecture on the Friday evening immediately before each clinic (start time 7pm). If this will be your first clinic with Derek you are strongly encouraged to attend. The lecture is also open to friends and helpers plus anyone else who may be interested in finding out more about the kind and respectful way to school any horse - even to the highest levels.   

The clinics are held in a relaxced, friendly and supportive atmosphere. Derek's goal is to help you and your horse make progress and enjoy the time you spend together, not to criticise or make you feel inadequate.

The centre has a covered sand and rubber arena and modern stabling as well as plenty of grass turnout for visiting horses.

The clinic is open to riders and spectators. In order to give each rider the individual attention they deserve, the number of riders is limited to a maximum of 8.  Questions are welcome from both riders and spectators. We do ask, though, that more in-depth questions from spectators be asked during the theory lecture or outside of lessons in order that Derek can focus on the horse and rider he is teaching during their individual session.  

Riders will each have a 60 minute individual lesson on Saturday and a 45 minute lesson on Sunday. There will be a break for lunch each day as well as breaks for coffee/tea in the mornings and afternoons (all included in the price).

On Saturday night there is the option to go out as a group to the local pub for dinner  (NB: not included in your clinic fee).


What Derek's clients say:

"Every time I come here I go home thinking WOW!" Iain Cox

"Many thanks to you both for a great weekend for myself and Haegen. The venue and teaching were invaluable and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a privilege to meet everyone." Susan Thompson

"Anyone interested in schooling your horse with true lightness, I highly recommend having lessons with Derek - his method of coaching and knowledge of classical equitation is astounding .... A big thank you to Derek - Russell (my horse) LOVED it!!!" Lisa Venables

"Thank you SO much, that's the most amazing two days of good horsemanship I've ever experienced - and I've seen a lot of horsemanship!" Jan Woodhall

"Fab Fab Fab!! The clarity of your message and your humour mixed in with the detail works really well for me!" Jane Riley

"My riding lessons with you are the highlight of my week, every week. The moment each lesson ends I'm already looking forward to the next one!" Dianne Marshall

"My horse continues to go better than I have ever known him to and your concept of having him 'gently holding hands with me' has really changed and added to our relationship." Bern Easterford

"I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for taking the time with me and Ember. You all made me feel very welcome. I want to say a particular thank you to Derek. The whole experience of working with you has been a real inspiration and I feel that I now have the know-how to work with Ember to produce a really nice calm horse and to help her grow in confidence along side me." Debbie Parry

"I have enjoyed the ease with which I have learnt a riding technique which is simple, logical and enjoyable not only for me but also for my horse who appears for the first time ever to be enjoying his lessons! You are a kind and patient teacher but push us each lesson knowing that we are capable. I have found the whole experience original, exciting, well organized and a rapid return on my investment" Davinia Best

"Derek is very approachable and extremely generous with his time and expertise - overall, it was fascinating. Best of all, though, I picked up some fresh new perspectives on stuff I already know (or sort of know!)/am doing with our horses, which I am confident will lead to greater understanding and feel as I practise with the horses" Sarah Widdecombe (spectator)

What if I decide to participate?

Derek's aim is to equip you with the skills and understanding you need to go on after the clinic and keep making progress. At the end of the clinic you will leave with a clear understanding of how to progress with your horse to reach the goals you have in mind and solve the problems you've been wrestling with. The possiblities are limited only by your own imagination!

If you would like ongoing support from Derek there are also a variety of options available; returning for future clinics, arranging further lessons (either at your normal riding venue or here at the centre) or even organising for him to come and teach at your own location, for example. Just let Derek know and he will be happy to discuss the options with you.    



NB: Rider numbers are strictly limited so book early to avoid disappointment!



Rider places: £195.00     

  • 2 individual lessons with Derek
  • 2 nights livery for your horse (on straw bedding - cardboard bedding available at extra cost)
  • Refreshments at break times and lunch on Saturday and Sunday (vegetarians catered for)
  • Riders are also welcome to spectate during all other lessons over the course of the clinic.

Spectators: £30.00 per day or £50.00 for both days

  • Admission to spectate during all lessons on the relevant day(s)
  • Lunch, coffee/tea at break times (vegetarians catered for)

Rider Places: Please Select Date
Spectator Places: Please Select

Please specify which dates:


  • Feb   3/4
  • May  12/13
  • July   21/22
  • Sept  1/2
  • Nov   3/4




Holistic Equitation Ltd is registered in England with Company No. 05644190. Holistic Equitation, The Holistic Equitation Centre and the Holistic Equitation Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Holistic Equitation Ltd. All material and images are Copyright © 2006-2019 Holistic Equitation Ltd or others and may not be copied or reproduced in any form without express written permission from the owner.



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