Robert and Janet are each wonderful instructors in their own right, and together provide a marvelous balance, and enhanced instruction that provides something greater than the sum of its already-great parts. They provide an instructional environment that feels both safe and challenging. They have an ability to meet the student wherever he or she is, allowing the student to feel acceptance at his or her current level, while at the same time encouraging the student to push their personal envelope. In short, Robert and Janet approach their students in the way they ask the students to approach their horses... with acceptance and empathy combined with an unwavering determination to find the next level of partnership and performance.
I decided to come to your clinic because close friends recommended you, and, after watching your videos on YouTube, I liked what I saw. I wasn't joking when I told Robert that he was applying tai chi and mindfulness techniques to horse training. Also, your training style seemed like a natural continuation of what I had already learned from attending Buck Brannaman's clinics.
I have been riding with the Phinneys for going on 8 years. I've chosen to continue going to their clinics and seeking their input because they are a tremendous team for equine instruction. I am ridiculously picky on who I learn from, and who I would trust my horses with. It's gone from them telling me what to do to keep my horse safe from me, and me safe with my horses to knowing how to gather my thoughts, the questions to ask, what to feel, not just get/seek answers of how to get something done.
Riding for me has become so much more than just saddling up and getting on a horse. It's become a whole way of thinking about being: my timing, feel, and seeking balance not just with my horses but everywhere in my existence. Having Robert and Janet in my life has changed my life. Their honesty, integrity, and commitment to the horse has shifted my entire perspective on being: from a person that gets her value from accomplishing something "right" (whether it's a movement on my horse or a task at work) to someone that is learning to be present, feeling, and accepting uncertainty, willing to try something and accept what I get - learning how to be comfortable in working through something and making lots of mistakes.
Making mistakes, doing something "wrong" used to cause me to question myself as a rider and as a person. Now, I am learning to seek out uncertainty, discomfort, braces, trouble in my horse (and in my life) and TRY things, with the best of intentions and all of the knowledge I can muster. That is a tremendous shift in my thinking, experience, and perspective. I am certain with every bone in my body that my horses are grateful to the Phinneys!