The Clinton Anderson Kerfuffle

There’s a big hullaballoo over some recent Clinton Anderson comments on a promotional training video. In social media comments and in several online blogs, both his horsemanship and his recorded comments are called to task. We agree with some commenters’ issues, like the concerns over hyperflexion and with asking such a young horse to train at this level. Research shows both elements are bad for the horse and have lasting negative effects. But we agree with Anderson when he cautions that nagging a horse with tiny reprimands buildsScreen Shot 2016-07-20 at 10.45.50 AM resentment. Scroll down for links.

You can say one thing about Anderson: he sure is sure.

Meryl Streep had something to say about being sure. She commented on a character she portrayed in The Manchurian Candidate:

“I loved being someone so certain. Because certainty is just so attractive. It’s a completely bogus position because for me, I’m listening to every side. But it’s so nice not to have to listen to all the different sides…It’s a fabulous thing. Unfortunately, it leads to fanaticism.”

Say it ain’t so, Meryl. Confidence is sexy. Fans gravitate to confident “experts.” But again, research shows us that certainty and arrogance don’t allow for the necessary flow of new information. Leaders got lost in their own dogmatism. Read more about that here.

Sadly, you will find plenty of fanaticism in the horse world. And, despite Anderson’s off-the-hip comments and weaknesses, plenty of his fans go to great lengths to defend him. At BestHorsePractices, we try to be fair, but sometimes there are simply not two equal Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 10.44.30 AMand logical sides of an argument. In this case, a confident leader falls short.

On a more general note, we value scrutiny and open-mindedness. We ask first and always: Is it good for the horse? When reviewing expert horsemen, we value what some call an “ideology of doubt.” Is there another way? Can we assess the horse’s well-being in a given situation?

Or, as Rene Descartes said some 400 years ago, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

Read this commentary of Clinton Anderson.

Read another blog on Anderson, Rollkur, and hyperflexion.

Read Anderson’s goofy take on horse brains (once there, scroll down).


Posted in Clinicians, Reviews and Links and tagged .


  1. Clinton, Amazing to me that you made these comments being in the people business. These comments are just mean spirited. It seems that anyone that challenges your manhood, horse or 15 year old boy needs for you to “beat the shit out of them”. I could hardly believe that you suggested that it would be good if “tree huggers” were killed by stallions so there would be less of these “idiots”.
    Regardless of the horse training it doesn’t seem that the relationship with people or horses is a priority. Not to be political but this feels like the Donald Trump of Horsemanship.

  2. WOW. I was left with a bad impression after seeing him flip a horse on RFDTV. Instead of investigating him I just completely avoided him. Thank you for this article, it is a big eye opener, I am going to make sure I avoid companies that endorse him.
    God bless the horses and everyone trying to give them a good deal,

  3. Great commentary, thank you for your succinct and tactful presentation of your views.

    I do wonder why you didn’t touch on his comments toward the female clients who line his pockets. I found all of his comments distasteful, but must say that his clear wish for death to those clients who “bug” him and his comments about beating the snot out of horses who do not abide by his training methods, were absolutely horrifying.

    I cannot understand why anyone, especially women, still hold him in high regard despite hearing these words and seeing his actions.
    I strongly urge anyone who does not agree with Mr. Anderson’s abusive methods and his misogynistic opinions, to write to his sponsors and let them know how you feel. I did.

  4. Yes, Clinton Anderson will soon be known as the Donald Trump of horsemanship. For sure. His fans will wallow in their cognitive dissonance and defend him as “really, he’s a good guy,” etc etc ad nauseum. He has issues which preclude him from being “a good guy” Butt raping? Beating teenagers? The anti-women comments? (really — sounding more and more like Trump!)
    C’mon, horse world. We’re better than this. And we haven’t even discussed the wretched riding on poor Titan.
    Thanks for this candid blog post. The world needs more of you and less of Clinton Anderson.

  5. Wake up people. You get in a round pen with a disrespectful 1200 pound horse. Go ahead I dare you. Now don’t forget to use your sweet voice and loving touch as you are looking up from being trampled into the dirt. I love my horses all 6 but none of them run me over. Face it people horses kick and bite each other harder than we can correct them with a stick and string. Clinton does not beat his horse’s. Have you not seen him explain to start tapping the air first. Tap the horse then tap harder and as soon as you get the slightest try, stop and rub. Maybe you need to watch a complete training session not short clips of something someone wants you to believe

  6. Clinton Anderson is known for using the timeless techniques of ‘beating the horse into submission’ and ‘gaining the upper hand through force and intimidation.’ He glosses this over with his Australian accent and intimidation of anyone who questions him. A truly great horseman who really cares about his horses.

  7. I have seen some many different methods of getting control of a horse – some OK, some sheer crap – but Clinton Anderson’s method seems to make the most sense to me. If you look at the horses he has trained, they don’t show fear – he applies the correct amount of pressure on a gradient (and that’s the important bit) until the horse understands what is required of it, and then complies.
    If you feel critical of Anderson’s methods, I would respectfully suggest you watch one of his FULL sessions. and listen to his explanation of what he does, and why.

  8. Hi
    I have just had a major dust up with a horse friend over Clinton Anderson (two horse people three opinions problem). She maintains that he use bully and intimidation techniques She also lumped him in with Parelli and Monty Roberts.

    I have run two horses through the fundamental program and halfway through the intermediate. The results are breath taking. I have taken a horse who wanted to just buck you off, hard to catch and was just a general prick.( the person I took he off refused to ride him). Into the most gentle, easy going and take anywhere horse. So I am struggling with all the emotive un helpful talk.

    Her comments have disturbed me as I do not want to effect my horses in the long term. There seem to be two camps those who like the techniques and can past on some interesting points of view. The other side seem to very emotional with little information. I have spent hours trolling the internet and have found little to support her position. I feel its one of two things its not there or I am looking in the wrong place.

    The arguments are very similar to barefoot trimming where a person has a opinion and feels the rest of the world needs to follow their view. But does not really know what they are talking about as they have no depth to their comments.

    Here is my question. My friend says he bullies the horses but I cant find any information to back it up. Can anyone help. I am looking for solid facts that I can verify. Not emotional tree hugging thoughts. However after going through the program I feel the You Tube clips do not do him justice. Especially in our woke world

    I am from New |Zealand and there seems to be that the subtle in our culture seems to be missed by other people. I currently live in the UK and they do not get me at all. What we say cannot always be taken at its face value and I am starting to feel this is the case here.

    Thanks for your thoughts and comments


    • Please see new video from a clinic this year (2024) of him beating a horse until it collapsed on the ground for 20 minutes. I present this as solid evidence.

      Both things can be true. You can learn good things that work from a person’s program and also they can take their own methods too far. There are nuggets of good advice to his methods, but they are things shared by many trainers. His brand is the things he built up around those fundamentals, and his brand is, as demonstrated, violent.

      • Can you tell me where I can find this video? I’ve googled but can only find commentary or still photos on what happened.

  9. Clinton continues bad practice of breeding deaf horse titan instead of improving the breed he’s just in it for the money.

  10. I went to Clinton’s new ranch in Arkansas for the Clinician Academy program in 2022. I use his training method but after my time at the Ranch I have no respect for Clinton, He is the most rudest, arrogant asshole I have ever met in my life. All he cares about is money and his status. I feel like such a fool for getting sucked into the scams there.
    A very expensive life lesson. I didn’t learn much more than I would have from an ambassador and got called a piece of shit almost everyday, nothing you did was good enough. My one horse went lame and was ordered off the property immediately. They are just rich assholes that pay millions in marketing to keep a positive appearance on media. Notice there are no negative reviews or anything negative to be found online about them, every time I search it just brings up links to their website, trying to get you to buy something. Clinton’s words to the class on first day Orientation was “I don’t care about you, or your problems, we are not friends, I just want your money”. Least he does not lie about it, but they sure do not say this when your signing up lol. Only after you have paid and traveled across the country.

  11. Sadly, Clinton Anderson represents the majority of Australian horsemen. ‘Breaking a horse’ is still the norm, Warwick Schiller would be the exception to this rule. As an Australian, although not a rider, I feel qualified to make these comments having had a horse whisperer and master saddler for a father, someone who taught me to love, respect and care for all animals.Anderson is in it for the money, relying on his good looks and cheeky bad boy style that many women are attracted to. His contempt for his horses is hard to watch, his comments ignorant and unfortunately, too common in Australia where animals are not valued. Those tourist ads showing cuddly kangaroos do not show the thousands of kangaroos slaughtered each year as they eat the farmers grass. Our wild horses, introduced by our ancestors, are shot in their thousands each year by incompetent sharp shooters, out of helicopters,leaving many to die slow painful deaths, with foals starving by their dying mothers. Clinton represents this kind of thinking…no care, no respect just control and greed. He is not our greatest ex pat.

  12. I have been in the horse industry 40 years I really liked him his maybe first 10 years As of now he’s trying some events that they will eat him up, but the main point here is because of the way he uses the F word in his interviews ( I use it occasionally myself) I don’t know if he is trying to be big and bad because all of the people he interviews are so much superior to him in the field they are discussing. I would like if someone reads this and shows it to him, I think he’s better than that.

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