2018 Hands-On Clinic Info


2018 Hands On Clinic


You continuously ask, “Why are the Varian horses so gentle to handle on the ground and train so well under saddle?” So, we are offering an intense hands on 2 day clinic.


Varian Arabians Hands-On Clinic, The Varian Way offers a variety of learning opportunities for horse enthusiasts.

Morning clinics for up to 20 participants will feature lessons on how we train our young horses and the opportunity to learn one-on-one from a fantastic group of clinicians. Participants will work with a Varian Arabian horse or their own 3 year old or older horse (no stallions).

Afternoon clinics for up to 20 participants will feature under saddle lessons and the chance to work one-on-one with the acclaimed horseman Lester Buckley, Arabian industry leaders Brett & Marjie Becker, and Varian trainers Jaime Hernandez and Mike Perez. Students may bring their own horse (no stallions) or work with a horse provided by Varians.

See the "Goals" for In Hand and Under Saddle sections in the tabs below to view a sample from the 2017 handout you receive at the clinic.




For those interested in particpating in the clinic:

Please complete participant signup sheet and email or fax to us.

Participant Signup Sheet :  Click here to view/download

There is a monthly payment plan to be paid in full by April 1, 2018.

Contact Angela at (805) 489-5802 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Auditors Welcome

Both morning and afternoon clinics welcome auditing guests to attend and watch and learn. A lovely continental breakfast and lunch and drinks are included with registration for both participants and auditing guests.

2017hands on clinic: Major Mac V

Ground-work clinic requirements:

  • Participants should have some minimal prior experience with horses.

Under-saddle clinic requirements:

  • Participants need prior riding experience.
  • Space is limited to 20 participants.
  • Participants may bring their own horses (no stallions) or ride a horse provided by Varians.
  • There will be a limited number of Varian Arabian horses available for participants in the under saddle clinic
    Please email Angela at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get on a list if you need to reserve one.

    Participants who bring their own horse need to supply their own feed. We will supply a paddock, which we will clean daily.


The Hands-On Clinic will take place at Varian Arabians in Arroyo Grande, California. Varian Arabians lies among the gently rolling hills of the Central Coast of California. The farm is located 1-1/2 hours north of Santa Barbara, fifteen minutes south of San Luis Obispo. Varian Arabians is a peaceful place to visit, beautifully landscaped and surrounded on all sides by permanent pastures and rolling hills. Guests are welcome to bring trailers and RV’s for overnight dry camping in our sandlot or we have a variety of beautiful and comfortable hotels available nearby.  Lodging info HERE

Overnight camping - no hook ups - $25 a night.





  • Schedule
  • Pricing
  • Clinicians
  • In Hand Goals
  • Under Saddle Goals




8:00 -9:00 am
Gates open, continental breakfast

9:00 – 9:15 am
Bring personal and assigned IN HAND horses to Show Arena

9:15 – 11:45 am
Explanation of objectives, why here at Varian Arabians we teach horses the things that we do.
Handling and teaching your horse with clear intentions: walking, stopping, backing, turning hips, shoulders, neck, lowering head, handling the lead.
Sounds easy – Wont be as easy as you think!
Instructor Lester Buckley, Brett & Marjie Becker, Mike Perez & Jaime Hernandez

11:45 – 12:45
You may also request to see individual sale horses at this time.

12:45-1:00 pm
Under Saddle Clinic - SADDLE THE CLINIC HORSES and meet in Show Arena.

1:00 pm
Explanation and demonstration what we teach our horses and why it is important for you and your horse. I
nstructors - Lester Buckley - Jaime Hernandez - Brett & Marjie Becker

To teach you and your horse how to communicate together. The progressive steps of skills and your horse. Listen, pay attention – What we teach you is important.

4:00 pm
Request to see sale horses you are interested in. All horses available for sale will have write ups and prices on their stall or paddock.
See Angela for more information.

Horses for Sale that are in the clinic, will have red ribbons in their mane.


8-9 am
Gates Open, continental breakfast

9-9:15 am
Bring personal and assigned IN HAND horses to Show Arena

9:15-11:45 am
Continuation of Saturday – TEST

12:00-1:00 pm
Lunch provided
You may also request to see individual sale horses during lunch in Sale Arena.

1:00-1:15 pm
SADDLE THE HORSES – meet in the Show Arena

1:15 pm
Continuation from Saturday – adding more steps - TEST

4:00 pm (approx)
Request to see sale horses you are interested in.

SPECIAL EVENT BREEDING FEES will be available to purchase throughout the weekend - See Angela for more details.

Participants and Auditors – These two days will be as intensive as we can make them. We ask that you concentrate and have an open mind. The steps we are going to work hard to teach you are the very steps that make our horses such pleasures to own. Remember, horses need and want good instruction.
Enjoy, learn and hopefully return home refreshed and inspired.
-Varian Arabians


Hands-On Clinic Pricing
The Varian Arabians Hands-On Clinic offers two types of registration: Registering as an actual participant in one or all of the clinics (limited availability), and registering as an auditor (i.e. audience member/ unlimited availability). All fees include a lovely continental breakfast, lunch and drinks.
Please see pricing options below. This is a great Christmas gift to give a participant or auditor!!

Clinic Participation Pricing
If You Are Bringing Your Own Horse 
 • In-Hand Clinic using your own horse - $650 per student for both days
 • Under Saddle Clinic using your own horse - $950 per student for both days
 • Full Package using your own horse - $1400 Includes in-hand clinic and under saddle clinic for both days

If You Are Using a Horse at Varian Arabians
 • In-Hand Clinic using a horse at Varian Arabians - $750 per student for both days
 • Under Saddle Clinic using a horse at Varian Arabians - $1150 per student for both days
 • Full Package using a horse at Varian Arabians - $1650 Includes in-hand clinic and under saddle clinic for both days

Online registration not available for clinic participants.
To register as a clinic participant, call (805) 489-5802.

There is a monthly payment plan to be paid in full by April 1, 2018.

Auditor Pricing
 • $70 per person/Saturday
 • $70 per person/Sunday
 • $125 per person for both days.

(Please note: Payments to be made in full at time of registration. Refunds will only be given if space can be filled. Rain or Shine.)

2018 Hands-On Clinic: Clinicians


 Lester Buckley

Lester Buckley

Lester Buckley grew up in the historic cattle country of North Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Equine Science from Sul Ross State University in Texas, where he was also the “Outstanding Horse Science Student.” While training horses during college he met Ray Hunt, renowned horseman and clinician, and that laid the foundation of all his future horsemanship.

With broad theoretical knowledge and his varied riding and training experience, he offers a well-rounded understanding of the nature of the horse and it’s training.

"Lester Buckley is one of the ‘great horsemen’  in my mind… if you don’t know him, meet him.   If you haven’t ridden with him, ride with him, because he will set you on the most wonderful new road to training your horses in the most thoughtful and understandable manner…  after you have spent time with Lester you will say as we do here at Varian Arabians…  Lester is magical in the different thoughts he brings to training.    If you are serious about horses, training horses, taking care of your horses, you will love Lester Buckley. Lester has come up with a soft and gentle very clear and concise way to teach horses so they can understand with no punishment.  Lester has made a profound step up in how we are training horses here at Varian Arabians… it is an exciting time.” ~ Sheila Varian



Brett BeckerMarjieBecker


Brett & Marjie Becker:

Concentrating on Arabian and Half-Arabians, Becker Stables specializes in all major divisions with an emphasis on the Western, Hunter, English and Show Hack disciplines. Brett and Marjie have accumulated countless National championships through their hard work, consistency and honest approach. Creating a legacy that will make history, their amateur program boasts some of the best riders today.





JaimeHernandezMike Perez


Jaime & Mike:

Jaime Hernandez and Mike Perez are well respected trainers for Varian Arabians. Jaime has been training Varian horses under saddle for 20 years and Mike has been halter training Varian foals for 15 years. Both have been trained by Sheila in the Varian Way and bring their own unique knowledge and years of experience to the barn.





Sample of the 2018 Hands On Clinic program handout.

Goals: In Hand

 On the ground is where the horse learns about you and what you might be expecting of him. This is where he learns to trust you, or respect you, or fear you or to take over.

“Your space” is the bubble of respect and safety. The horse should never encroach on your space UNLESS YOU INVITE HIM TO.

In hand requires the horse to stay out of your space. Your body and your hands mean everything to the horse.

Body language is the horse’s form of communication; you must make things very clear and understandable to the horse.


As you practice these exercises we are going to give you, Brett Becker, Marjie Becker, Jaime Hernandez, Mike Perez, Kristin Reynolds and Lisa Thompson will be close by and available to help you.


Understanding “SPACE”



A horse that does not respect your “space” and pushes on you is comprable to a stranger that has barged into your house unannounced, and helped himself to your refrigerator. Since the intruder weights 1,000 pounds, it’s rude, it’s unsafe and it’s unacceptable.

In hand, working with the horse on the ground, “space” is important, under saddle, it’s “the wait” that is important.

How the horse thinks, reacts, responds. The horse needs to be paying attention in a relaxed but attentive manner.

When and why to add a “psst” or kiss (sound)

Why a stick (whip) is helpful as an extension of your arm. Both ends of the stick are helpful.

Second day: Review/Test







Sample of the 2018 Hands On Clinic program handout.

Goals: Under Saddle

I want the Hands On attendees to learn these exercises so that if/when they have a problem in the future, they will be able to go back through these exercises and identify where the problem is. They will know how to figure out their solutions on their own.

I want them to learn under saddle or in hand, how to keep the horse and themselves safe.

 The horse is a willing partner. It is our job to make instruction clear and concise.

Everybody is going to learn the importance of “the wait”. If you never learn this, you will never learn how to work in unity with your horse. If you don’t wait, the horse gets confused. By waiting after an individual move, the lesson becomes clear to the horse.

I want the horse to know comfortably what you are asking so you don’t confuse or unsettle him.

Horses think slow
and react fast.

Although these training exercises seem very simple, this is what we are about; the slow and simple steps are the beginning of everything. You might think you know all of this, perhaps you do, and perhaps you don’t. Either way, let’s practice.





Dont expect every horse to advance at the same rate.

Although people don’t think the walk is important, since all horses can walk, this is where you and the horse start to become partners. Walking is your time to study your horse. Does he walk fast, slow, straight, crooked. Does he look side to side, looking for things to concern him, or does he pay attention to you? Is his body relaxed or balled up? How is YOUR body, are you relaxed? Are you enjoying this thinking/together time with you and your horse? Is it meaningful time? Are you listening? The horse is listening to you.

Tuck that information away that your horse has given you during this initial time together for you to remember for the rest of this ride as well as whenever you ride. This information will change from one day to the next. You need to be aware of this and to adjust to the horse’s state of mind on every day.

Dont expect the same horse to be in the same state of mind every day.







 Have you ever spent time with someone that never stops talking? Notice how you eventually stop hearing a word that person says?

That’s what your horse does without “the wait”; it all becomes a jumble of nonsense to him.

“The Wait” is the beginning of mutual understanding between you and your horse. You are letting your horse absorb what you just told him. If he frets, he is insecure. You may have picked this up when you were walking, but if you didn’t, he is now telling you loud and clear that he’s not had enough of “the wait”. Remember, this is a two-way partnership. Horses need the opportunity to learn. “The wait” is crucial for any horse. If you are listening, you can feel when your horse, in “the wait”, gets it.

“The wait” for a fretful horse, takes time. It doesn’t happen until he stops being fretful and relaxes, if it’s a minute, it’s a minute, if it’s five, it’s five, whatever it is, and you need to wait for it. Patience is key.

If your horse is so relaxed that he seems to be asleep, obviously he doesn’t need that much of “the wait.” He does that already by himself. If this describes your horse, you need to encourage more life into his body. You will need to be more assertive.

You will also learn how to “Go with the flow”, or to put the pieces together in a fluid movement.


major mac v interior concho  windy bey v interior conchos