Riding in a Jimmy Wofford clinic--what to expect? Clinic report--finally! :)
I'm riding in a JW clinic next Wednesday (at Plain Dealing Farm; one of my students will be riding in the same "group" as I am, T/P ), and wondered what to expect...
(I have cliniced with two of his "disciples" in the past, but never with "The Man" himself--though of course you hear all sorts of interesting anecdotes from people! The student of mine who is also riding has taken a clinic with him before, down in Fla. She remembers doing lots of gymnastics, *big* fences, and that he *hated* the horse she was on, a borrowed warmblood mare who was "a bit of a cow"; JW apparently did *not* mince words when it came to his opinion of HER! )
Anyway, I would love to hear some stories from people who have ridden with him...Maybe someone else from the board is riding in this clinic? It's only one day, with 4 small groups (4 riders in mine ), but there's always a chance that another COTHer might be there!
Last edited by Dr. Doolittle; Feb. 21, 2008 at 04:19 PM.
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
"It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")
You probably will not jump really big this time of year (although I guess that depends on your definition of big). He knows those of us stuck up north are just getting back into it.
He keeps it simple. He will call things like he sees them and doesn't like execuses. Your horse rushes the fences....let go of its face and let him (and his exercise) slow it down. The only riders I see who have issues are ones who don't try to do as asked or who always blame their horses for their troubles.
I learn every time I ride with him and learn even more watching what he does with other riders.
oh..and he doesn't typically actually bite. You will have fun!
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **
Don't be scared, although he doesn't hide his true feelings about your horse (or riding for that matter!) he is such a great teacher.... expect to jump gymnastic style exercises with emphasis on the horse being flexible and adjustable.
You will learn so much from him, enjoy every minute!
Also, he is a big "snaffle" guy so if you're riding in anything more maybe consider switching before the clinic bc he will probably make you switch otherwise and there's nothing worse than jumping in a fairly simple snaffle when your horse is used to a myler combination and having the flawed adjustment being observed by a rather large audience (obviously my personal experience, lol!)
I am going to ask a follow-up question if Dr D does not mind a minor hijack
I am planning on doing a clinic with him later this year and was wondering if he is an instructor who does not mind questions. Not questioning doing something he is asking someone to do but the theory behind it- I am an over-intellectualizer and like to ask questions (along the lines of why does a particular exercise/change/whatever cause the response that it does) because if I understand why something works or doesn't not only do I feel like I have a better understanding of it then but then I have a better idea of how and when to use that tool in the future. I know some instructors do not like that and I certainly can keep my mouth shut (at least for the duration of the clinic ) if he is one of those, but was wondering if he discourages that or not.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)
I think you should definitely ask those type of questions to help understand the theory behind it, just do it at appropriate times so it is not interfering with the rest of the group and the timing of the lesson : ) I'm sure he would be happy to answer them for you!
I audited a clinic of his last year in California. He was quite the gentleman and was patient and worked hard to make sure everyone understood what he was talking about. He did an hour of theory where he encouraged questions. I watched the Prelim and Training sessions. He worked for a while on a low stadium jump and worked on everyone's position and their horse's approach to the fence. He was kind and entertaining and didn't overface anyone.
The only issues I saw where with a rider who was in a division it was clear she wasn't ready for.
I would love to be in your shoes. Have fun and tell us how it goes!
he typically does a lecture in the morning, so that's a great time to ask the theoretical stuff.
Since you're in a clinic, you don't really have the luxury of discussing each fence after it happens so you do at some level have to just get the job done - more doing, less talking.
If you really are having a misunderstanding, though, I would stick your hand up and said "wait, I really don't understand how to do this".
Trust him and his exercises.
Do not lose your temper.
And while he would love every horse to go in a snaffle, he LOVED my older, "confirmed criminal" who went in a pelham and martingale. he said "there's ideal, and there is doing what you have to to be safe"
Do what he says.
Sign up for the right group - the only time I saw him angry with someone was the person who signed up for Training level and her horse couldn't canter a 20m circle. He sent her off to the end of the ring to practice THAT>
I have cliniced with Jimmy off and on since 1979. Sigh. . .never had the time, $ & horse all at the same time to actually train with him tho.
What to expect:
Loads of information presented in a logical format
You are expected to be able to stay out of the way of the horse & allow the exercise to teach both of you
If he tells you to do something - TRY!!! He doesn't care if you don't get it right the first time, but he does demand that you at least attempt. If your 1st attempt is not what he wanted, he will explain how your action was not what he what wanted & help you to figure it out. He is most irritated by those who do nothing.
Listen and ask questions - as noted by another, the morning discussion is ideal.
Watch other groups as possible, they may do the same exercises but with different focus and slightly different results
"Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
Courtesy my cousin Tim
I've only done the one clinic... and it was a "CCI-readiness assessment" format. Still learned some valuable things. There was one person who clearly didn't change things as asked, kept excusing her horse saying he was "special" etc. He didn't get mad, he just realized she didn't care about his input, so he stopped giving her feedback. She never noticed.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
LOVE LOVE LOVE Jimmy!! It has been several several years since I have ridden with him - but I did his winter series at the VA Horse Center and did a couple of XC clinics with him too. If memory serves me correctly these are the things I remember most -
1 - Turn out - very very neat - shirts tucked in, belts, polish everything!!
2 - TRY to do what he asks - never saw him get upset if you at least attempted what he asked you do to.
3 - Do not get in your horses face or hang on the reins - saw lots of people with reins run around the horses neck or holding the reins like driving line - got that one done to me!
4 - Be certain your horse is ok with his megaphone that plays songs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(They are not really songs not sure what to call them) My TB about came unglued the first time.
5 - He will quickly determine which students want to learn and who listen and he'll focus on them. Not necessary the best riders like some clinicians do - but the ones who want to learn.
6 - Forward NOT FASTER!
My fondest memory was at the winter series - lots of gymnastics - my TB had a rather short stride and no matter how hard we tried he had to add a stride. Jimmy walked over to him patted him and said - he has just given you everything he has to give - pat him and call it a day. He said most horses would just stopped but he kept trying. I really really appreciated that - a lot of people would have kept pushing.
I could go on and on - he is the BEST - Good luck and have a great time! Please post a full report so those of us who are stuck in the office till spring can live vicariously though you!
Oh, this is exciting -- if it weren't for the ice storm I would have ALREADY done my first clinic with him
We rescheduled this Wed. for a few weeks from now, so now my first one is in 10 days.
THis is very helpful info. I am not very good at turnout so I will certainly try extra hard, although my horse is definitely winterized at the moment (funky homegrown bib clip, slightly long mane, fuzzy).
I'll use my snaffle instead of my wonder bit.
I am nervous as heck but hoping it will be fun. My horse is a real tryer, although not your typical event horse, and we shouldn't be overfaced in the group we are in, so hopefully it'll be ok!
I, too, will report back after the last Wed in Feb