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View Full Version : Riding in a Jimmy Wofford clinic--what to expect? Clinic report--finally! :)



Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:09 AM
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! :lol:)

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! ;)

cllane1
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
Sorry, no experience to add, but can I just say that I am SO JEALOUS!!! PLEASE report back after the clinic! Would love to hear about exercises, what you worked on, what he said, etc.

Have a blast!

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:39 AM
JREy, are you riding at 1:00? If so, you're in my group ;)

I'm going to be away from the computer until around 4:00, so am hoping to come back and read some hilarious insights from those who have ridden with him (and yes, I will report after the fact! :D)

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:43 AM
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!

KatieE
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:44 AM
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:D 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!)

LexInVA
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:46 AM
Maybe you guys can get an "I met The Woff" support group going. :lol:

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 15, 2008, 12:11 PM
Maybe you guys can get an "I met The Woff" support group going. :lol:


Sell T-shirts and Hats....

LexInVA
Feb. 15, 2008, 12:14 PM
Sell T-shirts and Hats....

I'm sure The Woff will gladly autograph them.

Speedy
Feb. 15, 2008, 12:15 PM
He's nice - and focused. Just do what he says.

bambam
Feb. 15, 2008, 01:15 PM
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.

KatieE
Feb. 15, 2008, 01:20 PM
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!

KateDB
Feb. 15, 2008, 01:31 PM
You should learn a lot. Definitely pay attention and try your best at everything.

Whether it's a clinic or a lesson with Mr.W, I ensure horse and I are turned out in a manner worthy also of George Morris!
:winkgrin:

minniemoore
Feb. 15, 2008, 01:34 PM
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!

Hilary
Feb. 15, 2008, 01:40 PM
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>

fooler
Feb. 15, 2008, 01:53 PM
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
ENJOY

mosmom
Feb. 15, 2008, 01:56 PM
You will have a lot of fun. He is great and you will love his comments. I came out feeling very confident about our season ahead.

Blugal
Feb. 15, 2008, 03:03 PM
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.

snickerdoodle
Feb. 15, 2008, 03:25 PM
my only comment is to please make sure you and your horse are clean and tidy. tack should be clean. if you have long hari put it up and in a hairnet.

turn yourself and your horse out as if you were going to a recognized event.

justdream2ride
Feb. 15, 2008, 03:30 PM
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!

asterix
Feb. 15, 2008, 04:24 PM
Oh, this is exciting -- if it weren't for the ice storm I would have ALREADY done my first clinic with him :eek:
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 :D

RunForIt
Feb. 15, 2008, 04:33 PM
Sell T-shirts and Hats....

had supper with Martha Lambert while at Poplar last weekend. SHE was wearing a hat to die for (she probably thought she did!):
HELL WEEK 2007!

THAT"S a Wofford Clinic we all need to aspire to! :lol: :cool:

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 15, 2008, 04:54 PM
had supper with Martha Lambert while at Poplar last weekend. SHE was wearing a hat to die for (she probably thought she did!):
HELL WEEK 2007!

THAT"S a Wofford Clinic we all need to aspire to! :lol: :cool:


no way...I know what goes on in those weeks....I wouldn't survive!!!

Auburn
Feb. 15, 2008, 06:31 PM
I rode with him at South Farm, a couple of summers ago.

Absolutely, try to do what he asks. There was one person in my group, who was hitting her horse in the mouth over every fence. She couldn't figure out why he was rushing and jumping inverted. Jimmy told her to grab mane. She just continued hitting the horse in the mouth and would not grab mane. He finally told her to come into the middle for the rest of the session. "If you are not going to listen and at least try to do what I ask, then you are wasting my time and your money". The next day, for x-country, she did try to do everything that he asked.

As to the clinic itself, I found the changes difficult for me to grasp. (ie: watching the top of the rail on the approach, until it disappears between the horses ears, then look up. I had always been taught to look up/ahead much sooner.) I guess that I am a bit of a slow learner. After the clinic, I went home and worked on the exercises and gradually my jumping improved. It took a couple of weeks, but I finally understood what he had been trying to get through my thick skull. I still use the counting exercises and they help me find distances almost every time. :yes: Auburn

NRB
Feb. 15, 2008, 07:18 PM
See you there, will be driving in w/ a friend to audit.

lstevenson
Feb. 15, 2008, 08:42 PM
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.


This is so true. If he thinks "nobody is home", he will tend to start ignoring you. If you try hard to do what he says, and ask intelligent questions, he is very helpful.

Expect to do groups of highly organized excercises. It definitely pays to watch the groups before you if you can. That way you will have a better idea what each excercise is trying to accomplish, and the common pitfalls of each.

Definitely come neat, clean, and tidy. And be ready for his wicked sense of humor. :cool:

subk
Feb. 15, 2008, 09:19 PM
Nice workman like turnout goes without question, but if you use bright colored boots, pads or britches (or other bling) it might be a good day to leave them at home. JW would rather the turnout not distract you from the horse (who in his mind is always the star.)

He's the author of the quote, "unfortunately they go the way they are ridden." So don't blame anything on the horse because you can be assured it is only the rare occasion when it isn't the rider's fault and he'll be the first to tell you. He is really all about the horse. When he looks to see what to changes to make about someone's riding his first priority is to make changes which will make the horse happier. Whatever you do make an effort to make the change he suggests. It is stunning how often there is someone in a clinic that just won't try anything new. Once I was in his clinic when someone actually started a sentence with: "But my trainer says..." THAT was entertaining.

My number one suggestion is to make a point of watching the earlier groups. Although I think he has some disdain for those that "audit" but really just chat and socialize the whole time. Even better than auditing, volunteer to move poles and stand in the ring near him. If you are paying very close attention to the class he will often turn to you and make insightful (or funny) comments.

He seems to have a great deal of respect for people who are really hungry to learn. If you have an intelligent question about theory ask it. JW is the most intellectual instructor I've ever ridden with and if you have a theory question you can be assured that the answer will be something he has already given an incredible amount of thought to. And he's not just smart about horses--the man is just plain smart.

Oh, and when other horses are going, pay attention and don't be chatting with other riders.

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 15, 2008, 09:23 PM
This is all *so* helpful; you guys are great! :D (And thank you! :yes:)

He sounds like an "instructor's instructor" (I hate to say "trainer's trainer", since it makes me think of the hunters :p Sorry, hunter folks! But I've done the hunters myself, and *never* had an omnipotent, ommipresent "trainer person" calling the shots; really--UGH! :rolleyes:)

Anyway, I think it will be fine...since I teach and coach riders myself, I know what good teachers (of riding--or anything!) are looking for from students: good listening skills, cooperation, "attention", sincere "attempts to try to do what is being asked for", and the ocassional "on topic" question if there is a particular issue that needs to be addressed (or if clarification is necessary :))

I am SO lucky in terms of the students who(m) I am privileged to teach; they are *wonderful* (there are a very few minor exceptions, and in the cases of those people, I just try to make myself "less available" :lol:) However, in a clinic setting, the clinician is unable to be picky--and unable to spend time finding out specific information about each participant; getting to know them, "developing a relationship", and addressing their individual issues is simply not an option. (Especially if they are teaching a group! ;)) There is generally a "clinic theme", and there is not a lot of time is available to "suffer fools" and "coddle idiots"--not to mention the people who are not capable of riding at the level that they signed up for (or have unready/unprepared horses! :p)

I certainly wouldn't *dream* of making excuses for my horse! :lol: Oh, MY, no! :D

I always do my best to comply with instruction, and consider myself a "good student" (though like bambam, I tend to be "overanalytical" at times, so like/need to hear those "well thought-out explanations", especialy if I think they will help clarify things for me, and put things in perspective; I am *always* learning, and open to new ideas/looking for new ways to solve problems--which is why I am SO excited to have the opportunity to clinic with a person like JW...who has more knowledge than he does?? :D)

Hitting my horse in the mouth O/F...Hmmm...HUGE pet peeve of mine, so no worries on that account with me (or any of my students, for that matter! :D)

As for the turnout stuff, I actually have had "nightmares" the past few nights about NOT MEASURING UP to his standards!! :lol: :lol: It was "GM on Evil Nazi steroids", and of course in the nightmare we were "late", so I basically just wanted to put a bullet in my own brain and be done with it...:p (And I wonder why I clench my teeth in my sleep!? :rolleyes:)

Ironically, I am the "Queen of all turnout Nazis", but I will nag the Holy Hell out of my student, who tends to be "more casual" ;)

But when I was out at the barn tonight, I trimmed my mare's jowl, dock, fetlocks, bridlepath, whiskers (and shampooed and conditioned her tail; I've been "training her mane over to the correct side" for a week now, but I pulled it and conditioned it too, for good measure...I *am* taking her to a jumper show tomorrow, but "big picture", I am trying to get a "heads up" on turnout for next Wednesday...) It goes without saying that *my* hair will be neatly contained, and tack (and boots!) will be clean! And I usually ride her in a Baucher french link (with a running martingale), though I did get a Wonder Bit for my birthday (which I will use tomorrow at the show :)) I don't notice a big difference in terms of "rideability", so I will just use the Baucher for the clinic...

Thanks again, everyone, for your great insights! :D

NRB, keep your eye out for us (we are hard to miss--two MARES--one light steel grey with black points, a hair under 15 HH, and the other--mine--a pretty chestnut mare with a HUGE star and a "sense of entitlement"--just under 16 HH...the latter mare may be spooking, and will certainly be "acting hypervigilant" :D)

I will be sure to give everyone a "full report" (gulp!), and wish us luck...

(And any other input will, of course, be most appreciated :yes:)

Xctrygirl
Feb. 15, 2008, 09:41 PM
Heya DD!!!

Here's what I had to say about mine last November...

http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=123128

I am in the re-scheduled one here in Pa the Bornfreenowexpensive is organizing but we're not gonna see him now til 2/27. Oh well. I can wait!! ;)

Enjoy yours!!

~Emily

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 15, 2008, 10:16 PM
Thanks, Emily--most helpful! :D I remember readng that thread, and thinking "Whoa--lotsa fences in a row!" :eek:

I have his gymnastics book, love it, and have used a number of versions both for myself and for/in lessons with students (though I have yet to have had access to that many standards in one place ;)) Since I don't know whether this will be inside or outside (JRey, might you know?), I don't know whether it will be a "pure gymnastics" clinic, or whether he will be setting up stadium excercises in addition. (I expect that the weather will be mild enough to allow us to ride outside--I sure hope so!)

We will try to get there a little early (noonish), but don't know whether it will be in time to see JRey go...If she stays to set fences, though, she will get to see me (for better or for worse! :p)

As for bling, I am "anti-bling" by nature, but do have white Woof boots...will this be considered "unacceptably flashy"?? :D

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 15, 2008, 10:27 PM
:eek:

Please don't tell me I need to go buy brand-new *black* WOOF boots! :lol:

It's looking like 40's for Wednesday, but I don't know about the morning temps (I would SO prefer to ride outside! :()

I guess we will have to wait and see: I sent an e-mail query to the organizer (Molly) about the inside/outside question, but she hasn't gotten back to me yet; I'm thinking that it might be a last-minute decision....

ETA--if they set up both rings for Philip, maybe they will follow suit with JW, and let him (and the weather) decide :)

subk
Feb. 15, 2008, 10:27 PM
Anyway, I think it will be fine...since I teach and coach riders myself, I know what good teachers (of riding--or anything!) are looking for from students: good listening skills, cooperation, "attention", sincere "attempts to try to do what is being asked for", and the occasional "on topic" question if there is a particular issue that needs to be addressed (or if clarification is necessary :))
Sounds like you'll be great. It's just that so many people seem to not know any more what basic respect is.

I forgot the most important part. Have fun! He does a great job a being an extremely effective teacher and vastly entertaining at the same time. I'm envious of you--let us know how it goes...

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 15, 2008, 10:31 PM
Sounds like you'll be great. It's just that so many people seem to not know any more what basic respect is.

I forgot the most important part. Have fun! He does a great job a being an extremely effective teacher and vastly entertaining at the same time. I'm envious of you--let us know how it goes...

Thanks, this makes me feel better :)

(I will be sure to post a comprehensive report, complete with my trademark "excessive use of emoticons" :lol:)

beeblebrox
Feb. 15, 2008, 10:45 PM
Well you can expect some dry humor at the expense of the riders and very funny if your auditing or one of the other riders ;-)

Expect someone in the clinic to have to ride with driving reins, almost always he will have one rider change hand position.

Expect for him to ask what the last leg of the ground was at the trot while jumping, this can take forever as it is harder than some people think and takes others awhile

Expect good visuals and bad stick man drawings during lectures.

Expect the possibility of him commenting on a lot of bit if your in training level or below. or hell sometimes above, he is a big believer in simple simple simple

Expect him to comment about posting at the canter or not being able to hold your gallop and neutral positions

Expect him to raise your irons three holes the second day for his race horse gallop exercise

have fun and hope your not the person he picks to have his dry humor about LOL

octavian_jazz
Feb. 15, 2008, 10:51 PM
I've never actually ridden in a clinic with him, but had to share this story. When I was probably 10 or 11 we went out to VHC to audit one of his winter (I think) clinics there. It this had a big impact on me, and actually, whenever I start feeling worried about a jump, I remember this.

During one of the classes cross country (and I want to say it was prelim, but may have been training) there was a rider on a very strong horse. Jimmy Wofford had set up an exercise that involved jumping one fence, turning, going down the hill, and coming back over another fence (or something like that). The one particular rider on the strong horse was scared to jump the last fence in the exercise because she felt like it was too big. JW calmly explained to her that it was no big deal and to ride it a certain away. I can't remember exactly what happened, but he had to give her a second talking to. So, when she went to actually jump the fence, she jumped the BIGGER one beside it. I remember him being not very happy with her! He said nice things about her horse though. ;)

It's so funny, 7 years later I still remember things he said in that clinic.
Those of you who are going, you are very lucky, have a wonderful time!

octavian_jazz
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:07 PM
Hehe, believe me, I was thinking about trying. If only I didn't know that I was going to miss a minimum of 9 days this semester...I don't know what kind of persuasion I could come with to be allowed to come...hmm...

...I guess I'll just have to rely on you for a good write up! :yes:

Blugal
Feb. 15, 2008, 11:18 PM
Don't be too scared... I did a classic "short spot, long spot, no spot" (here Spot?) to a 3'6+ in and out - pretty ugly. But didn't panic, rode it out (can you say "Amateur Packer"?). Jimmy apparently chuckled, asked me what I thought, saw the look on my face, and just said, "go fix that".

RunForIt
Feb. 16, 2008, 07:27 AM
All I can say is that y'all are damned lucky to get to ride with him...Florida's the nearest he comes to GA these days. Back in the days of Fare Well Farm, I got to ride with Jimmy twice...may have to beg and plead for DH to go to Ocala next year. HAVE FUN!!! and PLEASE report back, ok?

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 17, 2008, 09:54 PM
Again, I *so* appreciate all the input :)

Would I be "drummed out of the corps" if I were to wear my scuffed-up Troxel helmet?? (And this is realizing that no, we are of course NOT talking GM, here...:lol:)

alpenglow
Feb. 17, 2008, 11:40 PM
You heard right he doesn't mence words. If he likes you and your horse you will get lots of instruction. Actually him not liking your horse is better then him just not caring because then you seem to get the "good job" which is not what we pay for!!! You will do lots of gymnastics and true to your division fences on xc. If your horse refuses JW will be sure to help you get over whether you want to or not!! If you go in a division you are new at be prepared to not get babied!! I liked riding with him, he is good, but sometimes he doesn't give you much personal feedback and you can even get a left out feeling. Have a great time!!

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Feb. 18, 2008, 11:31 AM
Would I be "drummed out of the corps" if I were to wear my scuffed-up Troxel helmet?? (And this is realizing that no, we are of course NOT talking GM, here...:lol:)

Nope. Clean, workmanlike, attentive will keep you in good enough graces.

He will notice a lot more than he'll comment on, but sounds like you'll be fine.

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 18, 2008, 09:20 PM
:lol:

Yeah, I do have a "show helmet", but it doesn't perfectly fit my head, so I often find it necessary to "push the brim back up out of my face" a couple times per jumping round; more often during a cross country run :uhoh: (My goal was to replace it this year, but am waiting for the Charles Owens that I have my eye on--the one that actually *fits* my head--to go on sale! :p)

I'm thinking that this may displease "JW" even more that having to lay eyes on my battered Troxel! :lol:

Sheesh, I am probably being ridiculous, here, but I just don't want to "draw any negative attention to myself" if at all possible! ;)

ETA: I just found out that it *will* all be held in the indoor, so am expecting to have him set up an exercise similar to what Emily described...:p

Koko
Feb. 19, 2008, 10:20 PM
Okay, Dr. Doolittle....sounds like your helmet may be too big for you, which makes it fall down over your eyes. One thing I have done to make my helmet fit better....okay, y'all don't laugh...but I take (clean) pantiliners/pads and stick (hide) them under the fabric on the inside of the helmet around the edges of helmet. You can pick the size you need to make the helmet fit snuggly without being so tight it gives you a headache. The good part is they also absorb sweat...and you can change them frequently. Actually works quite well. :)

Xctrygirl
Feb. 19, 2008, 10:25 PM
Okay, Dr. Doolittle....sounds like your helmet may be too big for you, which makes it fall down over your eyes. One thing I have done to make my helmet fit better....okay, y'all don't laugh...but I take (clean) pantiliners/pads and stick (hide) them under the fabric on the inside of the helmet around the edges of helmet. You can pick the size you need to make the helmet fit snuggly without being so tight it gives you a headache. The good part is they also absorb sweat...and you can change them frequently. Actually works quite well. :)

Ok but can I bring my video camera so I can film it when she tells Jim whats holding her hat on???!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

I have to have that on tape!!!!

~Emily

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 19, 2008, 10:40 PM
Oh, Good Lord...:lol: :lol: :lol:

I actually have an ear warmer that I wear under my helmet when riding in the winter (so sue me--I'm old, and my ears get cold :p)...said ear warmer tends to make my helmets fit more snugly, so I'm thinking that this will be the "solution" for tomorrow, since the highs are only supposed to be in the high 30's! :eek:

However, I will keep the panty liner suggestion in mind, for when I run out of those little black oval pads they give you with the helmets to "refine" the fit ;)

NRB
Feb. 20, 2008, 05:10 PM
I enjoyed watching the first 2 groups go. Then had to leave. I was one of the "jump crew" and enjoyed listening to Jimmy's comments from the center of the ring.

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 20, 2008, 11:01 PM
I will post in detail about the clinic tomorrow--I am *WAY* too tired right now (only got home about two hours ago, after a 12 hour day! :p)

(Also, I need to watch the video, so as to be able to "accurately quote the Mighty JW" ;))

Yes, that was me on "Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Everything She Surveys": Spookmeister extraordinaire! :D (Thank you for the kind words...she is not presently for sale, though that reply depends on what day you ask me! :lol: I am hoping to breed her a few years down the road--to a stallion who is less "theatrical and hyper-reactive"--I think the resulting foal could be a very, very talented prospect...for someone else, since I will sadly be too old to be doing the whole "competition thing" by then :sigh:)

Thanks for posting the pix on the other thread--you have a lovely auto release! :yes:

(I can't post pix on here, but if I am able to pull some off the digital video camera's memory stick, maybe I can e-mail them to someone who has a premium membership, and persuade them to post them for me...;))

Okay, off to bed, but will post a full report tomorrow :)

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 21, 2008, 05:04 PM
JRey; Omigod! :eek:

I guess you were on the receiving end of some of that famous (or infamous) JW sarcasm--fortunately he apparently at least tempers it with humor--most of the time! :lol:

(Leg-breaking sounds like a bit of an "extreme solution"; perhaps more suited to thugs who apply pressure to those with major gambling debts than to "position fixes" for former hunter riders..:p At least he fixed your problem, which is wonderful! ;))

Okay, so here's my report on the clinic:

The first thing I heard JW talking about (as we were milling around, right before our session started) was his column in Practical Horseman: he said something to the effect of "They (the editors of PH) must not have gotten many complaint letters about my recent column, because they haven't been giving me a hard time lately!" He went on to say "The most complaints they receive are when I talk about people's appearances" :lol:

Indeed, one does "feel his scrutiny" when he talks to you, and I was glad that my horse was trimmed-up and clean, as were my tack and boots (which were polished ;))

We started out by having to describe our horses in one sentence: Bwa Ha Ha! What I said was "She's an athletic, melodramatic Drama Queen of an Alpha Mare, who--when she's *good*--is sublime" (And that pretty much sums her up...I figured that her age and breed were not as important to know in the general scheme of things...;))

The other horses in the group were my student's 14'3" "Hony" (Connemara/TB hothead of an Alpha Mare ;)), an elegant grey gelding who was gong to be doing his first Prelim next month, and a *lovely* bay mare who had gone to Intermediate, but who (along with her rider) was out of shape from time off...

He first had us trot over two poles on the ground, to establish a good rythym, and it didn't take him long to pick out the rider (the one on the scrumtiou bay mare) who was having some "issues" with her hands; he proceeded to yell at her for riding the horse with too short a neck, "wagging the horses head back and forth with busy hands", having her hands "unlevel", and pulling down on the the reins when posting....He had her ride with her bat between her hands to keep them level, and then had her ride with driving reins. She was very good-natured about it, and the fixes seemed to help her, which was good. (And being someone with a tendency towards "busy hands" myself--on this particular mare, anyway--who seems to somehow encourage that in everyone who rides her :p, I became very aware of my own hands lest I too be "yelled at" :uhoh:)

After the poles on the ground, he had us trot to the base of a small vertical, and tell him which leg was the last to leave the ground--this is harder than it seems; I was "one for two", with everyone else being "none for two" :p This was useful in terms of helping us focus on "waiting" with our upper bodies for the horse to leave the ground, and he went on to discuss how rotational falls are often the rider's fault: the rider leans or "tips" the upper body forward a moment too early--thus weighting the horse's forehand--and especially when the horse is leaving the ground from a short spot, this can prevent him from being able to rock back and get his shoulders up in time to clear the front edge of the fence...a good point, and food for thought! :yes:

do a simple vertical without a groundline, but with a placing pole in front--this went well for everyone except my student (who has been unable to take a jumpng lesson with me within the last couple/three months, to her and her mare's detriment; when we do jump lessons with her more *regularly*, it really helps her to cool her jets, and reminds her to be soft and reponsive :sigh:), but she was in a "forward-thinking and tuning out the rider" mood, and kept wanting to get strong and canter to the jump; Jimmy stood in front of it as she approached (this is a trick have used too :)), and that slowed her down a bit. We then progressed to a gymnastic--small vertical, one stride, to an oxer, and after we alldid that, he added another oxer two strides after the first one. and also observed that she jumped a bit over her left shoulder, so had my student use more left leg (he also worked on straightening the grey horse's jump in the air, to keep him centered--the rider was using a leading rein in the air, but he also had her using more leg through the exercise, which helped.)

IIn my student's case, he reminded her to "keep her shoulder over her knee" in the air, and "offer the reins to the horse" (these are things I also work with her on, which made me feel good ;)), and to "keep her heel soft" (I LOVE this phrase! :)) when the horse was strong (he also said this to me, when my mare was a little strong, initially--luckily for me, MY mare settled, the "Hony" just got more charged up, as she tends to do when "unchecked" and allowed to continue to "roll on through" combinations :rolleyes: Damn Pony! :( I was feeling for my student, since even though Jimmy was telling her take your leg off", I knew she was already tryng to be quiet with her leg (and hand), and the mare was just "feeling her oats and taking advantage of the situation"...(At one point, Jimmy said "We'll fix her little red wagon" :lol:, though alas--we wound up not having enough time...:sigh:)

Okay, to avoid getting timed out, I am going to post this now, and continue with the "saga" on another post :)

RunForIt
Feb. 21, 2008, 05:38 PM
please continue the saga! And thanks so much for all the details! :D :cool:

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 21, 2008, 05:59 PM
ARRRRGHHH!!! HALF AN HOUR of typing, and I hit something on the laptop...Second post, GONE! Everything!! :mad: :mad:

:sigh:

Okay, where was I?? He next had us canter over a small jump in the center of the ring, changing leads over it (which was helped by the fact that horse tend to "natually want to change leads in the air" anyway ;)), but he was having us dictate what lead they landed on, and everyone in our group was pretty good at this.

After that exercise, he had us all do canter circles before jumping individual fences as many canter circles as we needed in order to establish the rythym), and during the circles, he offered some solutions for spooking and bulging out on the circle (something which both my mare and my student's mare did down at the "scary end of the ring where the people were" :rolleyes: :lol: My mare at least settled after awhile, and responded to my inside leg by bending away and balancing up--at first he said "think shoulder-in!", and my mare was like "Screw your *attempts* to make me do shoulder-in--HA!", so he told me to use "more leg and less inside rein" (which I was actually doing, but to no avail! :p)...fortunately, eventually Her Highness the Spookmeister relaxed, and allowed me to ride her...my student's mare, however, was "not done yet", and had to circle several times, during which she bolted and shot forward ("shoulder-in, schmoulder-in!" :D), but my student was able to get her back under control, while Jimmy reminded her to use her leg and seat; I *loved* the way he described the aids: "Let your left seat bone *swing* in rythym with her stride" (during the canter circle), and " your inside leg should be stroking her at the girth, taking her body to the outside of the curve"..."Instructor's poetry", and I love opportunities to learn how to communicate the same concepts better, and more effectively :)

Okay, on to the single fences, which were sort of a test of the rider's eye, as well as the canter rythym (he talked about how the rider *and* the horse both look at the top of the fence, and how that helps both of them to see the distance to the jump--a familiar them of his :)) Most of us did this pretty well (the woman who was admittedly "somewhat out of shape" on the lovely bay mare was having some jumping issues, so she had to do the exercises more times than the rest of us--as did my student :sigh:), though I had a short spot to the oxer--not a problem, but Jimmy said that I "leaned forward an eight of a second too early--it's not that much, but it's enough to make the horse a little *stuffy* from the short spot"...Interesting observation, and good eye! ;)

(While he was talking to us about rythym and balance, he used the example of steeplechase and timber horses, who jump huge fences at speed, and naturally "balance themselves up", without the rider "micromanaging them"; which can only lead to trouble. The fact that they are able to do this proves that the rider doesn't need to "do a lot" to help the horse with his balance on the approach to a fence...;) Ironically, when I opened my new Practical Horseman today and read his March column, I noticed that he talked about the same thing in it!)

Okay, since I "now live in fear", I am going to post this before I lose it, and continue the saga on "post three"...


ZZZZ, have I put anyone to sleep yet?!?

texang73
Feb. 21, 2008, 06:24 PM
Still wide awake here! Very interesting! :yes:

RunForIt
Feb. 21, 2008, 06:25 PM
Not me! I am learning along with you as well as remembering stuff from my 2 clinics with JW. I too got the treat of having him stand in front of a jump...:eek: :cool:

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 21, 2008, 06:30 PM
damn...he had you cantering fences. I'm riding with him next week and was hoping it would be all gymnastics. My eye is very rusty and I'm VERY out of shape.......ack.

I've ridden with him long enough to know that I'm in trouble!!!! Stupid winter and work!!!

Sounds like you had a great clinic.

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 21, 2008, 06:46 PM
The penultimate exercise we did was to jump the vertical to the oxer as a 4 stride line; he walked it for us--pointing out that it was a "conservative 4"--but then again we were jumping in an indoor, off a circle, and tended to all be on a "quiet stride", so it rode long for all of us. (The woman on the bay got 5--and this was a big horse!) My own horse got a loong spot, so Jimmy had me do it again, and this time "just let go" (I find that sometimes my mare takes advantage of me when I do this--Whee! :D, but she was being pretty good by this time, and just rolled on through nicely. :)) My poor student managed to get the four, but after "running down the line" to get it, her mare "left from Cleveland" to make it over the oxer :eek:--she doesn't have a "Teddy pony stride" ;) The next time, Jimmy suggested that she "do the add"...Um, well, it was a good idea in *theory*, but the hony had different ideas, and Jimmy's response to their second attempt was: "She's been through there once, and she says: Hell--I don't have to add--I'm just going to do it in 4!" :lol: (He also said that she "reminded him of Kilkenny", who was a 17 hand horse with a pony brain. As for ponies, he said "Ponies are just different; you can't train them exactly like a horse--if you DO, then it makes *everyone* crazy!" (I'm assuming by everyone, he meant the ponies AND the trainers :p)

The final thing we did was a line that consisted of a vertical (about 3'3" or 3'6"), 3 strides to an oxer (about the same height, but not wide), 3 strides to another vertical. The distances rode *really* quiet (the first to go was the woman on the elegant grey, whose rider apparently rides with Jimmy on a semi-regular basis), and then me (it rode really nicely for me :)), and then the woman on the bay...She had a god-awful second fence (horse put in two and a half and then "hopped up in the air", popping the poor woman out of the tack), so Jimmy said: "You scared me! You traumatized me!" :lol:, and proceeded to work on the rider's ability to "see her stride" by putting a handkerchief on the top of the middle of the front rail of the oxer. While she was circling to approach, he replaced it with a set of keys. She got through it better the second time, but never noticed the "switch"...Jimmy said that no one ever does, so those of you who clinic with him int eh future, consider yourselves forewarned! :D The it was my student's turn, and her mare was in "WOOOHOOOOO, YEEHAWWW!!" mode at this point, so she charged to the oxer, and jumped so far in to the second half of the line that her mare also "hopped in the air" after taking two and half strides :eek:, and had the final vertical down. JW had this to say: "This is a good opportunity; when you make a mistake at this jump, don't say 'Oh No!'--say "Cool--I *know* what to do next!" IOW, since her mare had taken a big leap over the oxer, she would then have to WHOA to get the quiet 3 to the final vertical. Alas, our segment had run out of time, so she was unable to do it again...The woman on the grey said to me "I'm sorry he did this, since now you guys have a LOT of work to do--back to the drawing board!" Indeed, we will have to go back to getting the "little Spitfire" to chill by trotting to the base of small fences with a SOFT rein, and hauling her up (and rein-backing) *afterward* only if she takes off and runs through the bridle--this has often been utilized to good effect, but we have to take our time--very hard to do this (and/or address these issues) in a clinic setting!

Overall, I had fun, and picked up a few good tips. I heard "good" from him about 15 or so times, which I would guess indicates that I was "did okay"?, and he seemed to think that my horse was a good jumper (along with the nice woman on the grey, who was very complimentary...:)) :D He didn't have a whole lot to say to either me *or* the woman on the grey, but I don't think it was because we weren't listening--as another poster had mentioned, he will "ignore" you if you are non-receptive--but simply because we were not the "problem children" in our section. (Those would have been the woman on the bay, and my student...) As JRey mentioned, the problem with having a group in a clinic (albeit small, with only 4; however, when I rode with Ernest Dillon and did a semi-private, I had a similar problem; the girl who rode with me in that clinic kept falling off when the unfamiliar horse she was riding repeatedly quit on her.) Often when you have a group of students, the riders or horses who need the most help (at least on that *day*) are going to get the most time (and reps!) from the clinician. (Of course in JW's case, this is NOT always a good thing, since he will not mince words about what you're doing wrong! :lol: :D)

One last funny thing...

When we were finished (and thanking him), he came up to my horse and rubbed her forehead. She has a very pretty face, and is a terrible flirt and pocket pony, who truly believes all humans love her and *live* to bestow attention upon her...

He said: "Pretty...You're a shameless hussy!"

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Okay, I think that's QUITE enough from me for one day :p, but I did say to Jimmy "Thank you very much, and it just wasn't long enough!" :sigh:

I wish he would do more clinics closer to home (his AND ours!) since it appears he has a different "theme" for each; it would be nice to do something outside--or even some X-country! :D

RunForIt
Feb. 21, 2008, 06:58 PM
Many thanks, Dr. D! You certainly went the extra mile in helping us all "be there". bornfreenowexpensive, its your turn next! :D :lol:

octavian_jazz
Feb. 21, 2008, 07:51 PM
I second the thank you Doctor Doolittle, I really enjoyed reading all of that!

klc
Feb. 21, 2008, 07:59 PM
Dr. D, what did he mean when he said to "keep your heel soft?".

c_expresso
Feb. 21, 2008, 09:13 PM
Dr. D, what did he mean when he said to "keep your heel soft?".

Correct me if I am wrong Dr. Dr... but probably just to relax down into your heel rather than jam it down... let your heel be a "shock absorber" so to speak.

(my trainer says this a lot and she has ridden with Jimmy quite a bit so just assuming here...)

asterix
Feb. 21, 2008, 09:43 PM
oh, oh, I am SO excited now! Bornfree, are you doing the one in PA next Wed?
What group are you in????

I can see in Dr D's description SO many things I can do wrong if our clinic is the same...but that's ok, we will try and make it better

Thank you, that was a great description!!!

Xctrygirl
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:03 PM
I will be in the Pa one next week in the 2'6" clinic with a greenie from work.

But......... I knew this was coming. For the past couple weeks I have been doing canter and trot poles in the big circle forms, courses etc. Including getting changes over the poles and doing serpentines etc.

Today I took him to an indoor and schooled stuff at the canter, specifically b/c Jrey's pics showed her cantering!!!

So hopefully by next week he and I will be able to look like a competent team for the boss.

I have only ridden this horse for about a month. So it should be interesting. And he's a green 5 yr old. Soooo should be fun.

~Emily

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:09 PM
LOL--you must not ride in a lot of clinics! 4 people in a group is SMALL. Most JW clinics have groups of 8.

Glad you learned some things....since that is the point of riding with people like JW. I'm sure he was mostly kidding about breaking your leg!

The thing about these clinics is that you can learn as much if not MORE by listening to what he is telling other people and watching what he does and says for each problem. Clinics are more then all about you...just like riding isn't all about "you". I learn the most watching him deal with someone else having issues...and thrilled when I'm not that person!

Riders he knows well he will not give the same speeches to....we know it already (or should) and typically just need a word here or there to remember what we are working on. While I love to ride with him for reminders of what I need to be working on with a particular horse....most of my biggest lightbulb moments come from watching what he does with others and seeing how they change.

And I suck at the telling what leg is leaving the ground but you have a 50% chance of getting it right!

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:17 PM
Correct me if I am wrong Dr. Dr... but probably just to relax down into your heel rather than jam it down... let your heel be a "shock absorber" so to speak.

(my trainer says this a lot and she has ridden with Jimmy quite a bit so just assuming
here...)

Yes, this is what I'm assuming he meant (and he was telling others in our group--actually, just the two who were having issues :p--to "put their heels down"), so I think what he's trying to say is exactly how you phrased it...IOW, sink weight into the heel without "putting the heel into the horse"...:)

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:20 PM
oh, oh, I am SO excited now! Bornfree, are you doing the one in PA next Wed?
What group are you in????




I better be since I'm one of the organizers! I'm in the last group (training/prelim). I'm terribly out of shape and will probably get jumped out of the tack every other jump. I'm actually playing hookie from the work I should be doing right now and trying to sort through emails and working on the clinic groups for next week, March 6 (our rescheduled date) and the March 15-16 clinic. PRAYING that the weather gets better so our March 15-16 clinic will be out outside and on the x-c course! So any jingles for good weather would be greatly appreciated!!!!

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:26 PM
Dr. D, I wanted to add that at the last 1/4 or so of the lesson, Jimmy did start to ignore me too! I was really paranoid that I had done something wrong, so I started riding like no tomorrow and finally got another "good" out, but was wondering hopelessly why he would ignore me.

I was watching your lesson, and he did ignore the lady on the grey (the one I came with, isn't that horse something??) too, and I didn't feel bad then at all. It must be a good thing, then.

A girl in my lesson WAS having problems with a little grey gelding, had been OTT for 9 months and hadn't gone novice yet, but was in the training group (for timing reasons), so was a bit "behind". He had a LOT to say to her, so I guess that's what happened.

He did give me his email address and told me to email him so that he could send me a few articles that would help me with leg position.

:lol:

Yes, after reading the posts on this thread, I thought "yikes, if he's not giving me constant feedback, I must have done something to offend him!"...:lol:

But after getting mostly positive feedback (with a few tweaks here and there), I figured he will *surely* speak up if I were to suddenly do something REALLY heinous! :D

In your case, he probably figured you were obviously improving during the clinic, therefore you must be listening, hence you should be rewarded for that by getting less nagging feedback! ;)

That's *very* impressive that he offered to give you further help via e-mail; clearly he considers you to be "superior student material" to be deserving of this :D

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:34 PM
oh, oh, I am SO excited now! Bornfree, are you doing the one in PA next Wed?
What group are you in????

I can see in Dr D's description SO many things I can do wrong if our clinic is the same...but that's ok, we will try and make it better

Thank you, that was a great description!!!

asterix, as usual, you are WAY too hard on yourself, sheesh! :p

You and Piko are awesome, and he will love you! ;) (Also, since you have been a trainer/instructor, you will understand both what he is looking for, and how to receive the feedback he gives you--to optimal effect...)

And for *everyone* who rides with him, a report after the fact would be much appreciated! :D (It doesn't have to be as long-winded as mine, but we will look forward to hearing all about your experiences :))

Dr. Doolittle
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:48 PM
Hahha I sure hope so!

Plus, he used up his number of scary remarks to me at the BEGINNING of the lesson... :lol: The first one really knocked me off guard (the "what are you smiling at"), I am a little 17 year old blonde, he had already made fun of my voice, and told me he wanted to break my legs. I'm not the most bold person in the world, especially around such high up there people like him... I'm really sure that my expression must have been :eek: for a few minutes. I didn't DARE make eye contact with my trainer or best friend...

Oh my goodness, I didn't realize how young you were! :eek: (Your posts make you sound more mature...;))

At that age, I would have been rendered speechless too...I was in Pony Club (back in the early-mid 70's, when dinosaurs trod the earth :lol:), and the Big Name Trainers who taught us occupied a "rarified stratosphere"--we were all *extremely* intimidated, and wouldn't have dreamed of speaking up in front of them (plus, were traumatized by any criticism :eek:...)

That's one of the very few advantages (and there are *very* few--a bit of wisdom being one of them ;)) of getting old; you develop a sense of perpective, whereupon you realize that "they are all just people" (and not much older than you, which helps! :lol:), and that you can get past what anyone thinks about you, and carry on. My husband calls it "the F-it attitude" :D (It takes a lot of experience and confidence to get to that point, though...plus, no matter HOW old one is, one still "hero worships" the really big guys! How can you "not care what they think of your riding, and your horse"?!? Which is why I started this thread, come to think of it! ;))

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 21, 2008, 11:25 PM
Hahha I sure hope so!

I'm really sure that my expression must have been :eek: for a few minutes. I didn't DARE make eye contact with my trainer or best friend...


HEHEH...if it had been like that...you would have probably gotten a comment about looking like a deer in headlights! He usually has a knack at knowing what to say to get a rider to focus.

Best comment I've heard him say was when he told a rider that they looked like they had been sucking on a pickle! It did get them laughing and riding more relaxed!

asterix
Feb. 21, 2008, 11:47 PM
I better be since I'm one of the organizers! I'm in the last group (training/prelim).

OH! lightbulb goes off (don't we have an emoticon for this?). Got it! I'm in that group, too, so I will see you then, weather willing (my baby's first CT just got moved this weekend, to a date I can't make, so I am feeling sort of picked-on by the weather).

This should be cool. I have absolutely no doubt that JW will see that my horse is a lovely kind animal and that I am wildly mediocre. I am comforted to realize that he does these clinics all the time, and this is probably the most common combination he sees.:D

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 21, 2008, 11:55 PM
OH! lightbulb goes off (don't we have an emoticon for this?). Got it! I'm in that group, too, so I will see you then, weather willing (my baby's first CT just got moved this weekend, to a date I can't make, so I am feeling sort of picked-on by the weather).

This should be cool. I have absolutely no doubt that JW will see that my horse is a lovely kind animal and that I am wildly mediocre. I am comforted to realize that he does these clinics all the time, and this is probably the most common combination he sees.:D

Can't wait to meet you. Just don't laugh at me...I'm not expecting to be riding my best but will try and not get in my pony's way. I hate knocking off the rust of winter but am ready to get motivated and learn!

lstevenson
Feb. 22, 2008, 12:12 AM
I'm sure he was mostly kidding about breaking your leg!


Mostly. :yes::lol:

Centuree
Feb. 22, 2008, 12:59 AM
Great to hear everyone's clinic experiences. I am riding down in WA in 2 weeks and am getting really nervous and worried that I am going to be that "worst person in the group". My trainer is down in California, so I have'nt been able to ride with her for a month, and will probably only get one lesson in before the clinic. I hope it goes okay - in fact, if I could, I'd probably pull out now :( Not having the greatest time with the "sub" coach who is an equitation coach.