My name is Dave DeAngelis. I am an aspiring young horseman, looking to get the most thorough education in the industry as possible. I've had the opportunity to have a preliminary phone interview with Jim Graham and the chance to speak with a former groom as well. His former employee encouraged me to come here and inquire about Jim and what the community feels about him. Has anyone had any positive or negative experiences with Jim Graham, or anything they can tell me about him or his operation? I'm preparing for the possibility of traveling a thousand or so miles to meet with him and I'd like to know if it's worth my while.
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I haven't personally ridden with him, but I know of several people who have and I haven't heard anything negative.
He has judged a couple of shows that I have ridden in and he seemed nice enough, as far as judges go. Can't say what it would be like to work for him though.
The person I worked for was such an $@%@$@% I would never work at a stable again!
a bit off topic, but since you are at UMASS (and I am assuming Amherst) depending on your level of experience, you might want to contact Fran Cross at King Oak Farm for a place to base yourself whilst at school...unless you are looking for a perm position down south.
As far as Jim, no complaints.
Jim is a fine man and an excellent horseman. He is also one of the most gifted teachers I've ever worked with in my 40 year riding career. I live and ride an hour and a half north of him so I've known him (or of him) for decades. I've ridden through the CCI** long format with him as a "off campus" student and he has an extremely well thought out training program.
You will be hard pressed to find someone with something bad to say about him which is rather incredible in the horse world. If you have any specific questions feel free to Private Message me.
The great Bluegrass State. Or Commonwealth. Whatever.
Jim is an excellent horseman. I was a working student briefly after high school, and my sister took a year off after high school and rode through her first 3-day with him. (Back in the full format days...) We've remained very good friends with him.
You will get a thorough education from Jim. My sister always said that no one could have had her and her horse more prepared for their first 3-day. I highly recommend him.
To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
Neither my DW or myself have ridden with him, but we talk to him at every horse show that his is at and he is just a REALLY nice guy. I saw him in Utah then six months later in Alabama at Ft. Rucker. As I walked up he said, "Will, Wyoming", I said, "Close, Utah" we had a good chuckle and talked for 15 minutes or so. We would love to spend more time around him.... maybe this year
I had my first lesson with Jim last month-- I had been wanting to take one with him for a long time, and I wasn't disappointed. You will learn so much-- he is indeed a gifted teacher. And a very nice person to boot.
I've had lot's of clinics with Jim and agree with the other posters here - he is a great horseman and a very gifted teacher. He is also a very nice man who is easy to talk to. You could do a whole lot worse! I wish I were 35 years younger and I might try to spend some time being his working student.
I've known him for 20 years? great teacher, great guy. he knows the sport from the ground up to the highest hieghts. his students develop into very competitive and sensitive riders. he is honest and unassuming. from my personal experience I can highly recommend him.
Is he the one who competed Easter Parade? If so I have only heard the nicest comments about him although I have no personal knowledge. I do remember reading a quote from him about how careful he is with Easter Parade on cross country because he is his "best friend" and he didn't want anything to happen to him. That concern for his horse made me remember and admire him, sounds like you would be lucky to work with him.
I've only dealt with him in passing (stabled nearby, overheard course walks and warmups, etc.) but he seems always to be smiling and attentive to his students/clients and to be friendly and real. FWIW.
I cliniced with Jim when I was living in the Midwest and watched many, many of his other clinics with riders of all levels and ages, and there's no one else I'd want to learn from more. Wonderful guy, fantastic teacher. You would be lucky for the opportunity!
"This thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down" - Mary Pickford
Attended many clinics with Jim and he coached our ATC team. He never forgets anyone. Any horse. He doesn't overface, but has a gift re how to teach each individual horse/rider combo. Nicest ever. Gives much of himself.
I have organized and rode in many clinics with Jim as well as got to spend a long weekend riding at his place. He is one of the nicest people and a great family friend now. He is always begging me to ditch my real world job and come and ride with him for a year or two (I wish...... buying another lottery ticket... LOL). If I had the chance, I would in a heartbeat.