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What to expect? Jimmy Wofford clinic. Update post #71

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  • #21
    Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
    Last winter Greg came out after the season and it was perfect timing for her to join in on a clinic...I was very disappointed that she didn't give his advice a chance to work for her or her horse...
    If you go to a Wofford clinic and don't give his instruction a chance--whether you do so consciously or not--you will not have a good experience. I have seen it happen many times for a variety of reasons. I've only seen him give up on a riders who did this from early on in the clinic.

    Originally posted by fooler View Post
    He really enjoys people who are interested and engaged.
    This is the key. Jimmy is an intellectual, without a doubt he is the most well read horseman I've ever come a cross. Make every effort to learn from him, respect his instruction and show that by being willing to adjust your riding and you will have a good clinic.


    • #22
      He loves to hear himself talk...that is about it.


      • #23
        my .02 cents are that both Jimmy and Lucinda are good to audit, I don't feel the need to ride with them. Both say same thing over and over to everyone. So you get it all in an audit. I feel like my $$ wasted if/when I ride with them in a clinic. I will say I am a smurf.... so I suppose that the higher level riders might get more.

        To the OP, you're already signed up, go bring your sense of humor and quick wit and listen to what the man says and do it. You'll have a good time.


        • #24
          TR- I have never cliniced with JW but have heard very good things about him for the most part. Enjoy yourself!!!

          Originally posted by JP60 View Post
          This has been a great thread to follow for I've been a fan of Mr Wofford and ponder what taking lessons would be like with him...

          Aye, but that's the rub, is taking lesson different then a clinic (rhetorical question)...of course, so my question is,

          why go to a clinic?

          I have a great trainer, she had taken raw clay and molded it into something resembling an Eventer. Were I to go to a Lucinda or Jimmie or Phillip clinic, what would I gain that I don't get from my regular trainer? Would Jimmie magically teach me to be able to go novice (skipping BN) pushing me past my trainer? Would Lucinda show me a better position such that I could not take lessons from my very good instructor again for fear of losing it?

          A little hyperbole, but I've really wondered this of late. Perhaps the second most important bond in eventing (after the horse) would be the trainer for it is the trainer the one sees day in day out that pushes, prods, and gets us to step beyond the comfort zone.

          For the ROI, what does a clinic with BNT/R accomplish?
          JP60- I think the ROI depends on the BNT (some I think are worth clinicing with, others not so much) and what's going on with the horse/rider.

          For a very green horse or rider, I (personally) wouldn't go. I think at that stage more is accomplished with the regular trainer. Moreover, with a very green horse, I worry alot about inadvertently over facing them. Like BNFE, I put my big girl panties on every day and can say no to an exercise, but I'd rather just not put myself and my horse in that position.

          I would, and do, take green horses to clinics with BNT that have a legit rep for being good with greenies. I've come home with some great exercises.

          Also, if horse or rider is having a very specific problem, like with ditches or water for instance, I think going to an XC clinic is not the best place to work those out. Better done with the regular trainer.

          All that said, if your curious, go audit! Lucinda is awesome, rode in a clinic with her ugh almost 20 yrs ago, and got alot out of it. Audited one the next year and also beneficial. Many times auditing is free

          I go to clinics because they are (usually!) fun and educational. I always learn something useful.
          Unrepentant carb eater


          • #25
            A few quick thoughts.

            Re: The horse with the ditch issue. I cliniced with Phillip Dutton a few years ago in a BN/greenie group where every horse stopped at the ditch, some more dramatically than others. Phillip got every horse and rider over with minimal damage and clear, concise instruction. And yes, I have been in situations where a clinician spends too much time on one extra needy horse-rider pair.

            Now, would I ride with Phillip again? Probably not. Just not worth the $300+ for two days or however much it is now. If you are happy with your current instructor, I don't see THAT much purpose in doing a clinic unless you are interested in 1. Getting your horse in a new scenario/with other horses but not in a show environment or 2. Spending a lot of money/easing your boredom.

            I had an epiphany moment once when I was editing a clinic video down to just my rides. I realized that in a 2-hour period I had spent less than 15 min jumping. Now, I still enjoyed myself, and I have lots of respect for the clinician. But it is my observation that when BNT are teaching adult ammies they will not likely see again, they will repeat stump speeches and dole out compliments more often than they will give you incisive or tough feedback.


            • #26
              Purple - from what I've noticed of your posts, I'm surprised you didn't see the value in Jim. The value in his exercises, even without with a very few words added, just noticing when he adds a pole in the middle, or when he quietly walks in front of a jump just before a horse gets there, is huge, at least if you watch all the sessions and really pay attention to the progression.

              As a thinking rider (I hope) and an instructor I always love to hear what clinicians say to riders -and what they choose not to say. This goes triple for Mr Wofford. Watching what he chooses to say - and not say - and how the horses and riders jump by the end of day 2 versus the beginning of day 1 is a huge lesson in priorities and progressions..

              OP, don't know if that is you in the photo you posted. If you jump your horse in a hackamore, I would certainly know why, and be prepared to explain in one concise sentence why. "Do what you need to be safe in competition, but know that you are covering a hole in your training" is I think a fair enough summary of the Wofford philosophy.

              HAve a great time, take notes, watch all the sessions, especially those before (and, uhh, after ) yours. And next time, maybe you'll get to ride in an XC clinic and really join us in the dark side. Woff really appreciates a good hunter ride in SJ, even if he summarizes it in different words to us overactive eventers...



              • #27
                Originally posted by subk View Post
                Jimmy is an intellectual, without a doubt he is the most well read horseman I've ever come a cross. Make every effort to learn from him, respect his instruction and show that by being willing to adjust your riding and you will have a good clinic.
                I agree with this. His knowledge of riding literature is really impressive.

                His clinics are #1 on my list. Correct principles, correct theory, the correct execution of the exercises on the spot is always a challenge.

                But like with any clinician, you need to take a suitable horse. My mares, for example, are fussy and irritable in group exercises, even though they're trained on the same principles as JW teaches. For the clinics I've done, I rode a more reasonable gelding.


                • #28
                  PS - I have taken a couple real greenies to JW clinics and had great experiences. I wouldn't recommend green on green, but that doesn't sound like this situation.

                  For why go to a clinician, I'd say because sometimes hearing the same thing phrased a bit differently or in a different accent can be a useful kick in the butt. Other times hearing one thing really honed in on, like weekly instructors can get lulled out of doing, can be just the ticket. Then other times getting a new set of eyes which has seen every progression 1000 times, and which knows to say, no, *that* is not the key issue now, *this* is, has value beyond measure.

                  Even really good regular instructors can get a bit lulled, or a bit blind to certain issues, and riders can get a bit comfortable with their comfort zones. Having someone trustworthy come in and shake expectation up a bit can be priceless!!



                  • #29
                    To be honest novice/bn groups all hear the same thing. Last clinic I rode, novice level, it was a matter of getting the horse straight and balanced with the lump on the back staying out of the way
                    Very different from the prelim clinics I audited years ago where the gymnastics were progressively raised to the 4' level.

                    When and why would I go to a clinic?
                    To get a reality check, I know Jimmy will tell me the unvarnished truth.
                    To expand my safety zone.
                    To hear the same info in a different voice and with different words. Hearing it from someone else has made all the difference on several occasions. Equally funny is telling your regular instructor that "Now" I understand what he/she has been saying for the past months.
                    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                    Courtesy my cousin Tim


                    • #30
                      Read the books.

                      Ask intellegent questions. Ask questions about things from the book

                      Do learn to slip and re-gather reins.

                      Read the books

                      Do not color outside the lines.

                      Read teh books

                      Jimmy is an excellent horseman.

                      Read the books


                      • #31
                        Worse clinic ever! I have ridden in many different clinics with many BNTs and this was the absolute worst one! I am not a green rider and the horse I was riding was about Novice level. Did not learn one thing other than Jimmy is a condescending jerk and like someone else said...he likes to hear himself talk.

                        On the flip side...the non riding lectures were great and his books are awesome.
                        ~Run and Jump!~


                        • #32
                          Very interesting posts. I have never ridden with him, but do read the books he's mentioned in his winter reading list. IMHO, he reminds me of a more old school horseman, who's earned his stripes, but isn't 80! Just the older group of eventers who had to paved the way - like Phyllis Dawson, whom I have ridden with & who scared me to death as a pony clubber. Her mom Grace made up for it though we painted fences at oatlands & morven together and she was a riot.
                          And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by fooler View Post

                            When and why would I go to a clinic?
                            To get a reality check, I know Jimmy will tell me the unvarnished truth.
                            To expand my safety zone.
                            To hear the same info in a different voice and with different words. Hearing it from someone else has made all the difference on several occasions. Equally funny is telling your regular instructor that "Now" I understand what he/she has been saying for the past months.
                            This, exactly.
                            I have cliniced with him on and off over the years. I will say that I would rather take a SJ lesson from him than a xc lesson, and while I have had success working out SJ issues in a session I too have seen xc issues that just ended up overfacing the rider.

                            This has made me think mostly that xc issues (I mean serious confidence issues or stopping at a particular fence, not the more generic issues we all have) are NOT suited to a clinic environment no matter who the clinician. Better worked on in an unhurried and more private situation.

                            This year I was able to work with him repeatedly as my horse came back to work and I grew from shattered confidence. He got to know us both and it was MUCH more rewarding than any one off clinic could be.

                            As an aside, I think anyone who can should ride with Lucinda Green once. She may say the same thing every time, and you may be able to hear it from the sidelines, but actually DOING her exercises on your horse is amazing.
                            The big man -- my lost prince

                            The little brother, now my main man


                            • #34
                              I've HEARD similar stories like purp's and others. Berating a rider, to the point she didn't want to go back the next day. In fact, that rider's trainer (who had ridden with Jimmy for years) had to remind Jimmy the person he was riding so hard was the HOST of the clinic.

                              The BN ditch story reminded me of the xc schooling/clinic I watched last summer. The group I watched was T/P. One rider ran out time and time again at a prelim corner (which I believe he had said he gotten an E at the weekend previously). After awhile, Jimmy just gave up and we moved on. Kinda disappointing for the horse and rider with an obvious issue to have to be so unsuccessful.

                              Of course, I've also sat in his ring and watched him teach the UL horse and rider I groomed for and thought it was AWESOME. He even got on Ruby on the flat (a talented but tough horse on the flat), which was a HUGE treat to watch (he loved Ruby ). He was also the first one to mention ulcers to us as maybe some of the big red loon's issues. I was very impressed with all of that.

                              I don't know what to think with all the mixed reviews. I still think I would probably do a clinic with him, though I think I'd prefer a gymnastic/show jumping one to a xc one. TR, go expecting to work hard and pay attention. I kinda consider JW the GM to us eventers...go with that mindset and you should be fine.


                              • #35
                                Simply the best. Rode with him for years, and he gave clinics at our farm. Never came away without learning something important.


                                • #36
                                  I rode with JW at one of the clinics at South Farm. I was riding in the BN group.

                                  Jimmy told one of the local trainers riding in my group, repeatedly, to grab the mane over a fence. When she would not listen to him, he told her to come stand in the middle for the rest of the SJ lesson. Make certain that you listen to what he asks you to do, or you may end up spending a lot of your lesson watching, instead of trying the exercises. That being said, the trainer mentioned was totally abusing her horses' mouth and needed to grab his mane.

                                  As for my experience, the upper level riders got longer than 2 hour lessons. When BN got our chance, we got a bit less on SJ day. On cross country day, we were shorted by 45 minutes, because JW had to go catch a plane.

                                  It took me a couple of weeks to process what I could not understand or accomplish, during the clinic. Some of the lessons learned have helped me and I still use them today. His exercises for helping a horse that rushes fences worked for that rider, immediately.

                                  JW's morning lectures are great. As another poster said, "Read his books". He will answer any questions that you might have. If you have one of his books, he will sign it for you. I had him sign a copy of his Gymnastics book. He actually made a correction in it. It was one of the early additions and had been printed incorrectly.

                                  I did hear him tell the Organizer that he prefers not to work with lower level, ie: BN riders.

                                  Would I clinic with him again? Probably not. Especially since I am still a BN rider.
                                  When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                                  • #37
                                    TR... if you want to borrow a book before the clinic, let me know. Have a great time!
                                    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                                    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                      TR, go expecting to work hard and pay attention. I kinda consider JW the GM to us eventers...go with that mindset and you should be fine.

                                      This thread has definitely given me that impression yellowbritches.

                                      I'm looking forward to the experience after reading all these posts. I can't wait to see what I think of him and what I might learn.
                                      Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by tle View Post
                                        TR... if you want to borrow a book before the clinic, let me know. Have a great time!

                                        Yes, that would be fantastic! Would you be able to drop it by on your way to the office or if you're heading to Jen's?
                                        Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                                        • #40
                                          Sooo envious. Back on the bucket list it goes!

                                          I'll get there someday--meanwhile, HAVE FUN! My goal (besides the bucket list thing in this case) from a "BNR" clinic is simply to get a new perspective from someone I figure isn't making stuff up, who has "walked the walk" and probably seen 100 cases of whatever issues I or my horse might have and who doesn't try to cookie cutter every horse and rider with their one pet trick, which I have seen a few "LNR" clinicians do. I figure a guy like JW has more than one thing in his bag of tricks.
                                          Click here before you buy.