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Riding with Jimmy. Should I?

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  • Riding with Jimmy. Should I?

    So, Jimmy is coming to little ole Bozeman, MT. I have a chance to ride with him, but I am intimidated by him. I am just a smurf. A BN maybe moving up to N rider, a bit overweight but capable with a talented horse with lots of desire to learn as much as I can. I am far from perfect, far from having upper level talent. I don't want to get laughed out of the arena or asked to leave for being inappropriate. What do you think? Worth my time and money?

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."-Aristotle

  • #2
    Uhh, where do you think you are? In hunter hell?
    No one cares what you look like, what level you ride, or what type of horse you have. Just so long as you're safe and are having the time of your life, no one is going to mock you!
    Even duct tape can't fix stupid


    • #3
      Yes, you should go. Even Jimmy was a BN rider once. If you have an honest desire to learn, put your horse first, and ask questions you can't go wrong. Go, learn from the best, and have a blast. He's just a human, and while he's a good rider, he's just a good rider--he didn't end world hunger, solve the conflict in the Middle East, or cure cancer. Even if he had, he's still just a human. Be respectful (duh) and ready to learn. Oh, and take notes to share with the rest of us.


      • #4
        I agree but to get the most out of your time with him be sure you practice jumping from a trot (which I find hard to do) since that's how you'll be jumping the grids he'll be using. Jimmy always uses grids building from one jump to two to three, etc. The approach to the first jump will be from a trot and if you aren't comfortable doing that or if your horse isn't sure what to do then the exercise isn't as smooth as it should be (i.e., you'll get left behind, bump your horse in the mouth, he'll get cranky, etc.). I only mention this because that's what happened to me. I went home and learned to jump from the trot and now feel much more confident. If you're still a little uncomfortable, come with a neck strap and don't be afraid to use it. No one will laugh and if they do just tell them that William Fox-Pitt never goes without one - that'll shut them up. Go and have fun.


        • #5

          Bring your humble attitude, listen and try HARD, and you will have the experience of a lifetime.


          • #6
            Hmm. I would probably say to just audit the first time. He can be a little non-PC on some issues, like weight, which detracts from some people's ability to learn and make progress in the lessons. I might just go and check him and his style out as an auditor and then decide if I want to ride with him next time he's out. He is big into fly fishing and so he it's not like this is the only time he's ever going to be out in Montana. That said, he'll probaby be in a really good mood since he will have been fly fishing in Montana beforehand, or will be about to go, so maybe it's the best time to ride with him!


            • #7
              Since when FlyingChange? He's seen me a bunch of times and I'm not small. And he's not George Morris.
              Even duct tape can't fix stupid


              • #8
                No, he's not "George Morris." Not at all. I didn't say that he was.

                I guess I should clarify. I've not seen him individually say something to anyone about their weight. But I have been around him in clinics and lessons when he has just talked in general terms about riders needing to get fit and healthy and lose weight sometimes so they can stay in 2 point, etc. This might make some people feel uncomfortable. That's all I am saying. K?
                Last edited by flyingchange; Apr. 2, 2009, 10:59 AM.


                • #9
                  I've been in clinics at the BN/N level with him and he is totally fine with teaching that level.
                  The only thing I have seen that really gets his goat is someone who is or claims to be at a level they are CLEARLY not ready for. I once was in a Training/Prelim session with a young woman who was allegedly riding Intermediate -- she had a great horse but her basic skills and her decision-making were mediocre at best in our group. He was not kind and not particularly patient with her, in part because she really gave off an attitude of shock when he first started to give her critical feedback.

                  So if you showed up telling him you wanted to be going Prelim by the end of the year, he would probably be pretty harsh on you. If you tell him exactly what you just told us, and that is accurate, it'll be fine.
                  The big man -- my lost prince

                  The little brother, now my main man


                  • #10
                    Just be sure that the clinic is offering a BN group - I've seen a few postings of his clinics where riders need to be N or above. If you're on the weak side of N, you might not want to push yourself up to N just for a clinic.

                    ETA - But then go and audit because you'll learn while on the ground and he's a hoot.
                    Last edited by Dawnd; Apr. 2, 2009, 11:31 AM. Reason: added a thought


                    • #11
                      Whew! FlyingChange! Okay, because he's not svelte anymore either! But yes, fit, definitely.
                      Even duct tape can't fix stupid


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by badawg View Post
                        So, Jimmy is coming to little ole Bozeman, MT. I have a chance to ride with him, but I am intimidated by him. I am just a smurf. A BN maybe moving up to N rider, a bit overweight but capable with a talented horse with lots of desire to learn as much as I can. I am far from perfect, far from having upper level talent. I don't want to get laughed out of the arena or asked to leave for being inappropriate. What do you think? Worth my time and money?
                        The first time I did a clinic with him I was 11 years old on a horse that IIRC decided that rearing was far better than going through the grid work on the first day. Believe me he is not going to care who you are as long as you listen, attempt the exercises and enjoy yourself. The man has a great sense of humor and treats everyone equally as long as they try.

                        He truly is a gifted educator, I assume he still does his wipe board sessions beforehand.


                        • #13
                          It's easy for me to say that being starstruck is silly but the truth is that I always feel a little nervous before clinics with BNRs. The respect, the awe, the prospect of getting my BOOKS SIGNED!

                          You can't help feeling this way now but go, go go. You won't believe that the people you read about and watch on video are human until you experience it for yourself!

                          Remember that in spite of having earned their big names, they would not have *clinic* business if they were not also good teachers who people want to come back to.
                          Talk to the Hoof


                          • #14
                            Jimmy is divine. Do not carry all that baggage into the clinic with you, just go in there and have a ball. Clean your tack, don't put gadgets in your horse's mouth, be sure your socks don't stick up above the top of your boots! You will have a complete blast. Jim wouldn't offer to teach the BN/N groups if he didn't want to do it. Also, teaching a clinic in Bozeman is Jimmy's way of getting a free fishing trip!
                            Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
                              Jimmy is divine. Do not carry all that baggage into the clinic with you, just go in there and have a ball. Clean your tack, don't put gadgets in your horse's mouth, be sure your socks don't stick up above the top of your boots! You will have a complete blast. Jim wouldn't offer to teach the BN/N groups if he didn't want to do it. Also, teaching a clinic in Bozeman is Jimmy's way of getting a free fishing trip!
                              Ditto what RiverBendPol said above! Definitely DO NOT MISS OUT on Jimmy. He is an experience in and of itself!
                              Fox Haven Farm, Inc.
                              Home of 2002 JC Registered stallion Artrageous

                              Artrageous has his own Facebook page!


                              • #16
                                GO!!! YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!

                                I have never taken a clinic with Jimmy Wofford and I will never do so since I am only a pleasure rider. However, I have catered his clinics at a barn near to me and everything everyone has said is true. At the clinic last fall, the riders were from BN to Prelim.

                                He was wonderfully patient with the BN group, which was NOT all kids. It was a mix of teenagers and adults (of all ages and shapes). The only thing I saw that annoyed him was when he asked a rider to do a certain thing and they kept going round and round the ring NOT doing as he asked. He did not seem to have a problem AT ALL if his instructions were misunderstood and the rider politely asked for clarification. What I noticed very clearly is that he expects the rider to TRY to do as he asks. He did not even mind if the rider tried, completely did it wrong, and then asked questions to clarify the instruction.

                                He was funny; he was polite; he was totally self-effacing; did not have any kind of attitude about himself AT ALL that I saw. In fact, he seemed to go out of his way to speak to everyone from riders to onlookers to me to find a common interest and to just get to know people. He even asked my teenage daughter and her friend (who were helping me to cater) to clue him into the "in phrases" so that he would seem cool when teaching teenagers. Then he seemed genuinely tickled when they got sneaky looks in their eyes and told him some phrases that were definitely NOT cool and then collapsed in giggles at the thought of Jimmy Wofford making a fool of himself trying to be cool with teenagers.

                                All of our rider participants had fun and were very excited about implementing his instructions except for one older teenage rider who told me that she didn't learn anything; it was a waste of her time. I will point out that this particular rider has this attitude about practically everything, so in my mind that opinion did not count.

                                I think you will have a wonderful time. Of all the clinicians that have come to this particular barn (and I have catered just about every clinic) he was by far the most down-to-earth. I loved listening to his talks each morning and afternoon. His way of explaining things is so good that even I understood what he was saying (and I am about as much of a non-eventer as possible!!!).



                                • #17
                                  Great report, SCM. So what did they try to tell him was cool??

                                  Reminds me a bit of a a story my brother told of being on tour with a US team in the Soviet Union in I guess the early 90's. Their guides were eagerly working on vernacular, but were a bit hesitant. The last team they had escorted had been the US hockey team, and when they tried some of that vernacular on the church elders who had come through next, it hadn't gone over so well...
                                  "Get on the bus, you m*^%#$ f@@*#$ ers" wasn't how that congregation usually spoke...

                                  I logged on to say Jim has forgotten more than most trainers will ever know about horses, jumping, and training. He may or may not say a lot to any particular rider - but watch the progression of exercises, and notice what he does say.
                                  If you're really interested in learning, I highly recommend volunteering to jump crew when it isn't your group, and keep your ears open!



                                  • #18
                                    I was in exactly the same position as you last winter. I am an adult rider and I ride BN, we've schooled some N jumping. Jim was giving a clinic not far away and I have wanted to ride with him for about ten years. I was very intimidated and worried because my horse tries really hard, but is not that experienced. But I went anyway -- and my horse was a total bugger the whole time, charging around and flipping out randomly, which is SO not like him. And Jim was calm and patient and helpful the whole time, he could tell that I was trying so hard and he did not care one bit that I didn't have super expensive stuff or matchy matchy outfits or a perfect horse. He is a phenomenal teacher and extremely perceptive, I swear he has ESP, he can read your mind with every step. I left a two day clinic with enough material to spend a year working on, so short answer YES DO IT DO IT DO IT! I am always on a tight budget but it was worth every penny for his insight, experience, and honesty. He's seen about every issue out there and he knows what is important and doesn't waste time fussing about stupid things like hairnets or hoofshine. His feedback was invaluable and he was really able to help me not only pinpoint, but address with exercises issues that I have struggled with for years. He is 150% down-to-earth, approachable, and teaches with humour and a deep love and respect for the horse, which comes through and that I loved the most.
                                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                    We Are Flying Solo


                                    • #19
                                      GO! I'm going to one in OK! I'm SOOOO excited! I'm old as dirt, a little overweight, riding N and schooling some T.....I'll blog the clinic; you need to report back here at least. Share the Woff!
                                      --Becky in TX
                                      Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                                      She who throws dirt is losing ground.


                                      • #20
                                        Why would anyone not go to a Wofford clinic? I'm riding a three year old green bean who doesn't even jump yet and what's my major riding goal? It is NOT getting him started so we can go to our first BN event, it's getting him started enough that I can take him to a Wofford clinic!

                                        The only time that Wofford gets frustrated are with riders with attitude or who didn't come to learn. (They say things like "...but MY trainer says..." and chew gum.) And riders that just will not make any of the adjustments he suggests. He once turned to me--I was jump crewing--and quietly for my ears only said, "next year I'll just give her my address and she can mail me a check. It will save us both the hassle..."

                                        Go. Clean your tack, dress yourself and your horse in a respectful manner (i.e. not the day for the purple polo wraps!) Be on time to the morning lecture. Volunteer to jump crew. Pay very careful attention to the class you are watching and do not chit chat. Set aside your (and your trainer's) preconcieved notions and make an honest effort to try the things he tells you. The key is to *change* what you were doing and even if it's wrong but you changed something he will be pleased. Try hard and tell him where your secret fishing hole with trout as long as your arm and you will be his new favorite student!

                                        I am jealous of you. Montana AND and Wofford clinic. Make sure you come back here and tell us about it when it's over!