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Jeff Cook Clinic?

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  • Jeff Cook Clinic?

    So I just found out today that I am going to be riding in a clinic with Jeff Cook tomorrow. Im going to take the greenish mare I lease. What should I expect? What should I/horsey wear? I was thinking black polo, TS breeches, my tall boots, my black gloves and belt. Mare usually goes in front boots and back wraps, so im doing that with a fitted white pad. Haven't decided between using the plain cavason bridle with a standing, or the figure 8 sans martingale. We just started using the figure 8 and I cant decide.

    I am very excited! Ive never cliniced with a big trainer before

  • #2
    You should expect a lot of flat work. Expect to be able to add and shorten, cavaletti work, ground poles, transitions, etc. Expect to work hard. I have some video of over fences in a Jeff Cook clinic that my daughter did on my youtube link. 5 minutes out of 4 hours that she did.
    The ultimate horse mom



    • #3
      Jeff is great to ride with. Very meticulous but not at all intimidating - he is actually one of my favorites and I am very envious of your opportunity!

      He is a traditionalist and favors simple tack. It goes without saying that everything should be neat and gleaming. He does not care for gadgets of any type (and would include things like plastic stirrups in that category, for example.) Use plain fillis irons.

      He does a lot of flatwork, focusing on prompt transitions and proper position, and usually starts the over fences portion with some simple exercises that will set the horses up for success later in the lesson. He is very big on using your eyes early and well, and rewarding the horse with a softening of the aids when it does well.

      Somewhere in the archives you may be able to find more detailed clinic reports. I've done a few in years past and so have others - they will give you more info on specific exercises that you might want to check out.

      Have fun.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        All I have to say is PLEASE report back afterwars I'm riding with him in my very FIRST clinic EVER (woo hoo!) next Sat/Sun. So excited, I can't wait! Good luck, hope you have a GREAT time!

        And btw, everything you've listed sounds fine. I'm currently going through the same dilemma of figure 8 vs regular noseband. Thinking I'm going with the figure 8 since that's what we use 99% of the time.


        • #5
          He doesn't like those fuzzy black things that wrap around the stirrup pads. My daughter was the only one who didn't have them on and I actually had to look at everyone's stirrups to see what he was talking about.
          The ultimate horse mom



          • #6

            Originally posted by LeeB10 View Post
            He doesn't like those fuzzy black things that wrap around the stirrup pads. My daughter was the only one who didn't have them on and I actually had to look at everyone's stirrups to see what he was talking about.
            This reminds me: J, I have spare stirrups irons in the drawer under my trunk on the left side - take whatever you need.
            If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
            Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


            • #7

              This was the thread from earlier this year about what to wear (specifically winter attire) in Jeff Cook clinic. Still has some good tips. I really liked my one clinic with him and will ride in one again, if I ever have a horse sound enough to jump again. Have fun!


              • #8
                Bit long here but since there is more then one going to clinic with him? Be prepared for the fact he is...ahhh...one of our better looking clinicians-to say the least.

                I always use a baby pad (nice one though, real clean) and half pad when I ride with Jeff, stays in place better over the 2 hour sessions. He really does not care about some of these things, particularly away from a show in a private barn setting. Clean, fits, neat and appropriate.

                Clothing...ahh...he likes something that shows your body line so nothing baggy and tuck your shirt in, wear a nice belt. But it is not an appointments class. Tall boots preferred but he will not mind nice, clean paddocks and half chaps (they have to fit tight though) if you don't have tall boots or have a problem with the ones you do have. Breeches, please though, no jeans. Gloves, please, you may need them for the flat excercises after 2 hours. Otherwise, it really is NBD so don't worry.

                Horse should wear the bridle you usually school in-I'd skip the figure eight because you say it's new? Bring it along and you can swap to it if needed-kind of doubt you are going to need it though, particularly the first day when the focus is flat.

                I would choose the standing martingale as well, he likes those, so that would mean a plain noseband. He will spend about 10 minutes checking your tack, stirrup length and learning your names to start so make sure you got all the keepers in place, including the ones if you use a full cheek, and that everything is properly adjusted. He may make some adjustments or ask a question about your bit-and any bit you usually use is fine, you just need to know what it is and why you prefer it.

                Generally, start with your spurs on and carrying a stick, you can lose them if not needed but, if you screw up and he says "stick em on the left"? And you got no stick? In the doghouse you go...that means back of the line, do not complete the excercise. There are no do overs in the show ring. Or excuses.

                First day is mainly flat. Be prepared to trot 30 minutes or so. Not that big on the no stirrups but is big on releases and will probably have you practice them at the trot over ground poles. Depending on your group, you may do extensions and collections and take that to adjusting down related distances. Or you may do more lateral work like leg yields to work on straightness-depends on where the majority are skill wise.

                When you go to the jumps, they will be lower then section height to start and use what you mastered on the flat. He may or may not suggest you change your stirrup length (he says it really is not necessary over low fences). If you have any questions about equipment swaps for the second day, ask him at the end of the first-he knows what you will be doing and what would be most appropriate.

                Second day is a little flat and more jumps but you are still going to be building on what you did the day before. Towards the end, he will start excusing some riders and keeping others and raising the fences. That is his way of challenging those who are ready and letting others not quite there leave without getting overfaced and losing all the good work in a bad miss or something. He may also feel the horse has had enough so don't feel lacking if you don't stay with the top group.

                Overall, he is very clear on what he wants. He is as quick to praise as he is to point out mistakes. He can also be very clear he is disgusted when a rider makes the same mistake over and over and offers a bunch of excuses. Do not ever blame a horse's lack of response to basic aids on "sensitivity" instead of the fact they never learned to accept them properly. Never, ever blame poor performance on the horse, listen to him tell you how to ask the horse more clearly then do it. Or at least make a new mistake.

                I think both of these posters should get alot to take home from these clinics and have a really productive experience.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                • #9
                  Findeight: THANK YOU. I can't wait to ride with him. One of my friends is doing it as well, and she cliniced with him about 10 years ago, and couldn't remember much except that she really enjoyed the experience.

                  N: Thanks! I need to go ahead and grab them and ride in them this week so I don't get a shock on Saturday!

                  So ... he doesn't hate a Waterford bit like GM does? I remember on the Horsemastership DVD George looks at a Waterford and says he feels like it's pretty "useless". That's what my boy uses! I am borrowing a Mikmar lozenge bit to try; if he goes pretty well in it, should I use that, or should I go with what I've been using for the past year? I guess if he's not good in the Mikmar, I'll just risk it and go with the waterford since that's what works for him.


                  • #10
                    Jeff won't have any objection to a waterford. He is pretty open minded in general, brings a lot of interesting perspectives to the table - everything from what he's learned from his Western friends to all the GM stuff.

                    He just isn't into gadgets. According to him, "if it's new and complicated, it's probably wrong."

                    He's a wonderful clinician, I'd ride with him again in a heartbeat.

                    Be prepared to lower your stirrups for your flatwork, though.
                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                    • Original Poster


                      It was a Blast!!!!

                      I only got to clinic today, and I am so upset that I didnt know about it before so I could have gone yesterday too.

                      I ended up using the figure 8 and my mare went beautifully in it. The group was a 2'6" group so I wasnt super worried about losing control.

                      We started with a little bit of flat work in the beginning. Mostly on prompt transitions and being very conscious of our angles and our bodies in general. Then we started just by cantering over a single pole, which my mare thought it was a great idea to charge at and jump like its 5 ft He is very understanding of each horses situation. My friends horse just came off a suspensory injury, and even though he has been cleared to go for over a year, she still doesnt want to push it. And it was only my mare 2nd time off the property since she came to us off the track a year ago, and he took all her green baby-ness in stride and didnt over face any of us.

                      We only worked over a mini course of 5 jumps, but it was the perfect amount for our group. And he altered things for each horse as they went. We worked a lot on being straight to the jumps, and for me it was asking for the simple change before she got to excited and switched her front lead.

                      I want to try and find a clinic with him again soon. Maybe when Im down in school. If anyone knows any contact information for him I would love to send him a thank you card. It was such a great experience.