Thursday, August 19, 2010

Watch and Learn

Today I audited the Jimmy Wofford gymnastic clinic at An Otherwise Perfect Farm. I have never audited a clinic although I've wanted to on several occasions; the great Mr. Wofford has held a few clinics in the area earlier this summer, but I was unfortunately unable to make those. I would have loved to stay the whole day (especially since Cherie was to ride in the Training/Prelim class later in the day!), but I could only sneak in a couple of hours. I left the house with time to spare, and I was feeling pretty good about my promptness until 2 miles from the farm I encountered this:

Yep, that's a massive tow truck attempting to haul a huge rig that is loaded with a bulldozer (the bobcat that was pulling it had obviously gone kerplunk). I arrived just as the tow truck and county police arrived and subsequently blocked my left turn (the only way I knew to access the farm). ARG! ARG! ARG! I was the first car in what ended up being a line of 20 or more cars. And I was so hopeful they would let me, maybe just me, make that left turn. Finally after 45 minutes and after a third attempt to hook up the rig failed, they moved the police car and opened the road to traffic. FINALLY!

Don't you hate it when that sort of thing happens? I was all ready to give myself props for being early. Nope :)

Alas, I was still able to spend almost two hours watching Jimmy execute the beginner novice level session of the clinic. The majority of the participating pairs where experienced riders on green (often very green) horses. Therefore it was amazing to see the progress that the riders were able to make with their horses under Jimmy's instruction. Just as I had heard, he is full of ah-ha phrases (training mantras that make you say "Ah-ha, that makes so much sense sense!"), and I am ever in need of more ah-ha phrases. I scribbled furiously in my journal to record some of his conversations word for word; at times, it was like he was talking to me, as if my green-rider habitats were written on the brim of hat. In the middle of the clinic, Jimmy's jump crew of 1 had to leave to tack up her horse for the next session. I quickly stepped forward to offer my help, and I am glad I did. Remember I said these were green horses; that meant that on average every other horse took down poles and/or a few standards as he careened through the exercises. So as we reassembled the jumps, Jimmy shared some wise tid-bits. What a great opportunity! I left with 6 pages of notes, and an even greater respect for Mr. Wofford. I really hope to have the opportunity to ride with him in a clinic in the future, but in the meantime, I am have plenty to work on from what I saw today!

In other horsey news, my good friend Abby (who is a fantastic writer and rider:) has a great new blog called Historical Horse; readers submit photos from their personal history with horses, and Abby posts their memories along with her own absorbing commentary. It's such a fabulous idea that has clearly struck a chord with many of her readers (some of whom have submitted multiple photos/stories). I love that I have this new blog to read daily, and I am excited to see where Abby takes it! Check it out!


  1. I'm SO glad you made it out to see Jimmy at work! HE IS FABULOUS!! And I am so so so glad that stupid wreck was gone by the time arrived - I would have had a mental breakdown in the road! Especially because I got stuck at work in the morning, and arrived with about 5 minutes to get tacked up and I hate being late more than anything in the world! So glad you made it out - I have no doubt it was well worth it and Ceasar will love you for having gone! :)

  2. I'm Jim Wofford. This inspired me to google him and guess what? He has a blog!