After an exceptional career as an internationally competitive three-day event rider, Jim Wofford became even more successful as an instructor, and this book, with DVD, explains his theories and practices for training event horses and riding cross-country. Although it's a collection of Jim Wofford's previously published columns from Practical Horseman, and the accompanying DVD was made at the Fair Hill International Three-Day Event several years ago, they're truly a companion set worth adding to your library.
Jim Wofford is an incredibly systematic teacher, and a stickler for form following function. He's clear and precise on every aspect of horse care, training and management, from how to select a horse to how to set up a fitness and training schedule (for your horse and you). He'll even tell you what to wear when riding cross-country!
We found the DVD actually more instructive, as you can see how Wofford builds his exercises and how they're applied by live riders. The horses and riders in the DVD are good—almost too good. Still, you see some top-level riders make mistakes riding cross-country at Fair Hill and then hear Wofford dissect the problems. We wish the DVD had gone one step further with Wofford working through similar issues during the instructional segments, but you have to turn to the book for that.
Wofford's passion for the sport and detailed approach to training shine through in both the book and on the DVD, however, you may find it slightly overwhelming at times. Sure, this detail is the "secret" to his success with students, but it's difficult to absorb it all at once. You'll want to use these tools like the educational materials they are and refer back to them until you grasp some of the finer points.
Wofford's classical riding foundation, combined with his thorough understanding of the application of biomechanics to the art of riding across country, should help any rider.
If you're an active event rider, you should read this book. It contains gems of advice applicable at any level.
Best suited for:
People who enjoy the technical aspects of riding and training horses.
You'll be disappointed if:
You're a newer rider, easily overwhelmed by detail.