Riding clinics: Jeff Cook

This coming weekend I have the opportunity to participate in a clinic with Jeff Cook!
I dont really know anything about him and had a few questions so I could better prepare myself.
What is his training style?
What riders does he tend to be most helpful for?
Is he particular on tack?
Do you recommend taking a clinic with him?

Thank you! Id love hearing any opinions or knowledge!

Ps. Any advice for riding in a clinic? I haven’t had too many good experiences at them before :confused:

I’ve never participated in a clinic with him myself, but I have heard from many, many people that he is awesome. Meticulous but not harsh, likes to challenge but not overface.

I know him some from shows (I work back gate and hospitality at quite a few shows around Oregon) and he is a very kind person and a great rider. Very straightforward and fair to people and horses alike.

I have ridden with Jeff a few times and I loved it! I always got something out of both my experiences. He is great with all levels of riders, very encouraging and knowledgable, but definitely brings more challenging exercises for the higher skilled groups. He will quiz you on tack, horse anatomy, the 5 reins, etc. So make sure you know the basics.
For turnout I wore an EIS sun shirt tucked in, beige breeches, and tall boots. He had no issues with that attire.
Listen, be prepared, watch others, and know basic dressage as the first day is a good but of flat work.

I really enjoyed my experiences with him and would go again in a heartbeat!

I rode with Jeff 2 weeks ago in a clinic. he is great! very worth it for me (I was in the 2’6" class)

make sure your tack is clean
make sure your boots are polished
wear a polo or button up shirt (show shirt and/or sweater if cool) and beige breeches.
know your basic horse parts and rein aids

He’s very positive and nice; no harsh or mean-spirited criticism at all. In fact, I was amazed by how much constructive criticism he could give you in such a positive way.

Lot’s of flat work; we didn’t end up jumping very high, which was fine (I know the 3 foot+ group did).

I would also attend another session of his any chance I got.

Have fun!!!

We’ve had him twice. Wonderful teacher and a true gentleman.

Just do a basic check list.


You will have a great time and learn a lot.

Have fun.

I have been fortunate enough to assist him on the ground twice. He is very kind, and a superb horseman.
Agree with the basic list above: clean, neat and traditional. Hair up in a hairnet - no pony tail hanging out the back.

Bring your stick and wear your spurs, even if you have to take them off/put it down.
Drop your stirrups 2 holes for flatwork. I don’t remember him doing a lot without stirrups.
If you are lucky, he might ride your horse - that is a treat to watch.

He’s like George Morris but without the snarkiness. Very helpful and positive. Can improve anyone and I mean anyone. Dress like you would for an A jumper nonSunday class. Boots, breeches (beige), polo or sleeved shirt, belt. Horse perfectly groomed, tack fitting perfectly. Leave the gadgets at home, no German martingales or short standing martingales. Softest bit you can ride the horse in is best. Whip absolutely. Stirrups, traditional, not the wide bottom or twisty ones. Listen, don’t talk. He’s not interested in your opinion about your ride though he will give you a few chances to figure that out before politely telling you. Favorite comment: “no grey area” in the ring. That means go in the corners. If you go in the gray area too many times, he will make you lose your turn. Listen! Such a kind polite teacher. I have never heard anyone complain about him. Last week he had a student who thought he knew better and JC politely and kindly pointed out where he needed to improve so he could jump 1.10 m safely. Great clinician and a wonderful person. He will remember your name. The first time I met him it was as a clinic watcher. The next time I saw him, he remembered me. You can’t beat that.

Thank you great advice!

Im a little bit worried (being one of those over emotional teenage riders) that I’m either going to piss him off or embarrass myself :confused:

My favorite Jeff quote from my clinic with him. He was addressing a friend of mine who was having a bit of a hard time with a bending line to a rollback exercise we were doing. She was explaining to him WHY she had taken the (wrong) approach she had chosen. He started laughing and said, “I love my adult riders, they are just like the juniors, but with an opinion!” LOL

I recall that he was against black stirrups - especially the plastic ones. I had aluminum ones and he I aid it was a good trick. He also has a neat serpentine exercise that I still use to thday. He kept commenting on how fancy my horse was as if I might have been too naive to know. It was a clinic at a back yard barn so maybe that’s why he kept harping on it. A true gentleman. He spoke about “training reins” - meaning that you should hold your hands a little farther apart when training.

[QUOTE=Vanessaj;7781818]Thank you great advice!

Im a little bit worried (being one of those over emotional teenage riders) that I’m either going to piss him off or embarrass myself :/[/QUOTE]

I think it’s important to understand how to be a good learner or a good student. Often, so much of what we learn with riding won’t feel quite “right” at first or may be at odds with what we have learned before or won’t make sense to us initially or won’t “work” right away.

If you’re signing up to take a clinic, you should be willing to trust the clinician enough to do what he recommends for the 2 hours without arguing/complaining or being overly emotional (really, there is no good place for emotions in riding. The best riders are disciplined, fair, and level headed).

I would recommend going into this (and any) clinic with the mindset of simply trying to do exactly what the clinician says to do, to the best of your ability. Very often, it’s not the first or second or even fifth time we do something and get it - it’s the 10th or 20th or the next day or the next week where you go “OHHHH…I get it, and it’s awesome!” (Or some times "Well I’ve tried it, it doesn’t seem to be working, so I’ll move on).

You should feel free to ask questions to clarify or to help you understand, but should not be trying to express how you feel about things, your opinion, or your complaints. One cannot be a good learner if one is doing any of those things.

After the clinic, let the things the clinician has taught percolate in your mind. Try them out for a month. Be willing to learn something new.

The only exception is if you are positive you or your horse are in imminent danger - to either of your health or if there’s something that will irreversibly affect your horse’s training. But there are very few circumstances where these would apply. Most of the time, we can all stomach 2 hours with a teacher (even one we don’t like or don’t agree with) and be respectful, even if we decide not to ride with them in the future.

Remember - you’ve paid for his time. Make the most of it.


Im a little bit worried (being one of those over emotional teenage riders) that I’m either going to piss him off or embarrass myself :/[/QUOTE]

As long as you are neat and tidy, and pay attention, he will not get mad at you for trying. He’s just not a “beat em up” type (especially with the lower levels). Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have them. Also–if he sees a persistent issue with your riding, he’ll take the time to pull you aside and talk to you about it in a positive way. I am a crier; especially when I get frustrated in lessons and feel like I am not making progress or can’t improve. Never once did I feel like I wanted to cry with him.

Listen to what he’s saying and work on it, be respectful. He doesn’t belittle. You will be happy you did it!