Jim Koford may inhabit the world of Grand Prix dressage but he knows a thing or about “insanity in the middle.” He’s dabbled in eventing — and by “dabbled” I mean run around Rolex (for the full, wildly entertaining story about that, check out Samantha Clark’s 2011 interview with him here.)
These days he plays patron dressage saint to a number of top event riders, who seek him out for coaching. He has a gift for explaining stuffy dressage concepts in “eventerspeak,” breaking them down in a way that is more palatable to the run-and-jump set: “I want you to canter like you’re approaching a cross country bounce! Up! Up! Up!”
On Wednesday his insanity came out to play at Wellington’s annual Dressage Under the Stars Cancer Challenge at the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club. Presented by Invictus Farm & Sport Horses and hosted by Partners for a Cure, the event showcased costumed freestyle performances by several Grand Prix riders. In addition to putting on a show for the crowd, proceeds from the event were donated to cancer-related charities for research.
Jim showed up as Aladdin, gold harem pants, blue body paint and all. His magic carpet was Adiah HP, a 10-year-old Friesian cross owned by Sherry Koella, and he rode in memory of his longtime groom and friend Crystal Lee, who died of cervical cancer last year.
Go Jim. Go Eventing.