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Category Archives: Sunday

Where is your attention? written by Jesse Westfall

Recently, I was out riding with a lady whose horse had its head in the air and was looking off in the distance most of the time. The problem with a horse like that is they don’t see the ground that is right in front of them and they tend to stumble when the ground in front of them drops or they trip over logs, sticks and things like that.Live with hope that your life will be better because of what you learned. Jesse Westfall

This horse made me think about people and where their attention is. I’m the kind of person that likes to live in the moment and that has advantages and disadvantages. I don’t mind if my days are spontaneous and fun but sometimes the future sneaks up on me when I should see it coming. There are other people that live so far in the future that they don’t see what might be going on right in front of them just like that horse.

The person who is worst off would be one that spends most of his time looking back with fear or regret about something that happened. It’s important in life to look back and think about your past, just don’t live there. Make sure you try to learn from your mistakes and take your new found wisdom into the future and live with hope that your life will be better because of what you learned. Written by Jesse Westfall

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Inspiring, Jesse Westfall, Life, Sunday, Thought provoking

 

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“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life…”

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life

Maybe the strongest reason we have for loving our animals is their friendship. The horses don’t care what we look like, sound like, or about the troubles we humans have…but they do care about how we interact with them. Some of my best friends over the years have been horses.

What do you think animals offer us in friendship over people?

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2014 in Life, Sunday

 

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Horses: how to handle aggressive behavior in the pasture

“Hi Stacy, I have a 12yr. old TWH Blue Roan gelding… Last October a 5yr. old QH palomino gelding joined our farm family. He was a rescue of sorts…very thin, by himself w/o other horses. We did the customary quarantine, vaccinations, then introduced him to our 12 yr. old TWH with a fence in between for 2 weeks, then opened up the gate and let them “meet”. The usual pecking order happened between them, nothing that was of great concern to me. Everything was not unusual between them, and they seemed to be ok with each other… Well the next morning, went out to farm and the palomino was out of fencing. Went and got him, checked him over, had a few superficial wounds, treated him and put in corral by himself for a few days, but still had over the fence contact with the 12 yr. old.

Few days later put them back together again. Well then all was NOT OK between them. If I had not seen this myself, would never believe it could happen EVER!!! My 12 yr. old gelding walked to the trees and stood perfectly still! At least 15 minutes, as soon as the 5 yr. old got close enough, my 12 yr. old pinned his ears, opened his mouth and charged the 5 yr. old. He knocked him off his feet and was pawing and biting at his abdomen.. Seemed to me like trying to disembowel him?? Knew horses would go for throats in serious death fights, but never the abdomen! I ran in there, in my own stupidity, I just reacted, didn’t think moment, and did manage to get them apart… Put 5 yr. old in separate corral for obvious reasons, checked him over, had scrapes and bite marks on him, but was shaken up mostly… Now I can’t put them together…

Tried again, and my 12 yr. old ran him thru the fence. So now I have to keep them separated…. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do? I have asked local horse people, and they all say, keep them separated… One gentlemen that has a horse breeding farm, said he has never had studs fight like that, much less geldings. I have no mares just geldings. My 12 yr. old used to be a field trial horse for bird dogs, so was put in pasture with strange horses all the time, and never acted like this. I truly could use some advice from a someone that I look up to in the horse world. Any suggestions would be wonderful.

Thank you for your time concerning this.” -Denise from ND

Wow, that is serious fighting, or at least serious attacking as it doesn’t sound like the young one fought much. I wish there was a simple explanation that I could give you or a simple fix but I don’t have one. I can give you some suggestions, thoughts and things to consider.

We Pick Our FriendsBe very selective when it comes to choosing friends. People now a days don't know the true meaning of friendship & loyalty.

As humans we get to pick our friends. We might not pick our coworkers but when we are off the clock we have the freedom to get some distance from people we don’t want to be near. Often with horses they don’t get this same freedom. We choose who they will be with…but they don’t have to agree.

My horse Popcorn has a strong idea of what behavior he likes and dislikes in other horses. Although he isn’t as aggressive as you described he will hold a grudge against a horse who has offended him. It is possible that your new guy offended your older guy and he isn’t letting it go.

Everyone Needs Space

Even with our good friends and family there are times that we need space. Maybe they said something hurtful or maybe we are just having a bad day but either way we generally have the freedom of going for a walk or taking a drive. Often the larger the pasture the less likely this will happen. For example, a horse that likes to drive all the other horses around in a 3-4 acre pasture will often find it less fun in a 40 acre pasture or a 400 acre pasture. With more room to spread out they can often avoid violent disagreements. Unfortunately most of us don’t have this much space to work with which is why on smaller properties we often have to settle for separate pastures with a shared fence line.

Time Heals Many Things

Just this morning I was watching the Weekend Today show where they announced news anchor Jenna Wolfe was leaving. The interesting part was that Lester Holt admitted he didn’t like her, get her or hardly speak to her in the beginning. They both say it was a rough first year. What changed? Time and getting to know each other. Now years later they have become good friends.

Sometimes horse owners will report that horses who didn’t like each other will eventually come to accept each other given time. To keep horses safe during this many people use a shared fence line. If the aggressive horse is still aggressive over the fence you can feed them further away from each other in their own pastures. As they begin to accept each other you can begin to move the feed closer to the shared fence line. Even when they are accepting each other over the fence don’t expect to put them together. Watch for other signs that they are enjoying each others company; nickering or calling when the other is taken away, following as you lead the other up the fence line and a pleasant expression when near each other are good signs.

I would definately suggest taking your time and keeping them, and you, safe during the process. I would use a shared fence line for months and watch for changes in attitude of your older horse. Other things such as being stalled near each other, being ridden together and tied within sight (but not kicking distance) can also help them acclimate to each other.

One final thought is to remember that horses have emotional reactions also. I have seen many horses, who have bonded well with their owners, display jealousy when a new horse was brought home. If that is happening, then on one hand you can be happy that your horse thinks so highly of you, but also think about how you would handle jealousy if it was with a new friend. Often the ‘new horse’ gets tons of attention, what if you switched that around? Maybe tie the new horse within watching distance and give your older horse more attention than he has had in awhile; curry until your arms are sore and then spend the same amount of time brushing. I have seen older horses respond well to this, wearing a smug look on their face while glancing at the new guy.

Many times horses can grow to like or at least tolerate each other but not always. No matter what, both horses must remain respectful of you whenever you are around. Do not tolerate pinning of ears or other displays of aggression when you are near. Take your time and keep everyone safe.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Members Question, Sunday, Thought provoking, Training

 

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Rest: the under estimated part of the work cycle-mental and physical

Too many people underestimate the importance of the rest cycle.Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit.

A rest cycle exists not only in the physical part of training but also in the mental part as well.

Physically, rest allows the body to heal and recover.

Mentally, rest increases productivity, renews attention, increases memory and increases creativity.

Spiritually, rest allows us to rediscover our identity and a sense of mission.

*          *          *

Many people struggle to find enough time to fit riding in with the rest of life…but maybe we are over thinking this. Work is good, but rest is important too and if you find yourself renewed and refreshed by spending time with your horse, even if it is something as simple as a good grooming session…maybe that will have a greater impact on the two of you than you might imagine.

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2014 in quote, Sunday, Video

 

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“I’m not looking for someone who has everything, but someone who has time to spend with me more than anything.”

Passing by a stall at the horse show today something caught my eye. I went back to check it out and found a girl sitting in her horses stall. It was such a I'm not looking for someone who has everything, but someone who has time to spend with me more than anything.beautiful picture, both literally and figuratively, that I ask to photograph her and now I am writing about it.

The image took me back in time over twenty five years and gave me a glimpse of a much younger me. Me, when I knew that my happiest moments were with my horse. Me, back when I believed that my horse also felt this way.

Fast forward to my early adult hood when I was told, through actions more than words, that horses didn’t really care…that horses were just horses and that if I imagined anything more,  it was all in my head.

So much of the other things I was learning from these people were true; they could train a horse to do flying lead changes on command…they must really know the horse. Very slowly my young girl dream faded, discolored…and almost died.

This was happening inside me. Belief is a powerful thing. As I lost the belief that the horse enjoyed time with me…a part of me was dying.

I thought I had it all; I was a horse trainer, I had a big barn, a big truck, a big indoor arena. People paid me to ride…and I was miserable. Miserable because the sacrifice I had made to get there was to give up what I knew about horses.

Like most things in life, hitting rock bottom makes the direction to move next more obvious. I decided that I would rather quit being a horse trainer, get a ‘regular’ job and own a few horses on the side. I would do this horse thing my way…even if that meant that I no longer could have horses as my profession. If I had to choose, I would choose the relationship over the job.

I cut back on horses…what could it hurt? I was willing to leave the business anyway. I spent more time with the ones I did ride. I laughed more, cried less, enjoyed more…and achieved more. To my shock I didn’t have to give up my business, I just had to define how I was willing to do my business and accept that the result might even be needing to get a new business. Within months I did my first bridleless freestyle….I had found the marriage between what they had taught me and what I had always known.

So today, when I saw this girl spending time with her horse, and her horse, obviously enjoying spending time with her…it was an amazing gift to me. A gift given by a girl who had no intention of impressing anyone but was simply doing what she loved.

 

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Inspiring, Life, Sunday, Thought provoking, Video

 

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When the lines between work and play get blurry.

The Master in the Art of Living, photo, Michener quote

 

Returning to Texas last night from my trip to Ohio I felt tired. I still do. But- I have done such a good job of embracing the Michener quote that I am left wondering if I was working or playing…or both.

Maybe it is the idea that ‘play’ shouldn’t be tiring. I just spent a long weekend at a horse show with friends who work ‘regular’ jobs and I watched them having fun and working hard…so play is often tiring.

Or maybe it is the idea that work should be hard. Driving horses from Texas to Ohio for a customer wasn’t so much hard as it was just long. Spending time with my son and paying for my trip to the show was a bonus too.

I think my mind still fights for a traditional work schedule at times. A schedule that says; Monday-Friday from 8-5, vacation days, etc. Why? Why does my brain do this to me? Is it for the security of knowing the plan ahead?

But who really knows the plan? People think they do up until the car accident, the cancer diagnosis, the pregnancy test results or the innumerable other moments that redirect the plans we have for ourselves.

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”…(James 4:13-15)

Maybe it is enough to pursue excellence in what I can see at this moment. Maybe it is enough to live now as if I may not have tomorrow. Or as if I had many more tomorrows. Maybe if the line is blurry it is a good thing.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Sunday, Video

 

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Erin made me want to fight,cry and hug my kids…horses, cancer and life.

The best part of being in the ‘public eye’ is the amazing people I get to meet. Sometimes that is face to face but often it is over the internet. Take for example Erin, a woman who emailed me about horses…and cancer.

 

“Hey Stacy, you won’t know me from Adam, but I wanted to drop you a note as I feel a kindred connection to you. Like many folks I was first introduced to you through the freestyle video of you and Roxy. Actually, that might not be quite true. I know when I saw it I recognized your name even then, so I must’ve heard of you before. Anyway, I first saw the video around 2009, 3 years after my own dad died. It didn’t occur to me until I sat down to write this that our dads died within a few months of each other. I don’t know exactly how old you are but I was 24 when my dad died and you would have been young as well. So immediately I was struck with the sense of you being a kindred spirit. Fast forward a few years and after a bout with cancer in 2011 I finally decide to take my love of horses seriously (something I should have done long ago) and move in the direction of pitching my office job (why did I ever go that route in the first place). My instructor at the time was the first instructor I ever felt helped me become a better horseman. She was very influenced by Pat Parelli so of course I latched on to that. It immediately made sense to me. That relationship with a horse I’d been striving to achieve, all the pieces finally fell into place. A few months ago I circled back around to you and your blog. One of the posts I saw early on was the one where you talk about being tired of tip-toeing around your faith because you’re afraid of offending people. As a fellow believer who was also just starting to feel the same way I again felt the kindred connection. Ever since then I have been fascinated watching your progress with Jac. I come from the world of Morgan show horses, so the disciplines aren’t the same, but the principles are universal. After every video I see something new and immediately want to go out and try it myself. At first I did just that, but now I’m back in my battle with cancer. I have full peace whatever the outcome. I will either be reunited with my dad or I will be blessed with more time with my mom and sister. In the meantime I want you to know I LOVE reading your posts. They’re a bright spot in my quiet days and inspire me for what I hope to be able to do again if I can beat this disease. Your sister in Christ, Erin”

My response:

Wow, Erin, thank you for the email. Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Would you be comfortable with me sharing this as a blog sometime? If not, that is fine. I just think some people could be inspired by it.

I am glad you have peace either way. I will pray you have some more time here…we will have forever on the other side! I love Rich Mullens song, http://youtu.be/oh1Y-eIu99Q

Erins reply:

Thanks for replying. I’m not really sure why I wrote you, I just felt compelled. I didn’t necessarily expect a response, but I’m very glad to “meet” you. Hopefully one of these days I’ll be able to introduce myself in person. If not, I’ll catch you on the flipside 🙂

Oh Rich, one of the greatest modern lyricists in my opinion. His song “If I Stand” is one of my all-time favorites. I hadn’t heard this one before, I’ll have to let it sink in for a few days 🙂

I don’t mind at all if you share. If you want more quotables or want to follow my progress, a few friends started a blog for me with my original diagnosis in 2011. You can read or follow it here if you want. It’s mostly a way to keep friends updated so I don’t have to answer the same questions 50 times. One resolution I made this time though was to be more vocal about my spiritual perspective. Here are a few posts that people have seemed very affected by:

YOU MUST FOLLOW THE LINK AND READ THE POST…if you want the rest of this blog to make any sense. Have tissues ready.Pray for Erin

It begins: 2 years and 6 months ago I was given 2 years to live….” 

http://prayforerinbriggs.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/this-afternoon/

Then I read this blog before writing back to Erin:

http://prayforerinbriggs.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/perspective/

Erin,

 

I’m sitting here crying! Your blogs are amazing. It makes me marvel at your strength; I like to think I would react like that but doubt creeps in.

It is funny you say that ‘If I Stand’ is one of your all time favorites. It is my favorite Rich Mullens song. Although I felt lead to share the other with you. Really. Humanly I wanted to share ‘Stand’ because it is my favorite. I find strange peace in the other though. I have told my husband I want it played at my funeral but he doesn’t like to talk about that. I also want ‘further up and further in’ The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis on my headstone….I’m kinda detail oriented:)

Ride with Faith,

Stacy Westfall

 

If you have read to this point, I hope you were as touched by Erin’s story as I was. If you were, please go write her a note and share her blog posts. I made use of the donate button also:)

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Inspiring, Life, Sunday, Video

 

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