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Category Archives: Video
May in Ohio is a beautiful time to trail ride and one of my favorite places to go is Mohican State Park. Spring flowers and ferns are still sneaking up and because the leaves are not fully out yet it is possible to see further than you can in full summer. This day it was almost 85 degrees out but under the cover of the trees we stayed nice and cool.
One of my favorite parts of this ride are the multiple water crossings. The horses love to drink and play in the water before we head back up and down the many hills. This trip was also special because a good friend joined us and took her mare out for her first trail ride. I do have to admit that my pants were very wet and not very clean by the time I got done…and my inner legs were a bit sore…but I plan on doing it again as soon as possible!
Yippy! Newt is giving bridleless riding a try!
This is a video of the first time I took the bridle off Newt and rode him around. Newt is six years old in this video and I started his under saddle training as a two year old. I had been practicing the cue system during his entire training. For several months before this I had also been tying the reins up and focusing on riding with only my body, leg and voice cues. I chose to ride with a neck rope (one of my reins removed from my bridle) because Newt liked the familiar feeling of the neck rein cues and was more relaxed and confident.
Please realize that many, many hours of training have happened prior to this and you should not try riding bridleless unless you are confident that you have a clear communication system with your horse that doesn’t rely on the bridle in case of an emergency. The prior sentence is not meant to be reversed to imply that the bridle should be your emergency system…but the reality is that for many people the bridle is their strongest form of communication with their horse in an emergency.
If I sound a bit concerned it is because I know that other videos of me riding bridleless have inspired many people to give it a try. Many have had success but there have been a few that have been injured because they (either horse or rider or both) were not properly prepared. Just last year I met a trainer who said one of his youth girls broke her leg while trying to imitate my ride.
Clear communication through consistent training is the key…I’m just saying don’t just pull the bridle off and hope for the best as it isn’t fair to either you or your horse 🙂
This was videoed in February 2015 while we were in California. You may also find it interesting that I have only ridden him bridleless a handful of times between then and now as I am still continuing to advance his ‘in the bridle’ training.
“Stacy, A while back you posted a video about laying your horse down… I followed it and today is day 5 and he has been down about 5 times now! Thank you for such a cool way to approach the lay down!” -Alisha P.
I love finding success stories like this one posted on my Facebook page! It is inspiring for people to read that the techniques shown worked on someone else’s horse. Watching a video or reading tips online can be intimidating but reading about someone having success make it a bit less so. Here are some of the comments and questions that Alisha has received about here experience:
Alisha P. could you share that link for me. Please thank you
Kyla J…. Hope that link works… If not just YouTube Stacy westfall laying horse down. Such a cool way of teaching a horse to lay down!
thank you.. I have a candiate i want to teach…
Alisha P. how easy was this to teach?? I have a crazy smart apply guy… Would like to try this.. how well did Nelson bring his feet together.
He went down on day 4… First day I just put him on the fence to teach the concept…. Day two expected him to build on day 1. Day 3 started asking for him to walk his back feet up in the middle of the pen off the fence. Day 4 would ask him to hold the position and go further. Sometimes when he would make a mistake he would quickly correct himself and start to buckle in his front end like he was thinking down. When he did go down it was his idea and he was really quite. I have done it 4 times since then and each time he goes down faster and faster. Nelsyn has a really good foundation and was ready for this next step. I found it to be great way to teach the lay down and can’t wait to try it on another horse! Good luck and have fun teaching your horse… Let me know how it goes!
This conversation is happening right now on the ‘Posts to Page’ section of my Facebook account. If you want to ask Alisha a question jump on there and ask her…she hasn’t had any warning but she has been trying to answer people. If you have a question for me feel free to post it in the comments here. I have also embedded the video Alisha used below as well.
Most of us are at least somewhat aware of our own habits. You probably recognize that you have a routine when getting ready for bed each night or the way you fold your cloths. We become especially aware of those habits if someone interrupts or changes them. Where did you learn that habit? How strong is the habit? What would it take to change it?
In the last six months I have done more trail riding than I did in the last ten years. It was an interesting revelation in my old habits vs my new ones. I would have guessed that the rider I have become in the last 25 years would be the rider that hit the trail…but no. The rider I was as a teen when I logged most of my trail riding hours quickly showed up. Habits that had been lying dormant for many years quickly surfaced. My knees hurt after only an hour or so in the saddle. How could this be? I regularly ride for many hours a day in an arena. Same horse. Same saddle.
The rider I was years ago was more of a passenger on trail rides, not an active rider. As soon as I was aware that my old habit had shown up I was able to switch and become a more active rider again but the point remains; unless changed in those setting the old habits are still there.
It was a fun adventure every time I went out on a trail. The old habits meeting the new habits in my body while my mind observed it all.
I was recently working a horse that I believe already has some ‘habits’ that she has learned. Early on in her training she was allowed to be excitable, fresh and emotional during the first part of each work session. She would eventually come around but I now suspect that this has become a habit with her. The biggest clue is that the first ten minutes of a workout she is ready to come unglued. Almost anything can set her off; a bag, a pole, or simply lunging. She expects to be crazy. Day after day as I work her I see a horse that really isn’t scared of the bag or the pole…but expects to be emotionally out of control for the first 10 minutes.
I didn’t start her but if I could go back I would have changed the pattern early on. This horse is carrying on the ‘pattern’ even though she isn’t really excited. Interesting food for thought.
Can you think of an area where you have habits that you do, only because you learned them early on…even though they don’t benefit you now?
Fear is an emotion. We imagine harm in the future. That thought triggers physical changes: fast heartbeat, headache, irritability, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, muscle tension and more. Most of us know these symptoms from personal experience…but did you know that you can train your emotions?
Last night Barbra and I spent almost two hours discussing the topic of fear. We opened with each of us telling a story about how fear had negatively affected our lives. The greatest part of sharing the story isn’t the negative side of what happened but the reality that a gold nugget of learning was hidden inside these tough times. I learned how to ‘release the outcome.’
Barbra shared how her experience helped her to find her own inner compass and ask 1) What do I have control of? and 2) What do I love?
Much of Barbra’s teaching is on training human emotion and I know from personal experience that one tip can make a huge difference.
Do you deal with fear? Did you miss the live seminar last night? Great news! You can listen to the whole thing right now at the click of a button. You might want to go ahead and download it…we talked and then answered questions for almost two hours!
Click here for a link to listen right now or download for later.
Be sure that you check out the free download in the top left corner called the “Relationship Roadmap” and if you liked what you heard and want to learn more about “Letting Go of What Other People Think” consider taking a look at Barbra’s Workshop designed to gently walk you through subtle shifts in how you think about yourself and your relationships.