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Will us (fans) ever see you doing another bridleless/bareback routine?

“Will us (fans) ever see you doing another bridleless/bareback routine??…. I remember seeing a video someone posted on youtube (you/Roxy/Maggie) … Templeton Thompson was singing your song…… but then Roxy died and then Vaquero and I guess Maggie is retired…. so I was wondering if you have given up on that dream… or have you even thought about at all?”-Lesia Lowe

I am a big believer that when the time is right, things will happen. My job is to be prepared. I don’t know if another bareback/bridleless routine will happen again or not. As you saw in the video with Roxy and Maggie (below) I was experimenting with this as a possibility. I wasn’t sure if I could ever get it to a show level…but Maggie never recovered from a suspensory injury that she sustained running in the pasture and we turned her into a broodmare. Did you realize that Maggie is Newt’s mom?

I work my horses and give them opportunities but they get to make choices too. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. I don’t lose sleep over it but I don’t sit on the couch thinking it will ‘just happen’ either. I work and then let the chips fall where they may…thats the mystery of life. I’m starting Newt’s two year old half sister right now (another Maggie baby) and I have plans to ride more of Roxy’s granddaughters.

I don’t know where life will lead…two years ago if you told me I would be living full time in a motor home I would have laughed at you…but I did leave the door open 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Inspiring, Members Question

 

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Why did you start riding horses?

Remember why you started riding horses.What was it that made you fall in love with horses? Have you always dreamed about them from the time you were little or did you find them later in life?

The answers to this question always fascinate me. I have loved equines of all shapes and sizes from the time I was little and my desire to be with them has never changed. I know other people who rode for awhile and then moved to other hobbies.

I have also known people who have come to love them later in life. The first million dollar rider in the NRHA was said to have mounted up for the first time when he was twenty-three years old. I love that fact, not because money is the measure of success but because it just proves that you don’t have to start young to succeed.

Sadly, there are people that I see riding horses that make me wonder why…because they don’t seem to enjoy the horses at all. Often these people are focused on using the horse to reach an end goal such as winning at a horse show. I would guess that these people, at one point, rode horses because they enjoyed it. Would someone start riding for any other reason?

People aren’t perfect and horses aren’t either but if you can remember why you started it just might be the same thing that keeps you going.

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Life, Thought provoking

 

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Do horses dream? What do they dream about?

Horses do some of their sleeping while standing but they will also lie down for deeper sleep. When we trained horses full time and spent twelve hours a day or more in the barn the horses got pretty comfortable with us being around. This lead to seeing horses sleep…and dream. Too bad I hadn’t thought to grab a video camera back then…but thankful other people have.

Check out this video of a mare while she is dreaming. The whinny at the beginning is cute but I think her dream took a turn for the worse around twenty-eight seconds…watch what she did then! I guess all horse dreams aren’t pleasant.  I wonder what she was dreaming about…

This type of dreaming is what we mostly caught the horses doing in our barn. Apparently ‘running’ dreams are popular with horses. I have noticed this in dogs also!

Is there a cutest dreamer category? If there is…watch out for this little guy!

I had to put one dog ‘running in sleep’ video in here too…here is a link to a dog dreaming the way I have seen them.

And this is a crazy link to a dog who was REALLY dreaming. I’ve never seen this happen before and I hope it never happens to my horse or my dog. Ouch. That was one crazy dream:(

 

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Video

 

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Breaking habits, pursuing dreams, wasting time…

“Hello there. I am a 23 year old male living in England, currently trying to find my place in life. I squandered a few years of my life living on benefits and not aspiring to do anything. I got incredibly fat, I had no dreams, no goals and spent every last penny I had just for the sake of spending it.

In January of this year I started to try and improve my life and myself as a whole. I still struggle with confidence but I joined a gym, began walking and started trying to save my money with one end goal in mind…to work with horses in some capacity or another, quite likely as a riding instructor after training for it. I’ve never interacted with them but have always loved them from afar, I can’t afford my own and haven’t had any lessons yet as I’m still too heavy. I was 19 stone (266 lbs) in January and I’m now 14.11 (197 lbs) as of my last weigh in.

Things had been going tremendously well…but then a certain reality hit me, and that’s how hard it is to find vacancies in the industry even if you’re well qualified. I had it in my mind to do courses in the care of horses, riding etc in 2015 but now I’ve been hit with the realization of this. I can still get free tutiton for regular A Level courses at college until I’m over 25 (currently 24) so I would have other options should I pass them. My heart wants to train for a career with horses but my brain is telling me to get those A Levels I never got and if I still have the drive for it then persue the dream, without a student loan hanging over my head. (For the A Levels, not the equine courses)

I feel incredibly lost and I feel like the very aspiration that got me to start turning my life around is slipping away. What am I supposed to do? I want to have a stable future but I know I’ll regret not even trying to live my dream as I get older. What should I do? Persue my dream now or do it in my late 30′s aftet improving my education, having wasted so much time?

I fear going into a tailspin and this right back to where I started.”-Daniel A.

Daniel- The first paragraph shows someone who has thought hard about what they have chosen to do and were not scared to look directly at the issues. The second paragraph shows someone who is willing to work and make changes…and that is impressive. Not easy to do…but that’s why it is impressive. I will try to address some of the questions you had for me. Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait. Thomas Edison

I’m not sure how hard it is to find vacancies if you are well qualified. It is becoming ‘well qualified’ that is difficult and time consuming. You might dream of teaching but you will likely start by shoveling manure, paying for lessons and outworking everyone else around you. This phase could last for ten years or more while you work to become well qualified…the difficult part is remembering that every job you do is an opportunity. An opportunity to show someone how reliable, dedicated, driven, passionate, and hard working you are all while building your skill set. There are often opportunities all around us if we are able to see them.

My kids just showed me this quote by Thomas Edison, “Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait.” I think it applies to most areas of life. You are still young and have many opportunities ahead. Maybe you could begin to look at your prior choices as learning experiences, things you did that you will choose not to do again…which could mean that it wasn’t really wasted time. I’m sure you will encounter difficulties again, we all do, just keep learning and moving forward.

If it were me, I would try for both; aim for the A Level courses that have free tuition and find a way to begin getting experience with horses. If you can’t ride yet I bet someone would let you sit and watch lessons. But don’t stop there. Go watch horse shows, look up equine events you can travel to and take this time to see what areas inside the horse industry appeal to you. Shadow people in as many areas of the equine industry as you can. Spend a day with an Equine Massage Therapist or any other profession that interests you.

I recently wrote a blog listing many of the possible careers with horses, check it out, it may surprise you how much variety there is inside the industry. Who knows, maybe you can make those A Level classes AND the horses combine to become everything you are dreaming of.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Inspiring, Life, Members Question

 

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Dreams on wheels…thank you Fleetwood!

After selling our house and deciding to travel for a year the choice to live in a RV of some sort seemed logical…the question was living quarter horse trailer? Fifth wheel? Motor home?

We had owned a living quarter horse trailer years ago when the kids were small but for this adventure, a year on the road, we knew we needed something a bit bigger. Our boys are now at ages 13, 14 and 16 plus two adults….we knew we needed room.

Little did I know when I wrote the blog, pros and cons of buying an RV, that the CFO of Fleetwood would be reading it…and oh, by the way, he shows his horses in team penning and follows me on Facebook!

Lance reached out and offered to give me advice or at least things to consider when looking at motor homes. I love learning so I made the call.

I have been blessed in many ways while doing what I love and this time Fleetwood has been my blessing. After several phone calls Fleetwood decided they wanted to support our adventure.

Right now as I write this I am in a 42 foot American Revolution…my temporary MH (motor home) while Fleetwood is building…yes, building…my Fleetwood Discovery. I’m not telling all the details right now but WAIT ‘TILL YOU SEE IT!

Watch for us and our modern day wagon train coming down a road near you!

 

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2014 in Video

 

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Emmie realizes another dream…showing at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Emmie Fisher: The Redheaded Cowgirl and Louie, Phil. 4:13

Visit ‘The Redheaded Cowgirl’ on Facebook to follow Emmie and Louie

Today Emmie will realize a dream she had as a child; to show at the Kentucky Horse Park.

You may remember Emmie from my April 13th blog and Louie has written several blogs here.

I think her story is important because like most dreamers, Emmie could never have predicted the path that lead her to reach this dream.

Emmie may not have been able to predict her path but she still did her part. Many people are confused about how you can work toward something without knowing exactly how to get there. Thomas Edison said it this way, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Emmie said it this way, “…and A LOT of time and work… and time and work… and time and work…. and more work and time… WE DID IT!!”

Emmie has a Facebook page, The Redheaded Cowgirl, where she will keep you updated and where she supports her ‘horse show habit’ by selling bracelets and more.

The Redheaded Cowgirl on Facebook: Louie in the beginning

Emmie and Louie when they were still dreamers.

 

If you can attend remember to cheer especially loud for these two as there is a “People Choice Award” being presented tonight!

Here is the video of Emmie and Louie realizing a dream just weeks ago at Equine Affaire’s Fantasia:

For more information on the event itself you can visit the Kentucky Reining Cup website or the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event page, which is where the following information about the event is from:

What:
The equestrian sport of Eventing consists of three distinct elements: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Originally, Eventing competitions were held around the world to test the fitness and training level of cavalry mounts. The winner is determined by the horse-and-rider combination with the fewest combined penalties from the three phases.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation – FEI), the world’s Governing body of equestrian sports, has designated the Rolex Kentucky ThreeDay Event as a Four Star Eventing competition. Stars are used by the FEI to denote the level of Eventing competitions. Four stars is the highest designation and this designation is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world.

Riders compete for a chance to win the $250,000 in prize money and a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mistubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four Star Events in succession.

Reining competition shows the athletic ability of the western type horse in an arena, where competitors are required to run one of several patterns. Each pattern consists of small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, rollbacks, 360 degree spins in place, back-ups and the exciting sliding stops.

The Kentucky Reining Cup features The Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship which will serve as the Selection Trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Reining Team. The Championship will be an FEI-recognized CRI3* event held in two rounds over three days, April 25-27, and will offer $100,000 in prize money.

The Kentucky Reining Cup will also include the World Freestyle Championship which will award the title of “World Champion” in Freestyle Reining, as well as $20,000 prize money that will mark the largest purse for a Reining Freestyle anywhere in the world.

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Inspiring, quote, Video

 

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Do I give up my dream to train horses? Family or business? Hobby or dream?

“Stacy-Horses have been a passion of mine from as long as I can remember, but unfortunately I never had the opportunity to interact with them until a little less than a year ago.  A little less than a year ago I started working for an equestrian center just cleaning stalls on top of my full-time job that I work 2nd shift in.

I was fortunate enough to meet the trainer that comes to the barn to break out the horses there. He was nice enough to allow me to shadow him with shoeing and training and also to taught me how to ride, started me in barrels. With doing all of those things as you can imagine my passion grew much larger and it took up a lot more of my time. This is where I need your motherly advice.

I have a fiancé and a 3 year old daughter whom I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for, but she and I have not been seeing eye to eye with my passion. She thinks its just a hobby and it takes way to much of my time.

My ultimate goal is to be a great farrier and an even better trainer. With the full-time job, the part time job at the barn, and trying to learn to shoe, train, and become a better rider myself my time is very limited, and unfortunately my fiancé and my daughter have suffered. How do I keep an equal balance with everything going on? Do I quit cleaning stalls to apprentice more? Do I give up my dream all together to make others happy? Or I continue down the path I’m on? Or none of the above? I’m very confused. Also my fiancé is giving me an ultimatum because she just doesn’t get the passion people have for your line of work. Any advice given would be extremely helpful and appreciated. You are a great inspiration and icon. I hope to meet you some day soon. Take care.”

my response……

Choices, choices….life is full of choices and each one helps determine our path in life. I cannot tell you what to do but I can tell you what I have done and share a bit with you how I think.

It is exciting that you have now found the opportunity to express a passion you have had for such a long time. I love learning and when combined with passion….it can light a person on fire. I think I can feel your excitement coming through the computer!

Do keep in mind that in most things there is a ‘honeymoon’ period and you are still in that period with the horses. This feeling can also be magnified if you are unhappy with your current job as it will make this ‘new job’ look even more appealing…magnifying the honeymoon period and intensifying the feelings.

Stacy Westfall showing in western pleasure early in horse training career.

Stacy Westfall showing in western pleasure early in horse training career.

Your fiancé thinks this is just a hobby…and in a way, right now, she is probably correct. The IRS would agree with her. Some of the guidelines they have for business or hobby are;

• Does the time and effort put into the activity indicate an intention to make a profit?

• Does the taxpayer depend on income from the activity?

• Has the taxpayer changed methods of operation to improve profitability?

• Does the taxpayer or his/her advisors have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business?

• Has the taxpayer made a profit in similar activities in the past?

• Does the activity make a profit in some years?

Most people in a start up phase will allow for great leeway in the name of learning.

Things will go faster and smoother, both financially and with your fiancé, if you take the time to write out a plan for how- and when- this is going to turn into a business.

I highly recommend that you check out the website for Dan Miller and 48 Days to the Work You Love.  Listen to the podcasts, read everything he has. It would be my guess that the faster path to income will be in the farrier work, depending on your area, so maybe start the business around that idea.

You state that your ultimate goal is to be a great farrier and an even better trainer. I believe that you were referring to your business goals here but I will challenge you to think bigger.

My fastest path to my ‘ultimate goal’ is to imagine lying on my death bed.

Stacy Westfall priority list as seen on Facebook; wife, mother, horsewoman.

Stacy Westfall priority list as seen on Facebook; wife, mother, horsewoman.

Instantly, life shifts into a different perspective. It is not an accident that my Facebook page says, “I am a wife, a mother, and a horsewoman.”…in that order.

I could be busier than I am in my business; I could do more expos, clinics and other appearances, but I don’t. Right now that is a choice I am making because my kids are 12, 14 and 15 years old. They won’t always live with me. I can see this stage of life and I know it will likely come to a close when they graduate from high school. I choose to make the most of the time I have with them even if it isn’t the best decision for growing my business.

I am not suggesting that this is an either/or choice. I am stubborn enough to think that people can have both family and business success…as long as they decide ahead of time what both of those look like.

There are many people out there with more wisdom on this subject, Dan Miller included, that can teach you about finding that balance.

Early on in our business our life wasn’t balanced but Jesse and I were on the same page. For the first two years out of college we worked full time jobs, had children, and trained on the side. By definition it was a hobby. Three years into our marriage we filed taxes on the new business and during the next four years Jesse worked a full time job AND rode horses…enough that it was a second full time job. I had our third child, was a full time mom and horse trainer, stall cleaner, lawn mower…you get the picture.

Jesse Westfall was Congress Reserve Champion the same day his youngest son was born.

Jesse Westfall was Congress Reserve Champion the same day his youngest son was born.

It took six years of hard work before the horses became our only business. During that time our income was below or just at the federal poverty line.

For me personally, I had to look directly at the situation and decide that if push came to shove and I had to choose- I choose family.

With that in mind, consider the words of Robert Frost;

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

     

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

        

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

       

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 
19 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Life, Members Question

 

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