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Hey Stacy, I was wondering, is 21 too old to teach some of the stuff in your videos?

“Hey Stacy, I was wondering, is 21 too old to teach some of the stuff in your videos? As I have a 21 year-old I’d love to do more work with. Thanks.” -Lydia S.

One of my refrigerator magnets.

One of my refrigerator magnets.

I was asked this question years ago by a young girl around the age of 13. She owned a  20+ year old horse. I told her that how much she accomplish would depend on her persistence and consistency and some on her horses willingness. She watched my demos at the expo and before it was over she bought my Bridleless riding DVD.

Several months later I received an email from her.  She sent me a link to a video where she was riding her horse bridleless! The horse was clearly a 4H type horse so her pattern looked more like a horsemanship pattern and her ‘rollbacks’ were simple pivots…but it was AWESOME! One young persistent girl and one older horse. I wish I still had that video link but all of this happened back in 2006 and the computer it was on died. I didn’t have anything backed up so it took all the info with it 😦

I can’t say exactly how far the stuff will take you…but I will tell you that it IS VERY POSSIBLE!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Members Question, Training

 

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Old habits vs new habits: in horses and in people

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?

Successful peopleIn 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.

Different rider.

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?

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Life, Thought provoking, Video

 

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Horseback Canyon Ride in New Mexico with Stacy Westfall

We started out this ride on the road where we parked the horse trailer but soon we were following an arroyo, a dry river bed, to find our way to this old homestead. Most of this was filmed on BLM land.

We have been staying in New Mexico at Kiva RV Park and Horse Motel which is owned by Robert and Diane Wiltshire. Diane volunteered to be our tour guide and I am so glad that she did, especially on this day.

Newt DID do some of the filming…both from on his head and from on his girth…motion sickness warning for that part, lol.

I have to admit that before riding here I was just thinking of New Mexico as a stop on the way to Arizona and California but now I can see why it is called the land of enchantment. Diane also gave us a book, Saddle Up, New Mexico: The Statewide Horse Trail and Travel GuideI think she is trying to tempt us into coming back..and I think it is working!

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Life, Video

 

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Are all 2 year old horses jerks?

“Dear Stacy, Are all 2 year olds jerks? My young boy is 2 1/2 and he’s just a brat. He’s so smart and will be great one day but he really has our number and doesn’t hesitate to pin his ears and even threaten to kick us from time to time. He’s also a nibbler…aka…acts like he wants to bite. We haven’t done too much with him because its takes such commitment to make sure we don’t let him win. I don’t know if he needs a new owner or time to mature. Help.”-Apryl B.

two year oldThe things that you are describing are not things that tend to go away simply with age. While wine may ‘mature’ when left alone in barrels horses mature with training.  Imagine a six year old child that acts disrespectful or even threatening, leaving them alone until they are fourteen is not likely to improve the situation. The same is true with horses…only they are much bigger.

Horses come with a variety of temperaments and some are more difficult or challenging than others. These horses do require more of a commitment just to keep them respectful which seems to be what you are describing.  You did not mention if he was a stallion or a gelding but if he hasn’t been gelded yet I would highly recommend doing so.

No, they are not all jerks. If you go back and look at Jac in this episode he was two and a half and well behaved, but if you go back and look at Episode 3 he was a handful. He matured because of the training. If you have the time to invest as well as the desire then he still might be a good fit. If, however, you don’t have the time to commit or find that he is more than you can handle you should probably look at other options.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on December 21, 2014 in Life, Members Question

 

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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.

 
10 Comments

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

 

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How do you decorate around your barn?

flowers decorating a horse barn

How do you decorate around your barn?

One thing I miss about having a home and a barn is my flower gardens so I was excited to see this garden near a friends barn. It doesn’t hurt that one of these flowers was special enough to be used in my wedding bouquet.

I know some people keep the grass clean cut and others plant flowers, some add old wagons, cowboy boots as flower planters or build special seating areas.

How do you decorate around your barn? Feel free to post photos also!

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Life

 

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As we grow up, we realize it is less important to have lots of friends, and more important to have real ones.

As we grow up, we realize it is less important to have lots of friends, and more important to have real ones.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in quote

 

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