Tag Archives: story

Success story: Teaching a horse to lie (lay) down

“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.

success story

Alisha watched Stacy’s video and taught her horse to lay down on cue!

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.


Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Members Question, Video


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Perfect Imperfections: The story of the mini horse who could…and the girl who did it.

Aimee Schulz and Skip To My Lulu Get your tissues ready. Most of you know that I love mini horses but this story would be wonderful even if it wasn’t a mini.

This is the story of a girl, Aimee Schulz, and her one-eyed mini Lulu. Aimee found Lulu in a group of 45 other minis that had been rescued from an owner who had starved and abused them. Well written and in her own words Aimee tells of the transformation….oops, I’m not going to tell you the whole story!

If you want to read the full story (and you should) follow this link to I didn’t get permission to reprint the story here so trust me and follow this link.




Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Inspiring, Life


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Success story: How would you handle your horse being scared of cattle…that followed you home.

“One of the things I love about horses is learning to go with the flow. Long story short, a herd of cattle followed me home from a walk Saturday, and stayed. I wanted to ride my mare, who was totally bothered by her new friends. I had wanted to go out, get on her and just ride. It took 2 hours to get to the point of catching her. I turned her running around and snorting at the cows into lunging up and down the fence line. I then cheated and used a treat to catch her. Worked her on the ground, then in the saddle. I was actually able, for the most part to re-focus her attention, with the occasional look at the cows. This was huge for me, as I was not that easy about working her in her original frame of mind.”-Karen A.

The Westfall's visiting Lew & Melody Sterrett at Ransom Wind Ranch, Verden, Oklahoma

The Westfall’s visiting Lew & Melody Sterrett at Ransom Wind Ranch, Verden, Oklahoma

I love several things about this story. The first thing I love is that you live somewhere that a herd of cattle can follow you home from a walk, lol!

On a more serious note, it is great that you had the knowledge, skill and took this opportunity to train your horse. At some point you took the time to gain the knowledge of groundwork and mounted exercises that you could use. It is also very likely that you practiced these exercises, or versions of these exercises, to increase your skill before you needed them. 

The time that you took to gain the knowledge and skill paid off for you when you saw the opportunity that…walked into your front yard.

Training situations like the one you described are something that I seek out and take advantage of. I do this because I know that I have put in the time practicing the foundation work; the results will become most fruitful after they are put to use in many places. Just last week my family had the opportunity to ride out to a marker on the Chisholm Trail. Newt has been trail riding many times…but something about this time set him off. He was being a brat!

The hardest part of the situation is remaining calm and seeing the problem as an opportunity. I got more training done on that one trail ride than I had in the previous month of training. Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations on your success!



Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Life, Members Question


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Bitless riding gone bad: Have you ever seen a runaway horse or a wreck caused by someone riding without a bit?

Three comments left after my blog on ‘bridling questions’ got me thinking. Here are the comments;

1) Best tip for our horses ever was “go bitless”. So many issues solved with just that little statement.

2) I agree, Why use a bit, if you don’t have to?

3) Would be altogether better for the horse if we banished this archaic form of torture once and for all.

These comments lead me to wonder; Am I the only one with a ‘bitless gone bad’ story?

Teenaged Stacy Westfall and the horse that ran away with her when ridden in a halter. Stacy decided to focus on barrel racing instead.

Teenaged Stacy Westfall and the horse that ran away with her when ridden in a halter. Stacy decided to focus on barrel racing instead.

My story: When I was a teen I decided to try bitless riding for the first time. Actually, I decided to start working toward riding bridleless and I thought that bitless would be a great first choice.

I had owned my horse for several years and I knew her pretty well (or so I thought). On a day to day basis I was pretty sure I could do anything with her that I wanted. I could swim her in the lake, ride down the side of busy roads, dress her in costumes, ride in parades, and we trail rode almost everyday. I had never felt out of control while riding her on a trail ride.

It was a summer day and I mounted up riding in a thin leather halter, a similar diameter to the current rope halters. Before I left home I rode her around the pasture, up and down the driveway and performed all gaits and transitions.

For several miles all went well. Until I met another rider.

At first this didn’t seem to be a problem. The only thing I could see being a problem were if we ran and my horse thought we were racing. Sometimes my friends and I would race and I knew my horse was hard to hold back at those times.

As you can probably guess, there came a point where we were trotting together down the dirt road…then we were loping…then we were running.

I tried pulling.

I tried a sawing motion-left-right-left-right.

I tried pulling as hard as I physically could, then releasing and repeating.

I couldn’t circle because the sides of the road had deep ditches. Based on the fact that she didn’t steer AT ALL when I was sawing left-right-left-right, I doubt I could have turned her anyway. I considered jumping but was the odds were good that I would break something so I ended up just clinging on until she slowed and then I jumped off at the trot and lead my mare home.

I have always believed that this woman, an acquaintance my mother knew, was just wondering if her horse was faster. I don’t think she knew this would put me in danger…although I had yelled several times for her to slow down as things were escalating.

*                       *                            *

The above story was a story from my youth. It was told to give you a glimpse into the mind of a teenager who made a bad decision. The interesting part of the story is that I lacked the ability to know it was a bad decision at the time. My horse and I obviously didn’t have great training and I didn’t see even know I could really get in trouble.

This early experience, along with the knowledge I have now, leads me to believe that not all horses are bitless candidates.  Bits are motivators, horses are individuals and situations vary.

Did you ever try bitless and have a loss of control or know someone who did?


P.S.-added an hour after posting. It has been brought up that mechanical hackmores are being considered part of the bitless group of bridles by many who are commenting. I agree it has no mouthpiece…but oddly enough I had never considered it as one of the ‘bitless’ options. I did ride the above mare in a mechanical hackmore successfully…does that mean she was my first bitless horse?  That might have to be a whole other blog:)


Follow up: I am not against bridleless riding. After much more education I have trained many horses to the highest levels of bridleless riding. Here are a couple of blog that are related:

Stacy Westfall’s first time riding bridleless on Newt 

Stacy Westfall & Vaquero 2011 All American Quarter Horse Congress Freestyle Championship Bridleless

I won over $17,000 showing Roxy in my original wedding dress!


Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Life, Thought provoking


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The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation; book review and video

Snowman jumping over horse

National champion Snowman appeared in Life magazine and gave demonstrations

The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation’ People have often looked to horses for inspiration. Most recently California Chrome was the horse with a story, the one the nation was talking about but he wasn’t the first.

I stumbled onto the book at Barnes and Noble because there was a horse on the cover. Then the title, ‘The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation’ had me hooked.

The book was written by Elizabeth Letts who came across an unusual photo of a horse, Snowman, jumping over another horse. Her search to find this mystery horse lead her to the even more unbelievable story. She interviewed many of the people in the story and researched the rest.

The shortest version of the story is that Harry de Leyer rescues a horse from the killer truck at an auction. The sweet gelding grows strong and becomes a great lesson horse but it appears will never be more that that. Harry sells Snowman to a doctor for his young son…only Snowman had other ideas. He begins jumping fences to return to Harry.

Snowman, The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation’  swimming

Snowman was also quiet enough to give lessons and take the kids swimming

Night after night Snowman jumped the fences and returned to Harry. In a last attempt to keep Snowman at the doctors Harry tied a lead rope to a tire to prevent jumping…but in the morning Snowman, the tire and a fence board. Maybe the horse can jump…

From the killer truck to Madison Square Garden the author was correct in thinking she had found a story worth telling. She also manages to weave plenty of history about show jumping, WWII, and the 1950’s into the story.

As usual my favorite parts were in the barn; Snowman jumping his way home, giving lessons, swimming and even his final walk with Harry. If you find yourself looking for a inspirational-horse-history book take a look at this one. I downloaded it on my Nook but I also saw it in hard copy in the store. You can view the book on Amazon by clicking here.



Posted by on June 8, 2014 in Inspiring


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A Horse’s View: Newt meets the Natives

Dear Louie,

I know we really haven’t talked much since the Quarter Horse Con-ger-us last October but I overheard our moms talking and I thought I should warn you.Newt tied


No one warned me and I had to find out the hard way.

You see, my mom left me tied after we went for a ride the other night. It is an annoying habit she has, I dig a hole to tell her it is wrong, but she is a slow learner.

I usually just dig but this time I decided to untie the knot. It took awhile but I did it.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. There are these horses that come by and visit but I am always in my pen…except last week when my mom was riding me and they came running down the driveway. We didn’t have time to talk then though.Newt visits other horses

So when I untied myself I took off after them!

It was dark but I can see pretty good. I could smell them and it made it easier.

I was so excited! I ran right up to them and then BAM!

They kicked me!

Mom came and found me.

I just thought I should warn you.

Your bite your lip buddy,


If you liked this blog and want to know more about Newt and Louie check out the following blogs:


Posted by on March 14, 2014 in A Horse's View, Inspiring, Life


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What happens to all those nurse mare foals from Last Chance Corral?

Maddie's senior picture with her, now grown, nurse mare foal from Last Chance Corral.

Maddie’s senior picture with her, now grown, nurse mare foal from Last Chance Corral.

What happens to all those nurse mare foals? I wondered this myself and when I saw a photo posted on The Last Chance Corral Facebook page I asked if they would share their story.

The story starts sad – my daughter lost her first horse to placental abruption in her last few weeks of pregnancy.  I didn’t know if she would ever ride again, or have another horse.  We had gone to LCC as our community service project with our 4H club, and really loved the work they do there.  After not finding a horse Maddie bonded with (as all things would be forever compared to her first horse), she decided she wanted a foal to raise as her own.  We went to LCC on a cold Monday night in February 2011 and “Pickle” (as we call her in the barn) was their last foal.  We sat in the hay and hung out with her for probably an hour, and Maddie said “look at her eyes – this is my horse.”  She came home with us 2 days later.
My daughter loves music so she named the foal “That Sweet Sound” and had intended for her barn name to be “Musique.”  But, whenever she would misbehave, Maddie would say “what’s your dill, pickle?”  And, the name stuck.  So, Pickle it is!
Maddie has worked with her every day in some capacity, and as a result she has a

Maddie with her nurse mare foal, Pickle, the first week at to the senior photo above!

Maddie with her nurse mare foal, Pickle, the first week at home…compare to the senior photo above!

virtually spook-free, gentle (albeit at times contrary) little filly.  At about 16 mos old she took her in a halter class and place 3rd (out of about a dozen horses); since then, she’s placed in Showmanship 2-3 times in fun shows and county fair; and a junior horse class (walk/trot) at the county fair.  With the vet’s go-ahead, she put her under saddle at 2 1/2…the horse never even bucked.  She is stubborn and smart, though!

Maddie has done all the training herself (longeing, ground-driving, showmanship, under-saddle) – she has a trainer for guidance but no one else has ridden or handled the horse (other than turnout, and I have longed her).  Pickle is now 3 years old and Maddie has her cantering, not yet pretty – but she’s responding to the cues and is on the correct lead about 99% of the time.  We expect great things from her; Maddie wanted her to be a reiner, but right now she moves like an English horse, so we’ll see how she continues to evolve.
LCC does great things and these little foals that are “thrown away” have SO much potential…Pickle is proof of that.  We love her and are SO blessed to have her in our lives, and she has had a powerful impact on my daughter’s life.
Michelle S.
The Last Chance Corral does amazing rescue work with horses, both foals and adults. There are many ways that you can help.
  • ‘Like’ them on Facebook-Spread the word-it could save a life!
  • They accept volunteers to work at the barn
  • they have a list of supplies (including foal blankets and how to order them) on their website
  • hay donation
  • sawdust donation
  • the website can accept cash donations
  • they will be at Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio in April if you want to stop and talk, donate….or adopt:)
Victoria Goss with a nurse mare foal, one of the hundreds she has rescued over the years.

Victoria Goss with a nurse mare foal, one of the hundreds she has rescued over the years.

Last Chance Corral foal wrapped to keep warm.

Last Chance Corral foal wrapped to keep warm.


Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Inspiring, Life, Thought provoking


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