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Maybe the best horse escape caught on video…horse removing halter on video.

The results are in and after hundreds of you reported your silly horse stories it is clear that ESCAPE of some form is the clear leader!

Rachel T. shared a photo of her horse escaping from the halter.

Rachel T. shared a photo of her horse escaping from the halter.

Horses were reported to escape from:

  • pastures
  • stalls
  • halters
  • escaping from being tied
  • untying others (aiding and abetting escape)
  • properties…
  • and even a few who escaped INTO homes…lol.

The following is my favorite horse-escape video, lol. This video really helps humans understand the complexity of the equine mind. Can you imagine what when into this horse discovering this trick? Did he have itchy ears one day? Maybe the halter was loose the first time (notice it is pretty tight) and he just happened to get the rope over the halter….

Either way it is clear that this horse REALLY has this technique down! I love that the human placed the camera…and the horse looked at it a couple of times…then the human brushed and acted ‘normal’ so the horse might miss the setup. The best part is the ending…they you will really see what he was thinking!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Thought provoking, Video

 

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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 Video, quote, Sunday

 

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What silly things have you caught horses doing?

What silly things have you caught a horse doing?I wasn’t really looking but a part of my brain must have noticed the horse in the stall on my left as I was walking down the isle toward my stalls. It wasn’t one of my horses and I wasn’t really looking but I turned around and went back to double check…something wasn’t quite right with the horse in the stall.

He had obviously slipped out of his halter…and yet he kept acting like he was tied to the spot. Even as we laughed at him and opened the door to remove the halter the horse didn’t move.

What silly things have you caught a horse doing? What silly things have you caught a horse doing?

 

 
43 Comments

Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Life

 

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Do you take your horses swimming?

Swimming horses was something I did pretty much every summer as a kid. For most of my life before leaving for college I lived beside a lake and had easy access to horse friendly water.

My mare loved to swim. She enjoyed the water so much that upon walking knee-deep she would then stick her nose fully underwater, almost up to her eyeballs, and then blow bubbles! We swam the horses bareback and I loved how strong they felt in the water…and slippery. My mare also liked to swim to the deeper parts of the lake and then slowly let her hindquarter sink deeper and deeper. She would then push off as hard as she could and repeat…it was like riding a horse that was pretending to be a dolphin. Many times I had to pull her back toward shore as she was convinced she could swim forever!

If I had access…I would be swimming my horses! Have you ever gone swimming on a horse? What did you like or dislike about it?

I can”t wait to go to Costa Rica in January and swim horses! Check out this video of the waterfall and horses that are waiting for our clinic in January. Put the clinic on your Christmas wish list…there is a non riding spouse discounted price too! To read more about the Costa Rica clinic or to place a deposit, click here.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Life, Video

 

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Is my horse deaf or does he have ‘selective hearing’? Have you ever encountered a deaf horse?

“Stacy, I also have a 11 year-old deaf child, however he is of the ‘four-legged’ kind. I have had my 11 yr old APHA gelding for 3 years now and I’m still discovering to what extent he is ‘deaf’. I write that with emphasis because he too is subject to the rumor that he is deaf. The previous owners were NOT horse people but WERE animal lovers and took him in from a family member that had to move across state and could not keep him. The ‘not-so-horsey’ owners were trying to place him and warn me that he was deaf. I took him in for his forever home. Many people I have met since that new him and his original owners, have told me they ‘heard’ he was ‘deaf’ also. I have been riding for almost 10 years and encountered many horses with ‘selective hearing’. In the last 3 years I have learned that he is of the ‘selective hearing’. With questionable consistencies in the history of his training he is more responsive to visual and physical cues than vocal commands, but he does ‘hear’ some things. I learn ASL in an after school club at my high school and have considered brushing off my signing skills to help further his training. Tell me, have you ever encountered a deaf horse? or know of any one that has had experience in training one?-Kristen”

I have seen both horses with ‘selective hearing’ and those that are deaf. Most horses who choose to ignore some cues, like ‘Whoa’, will often give themselves away with listening to other cues, like a verbal cluck or kiss to ‘Go’. Popcorn, the horse I trained during the 2006 Road to the Horse Colt starting competition was very much like this. Months into his training he seemed deaf to the word Whoa. He would stop off the bridle reins and leg/seat cues but he completely ignored ‘Whoa’. I often joked that he could pretend very well that he was deaf….except that when I ‘kissed’ to ask for a lope, he took off like a race horse!

It was also obvious that he heard other noises;shake the grain bucket, crack a whip, etc and he could hear it even if the noise was coming from around a corner where he couldn’t see the noise maker. Deaf horses don’t do that.Gunner

Consider the following excerpt from The Quarter Horse News:

 “Although it’s rare among horses as a whole, deafness has become more frequent in the reining arena as Gunner’s descendants and relations show off their talent. Trainers who have ridden them say their schooling just requires a bit of creativity. A horse that can’t hear “whoa” needs to learn different cues than a hearing horse.

But the desire for a talented reining horse seems to outweigh the challenges of dealing with deafness. Gunner stands to a full book every year at a $7,500 fee, and mare owners are well aware of the chances of getting a deaf foal.” for full article click here

 

I have never trained a deaf horse but I have spoken with many trainers that have. As the article above made note of there has been a definite increase in the number of deaf horses in the reining events. Most of the trainers also agree that there are just some adjustments that need to be made when you are riding or training these horses.

Personally, I have been joking for several years about finding a deaf Gunner bred horse that wasn’t quite making it as a reiner…I would like to try one out as a mounted shooting horse!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Members Question, Thought provoking, Video

 

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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac…New Beginnings

Life has many twists and turns and I am constantly intrigued by the directions it takes. When I started my journey with Jac it was a personal milestone for me. It was accepting what had happened with Roxy and seeing that I had something to offer Jac.Jac’s progress was shared with the world.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to video Jac’s progress and share it with the world. I knew it would be an interesting journey…because every horse I have trained has been an interesting journey. There are always questions that come up during the process, some have clear answers; correct Jac when he bites, others are not as easy; do I show him now or wait another month?

What I love about training horses is that there are always breakthroughs. Many of these moments happen in the barn and are never seen by anyone but the horse and rider. Following Jac allowed many of these moments to be caught on film. Most of these breakthroughs are small, incremental steps. These steps lead the horses forward, sometime that is a path to greatness in the show pen and other times it is to a life of bringing joy to someone in their backyard. The point isn’t to make horses that are great in the show pen…it is to make horses that are great individuals no matter where they are.

And as predicted, horses have setbacks, that was illustrated by Jac along the way. Simple things like when I went out of town and Jac didn’t get trained to bigger things like dental trips, vets and chiropractic adjustments. Many of you identified with the sometimes difficult decisions that surround owning horses.

I am very satisfied with everything that I accomplished with Jac. I believe that the foundation he has will be with him for a lifetime. I am also glad that I chose to be a part of Jac’s journey. You may remember that I struggled at first with the idea that he would look like Roxy and the relief that I found in the simple fact that he was a different color. The more I got to know Jac the more I was able to see him as a unique individual, which was a good thing. It was a good thing for me because it helped to move me away from directly comparing him to Roxy. It was a good thing for Jac because he has his own uniqueness and shouldn’t have to spend his life trying to be someone else.

As of Monday, Jac was sold.

As of Monday, Jac was sold.

When the video project started we committed to bringing you the ups, the downs “and everything in between” during Jac’s journey and this week Jac has moved into another phase of his life.

It was fitting that I received this question after last weeks episode of Jac;

“Laughing, really, at my self for thinking this but: What does Greg do? Haha. I mean what does he do to earn enough money to invest in horses, their care and training with you? You are all truly blessed.” -Natalie

Greg really is a regular guy who decided to try reining. He works in a small family business in the office where he manages the accounting. He cleans stalls, saves his money and goes to horse shows when he can. Like many other people across the country he keeps horses in training with professionals because horses are the hobby he has chosen instead of golf or fishing or any other sport. Greg just happened to call the Westfall’s who just happened to know of a horse for sale…who just happened to turn out to be Roxy. Life takes interesting turns. Coincidence or Godincidence? I know what I believe.

Greg bred Roxy because she was an amazing horse and he looked for professional guidance to ensure that his decision would also help to improve the breed. I believe that he accomplished that goal with the four foals that she had before she died.

Like most horse owners Greg also knew that he probably wouldn’t keep them all. He struggled with the decision to sell Roxy’s first foal, Roxter, but eventually chose to keep the filly and sell the stallion. The money from Roxter’s sale helped to fund the breeding and eventual training of Jac. Watching Roxter succeed was a blessing because, although a small part of Greg knew he once owned that horse, another part of Greg knew that Roxter may never have reached that same potential while he owned him.

Roxter also played a part in the decision to collect Jac’s semen. Jac has played a different role than Roxter because Roxter was the first of Roxy’s foals, but Jac was the last. Rationally this shouldn’t change things much, but emotionally it changed things a lot. As Jac’s owner Greg has wrestled with the idea of selling Jac. He sold Roxter because he knew he didn’t have the facility to keep a stallion long term but he was still tempted to keep Jac. Greg is a friend as well as a client and throughout this journey we have been trying to help him with the decision. If you listen during episode (12) you can hear me say that Greg is there watching. He also drove down numerous times to watch Jac while we lived in Ohio and flew down to Texas when we were there. It was easy to see that Jac was a nice horse, it was easy to see that he could be successful…but one thing kept nagging Greg. He had made the decision to sell Roxter because he was a stud, why was Jac different? Long term what was best for Jac?Hindsight may be clear but foresight isn’t quite as easy.

Don’t we all wish we knew what was best long term? Hindsight may be clear but foresight isn’t quite as easy. Jesse and I had decided to sell our house in 2012 and when it sold in 2013 things got more complicated. We want to live nomadically, roaming around the country with our kids and horses for a year or two…but that decision effects other things. Did Jac’s plan fit with ours?

Jac is clearly bred well and he is talented. The reality of being a successful stallion is earning the right to breed, proving that the horse carries the potential to improve the equine world. Am I the right person to give Jac that opportunity? I have confidence in my ability to train a horse but I am also realistic about having the facility and the time.. I have chosen over the last few years to spend less time showing and more time traveling and teaching.

As you all know, I dropped Jac off at Select Breeders to be collected at the end of June. At that time they told us that they would likely need him for a 4-6 weeks. Our son needed to show his horse the second weekend in August in Ohio to finish his green reiner belt buckle points and I told Greg we would plan on picking Jac up after that show. It ended up that Jac completed his ‘job’ at Select Breeders before our son showed and Greg needed to decide what to do with Jac. Greg was still considering selling and we suggested that if he was serious we could suggest a trainer nearby Select Breeders that could evaluate Jac. We knew we liked Jac but there was always the chance that we were biased.

Greg chose to have Jac evaluated and we suggested a trainer that we thought might fit Jac’s style. It turns out that we were not biased, other people agreed Jac was a very nice horse and someone made an offer to buy Jac. Greg accepted the offer and as of Monday, Jac was sold.

It is interesting how life works. The money that Greg received from selling Roxter was used to create and train Jac. Jac was a blessing to Greg, myself and the many viewers of the Jac series and he still has more potential. Will he be a great show horse? A great sire? Only time will tell.

Greg enrolled Jac in the AQHA Full Circle Program

Greg enrolled Jac in the AQHA Full Circle Program

I do know that Greg will use the money to continue the bloodlines. He has kept two fillies out of Roxy and I am looking forward to riding not only Roxy’s sons and daughters, but her granddaughters and more. Greg also signed Jac up for the AQHA Full Circle Program which helps ensure that Greg will always be notified should Jac ever become unwanted or ready for retirement.

Even though I will no longer be training Jac, I still hope to do some follow up blogs and videos. I will aim to attend some of the shows that Jac goes to and I will continue to be his fan. Jesse and I will also be keeping our eyes open for the perfect mare to use some of Jac’s frozen semen with. Riding one of Jac’s foals would be the fourth generation of the bloodline that I have ridden…I would enjoy that.

It is tempting to look at Jac’s sale as an ending but I am choosing to look at it as a new beginning. I expect that Jac will receive exceptional care and planning very similar to what Roxter has. I am also looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I am a trainer at heart and I am seriously considering the suggestion of training a rescue horse as my next project.

I still love the following paragraphs that have been at the end of each Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac, Youtube video. I was tempted to change the first line to “This was the story…” but I am unable to because I believe the story will go on. This is just another twist in the road, and I am excited to see what is around the next bend.

*        *         *

This is the story of Jacs Electric Whiz (Jac), the last baby out of Whizards Baby Doll, better known as “Roxy”. Roxy touched the hearts of horse lovers around the world when she and Stacy Westfall made history with their bareback and bridleless freestyle reining ride. The loss of Roxy in 2012 has left a void in the equine community. Although nobody can replace her, Roxy’s spirit lives on, not only in our hearts, but in Jac as well.

Join us as we follow Jac through weekly videos documenting his training journey from his first session to his first show and more. It is a journey filled with questions, breakthroughs, setbacks and accomplishments… and everything in between.

Below is the video that most of you thought was the end of the season:

Below is the video of our interview with Greg:

 

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My five year old daughter IS deaf, I know that you are not deaf Stacy Westfall, but it caught my attention.

“Hi Stacy,   I love your work and often try to implement your methods. Recently, I read that people spread the rumour that you are

Cell phone image sent to Stacy on Facebook

Cell phone image sent to Stacy on Facebook

deaf. I know that you are not deaf, but it caught my attention because my five year old daughter IS deaf. She has a profound sensorineural loss in both ears. She uses cochlear implants. I have been teaching her to ride on her lease pony since April.

She has seen your videos and she thinks you are amazing. She said she wants to BE you! Her favourite is the 2011 video with “My Heart Will Go On”. Her mouth visibly dropped open when you had your arms up with that cloak and THAT SPIN! Even my non-horsey parents were impressed.

My daughter, Lily, said she wants to learn to ride like you, I ride western myself and have promised her that her next pony we will try (she currently is learning english, I do both myself). I teach her at the moment due to difficulties as we can’t find a trainer up to teaching a deaf child. Since April she has gotten rising and sitting trot, she is cantering, steering for herself on and off the long rein, and she has even jumped 60cm (on a miniature!).

If you are ever in England, it would make her ecstatically happy to meet you.” Toni and Lily (and the boys).

Toni, thank you so much for writing to me. It sounds like you have an amazing daughter. I had never considered the difficulty of finding an instructor for a deaf child. I love a challenge so it would intrigue me to figure out the best way to achieve it. The great news is that many, many people learn by watching. My husband is one of those people. When we were first married we would go to horse shows and he would watch the practice and warm up arenas figuring out what worked and what didn’t work for horse training. I don’t know that he would have done that at five years old but when she is ready it is a great way to learn.

I think I should be considered an expert on rumors; how they start, spread and grow. I was just recently made aware of the newest form of the rumor…somehow Roxy (a mare) has become a wild stallion! I guess I should be happy though, as this new rumor gives me 6 months to have trained her vs the old rumor where I only had three weeks. In reality I had Roxy from the time she was 2 years old until you see the ‘Live Like You Were Dyin’ video when she was five years old. I had around one-thousand hours of training with just her during that time.

No one can exactly pin point how the rumor started. The best explanation I have heard reported to me is that, if you watch the video, I am moving my hands around a lot while I am standing in the in-gate while the announcer was reading the intro. Someone watching assumed I was using sign language…and the rumor was born.

Stacy Westfall, the deaf mute rumor has taken another twist...now Roxy (a mare) is being called a wild stallion

Stacy Westfall, the deaf mute rumor has taken another twist…now Roxy (a mare) is being called a wild stallion

 

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Life, Members Question, Video

 

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