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‘The cobblers kids go barefoot’…so do the horse trainers horses; both figuratively and literally.

With the impending evacuation of our home for the last 14 years comes a lot of added work. The question I asked Jesse was, “How are we going to get it done? Something has to give.”

While we are still riding customers horses, like Jac, we decided that our own personal horses would need to go on the ‘back-burner’ for awhile. This move would save us about four hours of work per day.

We arrived at this number because we had three personal horses that we were riding one hour per day plus cleaning the stalls, bedding and feeding.

By pulling their shoes and moving them to run in sheds the labor of feeding and cleaning was drastically reduced and the riding was eliminated, for now. Popcorn vacation

This change has allowed us to

  • make a plan ahead of time
  • keep our sanity
  • calculate the impact of our decisions

PLAN; By planning ahead we were able to save some money on the shoeing by skipping that completely. We were also able to see how we would accomplish the packing.

SANITY; The ‘plan’ has kept us from feeling like we are slacking or behind. The decision was made instead of just running out of time, so we are being proactive. There is a huge difference.

IMPACT; Deciding ahead of time also allowed us to talk about the possible problems. The horses won’t move forward in their training. This means that, in a way, they will be behind. This will impact each horse differently but by acknowledging this ahead of time we hope to decrease the chances that we will try to ‘make up’ for the time by riding them harder when we can ride them.

The other side effect of this is that we really want to get the packing done so we can get back to riding our own horses. Who knows though, maybe some pasture play time and running around barefoot will have hidden benefits. The horses think they are on vacation….and maybe they really are.

Snowy horses

 
19 Comments

Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Life

 

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Where in the World are the Westfall’s?

You may have heard that we sold our house. Many of you have questions like:

“What will happen to Jac?” (he will come with me)

“Will you still blog?” (yes, and it might even get more exciting)

And “Where are you going?” (this one is a bit more complicated)

We are going to try living nomadically for awhile.

I know we are heading to TX in Feb for a few months but after that we are pretty

house viewwide open to ideas! Visiting friends in PA…visiting CO…really, we are not sure.

Dani on Facebook sent the suggestion to visit  Salt Creek Ranch in Vail Valley…CO. Wow. Sounds like a fun place to visit!

Colorado ranch

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While we have some ideas in mind we are still open to ideas and suggestions. So if you have any thoughts feel free to leave a comment below. We will likely be traveling with six horse and WILL have three kids too!

 
169 Comments

Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Life

 

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Horse training programs or apprenticeships…does Stacy Westfall offer them?

Dear Stacy,

“…I am wanting to train horses. But I am a very hands on person. I love watching the training videos but my way of learning in to be right there in the action if you know what I mean. I want to be taught how to train. I am currently waiting to apply to murray state university for equine science. I love you techniques. I have looked at the Parelli’s and Clinton Anderson’s horse training programs but they are so expensive. With that being said have you ever thought of having a apprentice program or do you currently have a program like that other than clinics. My husband and kids are a big part of my life and my other part are my horses. I have been out of the horse world for so long 10 yrs as in owning my own horse that is. But when I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to work with horses. But put all my dreams aside to take care of my mom and sister when I was in high school. And I don’t want to just be a stay at home forever. I want to live a little and by working with horses that makes me feel like I am living a little more of my dreams when I was younger. I love how being around my horses make me feel so free. And no matter what problem I am having any day of the week, I leave it all outside the gate when I enter my pasture. If you do have anything like a apprentice program how much would it cost to learn from my favorite horse trainer?”

Meagan,

Thanks for writing. I don’t currently offer an apprentice program. I do LOVE the idea and get questions about it weekly.

For me, the biggest challenge in life is finding balance. As much as I would love to offer a program, I am choosing not to until my kids are grown. Having said that….

Stacy Westfall's Blog, Master the Art of Living

Stacy Westfall’s Blog, Master the Art of Living

I do have an interest in helping people get started in the horse industry. I am working on putting together some information to help people who are considering the equine industry as a profession.

You may also want to check out my new blog. http://mastertheartofliving.com as I will be talking there about being a wife, mother and horsewoman, etc. I hope you find it interesting and helpful.

Ride with Faith,

SW signature200

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Members Question

 

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New Years Resolution: Try the Nomadic Lifestyle

sold surprisedWho thinks living on the road with no permanent home while toting along three boys (homeschooling) and a bunch of horses is a good idea?

The Westfall’s do!

And as of today our house is officially SOLD!

First stop, after considerable packing, is Texas! (…or the looney bin, I will keep you posted on my sanity during this process)

What is your New Years Resolution?

no·mad  (nõ′mâd′)

n.

1. A member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land.
2. A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer.

[French nomade, from Latin nomas, nomad-, from Greek nomaswandering in search of pasture; see nem- in Indo-European roots.]

no·mad′ic adj.
no·mad′i·cal·ly adv.
no′mad′ism n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

 
100 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Life

 

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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 12-Read the body language from horse to horse

“Learn to read the body language from horse to horse, then apply that from horse to human.” -Stacy Westfall

The best place to practice reading a horses body language is by studying horses interacting with other horses.

This is one of my favorite episodes…I can’t watch it without laughing! Horses ‘say’ so much when you learn to read them. Keep in mind I am narrating this live from just out of camera view…and every once and awhile you will see Popcorn looking to me…asking me questions.

Look at how horses ask other horses questions! In just over one minute Jac struck Popcorn…just to ‘ask’ a question. Then Jac proceeds to nip and nip and nip repeatedly…no wonder he tried taste-testing me in Episode 9.

Isn’t it amazing that Popcorn tolerates as much biting as he does? Do you know why Popcorn does this? It is because Popcorn is saying that he is willing to have a conversation. Popcorn is willing to allow Jac to ask questions. Willing to hear what Jac has to say.

Having said that, I also state at 10:20, ‘If Popcorn follows his normal pattern, he will get more firm over the next few days…which is the same training that I try to do.” Again I am learning from the horses!

In the last segment ‘One month later’ keep in mind that Popcorn is in the back and Jac is in the front (sorry, iPhone video here). Watch as Popcorn nearly drops Jac to his knees by biting his neck/whithers! It is easy to see that Popcorn is being pretty clear and VERY firm with Jac, yet notice as they separate Jac is turning back towards Popcorn.

Popcorn is a great example of a leader. Willing to discipline firmly yet still respected. Learn from these great leaders.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video

 

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HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper ‘maybe’ when it seems the entire world is shouting ‘no!’

A girl stood sobbing in front of me at the last horse expo I went to.  Her hands shook as she moved to wipe away the tears. Unable to speak at moments because of the sobs she apologized, smiled and cried. And yet I understood.booth 2

This wasn’t an isolated incident. Three times at this expo, this happened, with three different girls, teens to early twenties. And it has happened before. 

It scared me in the beginning. Why is it happening? How should I handle it? What should I do? 

It doesn’t scare me anymore. I know the answer. 

Once I could see past my fears; can I help these people? I was able to see why they were crying. Able to understand my role. HOPE. 

quotes-on-hope

Hope was the reason they stood crying. 

It was nothing I was doing, standing there in the booth. 

It wasn’t my teaching, my job, my riding… 

I am not the answer. But I am a seed.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2013 in quote, Sunday

 

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Why do horses swish or wring or use their tails? With and without riders…

Horses tails when playing

Do horses use their tails when turned out to play?

I know I am opening a huge can of worms here….but lets talk about horses using their tails. I am talking about tail swishing, tail wringing, etc. Three videos are included:

Do horses ever use their tails because of the rider? Yes

Do horses ever use their tails because of discomfort? Yes

Do horse ever use their tails because of pleasure? Yes

Do horses ever use their tails because of excitement or exertion? Yes

How about these horses playing in the mud…and wringing their tails?

Lets ask some more horses what they think.

Lets look at this cutting horse…OH, he has no rider

Do horses ever use their tails to complain about the work they are being asked to do….not because the work is unreasonable, but just because they would rather not?

If we can allow for the idea that horses, like humans, have opinions on work…then lets look at humans for a minute. How many of us are ‘happy’ with our work.

“…nearly two-thirds of respondents, said they were not happy at work.” -ManpowerGroup

“Just 30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work…”, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report.

So, according to this survey two-thirds of us are ‘wringing our tails’ at work. Only with humans it is generally our tongues that we are ‘wringing.’ For more on horses as employees, click here.

Dressage horse freestyle, watch for when the horse does-or does not- use her tail.

All I’m after in this discussion is opening the idea that the tail swishing isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface.

This subject leads into another subject… people ‘doing’ or ‘fixing’ horses tails…meaning they inject or otherwise physically stop them from moving their tail by a medical procedure. Personally, when they use their tails, I am thankful that the rider/owner chose not to medically alter their horse.

In some disciplines, like Western Pleasure and Reining, the judges do count it against the horse if it uses its tail excessively….. which encourages more medical procedures.

 

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Roxy’s Nephew- Newt

2013 Quarter Horse Congress

Click to watch Congress poem

By the time I take horses to expos with me, I take for granted that everyone knows who they are. For me, I have been working with them so long that they feel like part of the family.

Take Newt for instance. I call him Nephew Newt because his mother is a full sister to Roxy. Newt was born at my house….I was the one who ripped the sac off his nose and first said hello to him. So you can see how, now that he is four, that it feels like everyone should know him because he has been with me his whole life.

Newt is the horse I was ridding when I recited the poem at the Weaver Leather Freestyle Reining in October of this year.

He is also the horse that I have brought to Equine Affaire in MA to use in most of my demos and he keeps an eye on Jac….or at least he keeps Jac entertained!

Kissin Kousins 2

Newt is actually Jac’s cousin, as their mothers were sister.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Life

 

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