Like any good trainer, Stacy’s aim has always been to have the clearest and precise communication with her horse as possible. Her goal in her reining was to make the reins unnecessary. While others have approximated that goal, Stacy made it a reality. In 2003 she won the National Reining Horse Association Freestyle reining competition riding with no bridle — and with not so much as a neck..
Today’s podcast topic walks the line between the mental idea of leadership versus the physical execution of leadership. I’m tempted to talk about the physical side of this topic, but season one is about the mental side.
I want to break everything down into the four-quadrant model, so we can get clarity before we put everything together and use it. In this episode, I’ll be talking about how leadership is different from just getting along and how it impacts the way we show up with our horses.
[00:54] The four square model is a really simple tool for breaking down complex problems.
[01:29] In this season, I’m focusing on the rider’s mind.
[01:31] This episode is about the idea of leadership and how it is different from simply just getting along and how this idea impacts the way that we show up with her horses.
[01:48] The interesting thing about this topic is how it walks the line between the mental idea of leadership and the physical idea of leadership.
[02:22] Horses are hardwired to look for a leader. If they don’t find a leader, they are compelled to step into that role.
[03:13] Some horses are more mild-mannered and some are more strong-willed.
[03:44] Jane shares an email about how her horse won’t go around the ring.
[04:27] Natural horsemanship came out with the idea that horses have emotions. If we recognize these emotions, we can use them to change the horse.
[05:10] Some people have used this idea as an excuse to just “get along”.
[06:06] There’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship with your horse.
[06:38] You can have an element of leadership in your relationship with your horse while still knowing them as who they are.
[07:28] Leadership is about actually taking the responsibility inside that relationship. You are responsible for your horses safety and what happens with your horse.
[08:03] An email from Amy about her new horse.
[09:46] Grandma’s rules. Between human relationships, there is a distinct difference between what different adults will allow. If children can determine this, so can horses.
[11:12] Guilt can affect riders and what they are willing to ask for.
[13:12] If a horse’s state of mind is going to impact the training a lot, we have to admit that some horses are more strong-willed.
[13:54] What is your first gut reaction when I say you need to be a better leader? Do you show up feeling guilty when you ask your horse to do something.
[14:40] Are you trying too hard to be perfect and not giving the horse any responsibility?
[15:50] Your challenge for the week is to write down one place where you have really great leadership skills and one place where you need to improve.
Answer: A rope halter is a helpful because it communicates clearly with the horse and increases responsiveness. The rope over the poll area is more narrow than a traditional web or leather halter. When the handler applies pressure to the halter the signal is clear and more motivating.
I like to describe it like carrying a bucket of water. Have you ever carried a five-gallon pail where the white hand protector was broken off? I have many times. When I do, I am reminded that a wider handle is more comfortable than the thinner handle. I guess this is why the weights at the gym have nice big handles.
The thinner handle is more motivating to me to either put the bucket down or to find another bucket. While it is more motivating…I have to admit I have still been lazy enough to carry the bucket with the missing hand protector for weeks!
Some horses that are lazier respond well to the extra motivation (what does this say about me?). Rope halters replace the desire that some people have to use a chain lead rope and are safer for the horse than a chain as they don’t carry the risk of excess pressure or pinching.
Question: “Do you always use a rope halter?”
Answer: No, not always. I prefer to trailer my horses in a flat web or leather halter. By the time they are loading on the trailer, they should have pretty solid basic skills. I will still put the rope halter on during training periods but I will mix and match my halter to what I am currently working on. If they get duller, I will go back to the rope halter. If they remain lighter I will move to a web halter, rope halter or liberty work.
Question: “What’s so special about your rope halter?”
Answer: I like the rope halter I designed for three reasons; ease of use, weight, and looks.
I designed the halter with the wrapped noseband to keep the noseband open when sliding it over your horse’s nose. It drove me crazy when I would pick up a rope halter and couldn’t quickly find the nose side (maybe that’s just me:) The rolled half hitch is actually a throwback to my high-school bracelet making days (do kids still do that?).
Available in multiple colors, click photo to visit Stagecoach West to order with 25% off discount code ‘Westfall’
I like the weight of the rope, not how much it weighs but rather how it feels. Some ropes are very thick and difficult to handle when trying to tie the knot. Not to mention that at some point they lose the above mentioned ‘motivation’ factor. This halter is constructed from a continuous piece of 1/4″ polyester yacht rope with a double core for the right feel and durability. The less fancy way of saying this is I like how it feels to handle and to tie the knot.
The halter is accented with a black or colorful noseband which I just plain enjoy! My husband has claimed the tan halter while I have more fun with the blue and turquoise. One thing I have done is to order certain colors in certain sizes so I quickly know that blue is small and turquoise is medium.
Those are my reasons but you have to decide if that makes it special!
If you are interested in ordering I have an affiliate link with Stagecoach West. They are great people who believe in offering exceptional customer service. If you use this link and the code ‘Westfall’ you will receive 25% off and I will receive a small commission at no added cost to you.
Welcome to season one of the Stacy Westfall podcast. I’m Stacy Westfall, and I’ll be teaching you why horses do what they do and action steps for creating clear confident communication with your horses. In this first season, I’ll be discussing issues that frequently affect the way that riders think.
I use a tool called the four square model. The purpose of this model is to simplify complex problems and break them down into smaller actionable pieces. The four quadrants include the rider’s mind, the rider’s body, the horses mind, and the horse’s body. Season one will focus on the rider’s mind. Today’s episode is about fear. I talk about how it is different than danger and some of the ways that it affects riders.
[00:34] Season one will be about issues that frequently affect the way riders think.
[00:47] One of the tools that I use is the four square model to simplify complex problems by breaking them down into smaller actionable pieces.
[01:05] The model is created with four quadrants which include the rider’s mind, the rider’s body, the horses mind, and the horse’s body.
[01:43] This first season of the podcast will be focusing on the rider’s mind. Today, I’ll be discussing fear and how it is different than danger and some of the ways that it affects riders.
[02:30] Fear is something that you experience in your mind. Danger means that you are actually in physical danger.
[02:59] Melanie writes in about having a fear of riding.
[03:51] Think about having fear and anxiety about riding.
[04:21] Fear in people’s minds is frequently because there isn’t a guaranteed outcome.
[05:08] There’s no guarantee that your riding experience will always remain the same.
[06:11] Letting fear hold us down guarantees we won’t achieve what we want.
[06:14] An email example about another horse owner not riding because of fear.
[07:18] If you really want to do something, don’t let the fear of not having a guaranteed experience stop you. Otherwise, you are guaranteeing pain.
[08:57] Even when you have fear, you will live through it and at least you know you tried.
[09:45] One of the greatest ways to learn is by making mistakes.
[10:51] Other people are also experiencing fear.
[11:07] We literally teach our horses to face their fears, because we want them to know that not all fear equals danger. The same thing is true for you.
[11:34] What is one step you can take to face your fear?
[11:54] Sharing your fear in a comment can be one small step towards facing it.
Five days at a horse expo means five days of seeing horses, touching horses and talking horses. You would think that after it ended the desire to look for horses would diminish but…nope. To finish our time here in Australia we did pick some things that were slightly less related to horses.
First up was a trip to Craig’s hut, the setting for the movie, The Man from Snowy River. Ok, this was totally a horse related trip!
On the way, we drove through a town and I spotted a tack store…it was the horse on the sidewalk that caught my eye.
We happened to slow slightly and I noticed something behind the horse that seemed familiar…
The Weaver Leather logo caught my eye and I recognized the photo, lol, it was me! Too funny. We stepped inside to look around and visit.
Several of the people there had been at Equitana and were surprised to see us show up in the store. We had a good laugh, got directions to a coffee store and continued on. I just love that horses give so many of us a common point of interest to meet around!
The drive up to the hut was impressive. Although the famous hill scene was filmed somewhere else the sides of the road in many places seemed that you could have filmed it anywhere. There was a storm blowing in but the weather held out until after we left. It did create dramatic photos!
This is a location where next time I would plan to ride a horse!
Check out the view as we drove down. The rain had finally caught up with us.
At the base of the mountains, we saw another sight that reminded me of home…sort of. At home, as evening comes the deer come out and when driving you need to be careful. In Australia…
Mobs of kangaroos do the same thing! How cool is that?
Ok, I’ve got to go get ready for today’s Australian adventure:)
TWOTH Judge Chris Burton, with organiser Sandi Simons, Judge Stacy Westfall and Judge Pedro Torres
A four-day event like Equitana Australia is hard to sum up in a blog post.
I love meeting everyone at the booth. This young lady used me in her school report:)
One of the best parts of traveling to horse expos is the great people I get to meet.
This year Jesse and I had the chance to hang out with the other star presenters Chris Burton & Pedro Torres. I’ve made their names links that you should check out. The three of us also judged The Way of the Horse (which explains the matching blue shirts) which is a colt starting competition similar to The Road to the Horse.
Usually when I’m at an expo my behind the scenes time largely involves taking care of my horses. This time my horses stayed at home while I flew to Australia…so behind the scenes was a lot different. We all shared a driver who moved us around town which gave us time to visit on the commute. I’m so thankful that Richard was driving…because everyone is driving on the wrong side here!!!!
I really want to write more as so much happened but there are PARROTS outside my window. Seriously I just
It would seem that my ‘time zone change at home’ project may have worked!
For about 12 days before we left home,
Happy accident, the first coffee stop is top rated in Melbourne:)
I started shifting my sleep/awake times. Most notably I shifted my coffee drinking times. Just before leaving I was drinking my ‘morning’ coffee at 3 pm and my ‘afternoon’ coffee at 9 pm.
It seems to have worked!
Of course, this meant that upon arriving here in Melbourne, Australia I had to keep the same coffee schedule. I learned online that Melbourne is world famous for its coffee so we hit the streets and bought coffee at the first shop we came to.
I couldn’t have planned it any better if I had tried. Later when I did a specific search for ‘best coffee in Melbourne’ guess what popped up as #1…yep, Axil Coffee Roasters!
When I travel for work I know I will be seeing horses so I try to stretch myself and look around a bit. While still at home another helpful google search listed the #1 thing to do was drink the coffee and #2 was to see the street art.
Coffee in hand we began walking and…yep, without a map or directions we managed to quickly spy a very painted street. It turned out to be AC/DC street which is one of the most famous streets to visit. If I’m making it sound really easy to have a great experience in Melbourne, Australia that is because it really has been easy.
I do have to admit that although today isn’t an official ‘horse day’ I still managed to see them. One horse was pulling a carriage near a park and the other was a digital horse running in a museum. And one on a magazine. And one on a book. And a few on…lol, I’m not great at avoiding all things horsey:)
Street art Melbourne Australia
Street art Melbourne Australia ACDCstreet
If this was a video you would see him cantering! A digital horse Melbourne Australia.