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Train Your Own Horse with Stacy Westfall

Jul 31, 2019

Before we begin I want to clear up something about last week's podcast. I randomly mentioned something going on with Popcorn's ear. He has a papilloma virus or ear plaque, but it's improving dramatically.

In this episode, I'm going to explain the first communication I developed during groundwork. I'm also going to talk about the difference between leading versus drawing. In my final segment with Dr. Monty, we answer a listener question about increasing exercise tolerance versus overworking.

Show Notes:

[02:45] When someone brings a horse in for a lesson some of the first things I want to know include can I get this horse out of my space and can I get it to face me.

[05:40] Horses that are in your space need to learn how to back out of your space. You can make your arms big or tap on the knee.

[07:26] I do a lot of my work on a lunge line.

[08:43] When a horse is on the line, I want to keep them out of my space and ask them to turn and face me. With this, I no longer feel crowded and the horse is facing me.

[09:45] If you watch the video in my first email newsletter, you will see an example of Popcorn and two younger horses deciding who is going to back out of the space. 

[11:15] When horses interact, and they have a lot of respect for each other, they have a bigger bubble.

[12:18] Some will jockey for space and some kick and some bite. 

[12:56] Observe the language that you see your horses using when they interact with each other.

[13:06] Can I keep the horse out of my space at least four feet out? Is the horse facing me? Am I able to send this horse to the left or the right?

[14:04] Communication gets more subtle. Body language is big in the beginning. 

[15:04] Use big animated body language when first working with a horse. The end goal is to get the communication really refined.

[16:31] I'll have the owner stand in a hula hoop and see if they can back the horse out of their space.

[17:05] These are some of the things to think about when it comes to the horses body. 

[18:08] At the beginning, I use drawing them in more than leading. I usually lead the horse from the side, so it's not pulling directly against me.

[20:06] Your body has so much power to communicate.

Dr. Monty Answers a Listener Question About Increasing Exercise Tolerance Versus Overworking

[25:20] Where is the line between over practicing and keeping a rhythm?

[26:23] Look how the horse is breathing and how the horse is sweating. You can tell how a horse is doing by watching respiration and sweat. Also think how healthy a horses joints are. 

[28:00] Exercise your horse three to five times a week and start easy with a trot before going into canter work. It takes two to three weeks for a horse to increase strength and endurance. 

Links and Resources:

Are ear plaques better left alone?

Stacy Westfall YouTube

Equithrive tell them Stacy sent you. 

Have you ever wondered what a live version of this podcast would be like?I’m hosting some live, online video calls that are like a live version of this podcast. I teach on a subject, answer questions and for those who are brave, I’ll turn your video on live too and you can join me for a conversation!

If you want to learn more about this you can visit for more information!