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Train Your Own Horse with Stacy Westfall

Jul 3, 2019

In this episode, I'm answering a listener question about peaking a horse for a show. The question is how do you keep your horse from peaking before you go to the show? The listener is a week away from a cowboy obstacle racing show. She exercised her mare yesterday, and the mare was spot ready. She doesn't want to overtrain her horse if the horse is at its peak.

To answer this question, I ask some questions about getting the horse to peak, how long did it take, and how long did it last. Since, I’m not on the phone with the listener, I’m going to run through some different scenarios about these questions that will hopefully help her gain clarity. Also, if anyone is interested in recording a Q and A phone conversation with me, let me know. That could be a really fun podcast. 

Show Notes:

[02:10] How did you get your horse to this peak?  How long did it take? Have you had her at a peak like this before? How long did that peak last? What do you think brought her down from that last peak?

[03:05] Keep in mind as I run through these scenarios, we are trying to bring the horse into the zone, but it's kind of like that teeter-totter we've talked about previously.

[03:42] How did you get her to this peak? If a horse is going to peak quickly and then fall off the other side I need an awareness that it's happening.

[05:17] With a very responsive horse you need to realize what the breaking point is and where they start to tip over the edge. You might want to peak this horse right before the show or learn how to extend it afterwards like rocking the teeter totter. 

[07:24] You should be trying to figure this out at home when you don't have a show. 

[08:17] With a really relaxed horse, you want to start to sharpen them a week before the start of the show. With a horse like this ask how long the last peak lasted?

[10:13] Why doesn't the balance last? At the lower levels it's achievable. It's very possible to get a horse balanced in a state where you have a level way of being across the board.

[10:53] When you start taking horses to a higher level, you have to start thinking about getting into the zone. When you're operating at a very high level, you are asking for a very high level of mental sharpness which can cause a certain amount of stress.

[12:03] As the zone moves higher, it's a different conversation than the balanced teeter-totter.

[12:27] Think about how much you are taking the horse out of its comfort zone, and its ability level.

[13:09] Horses who have to max out physically are pushing the edge of mental.

[14:15] I love showing, because it brings up my awareness about the subject. These things happen everywhere where you work with your horse.

[14:44] It's important to remember when you work a horse at a high level, you are bringing a certain amount of stress, so it's important to also bring the horse down from that level of stress. 

Links and Resources:

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!