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Train Your Own Horse with Stacy Westfall

Jan 16, 2019

Issues that affect the way a rider thinks has been the topic for this podcast season. This episode is about something that you should spend some time contemplating when you are at home sitting on the couch. If you do, it will change the way you ride.

This topic is pressure. How do you react when you hear me say pressure? What flashes in your mind? What do you picture when I say pressure and horse? Understanding that a horse doesn’t feel pressure the way that you do, and the right pressure will allow your horse to learn and grow, can make you a better rider.

Show Notes

[03:37] My first podcast episode is set to a video of horses playing on YouTube. When you watch the horses play, you are watching an entire game of pressure.

[03:58] Horses aren't afraid of pressure. A lot of riders try to create a pressure free world for their horses, but it isn't real.

[04:39] A pressure-free world isn't a realistic view of our lives or of the horse's life.

[05:07] If you watch horses in the wild, there is pressure from other horses. There is also external pressure from the environment.

[05:54] To build muscle, we need a form of resistance or pressure.

[06:11] I propose that it is a form of pressure that builds a horse's mind.

[06:19] Applying pressure on can break down a horse mentally.

[06:30] By avoiding pressure the horse becomes weaker.

[07:13] Denny Emerson of Tamarack Hill Farm talks about pressure and how it depends on context.

[09:33] My bareback bridleless ride with Roxy was not created without pressure.

Pressure as a theory is not just a theory for people. It can become a theory and principle for horses.

[10:15] Roxy understood that the pressure wasn't something to run from.

[10:39] We can also teach the horse by holding contact with the reins.

[11:01] You can teach the horse that training isn't a scary thing, but before that happens you have to believe it in your mind.

[11:14] A simple, but not easy exercise. Take the slack out of the reins and find the rhythm of the horse's head as it walks.

[11:36] When a horse walks their head moves up and down or slightly forward and back.

[12:17] Following the horse's head with your hand makes you easy to hold hands with.

[12:49] If you have a tenseness about the idea of contact in your mind, you won't have a good result.

[13:18] Both people and horses need to understand pressure in order to learn things.

[14:20] To advance in life, you need to be able to understand and handle degrees of pressure.

Links and Resources:

Stacy Westfall on YouTube

Tamarack Hill Farm

Stacy Westfall Championship Bareback & Bridleless Freestyle Reining with Roxy

Top 5 - Valegro & Charlotte Dujardin