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What material would you use when building your own round pen for horses?

29/01/15

“I’m looking at building a round pen for starting and working my horses. I have seen ones with full wooden sides, some with boards, with shade cloth for sides and even some with electric tape. Which would you recommend? I’m not keen on the tape type incase the horse goes through it.”-Laura R.M.‎

As you have noticed there are quite a few options when it comes to building a round pen. Taking a look at how you are going to use the round pen as well as the climate might help you make your decision.horses and round pen safety

While I was training in Ohio I had a round pen made from the metal panels. You can see this round pen in the Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac series. The reason I chose to use this type of round pen was because I knew I was going to need to use it in my indoor riding arena when the weather was bad outside. I dreamed of having a covered, enclosed round pen but it was never in the budget. The advantage of having the portable panels was that I could also move the round pen to my outdoor arena when the weather was good.

The biggest advantage for me was that I could take the round pen down when I needed to drag the footing. I have had the opportunity to use a few enclosed round pens and the one issue that I have seen was when people don’t plan for how they are going to maintain the footing inside a small pen. Without proper maintenance the footing can get extremely packed and it can also become very sloped, like a bowl, which makes it more likely for a horse to trip. Be sure that the pen has a gate large enough for a tractor or drag or whatever equipment you plan on maintaining the footing with.

I have also used round pens with solid walls half way up and all the way up. One advantage of the solid walled round pen was that the horses were very focused as they couldn’t look out. One disadvantage was that no air could get in, during the summer months it was like an airless desert. The pens that had solid wood bottoms and then bars above allowed for air movement.

The round pen in this photo was at one of the horse motels we stopped at along our trip. It was in New Mexico and they wanted to maximize airflow so they used the mesh wire but they also wanted to minimize the sand blowing out so they added a row of industrial belting, similar to a rubber mat, as a lower barrier. After using it for awhile they decided they want to add another layer of the belt and they think it will still allow enough air flow. Consider how you want to use your round pen, what type of footing you will use and how you will maintain it, and what materials are available and will hold up well in your climate.

Have you built your own round pen? Where do you live? What materials did you use? Are you happy with the results?


Stacy Westfall: Mounted shooting practice with Outlaw Annie

28/01/15

If you are interested in mounted shooting (like I am) and you have a chance to ride with Outlaw Annie (like I did)…you take it! I was in town for a photo shoot and Annie offered to coach me with my horse that I am introducing to the sport. She also allowed me to ride one of her well trained horses. I had a blast (pun intended) and hope I get to do it again. In the meantime my thumb needs to take up an exercise routine…I can ride faster than my thumb can work! (it is a single action .45)

This isn’t my first time riding with Annie Bianco Ellett but it has been a few years and I have more experience now. Annie is a Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) World Champion Cowgirl and Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) Overall World Champion. She is perhaps the most recognized person in all of cowboy mounted shooting and has helped revolutionize the sport.  Annie travels the country competing and offering shooting seminars. Her student following is world wide. Annie’s shooting and riding skills have been featured on ESPN, Outdoor Life Network, TNN and Fox Sports Television.

For those of you who are interested in the training, I have been video taping how I am introducing Newt to the sport of mounted shooting. I hope to have that series ready to go sometime in February or March leading up to my appearance at The Road to the Horse where I will also be speaking about the sport of mounted shooting.


Clipping, airbrushing and photos!

27/01/15

In the dictionary, under the phrase ‘photo shoot’ it should say; a very long day. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun, but it always includes lots of work. The one ‘click’ of the camera that captures the image is the tiniest part of the whole day. It is also the end goal.

Today Newt and I did a photo shoot for the cover of Western Shooting Horse & Gun. Prep started yesterday with Newt getting clipped and bathed while the rest of the crew scouted the location. Today involved airbrushing (my face!) ironing, staging, laughing and lots of pictures. Jesse grabbed this photo from behind the scenes. We did a great group shot at the end of the day with everyone in it…thank goodness for a timer on the camera so Scott could run into the photo. Thanks to Julie for the amazing makeup and hair, Scott for working magic with the camera, Rick and Ann Pihl for choosing me for the cover and “Outlaw Annie” for modeling encouragement (I can’t wait to ride with you tomorrow!).

This is all being done leading up to the Road to the Horse in March where the Mounted Shooters of America will be presenting their MSA All Star Shootout…and I will be there telling my story of how I got involved in mounted shooting.

Photo shoot for Western Shooting Horse & Gun with Stacy Westfall


Tour of Stacy Westfall’s Motorhome: 2015 Fleetwood Discovery 40G

26/01/15

When we sold our home, a year ago this February, the hardest thing was cutting down on the amount of ‘stuff’ that our family of five had. It clearly must have been a mindset issue because we have now been living in a motorhome for four months with room to spare. Seriously, I have empty totes under the storage bin that I thought I needed and haven’t filled yet.

Here are some questions (and answers) that people have asked after finding out we were living in a motorhome:

1) I love my family…but I don’t think I could be cooped up together 24-7…. what about privacy??

Thankfully we are not cooped up 24-7 with each other. Part of living in the motorhome has been traveling to new (and warmer) places. In the morning the horse chores need to be done and school starts up. We are all in and out of the motorhome, sometimes for the horses, sometimes to go hiking and other times for school projects. We are also camping in areas where there are other people. Many RV parks have a recreation room, a swimming pool or another type of gathering place where people gather and some or all of us will wander in and out of there. With all the moving around there are as many times that I am alone in the motorhome as I was when we lived in our house.

2) Favorite food to eat/make…favorite recipe you make?

My favorite food to eat…yikes, thats tough. Pizza is my go to. Did you know I had pizza in the hospital after the birth of each of my children? Papa John’s with Green Pepper & Onions. I love great Greek food or Mediterranean food too…I could go on but I better stop there.

I don’t love to make pizza though so I more often make: spaghetti and garlic bread, pasta salad, tacos and I’m currently into soups.

3) So glad you asked that question..it’s been on my mind about her food/ meals situation…

One of the biggest changes is that when we left Ohio in November we chose to pull our horse trailer and not bring a run-around vehicle. This means that we don’t go out to eat as often as we did before. It is amazing how much money we have saved as a side effect of this…especially because I can’t run to the coffee shop for a latte. On the positive side, this has driven me to learn how to make my own lattes at home! I think that might be another video….

4) I’m assuming you homeschool your kids?

Yes. We had homeschooled in the past and when we listed our home for sale, a year and a half before it sold, we began homeschooling again.

5) How do you transport the horses?  Does the Motorhome pull the horse trailer?

Yes, we are currently towing a 3 horse bumper pull with the motorhome. This allows us to keep the front stall full of hay and still have room for the two horses that are traveling with us. We refill the hay and grain as we travel and also carry some hay cubes.

If you have additional questions about our motorhome adventure please leave them in the comments below and I will try to work them into an upcoming blog and/or video.


Perfect Imperfections: The story of the mini horse who could…and the girl who did it.

25/01/15

Aimee Schulz and Skip To My Lulu Get your tissues ready. Most of you know that I love mini horses but this story would be wonderful even if it wasn’t a mini.

This is the story of a girl, Aimee Schulz, and her one-eyed mini Lulu. Aimee found Lulu in a group of 45 other minis that had been rescued from an owner who had starved and abused them. Well written and in her own words Aimee tells of the transformation….oops, I’m not going to tell you the whole story!

If you want to read the full story (and you should) follow this link to http://www.horsecollaborative.com/perfect-imperfections/. I didn’t get permission to reprint the story here so trust me and follow this link.