Welcome to our FAQ page. Here are some tips for navigating the ever-growing information here:
- The fastest way to navigate is to take your mouse up to the 'FAQ' in the tabs at the top and hesitate. You should see drop down boxes appear with different subject. Choose the subject you are looking for
- scroll down through and look at all the FAQ's....
- Please be sure to look here before sending an email suggesting a new topic. Email requests for new topics will prompt new items being added to the FAQ only if the subject is not already covered.
- New topics frequently will NOT be listed at the top of the page but will be mixed in near other similar questions.
Will a DVD really help me or my horse?
Many of the questions that we receive can be answered by mastering....MASTERING, the techniques that appear on Basic Groundwork and Basic Body Control.
As a challenge to yourself you should watch the DVD's and work with your horse until you are doing the exercises on the DVD's at the same level shown on the DVD's. Many people simply try the ideas once or twice and move on. They miss what can happen when you become dedicate to mastering a task.
Think about a child learning to write. How would it look if they only practiced three or four hours one week? What about an adult learning to type-how would that look with only three or four hours of effort?
To do something excellent you must practice with dedication. Try this and you will see most of your training questions answered by just those two DVD's.
Can I send my horse for training?
Unfortunately Stacy is not accepting horses in training at this time.
The search for the right trainer for your horse...AND YOU! Can be a tough one but it is worth all the up front work in the end. Some things to consider include:
- what type of training you are looking for (getting started under saddle, finishing in a specific event, problem solving)
- what length of time you are looking at having the in training for (1-3 months, 3-6 months, 1-2 years, etc)
- what your budget is for the training
If you have event specific hopes for your horse (reining, western pleasure, etc) then I recommend that you find a horse show that you would hope to show in with your horse in the future. Attend that show and watch both the warm up pen and the show pen. Look for the people who are not just winning, but that are treating the horses AND THE PEOPLE the way you want to be treated. If you are watching a Non Pro class but you are looking for a professional trainer look around and see who is coaching that Non Pro. Look for people who are laughing and having fun or whatever the qualities would be of a group you would like to belong to. Approach and start a conversation!
Looking for recommendations from friends also helps. If you need to get your colt started under saddle try to think of someone you know who has recently had a horse started. Call and ask them about their experience. Remember there are always three sides to a story so don’t be afraid to get more than one opinion.
When I did still have time to take in outside training horses (I still train my own) I recommended a minimum of 3-4 months for starting under saddle. Most of the horses that I took to the show pen had been in training for one to two years before I would show them. Finished horses that needed a tune up would stay somewhere in between those times.
Prices can vary quite a bit between trainers and much of it is based on experience. More experienced trainers can costs $750-$1200 per month for training. The college that I attended, The University of Findlay, takes in horses for training for under $500.00 per month. For more information on their program follow this link.
How can I build a great relationship with my horse like you have with yours?
Building a great relationship with a horse is not all that different from building a great relationship with a friend or a child. Think about great friendships you have had during your lifetime. One of the big components is T-I-M-E. Great relationships might start with just an occasional thing but for them to remain great (think about a great marriage) they take TIME.
They take more than just time though. They take common goals. Yes, I know it is hard to get a horse to set goals...but do make sure that your goals line up with your horse. For example if your goal is to enjoy slow, peaceful trail rides you may want to reconsider purchacing that barrel racing horse your friend has named 'Lightning'. Some horses will naturally lean toward one area more than another.
Once you have time, and a common goal, you need to take the steps to get there. Want to ride in a 100 mile endurance ride? Get started on a PLAN to work toward that. You don't want to go the full 100 the first week.
The same thing is true if you have smaller goals like learning to canter this summer. Break it down into stages, trotting faster, trotting over logs, trotting up and down small hills, etc.
Great relationships happen with time, common goals, and knowledge. So keep seeking all three and you will get there.
How can I host a clinic?
A limited number of hosting opportunities may be available in the future. If you are interested in hosting please send us information about the facility including the size of indoor and outdoor arenas, number of stalls, seating for spectators, time of year preferred, etc. Please be aware that we receive a large number of requests.
Stacy is currently booked full for 2011. She is collecting information for 2012 events.
How can you help me learn?
Our primary teaching tools are our DVD’s and clinics. Our DVD's make us available to a large number of people and are an excellent way for you to get to know our training techniques. We also teach at Expos and horse fairs. Check out our events page to see where we’re appearing. Both of these options can give you a personal look at what we teach.
When you want to learn in a focused, small group setting we offer clinics both at our location as well as other select locations. In these sessions you will receive hands on training from Stacy.
How can I attend a clinic?
Check our events page and contact the appropriate contact listed for more information. Clinics at Westfall Horsemanship are limited to five riders only and are not open to auditors. Most of the clinics hosted by other facilities ARE open to auditors and typically accept ten riders.
Sometimes Stacy will hold special private clinics at her facility. These are small groups (1-2 generally) and are held for half a day (generally 8-12). The cost for these clinics in the past has been $500 per day with most choosing to attend two or three days in a row. These are usually held in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wed, Thursday). Stacy has not set any of these for this year but please click here if you are interested in attending in the future.
Do you offer an apprenticeship or Certification course?
No. We have not offered an apprenticeship or certification coarse and we are currently not set up to do so.
One of our goals for the near future is offering an apprenticeship or Certification course. We feel there is a need for qualified, trustworthy trainers around the country. If you are interested in being placed on a mailing list for information as it becomes available please Join The Herd
What do you recommend when buying a horse?
When you look at purchasing a horse you need to remember that the most expensive part is NOT the purchase price...it is the cost of keeping the horse. Remember that they need water, hay, grain, deworming, farrier, vet, etc. on an ongoing basis.
I recommend the most well trained horse you can afford. Trying to save money buy purchasing a horse that needs a lot of training usually turns out to cost more than you anticipated. Please see the FAQ on horse training prices.
If you are not experienced take along someone that is. Watch the Basic Groundwork DVD and notice what is said about reading the body language. Try doing some of the exercises from the DVD or ask the person selling the horse to do the exercises. Read the body lanugage. Is the horse scared, mad, quiet, spooky and are you equiped to handle this?
Spending extra money to have an experienced person you trust help you is well worth it as you will likely have this animal for years to come.
Groundwork training-why, how, when?
When I was a kid growing up in Maine I thought that groundwork was when you knocked the dirt of your horse and jumped on.
I have learned a lot as I have aged! As a kid I thought that it was a mystery (why do some buck, why do some spook, which one will do which)?
Now I know that much of the way a horse will respond to things undersaddle can be learned before hand by doing groundwork. The exercises in the Basic Groundwork DVD should be done with horses of all ages. If you did the exercises at one time but haven't done them for awhile you should review them at least twice a year (spring is always fresh and fun).
Much of the ground work can be done in small areas. Some exercises can be done in stalls (see stall training articles) or in the isleways of barns (see Bowing DVD).
Where can I find more answers to training questions like bolting, kicking at other horses, lazy or fast horses, biting, chewing the bit, and more?
There is information scattered all around the site (we are working on how to orginize it all) but the three locations to begin in would be 1) with the DVD's 2) the members site or 3) the articles page.
The DVD's were designed to answer your questions in the most complete method possible short of you attending a hands on clinic with your horse. The information covered in the DVD's, which range from 1- 2.5 hours long, includes both the spoken word and the visual of real life horses being trained. All of the DVD's, except the bridleless riding one, use horses that HAVE NOT DONE THE EXERCISES as well as horse that have so you can see the difference.
There are also articles on this website.
The members site, called 'The Herd', can be accessed by clicking here and joining for free. This will also place you on the list to receive our newsletter monthly..sometimes more often but mostly less often!
You can alsofollow this link to find articles that Stacy has written.
How do you get a horse to stand still while being mounted?
A horse that doesn't stand while being mounted is having a groundwork problem. I would suggest reviewing the Basic Groundwork DVD. If the horse is new to you and you are unsure of the training, or if you would like to improve the over all relationship you have with your hores, I would also recommend starting over.
Consider pretending that they horse was never broke to ride and take the horse through the three DVD's- Basic Groundwork, Starting Young Horses, and Basic Body Control. These will teach you and your horse better groundwork skills, greater softness, more respect of the handler, more confidence with the handler and a greater understanding of each other.
I have been trying to work some of the patterns from the DVD's with my horse but I notice he is a lot better one way than the other. Is this normal?
When training a horse, be it a 2 year old or a 20 year old, they are all individuals. Here are some of the things I keep in mind when I am training:
- If I have known the horse for a long time I ask myself if this is 'normal' for this horse (usually bratty, usually sweet, usually willing, usually stuborn, etc). If it is 'normal' for that horse then I will continue on. If it is not normal (usually willing but stuborn today) then I begin to ask myself other questions.
- If the horse is displaying a different attitude (subborn today but usually is willing) then it can be a symptom of something physical. Horses can get sore too, especially if they have had a lot of time off or are being asked to do things they don't normally do (like a long trail ride). Be aware that grumpy could be sore. If in doubt ask a pro like your vet or to begin with a trusted friend.
- If the horse seems very 'one sided', for example only taking the right lead, you need to be a bit of a dectective. Has the horse always been like this? Does he do this only on a lunge line? Will he take both leads in the pasture while running loose? How about in a round pen or when being ridden? If he avoids it always there is a good chance it is a physical problem. I have had both vets and chiropractors fix this kind of stuff. If it is only on the lunge line or being ridden but seems fine in the pasture then you probably have a training problem.
- Always consult with your vet. Sometimes when vets come out for 'routine' visits you can ask them some other questions like 'does this look normal to you' and save yourself an extra trip charge. Check with your local vet.
How long or hard should I work my horse?
When I am working a horse I usually guage the 'how hard' part on their breathing. I find this to be a better indicator for me then the amount that they sweat. Sometimes they are sweating on hot days or because they have heavy winter coats. Although sweat can be factored in (remember to feed your electrolites) it is rare to find the breathing rate to be inaccurate.
If your horse has been hanging out in the pasture it would not be surprising to see him breathing hard after just 5-10 minutes of work on a lunge line. As they get more fit you should notice that they can work longer and/or harder without breathing hard (sound familiar?). Remember slow and steady wins the race...and pays less vet bills along the way!
Where are you located?
In central Ohio approximately forty minutes north of Columbus.
How do I get my FREE DVD, Ride Safely on the Trail?
Weaver Leather and Stacy Westfall have come together to create this DVD, Ride Safely on the Trail. Go for a trail ride with Stacy and learn how to solve training issues that you and your horse may encounter while riding on the trails. This DVD is FREE with any purchase of a Weaver Leather product.
To redeem your FREE DVD just visit Weaver's website
, answer three simple questions about your product purchase, supply your shipping information, and you will receive your FREE DVD in the mail. It's as easy as that! Happy trail riding!
Looking for other information from Stacy? Join her FREE members community to access training tips and ask Stacy questions.
Where do those great photos on your website come from?
My photos come from horse shows, personal photos, event photographer, and people like you who send me photos. If I am at home and want professional quality photos my choice is Tanya Corzatt, www.corzattphotography.com. Tanya has the ability to capture unique and memorable photos every session.
Where can I find the bareback/bridle-less run?
The Congress winning bareback bridle-less freestyle can be viewed in our multimedia gallery. Limited numbers of the run may be available during product specials.
I am interested in reining. Where do I begin?
The NRHA rule book says, “To rein a horse is not only to guide him but also to control his every movement. The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance…”
This is what I was working toward as I was studying how to communicate more clearly with my horses.
The first step is to begin studying the horse and refining as many parts as you can. Gain control on the ground and then on their back and all the while, study what they are thinking. Go visit a local NRHA show and watch the “Green Reiner/Green as Grass or Rookie” classes and watch the horses, riders and coaches. You can meet a lot of great people and learn more about the sport.
About Roxy-the bareback/bridle-less mare: How old is she, how long did it take to train her, how is she bred?
Roxy’s registered name is Whizards Baby Doll (American Quarter Horse Association). She was a five-year-old when we won the Open Freestyle at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress. Roxy came to us to be started under saddle as a two-year-old. I was the first one to ride her and I trained her during her two-year-old year. Jesse trained her during her three-year-old year and rode her to the Reserve Championship at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity LTD Open Division. I began showing her bridle-less in my wedding dress when she was a four-year-old (we won the Congress that year too). Roxy is by Whizard Jac and out of a daughter of Gunners Rambo. For more info follow this link.
Have you ever fallen off while riding one of your bareback, bridle-less runs?
Please stop asking :) ...not yet but it could happen any time.
How do you choose the tools that you use?
After working in the horse industry for many years I have used many diffrent products. Some work better than others and some last longer than others. My goal is to find products that work well and last. Keep up with our website and we will be featuring diffrent products and telling you why we use it. My favorite story is about how we would drag our arena before we got our new TR3/Kiser drag...
What do you recommend for someone who wants to go into horse training as a profession?
There are several choices that you have for learning. Each individual should weigh the pros and cons and make an educated decision.
Choices in no particular order:
Go to college: This is an excellent choice especially if you desire a college degree. There are many excellent colleges. This choice also works well if you would like to focus on a specific area inside the equine industry where a degree is valued, such as nutrition, reproduction, etc. The biggest downside is the cost. Also be aware of the class size and student-to-teacher ratio, variation in experience level among students in same class, etc.
Study with a clinician/trainer: This is and should be a growing choice among people who wish to learn more about training horses. You have the opportunity to pick your own teacher and can study their methods and results. The student-to-teacher ratio is small and although there are expenses involved in paying for the teaching they are generally less than college (usually a clinic type setup). There is more opportunity to focus on the training aspect (no general elective classes to take) and the learning can be separated to fit your lifestyle. The downside is the limited availably.
Go to work: Did I mention limited availability in the last one? In this situation the availability is very, very limited. It is an excellent learning opportunity because you learn while you get paid (even if it is very little pay :)). Because you are working for an employer whose business depends on your ability the training you receive is very focused. Generally the student-teacher ratio is excellent (here it is 1.5/1). I already mentioned the disadvantage: very limited availability.
How to buy something in the shop?
1) To order click on the 'Add to cart' button for each item you wish to purchace.
2) Each time you click 'Add to cart' your screen will take you back to the top of the shopping page and display 'Your shopping cart' in the upper right hand corner.
3) When you have placed all the items you wish to order in 'Your Shopping Cart'. Review the quantities (each one has a drop down box for ordering more than one), and review the total cost.
4) If you wish to remove an item simply click on the X beside the item. If you wish to change the quantity please use the drop down box.
5) When you are satisfied with the items in 'Your shopping cart' click on the button under your total that is labeled "Order"
You will be moving to the secure part of the site (SSL)
6) If you are a member and logged in the screen will be filled out except for your credit card information (we DO NOT store CC info). If the screen is not filled in please provide the information requested. IMPORTANT NOTE: THE BILLING ADDRESS MUST MATCH THE BILLING ADDRESS OF YOUR CREDIT CARD OR IT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. The shipping address can vary from the billing address.
7) The Credit Card CVV asked for is the three digit code on the back of your card. The exp. month and year can be entered as two digit numbers (example March as 03 and the 2008 as 08.)
How old is Stacy?
Old enough to know better than to answer that! A day or two over twenty five…1974 actually.
What Does a Clinic Cost?
The cost varies by clinic ranging from $250 per day (clinics held at other farms) and up ($2,000 for a 4 day personal clinic for example). Please look up each clinic to see the specific price. Stacy always recommends watching her DVD’s and using the techniques on your horse before attending a clinic. This will allow you to ask specific questions beginning on day one and will allow you to accelerate your learning during the clinic. (Please note that watching Basic Groundwork and Basic Body Control are recommended for all clinics.)
People who are interested in learning more in a small group setting with personal attention from Stacy Westfall. Individual and groups both attend. The majority of attendees are women but men do also attend. Some people look at it as a great get away/learning adventure with their horse and sometimes with their friends.
What will you cover during the clinic?
1) All clinics will have a foundation in groundwork. It is Stacy’s belief that you must first become not only safe with your horse on the ground but that the following three things must be achieved
A) you learn to read your horses body language
B) your horse learns to read your body language
C) your horse learns emotional control.
These three things will be tested by Stacy asking you to perform specific patterns from the ground.
2) All clinics will test your communication with your horse from the saddle. Stacy will explain, demonstrate and coach you through achieving forward motion, improving your stop and back, understanding the difference between bending and counter-bending, deciding when to use voice cues and when not to, etc. Everyone will be coached through patterns that they can use once they go home to measure their progress.
3) Individual questions and issues will be addressed. Every horse-and-rider combination has similar, yet unique needs. Due to the small class sizes Stacy is able to give you specific exercises for you and your horse. This not only will help you but will allow others in the class to see how that particular challenge was handled, offering them additional knowledge they can use in the future.
Are spectators allowed?
Clinics held in Mount Gilead, Ohio are closed to spectators. Those participating in the clinic are allowed to have one additional person with them during the clinic at no additional charge.
Is a stall included in the price?
Yes, a stall is included in the price of the clinic. They have rubber mats as well as hay racks and corner feeders (see photo).
Is bedding for the stall included?
Yes, straw bedding is included or you may bring your own bedding. Stacy beds her horses in straw as it is generally less dusty, leaves less dust in their coats and studies have shown that horses lay down 20-30% more when bedded in straw, AND, it’s loved by the local farmers as it is more beneficial to their fields. Whichever bedding you choose, please note that you are responsible for cleaning your stall. You do not need to strip the stall on the final day as we will do this for you.
Who feeds the horses?
You are responsible for bringing all feed and supplements for your horse. You should plan on caring for your horse just as you would be at a horse show, including feeding and cleaning the stall. We do, however, offer to give your horse their breakfast at approximately 7 a.m. if you leave the feed (hay/grain/supplements) measured out in front of your stall with written instructions. Some people find this helpful as the horses have more time to eat. There are hayracks in the stalls, and you may use them if you wish, but you DO NOT have to. They are there because Stacy likes to feed free-choice hay to her horses. Please note: If your horse is unaccustomed to using a hay rack and you wish to use it, please offer hay both in the rack as well as the corner feeder. Some horses do have a learning curve with the hayracks. Corner feeders are also in the stalls (see photo) and have concrete bottoms. You may feed both hay and grain in these or you may provide your own feed tub.
Will I be able to find the water hydrant? Do I bring my own water buckets/muck buckets/pitch forks?
Upon checking in you will be given a short tour of the barn and grounds. During this tour you will be shown where the water hydrants (all stalls are in reach of a hose), manure spreader, turnout pen, and restroom are located. Water buckets are available (they have been bleached) or you may bring your own. Pitch forks for both straw and shavings as well as muck buckets are also available or you may bring your own.
Is there a place to turn my horse out?
There is a turn out pen located just outside of the barn area. It is constructed of a wooden four-board fence with electrobraid electric fencing running along the inside as well as along the top of the gate to discourage chewing and pushing on the fence. Feel free to use the turnout as needed while also sharing with others.
Where do I stay?
Do you have RV hookups or are there local hotels? Events held in Mount Gilead, Ohio are held at Stacy’s personal farm and there are no hookups available on site. The Mount Gilead State park (http://www.stateparks.com/mount_gilead.html) has hookups available and is approximately two and a half miles from Stacy’s farm. Dogwood Valley (http://www.dogwoodvalleycamping.com/) also has hookups and is approximately five-and-a-half miles away.
The local Bed & Breakfast, The Roseheart Inn, (http://www.roseheartinn.com
) is located approximately three miles away and is a popular choice. They offer a Westfall Horsemanship discount, making it comparable to the other local hotels in price.
How much riding will I do?
Safety and horsemanship are two of the many things you will be learning during your clinic. The structure of the clinic will include demonstrations by Stacy, groundwork and riding. This setup is to enhance both your learning and the soundness and performance of your horses. Sore horses don’t perform well and neither do sore riders! Generally the first two days of a clinic involve groundwork in the morning and riding in the afternoon. Days three and four can be more heavily weighted toward riding, if you choose and your horse is prepared. All riders and horses should be as fit as possible to maximize the clinic. The gauge we will use during the exercise will be your horse’s respiration (and maybe yours) as well as the learning process. We encourage you to know yourself and know your horse. All riders will be respected if they choose to dismount to rest themselves and their horses.
Can you explain how to tie the knot on a rope halter?
Instructions for tying the rope halter knot, as well as photos are available by clicking here.
Can you explain how to use the Quick Halter Hook?
Instructions for tusing the Quick Halter Hook, as well as photos are available by clicking here.
Will I be able to ride bareback and bridleless if I feel I am ready?
There will be no bareback and bridleless riding. All riding must be done with a saddle and a bridle. For those of you wishing to pursue bridleless riding, Stacy will explain and demonstrate how she trains her horses for bridleless riding without removing the bridle. And please note, all riding must be done during clinic hours and under supervision due to insurance issues.
When can I check in?
You may check in and move your horse in either the day of or the day before your scheduled clinic. Check-out may be done the final day or the morning following the end of your clinic. Please schedule your check-in time with the office at 419-946-4848 to ensure that someone will be there to meet you.
What equipment should I bring?
You should bring all the normal equipment you would use to prepare and maintain your horse. Feeds, riding equipment (English or Western is acceptable) liniments, etc. Stacy will be showing you some of her equipment and why she uses it, such as the rope halter, round rope lunge lines, stick and string, snaffle and shanked bits. You will have a chance to try out these items and we’ll have them available for purchase.
What if I get lost driving in? What if I need to ask a question after hours?
You will be given an after-hours contact number when you schedule your check-in time. Use this number to call with any questions during your travel or during the clinic after normal business hours.
Where will I park my horse trailer if I'm not camping in it?
Trailer parking is available onsite. Many people prefer to keep their saddles, etc. in their trailer overnight. Spots for parking the trailers are close enough that this is easily done.
What are the barn hours?
Events in Mount Gilead are held at Stacy’s personal home. The barn hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Who did you learn from? Did you study with other natural horsemanship trainers?
No, I never studied with other natural horsemanship trainers. When I was 14 I attended a John Lyons symposium as a spectator, and that was the extent of my exposure.
I did not hear the term “natural horsemanship” until after my NRHA Futurity Championship ride. At that time when I walked out of the show pen people were asking me if I studied Parelli and my answer was “I know he is a clinician but why do you think I ride with him?” I didn’t know about his program or that he rode bridle-less.
All I wanted to do was ride horses and I rode every one I could find in Maine. When I was in high school a teacher asked me what I was going to do after college and when I sounded disappointed about my choices he asked me what I wanted to do. I said ‘I want to ride horses but you can’t go to college for that.” He sent me to do some research to see if it was possible to go to college for a degree that had to do with horses . . . and it was.
I had never been to an expo until I was an upperclassman in college. I learned many things from riding with people such as Mike Flarida, Dan Huss, Steve Brown, Rusty Dare, Don Boyd, etc. All that I learned from them I combined with what I had learned from my Mom, Sherri — which was always try to figure out why, why, why your horse is doing that.
I am honored now to consider myself friends with other ‘natural horsemanship” clinicians.
Can I ride the day before the clinic? Can I ride early or late?
No riding outside of clinic times is allowed. The purpose of the clinic is to receive training with your horse under supervision of Stacy. There is no need to warm your horse up before the clinic because it is built into the clinic. You may, however, lead your horse around the arenas or take advantage of the turnout.
Do you have horses for sale?
We do have horses for sale from time-to-time. You can check out the 'Horses for Sale' page for updated information.
Can you tell me more about the horses you ride? What breed are they? What are they like?