My Day with Stacy Westfall

The grand-prize winner of Horse & Rider's 2008 Reining 101 Sweepstakes shares her experience of a day with trainer Stacy Westfall--and her snapshots.

I wanted to let you know what a great time I had in Ohio. I feel so honored to have had the opportunity to spend a day one-on-one with such a wonderful person. Stacy Westfall was so sweet and nice!

Jesse learns to stay calm under pressure and face Stacy. | Photos by Terri Beckham

She helped me with so many things. She started right off with showing me how to break my old habit and get my horse, Jesse, to be more respectful by using the “chicken dance” elbows to keep her out of my personal space. I love Jesse and want her to be close but need to be safe also so Stacy showed how I can have both things. By keeping her at least an elbow length away, she is close but not too close! Stacy said Jesse has a good foundation but by getting a more solid foundation I would get more respect from her.

Stacy explains balance and how to move your hips and hold your legs. |

She taught me how to create more pressure and teach Jesse to stay calm and control her emotions in stressful times. Jesse was pretty calm around the tarp and ball and took most everything in stride as if she had no concern over any of it.

When we rode I learned some new exercises to move Jesse’s forequarters and hindquarters. She was somewhat resistive at first but with practice we seemed to communicate much better. The pattern Stacy had me learn to ride is fantastic. I love it! I am learning to balance better through it!

Stacy has such a great way of communicating what she wants you to do. She uses directions that are very easy to understand and visualize. Stacy was very complimentary at my skill level and said I was getting better at knowing my correct leads. She gave me some ideas to help me get even better.

The last thing we worked on was loading in the trailer. We have had terrible trailer issues since I bought a new trailer. So with Stacy’s suggestions we are now loading!

From left: Jesse, Rebecca Reed, Stacy Westfall and Popcorn |

Thank you all so much for this wonderful opportunity to learn from such a fantastic instructor and person. I am truly blessed to have had such an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life! I’m forever grateful for this chance of a lifetime!

Rebecca Reed lives in Edinburg, Ill. Team Horse & Rider member Stacy Westfall is best known for her bareback and bridleless riding, which has won her reining titles and an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ TV talk show.

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