Developing an independent seat: colt starting, reining, western dressage

In this video I discuss:
How to test your seat position.
My belief that there is no one perfect rider position.
There is one thing that all great riders have in common.

When I look at multiple disciplines I see there are lots of ways for riders to be effective. All great riders have an independent seat.

An independent seat allows the rider to use their waist and body to reduce the movement in your hand.
I believe a rider should have an independent seat and be able to move their body to other positions.
I’m thankful for growing up with the egg & spoon class because it taught me to have an independent seat.
During my midsummer break from showing I’ve decided to start Presto under saddle. I thought I would have started him before July but in the spring I could tell that calling on my ‘colt starting’ seat would have made my ‘dressage seat’ more difficult. I chose to wait to start Presto.

When I’m riding a reiner I change my riding position quite a bit.
Reiners are not judged on the rider position at all.
In colt starting the goal is safety and security.

If you want to test your neutral seat vs a deep seat, sit on your saddle and use your arms to try to pull your upper body forward. Resist with your lower body.
If you tip forward, then your hips are upright.
If you tip your hips back you can feel the ‘pull’ from your arms transfer down through your inner thigh.
This explains my body position in the famous bareback and bridleless photo.
If you want to test your independent seat, try riding with an egg & spoon or a glass of water. Or try this little training aid I created: Stacy Westfall/Weaver Leather Egg & Spoon.

I’ll use my colt starting muscle memory to start Presto under saddle and then I’ll change my muscle memory back to western dressage. Knowing that I have muscle memory for how to ride with a deep seat if something goes wrong gives me confidence as a rider.

In 2019 I plan on showing two of my horses in Western Dressage with the goal of showing at the Western Dressage World Show in October.
Along the way, I am also training and showing in traditional dressage, reining and ranch riding with my quarter horses.
I’m going to be sharing my journey so anyone who is interested can learn along with me.

Amazon links-Products
Weaver Leather Stacy Westfall Egg and Spoon Training Tool, Blue []

Cashel Quiet Ride Fly Mask with Ears and Long Nose –

Weaver Leather Trail Gear Pommel Bag:

Weaver Leather Stacy Westfall ProTack Oiled Split Rein, 5/8-Inch x 8-Feet, Brown:

Weaver Leather Stacy Westfall Stick and String:

Weaver Leather Stacy Westfall Rope Halter, Medium, Black with Blue Nose:

Weaver Leather Stacy Westfall Activity Ball, Medium, Blue: []

#AQHA#westerndressage #WDAA
#Ranch riding


  1. Martina Brown on July 28, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    I love this video! First I am watching Willow take off so nicely from the trot to the lope and it looks so smooth. Will I ever get there???? I hate to sound negative, however do you ever feel defeated at trying to accomplish a task? That is how I feel with getting that type of lope with Hildy. I have been working at this for years!!! I keep trying and trying. I am wondering if it is me….am I strong enough? Would you recommend the thighmaster from Suzanne Somers. Hahaha. Everyday when I lope her, I am evaluating. She lopes nice the first time for a few circles around the round pen, then she gets faster and faster and faster. When I try to massage her mouth or pull back and squeeze she breaks gate. I make her go again and she leaps forward. It is hard to ride like that and be calm at the same time. I will keep working at it and I know negative thoughts are not going to get a positive outcome, it is just sometimes I feel defeated at this task!….Why is it so hard!!

    • Stacy Westfall on July 30, 2019 at 7:48 am

      You HAVE to listen to the last zoom call inside the Video Vault. Bob described almost your exact situation…but from his perspective. I just started the upload.
      It is hard for you because it is hard for her. Have you tried increasing the number of times she lopes during groundwork?
      I really think Bob’s info will help. I should have asked him about his exercise routine. He did join something…and he even ran a 5k this spring!

      • Martina Brown on July 30, 2019 at 11:29 pm

        How do I get to the video vault?

        • Stacy Westfall on August 2, 2019 at 4:27 pm

          Check your email:)

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