Episode 2: Leadership vs Getting Along

“Just ‘getting along’ lacks leadership and horses are hardwired for leadership.” Stacy Westfall Click To Tweet

Today’s podcast topic walks the line between the mental idea of leadership versus the physical execution of leadership. I’m tempted to talk about the physical side of this topic, but season one is about the mental side.

I want to break everything down into the four-quadrant model, so we can get clarity before we put everything together and use it. In this episode, I’ll be talking about how leadership is different from just getting along and how it impacts the way we show up with our horses.

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“There is always an element of leadership for me in the relationship with my horse. Even though, I absolutely fully want to know them as who they are.” Stacy Westfall Click To Tweet

Show Notes

[00:54] The four square model is a really simple tool for breaking down complex problems.

[01:29] In this season, I’m focusing on the rider’s mind.

[01:31] This episode is about the idea of leadership and how it is different from simply just getting along and how this idea impacts the way that we show up with her horses.

[01:48] The interesting thing about this topic is how it walks the line between the mental idea of leadership and the physical idea of leadership.

[02:22] Horses are hardwired to look for a leader. If they don’t find a leader, they are compelled to step into that role.

[03:13] Some horses are more mild-mannered and some are more strong-willed.

[03:44] Jane shares an email about how her horse won’t go around the ring.

[04:27] Natural horsemanship came out with the idea that horses have emotions. If we recognize these emotions, we can use them to change the horse.

[05:10] Some people have used this idea as an excuse to just “get along”.

[06:06] There’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship with your horse.

[06:38] You can have an element of leadership in your relationship with your horse while still knowing them as who they are.

[07:28] Leadership is about actually taking the responsibility inside that relationship. You are responsible for your horses safety and what happens with your horse.

[08:03] An email from Amy about her new horse.

[09:46] Grandma’s rules. Between human relationships, there is a distinct difference between what different adults will allow. If children can determine this, so can horses. Grandmas rules are when horses notice the difference between handlers.

[11:12] Guilt can affect riders and what they are willing to ask for.

[13:12] If a horse’s state of mind is going to impact the training a lot, we have to admit that some horses are more strong-willed.

[13:54] What is your first gut reaction when I say you need to be a better leader? Do you show up feeling guilty when you ask your horse to do something.

[14:40] Are you trying too hard to be perfect and not giving the horse any responsibility?

[15:50] Your challenge for the week is to write down one place where you have really great leadership skills and one place where you need to improve.

“If a horse's state of mind is going to impact the training a lot, we have to admit that some horses are more strong-willed.” Stacy Westfall Click To Tweet

Links and Resources:

The 4 Square Model Stacy uses when approaching horse and rider challenges.


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120 Comments

  1. ca on December 20, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you for talking about leadership as a responsibility. That helps me understand how I can better help my horse be trusting in being a follower.

  2. Christina Wallace on December 20, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    I have learned over the years being a leader has gotten me much further with my horses than being their friend/peer and I am always trying to teach this method to my husband, with little avail. We listened to this podcast together and I could see a spark in his face … thank you, and now his journey of being a true leader has some foundational belief I could not get him to see!

  3. Katie Beth on December 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Stacy – thanks as always for sharing your knowledge with us. I wrote down that my leadership skills are great for groundwork and trailer loading. I struggle in areas like riding a nervous horse or when they could spook. I lose some of my confidence in the saddle. Thank you for helping me stop and reflect as well as all of the knowledge you have and will share. I never listened to a podcast before but I am listening to yours!

  4. Sue McWhorter on December 20, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Excellent description of leadership roles. I plan to share this with a friend struggling with this very issue.

  5. Taylor K on December 20, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I am just now getting around to listening to your podcasts…they are so inspiring and eye opening! I feel like i can be a good leader in a controlled environment (arena) but I loose my confidence once we get out on the range and are alone! I have no idea why….maybe because I feel like I lose control of the situation and surroundings? So I guess this could also fall into the fear topic and as a result of fear I lose my leadership. Now I just need to find out how to address it.

  6. Tanya Meyer on December 20, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I’m really excited to have discovered your podcast and I can really relate to both this episode and the previous one about fear. When you mentioned feeling guilt over asking the horse to do something I wanted to shout ‘that’s me’! The aspect of leadership vs getting along really resonates with me and I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Looking forward to more!

  7. Anna Mills on December 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Another great one! I feel like my leadership skills with horses are pretty good. I do think I could be stronger about it but where I feel I struggle with is with horse owners and people around me in general. I think because I grew up around here I don’t see Myself as a colleague and I think in return some people don’t see me that way ether.

  8. Brycie Goodell on December 20, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Once I learned that horses need a leader and I needed to be their leader it became much easier to be with them – I was afraid I would lose their companionship if I wasn’t their friend – But the opposite happened they actually want to hang with me more, as their leader. great podcasts

  9. Debbie Bagan on December 20, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I loved your podcast. Especially interesting is Grandma’s rules . My mare will only listen to you if you insist and when a green rider is on her she can be stubborn. I have learned to be fair and consistent.
    Thanks a bunch for your theories they really make you think things through more.

  10. Joann Smith on December 20, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Thank you for the podcast I loved the “Grandma’s rules” analogy. This is so much like parenting!! I heard a dog trainer once say, you get the kind of dog you tolerate. I think I will go back to my chestnut mare as a bit better leader.

  11. Joyce Docman on December 20, 2018 at 7:59 am

    I enjoy your podcasts, thank-you. Leadership is most important on the trail.

    • April King on December 20, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      I bought my horse when I was 14 years old and he just turned four. When I first got him we clicked but it did take some time to form leadership.
      Two years ago, I would take him out to ride and it seemed as if there was no boundaries of who was in charge and what needed to be done but today as I am 18 and he is a six year old we have a very defined line of the leader in our team.
      Our relationship is built on a lot of trust, hard work, and determination. We are a strong team and can accomplish anything together, before if I asked him to go across a bright blue tarp it would be a fight but now if I point him in a direction he will go regardless of how it might appear. I am the leader and he trusts me to not put him or I in harms way.
      This is such a great blog to have for riders that might be struggling on seeing the difference between getting along and leadership, So happy I kiatwned to this!

  12. Rochelle on December 20, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I definitely demand respect at feeding time, undersaddle is where I need to improve. I have not ridden my horses in years but am taking lessons with a good instructor on a good school horse (they call him slo mo)

  13. Jan Perkins on December 20, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Hmmmm – yes on the relationship & natural horsemanship description. I have not been holding either of us totally accountable, so over the last month I have been intentionally clearer on expectations & expecting him to do his part. Our communication has increased dramatically, & I am getting more of what I am asking for – that’s the good news. What is still not working well is his willingness to step up & do his part. I still feel like I am making him do some things. Making progress, but not feeling in sync yet…

  14. Kay Moyers on December 19, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    I sure do love my horse, but he has been a challenge for me…He was a stud horse till he was five and has a strong personality and is strong willed. He is super smart and very willing to learn, but he will take charge real quick if he knows you don’t know what you are doing…well, he is my first horse. I didn’t know what I was doing hahaha! He has been my best teacher in many ways. His strong personality forced me to learn how to communicate with him in a way that was not abusive, but straight forward and honest. Can’t never lie to Mac, he will remind you if you do! At first, I wanted to be his best friend. I loved him so much and still do. But Mac only had a little respect for me and then i was losing that. So I had to get myself to a point to where I understood that I had to be like Mac’s parent so to speak. It was my responsibility to manage this show! He was so patient with me as I was learning because if he truly wanted me dead, I would be! haha I have found myself in compromising positions where he could have kicked me and run me over and hurt me badly, but he chose not to. There was a time when i was learning to yield the hindquarters on the ground, and I really whacked him good because he would not yield. I saw the look in his eye, he didn’t like that enough that he bucked a little and I know he thought about kicking out but he chose not to. I have often wondered why he didn’t….. One thing I love about his strong personality is that this horse won’t quit! He will always keeping trying. I still sometimes struggle with leadership with him because frankly, Mac is a good leader haha. What I mean is this for example, I have gotten us lost twice. Mac kept trying to tell me to go another way and I DIDNT listen because I was the leader right? Well I got us lost. I finally decided to turn around and let Mac take us down that turn he said we needed to take. That horse had us back on the trail in just a few minutes! I still laugh at that. Also, I credit Mac with saving my life one day. We were riding down a trail with a friend and a very green mustang. We heard the tree crack, and Mac said we needed to go, but I was too busy trying to be his leader and make him listen to me. He tried his best to be good boy and stand there, but the tree cracked again and Mac said this time that we had to go and the tree fell right there where we were. We had no idea that tree was that close, but Mac sure did. HE MADE THE RIGHT DECISION AT THE RIGHT TIME! Now having said that, Mac can lose his composer and let his emotions get the best of him too, and that is when I feel I get to be the best leader. I know that I should always be the leader, and trust me, I sure wish I had the right skills to be. But I’m super thankful that Mac has stepped in a couple of times and helped me out! So now, I pray for continued growth in my leadership skills, even if Mac is the one who teaches me! I feel Im a good leader around the barn and I keep the barn rules enforced, but I need more leadership skills under saddle. Thanks Stacy!

  15. Brenda on December 19, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Podcast 2 – Being in the role of a leader has never been an issue for me at work, at home, playing sports or working with horses until Willie. He’s the new horse that I wouldn’t let in because I’m not over the heartbreak of losing my first horse. I couldn’t be a leader for Willie because I wouldn’t allow my heart to go there again. His response was to truly test me with some bad behaviors that made me want to give up, to doubt myself. So like you said in your podcast if I wasn’t going to lead him he was going to step up and he would lead me. I never thought about it that way or that it wasn’t a natural role for him so he was uncomfortable in the role of leader but it makes sense. He is quite a bit bigger than the mares but yet he lets them boss him around. Thank you for doing these podcasts and your Jac training videos, they have been very helpful .

  16. Diane Shepard on December 19, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Listening to this episode I realized as a teenager riding a lesson horse at my local barn I became that mare’s leader naturally. By spending time with her, brushing her til her coat was dust free and gleaming, riding her and just playing with her in the arena she turned to me for leadership. I had never heard of natural horsemanship in the late 70’s but Peppy Power and I developed a strong bond. As a young adult I bought my daughters horses and watched them become leaders to their equine partners. Several years ago I finally bought a handsome gelding for myself. He is a good boy, gentle and takes care of me on the trail. I realized however, listening to your podcast I am mostly getting along with him not really being his leader. Because he IS good and gentle and because i have limited time to ride as well as the fact my more “mature physique” makes me fearful I will get hurt (yes I commented on that episode too) I see I tend to just get along at times. He has a tendency to want to pick the speed at home when i ride and he picks fast from the get go which makes me fearful even though I know I’m a good rider. So my goal starting now is to start working with him to improve my leadership skills and our relationship. Thank you Stacy!

  17. Elisa on December 19, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    That was really good. It sure gave me a lot to think about where I need to be more of a leader and let my insecurities go. I’m looking forward to hearing the rest. Thank you.

  18. Loren Yerks on December 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    I’m very confident in my leadership on the ground. I need more work on my leadership in the saddle………a work in progress. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  19. Deanna Main on December 19, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I have great leadership skills with my horse on the ground and to a degree, when I am barebacking him. However, I lose my leadership skills, when it comes to tacking him up with a western saddle, due to behaviors he developed. (He has had vet, massage, and chiropractic clearance.) Thanks for your comment about my horse needing to take on some responsibility for his actions. Up to this point, I had made excuses for him or taken the blame.

  20. Darick Adams on December 19, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    This is a favorite topic of mine to discuss and learn more about because I am constantly trying to learn more and better ways to be seen as a more trustworthy leader for the horses I work with while maintaining and building that coveted relationship that you can only have with a horse. I don’t think I’m qualified to speak to anyone about what is right or wrong on this subject but I do feel that you must be able to establish yourself as a fair and trustworthy leader in a horse’s mind before you can start building on the relationship and I think that’s where a lot of people begin to lose heart – lead horses in a herd have to do some pretty brutal and aggressive (in our minds) things to ensure and keep that position.

  21. Nancy Thiessen on December 19, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    When I was listening and you said “getting along” I immediately thought of what we allow. We allow behavior we don’t want to put in effort to change or we don’t know how. We allow it so we just get along. I’ve seen the getting along go to not getting along in a big hurry, and it was obvious who the leader was.

  22. Terri Anderson on December 19, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    This is a really good podcast! I am not exactly feeling guilty for asking from my horse, but I have a horse that was seriously unsound and I have spent 2 years of research and my own labor (education nutrition massage therapy ect and also an experimental drug), and he is now sound!! But I am having to think about leadership as he is only 6 and has had 2 years off!! But I am hesitant to ask as much as I should be as I am afraid he will not stay sound? So then it turns into my fear?

  23. Jodie on December 19, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    My horse is a natural leader and often lunges me as opposed to me lunging her. I couldn’t work out what was happening until my sister video us and I realised she had reversed our roles! Whilst it was funny it also showed me how much harder I had to work with her to be the leader. I struggle with guilt as you mentioned in the podcast but seeing her as strong willed certainly changes how my mind processes the situation and what I need to do to be her leader. Another great insight – Thanks Stacy

  24. John M Stackhouse on December 19, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Your way is a very good way to explain how to break down relationship barriers using your great 4 square method! I was physically and mentally abused as a child. My father beat me nearly to death one Friday night, when I was a skinny 6 year old kid. That was 62 years ago. He broke my right hip and a couple of ribs, and beat all the air out of my lungs. They were too scared to take me to a hospital, so my bones knitted back as best they could. I was 6th of 7 children, but for some reason I never figured out, my parents just hated me without cause. I had no idea about leaders and followers back then. I just tried my best to limit the number of beatings I got. It wasn’t until I enlisted in the US Marine Corps, hoping to become a Marine (which I did), that I learned about leaders and followers. Btw, nobody joins the Marine Corps. You either become one, or you don’t. My D.I.’s discovered that I was a natural leader and eventually all the other recruits in my unit noticed I was, too. One of my D.I.’s took a personal interest in me and became my mentor/father. He taught me how to use my natural leadership to eventually become a leader of men. During his mentoring, I came to understand that there are a lot more followers than there are leaders.
    It dawned on me, too, that horses are a lot like people in that respect. So are wolves. And horses behave differently from each other, especially between stallions and mares. Or geldings and fillies. At first, I saw that the males were more about leading and the females were more about following. Later, I realized that leaders could be either sex. And later, still, I came to understand that I always had to be the leader with my horses, without being abusive. I sure didn’t grow up that way. I’ll be forever gratefull until the day I pass away, for the D.I. that took an interest in me and became my mentor/father. Once I understood that I always had to be my horses leader, our relationships grew tremendously! My horses came to trust me completely and followed my lead, even over new terrain. My horses trusted me to keep them safe without me having to break their spirit. We became friends, actually!
    I noticed right away when I first saw a video of you performing, that you had to be a natural leader in order to achieve the marvelous things you’ve been able to do with your horses. Your dad may have taught you a lot, or not, but leadership was in you from the start, I think. Thank you for these podcasts and notes! You’re a good person.

  25. Peggy on December 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    You are so inspirational, and I want to absorb and apply all your knowledge and finesse. We use our horses to Ranch, (sometimes tie onto a bull or cow to dr. it, move cattle, trust my four year old with my old 4-H horse), sometimes I’ll get practiced up and go to a local open show, barrel race, breakaway, or team roping, or enter the kids and their minis in a parade. I also lead the local horse 4-H club. I know there’s better ways to explain things to the kids than how I currently do, and better ways to get ‘more’ from our own horses. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and applications! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  26. Vicki Conrad on December 19, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    I do feel i have a tremendous amount of leadership on the ground when teaching new things to my horses. When in the saddle i can’t see the movement or feel it as well. I tend to give in at the wrong moment. Working on it all the time.

  27. Jordan on December 19, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    This greatly connects to an experience I had. I’ve owned and ridden many horses. I stumbled upon one I could just not figure out. He was a very strong willed horse. I did not establish that I was leader effectively. Because of his strong will, he was more resistant in training. Didn’t want to accept anything like my other horses. I felt bad for trying to push him, so I quit. This did nothing to improve his behavior. I had too much emotions attached so I knew he needed to be sent to someone without any connections. He came back good. I kept up with the work since he wasn’t as resistant to not being a leader.

  28. Alex on December 19, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I find I have better leadership skills with my horse on the ground. I question myself so much more when I’m riding, as I’m still relatively new to riding and I find I’m often asking my horse if I’ve asked him the right way to do the thing I want. On the ground, I’m much more comfortable in my own body and what I’m asking him to do. Rather than stopping every time thinking, did I do that right?

  29. Monaca Utopia Zlatic on December 19, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    One area that I have great leadership skills? I don’t really know myself well. I would guess that I easily interact with the horse, am kind and gentle. I would definitely say I have fear over standing up for myself and tend to get really mean if I get confused uncomfortable or have a lack of information in order to correct a problem

  30. Mara Vergon on December 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    The concept of leadership is extremely important to me as an avid trail rider. I currently ride a mare, who I love, but who ofter has very strong opinions as to who should be the “leader”. I have spent, and continue to spend, a lot of time in the arena with her to build a stronger role as leader, so she is less likely to question out on the trail where it is much more important for her to step where I ask, as stepping wrong could mean a bad situation.

  31. Debbie K Heidemann on December 19, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Stacy,
    I enjoyed your podcast alot, it really helps me think about things I hadn’t thought about before. I used to show horses way back in the day, and am going to try showing again this year. I own a 3 yr old gelding that has a wonderful start and with your knowledge I know I will succeed doing my best I can. Thanks so much for your thoughts and sharing them with us !

  32. Annie on December 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I was in a conversation with someone just this week and the subject of leadership came up. She said “You never were a leader were you?”. I said ” No never was a leader”. I’ve thought about that conversation since then. I’ve never been a leader of people. My involvement with horses is a different story and that’s where many people don’t know that side of me. The leadership I’ve learned with my horses compensates for what I lack in leadership with people. I am an outwardly quiet person but the horse and I can read each other like a book. It has been an awesome, eye opening experience of self discovery.

  33. Amy Jorgensen on December 19, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Love these podcasts. I take something away from each one and apply it to my training. I really enjoyed this one, as it hit very close to home for me. Sometimes I have a hard time finding the balance. If I go into a lesson with high expectations I tend to ride a little more aggressively (thinking I am being a leader) and when it doesn’t go the way I thought it would I get frustrated and so does the horse. I have learned that if I go into a lesson with a realistic goal and a more relaxed demeanor I am a much more effective leader for my horse and things go so much smoother. So much easier to build on those lessons than the ones I leave discouraged and frustrated.

  34. Marilyn Krzus on December 19, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    When I first started riding my daughter’s horse for her (had to take lessons so I knew what I was doing!), he really had control over me. He went where he wanted to at the speed he wanted to go. It took quite some time, but one thing my daughter told me to do was if he was trying to turn in one direction because then he could head for the door, to turn him the opposite of the way he wanted to go. Then, YOU become the leader—he does not. One instructor taught me that if I wanted him to walk but he wanted to trot, then trot him for quite a while. He learned not to question my speed (he always thinks he knows best?), because if he did, he’d be working longer at something than if he’d let ME make the decision. He’s very smart and learned quickly but always tests new people to see whether he needs to lead. I watch my daughter with him and see how much she is his leader, and I strive to be like her. She has that quiet confidence—she never needs to hit him ever or whip him. He’s perfect with her.

    On another note, he started nipping when we had food and such. We figured it was our new rider. We told her to smack him immediately (not a hard smack) to re-teach him that he is never to push you for food or bite you. She was always afraid to hurt him. We said it’s like children—smack them once and they’ll never do it again—but far more dangerous, that you MUST nip it in the bud immediately.

    In fact, even when we are just walking, I used to stick out my right elbow. If he got too close, he’d bump into it and back off. I never have trouble with him getting in my space, because he hits HIMSELF if he does…with my elbow.

    But it definitely takes conditioning to be in the right frame of mind to be his leader. It was difficult for me to be the leader initially, but being a leader also helps you help him with his fears, so it’s a very good thing when he can finally put himself in your hands and trust in you as his leader.

    It is definitely mind over matter to be the leader. Determine where you want to go (in a serpentine, say) and how you want to get there (say, trot). Then do not veer from your intention. That alone can help him understand who is leading whom.

    • Lynn driscoll on December 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Leadership instills confidence in training, riding, and getting the best result with logic. I see how my horse and are going to get along by always warming up with your clover leaf pattern. We do not need to use cones. I use this in arena or before a trail ride. Training tools can give a leader the ability to gage temperament quickly. My horses respect me and look forward to leadership. It is such a gift to depend on each other. Thanks for all the fabulous training over the years!!!

  35. Tina Grossmann on December 19, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I feel having confidence in yourself where your horse can trust you is the platform for a working relationship.

  36. Andrea Pratt on December 19, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    What I’m loving about these podcasts is that they have something useful for every level of rider/trainer. I love the analogy of ‘Grandma’s Rules’. It perfectly re-frames how to think about leadership problems.

  37. Marsha Hughes-Gay on December 19, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I believe I can demonstrate leadership in my role as a nursing instructor at a large university. I feel comfortable in my role. Some of that is most likely to the fact that I have been a nurse for 25 years. But some may also be related to the fact that the university, by providing me a title of Professor, has “granted” me some leadership. With my horse, I’m not a very good leader. When she decides we aren’t going forward or to pin her ears and jig around–she becomes the leader. I need to “grant” myself a title and be the leader with her.

    • Stacy Westfall on December 19, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Great observation!

  38. Melissa Jenks on December 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for talking about leadership. I feel that my horse does not look to me as a leader. I struggle with this feeling and feel very inadequate. I am working with a trainer in hopes that I will get to the point of confidence to feel that I am the leader my horse needs me to be

  39. Melissa Kramer on December 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    First off let me thank you for starting these podcasts. They are so full of information and really make me think & analysis my interactions with my horse. I do question sometimes whether I am being “fair” to my horse or asking too much or even not asking enough & trying to “just get along”. Thanks for getting my mind working 🙂

  40. lisa laroe on December 19, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Thank you
    We are currently working thru this with our gelding as we are working to establish our leader role in his life.

  41. Michaela Isak on December 19, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    These podcasts i have to admit are the best thing you could have done! I have ALWAYS looked up to you as a trainer and roll model since i was younger. The grandma’s rules portion of the podcast i had to laugh, because that is my horse to a T. With me he listens to everything i ask and tell him to do, with others he does whatever he wants because he knows he can get away with it. I feel that is where i lack as a leader, when others are in control but they aren’t. I feel i am a strong leader definitely on the ground with groundwork and liberty work.

  42. Lacey Galey on December 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    One thing I learned during training was that I wasn’t being a leader I was being a boss a mean boss at that. This pod cast gave me ways to be a better leader, to lead my horse to the right decisions not force her to make the right ones.

    • Lacey Swaidner on December 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      At one point in working with an especially dull horse (it was Justice, that you and Jesse donated to Asbury), I did start to question if I was being too harsh physically with the stick and string. I always started out with light amounts of pressure, and increased from there until I got the desired response. But it seemed I could only increase so much and for so long until I got too tired to keep going. In these instances, I think it is important to remember that horses kick each other out in the field just playing. Tapping with the stick and string is nothing compared to that. It also seems to me that sometimes, the seemingly dull horses are sometimes very good at reading your intentions. So if your physical leadership as well as confidence level and mental state of leadership do not match up, no matter how hard you push physically, that horse can still sense that emotionally you’re not a good enough leader, and will stand there ignoring you for hours. Being in the right mindset makes a lot of difference, and sometimes just faking it until you make it can be the best option in that moment. If you act like you know what you’re doing (as long as you have a basic understanding of what to do, but may be struggling working through this one particular area), the horse will be more inclined to believe you. It’s also important to consider that you’re always sensitizing or desensitizing your horse. Like the horse in the podcast, if he is that dull and desensitized, the rider/trainer first needs to think about their own emotional state/emotional leadership, as well as sensitizing this horse to those cues being the goal. The relationship between the mental idea of leadership and physically executing it is a very important one! I look forward to the next podcast about it!

  43. Wayne Cordeiro on December 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    All your podcasts are clear and concise. Thank you for your clarity and direction.

    I love the Foursqaure model. It helps me to understand not only my horse but myself also as a rider.

  44. Dawn Vines Seward on December 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Every podcast blows me away. I feel like you’re talking directly to me. The part that holds my attention & makes me push through my previous fears is your compassion for us & our horses. You truly care & it shows!!!
    Years ago I walked away from horses & my dreams. I shut down & ” gave up”. However , that dream would not go away, it kept rising up. I adopted an elderly horse who was a pasture pet because the owner was going to put him down. Joker was my first horse I actually “owned”. He healed my heart & passion to try again. He even got me riding again. My walk has been slow & often filled with uncertainty but I’m living my dream that I scribbled down on a piece of paper in a business meeting years ago. And because of your leadership I’m dreaming bigger than I thought possible. My biggest goal is to train to be search & rescue in our state parks or wherever needed. This passion arose from a very traumatic event in my life as I volunteered to search for a missing friend & two other murder victims in Apple Valley ( Ohio) years ago. I spent days walking through the woods praying we found them alive somehow… I realized then I wanted to be a part of a team making a difference for families & friends of missing persons. Unfortunately my friend & two others didn’t survive. However, a young girl did because search & rescue teams combined efforts. That dream no longer seems untouchable. From every part of my being, THANK YOU STACY!! Thank you for years of pushing yourself & sharing your knowledge with us. ,?
    I’m good at nurturing horses & physically caring for thier needs ( I’m driven from a deep compassion in my heart to nurture). I need to work on physical leadership so I can truly be a solid leader for our horses.
    Again , Thank You Stacy!!!!!

  45. Jenny Wood-Outhwaite on December 19, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I shared this podcast with my barn mates because I feel we all get into this trap of wanting to be the horses friend – not realizing we really can get the bond we are seeking from most horses by getting them to trust you. In my experience with my gelding the trust came from him trusting that I had things under control and would provide for his safety and comfort. I don’t currently ride and find my solace in simply watching herd dynamics. I believe I have learned more in 3 years watching than I did in 17 riding them. When I started leasing the gelding I have since bought, he was incredibly herd bound. He would even rear up when pulled from the herd. You wouldn’t believe he is the same horse now! Often he resists going back OUT to the herd!! It wasn’t until I was consistently showing him that I had things under control that he didn’t need to worry about – AND keeping his mind and body engaged and therefore distracted, that we really started to bond. He was definitely a horse I kept asking “is he too much horse for me” in the beginning. Now, I can’t imagine my life without him.

  46. jamie on December 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Relationship is everything !

    • Tamra Williamson on December 19, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Great podcast

  47. Becky Grede on December 15, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Wow! Did this ever hit home! My riding instructor and I had this same conversation on Thursday. I was trying to get her to sidepass. We are still learning how and she can be very resistant to new skills. Then she will carry that resistance through the entire lesson sometimes. I was putting a lot of rein and leg into trying to get her to do the sidepass and finally got her to take one step. I rode her one lap around the arena then asked her to stop. She did that without resistance but then I asked her to back up (which she hates to do anyway) and she wouldn’t move. My instructor said to sit back, pull harder on the reins and squeeze harder. After what seemed to me like too much force, Rio finally took three steps back. I told my instructor that I felt like I was hurting her mouth pulling like that. (Rio was abused like me as a kid so sometimes I get to feeling guilty if I put what feels like too much force on her) Anyway, my instructor said I was not hurting her and asked if I knew why she could tell. Of course I didn’t. She said she was watching Rio’s body language and her ears didn’t pin, she wasn’t wide eyed, and was licking and chewing her the whole time. She was just throwing a temper tantrum so to speak. Of course, it didn’t help that she was in heat and just being a general pain, lol, but she knew what I was feeling and played me.
    Thank you for all your great advice ?

  48. Sharron Armitage on December 14, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Hi Stacy thanks for the podcasts I think they are great. You have helped me take my leadership role to a better place with my 3. Thanks for doing the podcasts. Good on you!
    Cheerio
    Sharron
    Tamworth Australia

  49. Linda Jane Detrick on December 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Very useful information. We all need practical wisdom in relating to our horses.

  50. Karen Werner on December 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Stacy
    I listened to your podcast on fear and was truely enlightened. I have shown successfully at AQHA shows for decades with the help of several trainers and NO ONE has ever mentioned how to deal with the fear of making mistakes EVER. With your help, I have realized my fear of making mistakes is my perception and usually not realistic of what may or may not actually happen.

    Thanks for the help

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