Episode 278: Rushing Forward: Overcoming the Temptation to Rush

In this episode, Stacy shares a challenging moment she very much wants to rush through. Drawing parallels between human behavior and equine tendencies, Stacy emphasizes that rushing is not merely a physical action but a way of thinking that can impact emotions. Using her expertise in horse training, she provides insights into how rushing manifests in both riders and horses, affecting the overall training experience.
– Stacy’s technique for reducing rushing in horses (you can also use it on yourself)
– three reasons rushing seems like a good idea
– how rushing impacts decison making
– the MOST challenging time to resist rushing

Show Notes:

Rushing can rob you from the present moment. Sounds like an amazing sentence when you think, if I slowed down I could smell the daisies. But when rushing is robbing you of the present moment, and the present moment sucks, you want to rush.

Podcasting from a little cabin on a hill. This is the Stacy Westfall podcast. Stacy’s goal is simple to teach you to understand why horses do what they do, as well as the action steps for creating clear, confident communication with your horses.

Hi, I’m Stacy Westfall and I’m here to help you understand, enjoy and successfully train your own horses. In this podcast, I’m going to slow down and discuss rushing. And the first thing I’d like you to consider is that rushing is a way of thinking, not a speed that you work at. When I first started outlining this podcast, I was thinking about all the hidden ways that I see rushing show up with riders. These ways are often reasons that they give when something isn’t working, and listen to these reasons, and then think how easy it would be to rush as a solution. For example, if a rider is thinking things should be happening faster while they’re training with their horse, they’re more likely to rush to move to another technique to try to do things faster. Another one would be when riders judge themselves for being a slow learner. To me, this is actually a symptom of rushing. They think it should be faster, and so the judgment of the slow learner is actually just kind of a reason that they have. So just double check that rushing doesn’t sneak in there when you have the thought, I’m a slow learner. Side note I personally actually think I’m a slow learner. I just get on a path and stick with it so I don’t have a bad relationship with slow learner. But if you use that phrase and you notice yourself rushing as a reaction to it, that would be the red flag to look for.

And another one would be if you find yourself saying that you just don’t have enough time to dedicate to this, that oftentimes is a red flag that will show up and then people will end up rushing because somewhere in their mind, not having enough time means that when they do have time, they rush to try to get more done. So can you see how some of these things would look like innocent observations? Like, I’m a slow learner, but can you see how if you’re not careful? You could end up rushing or hurrying instead of taking the time that it takes. And I wanted to talk about this because I think on the surface, many people consider rushing to be an action, something you do. You rush to get the horse tacked up. You rush to get something done so that you can go ride. And so in a way, this rushing almost has the feeling of being an action. And it sometimes comes across like there’s this outside force causing you to rush. And a lot of times this will show up as a war against time. Like time, there’s not enough time. So time is this external thing that’s forcing you to rush because there’s not enough of it. You can really hear this happen if you think, well, this thing happened.

I got a flat tire, so I had to rush to catch up, or. I have so much to do, I have to rush. But again, notice that the action of moving fast is what’s being labeled rushing. But what I want you to consider for the rest of this podcast is that rushing is a way of thinking, and that way of thinking causes certain emotions, because if you flip it around, you can actually move fast without rushing, and you can rush without getting a lot done. So rushing, if you view it as a way of thinking, becomes an interesting thing to ponder, because I often think that one of the hidden drivers of rushing is a desire to get away from right now, a desire to get away from this experience. It’s basically your belief that wherever you’re rushing forward to is somehow better than right now. Are you with me? Well, the good news is, let’s turn this back and look at it like you’re a horse. If you’ve ever been around or ridden a horse that rushes you when you rush are thinking just like your horse. So when a horse wants to rush home from a trail ride or rush back to the barn, your horse is thinking more about there than here. And this thinking pattern in your horse causes the horse not to be right here with you two miles from home, because mentally they are there in the barn, in the pasture, with the food, with the safety net of friends.

So it can show up in you. It can show up in your horse. But again, if you approach this with your horse, that yes, it’s showing up as an action of the horse wanting to rush back. But if you treat it like it’s an actual thinking process that’s causing an emotion, you can actually make more progress with your rushing horse. One of the most simple tools most everyone has at their disposal that helps shift that thinking in a horse is to simply return from your ride and tie them up for 30 to 60 minutes after you ride. When I do this, there’s no hay bag involved. There’s just a nice, safe place to be tied. And I let them be right there. They stand tied and then I untie them when they’re not pawing or excessively irritated. And if you repeat this, this can become the new habit. They start to see the pattern that you come back from your ride and you’re going to cool them down, brush them out and tie them up, and they’re going to stand quietly. Now, I’ll also tell you that when you first start this, it’s going to be a new habit. And if you haven’t been doing this, your horse might not agree. When I bought Ember The Yearling, now two year old, she did not agree with my line of thinking.

But over a period of months this has become her new normal. And now she walks in and accepts this. So this action. Of tying her up, leaving her stand there until she’s quiet, untying her and then putting her out, making that a routine. That action is impacting her thinking because she’s not thinking that she does something and then rushes back to the pasture or the food or whatever she was expecting before. Now, this new action of being tied, standing there until she’s quiet and then being untied now that is impacting the way she’s thinking, and she’s not rushing in her thinking. So by tying her up without any entertainment, she learns to manage her emotions and wait. And this becomes a transferable skill. The reason that I want her to understand this first in groundwork and then when I tie her, is because she’s learning to control her emotions. And it must be taught somewhere. This is where I want her to learn it before I ride her. So now let’s come back to you. Are you frequently in a rush? Is rushing a normal state for you? I discussed this with a rider back in episode 271, and that would be a great episode to go back and listen to, because you can actually hear the breakthrough happen for the rider in that episode.

In this episode, I want you to look at it from a slightly different angle. Rushing is robbing you from the present moment. Rushing as fast action will make you feel like you’re moving fast, but it leaves you exhausted. And again, think about it. You can move fast without rushing, and you can rush without moving fast and being effective. Rushing is a thinking pattern, not an action. And often when rushing becomes an action, it’s less efficient. I remember growing up I was a barrel racer and so I watched and studied Martha Josey, and other great barrel racers. And one thing that stood out was that the fastest runs almost looked slow. If you’ve never studied this before, it’s fascinating. I think if you go to a local show, you’ll see it even better. Don’t just watch the best runs online. A local show is great because oftentimes what will stand out to you is that the fastest run? When you look at the time, they almost look slow because they’re so smooth and efficient. And it’s so common at barrel shows. Contesting shows to see a worked up rushing horse that’s not smooth, but they look like they’re doing a lot, so they look fast. But the great horses were always really smooth, efficient, effective, fast but not rushed. Now, I’ve said three sentences that are really critical but could have easily been missed. So here they are again.

Rushing is often your desire to get away from right now, from this experience. Rushing often comes from your belief that wherever you’re rushing forward to is somehow better than right now. And rushing can also rob you from the present moment. And this week, for me, has been a walking reminder of the temptation to rush. My husband’s favorite mare was bred last year and she foaled last Tuesday, and we took her to a foaling farm because she was a maiden mare. And oftentimes the first time that one foals can be more challenging. And hands down, this has been the most challenging foaling we’ve ever had. Of all the horses we’ve ever fold out. The foal was born early, so he’s a preemie. He was upside down in presentation, which made for a really rough delivery. I’m not giving you guys all the details, so if it feels like it’s a little bit sketchy here, that’s on purpose. But let’s just say the foal had a lot of trauma from birth, and that meant that not only was the delivery hard, but 24 hours later, when things were starting to look up, he actually started having seizures. And the people that fold them out have fold out hundreds. And this is not something they see. So it was touch and go for the foal for the first 72 hours. It was bad enough that the vet was discussing euthanasia multiple times in the first few days.

And then as the foal started getting better, the rush started to sneak in. My husband and I were talking. We just wanted to get him home. Let’s just get them here. Because you know what was happening. There’s this desire to get away from right now. There’s a desire to get away from this experience. There’s a belief that if we could just get them home somehow, this would be better than right now, because right now is not a fun place to be. So that hidden thought of like, let’s just get this behind us, let’s rush forward to the better place was right there and present with us in the living room. But we’re experienced enough to pause and say logical things like everything really needs to stabilize for 24 hours, including us. No rushing allowed. And then as he started to get better, we’re getting hopeful. We’re getting confident that we’re going to be able to bring him home. But then the mare started having subtle signs that something wasn’t right. And keep in mind, 100% the vet and the foaling farm they are doing everything, they’re doing things so well, they’re ahead of it, and yet we’re still not quite on top of it, if that makes any sense. She started showing subtle signs, so they put her on antibiotics, even though there was no clear diagnostic of what was happening.

They’re flushing her preventatively beforehand. So there’s this palpable moment in there where we know the best thing for this mare and foal is to be an hour away in professional care. But there’s such a strong desire to deny this and jump ahead, such a strong desire to imagine them at home in a better place, that we would be past this. Because that better place is this imaginary place in my mind, where there’s a mare and a foal that are having an easy time there in a pasture, they’re in a stall, they’re here, and none of this is happening. I want to rush to that moment. These are the moments to watch for. It’s so hard in the moments to stop and pause and be in this moment, because rushing can rob you from the present moment. Sounds like an amazing sentence when you think, if I slowed down, I could smell the daisies. But when rushing is robbing you of the present moment, and the present moment sucks, you want to rush. Rushing is a state of mind that can give you the impression that you can rush to a better place. It can rob you of the present moment, which might sound like a good thing when your present moment is hard. But it can also tempt you into making bad decisions when you’re in a rush. The decision to pretend that things would be better if they got here, when the reality is that we don’t have the manpower, the vet power, we don’t have the facility to handle what’s happening.

If we deny those facts. Rushing would get all of us in trouble. The next time you notice the desire to rush, ask yourself the question what am I rushing to get away from? Do I believe there is better than here? If you can’t find the answers, you might want to try a similar technique on yourself that I recommended for your horse. Set a timer for five minutes, ten minutes, or 15 minutes if you dare, and just sit. Don’t expect to feel relaxed. You’re probably going to look a lot more like Ember did the first few times that I tied her up, but just sit and think. If you can ask your horse to stand tied for 30 minutes, can you sit for even half that time? Rushing ahead is rarely the most efficient state. It may have been effective for you in the past, but it comes at a cost, and rushing to escape right now might seem like the obvious choice, but speaking from my present moment, I actually don’t know what the future holds. Maybe I’d be better off pausing and cherishing small moments right now. That’s what I have for you this week. Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you again in the next episode.

If you enjoy listening to Stacy’s podcast, please visit Stacy Westfall.com for articles, videos and tips to help you and your horse succeed.


  1. Pamela Poole on March 16, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    I love all your podcasts, but this one really hit me, I think I will be re-reading and listening to it again and again. Thank you.

  2. Teresa Kelly on March 14, 2024 at 1:23 am

    You hit the nail on the head about ME. I always tell people I am a slow learner. I know that I transpose my speech, numbers and I have learned that I try to speed up those things to make up my slowness and then I have to redo and redo what ever I and trying to do so your podcast opened my eyes that I also do this with my mare. I hear don’t sneak around your horse so I haven’t found that right balance of slow, fast ,sneaky yet, so I am not consistent in my training. So I have learned I am frustrating her and my self. I love your podcast your word have opened my eyes and ears to a lot so I can move forward with her and practice being consistent each time spent with her. My trail rides use to be fairly good then as time went on little things started adding up and I was losing my confidence as I am not a real confident person. I started your program and I am writing down rider mind /rider body, horse mind/horse body and this will help me see what I can work on and I have videoed myself once so far I slouch and I have a forward head so I could work on those body position’s to get my horse more forward. Help help she spooks on the trail and feels buddy sore with my friends horses if we go around a corner of bushes and she can see them she gets up tight. This is Teresa Kelly my mare is 14 hands Andalusian/quater horse. She really wants to please but can go crazy running out of control and rearwhen I lunge her at times.

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