Episode 83: Getting started in reining-A conversation with Jesse Westfall

Is it possible to get started in reining and fully train your own horse from start to show? Never having a reining trainer ride the horse?
Today’s guest says ‘yes’ and he has the track record to prove it. Today, I would introduce you to my husband and my coach, Jesse Westfall.
Over the years Jesse has helped many people get started in reining and he specializes in helping people who want to train their own horse. Listen as we discuss the process.


[00:00:03] 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.

[00:00:22] Hi, I’m Stacy Westfall, and I’m here to teach you how to understand, enjoy and successfully train your own horses. Welcome to Season eight, which I’m calling conversations with Stacy. And it seems only fitting that I would introduce you to my husband and my coach, Jesse Westfall.

[00:00:42] This was kind of an interesting interview to do because first of all, it was live and in person. And second, because we know each other so well and we’ve had similar conversations so many times. But it was it was really fun to do.

[00:00:57] But it’s interesting how actually knowing each other really well led to different challenges, which I think could also be a life lesson with your horse. But let me tell you just a little bit more about Jesse. He was an NRHA judge for 14 years. He teaches horsemanship at Asbury University, where they train a lot of police horses. He himself shows reining horses and has won multiple bronze trophies. And I think one of the things that is really cool is that he loves studying the bloodlines and the breeding. And I often say that he’s created many of my most famous horses, including Roxy. And what I mean by that is that he helped the owners pick which horses to cross. And so he’s been breeding several of our horses for generations. And that’s super cool. But what I’d like to do today is share with you a conversation that we had about people getting started in reining, because I think it’s something I’ve watched him do for multiple decades and he’s just excellent at getting people started in this industry. So let’s listen to that conversation.

Stacy Westfall: [00:02:14] Thank you for joining me today. And if there is an award for the shortest commute, you might be winning it for somebody that I’ve interviewed, although I guess Zoom’s a fairly short commute. But welcome to the show. My husband, Jesse.

Jesse Westfall: [00:02:29] Thank you for having me.

Stacy Westfall: [00:02:31] What I’d love to talk about today with you is the subject of getting started and reining and specifically someone who wants to give reining a try and they want to train their own horse. And the reason that I thought you would be an excellent choice for this is because over the last couple of decades, I’ve watched you get people started over and over and over again with a lot of success. And I actually would put myself into that category because I’m pretty sure you were standing there when I won my first NRHA money. And so when you have people approach you, I know there’s all kinds of different things that can go into it. But I’d like to go kind of straight down the idea that somebody walks up to you at a reining show or they send you an email and they say, I want to get started reining. And they know that you train reining horses and coach people. I’d love to go through the process that you kind of lead people through. And I know this is really fresh in your mind because of one of your customers calling right now. So can you kind of review some of the how that process went with her and and kind of catch all the listeners up so that we have some starting ground here?

Jesse Westfall: [00:03:50] Yeah, absolutely. And so Colleen actually did show up at a horse show. That’s the first time we met and they were looking to get into reining. And so they showed up at the Findlay’s show and just kind of hung around for a while. And, you know, one of the first things I would ask someone if they approached me at a horse show and said that they wanted to get in training is I would start asking them questions about, you know, their history with horses, how how much experience they have riding. You know, some people just kind of did a little bit of trail riding and some people have, you know, shown pleasure horses or whatever.

Jesse Westfall: [00:04:34] So, you know, I that’s the first thing I would be curious about, as is their experience. And then, you know, I guess I would I would encourage them to come over and take a lesson if they have their own horse. And then I could evaluate them, evaluate their horse.And, you know, we could come up with a decision as to whether the horse that they’re riding would be capable of performing in reining.

Stacy Westfall: [00:05:06] So, you know, this kind of sounds like it divides into a couple different camps right now. And I would say it sounds like it divides into like they show up. They have this conversation with you and their horse and they don’t have any they don’t really have experience in reining and they don’t have a reining horse or maybe they show up and they have recently bought a reining horse. And so they kind of just they show up. Let’s talk more specifically about like someone in Colleen’s situation where she showed up and she had a horse, but not specifically a reining horse. Can you outline kind of the process that she’s gone through and then we can go back and dissect pieces of it?

Jesse Westfall: [00:05:48] Absolutely. So, yes, she she showed up. She came to the horse show, and then we scheduled a lesson and she brought her horse over at the time, I think, you know, that was three years ago. I think she was 15. And, you know, was Colleen was. Yes, that Colleen was fifteen. And her parents brought her over and she brought her horse, which was very green, like only had just a few rides. And I think some of the rides might have been just challenging difficult rides. And so, you know, she climbed on the horse and to show me kind of what it knew and it just kind of turned and stuck its head up in the air and tried to run out the end of the arena.

Jesse Westfall: [00:06:37] So, you know, we had to close the doors and and there was a lot that we had to work on at that point. But, you know, that was three years ago. And she comes regularly for lessons. And she’s a hard worker. She’s dedicated and determined to succeed. And she actually just went to her with took that horse that we’re talking about to the first horse show, its first horse show to compete last week. And she ended up marking 68, the first day in a 68 and a half.

Jesse Westfall: [00:07:13] The second day, and I think she was like fourth and second in the green rein, or class.And so she has taken, you know, three years, but she has trained her horse to spin and slide in. And she’s done a great job training it herself.

Stacy Westfall: [00:07:33] Yeah. And I think if I remember right, she started that one under saddle herself. Like she’s literally done everything right.

Jesse Westfall: [00:07:38] That’s right. Yes. She’s the only person that’s ever ridden the horse. Yeah.

Stacy Westfall: [00:07:42] So, you know, and just to be clear, you know, she’s not riding with you three times a week because she lives quite a few hours away. So, you know, over a year. What do you think she’s averaging?

Jesse Westfall: [00:07:55] Oh, she probably comes a couple of times a month. And sometimes, you know, she if there’s a horse show like before the last horse shows, she she was coming a little more frequently than that. She would also bring her horse to the horse shows.And that way, you know, if we were at the horse show for four days, she could spend four days riding with me and and following me around while I’m helping other people and learning that way.

Stacy Westfall: [00:08:24] And that was was that pretty much last year she did that?

Jesse Westfall: [00:08:26] Yes. Yeah. And I think she may have done it once the year before.

Stacy Westfall: [00:08:32] So I think that’s fairly impressive to know, because I think sometimes when people think about, number one, training their own horse in general or number two, training their horse to a show level, you know, the idea that they’re going to be able to do a lot of that at home and themselves kind of doesn’t cross their mind as much. And yet you’ve coached quite a few people who do not have lists. Let’s go through a little bit like maybe they don’t have indoor arenas. You’ve coached a lot of people who do not have an indoor arena and a fair number that didn’t even have like a real outdoor arena, which can pose a few challenges when you’re working specifically with a reining horse because of the sliding stop. Is that the area that you think is maybe the most challenging for somebody training at home? Not at a facility, absolutely.

Jesse Westfall: [00:09:23] Absolutely. Because, you know, you can’t teach them to slide without the right footing, but you can really train pretty much everything else. I mean, you can’t necessarily go out and run large fast circles on, you know, in a field where it’s grassy because, you know, if you have sliding plates on, it gets just a little too slippery. But you can do a lot out in a pasture. You know, you can teach a horse how to spin. You can teach a horse it’s lead departures. You can teach a horse how to change leads. You can teach a horse how to guide. You can teach a horse how to do rollbacks. You can teach a horse a lot, you know, out in a pasture as long as it’s flat, you know, fairly flat. And it’s safe to to ride in, you can really get a lot done.

Stacy Westfall: [00:10:10] Now, you were a judge for 14 years. And the one thing I’ve heard you say, and I’m going to let you say it after I kind of get the phrasing kind of roughly there is you have over and over over the years, you’ve mentioned that steering is really, really important. And I know that sounds like when I say that, it’s like, well, obviously. But can you explain a little bit more in detail why steering? Because I think sometimes people look at reining and the two things that tend to stand out would be the spins in the slides. But mathematically, I’ve heard you explain the importance of transitions of steering. Can you kind of give that little let that little piece of advice that I’ve heard you give so many times, but in your words.

Jesse Westfall: [00:10:56] Absolutely. You know, when you if you think about, you know, transitions and steering when you walk into the show pen. Okay. You know, we’ll take, like, you know, pattern eight, for example. You walk in. You transition to a stop. You transition to a spin. You transition to a stop. You transition to a spin to the right. Then you transition to a stop. You transition into your right. Lead into a lope. And then you transition down into a large fast circle. You get to the middle, you transition into a small slow, and then you get back to the middle and transition into a large fast. So there are all kinds of transitions taking place within three minutes and you spend most of your time going around guiding your horse. The judge is going to watch you guide your horse up the the side of the arena, guide the horse around the end and then guide and run down to your next stop. You know, the whole time you’re out loping around or running your circles or you’re in between maneuvers, you’re guiding your horse. So, you know, if you’re watching and it’s easy to spot resistance, you know, someone’s hand is too far to the left, it’s too far to the right and the. Force is resisting, guiding and going where they ask them to go. So really, if you can teach your horse to guide you, you’ve gotten a lot done, especially one handed.

Stacy Westfall: [00:12:26] Yeah. And that’s why I think when you were back to what you were saying about being able to get so much done in a field is because although when it comes down to running, it’s stopping. But we’ve we’ve had a fair number of people that haul in and they do a lot of the training of that at a facility like ours because they don’t have a facility that will support it at home, but they can do all of that transition work and that actually helps lead them into the better ability to do the spins and the slides. So when you’re working with somebody who’s training their horse at home. Like Colleen was, can you kind of outline a little bit like I guess it sounds like I wasn’t actually out there the first riding lesson when the horse tried to leave the arena as the beginning of her, her ride. So, like, well, you just you started with steering, I’m guessing, or did you go back to ground work? Where did you go with that?

Jesse Westfall: [00:13:25] Well, at that point, we went back to ground work. It was just, you know, teaching the horse to do, you know, the the wandering circles on the ground and bending to a stop and those types of things just so she could kind of get on, go around and be able to guide a little bit and be safe. And then and then it pretty much progressed.

Stacy Westfall: [00:13:44] Did she have the horse at home at that time? Because I know she’s done a little bit of boarding places, too, for the different footing. How is that working? As far as facilities for for her, yes.

Jesse Westfall: [00:13:55] She has an outdoor arena at home that that they just kind of put it put up in their front yard and it’s they can’t really stop in it. So in the summertime, she just keeps her horse at home and rides outside and she has a couple other horses that she rides every day. She’s dedicated. So she spends a lot of time riding. And then in the wintertime, she boards a horse at, you know, a couple of different places and she might, you know, clean stalls or whatever to work off her board.

Stacy Westfall: [00:14:30] Ok, now let’s let’s talk just a little bit about, you know, when somebody is is training their own horse and getting ready to take it to a show from the judges perspective, like when you’re taking that person and and you’re going to have them go to the show for the first time, what kind of advice are you giving them for that first horse show?

Jesse Westfall: [00:14:57] For the first horse show, you know, it’s a lot of it is just kind of an experiment. It’s you know, when I was telling Colleen, when you go in, you know, just go in and you’re going to learn a lot about where your horse is, what you need to work on. You know, you might go in there and she realizes she’s in there all by herself. And why are all these people standing out around the rail looking at me, who’s sitting in that chair over there, you know, and when their emotions start to get a little out of hand, everything seems scary at that point. And so just be prepared for something like that. But she didn’t she didn’t have that problem. We actually got the had the opportunity to go in the arena and ride at night and there was no one else in there. And so she got to work all that stuff out before she actually went into show. But a lot of it, you know, and she had gone to other shows last year and rode around in the warm up arena and rode around during the lunch breaks. And, you know, and so she had quite a bit of that worked out before she actually went to her first show to compete.

Stacy Westfall: [00:16:12] So you weren’t coaching her to try to show the highest level maneuvers that she has? It doesn’t sound like…

Jesse Westfall: [00:16:20] No, it was just go in there and let’s see where you are and what you have. And you know it. Well, you know, we don’t and we don’t want to push the horse too hard, especially the first, you know, the first few times, because, you know, we don’t want the show pinned to be a place that, you know, creates worry for the horse. And when we don’t, we don’t ask for more in the show up and then we’re going to ask for it home, because that’s one way that the horse is going to start really getting worried in the show pen. I always tell people it’s like, you know, if if you’re going to ride your horse in the show pen at a certain level, you want to make sure you ride it, at least that that at at least that level at home, if not higher. You know, it’s kind of like, you know, being around someone that behaves one way when you’re alone and they behave different when you’re with someone else. And all of a sudden you just get you know, you’re not all that comfortable around them anymore in certain situations. You know, it’s kind of like that when you take the horse to the horse show, you don’t want that horse to think when it walks in the show pen. Everything changes.

Stacy Westfall: [00:17:30] Now, that’s actually a perfect transition to kind of the other road that people could be going down if they’re listening to this podcast. And they were you know, they’re thinking about getting started and reining and and maybe they’re in a situation where the horse that they have isn’t that sound. So they’re going to be buying a new horse. So if somebody is buying a horse and let’s say they just they bought a reining horse and they come to you and they say, you know, I bought this reining horse on the Internet a month ago and here I am. I want to get started with you. And just for the fun of it, let’s think that this is like, you know, an older reining horse that’s been in the show pen and maybe it does have a few of those issues. You were just talking about where the horse has a little bit of like, you know, they walk in the pen and they have some ideas of what’s going to go on in here.

Stacy Westfall: [00:18:22] So what would that look like to you if you so instead of the horse walking in and being in the situation where you’ve got a bit of a blank slate, let’s say this, you showed up at this show and this person, you’ve been coaching them and you and and this is an older horse. So you watch it go in there and you kind of see that horse. I know you’ve coached quite a few people in this situation. So pick one in your mind and tell me how that looks when you see that horse go in there and that horse does have that. I’m just going to label anxiety due to some of the show previous show experience. What I’ve seen you do is I’ve seen and been really impressed with you coaching riders who bought slightly ‘used up’ is the phrase that a lot of people would say, like, you know, a reining horse that’s been used a lot in the pen and has anxiety. A lot of times will be sold as like, well, you know, you could go make it into a ranch riding horse or something. But I’ve seen you coach people and it’s an important distinction. You didn’t get on and ride the horse. I’ve seen you coach people and have them change that horse back to a really quiet, like solid, I’ll say a really solid reining horse.

Stacy Westfall: [00:19:36] Can you explain? And let’s start with that. Rider walks in and you’re standing on the side and it’s a little bit of a train wreck. Explain how that might look and then how you would coach that rider the minute they walked out of the pen.

Jesse Westfall: [00:19:54] Well, the first thing we have to be able to do is recognize where the resistance is or what the horse is ignoring. So like an example would be when someone walks to the middle of the show pen and their horse won’t stand still. And a lot of times what they think is they have to just start releasing pressure to try to get the horse just to relax and stand. But, you know, the whole idea of training horses, we apply pressure. When we get the desired response, we release the pressure. Horses go to where they find release from pressure. And so if you walk to the middle of the show pan and your horse is kind of starting to prance around and move around a little bit, you know, that’s movement on his own. And it’s going to be considered a temporary loss of a lack of control. And so we have to show that our horse will stand and wait for us. And so when the horse won’t stand, we actually have to apply pressure.

Jesse Westfall: [00:21:00] And when they stand still. Then we have to release the pressure so that the horse knows that if I am worried, they can apply a little bit of pressure when I stand still and relax. The pressure gets released. That’s why we have to be able to recognize where the horse is, what the horse is ignoring. And so, you know, and and, you know, if a horse is, you know, say they go to take their right lead and the horse takes the left lead, you know, a lot of that is going to be, you know, the horse may be ignoring the fact that they’re trying to move their hindquarters over to the right. There’s just a lot of places we have to be able to recognize what the horse is ignoring first. And then we also have to address the fact that this horse is really worried. And so that’s that whole idea of, you know, when you walk into the show pen, you still have to ride them the same way you’re riding them outside the show pen. You know, it’s that that still that idea of the same thing, like, you know, when you go out to dinner with your kids, you treat them like you’re at home. And when you’re at home, you treat them like you’re out to dinner.

Jesse Westfall: [00:22:14] It can’t change because they recognize the change, that the rules change. And so we we have to set it up so that we can do like a paid warm up, go into a schooling class and address some of those issues that the horse has. The horse has to understand what is expected of it before you go into the show pens. So you want to put some of those buttons on there, like the stands still cue, where you you round them up, collect them, kind of squeeze them with your legs when they stand still, you release you want to make sure the horse really understands how to do that before you go in to the show pen, because when they walk in, they’re going to get nervous and when they get nervous, they get ultrasensitive. And, you know, if they don’t really know what to do, you know, things are just going to fall apart at that at that point. So we have to prepare them. When we’re outside the pen and we have to help them get through some of those emotional spots that they’re going to have. Teach them how to control their emotions outside of the show pen before we can go in and do it.

Stacy Westfall: [00:23:26] Now, what about the riders emotions? Because those can get kind of, you know, keyed up. Do you do? So I would guess that on some of those times when you’ve taken riders and they’ve gone in on this horse that they bought and the horse was, you know, doing all of the above, you know, not standing in the middle lopes off on the wrong lead. They can’t get the lead change. They have a break of gate. You know, maybe this horse gets chargee and the run down, which means it kind of bolts and then. And so the rider comes out when the rider first comes out. And you’re making those observations about, you know, the areas that there was resistance. How do you address the rider themselves, like lack of breathing or what other symptoms do you see that you kind of bring to the riders attention? Like. Like, do you see them maybe forgetting to use certain cues or doing things like how are you cycling back to that riders mind?

Jesse Westfall: [00:24:28] Well, a lot of times, you know, if if they’re going in, you know, just wanting to win, which, you know, when we’re going to compete, we want to go and do the best that we can do. But that’s the first thing I’m going to tell them, is that all you can do right now is the best that you can do. And and so if you haven’t prepared yourself, you know, you’re not going to do well. Just make sure your expectations are realistic here. You know, if if you’re only capable of, you know, a zero spin out in the warm up arena, then, you know, just accept that that’s what you’re going to have when you go into show. And, you know, we’ve we’ve already evaluated the horse and we know what the horse is capable of marking with its maneuvers. And so we just have to stay realistic about where they are and where the horse is and go in there and just do what you’ve been practicing. If you’ve if you’ve been practicing and, you know, you’ve been working on your lead departures in your circles and your guiding and your speed control, then you just go in there and and do what you know how to do. And you let the chips fall where they may, but stay focused on what’s going on with you and your horse and staying on pattern. And there there’s a lot that you can’t control. You can not control the judge’s opinion of your maneuvers. You can only go out and and do them to the best of you and your horses ability. So just accept that and go in there and show your horse just the way you’ve been preparing it. And that’s all you can do.

Stacy Westfall: [00:26:16] Now, with some of those horses that have that you’ve helped coach riders and got them from being like, you know, the horse was ancy in the pen and got hot on the rundowns. You know, is there? I know it’s interesting because I’m like I’m wanting to do visuals with my hands and stuff, but it’s. But how would you. Is there a way that you would summarize? Because it’s it’s interesting, watching you coach the riders.

Jesse Westfall: [00:26:44] It’s not. Like, it’s not like a quick fix kind of thing. But at the same time, when I see that, it’s almost like. You can’t see what’s improving the sliding stop. I think so many times when people see a horse that gets chargee and a run down, for example, and just a few guys aren’t sure what that means when I’m saying that that means that the rider has to kind of go up the long side of the arena along a kind of, you know, staying 20 feet away from the wall. Up one side, go up near the short end of the arena. And then they come around, they’re going to run. Let’s say they’re going to run past the third cone. So they’re going to run, you know, three quarters a length, the arena. Well, ideally, the horse is slowly building, but a lot of these horses that have been shown come around the corner and they kind of leap into high gear. But I think the point that I want to make or the question I want to ask you is like when I’ve seen you coaching these riders that have these horses that are chargee and anxious like that, sometimes people approach it with a really like direct, almost like a almost like a punishing feel like the horse is making like doing something wrong when it when it when it bolts like that. But your approach has been much more subtle to where it’s like, is it based on that steering idea. What is it. What is it you’re doing. Where those horses are are having a significant change after several months of being ridden. But then but it’s not an aggressive like like we’re going to fix this horse’s spin. We’re going to fix this horses slide. Am I asking this at all in a way that you can understand?

Jesse Westfall: [00:28:21] Yeah, I think so. You know, a lot of it is you know, we talk about and I hear you tell people that, you know, the anticipation can be your best friend or your worst enemy. And so what happens when a horse comes up around the end of the arena? It’s anticipating running down there and stopping. And so if you think about, you know, yourself anticipating something, you might anticipate, you know, I’m supposed to vacuum whatever. And you so you go do it. And the horse is actually not trying to be bad because. It thinks it knows that we’re going to run down to the other end and do a sliding stops, who is just trying to run too early? And so it’s a little bit we’re maybe worried about, you know, what’s coming up or thinking about it or trying to over achieve whatever it is. And so, you know, pulling them back and jerking on them is only going to make them a little more worried. And so we have to figure out how to help the horse understand that. I’m not asking you to run fast right now. I’m not going to punish you because I believe you’re trying to be good. And so we just have to, you know, and we might have to come around in and redirect the horse. And in lope a couple of circles, we might, you know, ask it to start to build speed and then and then bring it down to a trot. You know, there are just different ways of going about it, changing what the horse is anticipating.

Stacy Westfall: [00:30:04] Yeah, that’s that’s a good that’s a good way to phrase it. And, you know, it’s kind of interesting because I think the last subject I’d like to discuss is the idea that I think, you know, just like there’s kind of two different paths that get real clear. Like you’re either starting with the horse you have standing in the barn, that sound enough to go give this a try or you’re buying one that’s got some level of training already? A little. I think the other fork in the road that I see a lot of times that I’d like to talk about a little bit with you would be the fork in the road of, you know. Kind of really do. Really doing it yourself, meaning that you live in an area where it’s just hard to find access. And then the idea that you are live in an area where you can at least hall. I mean, I think Colleen Hall’s. How far does she haul?

Jesse Westfall: [00:30:57] A couple hours..

Stacy Westfall: [00:31:02] So I mean, there is the level of like you know that. But then there are people. And I’ve read about some of the Rookie of the Year winners and different things that have done some amazing things to you know, I just remember that one article where they parked the cars around the outdoor arena for lights. That one just always sticks in my mind that she went in and won this big title when she didn’t have any way to practice except for after work, and they had to use car lights to light the arena. So, I mean, there’s a lot of determination there. But. I know also that your personal background, you did a lot of training, reading books, so you actually I mean, I think it’s would you agree it’s kind of a fast forward if you can ride with somebody who can give you feedback.

Jesse Westfall: [00:31:45] Absolutely. Yeah, they can be the eyes on the ground. They can see exactly what’s going on and help you find your way through it.

Stacy Westfall: [00:31:53] But if you’re at home and you’re maybe you’re not even like I’m not even interested in, like, actually full on training yet. I mean, full on showing yet. But like, they’re just kind of want to play with it. You’re. Are you saying that you actually do think people can can stick their toe in the water at home playing around with stuff, you know, just like reading a book or studying videos and that kind of stuff?

Jesse Westfall: [00:32:15] Yeah, absolutely. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And, you know, I remember I’ve I got Jack Brainard’s Western training book that was, you know, by the Western horsemen. And I wore that thing out. I thought that was a great book. You know, when when I was getting started, I read it cover to cover many times, wore it out. I would take it out to the barn with me. And, you know, I also watch some DVD. And so I had an idea of, you know, what I was after. And so. Yep. Yeah. I believe people can accomplish a lot if if they’re willing to put in the effort. And at this point, there’s so much information out there with, you know, YouTube and DVD and Web sites and books. And, you know, there’s there’s just a tremendous amount of information available now.

Stacy Westfall: [00:33:10] And, you know, I know every once in a while that, you know, I remember when I was working with you and we were working for Mike Florida. I remember how much I learned when I was able to get on some of his really high train horses. And, you know, I just I think that it was really valuable to be able to feel that finished horse feeling. You know, what is your view on that, like what changed for you personally? Like, I know that you trained your first reining horse. It was a pony, right?

Jesse Westfall: [00:33:46] Yeah.. Was a POA pony

Stacy Westfall: [00:33:47] You trained it yourself using that book. Do you remember the first time that you rode one that knew how to really slide or really spin?

Jesse Westfall: [00:33:57] Oh yeah, absolutely. And that was it at Mike’s and it was like, wow, OK. This is what I’m aiming for.

Stacy Westfall: [00:34:06] And then you kind of did the same thing for Colleen when you put her on one of your horses, right?

Jesse Westfall: [00:34:10] Yeah, I’ve put her on a couple of my horses.

Stacy Westfall: [00:34:13] And what do you see change when somebody takes a lesson like that?

Jesse Westfall: [00:34:17] Well, it’s eye opening, first of all, you know, and in you know, the horses that I put her on had different feel, but to feel how responsive they were. As far as guiding, steering, loping off all those transitions, you know, it just changes the expectations that they have of their own horse. Because, you know, it’s it’s they just maybe don’t see it.

Stacy Westfall: [00:34:46] Yes. I always remember the one customer we had, Steve, that said that he you know, he’d ridden a lot of horses. And then when he wrote his first reining horse, he was like, I didn’t realize they could come with power steering.

Stacy Westfall: [00:34:59] He was always like I just thought it was supposed to be hard to steer hard to do this. And then, you know, you get on this one and it does. A lot of times I compare riding a trainer to like the zero turn mower that we used to have where it was like, this is it. You could go anywhere you want and they can just they can just go anywhere. So in closing. Is there one thing that you’d like to leave the listeners with for a thought?

Jesse Westfall: [00:35:23] Yeah. If, you know, if you’re going to train your own horses. Training a horse it’s a process. And you don’t want to skip things because they will come back in the two to get you in the future, you know? And the other thing is that whole idea of horses go to where they find release. And if you’re having a problem with your horse, just try to be able to recognize where why they’re going there. They’re finding a release there in some way.

[00:35:54] Mm hmm. Well, thanks again for joining me.

[00:35:57] Thank you for having me. I didn’t have to go far. You’re right.

[00:36:07] I hope you enjoyed that conversation, and I hope that what you take away from it is the idea that, you know, if you really want to get started in something like this, you can do it. And it’s been fun for me to watch my husband, Jesse, coach people over the years and really see him light up as he basically reveals to them that they can do this, that they can train this horse, that they can overcome this problem and this fear and this issue that they’re having right now is a learning opportunity. And that’s something that he does really well. And so I hope that you were inspired that if you’d like to try something like a different discipline, that it’s probably more within your reach than you might think.

[00:36:54] If you want to find out more about Jesse, you can visit Jesse Westfall.com. Well, he gives lessons if you’re located anywhere near Ohio. And if you’re interested in reining and performance horse lessons, he also coaches people at horse shows and he will do video reviews also online. So you can check that out or you can also find him on Facebook under Jesse Westfall and he’s active there.

[00:37:25] I also wanted to let you know that I remember back in Episode 81 when I did the The Ponying How to Pony Your Horse episode, I did go ahead and make that YouTube video.

[00:37:38] And so that is also out there. Now, if you want to look on YouTube or Facebook. I did make a video where actually demonstrate ponying Presto some. So I wanted to bring that up. And thank you for listening. And I’ll talk to you again in the next episode.

[00:37:57] If you enjoy listening to Stacy’s podcast, please visit Stacy Westfall dot com for articles, videos and tips to help you and your horse succeed.

Links mentioned in podcast:

YouTube video of ponying, the subject of Podcast 81.


  1. Lori Bradley on December 29, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    This is my 3rd time listening to this episode. I say this to demonstrate how valuable your podcast episodes are. You articulate every topic in very easy to understand language for others (beginners, intermediate, and expertise) to comprehend and digest. How you unpack each topic/episode is one of the primary reasons why I am loyal to your products. I only found you 2 years ago, so I fee I have a lot of catching up to do. But Being off work due to COVID, I’m working at a fast pace! Lol your fan from beautiful Prince Edward Island ?

  2. Leslie Sims on June 25, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Mahalo Stacy!
    Presto is looking good! He looks huge in the video! Thank you for sharing all the videos and podcasts with us.

  3. Chelsea on June 17, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    What a wonderful topic, Stacy! And one very relatable to me!

    I have a lot of experience with horses. I was very competitive in my youth, but though I explored a couple disciplines, I have never ridden a reining horse until this year

    I actually started my 2 year old mare based on your DVDs and YouTube series on the training of Jac. She was going to be a barrel horse. After a year, I started advancing into some of the stages of reining to create the foundation she needed, but I found that my knowledge had ended. I went to a local reining trainer who was well recommended and a reserve world champion. He told me that he knew I wanted to barrel race this mare, and that’s what she was bred for, but she was extremely athletic and moved so well that I should seriously consider reining.

    It’s been a long and frustrating road, but it’s been nearly 2 years now and we’re almost ready to show!

    I know my journey would’ve been easier another way, but the knowledge I’ve gained through this process is invaluable. My horsemanship and training skills have grown by leaps and bounds. And I cannot believe how challenging and rewarding this process has been. I encourage others to try!

    • Stacy Westfall on June 23, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      I’m so glad you have felt the challenges/rewards as well as the leaps and bounds! So fun!

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