Horse training as a lifestyle: Thanksgiving on the road

I had the opportunity to speak to the students in the Equine Program at the University of Findlay last week. Many, if not all, of them are planning on a career of some sort involving horses. Years ago when I was a student there things were pretty much the same including the desire of many to become horse trainers.

The students were great, asked lots of questions and I found myself repeating one phrase frequently:

“Training horses is a lifestyle.”-Stacy Westfall

In many ways this can be seen as the perfect choice if you love horses. For others the reality of what it also means can come as a shock when you begin to

A photo of our Thanksgiving meal in our motorhome while headed to a horse show.

A photo of our Thanksgiving meal in our motorhome while headed to a horse show.

live it.

Training and riding the horses is the fun part but, remember, I said it was a lifestyle. This isn’t casual anymore. A lifestyle means that you will be ‘living’ this job choice in many cases seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Here is a photo of the Thanksgiving meal that we had in our motor home today. We are headed to Oklahoma City for the NRHA Futurity show that starts tomorrow. I have had the privilege of attending this show as a spectator and as a participant.  Horses showing in the Futurity began arriving two days ago. The show is always scheduled for this time of year and they even host an annual Thanksgiving Dinner right there at the fairgrounds. Unfortunately we left later than we had hoped to yesterday and won’t arrive until after the meal is over…hence the meal in the motorhome.

Giving up a traditional Thanksgiving, or at least modifying it, is just one example of this career path being a lifestyle choice. Even if you choose to skip showing there will still be the every day, twice a day, minimum need to feed and care for the horses that have been trusted to you. It isn’t a typical 40 hour per week job you can walk away from easily on your days off.

Most jobs involve some kind of lifestyle choice but some require more than others. Embracing this knowledge makes it easier to see a career choice from a different angle…as a lifestyle.



  1. Kristin baker on November 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    When do you perform?

    • Stacy on December 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Yesterday’s blog answers this better, click here to read it, but the short story is that we decided not to because of another trip.

  2. johanna on November 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    …not to mention 2 AM training ops that arise and thus need to be ”taken care of”. 😛

    lifestyle is right.

    beyond show schedules,
    perhaps it has to do with the fact that the work is with living beings/animals that, like kids, have needs that go beyond the 8 hour day– if you are doing it right.

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