Is just enjoying your horse bad?

Yesterday I wrote on the topic of making deposit or withdrawals when handling your horse. So is just enjoying your horse a bad thing? Lets look at it this way. Is taking a withdrawal from your bank account ‘bad’? Only if you don’t have enough money in the bank to cover it. Same thing with your horse. Withdrawals aren’t bad (just enjoying your horse) as long as you have the ‘money in the bank’ to draw from.


  1. Michael on June 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Not having chores to do and “just enjoying” the company of a child does not mean that you let his or her manners slide. Just enjoying the company of your horse does not mean you let the ground manners slide either. Enjoying quality, non-stressful down time is good for the relationship provided the child or the horse remembers “who is in charge”.

    • Stacy Westfall on April 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Exactly! Great example. The place where people often get in trouble is believing that there are times when it is ok to let the horse have bad manners in order to enjoy down time…then the horse learns that there are times when less manners are acceptable.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion!

  2. Lance Peterman on June 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I have to disagree with the premise here, as I believe it to be anthropomorphic. This is based on the human construct (also flawed, in my opinion) that we are either progressing or regressing in a relationship. There is no neutral state. While I do agree with the concept of deposits and withdrawals, which is true of any relationship, animal or human, this is not a zero sum game.

    There is a zen state that some may consider “neutral” but it is in fact quite healing. I experience that frequently with my horse, and in many cases it is when we are simply enjoying each other’s company (some may to refer to it as “undemanding time”). In this area, I would argue that while “just enjoying her”, I am building rapport as well. In that context, does that make “enjoying her” a deposit or a withdrawal?

    Of course, it can also happen when we are playing or riding. For obvious reasons I can’t attest 100% to the zen experience of the horse, but her queues usually tell me how we’re doing. I feel strongly that “do nothing” time is equally important to playing and focusing on progression, whether online, offine, or in the saddle. While I think Stacy would agree that this time is important, I simply disagree that this constitutes a withdrawal in the relationship. Sometimes it is neutral, sometimes it is a deposit.

    • Stacy Westfall on April 4, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Interestingly…I would say that we are discussing a level of intensity instead of a deposit or withdrawal. I agree that the level of intensity should vary and I agree that the state you are calling zen or neutral would still be consider a deposit…at least in the way I look at it.
      Great discussion point!

  3. beth on June 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

    A deposit and withdrawal that I frequently made with my gelding was this… I’d jump on his back in the pasture and lay on him while he grazed. Just lay there with my face in his mane and feel him breathe and smell that smell that only horses have. This was a major withdrawal as I received an amazing amount of stress relief and comfort out of it. The deposit in it was this horse trusted me and even though I wasn’t cueing anything..he was aware that I was there and was ever so careful not to lose me. That level of trust on both ends can only come from many deposits and enjoying those rewarding hard earned withdrawals.

  4. Vicki on June 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I am an “older” first time rider–at 60. My horse Annie chose me. She is a formerly wild mustang, and I have 4. I was the first one on her back, but I have not spent a lot of time there. I’ve spent most of our time on the ground, in the paddock, just playing—trying to get her to do things I ask from the ground. I have another mustang I will never ride, but I’ve spent 3 years just trying to win her trust. I am having SO much fun that I cannot see that as a “withdrawal.” I believe whatever one does with the horse, if it becomes mutual enjoyment, it is a daily deposit. Plus, to my way of thinking, what one does freely on the ground may eventually be transferred to the saddle. All I know is that I am having the time of my life!

    • Stacy on June 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      I think you guys are catching on, deposits don’t always look like work!

  5. Brian O'Kane on June 3, 2012 at 8:30 am

    i spend alot of time just hanging with/enjoying my horses, sitting in the pasture,walking with them in a new field of grass or laying with them in the paddock, just beeing with them, but at the same time they need to stay out of my space and respect me being there,there leader, this is the best of both worlds,quiet time with my horses yet still banking training.

  6. stacey mehrgan on June 3, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I don’t ride anymore but I have the best of both worlds. I’m lucky my 14yr old daughter had taken over my passion for horses. So she gets to enjoy the training and riding and I get to completely enjoy having horses,

  7. Stacy on June 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I’m not offended by any of the discussions. Sometimes I leave the blogs shorter and less specific to see how they will be interpreted. I think I will write a blog about the withdrawals that I make….maybe a post for Monday?

  8. Kathy Kopylec on June 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    The way I`m understanding this is that I like to make the deposits, the dedication it takes to make the relationship to me is a win,win situation. where as if you choose to enjoy ,the withdrawal, like just being a passenger you miss out on the relationship,the dance by just choosing to not interact exsample being a rider for a very long time was all about me, untill this mare came into my life that no matterwhat I did she came unglued all the Quarter horse trainers in my area said toss her but I wanted to unscramble her brain, wrote letters ,hopped on a plane spent time in oklahoma with a trainer that knew the relationship works came home, started to work with her as a partner and she came around she wanted to be with me the deposit. Now after many video s and clinics later we showed and placed. Now it gets better with stacys dvds its 10 times better. I don`t think I would be happy if I choose to just enjoy. {The withdral}

  9. johanna on June 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    maybe a clarification on what you mean when you say ”just enjoying your horse” ?
    i.e. there seems to be positive and negative ways to enjoy one’s horse/animal…. what can these two ways look like for example?

  10. stonepony1s on June 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I know a lady that just wants to enjoy her horse. the horse is in a pasture/lot. There is more pasture available but the lady will not let it go there because she would not be able to see it from the house. People seldom touch the horse because they are afraid of it. It will bite or kick or strike if it does not like what you are doing near it. I feel sorry for the horse because if anything happens to the lady or it has to leave her house it will most likely go to slaughter. It is not the horses fault that it has not been taught but it is the one that will have to suffer for it.

  11. Wendy Russ on June 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I think my 3 horses are in debt! I’m going to start making bigger deposits right away and build on their life savings….and mine.

  12. Alice on June 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Of course, good training takes planning and lots of work. But if a deposit is anything that positively reinforces the horse’s training, I think good horsepeople sprinkle small “deposits” whenever they are with their horse. 🙂 It comes so naturally that you don’t always think about it.

  13. linda on June 2, 2012 at 9:35 am

    In my experience, I have strengthened the bond with my horse by spending a lot of time in her stall and in her paddock just ‘being’ there or sitting or maybe reading, just ‘doing nothing’ as horses do with one another, not asking for anything but enjoying ‘being in the moment’ together. I think that how you enjoy your horse can make a ‘big deposit in the bank!’

    Stacy, do you ever just ‘hang’ with your horses doing nothing????? lol

    • Katherine on June 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Gotta be honest……..I find your question to Stacy rather offensive. I think you have misunderstood the point of her post and don’t fully understand the purpose of what she is saying nor do you understand the true relationship with your horse.

      • wallae3 on June 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm

        Pardon me. I did not mean to be offensive. I just gotta be honest…. Katherine, I just wanted to know, and I still do. lol I appreciate and I thank you for your interpretation of what this post is all about.

        Stacy, I respect your method and know you work hard. Please take no offense.

  14. Ivie on June 2, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Thank You Stacy! Tho for most of my time with gabe I have just enjoyed… I have found that he has taught me much on life….. 😉

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