“People have problems with horses because they either don’t know or don’t pay attention.” Jesse Westfall quote

“People have problems with horses because they either don’t know or don’t pay attention.” Jesse Westfall quote

My husband, Jesse, was giving a lesson one day and I heard him say, “People have problems with horses because they either don’t know or don’t pay attention.” I quickly wrote it down and made a mental note to find a photo that would match it. There is so much truth in the statement. I don’t know anyone who chooses to have problems with horse. Most problems are caused because the human didn’t know;

  • didn’t know that running home every day would cause a horse who would run away
  • didn’t know that catching horses only to work them often ends in a horse who avoids being caught
  • didn’t know that rides either add to or subtract from the horses training…and a horse can be ‘untrained’ as well as trained

Sometimes ‘not knowing’ also is a lack of seeing the ’cause and effect’ which is part of the learning process. Someone paying attention would begin to notice when:

  • the horse begins to anticipate running home
  • the horse begins to avoid being caught
  • the horse is declining in training

Many things like rearing can be prevented or stopped if you can see the beginning…the head tossing, the refusal to go forward. Inexperience often causes people to miss these smaller signs. People who succeed with horses often:

  • ride with other experts-take a lesson, etc
  • watch videos of themselves riding to improve themselves
  • reflect on mistakes they have made and make a plan to improve

Everyone makes mistakes…but not everyone learns from them. Be one who learns.


  1. Lesia Lowe on April 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I don’t agree with how this horse is tied…..
    and why is the red ribbon on its tail?
    BEWARE!!! ….maybe a “kicker”?

    • Stacy on April 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      That was why the photo went so well with the quote! Kids don’t know. And yes, red ribbons are generally kickers…unless some little girl just likes red:)

      • Lesia Lowe on April 23, 2014 at 10:06 pm

        GREAT…. wooohooo!!…. I passed the “photo test” :o)

  2. Rosie on April 23, 2014 at 6:31 am

    sorry meant to say CAN train with !

  3. Rosie on April 23, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Surround yourself with good friends who you cant train with and who can give you honest feedback about how you are doing and where you can improve. Never stop learning!

  4. klarisabet on April 23, 2014 at 2:40 am

    I hear you! Personally I battle to find the balance between listening and paying attention, and imagining all kinds of things “into” the minds of my horses…but that too, is part of my learning process. Than you so much for your blog! I learn an incredible lot from it.

  5. Peggi McFeeters Mitchell on April 22, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    That should be me in that picture. My horse looks like that horse and after 40 years away from horses you just about described me.

  6. proverbs31teen on April 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Definitely true!!!! Horses are smart, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re gonna have problems. The last line is true about life as well. 🙂

  7. Pam Graves on April 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    This is so true. Sometimes I get very frustrated on large trail rides because of the foolishness that goes on. I just keep reminding myself to be in charge of my own horse and keep her away from fools.

  8. K. Bockus on April 22, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Yep if you’re not traing up you’re training down.

  9. Alicia McLain on April 22, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I was just saying this the other day. People usually don’t notice a horse taking a tiny bit of power until the perfectly good horse turns into a diva. It’s especially easy to be too tired to correct bad behavior and put it off until later. My horse was “free” and rank, (Arab/TB mix). He got great training while I took riding and horsemanship lessons. I was a first time horse owner and green as heck. Since I invested so much time and money, I always correct bad behavior. We’ve been on this path for three years and he still will test me, I correct him and we continue to enjoy a partnership!

  10. nichole on April 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Is this the Wayne Co fair grounds? It looks like the building by the new horse arena and the cattle barn behind. We have gone the last 8 years in a row and we may have to miss this year. So sad about that.

    • Stacy on April 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm


      • Nichole Bower on April 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm

        So awesome! My brother in law and his wife went to church with you as well. They live in Mt. Gilead.

  11. Bethany on April 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    100% true for dogs as well.

  12. sadiebellxx on April 22, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Hi! My horse has a constant neighing thing. I’m pretty sure he is worried about his buddy that lives in the pen next to him.
    When I take him out and he neighs I longe him in a tight circle around me. Then he neighs again. I feel like when he neighs its anxiety and he wants to be with other horses and NOT me.
    I’m not sure how I should fix this… I make him work when he does it, backing up, longing in a tight circle (extended trotting), lateral flexing. How should I fix this? Throughly go over groundwork again?

  13. Susan on April 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Yes. Anticipate is the best word. If you do the same things all the time, good or bad, they begin to anticipate. Training is a good example. If you train the same way, in the same place at the same time. For example, always doing lead changes in the same spot, or the same type of jumps. Mix it up often. It keeps them thinking. Always, ALWAYS walk back to the barn too.

  14. pattihughes on April 22, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    How should you handle head tossing – avoiding the bit?

  15. Karla on April 22, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I’m pretty sure that picture was taken at the new 4-H horse arenas at the Wayne County Fair in Wooster Ohio. That’s my home town!

    • nichole on April 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      My husband is from there too. We always try to go to the Wayne Co fair even though we live out of state

  16. kshai1715 on April 22, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Truer words there were not.

    What’s so sad is when people lose their confidence because they think the horse is bad, when in reality, the person just needs to learn how to help themselves help the horse.

  17. Nikki Hale on April 21, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    One of the most important concepts that I incorporate into my training is to ride a horse that knows how to do something well before I try to do it on a horse that does not. I have had many years of learning, working under different disciplines, and I find if I want to teach my horse something new, it is so much easier when I know what it feels like first. For example I would like to train my newest project (my now yearling colt) for reining. I have been watching and studying any and all info from Stacy and other trainers on the discipline, but I am also in contact with a local trainer so that I can get lessons on a “finished” horse. This way, not only do I know what it looks like and the concepts, but I also know what it should feel like. (Also I will be able to have some professional advice along the way when I get “stuck” on something.)

  18. johanna on April 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    so true-
    and still learning!

  19. Samantha on April 21, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Love this!!

  20. Jackie De Joe on April 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    So true. And even when I’m trying to pay attention and listen to what my horse is asking me I miss the communication because I’m still learning what that looks like.

    Love your posts Stacy!

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