Stacy Westfall visits with Larry Whitesell and gaited horses

I got and especially nice treat last weekend when I learned that Larry Whitesell was going to be giving a clinic less than fifteen minutes from my moms house. (Some of you know that I have been up in Maine visiting family and eating too much lobster;)

Jesse and I had the pleasure of meeting Larry several years ago at a horse expo. Ever since I have made it a point to visit with Larry every chance I get. What Larry didn’t know, until I told him on Saturday, was that spending some time with him this summer was on my summer goal list. Really! True!

I have never claimed to be an expert with gaited horses. In fact that is why I looked up Larry all those years ago because I wanted to be sure that I was not giving advice that would cause problems in gaited horses. Larry gave me great advice and I heard him repeat it to the people attending his clinic.

He asked the question “If you had to choose between a horse that was safe or a horse that would gait which would you choose?” Then he said he hated that he had to even ask the question. But it makes a great point and that is that you go with safe first and then work on gait. Now here comes the best part…really….the best….


So really, getting the tools that keep you safe and give you more control…is also giving you tools to improve the gait.

The most interesting part for me was seeing Larry use exercises that were so similar to things that I do when I train. Not to get too detailed but many of the exercises we do on our reiners to improve their body position for a sliding stop….are what Larry uses to engage the hind end and improve gait!  There were many more that were similar which is great for me because it shows me another use for exercises I already have.

A big thanks to Larry for letting me hang out and inviting me to visit your place…I am planning on taking you up on your offer!


  1. Debby Anthony on July 1, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I just got home from a Larry Whitesell clinic. I audited the clinic last year. The whole idea is control of your horse’s body keeps the horse and you safe. Since I’ve never ridden English or wanted to, it’s a totally new language to me. We (new horse and me) will attend a clinic he recommends in October and of course attend his clinic again next year. His DVDs are excellent and they have just been redone and are brand new version. (there were non gaited horses in the clinic)

  2. Vicki on November 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I have an extremely dumb question. I adopted a rescue pony from
    West Virginia. I think he might be a gaited pony . I have no experience with gaited horses , is there an easy way to tell?

    • Stacy on November 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      I have to laugh because we have recently been looking at ponies with a friend and many of them seem to be sort of, almost or really gaited. Most ponies are mixed breeds so it is possible. Getting someone who knows and can watch is the best way. Try watching some videos online and if it is doing more that a walk-trot-lope…and isn’t lame….it is probably doing some version of a gait (at least that is what we have been seeing.)

  3. Mahayla West on October 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Gaited horses are fantastic! I have a TWH and she is so sweet. She pushes me to my limits sometimes, but I love her to death. She is not as naturally gaited as most TWH are, so that is what we’re currently working on. I really enjoy reading your posts, thanks Stacy! 🙂

  4. jennifercretens on August 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I wish I hadn’t had to sell my gaited horse due to neck surgery….now that I’m starting to ride again, he would have been the perfect horse for me! 🙁 Someday maybe another one will come into my life! I wouldn’t trade my current horse that’s for sure! And lobster Stacy??? Yummo!!!

  5. Alice on August 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    No such thing as too much lobster…right now it’s cheaper than steak! 🙂

  6. Marty King on August 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I love my gaited horse for trail riding. If I had to buy a replacement horse, I’d go with a gaited all over again.

  7. Heidi (nrhareiner) on August 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    That is cool. There are quite a few Gaited horses around here b/c of all the trail riders at Oak Openings. Things is that the ones I see seem to be so out of controle. Which I know is not the horses fault. I lived in Tn for many many years after collage. So had quite a bit of exposre to TWH. Nice breed. Not sure why people do not seem to want them better trained around here in the trails.

    Glade you had a great time up in Maine. Should be very nice up there here in a few weeks with the color changes.

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