Stacy Westfall, Why can I see your legs bumping when you ride your horse?

  “Stacy-If I may ask, why the busy legs in the video’s? Is Jac not forward? It seems you have to constantly bump?- Sandy A.”

Sandy- You are not the first to ask about my ‘leg waving’ especially now with the Jac series on YouTube. I have never, in my memory, received this question in reference to the ‘bareback & bridleless’ ride with Roxy…because although the cue system is the same, Roxy was much better at it. Much more experienced.

If you are watching the Jac videos you are seeing a horse that is just learning the system, therefore, it is more obvious. There are times that training a horse is like training a child. In kindergarden the teacher uses greater expression both vocally and visually to engage the kids and make things more clear. With young horses training methods are also more exaggerated.

People expect to see a rider using more rein on a young horse, riding two handed, etc.

What you are describing a ‘busy’ legs is what I call ‘leg waving’. I describe it in detail with great visuals in my Bridleless Riding: How Does She Do That? DVD. I am also posting a video here of Jac that I hope will be a great example of why I am using my legs.

You should notice that in this clip my legs are more subtle than they were in Episode 27. This is because Jac is now able to read more subtle cues…including the ‘leg release’ or ceasing of my leg waving which was more responsible for this sliding stop than my hand cue. Watch is several time; once for my legs, once for my hand and again for Jac’s response.

Now watch Jac’s mom, Roxy, and how subtle she was reading the cues. All of the leg cues are there and Roxy is even more animated with her responses.

13 Comments

  1. Celli Falco Marcella on March 28, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Loving the video diary of Jac! Sort of obsessed, reviewing it constantly. I’m just starting the process with my two year old QH after being maternity leave for a year plus… please keep posting! I was one of the lucky ones to see your famous Roxy ride at Congress… cried then, cried just now and will cry tomorrow… keep up the fantastic work and please keep sharing!

  2. Carissa leu on March 25, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I saw this video a few months ago not knowing who you where. I do think you’d like to know there are a few people sharing this saying your a blind girl who lost her dad. Anyways! That’s a beautiful ride! Roxy was a beautiful an wonderful horse! Thank you for this share

  3. Rae Lynn Boyer on March 24, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I don’t know why I fell for it again. That dang video makes me cry every time. ;o)
    *But, thank you for teaching us and sharing your gift with us…

  4. Maureen Blafas on March 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Stacy, I think that your story (you, Roxy, Jac, Vaquero & family) would make a great movie. Did you ever consider that?

  5. Deb on March 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I’m wondering the same as Jackie about leg cues, also verbal cues.
    When do you decide to use spurs, or do you always use spurs ?

  6. LKJ on March 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Best horse video out there with you and Roxie. The best! As a horse trainer, I have the same opinion! Impressive to watch Jac slide. Wow!

  7. Lesia Lowe on March 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    WOAH!!!! no pun intended…. JAC is looking like a Winner!!!!

  8. Jackie on March 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Loved watching the videos and again tears when watching you and Roxy. Gosh that is emotional no matter why you are watching the famous ride, it is emotional.

    When you start your training program do you know ahead of time all the cues will be used and then build, build build during training so your horse learns the cues? Do you adjust the cues as training progress dependent on how your horse is working with the queues? Do you use hand cues; I see a lot of hand and mane work, is this to make Roxy comfortable or where there cues in that motion? Are you talking to Roxy during the show? It looks like you are. Do you talk to your horses outlound for help and encouragement?

    Jac looks great. Can’t help wonder how you are liking the more simple life in Bowie.

    • Stacy on March 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Jackie- Let me try to answer all of these:
      1) Q-When you start your training program do you know ahead of time all the cues will be used and then build, build build during training so your horse learns the cues?
      A-I use all the same cues. They can be modified, for example, when I am mounted shooting I don’t want them as ‘sucked back’ as I do if I am getting ready to show bridleless. The foundation is the same-the horse still has all the same cues, I just use them slightly different.

      2)Q-Do you adjust the cues as training progress dependent on how your horse is working with the queues?
      A- I change the cues depending on what I want to do with the horse. They all need to be competent in the cues.

      3) Q-Do you use hand cues; I see a lot of hand and mane work, is this to make Roxy comfortable or where there cues in that motion?
      A-Watch the Jac series and you will see how I use all of my hand/bridle cues. In the Roxy video I was not using hand cues to communicate with her. I needed to hang on so I would’t fly off at times….so I thought it would look good and keep ME calm if I played with her mane…

      4)Q-Are you talking to Roxy during the show? It looks like you are. Do you talk to your horses outlound for help and encouragement?
      A- I was singing along with the song (lol) to keep my timing, lip-syncing actually. The only voice cues were; kiss to lope, cluck to run faster, kiss to roll-back, whoa to stop. My horses are so cued into my body I don’t use verbal beyond what I mentioned. At home, being silly, I will a little for the benefit of my kids, etc who are around. Between me and the horse we are mostly non-verbal…it is a beautiful thing!

  9. Ruby Gem on March 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Gosh, I cry every time I watch this video. It’s the most amazing example of horsemanship, I’ve ever seen. Not only the tribute to your Dad, but the fact Roxy is gone now. Sooooo moving…. Love it.

  10. Renee on March 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I was wondering this as well. I could see your leg commands in the Roxy video, but they are so subtle.

  11. Kim on March 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Great post Stacy! Thanks for that explanation. There are many roads to Rome and your road is obviously tried and true. 🙂 Also, I have to say I never ever get tired of watching your bareback and bridleless ride on Roxy and it brings tears to my eyes EVERY time! 🙂

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