The Incredible Ride by Carli (Thomas) Heringer

Hailey spin

Can Can Lena & Stacy Westfall

The expectant fans held their breath

As she quietly entered the pen

With a calm in her heart and a prayer on her lips

She proceeded to do her spins


First to the right, then to the left

Her horse most eager to please

Planted a foot and spun around

Completing the maneuver with ease


Hailey circle

Can Can Lena & Stacy Westfall circle

They came to a halt, and then loped off

With a quick squeeze of the mare’s sides

There was an elegance in every move

Perfection in every stride


The music played as they circled with speed

As if it were a dance

The rode bridleless and without a flaw

The crowd sat in a trance


Hailey slide

Can Can Lena & Stacy Westfall slide

Lead changes were done, and were right on que

She rounded the curve for the slide

She let the mare go, and then with a whoa

She finished her incredible ride


She backed while the music faded to an end

The crowd erupted in cheers

With a standing ovation and a deafening roar

They knew the competition was theirs


They waited a moment, cheers still going up

To hear the final score

They’d done their job well, still it’s hard to tell

Just what might be in store


Hailey win

Can Can Lena & Stacy Westfall win

Then came their time, it was all on the line

What would the announcer say?

He then came on, and when he was done

They were champions that day!


Here’s to the woman we’re so proud of

For doing what we knew you could do

Congratulations from all of us

God Bless! We love you!!

-written by Carli Thomas Heringer

This ride and this horse hold a special place in my heart. This was the ride that started it all for me. Can Can Lena was the horse that taught me, while I taught her, and together we figured out how to ride bridleless. I knew Carli when she was a shy young girl hiding behind her mom at church. Later she came to work for me and now she is raising a family of her own. Carli is a beautiful person and this poem means a lot to me. It was published in the NRHA Reiner after our win in 2003.


  1. on January 27, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    That is amazing my name is Lena!!!!

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Cindy Y on January 19, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Yes, you and Haley had a wonderful ride !! What a new beginning on your unbelievable journey !! God Bless all .

  3. Amanda on January 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    The sensitivities of a well trained horse are amazing. But I can’t help but wonder…how do you compete in a Reining championship while not actually using any reins?! 😉

    • Stacy on January 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      In freestyle reining it is allowed. It compares to freestyle figure skating in the Olympics where the rules are a bit different and involve music.

  4. Pamela G Evans on January 19, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Beautiful poem and a beautiful ride !!!

  5. Janette on January 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Stacy, I totally understand how Can Can Lena has a special place in your heart.

    This ride still gives me goose-bumps just thinking about it. It’s her ears, I can’t take my eyes off them. She is so relaxed and focused on you it’s adorable. I think this video was the very first video I watched on YouTube (a friend showed it to me, way back then). It has been etched in my heart ever since. Everything about this performance is awesome, the crowd, the music, the costume, the horse and most of all the trainer/partner. This is the ride that actually moves me the most.

  6. mud fur and feathers on January 19, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Incredible! Thanks for sharing. I reblogged it on my facebook page.

  7. Anne Thomas on January 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Awwww. Stacy, you have me tearing up!! Such great memories!! I remember following you out there to Oklahoma…(We called ourselves your groupies… We still are!! LOL!! 🙂 This makes me smile for the wonderful memories we have all had together…and being a part of each others lives. I look at this picture and the boys are so little…Wow, and now they are young men!!!! You guys will always have a special place in our hearts and we cherish our memories with you!!

    I was thinking about you guys the other day, and back to this, the beginning of all of this, and how your life has changed, and how exciting it is, what you are getting ready to do!! I’m so happy for you guys!! We love you guys!!

    Thank you for taking Carli under your wing and teaching her everything she knows about horses. You didn’t only teach her about horses though…you taught her about life. I remember going out to your house and you would be giving Carli a lesson, and you would never stop talking the whole time …Hahaha..LOL but I learned so much just standing there listening to you!! 🙂 I still tell Carli all the time…” You sound just like Stacy….or “you are a little Stacy” Haha. She does, Stacy, she sounds just like you!!! When she is giving a lesson, she is talking the whole time. Just like you!!! 🙂 Thank you for all you and Jesse invested into her!! We are forever grateful!!!

    We will be praying for you as you ‘Chase your dreams!!’ Looking forward to following your exciting road ahead!! Love you guys! Keep in touch!

    • Stacy on January 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Anne- It is amazing and humbling to look back and see all that has happened. It is a great memory of an amazing trip and I am still very impressed with Carli’s poem. I remember listening to her when I took her to TX to do a clinic…and she did sound just like me! Lol, it was strange. But good! I hope to see you before we go, I texted Carli about it.

  8. Katelyn on January 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    This is, BEAUTIFUL!

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