Seeing eye to eye. Photo © Nancy D. Brown
Horses and ground work
“I think ground work is amazing for people. iPhones are great for equestrian training with video,” shared Westfall.
“Horses operate on Grandma rules,” laughed Westfall. “They start as a blank slate. Some people hold you accountable here,” (raises hand high into the air) “and others here.” (Raises hand lower) Westfall used the analogy of her young boys earning money picking fruit on their grandma’s ranch. Grandma rewarded their efforts with cash. In this particular instance, the boys quickly learned that quantity was rewarded over quality. Grandma paid them regardless of the quality of the product. While this analogy is certainly not comparing apples to apples, it gave us a good idea of what Westfall expects in her work with horses. Bottom line, in training horses, hold them accountable and keep the bar high.
While my description of Westfall’s seminar doesn’t do justice to her real-life, on-the-ground clinics, she certainly gave us a wonderful glimpse into the body language of horses. “Can you imagine if we were all forgiving and thorough with our horses?” Listen intently to what they are trying to communicate to us. Go back to the basics when our language gets broken and remember to remain calm. “When I draw a line in the sand, he will know where I want him to go,” she concluded her presentation with a whisper and a smile.