Friday, October 17, 2008

Stacy Westfall & Ken McNabb: My hope for horse trainers.

I am sorry that I have not been keeping up with my blog. This past weekend I spent the majority of my time at the Mane Event Horse Expo in Chilliwack, BC. I had the opportunity to watch Stacy Westfall and Ken McNabb in action. For those of you who don't know who Stacy Westfall is or what she does, here is a link to watch her bareback and brideless freestyle reining run from the Quarter Horse Congress:

I really liked Stacy's clinics. I was able to watch one on stopping, one on body control and one on spinning. I love that her methods involve breaking down a maneuver and making each part independently strong so that when you finally put all the parts together, they have a stronger meaning to the horse. She also seems to put a lot of work behind her horses and I saw nothing to suggest that she cram and jams on them. Stacy also gave you actual drills to do, which I really appreciate because sometime I get a concept but struggle to find a way to apply it. What I especially enjoyed was her down to earth manner. From what I can see, this girl has not let her popularity go to her head. I plan on buying her DVDs. I think she has a lot to offer and not just in how to train or improve your horses reining maneuvers.

I also had was able to watch Ken McNabb start a colt in the Trainers Challenge. This event is where three trainers have four one hour sessions to start a halter broke colt before riding their horses through an obstacle course on Sunday night. I was absolutely thrilled when Ken McNabb won! I didn't find anything dramatically different about McNabbs techniques, which I think was actually a good thing! He didn't try to be different for the sake of trying to sell himself. His methods were sensible, moderate, and straight forward. I found him very approachable as a person and enjoyed his humor, humility, and that he didn't seem like he was there trying to sell you something (the best salesmen don't!) A bonus was that he actually seemed to genuinely love horses!!! *gasp* Before the challenge started, Stacy Westfall suggested that when we watch the trainers this weekend, instead of trying to find how each is different than the other, try to find the common threads as these practises are the real "secrets"! I would like to learn more about his programs.
My personal favorite remains the same. A local trainer that is slowly but surely developing international acclaim; Jonathan Field. Here is a link to what he does:
The long version of his performance on Saturday night. (skip to the 4 minute mark if you don't want to watch the whole thing.
Last years performance with two horses! He is only riding with a string.
I always really enjoy the Mane Event and was really excited that we were able to get up such big name trainers. Here in BC we don't get RFD-TV so these popular trainers are not as well known up here and we don't have the same access to their programs. Now I just have to win the lotto so that I can afford to buy all the DVDs I want!
***Imagine my surprise when I googled images of Ken McNabb for this post and saw a picture of Pony Girl's My Boy! I guess in a blog entry she mentioned Mr. McNabb and a pic came up with a link to her blog! ****


  1. I'm jealous-I would love to see Stacey Westfall. I think she is amazing, talented and does what she loves, because she loves it.

    I looked at that mare you asked about. Gorgeous! I loved her, went to the video and watched her move and WTH? I had to go back to the pictures. I didn't notice how high her hocks were. She looks awfully strung out behind. But I would really have to see her moving in a controlled manner before I would nix her and I would like to see her roll back on the fence a few times to see how well she can use those hocks. But did you wonder why they never actually got on her? She is supposed to have 60 days riding and they never got on and rode her. Me thinks there is a problem there. She looked awful tense. Not what you would expect to see of a horse with even 30 days riding?
    But Oh My, she is beautiful everywhere else!!

  2. if you cannot get fastdraw45 at to accept an email-the firewalls are crazy on this email, try sending me one at tawneerocks at I can save your email address to my goldenwest account and then it should accept any new emails. I don't know why it does this to some people-sorry!

  3. I have never had the opportunity to see Stacy Westfall in action, but I have seen Ken McNabb on several occasions, and he is a great guy.

    I really like him because he isn't afraid to get after the horses when they are misbehaving...he just does so in a calm, cool, collected, and non-angry way.

    I need to come back and watch those videos when I have more time. :)

    Glad you got to go and see these two, wonderful people, who a lot of so called trainers could take a lesson or two from!

  4. I too had the opportunity to take in the Stacy Westfall clinics this weekend and have already headed back to the barn to try and apply some of her techniques to my ride. I unfortunately didn't get to see Ken McNabb but hear he was wonderful.

    I am also beaming as my coach rode in the clinic on spins. She had the little gelding that spun like a top! She has only had him a short while and thus far is doing very well on him. Poor guy was a little off in the hund end that day though. It was nice to see riders at a more begining stage, and then a rider at an almost finished stage. It really helps you see the difference between where things are at, and where they will get to if they continue to work on what they are developing.

    I also rode in the Equine Experience Saturday night witht he Langley Riders Drill Team. Our ride was certainly far from perfect..... and I was on the little dunn that bolted at the begining. Poor guy had never done an indoor performance before and it definately had him spooked. It was a bizarre ride we usually have it together more then that as a team....

    I am glad you had such a great time! I think I only went home to sleep this weekend.... I can't wait until next year!

  5. You know what I love about Stacy Westfall is that she is currently competing and winning.

    I like other clinicians but I feel it gives them a little extra credit when they are out there and winning with the training techniques they are teaching others.

    I know FHOTD doesn't like those "start a colt in one day" competitions but I have seen them too and I don't see that the horse is any worse from the experience, in fact it is always must improved. Each to his own I guess.

    How lucky of you to get to go watch them all at once like that! It's a lot of information to take in - I always bring a camera if I can and a note book to write notes on what I am watching.

  6. Yep, I had a chance to see one day of a Ken McNabb clinic last year. Actually, he's coming again this year, I wish I could afford to participate! I can't even go audit (watch) because for some reason it is not on the weekend and I can't get off work for something like that, bummer. I really like how down to earth he was, too. He actually said that trail riding is one of the most dangerous things you can do on a horse, which I thought was an interesting but true perspective.

  7. Ken McNabb is one of my favorite trainers. I went to one of his clinics with some of my cousins last Winter and got to talk with him. He is very approachable and friendly. And i love his show on RFDTV. I like his manner with horses and i like the way that he is able to explain what he is doing.