Deborah Danfort was Horse & Rider's 45th Anniversary Sweepstakes grand-prize winner in 2006, landing her a free clinic with cowgirl clinician and Team H&R member Stacy Westfall. Danforth attended the New York Horse Expo in May 2007 where she and her daughter enjoyed time with Westfall. Here is a letter from Danforth detailing their exciting experience.
Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime! What a wonderful experience my daughter and I had with Stacy Westfall and her husband, Jesse, at the NY Horse Expo in Syracuse, N.Y. It was there, May 11-13, that we were able to utilize our Horse & Rider magazine grand-prize lesson time with Stacy Westfall. My daughter, Lindsy, rode our Appaloosa mare, Victoria Bright, in all three of Stacy's presentations and then received some additional private instruction outside of the seminar time.
Stacy started with some ground work to assess Lindsy and our horse's skills, showing us along the way the training process that was taking place. We then progressed to the bending, counter bending, softening and control of the body parts, some areas of which our mare needed more work than others. (Our mare is back in action after having a filly last May.) She also worked on the rider's body position through various maneuvers and established better leadership from the rider. We got a crash course in the Westfall training methods, which are basic good horsemanship skills. Stacy had exercise ideas to help fix all kinds of situations.
It was interesting to see the progress from day to day. There is a definite reason that they are as successful as they are. They have a solid program and foundation that they build in the horse and rider that provides results.
We had a great time getting new ideas and uncovering weak areas to work on, finding a new road out of our usual training rut. It is inspiring to experience other ideas and methods and take them home to put them to use.
At the end of the seminars, they presented us with all five of their DVDs! I think Stacy wanted to make sure we had plenty of homework and wouldn't forget our new skills. We were totally surprised at the gift and very thankful, as we couldn't decide on our own which one to buy. I've already started using some of the exercises on my own Western pleasure gelding and our yearling filly.
The Westfalls are truly genuine people. On Saturday night, after the Theater Equus performance, Stacy was just beaming as she traded spins on her mare for a tolt on an Icelandic pony. It was a true equine cultural exchange.
Thank you again for the fabulous opportunity we never would have had if not for your sweeps.