Uncle Mitch, who frequently gets together to ride with Dad and Uncle Charles and Marvin (my brother-in-law), sent this video around recently by email. You’ve seen it before, but it’s good enough to watch again.
It shows Stacy Westfall’s championship Freestyle Reining ride in 2006 on Whizards Baby Doll. Her father died 24 days before, and she dedicated the ride to him. The entire occasion is very moving; listen closely for the dedication at the beginning. Most appropriately, the soundtrack is Tim McGraw singing “Live like you were dying.”
What do we learn from one another in the brief span of our lives? If we’re to live as if we’re dying, then we’ll live as if all that matters is our relationships.
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denyin’
And he said some day I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’
(Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying” lyrics)
So watch for the relationship between Stacy and the horse. After training together for only four years, they ride like life is a dance.
Notice that there is no bit, and no saddle. She uses body language, hand signals and verbal cues. This is a horse and rider who understand one another, and who delight in what they do together.
This is what horses teach us, if we learn to understand them.
Above: Dad riding Governor at Willis Creek Ranch (photo by Jackson Mann).
“Thanks for teaching me to keep trying new things.”