Stacy Westfall is best known for her unmatched natural horsemanship skills and multiple reining championship titles. But it is the fact that she has accomplished these feats utilizing bridleless and bareback techniques that make her unique — a triumph nearly incomprehensible in the world of horsemanship.
Stacy began riding at the age of 6 and had an immediate affinity for training horses. She graduated from the University of Findlay with a degree in equestrian studies and went on to begin a successful and unique horse-training career.
Stacy’s horse handling techniques are based on a simple technique she has applied time and time again: to think like a horse and actually get inside their heads, a concept first instilled by her mom, according to her official website Westfall Horsemanship.
While acquiring an impressive amount of awards and accolades over the years, Stacy became most famous for her winning bridleless freestyle ride in 2006 at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. The most touching aspect of the performance was the personal dedication to her father, who had died a month prior. Following the event, a viral YouTube video resulted in an interview on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
That same year, Stacy became the first woman to be invited to compete in the Road to the Horse competition, where she ended up winning against some of the best trainers and horsemen in the world.
Stacy’s impact on the reining world is legendary, and she has become an inspiration to others to truly understand and connect with horses using the least amount of equipment necessary.
Watch as she rides her horse Can Can Vaquero in a moving bridleless performance to win the 2011 Congress Freestyle.