BPP Book Club: Jaw-Dropping Horse Video

One of the famously great things about reading is that it opens up worlds you might never otherwise see. In the case of this month's BPP Book Club selection, Aryn Kyle's The God of Animals, it's the world of horse shows. Western horse shows, to be specific.

In one crucial scene, the main character participates in a reining competition — in which a rider puts a horse through a series of maneuvers including a sliding stop. The key is to be in total communication with the horse.

The scene was so gripping that I wanted to see what reining looks like in real life. Almost immediately I found this remarkable example of a rider named Stacy Westfall, who does something called freestyle reining — no saddle, no bridle, no reins. The video went viral on YouTube a couple of months ago, earning Westfall an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. It takes a minute or so to really get going, but if you've ever been on the back of a horse — and maybe if you haven't — you'll be amazed that what she does is even possible.

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Freestyle reining is to equestrian sports what the Harlem Globetrotters are to basketball. Upper level conventional reining horses are truly amazing, as are the best horses in dressage.

Sent by David Hollis, Hamilton, NY | 12:28 PM | 4-24-2008

True enough, David. Your point is well taken, and I think the analogy is perfect. Still, the Harlem Globetrotters can be a lot of fun to watch.

Sent by Sarah Goodyear | 12:35 PM | 4-24-2008

Here are a couple of videos of conventional reining:

Sent by Sarah Goodyear | 12:45 PM | 4-24-2008

I watched my sister ride for years and never saw anything like this. Amazing.

I finished _The God of Animals_ last night with soul intact, although somewhat dented. I can't help but feel the family would have been better off if the father had disappeared rather than the sister. What a narcissistic jerk.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 1:09 PM | 4-24-2008

Amazing and powerful!

Sent by Maiken Huntsman | 6:34 PM | 4-24-2008

Wow! I was curious about the video ... and I was moved to tears! I have no idea why I was so moved! How beautiful it is when two beings are in sync!

Sent by Addis | 7:48 PM | 4-24-2008

I also shed a tear. I think it was a combination of the dedication to her dad before she started, the song "I went like you were dying" during the event, and her petting the horses mane before he spun in perfect circles. All of a sudden I was all choked up and couldn't get a word out when my boyfriend walked in and asked me what was wrong. Thanks for sharing this with us Sarah!

Sent by Rebecca in Berlin | 7:26 PM | 5-5-2008