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SPORTS MASSAGE for your horse
Stasia is certified in Equine Sports Massage, from Equissage in Virginia. She has been massaging horses for over twelve years.  She has found it plays a valuable role in training and performance. Many horses that are labeled difficult or have training issues can and do have physical issues that need to be addressed. Stasia works to insure wellbeing in the horse. Massage can be done at your barn.

Newell Farm Services:
RIDING LESSONS on your horse or ours
For the rider, Stasia understands and works on balanced and resistance free riding. Balanced riding is key to efficient performance in your horse, and confidence for yourself in the saddle.  Stasia's students trailer their horses to her farm for private or semi private lessons. There is limited availability of Newell Farm horses for lessons.


Half day to 2 day formats. On and off farm. Learning FUN,  with socialization for you and your horse. Natural Horsemanship to Western Dressage and alot in between. All breeds Welcome!
Stasia Newell

photography by 
Rachel Lodder

The Burnt Hill Rides Association (Burdett, NY) has available for purchase an instructional CD for beginner and wannabe distance riders! It is a perfect gift for horse lovers!

Get a Start in Competitive Trail Riding features Stasia Newell, longtime competitive trail and endurance rider. Newell is the winner of the New Jersey 100,the Chesapeake 50, and various distances at the New York 100, Brookfield,   Burnt Hill rides & the list continues to grow. She has racked up many horsemanship awards at the rides where she competes. The photographs are the work of Rachel Lodder, another successful distance rider who has also mastered the art of photographing while mounted.

This CD is a straightforward presentation of Newell’s method of conditioning and her strategies for competition. It starts with you and your unfit horse and takes you through your first competitive ride. Lodder’s photos provide ample illustration for each part of this process.

Rachel Lodder on 'Jewels'
Price : $15 
To purchase a copy contact:
Holly Bailey, Burnt Hill Rides Association 
607-532-4924  or

Note: Proceeds from the sale of the CDs will benefit the Burnt Hill Rides Association and support its clinics and competitive trail and endurance rides. 
Considered on a limited basis, as Stasia's schedule allows, and with complete owner involvement only.
An Introduction to Western Dressage.   

By Stasia Newell                                                                                                                                                

Horse Bits Magazine, 3/2013

      Dressage for the Western horse! What does that mean to the amateur rider? The beginning western rider? The training of our green western horses? And retraining of many western type horses that head into second careers? Western Dressage is opening exciting doors for many western style horses and western enthusiasts .
      I've found many people these days want to have obtainable goals with their horses. They want to be recognised for their skills within the level of accomplishment they can achieve and build on. Many people have horses that have been retired from other disciplines, rescued, or are even in the process of training their first horse for the first time ever! These horses often don't fit into a "type", and are often mixed breed, unique and usable horses. (Interestingly enough, the new wave of horse person often doesn't fit into a "type"either!) Therefore, we aren't seeing horses that fit into the western pleasure horse scene, we don't have cows to work, and barrel racing looks like fun, but is out of the question. Most people trail ride, but don't want to do miles...however, they are seeking knowledge and want to compete in some manner.
     I  have a number of clients that fit this fun and challenging scenario. So in order to learn more, I attended the first ever 'Train The Trainers Series', (see end of article to learn more about this event) hosted by the Western Dressage Association of America in Castle Rock,Colorado on October 23rd & 24th, 2012. I had the pleasure of going with my friend and classical dressage instructor, Janet Youse from Rome , Pa. Janet had experimented last summer with a couple of western dressage classes added to her dressage/combined training show she'd had at Heaven Bound Farm. She had also been working with me and my young Arabian gelding I had been wanting to show in Western Dressage. So it was obvious who should go with me on this learning adventure.
      I have heard many people comment that they believe Western Dressage is nothing other than English Dressage in Western tack. No.... Western Dressage is Dressage within the tradition of the western horse. It recognizes the lightness of contact we ride the western horse in. But, not a draped rein like the western pleasure horse! Rather...acceptance of light contact, balance (engagement of the hindquarters, and lifting of the forehand), freedom of movement, and use of the back, while always looking for a relaxed, confident manner, with rhythm, cadence, consistent speed and tempo.
      The gaits are within western working horse tradition. THE WALK: must be a 4 beat gait, executed at the (1)working walk, (2)free walk, and (3)collected walk. THE JOG: a clear 2 beat gait, with regularity, elasticity, cadence, and impulsion, maintaining balance within the (1) working jog, (2)collected jog, and (3)lengthening of strides. THE LOPE: must be a recognised 3 beat gait! Must be rhythmic, light, balanced, showing engagement of the hind quarters and a slight "uphill" tendency. The lope is shown at the, (1)working lope, (2) collected lope and (3)lengthening of strides. THE HALT: is to be presented straight and square. At higher levels, lateral moves, pivots on both the forehand and haunches are added. The higher levels will also introduce THE BACK.
      The levels of Western Dressage are...Introductory, Basic, First and Second Level.  Introductory: is as it's called, an introduction to Western Dressage. It is shown at a walk and jog, with halt. The rider must show proper position, basic skills, and an understanding of figures. The horse should show relaxation and harmony with the rider. The jog should be a natural gait with some scope and swinging back. 
      The next level is Basic: Also shown at walk, jog confirming a supple horse that moves freely forward with clear and steady rhythm, while accepting light contact and understanding of the bridle and other aids. Emphasis is on relaxation, submission, harmony, and pure gait. 
First Level shows the lope, with development of impulsion, improved balance, while beginning to develop self carriage. The horse demonstrates more consistent light contact with the bridle. Second Level requires more self carriage, impulsion, more of an "uphill" tendency as the horse accepts more responsibility from behind. Lengthening, smaller circles/figures are required, as are lateral movements, turn on the forehand, and turn on the haunches. 
      The Western Dressage Association of America is still in its infancy, established in 2010. Therefore, tests, training pyramid, and more levels shall be developed. Tack should be of western style. Bits can be snaffle or western shank type. Bosals are allowed in Intro and Basic levels. Rules and regulations, as well as tests can be found at Also, learn more about "Train the Trainers" at this website.
      Western Dressage is accessible to all breeds. Each is to be judged within its "type". For instance, if it's a stock type horse going with a lower flatter frame, shorter stride, less over track, it will be judged accordingly. If it's more of a Morgan/Arabian type, with a higher carriage, it will be judged accordingly. As will the Draft, Warmblood or Pony....This discipline is meant to be all inclusive.
      I'm finding myself excited about this sport! Western Dressage will be added to this season's clinics at Newell Farm, along with the Natural Horsemanship and Competitive Trail/Endurance clinics.

Soft Conversations - by Stasia Newell

Today we are talking about making the jaw and poll of the horse supple. TIMING and FEEL through the reins is paramount! 

This is something we have a hard time with, because we have human hands. Most horses would tell you human hands aren't nearly as great as we think they are! We humans move our hands
quickly and without much FEEL. 

Hmmm...perhaps an example of what that means. How about you reach out and pick up your water bottle, pen, phone, something you do often. Now think about how that felt. Normal, right! Now, do that again using less pressure. Meaning, can you pick that up with less pressure? Then again, even softer? And well, how did you manage to do that last bit softer? With less tension in your muscles, or maybe you could say, with more RELAXATION? Actually... how much pressure does it really take to pick up that object? And, does the object feel different to you when you are softer and more relaxed with your hand?

Now let us think about our hands on reins, perhaps connected to a steel bit in a horse’s mouth. Like, REALLY think about it!

TIMING is also one of those human difficulties! Humans do a lot of thinking, not being very present...or shall we say, “in the moment” and...TIMING is all about “the moment”! Most of us have heard about providing “the release”. Meaning we release the pressure on the horse when he gives to our pressure. We take-they give-we release. Or, perhaps...better in my mind. We should allow the horse to seek, or find “the release”. Allowing the horse to seek the release is about truly understanding holding. Not pulling folks! And how to hold while a horse is pushing/pulling on us! Holding can be accomplished by FEEL. Understanding and controlling the amount of tension in our muscles. It’s very difficult to pull when you have RELAXATION in your muscles. That doesn’t mean limp inactive muscles, or slow to respond muscles... but awareness in relaxed, active muscles. Meaning a relaxed hand, arm, shoulder, back, seat, and leg. Thus when the horse is pulling on your hand, you must meet that pressure, and then FEEL the RELAXATION of the horse happen. Then you respond with RELAXATION in kind, at that moment being provided. That would be when FEEl and TIMING come together. This RELAXATION, is what we refer to as SOFTENING. Soft horses are relaxed, understanding horses. This should not be confused with LIGHT or LIGHTNESS.

LIGHTNESS is often nothing other then learned response. Many LIGHT horses are in fact tense and reactive to pressure. I teach horses to soften on the ground first and foremost. They must be able to softly move head, neck, shoulders, ribs, hips, feet, all independently from each other. I start with leading. I first ask a horse in the halter to soften their poll. I use “head down” for the beginning of this process. I also use it as a way to always bring attention to me. And it’s the way I always​ lead a horse on a daily basis. I then work with bending the neck first, then to flexion of the poll. Then proceed to these very same skills with a bridle on the ground, then under saddle.

I like to think of contact as a sentence. The amount of contact is a continual soft conversation. It talks to the horse about where to be, within its frame and carriage. (Contact should not​ be about steering and stopping. The seat and leg is where that information should come from.) Depending on how well the horse understands and is capable of doing his work, allows for how much or how little contact is needed for a soft conversation. A horse that is soft to contact is supple through the jaw, poll, and neck. Interestingly, when you have this softness , you always seem to get RELAXATION in the horse. Tension just cannot be held if there is true softness to contact. Nor can tension be held in your relaxed, soft hand, arm, shoulder, back, seat, or leg.