Category Archives: Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac

Stacy’s Video Diary Jac-Episode 32-Using horse shows and trail rides as training.

The goal for Jac’s first horse show wasn’t to win a prize, the goal was to use the whole experience as a learning and training session.

The atmosphere is a lot of the training; many horses around, warm up pen, bathing, riding, preparing, walking into the pen alone, odd hours, etc.

Gathering information is key to predicting how a horse will handle future experiences. By making the first several trips to shows very low pressure the horse is more likely to have a positive experience.

Jac’s first class was a green horse class and the goal was to do the maneuvers correct with little or no degree of difficulty. Unfortunately, Jac broke gait (went from a lope to a trot) when slowing down from the large fast circle to the small slow circle. In the video I explain, “I’m going to blame that on me…I wasn’t helping him or guarding him…I was using the class to gather information. Had this been a show I was concerned about I would have helped him. Instead I learned Jac was very relaxed.”

The learning that takes place at a show is not only the horse. The rider also learns how to better prepare and show the horse.

I answer a question about my goals when taking a horse to a show or a trail ride for the first time; what types of things do you do to ensure a good experience for the horse.

I explain that many people ride their horses harder at a show or when they haul them somewhere than they do at home. When this happens the horse learns to expect hard work when they are hauled.

I ride my horses harder at home than I do at the shows so that the horse learns that traveling doesn’t require more work.


Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 31- A horse with one year of training

Jac entered training in March of 2013. This footage was filmed over several rides in March 2014, one year later. Total Training Time 120-125 hours

This video does a great job showing Jac’s physical training; lead changes, spins, slides and general understanding. What it doesn’t show as well is the mental connection.  To see that you need to watch Episode 26 or Episode 12 which explained what happened at the beginning of Episode 9 and then for a good laugh you can watch Jac drag me all over the place back in Episode 3. The things that happen ‘in the barn’; the mistakes, the questions the horse asks, how the trainer handles the horse and how the horses respond to the training often tells you more about the relationship than the ‘show footage’ will.

The purpose in sharing Jac’s story was to give insight into the training methods that I use. I do not claim that they are the only way to train a horse but they are a good representation my way of training. I do believe that the videos captured many of the moments that I have always wanted to share with people.

Working with Jac has also been a very personally touching tribute to Roxy. The  footage at 5:45 gave me chills…and again at 8:09.

“If you’ve ever wondered how Roxy and I achieved the partnership that we did … Jac’s journey will show you. All horses deserve to have this foundation and it is never too late to build it.”-Stacy Westfall


For those of you who have been wondering and waiting….YES! The DVD is here!

It is so new and hot-off-the-press that there isn’t even a web-link yet but if you want to order the full 7 hour DVD for $99.99 you can call 1-800-648-1121.

Stacy Westfall, Jac, full 7 hour DVD is available now call 1-800-648-1121, to order.

Full 7 hour DVD is available now call 1-800-648-1121, to order. $99.99


Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary Jac-Episode 30-Prevention: things could go bad with a horse

Total Training Time 83 hour 35 mins

Jac took his furthest trip yet when he headed out from Ohio to Massachusetts to visit the Equine Affaire (November 2013). He had been hauled shorter distances and was traveling with other horses which helped him stay relaxed. Some horses won’t drink much when traveling but Jac caught on well.

Jac spent most of his days in the Celebrity horse stalls where people could see him and take photos of him or with him. Jac also was brought out for appearances and was completely at ease there.

Although Jac had spent time at the Quarter Horse Congress preparing for his debut at the freestyle reining (see Episode 28) he had not been ridden in front of a crowd.

At 2:08 I chose do ground work during the introduction where it was likely that people would start clapping.

Episode 30 Stacy's Video Diary Jac

Watch the video below for the answer!

Choosing not to be mounted is a demonstration of prevention.

I also made a plan for how I would handle Jac’s reaction to the crowd clapping…if he had a reaction. Preparing myself ahead of time by thinking about what I will do helps me feel more secure. I chose to keep Jac mentally ‘busy’ and tell him what TO do. Many people wait until the horse has the reaction before they decide to do something; by then they are behind.

I was able to channel Jac’s reaction to the clapping. If Jac had not reacted, the whipping around him would have been the same as any other day at home. The exercise was familiar to Jac before this situation where it was needed. This is another example of prevention.

I did ride Jac and greatly enjoyed how the crowed responded to Jac’s first spins in public. The crowd wanted to clap for the demonstration…but was obviously concerned about Jac’s possible reaction. I said, “I know we are in a room full of horse people when the clapping starts like that. (The crowd is thinking) ‘Is she going to get bucked off? Is this really going to be a reward?”

Horse people are too funny! I love it!

After that the crowd felt comfortable clapping and Jac acted like he was a seasoned pro. Was all the prevention necessary or was Jac just destined to accept things like this? When prevention is used often times the answers are elusive because the problems are never encountered-which is the point.

If you have been watching Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac for very long you might have noticed that the footage hasn’t been ‘live’. Filming and editing is hard work! And if they had been ‘live’ we all would have experienced a two month delay while Jac was sore. We are, however, almost caught up to real time and you will notice in the next couple of weeks that we are releasing very close to real time (filming is still hard work and requires editing).

Jac and I will be at Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio April 10-13th (link to the schedule here). Stop by and visit one of the demonstration or the booth. Jac is in the Celebrity Horse Stall again too! Keep your eyes open when your driving…you might just see us driving down the road!


Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary Jac- Episode 29- Teaching a horse to move hips

Total Training Time 78 hour 10 mins

Look at how far Jac has come with just under 80 hours of training!

I know it seems like I do this every episode but…again, I demonstrate how I warm Jac up and explain why I keep working on bending and counter bending…I want him to MASTER it.

I also demonstrate how I am beginning to ride Jac one handed, including showing how I ‘ask’ with the outside rein and then, if necessary, use the inside rein to ‘make’ it happen.

I don’t expect the horse to fully grasp neck reining under pressure at this point. I only use the neck reining lightly during warm up and I switch to riding two handed for the majority of the training.

At 4:30 I demonstrate Jac’s progression in the spin and explains what I am looking for.

At 8:38 I show how I begin to teach a horse to move his hip. Hip moving, combined with shoulder control, is the foundation for future maneuvers such as lead departures, lead changes and other advanced maneuvers.

I explain what leads are and what is considered a ‘correct’ lead. Then I show groundwork exercises and mounted exercises to begin teaching a horse to move his hips.

Remember, as always, the ‘release’ is what teaches. If you ask for the hip to move but release when the horse is backing up….he will back up on that cue instead. (Jac tries this)

Also, giving the horse time to think about what is happening will allow the horse to ‘own’ the idea.


Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy Westfall, Why can I see your legs bumping when you ride your horse?

  “Stacy-If I may ask, why the busy legs in the video’s? Is Jac not forward? It seems you have to constantly bump?- Sandy A.”

Sandy- You are not the first to ask about my ‘leg waving’ especially now with the Jac series on YouTube. I have never, in my memory, received this question in reference to the ‘bareback & bridleless’ ride with Roxy…because although the cue system is the same, Roxy was much better at it. Much more experienced.

If you are watching the Jac videos you are seeing a horse that is just learning the system, therefore, it is more obvious. There are times that training a horse is like training a child. In kindergarden the teacher uses greater expression both vocally and visually to engage the kids and make things more clear. With young horses training methods are also more exaggerated.

People expect to see a rider using more rein on a young horse, riding two handed, etc.

What you are describing a ‘busy’ legs is what I call ‘leg waving’. I describe it in detail with great visuals in my Bridleless Riding: How Does She Do That? DVD. I am also posting a video here of Jac that I hope will be a great example of why I am using my legs.

You should notice that in this clip my legs are more subtle than they were in Episode 27. This is because Jac is now able to read more subtle cues…including the ‘leg release’ or ceasing of my leg waving which was more responsible for this sliding stop than my hand cue. Watch is several time; once for my legs, once for my hand and again for Jac’s response.

Now watch Jac’s mom, Roxy, and how subtle she was reading the cues. All of the leg cues are there and Roxy is even more animated with her responses.


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 28- Jac goes to the All American Quarter Horse Congress 2013

Total training time- 65 hours 50 minutes

pre show warm up

Stacy warming up Jac and Newt before the Congress freestyle 2013.

Jac’s first trip to a horse show was a visit to the All American Quarter Horse Congress…during the freestyle reining.

Jac wasn’t ready to show, but I wanted to introduce people to Jac…and introduce Jac to people.

Jac’s training has progressed well to this point but I decided that it wasn’t fair to expect Jac to handle the emotional pressure of over 5,000 people in the crowd by himself, so I decided to pony (lead) him in from an older horse.

Notice at 3:35 how Jac reacts when the crowd begins to applaud. Eventually, I will have Jac trained to listen to me under pressure. The process of training a horse to handle the pressure from the crowd will involve gradually increasing the pressure on Jac in varying ways at home; example of this already exist including:

  • whipping with the stick and string
  • using a plastic bag to sack him out
  • getting Jac’s attention back when horses are running in the pasture while Stacy is riding

Notice at 9:50 when the crowd applauds again how differently Jac responds. This is because during the first occurrence of the ‘crowd pressure’ he was handled in a way he was accustomed to at home. This gave him confidence in the leader, in this case a combination of me and Newt. Eventually that leader will be the rider alone. The choice to pony is also a great example of prevention; I prevented a potential problem with creative thinking.

This was an emotional moment for me with Jac because it had such a feeling of ‘coming full circle’. You may remember from watching the pilot episode that I trained Jac’s grandmother. Then I trained Roxy and competed in the same arena I was now leading Jac in. Roxy impacted the world…but she was still my personal friend. Although the memories often bring me tears they are not often sadness anymore, instead they are gratefulness that I was able to experience the intimate knowing of a horse like Roxy, tinged with joy, wonder, and an intensity of emotions I cannot put into words.

Although nobody can replace her, Roxy’s spirit lives on, not only in our hearts, but in Jac as well.


Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 27-Teaching the beginning of the sliding stop.

Total training time 58 hours 30 minutes

Jac gets his first shoes…hind shoes only. Many of my reiners are barefoot in the front. They have shoes in the hind because it makes it a lot easier for them to slide. Training the slide as well as performing it 3-4 times in a pattern makes shoes the friendliest thing you can do for a reining horse; it allows for less friction sliding which makes the stop easier on the horses joints, body, etc.

At  minute 2:10, I explain how I use training cycles with my horses, much like a runner would train and I describe how I can work something, like having a cold, into that cycle.

*Review of bend and counter ben

*Review of spin-LOOK at the improvement!

I am just starting to teach Jac how to slide. Watch the ratio of stops vs loping around on Jac. Jac shows a desire to stop but he doesn’t know how to hold his hind feet without catching his toe and letting his hoof roll over. He will eventually, with practice, learn how to ski along on his hind sliding shoes.


Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Jac and Stacy Westfall…one year later.

One year ago today I met Jac. March 8, 2013.

I wrote a blog titled, “Roxy’s Last Foal…Jac” where I discussed Roxy’s death and how Jac was born.

In that blog I described my reaction to Jac’s arrival March 8th in the following words:

“No one was with me when I went into the barn. When I looked into the stall and was thankful he wasn’t her color. No one was there when my heart broke for the little horse that I refused to consider…because of my pain.Jac

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” says Kahlil Gibran. “It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility: For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen”

Looking into the stall….something broke inside me and I knew I needed to let Jac in. And Jesse (I think he knew this would happen) said later that night, “You know…you should ride him.”

One year and over 100 hours of riding later, I am thankful for the pain, the journey, the video’s, the comments, the support, the criticism, the encouragement and ultimately the understanding I have gained from all of it.

Here is a link to the pilot video.

Below is the first day I worked Jac, March 9th, the day after he arrived. You can see the date displayed in the video as I lead him out of the stall for the first time…ever…..And below that a video of Jac’s first ride in Roxy’s saddle; Coincidence or God-incidence?


Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Life, Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 26-Horse training is a conversation between horse and human

The main point of the Jac project was to show you my training methods in an everyday setting. The beauty of the project has been that there are little golden nuggets that have been captured; moments when you can really ‘see’ what Jac is thinking. This is one of those episodes.

Often times people think that horse training is a one way conversation.

Watch Episode 26 of Jac to see why Stacy is laughing.

Watch Episode 26 of Jac to see why Stacy is laughing.

Horse training is a conversation-people make the mistake of thinking this is a one way conversation; one where the student only listens and never asks a question.

This likely happens because people miss that the ‘conversation’ is happening at all. It is difficult to have a conversation if you aren’t fluent in a language.

Other times people aren’t interested in a conversation, they are more interested in domination. In this case they punish the for asking questions because they are more interested in creating a robot.

The total training time Jac has received up until now is 50 hours 5 minutes. Jac demonstrates in the first three minutes of video that he is both thinking and asking questions.

Jac is saying, “Teacher, Stacy, you’ve been really consistent and everyday we end on one of two things; we either end on backing up or on spinning to the right…can we be done now?”

Jac has learned what pleases me and he is demonstrating an eagerness to get it done.

Could this become a safety issue? Anything can become a safety issue if you don’t know how to read the horse. Most safety issues arise from the human misinterpreting the signs leading up to an ‘event’ like rearing, bucking, etc.

I cover a lot more in this video but if you watch nothing else then just watch the first three minutes. Listen to and watch what Jac is saying…who better to learn from than a horse?


Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 25-Changing bits & 2nd stage of spinning a horse

Total training time 42 hours 50 minutes

Jac has had some time off because I took a ten day trip to visit family.

I chose to move Jac to a twisted wire bit. As with any bit it is as harsh as the hands that use it. I changed bits because Jac doesn’t have the basics down well enough to move to a shanked bit; yet Jac is at times overly confident and pushy especially when distracted by mares and other horses. By watching Jac’s mouth it is possible to see that Jac doesn’t regard the bit as ‘too much’.

bucket handle

Stacy’s bucket was missing the white handle part.

I know many people are concerned by the idea of using a twisted wire because it isn’t smooth. Bits are motivators, tools used to motivate the horse. The twisted wire I am using is the same diameter as the smooth snaffle I was using previously. I remember learning about bits and how the shape and the diameter are things that could change their intensity. At that time I lived in Maine and had to carry water for my horses and I carried it in a 5 gallon bucket that originally had a white plastic cover over the wire handle. Years ago the white plastic had broken off and I carried the bucket anyway. It did make a difference that the metal alone was more narrow and applied more pressure…but it didn’t make enough of a difference for me to change buckets. This could change from person to person as the bit required changes from horse to horse.

In the spin Jac is beginning to ‘hunt’ the steps. It is possible to see this demonstrated at 1:30 because he keeps going to the left without me needing to guide him as much as I did in Episode 24. The exercise from Episode 24 (at 6 minute mark) where I said, ‘right, right, right, right, right’ is starting to pay off. Notice at 3:20 how Jac walks forward and to the left because of what he is mentally thinking.

I continue to read Jac’s body language at 5:22 where I say, Jac is thinking.  “I tried! I can stop now.” Jac is allowed to make comments but I gently correct him.

10:09 – Again, I am not putting Jac’s head down, he is putting it down and I am leaving him alone about it. Jac is demonstrating that he is relaxed and wants to carry his head down. I will actually discourage this during the training of his lead changes and sliding stops.

10:45- notice that Jac took the wrong lead. I haven’t trained Jac to move his hip yet so Jac doesn’t always get the correct lead. Getting the correct leads will come as Jac learns to move both his hips and his shoulders separately.

11:48-Can you see how much Jac hunts the stop?

There are so many ideas packed into this episode that I didn’t even try to write them all down. I hope you enjoy.


Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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