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Do horses wear different sizes of sliding shoes? Jac review week sponsored by Weaver Leather

“So…. about the sliders….. Do they come in different sizes?? …. cuz you said Jac was was getting “baby sliders” on in episode 26….aren’t they regular shoes hammered smoothly?? ……so my question is.. do the sliding shoes come in small… medium and large??? ..lol…. are there different thicknesses??-Lesia L.”

The difference I was referencing is in the width mostly. The wider the shoe…the more surface area it covers. The more of the foot that is covered in a smooth shoe, the easier it is to slide.

They make a shoe that is 3/4 inch, flat and smooth that some people would consider a small slider. When any of the sliders are put on, the nail heads get filed off. Sometimes we use the 3/4 inch but most of the time we start with 1 inch wide. The last time I used 3/4 inch was when I was mounted shooting with Popcorn because he had been trained to slide and although I wasn’t trying to slide, I didn’t want him to stick.

Reining horses wear special sliding shoes, or sliding plates, also known as 'sliders'

Reining horses wear special sliding shoes, or sliding plates, also known as ‘sliders’

The 1 inch wide shoes are the most common size we start with. They are still smooth with nail heads filed off. When they know what they are doing we can go to 1 1/4 inch. It also matters how big or small their hoof is. If the hoof is very small than a 1 inch shoe is going to cover more of the surface area…making them more ‘slippery’ for that small hoofed horse than a 1 inch wide on a huge hoof.

So why don’t we just use wider and wider sliders? Why not cover the whole bottom of the hoof?

Interesting thought. I actually have seen a photo of a ‘slider’ that was solid across the whole hoof, but I wasn’t tempted to try it.

The other maneuver that the slider will affect is when you are running large fast circles. If the hind shoes are too slippery the horse will be more prone to ‘slipping’ out of lead in the hind end, which is penalized by the judges. So ultimately too much of a good thing, becomes a bad thing.

In this video Jac still has one in sliders on, he has just gotten better at sliding!

 

 

 

 
 

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How do I deal with a horse that has learned to bolt through my hands on the lounge line? Jac Review Week

“Stacy-How do I deal with a horse that has learned to bolt through my hands on the lounge line?”-Stephanie P.

Horses that pull away from the handler generally come in two categories;

  1. They don’t know any better and are impulsively just leaving
  2. They have learned they can get away with it

A horse that doesn’t know any better can quickly become a horse who learns to get away with it –  if they have a chance to practice.

The good news is that the ‘fix’ or answer to the problem is the same in both cases. Lets first look at the horse that doesn’t know any better. Jac in Episodes 2 and Episode 3 was a great example of this.

Jac didn’t know how to properly respond to the pressure on the rope and without the proper handling he could have quickly figured out the big secret; he is bigger and stronger than me. I say this is a ‘secret’ because horses really are bigger, but with proper training the horse doesn’t need to view us this way.

Whether you are training a green horse, like Jac, or working with an older ‘problem’ horse the key is to get the horse to ‘mentally’ connect with you. They are bigger and stronger, that is a fact. Instead of looking at how to physically over come this, it is important to look at how to mentally get the horse on your team.

The beauty of the Jac series is that you can watch multiple episodes to see how I achieved this connection.  There were physical things that I did. For example when Jac applied pressure by trying to leave in Episode 3, even pulling me out of the camera, I didn’t release until he slightly turned back to me. I was beginning to teach Jac the idea of disengaging his hip even if it doesn’t look like the traditional ‘tap on his hip’ method which I did later in Episode 8. I was confident in my ability to correctly time my release of pressure even when Jac was pulling on me. If you are less confident of this then I would recommend being inside a round pen. For a less experienced handler it is often easier to properly time the release of pressure when the horse stops pulling because he has reached the wall.

The key is getting the horse to view turning and facing you as a reward. Re-watch Episode 2-5 and specifically look for how I slightly annoyed Jac with gentle taps and released when he moves the direction I want. If I had applied large amounts of pressure I would have physically caused a bigger reaction and mentally I may have offended Jac.

Mentally they need to see that you are the leader and that you have something to offer. Most of the time, unless the horse is acting from pure fear, horses that will drag people tend have strong personalities. They require strong leaders who have a plan and who also have their interest in mind. A common mistake I see with these horses is a handler who becomes frustrated and then becomes the strong leader the horse needs. On the surface this works fine but often this becomes a game with the horse. Once the handler isn’t frustrated they slip back into being less of a leader and the horse slowly begins to take the role again…until the rider eventually ends up frustrated enough to step up again. These horses are often the toughest to work with not because they have a chronic problem but rather because they have become experts at manipulating people.

You will not be able to out pull a horse but if you can get him to mentally engage with you, you will not have to. Another great example of continuing to build this mental connection can be found in Episode 14 where I show the beginning of what is considered ‘liberty’ work or working without any attachment to the horse. Learning to control a horses movements when you have only body language to communicate is often eye opening for the human. Once you have learned how to read the horses body language and control the horses direction, speed and focus at liberty it will change the way you view your horse…and how your horse views you.

 

 

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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 40- Freezing Jac’s semen for the future

Each horse is an individual and each one, like each person, has their own path. Deciding to collect and freeze semen from Jac is a process I have never been a part of before. When Greg (he owns Jac) and I were discussing the possibility there were many reasons to consider freezing;

  1. something could happen to Jac; unexpected death like Roxy
  2. the decision could be made to sell Jac; Jac’s older brother was sold and is overseas and  showing VERY well
  3. Jac could end up being gelded; then he could be turned out with more horses

Greg checked around and found the experts at Select Breeders Services Southwest Aubrey, Texas.

When we took Jac over to SBS everyone was great. Debbie McPherson and Sharon Miggans gave me a tour and answered all the questions I had for them. I was shown where Jac would stay, was questioned about his feeding and was also able to choose his exercise while he stayed there. They also showed me where the frozen semen is stored and explained the process from collection all the way to shipping to the mare owner.

One of my questions was ‘how long can the semen stay frozen for and still be used?’ The answer is that if it is stored properly…nearly unlimited time. I probably should have spent more time on their FAQ page as the answers to most of my questions can be fount there.

After my tour Debbie and Sharon introduced me to Patrick Rollins and the three surprised me by offering to go ahead and collect Jac!

I had accepted the idea that I was just going to drop Jac off and wouldn’t be able to see any of the process. To say that I was excited would be an understatement! The technology is amazing. The initial numbers with Jac looked good and since the video was made they have continued to collect and test. Select Breeders has now determined the best extender to freeze Jac’s semen in and they have collected enough to breed approximately 18 mares, someday in the future.

Jac stayed in Aubrey, Texas while we returned to Ohio. It was a bit strange leaving Jac but after completing our tour I was completely comfortable knowing he was in great hands.

 

 
33 Comments

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

 

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Stacy Westfall lives in our downstairs bathroom…teaching your horse whoa and sliding stops

“Stacy-Do you suggest only attempting sliding, short sliding, stops with horses bred for reining? Or, can most quarter horses slide short distances…and if so how do you teach the horse to get his hind legs under him for better stops?- Georgia D.”
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Georgia, Each horse will vary in ability to perform the sliding stop. ‘Stock’ horses, QH, Paints, Appaloosas are more well known for this but many breeds can perform some form of sliding stops. The Arabian shows are promoting reining and many Arabs are participating. I have seen Morgans, Halflingers and others that could slide. Some horses are built for the slide to be easier for them and some mentally want to slide more than others.
A strong example comes from someone who at one time had the same question. Let me introduce you to Susan and Chloe. Susan had similar questions but read below what she ‘discovered.’  Susan’s horse is Chloe. Chloe is half paint and half saddlebred. Susan did all of the ‘whoa’ training by following my DVD’s. She says, “I particularly like your Whoa video on this stopping subject. (and your explanation that) A horse should stop with all three cues and each one work individually100 % of the time.”   The following is written by Susan:
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“Chloe stops are fabulous!  I have had people ask me how did you get her to do that!  Of course I let them in on my secret, Stacy Westfall lives in my down stairs bathroom.  Let me explain….  Prior to Chloe being broke to ride I spent 1 1/2 years on ground work, watching and re-watching your video’s.  Every Saturday and Sunday I would get up go down stairs and pop in one of your video’s.  My husband every weekend would hear you downstairs over and over and as he put it “I thought Stacy Westfall lived in our downstairs bathroom”
Funny!  Anyway please stop by anytime and I explain to everyone how I got Chloe so lite and responsive is by watching your videos over and over.-Susan”
Check out this video of Chloe sliding. The rider is Brittany Ray, Susan’s friend. Susan and Brittany both attended a clinic with Stacy together:)

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Inspiring, Members Question, Video

 

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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac Episode 39- Horse’s mouth irritated by plant material; foxtail, etc.

Jac ran into another physical issue; he ate some form of plant that caused sores in his mouth. The first suspect was foxtail, which is a grass that can get baled into hay.

The vet biopsied the sores and confirmed that the sores were caused by plant material although they were unable to determine if it was foxtail or one of several other plants that can cause the same issue.

Getting all of the small particles out of a horses mouth is not easy. Some could be removed by the vet but others had embedded like little splinters. The vet removed some of the embedded plant material. He also recommended washing his mouth out daily for awhile and we switched the hay.

The healing had to run its course and I ended up losing about a month of training time while allowing Jac’s mouth to heal. I have been planning on showing Jac at some of the bigger shows at the end of the year but a set back like this could change the plan.

I already know that I am unwilling to add extra pressure to Jac for him to ‘catch up’ in his training. I will still allow Jac to set the pace of the training and things will either come easy for him or they will not and I will scratch from the shows.

Issues and decisions like this one are part of the process I was hoping to show by following Jac. The training, just like life, always has its ups and downs.

 

 
21 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video

 

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Jac Review Week: Teaching a horse to give to pressure on a halter for leading and tying

A comment came through on my blog this week in reference to Episode 3.

“While I‘m far behind in the series (trying to catch up as I can!) I’m actually re-watching these beginning episodes. I recently got a new horse and while he’s 9 years old and has TONS of trail riding time, I’ve noticed that if something startles him, he whips backward and pulls — regardless of being tied/being held, etc. Not very respectful of pressure. Interestingly enough, you say at ~4:39 on the video that “that’s why I can’t tie him, because when he feels pressure on the halter he pulls back.” I’m wondering just how many horses ACTUALLY learn to give to the pressure on a halter?     Also, how often do people like me buy an older horse that’s “been there done that” but have to go back to baby-beginner-basics and teach things like giving to pressure?-Sarah B.”

It is my opinion that everyone should go back…but few do.The basics are where most problems stem from.

Have you ever tried to lead a puppy on a leash for the first time? Have you noticed that the first reaction to pressure on the leash is rarely to give to the pressure? Sometimes the puppy may coincidentally follow you but for the most part he must be taught how to respond correctly. Some dogs are thoroughly trained and others have spotty training and the same is true for horses.

Horses must be taught to give to pressure. This is usually done when they are young but just like dogs, they will likely need refresher courses throughout their lifetime. Much like a dog, the stronger the training has been at one point, the better the training will stick with the horse.

If the horse has a strong foundation, if he really knows the correct answers…then the refresher goes fast. If you find a weakness, then you are improving the horse. I go back over the basics every winter…even with my top horses.

This question came after Episode 10.

“Hi Stacy, the last pull when Jac response to your pull (6:50), do you redo this again or do you just do it one time before you tie him up? -Melanie C.”

I repeat the lesson over and over again before tying him for the first time. In episode 10 the pull and release shown at 6:50 was the end of that lesson for that day. I like to give horses time to absorb the lesson before I repeat it. Although it was the end of the lesson for that day, I did not tie Jac after it.

If you watch Episode 13 at 13:35 I am repeating the leading lesson again. I explain during this time that the distraction of the bit has caused Jac to regress in this lesson. You can see here that Jac still has not mastered this leading lesson.

It is also important to notice the theory here; that repeating previous concepts while introducing new concepts can make the training stronger. The example here is that the previous concept of leading was repeated as the horse was learning a new lesson, wearing the bit. Can you think of other examples in training where repeating a previous concept while introducing a new one can be beneficial?

 

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Jac Review Week: Why are inside turns important during groundwork with a horse?

 “Stacy, I’ve been following Jac’s video series and am loving it. Thank you so much for sharing it!I have a question about the inside turns: why is it so important to you that he turn to the inside instead of the outside? I have learned to turn to the outside and have trained my horses accordingly and am wondering whether I should retrain myself and them. In order to do that, I figure I need to understand the reasoning better.

Thank you for being such an inspiration!”

Best regards from Portugal,
Sandra

Inside turns and outside turns have a subtly different effect on horses. It isn’t that one turn is ‘correct’ and the other is ‘incorrect’ but instead they both have different side effects.

Both outside turns and inside turns will help the horse learn to read your body language and will promote respect. The outside turn is often more important for teaching respect. If you have a horse that is pushy and in your space the act of cutting the horse off and driving him into an outside turn is an act of dominance by the handler.

The inside turn is better for teaching the horse to draw to the handler. Inside turns are very useful with horses that have trust issues because they subtly suggest submission. Taking a step back or away from the horse is used to draw him in towards you.

Maybe the strongest argument for teaching both the handler and the horse to do both inside turns and outside turns is that both will learn to read each others subtle cues.

If you go back and watch Episode 3 with Jac you can easily see that Jac does not respect me. When Jac is leaving, or dragging me, it is clear to see that it is not out of fear. He looks annoyed and testy but not frightened yet he still pulls to the outside or away from me as a form of defiance.

 

In Episode 4 watch Jac’s body language, he is arched away from me. Specifically watch his right eye at 8:20 and again at 8:30. You can see that his eye is looking away from me so much that you can see the white. He is physically near me because the rope is holding him…but if there were no rope he would be gone.

Episode 13 talks the most directly about this subject. Jac has been a more dominant kind of a horse. He respects my space enough that I don’t feel the need to turn him to the outside but the way that I am driving him forward with the whip is accomplishing the same thing; establishing myself as the dominant one.

Two things that make inside turns happen for me are:

  1. Jac’s personality
  2. I have been working him on a line, practicing inside turns
  3. I ask for the inside turn when Jac is on the far side of the pen- away from the barn-which increases the odds of him turning in

Around 12 minutes in Episode 13 Jac starts making the mistake of turning outside. I call it a mistake because I was asking for the inside turn but Jac was distracted by the tarp so he didn’t focus on my body language. You can see how I correct him by quickly turning him back to his original direction and then asking for the turn again.

In Episode 14 you can see how the ability to ask for an inside turn makes it possible to focus a horses attention on an object. This is not possible with an outside turn unless the object is directly on the fence.

The most important thing to remember is that inside turns and outside turns accomplish different things one of the biggest being the ability of the horse to read the humans body language and the human to read the horses body language…and that is a pretty big thing.

 

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Nephew Newt? Uncle Louie? Jac is Roxy’s son…how are Stacy Westfall’s horses bred?

Many people have asked about the breeding on our horses. I frequently use Roxy as a reference so I will start with her. Jac is Roxy’s son and then, I often call Newt, ‘Nephew Newt’ or Louie is ‘Uncle Louie’. Here are photos of the bloodlines, several generations back, thanks to allbreedpedigree.com.

I frequently use Roxy as a reference point so here is a copy of her papers; her registered name was Whizards Baby Doll.

Whizards Baby Doll pedigree

Dun with Juice is also known as ‘Nephew Newt’ in many of my blogs. As you can see if you look at the ‘bottom side’ Newt’s mother was a full sister to Roxy-which is why I frequently call him Nephew Newt.

Interesting tidbit: Jesse loves the Larry McMurtry ‘Lonesome Dove’ series. Maggie in the series has a son named Newt…which is how Newt got his barn name!
Dun with Juice-Nephew Newt

 

Here is a copy of Jac’s papers. Someone asked the question ‘Is Jac inbred?’ Several generations back they share Hollywood Jac 86 who is in the NRHA hall of fame. There is always controversy as to what is ‘line breeding’ and what is ‘inbreeding’ and if you would like to learn more you can click on this link where there is a great article that explains much of the thinking in the Quarter Horse industry.
Jacs Electric Whiz pedigreeOh, by the way; Uncle Louie is by Whizard Jac. I don’t know his bottom side and the internet is not letting me pull it up!

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Members Question

 

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Creating Jac: selecting bloodlines for performance reining horses

2013 NRHA sires Quarter Horse NewsMy husband is one of those guys, you know, the ones who know all the stats from their favorite football team including the past, present and up-and-coming. He doesn’t only do this for his sports team though…he does it with reining horses too.

His knowledge of reining horses-past, present and up-and-coming is quite amazing. He loves analyzing bloodlines and performance records. I give him credit for creating Roxy, Vaquero, Jac and many other great horses because he chose the combination of sire and dam resulting in those horses being foaled.

Today Jesse showed me some interesting statistics from the April 2014 Quarter Horse News. The first thing he showed me was the chart in the photo. These are the top sires in the NRHA in 2013 based on how much their offspring won in 2013.

Jac (Jac’s Electric Whiz) is by Jacs Electric Spark who is number 4 on the list. What Jesse was pointing out though was how high Jacs Electric Spark average was. For example the first sire, Wimpys Little Step, had 359 foals show last year.  They earned $1,429,148 bringing their average to $3,981.00.

Jac’s Electric Spark averaged $6,273.00.

On another page of the News were statistics on Maternal Grandsires, which is the sire of the mother. Jac’s mother was Whizards Baby Doll who was by Whizard Jac.

Whizard Jac was ranked number 16 on this list BUT his average was higher than any of the 15 horses above him on the list.

Keep in mind that Jesse chose to create Jac four years ago. Not bad Jess, not bad at all.

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Jesse, Performance horse

 

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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac Episode 38-Teaching the spin; which foot should a horse spin on and why?

In this video I explain my method of teaching reiners to spin. There were lots of questions about this after Episode 29 of Jac. At the end of the video I also explain when I would modify this training.

3:03- I have three stages of teaching the spin. In the first stage I have the horses pivot on the ‘wrong’ foot because I can teach them to lock in on their hind end and draw their front legs closer to the hind legs, rounding their backs, and allowing them to step very clean with their front legs. I teach this stage to my reiners because I will eventually add speed. With speed many horses tend to flatten out and get their front feet too far out in front of them. By exaggerating the roundness of the back, the stationary hind end and the clean steps in the front end in the beginning I have had great success using this method with horses who will spin very fast later.

3:40-In stage two I add more speed which causes the horses to rock forward and begin shifting the hind legs, alternating between the right and left legs as they learn to balance while gaining speed. My goal here is to still keep the steps with the front feet very clean while allowing the horse to find his balance. Because I taught the horse to ‘lock in’ the hind end in stage one, the horses have less of a tendency to move around in their hind ends.

4:08- In the final stage I add more speed which fully moves most horses over to the ‘correct’ foot while still maintaining good, clean steps in the front end. A common problem when adding speed is the horse getting too stretched out-the front feet very far out in front-which can cause hopping or loss of speed. If this happens I can rock them back because I have taught them how in an earlier stage. Because I taught the spin with many steps I have many steps to go back to if problems occur.

4:40- This is an example of my horse, Vaquero, spinning (and winning) at the 2011 Quarter Horse Congress Freestyle. Here you can see how the horse is holding his own frame without the bridle because of his early training. Vaquero spins much faster because he is a quick footed horse. To see the full ride; click here.

Not everyone teaches the spin the same way. The methods I use fit into my program.

Examples of places where I would not use this technique are;

  1.  when the horse will not be asked for speed; for example a western pleasure/horsemanship horse.
  2. if the horse isn’t going to physically be able to add a lot of speed.

In these examples it would be appropriate to teach the horse from the beginning to pivot on the ‘correct’ foot. The reason is that the horse is never going to add a great deal of speed so the other steps can be skipped.

Wherever you are going to show you should know the rules. In many showmanship or horsemanship classes they will consider the inside hind to be correct; turning to the right they would want he horse pivoting on the right hind. In that case the horse should be trained accordingly.

This is an excerpt from the NRHA rulebook (National Reining Horse Association); “It is helpful for a judge to watch for the horse to remain in the same location, rather than watching for a stationary in- side leg. This allows for easier focus on other elements of the spin (i.e., cadence, attitude, smoothness, finesse, and speed).” 

The horses have some say over how they can most effectively use their bodies at high speed and that is why, in the end, some leeway is allowed. I remember one horse I was training that could spin a strong plus half or plus one spin if you allowed him to shift his hind legs around the way Newt was in the second example. If I focused on making him lock onto the ‘correct’ inside leg he could only go about half the speed which decreased his maneuver score. This particular horse was physically more comfortable in the frame where he could shift between his hind feet. He kept his hind end stationary so I preferred that with speed over ‘correct’ but slow.

 

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