Tag Archives: quick

Quick fixes and clinician hopping

Alli F. left the following comment after yesterdays blog.

“There are some people who like to hop from clinician to clinician always looking for the perfect solution and I think all they accomplish is to end up royally confused. In the situation you describe it sounds like the gal is a thinking rider and that she was able to determine what actions to take or change and was not trying for a new “method”. So it worked for her and that is super! But for a lot of people I think they are just never satisfied so they feel the need to get multiple opinions. Which most of the time is not very helpful–just tends to complicate things.”

I agree with this idea…i think. Let me explain what I see and recommend. First, I do agree that there is a segment of the population that hops around looking for a magic ‘cure’ or a simple fix. After my first bridleless ride (link here) people joked and said I should sell magic leather gloves…it must have been the gloves that did it. (As opposed to  the hours and hours spent training, lol) There are no good quick fixes.If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn't need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.

What I recommend is a two-fold approach. Follow someones whole program. Someone who has the end result you want. Pick someone…it doesn’t have to be me. It could be a TV clinician, a local you admire or someone who you show with. Follow that one program and study it from beginning to end. Then, also evaluate other methods. Try to figure out where they fit in with what your regular program is. Do they just explains something in a different way or are they really saying something different? I find both to be true. The real learning comes from trying to figure out how things work; whether that is a training program or a training method. The search and comparison will more fully engage you in the learning than just doing something because ‘someone’ said to.


Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Training


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How much motivation does a horse need?

How much motivation does a horse need? foal ignored subtle cues

That depends on the horse.

I was sure Maggie was a bad mother. Maggie was gentle with Newt at first but by the time he was a month old Maggie was removing small clumps of hair with her ‘corrections’. By the time Newt was three months old he had scabs from her constant reminders to respect her space. I questioned Maggie’s motherly instincts…but after he was weaned the same treatment was continued by the other horses. If a dominant horse wanted to move Newt it often took repeated bites or kicks to move him. Newt wasn’t aggressive…he just didn’t seem to perceive pain at the same level as other horses. He would stand and take the kicks with a pleasant, slightly confused, look on his face. Motivating Newt was clearly going to be a challenge…as evidenced from birth. some horses ignore subtle cues

Just as each person, dog, cat and horse is unique in personality-they are also unique in their perception of pressure. Newt showed from birth that he was willing to handle more physical pressure than the average horse. Does that mean that his mother was mean? Or that she used as much pressure as was necessary? I think only Newt could accurately answer that question.

One horse may respond to the subtle squeeze of a riders leg, while another may choose to ignore it.

How do we know how much pressure is correct for each horse?

By asking each horse.

Because by learning to read their body language the horse will tell you whether a bit is too big or if he will happily ignore it, or if the hand was too quick, or if he needs the lesson repeated again because he isn’t clear.

A horse will tell you a lot if you know how to listen….or you could also ask their mother.

Mustang stallion displays his battle scars...scars he thought were worth fighting for.

Mustang stallion displays his battle scars…scars that, in his opinion,  were worth fighting for.


Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Thought provoking, Training


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac-Episode 13-Training Cycles in horse training: Physical and Emotional

This episode has several major points. The first one I want to focus on is the idea of ‘training cycles.’  Each day with Jac consists of cycles that are physical and then mental/emotional.  These are components of each workout routine.Preparing for the saddle; rope around girth area

The simplest day would only contain one cycle. A longer day will repeat these cycles over and over.

In this episode I cycle through:

  • physical cycle– controlling horses direction and speed in round pen
  • mental/emotional cycle– introducing the bridle/first bridling
  • physical cycle– using tarp as a training tool
  • mental/emotional cycle- review previous leading lesson
  • physical cycle– lunging
  • mental/emotional cycle- introducing rope for cinch/girth training
  • physical cycle- lunging with rope around belly
  • mental/emotional cycle– leading with the rope until quiet

Something to notice is that each ‘physical’ cycle isn’t necessarily the same intensity. Often by the third or fourth ‘physical’ cycle the horse doesn’t feel as much like playing, so the cycle is less intense.

Another way of saying this would be ‘four cycles doesn’t mean four times as much work for the horse.’

I may accomplish four times as much in that day, but only work the horse half again as hard as I did in the first cycle. Did you follow that?

So adding cycles, rather than extra days, can actually be physically easier and more productive in the long term.


Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 11-Jac has something Roxy had…bridleless potential?


Jac has less than three hours of training in this video and, yet, I can see one key character trait that Roxy had already showing up in Jac. Roxy had around 800 hours of training before the bridle came off the first time….so at three hours I still have a long way to go. And yet look at how far Jac has come!

In this episode Jac is a completely different horse that he was at the beginning of the week. I talk over and over about how when handling a horse on the ground he should ‘look like a horse I would want to ride.’ Translation: if they look bad from the ground, don’t climb on. Jac is starting to look pretty solid.

I also talk about introducing voice cues, balancing out sticky spots and forward horses vs tight horses….and Roxy.


Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 10-Fifth Day, Part 2- Preparing a horse to tie

Jac at 2 hours and 35 minutes of training. This is the lesson I use with all of my horses before I tie them.

I run and bump because it gives the horse warning and a consequence. It gives the horse time to think and make a choice. Someone will ask why I don’t just use a whip. I don’t use a whip because when I tie him to a wall I won’t be standing behind him with a whip to drive him forward.

Someone else will wonder if I am being too harsh by running and ‘hitting’ the end of the line. I can’t ‘bump’ him nearly as hard as he will pull if he is tied and he panics.

Using this method you are a lot LESS likely to force the horse.

I think that the ‘pull’ I do at 6:10 is VERY interesting because Jac confesses something with his body. If you watch closely when I begin to jog away Jac actually braces well BEFORE I get to the end of the rope. That is Jac physically saying that he knows the bump is coming and he is making a choice. He is choosing to brace and take the bump.

What is interesting is that the time before this he trotted off to avoid the bump. Don’t be confused and think that ‘if only’ he knew the right answer he would make the right choice. There are plenty of times when horses, like people, test just to see what the outcome of the test will be.

Click to watch Episode 10

Click to watch Episode 10

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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 9-Fifth Day, Part 1- Horse biting; My space – Your space

Jac at 2 hours 20 minutes of training.

Jac just keeps asking me questions! This time he asked again, ‘who is in charge’, but he did it by biting me.

When is a ‘bite’ a ‘bite’….as soon as they consider doing it. Which means that a horse can ‘bite’ without ever opening its lips.

Are you having trouble visualizing that? If so, imagine and angry teenager who really wants to cuss at an adult, maybe a teacher, but hasn’t quite crossed that line yet. Are they cussing in their head? Yep. Does that lead them closer to cussing out loud? Yes.

By the time a horse bites it has been considering it for awhile or maybe it has been practicing it with other people or horses.

I have to earn the right to be in his space and he needs to earn the right to be in my space. When we are in the arena it is easy to keep out of each others space. There are times when our personal ‘bubbles’ of space will overlap, for example, when putting the halter on or off. Those are the areas where you must be very mindful of what is happening until the relationship is well established.

Watch and listen as explain:

Diary Episode 9

Click to Watch Episode 9!


Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Stacy's Video Diary: Jac, Training, Video


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