Episode 73: Empowering riders, respecting space, finding balance between go & whoa aids

Listen as a caller describes how she changed her lunging experience in a matter of days. Stacy outlines the steps that made this ‘leap’ in learning possible. Hazel calls in and asks how to get her school horse to respect her space more. Stacy gives her three different suggestions. Amy has questions about how to get her ranch horse to ‘wait’ a bit more during the trail obstacle phase. Stacy explains how she teaches this type of ‘wait’ using three different examples: lunging, riding a nervous horse and when teaching the sliding stop. Stacy’s goal is to empower the rider through education.

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[00:00:03] Podcasting from a little cabin on a hill. This is the Stacy Westfall podcast. Stacy’s goal is simple to teach you to understand why horses do what they do, as well as the action steps for creating clear, confident communication with your horses.

[00:00:22] Hi, I’m Stacy Westfall, and I’m here to teach you how to understand, enjoy and successfully train your own horses. Welcome to Season 7 and the theme is still Q&A. So today I’m going to answer three questions. Let’s dive right in and listen to the first voicemail.

[00:00:43] Hi, Stacy. I just wanted to take a second and thank you for all the content that you put out into the world. It’s so generous and kind and obviously it’s super educational. I sent you an e-mail recently just asking you about tips on lunging my gelding. I was having trouble keeping him to the end of the lunge line consistently questions about contact, questions about moving forward and in typing out my question to you. I started the process of being able to answer my own questions. So I just wanted to send a follow up as like a thank you that like we did it. So I rewatched the Jack series, the beginning of the Jack series went back and listen to some podcasts that you put out and just realized the things that I needed to change in myself and in our lunging to get them out of my space onto the contact. What contact could feel like should feel like to get them lunging consistently, happily forward into the canter and all of those things. I’m really excited to say clicked and are happening now just in I think it’s been four times since I made that change and I’m just seeing so much positive progress. So I wanted to send a follow up. I wanted to send a thank you. It’s a sad time in the world. So I think the more gratitude and. Appreciation that we can shared with each other the better, so just a big thank you to you and all the best.

[00:02:11] Thank you for that beautiful feedback. I I’m really grateful for your message and I totally agree with your idea that the more I’m on social media right now, the more I want to put out content that is positive.

[00:02:27] And what’s really interesting about that is I almost feel like I’m doing something wrong if I say that I’m having a good day at moments. And that’s really interesting to me because I remember that, you know, it’s it’s so hard. Like I remember going through the grieving process back when my dad passed away. And I remember going through the grieving process way back when I was 16 and my best friend was killed in a car accident. And I think what I remember back then was the shocked feeling, because you’re 16 and you just don’t expect that to happen. But I also remember how everything kind of slowed down. And that was like I noticed the little details of things and like simple things like like the buds on the trees and the colors of the rocks when you’re walking over a gravel driveway. And I’m having that experience again right now. And I think that is like a moment of. Those are those little moments of gratitude that are. You know, just I remember this happening around 9/11, too. You know, that feeling of everything like slowing down in that suspended, you know, just change. And so it’s interesting because I am grateful for what I’m going to call the awareness that it brings to us and for gratefulness in general, because it’s just you just can realize what you’re so thankful for.

[00:04:04] But back to your comment, because I want to congratulate you again, because empowering you when you listen to this podcast, everybody who’s listening, empowering you is my goal because I want you to become aware. And I want you to be able to go out to the barn and understand and grow and make it happen yourself so that you just have that feeling. That is just amazing. And one thing I want to pause and do here is, is bring attention to the fact that maybe without you being aware of it when you left this voicemail, you’ve also become a teacher. Because when I was listening to your voicemail, what I heard you say was that you experienced at least three different phases. So I kind of heard that you experienced like a plateau in there. And and that is an interesting thing to observe. I also heard you say that you felt a little bit stuck and you noticed that. And then at some point you decided to write it down. Now, sometimes, right, when people write it down, that means they journal about it. You started typing an email to me. And what’s interesting is during typing the email, you had the awareness to see that in typing it, you began to see things differently.

[00:05:35] And when I think about it and what I want people to hear in your feedback, if they rewind and listen again, is that sometimes people are uncomfortable with the plateau and so they don’t allow a plateau. So they miss the benefit of the things that you can learn on the plateau. And sometimes it’s like this simmering. It’s what I kind of picture it as, like the simmering in this can happen for the rider’s mind and it it can happen for the horses mind. So these plateaus are important. If you’re uncomfortable with the plateau, you’re going to be pushing, pushing, pushing forward. But that’s simmering. I’m going back to cooking analogies. Maybe I need more more food in the house, but I keep going do these cooking analogies because it’s almost like that simmering. It’s like it doesn’t look like anything’s happening, but that’s how it’s going to progressed to the next stage of cooking.

[00:06:24] And I think sometimes people also, when they rush through that, it causes some different things. But also sometimes when people get stuck, like I kind of heard you say in your voice mail, they also give up. So, for example, you’re having issues with lunging and people get stuck. And I remember when I got stuck when I was a teenager, I just was like, okay, no more lunging. I didn’t really address the issue, just kind of jumped past it, which, of course, makes other issues. And then it’s interesting because in my observation, I think it’s I’ve even heard people talk about it on other podcasts and you’ll find a lot of people in the world that are proponents of journaling or writing and the number of people asking people to do it versus the number people doing. And I think there’s not a lot of people that write things down. And it’s amazing. What I notice in my own life, if I take the time to journal, what might be more amazing is that I don’t journal every day, even though I notice when I journal every day, it really works. So it turned into one of those things where I know it works, but I don’t end up doing it as often as I wish. But it is an amazing exercise because once you read it on paper and you get it out of your head, it does something different. And sometimes I’ll experience this when I’m talking with someone. So I definitely think there’s more than one way to do it. But for sure, on paper, I write it down. It’s really interesting because you can see the questions and you can see the trail of, you know, things that are all tied together.

[00:07:57] And a lot of times you can ask yourself the question and then give yourself just 24 hours, come back to what, the next day? It’s amazing when you can answer that question yourself. And again, this is back to empowering you, empowering yourself when you can start to realize that you can ask yourself a question that you don’t think you have the answer to and that you can give yourself 24 hours or, you know, depends on how long you’re willing to kind of have that plateau and simmering effect. It is quite amazing how things answers will pop up because that’s what our brains are really good at. When you collect enough information, they can start connecting the dots and that’s exactly what it sounds like. So I would encourage you to keep collecting information and asking questions, but try always to answer the questions. Try to answer them yourself and then use the answers that you get from someone else. Like if you ask me, use the answers that you get. And I’m encouraging you to push against those. So you come up with a theory or an idea. You hear mine and then you kind of almost. Instead of, you know, just kind of push those two together and see what happens and see, you know, do you see where there can overflow and overlap? Or do you see something that looks like a contradiction? Is there something that looks like a contradiction? But you might be able to figure out how you can make it look like the same in a different light. It’s fascinating. This is how you exercise your brain. But anyway, thanks again for your feedback. And let’s listen to the next question.

[00:09:28] Stacy. My name is Hazel. I’m eleven years old and a big fan of your podcast. I’ve been doing groundwork with horses for a few months and recently competed in the Washington State Horse Expo in hand division. I don’t own my own horse yet, so I used a school horse. He is amazing and I love him. But he can get a little pushy and close when you’re leading here trying to do work with him. So it’s kind of hard sometimes. Do you have any tips on just dealing with him when he gets like that? Or training it.. Thank you. Bye.

[00:10:08] Thanks for the message, Hazel. And great job pursuing your learning and school horses are really kind of they’re often masters of what I call grandmas rules. You can go back to episode two and listen to some of that. If you haven’t heard that one or if you want a reminder, by the way, I have my favorite podcast. I go back and listen to them over and over again and not necessarily, you know, back to back in the same day or back to back on different like I’ll I’ll listen. And then two months later I’ll go back and listen to one of my favorite episodes again. So go back and listen to grandma’s rules because oftentimes school horses are really, really good at figuring out who’s willing to hold up, what rules, when and where. One way to diagnose how much the horse is testing you versus how much he already knows is to ask your riding instructor to demonstrate or show you the same thing. So let’s just say that you’re doing like in hand trail and let’s say that that looks a little bit like showmanship. So maybe you have to jog from the first cone to the second cone and then do a pivot and then back up and then go lead the horse over polls. And if you notice that the horses in your space and pushing on you and that you’re having trouble getting him to I don’t know if he’s having trouble coming forward or having trouble slowing down or he won’t back up. But any of these things where he’s pushing on you.

[00:11:34] What I want you to do is pay attention to how the horse responds to the instructor and then pay attention. So first of all, maybe the horse is a perfect angel with the instructor, doesn’t do a thing. Then you’re like, OK. This is definitely a case of grandmas rules because just the presence of the instructor is changing the horse. But maybe the horse pushes a little bit on the instructor. And I want you to pay attention to how that instructor handles it. And then another recommendation that I have is to actually ask the instructor if they would mind if you videotaped the demonstration. What would be even better is if you’re having trouble. And let’s say, you get one of your parents to videotape you working with the horse, having trouble. Then ask your instructor to demonstrate and videotape the instructor doing it that way, whether the horse is really good or tests. The instructor. Then you will go back and compare the two videos and try to see. Is the instructor’s body language different? Is the instructor handling the issue different when it comes up? And you can kind of answer some of those questions through a little bit of information gathering like that.

[00:12:48] If it almost magically happens with the instructor. That’s a really, really clear sign that the horse is doing grandmoms rules and is changing the rules based on who’s handling it. Another great thing to do, if you go back and listen to everything from the first voicemail on the feedback, everything she did is is something I would recommend. And so that also includes the beginning episodes of Stacy’s Video Diary Jack, which are on YouTube. It’s a playlist on my YouTube channel. And what’s really interesting about that is that even though Jack was really green and didn’t know, basically it’s the same thing if you’re handling an older horse that’s testing and ask you the same questions. The good thing about Jack was he was very animated. So he was very big and bold. And you can see a lot where sometimes those school horses that do a lot of grandmama’s rules, I think they’re kind of funny because they remind me of alligators.

[00:13:45] I don’t know why that’s funny, but they kind of almost look like they’ve got their eyes like half closed or more. You’re going to do with this. Got the slanty sideways thinking.

[00:13:55] Look, now, Jack was much more animated because he was young and he was much more like his head would go up, his eyes would get big, his head would go down, he would paw the ground. So you’re going to see the expressions a little bit differently, but you’ll also see him mature and grow and you’ll see how I handled it. So you’ll see how I moved him out of my space. You’ll see how he responded. And he had lots of things that he had to say. And so that is a really great reference for you to kind of go analyze the body language between a horse and a rider slash handler me on the ground doing that and and put that together with the other recommendation I had with videotaping your instructor. And I think you’ll be well on your way to understanding this school horse that might be using grandmas rules on you just a little bit. Thanks again for your voicemail. Okay. Let’s dive in. Let’s. Go to voicemail number three.

[00:14:55] Hi, Stacy. My name is Amy and I’m from California. My question for you comes from episode 70 of your podcast. I loved this episode and I listened to it several times. I’m trying to get better at rocking the teeter totter with my mare. I’d like to know more about how you can reward an upward transition versus a downward transition. I’ve heard you say it matters how you ride it and that you can sensitize the upward or desensitise the upward as well as sensitize the downward or desensitise the downward. I’m showing my mare and ranch riding rail and trail and she has a habit of trying too hard and the trail class where I need her to focus and wait. But she absolutely loves the pattern and rail class. I think mostly because she can move out. My goal is to be able to rock the teeter totter in both directions and have the tools to help us balance the best that we can. I need her a little duller for trail class and I’ve been working on the hugs since I heard episode 42 on training hot horses and it has helped tremendously. Thank you so much for that, Amy.

[00:16:01] Thank you for your message. And it’s kind of interesting because I take notes when I’m listening to the voicemails and the first one that popped into my mind is be present when showing. And I think this is because it’s kind of me talking to me because I know and I’m just gonna start with this and then there’s a whole bunch of other stuff. But it’s interesting. This one popped up first. What I mean by be present when showing I think it’s the reason I wrote it down is because that can be a challenge for me, because one of the things I love about showing is that it really is different than when I’m training at home in that it tends to split my mind and I know I ride it differently. And so sometimes that alone is something you need to build a bridge between, meaning the at home practice versus the show pen practice. So a question I have for you, and if you decide you want to answer it by calling back in at some point, feel free. So one question I have for you is, do you have this same issue? Practicing at home because you got the three different things you’re practicing and you’re practicing at home. Let’s just call it too, because you’re saying the trail version versus the other two. She’s a little happier where she’s allowed to be more forward. Are you having exactly the same issues at home? Or is there a difference when you go to the show? If it’s exactly the same, then you can address it at home really well.

[00:17:26] But if it’s different when you get to the show, then a lot of times that’s that’s because a lot of times it’s because the rider shows up different. It also can be a seasoning thing. But be present. When I wrote that, I think it’s interesting. I notice when I want to show horses that it makes me take everything to a higher level because. When I am showing I have to get really good at being able to be focused on, let’s say, the bridge or the logs that I’m about to cross and where I am in the arena and how the whole rest the day’s been going and the heightened awareness of everybody around me, there’s a different energy at a show and there’s a different presence of being there and showing. And what’s interesting is there’s almost like a in a highly aware, but also how you want the horse kind of sensitive, but you also want them like responsive and waiting. And that’s an odd combination because a lot of times at home we tend to ride and practice a lot more dialed down. So it’s like so if I’ve got this dial, well, maybe that’s because I’ve got all this equipment around me, has all these dials on it so that you picture a dial that you would you would turn like clockwise would be pointing straight down at zero.

[00:18:45] And then as you turn it clockwise, it goes up and around. And so you dial it from zero, you dial it up to an eight and then you can dial it back down to a six. And so that’s what I want to do with the horses. But what’s happening a lot of times at horse shows when I take horses is that the energy level at the facility is already bubbling like a five or six or seven, eight. It’s just kind of an excited energy level. So that is something interesting. So you almost have to learn how to train for that, which is just like learning how to bring a higher energy level to your practice at home. So that’s one thing in that be present idea. I think sometimes when I ride at home. Another thing when I wrote that note down is it’s like when I’m home, I try really hard now to make sure I am very present when I’m riding. But it is very easy at home to be half present, to be riding and practicing, but also thinking about dinner that you’re going to cook or the email you need to send or the TV show that’s coming on or whatever else might be on your brain. And so then you don’t ride as present. And what’s really interesting about that is if you’ve ever been in a conversation with somebody who’s not fully present, there’s less intensity in that conversation.

[00:20:04] And sometimes you can accept that as like. That’s OK. Like we don’t need that much intensity. But one of the ways to bring the show intensity home or the home intensity overlap to the show much better is to literally just be that focused at home, like don’t let your mind wander and and make your self really be present in both places, which is going to actually change and change your riding at home to hopefully be a little bit more like a show where you’re way more likely to just be present. But that wasn’t even my main point for answering your question. So some of the things that come to mind, which is really interesting, I love the timing of your question because I was out working Presto this morning and a few things happened and I took notes in my phone that I want to talk about. So yesterday when I worked Presto and I’m talking about just lunging him, getting on, riding around in the arena yesterday when I went to work, Presto, he hadn’t been worked for several days because I had injured my hip and I hadn’t ridden him. On top of that the weather’s getting warmer. And on top of that, I decided that burning some brush yesterday during the day I started this little brush fire outback. It’s easy. 100 feet away from the barn, at least, if not more.

[00:21:25] And but just this crackling and the smoke, he was all on edge. So I took him out and I lunged him. And when I took him out to lunge him, we do this routine all the time and I get to know him well. He’s he goes and he walks a couple of laps around me. Mind you, he’s kind of in an on edge state. He still walks around. He walks nice and quiet, big loose walk. But I raise up my arm a little bit and get ready to cluck and he steps into a lope. This is normally my my trot cue… But he stepped straight up into a lope. Now he doesn’t blast off. He doesn’t go crazy to be steps right up in for one quick second, I thought. Do I bring him right back down or do I let him go? And I thought I might as well let him go. He doesn’t do this very often. This is a little bit out of usual. I know he’s a little bit on edge. And it’s also interesting that he stepped up into this lope. He didn’t blast off or do anything interesting. So I thought, I’ll let it go. So he lopes around there way more energetically than normal, cause he’s full of himself because he hasn’t been worked and he’s full of himself because he’s got this like crackling fire out back and smoke. And he’s just kind of full of himself.

[00:22:41] And so we just kind of have a day where he ends up doing more loping than he did trotting. I come back down and I make sure before I get on him that everything’s working fine. I get on him and I ride him around. I didn’t ask him for anything special because I didn’t really want to open up anything on a day that he’s having a day like that. And he was good. So I got done. Now, this is really where it gets kind of interesting to me. I wrote him later in the afternoon, borderline evening last night, and then I rode him earlier so before lunch this morning. And so I took him out. I’ve still got the fire burning and it’s crackling. The smoke is there. I see him still like giving the eyeballs to the back corner of the the barn. And so we’re starting out relatively the same. And I take him out to lunge him around a little bit. And he walks two times around me and I ask him to trot. Now, this is really interesting. He walks two times around me and I cluck once, but I’m very present, very aware. I cluck once and he takes a bigger walk step, almost like I asked him about trotting. And he takes this bigger step, but he doesn’t immediately trot. And I rewarded it by not following through.

[00:24:07] So he walks probably eight more steps. So we just had this hole there. That was actually a big conversation right there, especially when you know what happened the night before. So I do it again. I cluck once he takes this bigger walk, step forward. So instead of tracking over with his hind foot, he tracks over bigger, instead of tracking over like six inches, five inches, he steps over like seven inches. He really just steps into a bigger walk. And again, I don’t follow through, even though cluck is normally cluck means trot. Now normally I’ll cluck like like three in a row. Cluck means trot. But this is the same horse. The night before I raised my arm and hadn’t even got to the cluck and he was cantering off. So this is why we’re having this conversation today. He presented with this yesterday and I rolled with it because it’s very out of the ordinary and I’m observing and we’re not in a danger zone. And then today I cluck any and he takes a bigger step forward, but isn’t go into it. And I re- basically I reward it because I don’t follow through on it. So can you tell what I’m doing there when I don’t follow through on making that cluck mean trot? I am kind of dulling him. Why would I be dulling him? Well, he was overly sensitive yesterday, so I like the idea that he’s volunteering the dull.

[00:25:35] So if he volunteers the dull. And I say, no, no, no. You need to be sensitive. Then he’s going to throw the idea of sensitivity out the window, a mean of being dull out the window. If I cluck once and he takes a big walk step instead of breaking into a trot. On one hand, you could say, well, he should have trotted. But on the other hand, if I want him to ask a lazy question, then when he asked lazy question, I’ve got to let there be some truth or some. Yes, in it. So this is piece of this is a piece of it, but it keeps going. So I did that three times in a row and that took him about a full walk circle around maybe a little bit more where I would cluck, he’d walk bigger. And I can see he’s looking at me like he’s like out of the corner of his eye and the ear. And there’s a lot of he’s very present with me and he’s like asking this question. I’m like, no, I’ll let that be. I’ll let you. You’re like, can this one work? And it’s just a bigger walk. And I’m like, yeah, sure, I’ll let that work because technically it was only one one clock. And I’m not trying to sensitize you. I’m trying to almost desensitize you. So then now we’ve gone like a little more than a lap around.

[00:26:49] And now I go, OK, now I’m going to ask you to trot. So I go, cluck, cluck, cluck. And he’s a little sluggish and I’m a little sluggish on my follow through, a little bit more like I step towards him. There’s a little bit of a raise energy there, but not a lot. I am not trying to sensitize him. I’m almost trying to reward him being a little on the dull side. So that means I slow down my pushing him forward, essentially letting him almost lean on the cue. So like if I were riding him, that would make more sense when I say lean on the cue because you could imagine me using my leg to ask him to go forward and being like no and me being like, OK, maybe not. It’s the same thing. But I almost like the idea that this is happening on the lunge line even more because it shows that the leaning is actually a mental thing more or at least as much as it is a physical thing. People think of a horse leaning against your leg or refusing to go forward off from your leg as being a physical thing. But I think it’s a reflection of a mental thing. So I ask him. And so I ask him. And I let him be a little sluggish. But I stay a little I stay a little more after him. So instead of letting it go and just kind of instead of like clocking him, stepping forward into a bigger walk, me not following through at all.

[00:28:15] Instead of doing that when I wanted to actually try to just state after him a little bit more, but like I could have gone from less. Let’s say the clock is like a little spike up to three. So it’s like it’s like a little spike on a scale of like of of zero to 10. It’s like a little little voice cue cluck spikes up to like three. And then I kind of step in with like a one or two of my body language. But I let it take him. I let him take three. Well, about maybe a little more somewhere between a quarter to a half of a circle to be responsive. So I’m letting him be not so responsive. This is rocking him to the dull side. Now, I went ahead, still finished up with my my trot and my lope, but I can see him being like, oh, this is a day when she’s going to let me ask some of these questions, because from the whole time I’ve been handling him, there’s been a gentle idea of rocking this back and forth and you can really see it inside of the neck, reining course, The Improving Steering and Teaching Neck Reining. He’s my elementary school example. And you can really see how some days and the videos, he’s very forward, like really forward, heavy, like on the reins forward.

[00:29:31] And then you can see other days where I can let off the gas pedal with my legs, he’s slowing down and I’m not even pulling on his the reins at all. And so you can see the rocking back and forth there. So let’s keep going. So I get on him and I start riding him. Well, OK, keep in mind, Mr. Presto is having there’s a fire back. He’d been a little firecracker himself last night. Well, on top of this, Jesse is shoeing Gabby for me, and he’s running the grinder and he’s shoeing Gabby and he’s putting the back sliders on. And so he’s doing the part where, like, they set the shoe and it kind of burns into the hoof just a little bit so that the shoes set on there just perfectly flat. Well, Presto.. I know he’s been in the barn before when that happens, but there’s a distinct smell, so it’s wafting down through the arena and he decides to slightly associate this back to that spooking spot on the ground for a moment, because there’s some light on the ground and the smoke is going down through on that side. And so I have this vague echo of that. I can feel some of those questions. To like a five or 10 percent echo of that. And I’m aware because I’ve been aware all of this time and I just keep on riding through it.

[00:30:50] But he kind of ask some questions in that spot about slowing down. And I go, I’m going to let you be a little bit more slow down here, cause today I’m letting this be more of a of a of a of a asking you to be dull or side the dull side. I’m allowing it. So when he kind of sucks back a little bit there, instead of me animating the very forward, which is actually how I handled the spooking last time. He didn’t go that far. He didn’t go to the spooking. So I didn’t go to a lot of forward. So I let him be a little bit more on that dull side. And it keeps going. So now we’re trotting around there and Jesse goes to grind on the shoe with the grinder. So if you’ve ever heard a grinder on metal, it’s also the one that starts shooting sparks everywhere. So Presto. It’s really interesting because this whole rides keeps going like this. So Press those first thought was to kind of jump forward. So he almost starts to like jump forward, like he’s going to spook a little bit. And then on his own, he sucks back almost like he’s going to stop. So he like he like gathers himself together. And so he started to take a bigger step. Into the bigger trot. And then he brought himself back together almost like a collection. Not like a hitting the brakes and dumping on the front end, kind of a feeling, but like a like as like a drawing himself together in and listening back to me.

[00:32:19] Now, here’s this is interesting. I allowed him to come back and kind of back and lean against the leg aids that would have been going forward. I allowed him to draw back and draw almost like when I say draw inside. It’s almost like when he runs away from something scary. It literally feels like he’s being like splattered all over the arena to me. Like mentally, his brain is over there by this sunspot and there’s a grinder and there’s all this stuff. And he feels like his brains everywhere. When a horse feels collected physically to me, they also feel like their brain is collected. Everything’s drawn in. It’s all drawing back tighter to me. The leader and even into their own self, into their own thinking, into their own brain. Now, this is still more interesting because he draws all back like that. You could also look at this like early on when we teach something like on the ground, when I’m standing there and I teach a horse when I start whipping around him. And they have to stand for that pressure when I say if I whip the ground, I almost want you to startle in place. We’re literally teaching that horse to do what I just described. We’re teaching that horse startle and place means draw in, think, focus, stand, draw together.

[00:33:38] Now, this to me is amazing that we can do this at all. But it’s also an elementary level thing when we do it all standing still. So when I say to the horse, keep your feet still, stand here, I’ll make the whipping go away and then come back and back and forth. This is very approach retreat. But to me, this is also elementary level because later on, when Presto needs to move up to high school, which is what I’m about to describe to you that we were working on today, I need him to understand that when he moves up to high school, there’s going to be reward in motion. You heard me talk a little bit about that in the episode of Lunging. What that means to me is that, for example, there were times during this ride today that I would I would reach out and pat him. So we’re walking or trotting and I reach down and I just kind of go. Good boy, pat. So I’m patting my leg there. Now, I’m doing that because I also want to see whether or not he’s going to startle when I make that kind of motion, but I’m also interested because every single time I did that reward, he wanted to stop. But I asked him to be a little bit more brave today. And I didn’t let him stop early early on in riding.

[00:34:56] I could have petted him and let him stop. Now, I need him to be brave to draw back like that, but also keep in motion. So when Jesse’s grinding and that’s happening, I could have approached it like, wow, you just did something really big because you just overcame something new. And I’m going to give you a big stop and scratch you and big reward. But I’ve been riding him a while and I want to be on the trail right in the next few months, so I need him to recover in motion, so I let him draw back and slow down a little bit more and I let him draw in physically and mentally. But I didn’t let him stop. Because I need him to know how to process in motion without feeling like the two options are stop and freeze or bolt and run because something in between is way easier to ride, stop and freeze sounds good and it’s actually easier than bolt typically. But stop and freeze can also cause you some interesting problems. So I kind of want something in between stop and freeze or bolt and run. But if I have to choose, it’s going to be closer to stop and freeze, which is why we teach a lot of the stuff we do early on mentally and physically. OK. This is a piece of how Presto is going to move and this is also a piece that’s going to be hidden.

[00:36:20] It’s just more layered. So it’s not as clear when you get to this. Here’s a little bit more specific to your question, Amy. When I’m riding Gabby so Jesse just put the sliders on today. So when I’m riding Gabby and I’m wanting to rock that back and forth, I’m going to actually teach her that when I’m loping down through the arena and I’m in, I’m building a run for a sliding stop. I’m going to teach her that the cluck means go, but be ready to stop. So I’m going to cluck and I’m going to expect her, let’s say that that she can. Let’s say this. She can go up through gears and let’s say that she can lope. She can lope at a let’s say that like 10 is like a dead run and that she can lope as slow as a 4 because you can teach when to lope really slow. You can teach when the loop really slow. So four or five, whatever makes you comfortable. I’m going to say she can lope. Let’s just say five for now. But I’m thinking we can get her really collected. We can actually get it a lope down to like a four. But for fun we’ll say she lopes had a five and I want to cluck and have her go: Five and a half, cluck. Have her go six, cluck. Have her go. Six and a half, cluck. Have her go seven.

[00:37:36] So that is my ideal reining horse. Run down to a stop. I’ll cluck… And I’ll actually so I should be let go clock from a five to a five and a half clock to a six clock to a six and a half. And if I just leave her there she should, we should just maintain six and a half for like the next hundred feet. That takes a long time because the horses tend to want to think cluck means go. When you start adding it because half of the clock does mean go. But in order to teach her to have what I’m going to call rate or what I could call rocking her back to the dullerr side of the teeter totter is that sometimes I’m going to cluck and she’s going to go from a five to a six and I’m going to pull her into the ground, which means sliding stop. Which is gonna be like, oh, well, apparently that was not what she wanted. So then I’ll do that until I cluck to go from the five I cluck. And Gabby will sometimes she might make the mistake in the middle of training this… Clock and maybe she’ll even stop because literally I’m almost making cluck mean stop. And I’ll be like, well, that was funny. It didn’t actually mean stop. So cluck means go, but it means go a little faster. I will spend. This whole year, I will spend this whole year teaching this concept to Gabby until I can cluck and have her gain just that half of a gear and maintain. If I clock and she gains more than that, I’m going to have to do some kind of correction.

[00:39:16] Now, if I were using this and like my dressage training, then I wouldn’t be coming to the complete stop. So this would be more where you do like a half halt. So I happen to be working on sliding, so I get to do a full halt. One of the big differences between the dressage riding versus the reining riding is that when I think halt, it’s really a halt. So we practice the slide. But what I want you to hear in there is that by teaching Gabby the contradiction, that cluck is going to sometimes contain go, but it never contains go out of the out of a gate like like a starting gate isn’t for my reining horses. This cluck never means a run for the wind. Like it’s just it’s gone. Like that’s not going to be there anymore. So on a early horse like Presto lunging. When I cluck it, you know, like months ago, I could have clocked and then held him accountable, like cluck, cluck. And then maybe I would have actually used the whip to make it make it mean something like. I mean, go because go is something that needs to be taken seriously.

[00:40:24] This is why did the whole podcasts on forward motion and getting forward motion. But that’s very early on and you can already hear that today on the ground with Presto. I was working on exactly the same thing I’m describing to you that I’m going to be doing for my sliding stop with Gabby. If you were able which in ranch riding, if you’re doing any of the ones I’ve done, you’re able to use voice cues. It is really fun because you can add some of these voice cues that make the horses have a question in that question can be a really good thing to plant in their mind because you can actually have a horse like a reining horse that’s gotten a little bit chargey in their rundowns in the show pen, which means you come around the corner and they’re like, I know we’re going to run down. And it is the coolest thing when you can come around the corner and they’re like, I know we’re going to run down and you cluck. And they go, oh, wait a minute. That’s right. There’s all these different years and you can use that little voice cue to switch their mind. This is also why when I was transitioning into straight up traditional dressage, getting rid of all my voice cues was quite an adventure. But if I didn’t answer your question specific enough, Amy, go ahead and call in and give me a really specific example of where you’re having trouble.

[00:41:41] Like, tell me what the obstacle is. Tell me how she’s rushing. Tell me what the symptoms are or send me a video. But I’m going to wrap it up for today. Thank you for listening. Thank you to everyone leaving your voicemails. Please leave more and I’ll talk to you again in the next episode.


Links mentioned in podcast:

Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac: https://youtu.be/TO6nyP_28QA
Stacy’s Podcast with Grandmas Rules:https://stacywestfall.com/episode-2-leadership-vs-getting-along/

Stacy’s new course: The Complete Guide to Improving Steering and Teaching Neck Reining

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