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.


  1. […] If I had to pick one common problem I see it would be people not using training cycles. I addressed the subject directly in the videos but it is still possible to miss how it was working over all. I tend to see people consistently work their horse at one level; same intensity and duration, over and over. Even if this is an intense or hard level they fail to use the cycle. Hard all the time can cause as many problems as light all the time. I have written several blogs on the idea (Training Cycle: Breathing, Training Cycles: Who’s making decisions?, Jac Video on Training Cycles.) […]

  2. […] Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac-Episode 13-Training Cycles in horse training: Physical and Emotional […]

  3. April on March 31, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Love these Stacy…your videos are a great resource for someone like me. Long story short, I found my mare on the side of the road a little over a year ago (only in Maine…right), and quickly realized I had a lot learn about owning a horse, starting with communication. Lucky for me, somebody spent a lot of time training Andi (my mare), and I found someone to show me how to communicate with her. Still, you are amazing, and I learn something new from each and every video. You are not only a blessing to people, but to every horse out there stuck with a naive person like me. Keep up the great work…please 🙂

  4. Alex on January 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Stacy, i was so impressed seeing jac accepting the bit within this short time. With my gelding (12) I have big problems in riding him in a snaffle bit. Putting him the bit in he opens his mouth wide open and I can see his tongue trying to throw the bit out. While wearing the bit we nearly can t work because he doesn t listen to me, his mind is at the bit. He nearly can t walk a straight line. Do you have any suggestions for me? Sorry for possible mistakes, I am German and I passed school long time ago 🙂

    • Stacy on June 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Alex- I used your question for todays blog

      Consider the options of: physical or retraining. Have the physical checked out, even if it has been before. Then try doing what I did in the episodes and see if your horse responds similar to Jac; does the mouth get quiet when wearing the bit and being worked in the round pen without anything attached?

  5. cynthiacdorr on January 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I had some problems bridling my stud. He returned from the trainer’s afraid of the bridle. I tried this procedure on him. Now whenever I go to halter him he grabs the rope. I had good success with a rubber bit. Keeping the bridling process separate from the haltering process. He still grabs to rope when I halter him. How do I undo what I feel I taught him?

    • Stacy on January 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      I would discourage him grabbing at anything. Studs tend to be more prone to this although some playful horses will also try. For some of them it becomes a game. The grabbing is the issue more than the item being used. Discourage the grabbing.

  6. […] demonstrates at 5:38 that the ‘training cycles’ described in Episode 13 are having an effect on his mind. Jac shows that he has learned that when he mentally ‘shifts […]

  7. […] and facing me is a reward, I talk about this in Episode 13 at 17:30 […]

  8. Adrienne Rupp on December 6, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Stacy, this is probably my favorite so far in Jac’s Video Diary series. What are some examples of mental/emotional cycles you would use for a seasoned horse like Newt verses a green horse like Jac? Thanks for doing this series; it is incredibly helpful!

  9. Carole on December 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Wow – I have never been able to understand horse training as easy as this. You are a natural and with simplicity to boot. I will follow your blog. I like how you explain things. Thank You.

  10. Byron Funnell on December 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I really like this format! I was able to read the notes above, then watch the video looking for those key points, then review those points after watching. In this series I also really like you explaining what Jac is thinking and your thought processes paralleling his. Thanks for this whole series Stacy.

  11. Sabine on December 5, 2013 at 6:37 am

    May I ask you, why Jac is kicking out against the girth? Mine are very stressed horses when I get them, but the first time I put a girth or saddle on, there is not such a reaction. I always watched your videos and was really really impressed by that bridleless ride. But some things in this blog do not make alot of sense for me. So maybe I dont pick everything up the right way or it migh be not explained precisely enough.

    • Stacy on December 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Sabine, Not all horses kick out during this test. Jac probably chose to because he is willing to test things. If you watch him in Episode 12 with Popcorn, Jac keeps picking and testing. He wasn’t scared when he was kicking which we can see by reading his body language.

      It might help to know that the training does always look a bit different from horse to horse. Even the other filly I was starting at the same time as Jac didn’t respond to things in the same way. And I changed what I did accordingly.

      I am sorry that some things in this blog do not make a lot of sense for you. It might be that my teaching style is not a good fit for you or it might be that as you continue watching you will pick more things up. Or maybe you understand and don’t agree…that is OK too.

  12. Anna Scantlan on December 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Can you give some more examples of emotional cycle activities? And maybe explain (again) how you know what you are doing is an emotional vs. physical cycle?


  13. Janette on December 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I wish, for all the horses out there getting started, it’s just like this. (nice fantasy) My wish might come true one day, if people like you keep taking the time to help others. Thanks for caring enough to share.

  14. Anna Scantlan on December 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm


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