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.


  1. Sarah Bernier on May 30, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I’m sorry I’m so far behind in this series — just watched this episode today…it’s SO exciting to see Jac “getting it” and figuring things out.

    For what it’s worth coming from someone who is NOT a trainer, I work with my own trainer (trains very similarly to how you do, Stacy — which is why I LOVE working with him!) on this same stuff, even though I’m not interested in having a “reining” horse, per se. But I love how reining horses — trained in this soft manner — are so responsive and LIGHT.

    Anyway, those circles you’re doing with him to get him to “step out” with that inside leg, plus just the circles in general — I did those a LOT on my gelding and I watched his head get lower and lower. I’d ride him with reins as loose as you have on Jac and he was “slow-and-low”! It was so fun working with him like that…can’t wait to start up again with my new horse!

  2. Margie on March 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    You make the spin look so easy!! I wish I would have seen it a year ago!! So if you come to Oklahoma would you let me know? I would love some help

  3. Lesia Lowe on February 27, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Awwww….I almost teared up when you said “I love him….I love YOU JAC”…. we all see the bond between yall…. I love WEDNESDAYS…..

    • Jackie on February 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Me too Lesla, It was endearing to hear Stacy say ‘i love you Jac” ….

      • Lesia Lowe on April 17, 2014 at 12:42 am

        :o) @ Jackie…

  4. Stephanie Smith on February 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I love your videos and am learning so much from following you and Jac thru his progression. At what point will you stop having to use so much leg on him? I notice you have to bump him every stride at the trot and lope.

    • Stacy on February 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Lol, I actually want to bump him at least lightly because I want him to be in rhythm with my legs. He wants to be dull at times but so did his mom. I did the same thing with Roxy but when she was ‘finished’ it wasn’t as obvious…but it was still there.
      I could make him lighter on his sides…but then I would be in his mouth more. Most of the time it is a trade off.

      • Jackie on February 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm

        Stacy, from other trainers I have watch I hear them talk about the bumping or tapping and the rhythm … that this helps a horse round his back and lower his head. I think about this when you state Jac likes to keep his head low. Also this helps towards collection. Your thoughts?

  5. Erin on February 26, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Hey Stacy, I have a quick question for you. Video taping rides or lessons is a common tool for amateur horsemen (and women). With as much experience as you have, do you still feel like you learn from watching yourself on video? Do you still see things in the video that you didn’t notice in the moment?

    • Stacy on February 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      My favorite is riding with mirrors in the arena for instant feedback. Other wise my husband and I will take turns video taping each other for short clips. We mostly do this so we can ‘feel’ what it looks like.

      • Andrea M on February 28, 2014 at 4:29 pm

        I would give almost ANYTHING for my 7 year old mixed breed (small horse, pony, maybe 14 hands) to carry her head that low. It’s almost constantly up in the air, her back hollow and steps short and choppy. Since I’ve been working with her, it’s gotten a TON better. If I trot slow and concentrate on keeping her back rounded, and such like, her head drops. Same at the canter. But it’s a LOT of work to always be after her, fingering the reins and nudging w/ my heels to make her ’round’. Any advice on how to get her to hold her head lower w/o me putting forth so much effort? Maybe if I’m always doing those ‘reminders’, it will soon be a part of her? Or shouldn’t I babysit her so much?

    • Stacy on February 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      Erin, I made your question todays blog! Did you see it?

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