Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac- Episode 26-Horse training is a conversation between horse and human

The main point of the Jac project was to show you my training methods in an everyday setting. The beauty of the project has been that there are little golden nuggets that have been captured; moments when you can really ‘see’ what Jac is thinking. This is one of those episodes.

Often times people think that horse training is a one way conversation.

Watch Episode 26 of Jac to see why Stacy is laughing.

Watch Episode 26 of Jac to see why Stacy is laughing.

Horse training is a conversation-people make the mistake of thinking this is a one way conversation; one where the student only listens and never asks a question.

This likely happens because people miss that the ‘conversation’ is happening at all. It is difficult to have a conversation if you aren’t fluent in a language.

Other times people aren’t interested in a conversation, they are more interested in domination. In this case they punish the for asking questions because they are more interested in creating a robot.

The total training time Jac has received up until now is 50 hours 5 minutes. Jac demonstrates in the first three minutes of video that he is both thinking and asking questions.

Jac is saying, “Teacher, Stacy, you’ve been really consistent and everyday we end on one of two things; we either end on backing up or on spinning to the right…can we be done now?”

Jac has learned what pleases me and he is demonstrating an eagerness to get it done.

Could this become a safety issue? Anything can become a safety issue if you don’t know how to read the horse. Most safety issues arise from the human misinterpreting the signs leading up to an ‘event’ like rearing, bucking, etc.

I cover a lot more in this video but if you watch nothing else then just watch the first three minutes. Listen to and watch what Jac is saying…who better to learn from than a horse?


  1. April Murray on March 8, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I was wondering, in the beginning of Jac’s training.. was he being groomed? Also was there previous handling by other people?

    • Stacy on April 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Jac had been handled enough to lead, load, trim his feet, etc. I was not grooming him much in the beginning because he had not earned the right to be in my space as he thought about/considered biting.

  2. Lesia Lowe on March 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I got tickled after I re-watched episode 11 cuz Jac does the same thing that he did in this video …right when you first asked him to go..3:00 mark…. he stops two times early on asking to “be done”….. its funny he is still asking that same question in this one….. lol…. he seems really smart…

  3. Margaret McKee on March 7, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Everytime you post something on Roxie, I still cannot believe she Is gone. You loved her very much. She was one of a kind. Everytime- I see a video of her I cry. Then to loose Valvuarez too
    too mjuch. Love your work. Read your articles all the time. Best of luck in 2014. Jac is beautiful,him playing with that ball was funny. Margaret McKee

  4. Paula Kurtenbach on March 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks so much for filming your training of Jac. It’s really helpful in so many ways, … love seeing how you gently ‘steer’ Jac in the right direction emotionally, without losing his fun energy.

    I see that you added a breast collar in the last 2 episodes. Can you tell me when/why you started using it? Does it help keep the saddle square when spinning? Will you tighten it later or do you prefer them as shown?

    Thanks again, hope you’re enjoying Texas!

  5. Catherine Thienes on March 6, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Thank you for these videos. I am currently working on teaching the counter bend. Your demonstrations are so well taught. I love your very explicit rationale for doing what you are doing. Of course you make it look very easy. 🙂
    I love being able to go back and watch these videos over and over. Thank you for this wonderful gift of knowledge.

  6. Hannah Joy on March 6, 2014 at 1:13 am

    I so enjoy your videos- your passion for the horses shines through and Im thankful that these videos are free for anyone who is willing to listen. This is such a wonderful resource to learn from, and I really appreciate all of the time and effort you put into making them happon! I love how you are teaching people to have conversations with their horses- letting the horse ask questions and not being afraid to make mistakes. So again, thank you for putting this out there! I know that I and my horses have both benefited from them tremendously. I would love to see how Jac is doing now, I can only imagine! He will be bareback and bridleless in no time 🙂

    • Stacy on March 6, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Hannah- We are still filming! We will be caught up an ‘live’ around April…that is only next month!!!

  7. Melody Clark on March 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Fabulous. I am so happy you and Jac are working so well together he is a wonderful student and you are a great teacher.

  8. Lesia Lowe on March 5, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I would LOVE to see a “BLOOPER” video of ALL combined episodes!!!!…..if they exist…

    • Stacy on March 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      My video guy has been threatening…there have been some very funny things caught on tape! We have probably a full episode of just me blowing my nose…it was cold out for a lot of the filming!

      • Lesia Lowe on March 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

        Haha…. well you can leave out the “blowing the nose”part….. but would love to see the other funny things….

  9. Martina Braden on March 5, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Stacy–A couple questions. How long do you actually ride Jac? When you are done video taping, are you done for the day or do you keep training and for how long? What I am trying to ask is what is your average training time with Jac each day? My next question is do you kiss to Jac when you want him to lope or do you just use your leg? Really learning a lot. I wish there were more trainers like you. Do you plan on making a DVD of all the episodes when you are done? I would buy one!

    • Stacy on March 5, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Martina-I am going to answer your questions backward!
      Yes-we are currently putting together all of the episode, plus bonus footage.
      I do kiss to lope with Jac.
      I am going to make a chart at some point that shows the actual days/times. I have it all written but not transferred…
      For the last few months I average right around an hour a day, five days per week.
      Early on it was both longer and shorter. Some groundwork filled days were an hour and a half. Some early riding days were 20 mins.
      I missed huge chucks of time with soreness, etc. This video was filmed in September and Jac only had 50 hours of training…starting in March. That is slooooooooow….we are making up time now with the hour a day 5-6 days a week.

  10. Andrea M on March 5, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I love how smart Jac is!! 🙂 He made me smile!!!

  11. Tracy Caron on March 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    You wrote “do we really want to ride a horse that does not want to do what you want to do?”.
    This really surprises me that you would ask that…who in the world wants to work if they don’t have to, lol! Even if your boss is great, the rewards wonderful and the job is fun…we all relish our time off.
    What matters to horses is grazing and spending time with other horses, period. All else is work.
    We humans can (should!) treat them compassionately and make their work as pleasant as possible, but its still work!
    And much like people, all domestic animals require jobs to make their way in this (human owned) world. Even just being a pet, is still a job. It is a very human-centric view that animals willing follow our rules, do our bidding and eat only the things we provide because that is their choice.

    My beloved dog’s job is to be my companion. It is easy enough… don’t chew my stuff, submit to baths, leashes, strangers, commands and go outside when I permit. I love him with all my heart, but do not fool myself that he wouldn’t rather roam the neighbourhood all night, chase cats and get into garbage.
    I accept that he is a dog, and his dearest wishes aren’t the same as mine.

    Jac is doing very well at his job of being a riding horse. He is being treated very well by his boss, and it shows in his willingness to learn and steady pace of improvement. I love the fact that he is comfortable enough with Stacy to confess his innermost thoughts “I’d really rather just graze in the sun, ya know?”
    If you feared your boss, you’d hide what you were really thinking!

    • Stacy on March 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Tracy-Well said and I referenced you in response to Heather also, I added more under that comment too.

    • Sarah R on March 6, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      I agree with Tracy on this and wanted to add one more thing…I think of Jac beginning the ride with where he left off last, as much like a student who “got something” and wants to pick up the next lesson, reviewing what he “got”. I’ve had two horses who did the same thing as Jac and they were great pattern, trail, sport horses…problem solvers, I like to call them. As they matured, I could close my eyes and they would complete whatever pattern we did the day before, if I let them. As Stacy said, it’s a 2-way conversation. I’ve also had a horse who backed up when I got on as a resistance. I could feel the difference between a willingness to work vs. a resistance to work. I look at every ride as building on the last lesson, so I love that Jac was communicating right away, “Is this what you want? No? It must be this then?” He’s smart and in tune with his rider (Stacy).

  12. Lucy Howe on March 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I just LOVE hearing you say you love him at the end…Makes you soooo human !!!! He is doing so good !!!

  13. Sandy Adams on March 5, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    is the saddle fitted…it seems to bounce up in the back?

    • Stacy on March 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      The rounder I get his back the less surface area there is. It still fits, you just have to view the extra that overhangs as…extra. As he grows overall it won’t look as strange but if he rounds up the only thing that would change the look is a shorter skirt…

      Reining in an English saddle….Not sure I can go there yet:)

  14. Zoe Cawthorn on March 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I love this, my young QHx did exactly the same thing when I was training him! I think it shows intelligence and a desire to please, who can ask for more?!
    Zoe (UK)

  15. kakseter on March 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks… this was great and instructions explained simply! I get it! LOL

  16. Heather Bradshaw on March 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    A philosophy question I’ve been mulling over. Your last couple of videos have brought it to the fore. A horse’s good behavior is rewarded with stopping and rest. Jac doesn’t want to go forward. He would rather rest. He hunts (love that term) the action that will allow him to stop. Bottom line- he does not want to do what you are wanting him to do. He is a good boy so he does it and having stop as a default makes him safer to ride, but do we really want to ride a horse that is not wanting to do what you want to do? If an eventer does not hunt the next cross country fence and lock on, you don’t want to be doing that with him. If an endurance horse is hunting the stop rather than wanting to go down the trail, they are no fun to ride and you don’t have a real partnership. What’s the balance?

    • Stacy on March 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      Heather- It was interesting listening to myself as I was watching the video. I stand behind what I said, I love what Tracy Caron added, and I have a bit more to add.
      When I was listening I thought, “I should have also said…or he is trying to make me happy. Do what he is rewarded for.”
      Because spinning and backing are also things I work hard to get him to hunt.
      Jac seems excited to see me, doesn’t seem upset or withdrawn, etc. so I don’t actually think he wants ‘rid’ of me quite as much as it sounded like when I stated it. Oh, well. As you can guess these are not scripted videos…there are soooo many things I would want more ‘perfect’ but then it wouldn’t be as real:)

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