Here are 2 of my favorite ways to tune up a spin other than the fence drill that I’ve posted before.
The first is to build cadence and increase speed.
Start with a bridled up trot in a small circle. Drive your horses hindquarters up underneath them as far as you can. When you have a good cadence on a small circle, softly close your outside rein on his neck and press him with your outside leg. Try to keep the same rhythm, speed and cadence.
I have a metronome in my head going “step-step-step” while I trot and then try to keep that same beat while I spin.
Then come right back up onto the same circle briskly trotting with no loss of cadence.
Then you’re ready go into the spin again for a few beats, then come up trotting. Do this several times then give your horse a rest.
It’s pretty hard work for them, so build into it gradually. Sorry the videos are so short, but I can’t seem to be able to send them from my phone if they’re any longer. I’m open to some techy suggestions though!
The second exercise helps get a horse’s head lower and positions him with a very rounded back and little resistance in the face, he can step around more easily and with more speed and accuracy,
Bridle him up and drive his hindquarters up underneath him. Spread your hands wide and low evenly on either side of his neck staying forward in your saddle. Hold your reins pretty tight, trapping him, and keeping him relatively straight with just a little bit of nose tipped to the inside of the spin, start bumping him with your outside leg.
That’s really the only cue you’ll use to start the spin. Keep increasing the intensity of your leg bumping until he starts to turn.
Let him catch a rhythm for a few steps, then step right back out on the circle and walk or jog for a bit in the small circle, then try again.
This exercise usually takes a couple of days to see improvement as your forcing him to turn with his body in a much more collected frame.
It will shorten his wheelbase and get his head dropped down along with less resistance in his face, should make for a cleaner, steppier spin.
LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS
Sometimes the feelings of being scared and excited can elicit the same physical response in our bodies.
When new challenges and opportunities show up in our riding lives, we may think we are feeling scared when what we really feel is excited. We might not have been taught how to welcome the thrill of a new opportunity, so we back off, feeling anxiety instead of awakening our courage to take on a new challenge.
The butterflies in our stomach or a rapidly beating heart are not necessarily a sign that we are afraid. Those very same feelings can be translated into excitement, curiosity, and passion.
There is nothing wrong with being afraid as long as we do not let it stop us from doing the things that excite us.
Most of us assume that brave people are fearless, but the truth is that they are simply more comfortable with fear because they face it on a regular basis. The more we do this, the more we feel excitement in the face of challenges rather than anxiety. The more we cultivate our ability to move forward instead of backing off, the more we trust ourselves to be able to handle the new opportunity, whether it’s going to a show, riding a colt for the first time or going down the fence.
When we feel our fear, we can remind ourselves that maybe we are actually excited. We can assure ourselves that this opportunity has come our way because we are meant to take it.
Framing things just a little differently can shift our mental state from one of resistance to one of openness. We can practice this new way of seeing things by saying aloud: I am really excited showing this horse for the first time! I am excited to go down the fence! Or, I am excited to have the opportunity to do something I have never done before.
As we do this, we will feel our energy shift from fear, which paralyzes, to excitement, which helps us direct that energy into growing and learning. Soon you’ll find yourself saying, “I can’t wait to go in the show pen and show my horse!”
LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS
Training a horse is like painting a car.
You’ve probably seen one of those incredible “show car” paint jobs – where the smooth, rich color looks as if it’s 10 feet deep.
Here’s how that’s done:
After the foundation is perfect, with all the blemishes filled with lead and sanded smooth, the painter applies a primer, which he also sands until it’s perfectly smooth.