Saturday, October 30, 2010

An Exercise in Spinning and Mats

The owner of Jake, the 26 year old QH that Milo is pastured with, had purchased some stall mats and was planning to set a date to put them in, along with some gravel around the front of the stalls. I told her I would be more than happy to help with the installation process, as my horse would be reaping the benefits of the remodel as well. The mats arrived, and were laying outside of the stalls this past week. I waited for a phone call from Patty for when to put them in. So I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the barn yesterday and saw that the mats and gravel were all put in. By the looks of the tractor marks coming in and out through the gate, it appears that the BO must have had it done during the day Friday.
Milo checking out his new dry and mud free digs. 

As you can see they laid down the stall mats and also added some gravel to the front. Its been my experience with the other two pastures across the driveway that they get very muddy very quickly and get pretty bad. Patty told me that this pasture is no exception to that rule. In all of the pastures, I moved the water troughs around because every single one of them was in such a place to flood the stall areas when dumped out weekly for cleaning. Milo and Jake's needed moving as well, and I did, and it helps, but the natural topography from the arena to the pasture naturally drains the water down into the gate area, and also the front of the stall. So it will be interesting to see how well the gravel actually holds up. Its been my experience that gravel tends to just sink into the mud. 
Milo looks to say, "Do you see it Mom? Do you see the new floor??"

My boss was having a get together at his house last night, so time was short for riding Milo. I discovered these training videos on youtube from well known trainer, Larry Trocha, on how to better develop the reining spin. As you may remember, my issues with Milos current spin are in keeping forward motion throughout, and thereby balancing on his inside leg, as well as being light and responsive through the shoulder. He tends to drag on the rein and my leg, and I feel Im using too many aids for one small request (moving the shoulder). 

Larry Trocha's training videos for the spin are a three part series. This first one gave me a really good exercise for helping him stay on his rear and lift his shoulders. It also gave me a better idea for getting him more responsive to neck rein pressure. 

I tried these two exercises with Milo yesterday. The rein-release first, where Milo really started to get the hang of it. By the end of the short twenty minute ride, he was becoming pretty light and responsive to the neck rein pressure. I also used the turning and drive to get his shoulders up. After about a dozen of these he reallly started to lift his shoulders well and drive with his rear.

Im glad I found these two exercises, they really seem to help in getting Milo on the right step to a better spin.

In this second video, Larry Trocha gives another good "exercise" about suppling the face, as well as incorporating that into a quick response to the neck rein pressure. I touched on this lightly with Milo, only where he didnt respond to the rein-release on his neck. This second part put those two pieces together in a simple exercise, and also gave me a good idea on the sequence of pressure. Neck rein, leg, than cluck for speed. It may sound simple, but hearing that seemed to put it all together for me on what my expectations for Milo should be.

So I have some new ideas now for Milo's spin (I might add that Ive never actually had a lesson in spinning, so its no surprise that Ive been doing some stuff wrong). Ill keep posts for his progress. 


in2paints said...

I'm sure that new floor will make a big difference, even if the gravel does get mushed into the ground. It should help keep it from getting too messy.

I think that first exercise could be good for a lot of horses. I can see how it would even help western pleasure horses, and even Lilly! She gets pretty heavy on her forehand and something like that could help teach her to carry herself better.

I hope they help you and Milo... he'll be spinning in no time!

Mare said...

Before we had a nice cement walkway from our barn to our indoor arena, we put gravel down to minimize the mess from mud, and it sure did help! I'm sure the same will go for the gravel you guys put down!

Johnny M. Rivera said...

I like the small mesh hay nets. I have only two horses, but they take about three horse feeders to eat two flakes of hay each. The nets get easier to fill after you've done it a few times. I fill all my nets at once and then use them as needed so I don't have to fill nets at every feeding. Smith Brothers has them on sale right now. horse feeders