I work on spins almost every time I ride. I certainly dont drill, but I do work on them. The last week or more I have been focusing on perfecting the small circle (and by small I mean small, not reining pattern small) to encourage Milo to be more on the outside rein and in a true arc in the circle. I have been trying to keep his inside hind to the inside of the circle, and his body arced (but obviously not overdone) for the circle and turnaround. With focus on this area I felt we were getting somewhere. Then when we went to the show it all blew out the window - our turns were pretty poor (especially from what I knew we were capable of practicing at home) and what I felt it really came down to was that Milo just wasnt trying very hard in the spins.
Naturally, the show environment changes how I ride and my horse performs (and I will get to a post about the show, Im waiting on an upload of video from Boyfriend's phone, which has since caused some problems). I didnt think a whole lot specifically about the spins and then I was cruising YouTube and found this video:
What first caught my attention was what he said a lot of people tell him; "My horse will spin but not any faster". My ears opened up a little more. He explained that the whole time they are spinning the rider is pulling on the reins and kicking with their foot. While I like to think that I ride better then what the average person is doing, I knew that that was the scenario Milo and I were playing. Throughout the turnaround I have to ask him to keep going and once I stop asking he stops. Seems logical, but this guy was emphasizing making the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy. He said that "the horse is looking for the stop," and that feels like the boat Im in with Milo.
If you watched the video, you saw that he didnt keep asking for the turnaround. When the horse stepped out, he put pressure on it, but when the horse did what he wanted there was no pressure. I really liked this idea and it made more sense then what I have been doing.
I tried this simple exercise with Milo yesterday, and I tell you what it works. But I was surprised to find that it didnt take long for Milo to catch on, in fact, I think I had been doing this to a degree, unknowingly, at least at home. But at the shows I throw it out the window and ask for more more more.
When I tried to turn to the left, our good way, within moments Milo caught right on and spun spun spun with no pressure on him at all. It was pretty cool. But the test would be to the right where he not only drags in the turnaround, but also tries to turn on the outside foot. Initially, Milo was just figuring out to stay in the spin with no pressure, he fell out, I put the pressure on. It was working but he was on the outside leg. So when I could feel he was spinning but on the wrong foot I lightly bumped him forward, if he stepped out, he got pressure to go back in. Once he changed to the wrong foot again, he got bumped forward, if he stepped out he got pressure back in.
We worked on it for a few minutes, keeping him in the spin and on the inside leg. There wasnt speed, but there was correct cadence, and Milo was freely turning around without my asking for each step. I was really happy. I got off then and he licked and chewed. I hope to get video of our second try at this exercise so you guys can see too. :)