Monday, April 9, 2012

Spin Fix #4: Pivot on the Inside Hind

The Problem: Horse uses outside hind foot for pivot instead of inside hind foot. (Example: In a spin to the right, he pivots off of left hind foot.)

Why does this problem happen? As in the last post, Spin Fix #3, too much inside rein and too little outside rein can cause the horse to throw his weight to the outside in an effort to regain balance. Then his weight is on the outside hip and foot. If he has been spinning like this for a long time, he probably thinks that’s the way it’s done (and can be really good at it!) and it can be quite difficult to correct.

Example: Horse trying to spin on outside hind foot.
Example: Horse spinning on inside hind foot.

How to correct this problem:
First let me say this: Spinning the horse faster to try to get him to use his inside foot for pivot almost never works – he usually gets better and stronger at spinning incorrectly!
I slow things down to fix the problem (right back to a half-turn) and I exaggerate the correction – a half-turn, then a leg yield in the direction of the spin. Example: In a turn to the right, I ask him to spin to the right with a slight change in my body (to stop most of the forward motion), lift my left rein along his neck, pull-release with my right rein. At the half-turn, I change his head direction to the left with a wider left rein and leg yield him to the right. This will transfer his weight back to the right pivot foot. I do this many, many times before asking him for a full turn, then a leg-yield. The important thing now is to never allow him to continue turning on the outside foot so every time I feel him transfer to the outside, I change the spin to a leg yield.

Note: Correcting this problem can vary from a few times if the horse is just learning to spin to a very long time if he has been spinning on the outside foot for a long time.

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