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Turn Tune-Up with Sandy Collier

Use this exercise on the fence to teach your horse to spin or add speed to the maneuver.

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This exercise is all about making the spin the easy part that my horse hunts for. I start with the turn, and then, if he doesn’t complete the spin to my expectations, I make the horse work by sidepassing to the same direction while facing the fence. The combination of the 11⁄4 turn and the sidepass requires your horse to move off your leg, and the fence’s presence eliminates the guesswork—you can feel your horse move off your leg to the side, which should help him move off your leg in the turn, too.

Once my horse is solid with 11⁄4 turns, I’ll add another revolution. It’s especially beneficial for a horse that hangs up or stalls out after a couple turns. The turn becomes the easy part that he seeks, because the lateral movement is a lot more work.

Here, I’m demonstrating the exercise in a snaffle bit and riding with two hands. You can do the drill in any bit your horse finds comfortable, but I do advise always riding with two hands for this tune-up. As you can see, my fence is a solid wall; however, you can complete this exercise alongside a regular arena fence.

Sandy Collier, Buellton, California, was the first and only woman thus far to win the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Snaffle Bit Futurity open division. She’s a highly respected trainer and clinician, as well as an inductee into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

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