Exercises for a horse moving his hip during the spin

My name is KC, I met you at Equitana in Sydney. Thank you so much for coming to Australia, It was such an honor to meet you.

I wanted to come up and ask you but we had to head home, I’ve been having trouble when I teach my horse to spin he gets a basic steady spin but as soon as I ask him to speed up straight away he will lock up in the shoulders and flick his hip out, I’ve been told that its the position that im sitting, but I’ve tried to position differently but it isn’t seeming to make a difference, Im just wondering if you can tell me how to stop this, I have my other horse that I’m about to teach so I want to prevent it from happening with him too.

Thank you so much, and hope you had great visit in Australia! It was such an amazing experience meeting you.

Thanks again,


Thanks for writing. I know what you are describing and I think it will be a challenge to describe the answer in an email…but I will try! Maybe I will have to try to make a video and do a blog about it…

There are several things you can do to help the hip from moving around. One exercise is the one that I demonstrated at Equitana where you trot a small circle (maybe 15-20 feet wide) and then cut it in half like a pie. Lots of horses that flip their hips at speed will flip their hip when you make the turn from the circle onto the straight line that dissects the circle. When you get onto the straight line it is important to ‘step on the gas’ and speed them up for a few steps. Really make them hustle or ‘squirt’ forward. It is actually the anticipation of the ‘squirting’ forward that eventually causes them to stop flipping their hip because they anticipate needing the hind end engaged for the ‘squirt’.

Another exercise is done inside the spin and requires a lot of ‘feel’ on the part of the rider. Have you ever ridden a horse that travels or moves during the spin? Lets say you start spinning and if you spin six revolutions you will end ten feet south of where you started? An exercise that we use is to continue spinning the horse and gradually move him back in the direction he came from (north in this case). This is done by (during the spin) gently pulling him back when he faces south and releasing the reins and squeezing with your legs when he faces north. Did I mention this takes a lot of feel?

Something to think about is that if it took you six revolutions to move ten feet in the direction the horse wanted to move it will often take 10-12 revolutions to move him back.

The way this helps you is first off there is a good chance your horse is moving, secondly even if he is not you need to get him thinking about engaging his hip. I would try moving him slightly on purpose even if he is not moving because it will cause him to get more forward in his spins and give you more feel.

I hope this helps and maybe I can find a horse to video this with sometime.


  1. salvador on September 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Hi my name is sal I have this mare that am showing to spin.. when I spin her to the left she pivtsss with the right how can I fix this . I have try lopeing her in a small circles to make her leave her in side leg butt its not working.. what can I don’t to fix this .thanks your the best…

  2. Emmie on February 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Hey stac! … louie and i have been having a little bit of issues with this. I remembered this blog so i came back to it. He recently got a lot faster ..a lot faster.. going to the right spinning. I dont feel him going a certain direction when his hip moves. Its more like it just shifts back and forth. It seems to get better the softer i have him and if i really get after him driving him forward into the spin …like trotting and walking really bumpin him with my spur into the spin. Im thinking this is the forward motion that you are describing in your blog that he needs. …would the pie cutting exercise be whats best for him?? Thank you!!!!

    • Stacy on February 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Yep, the pie exercise. Also, if I read this correctly, you say he is moving. If that is true and he is moving towards the door (say you start spinning in the middle and if you go seven revolutions and stop and you can see you have moved ten feet closer to the door) then there is a different exerecise. If that is what is happening then as soon as you know the direction (they usually go the same way for at least a few days) then DURING the spin begin moving him the oppisite way (in this case away from the door).
      Say the door is at 6 o’clock and the oppisite of the door is 12 o’clock. As you spin to the right, during the spin, pick up slightly at nine o’clock and hold him back from 9 through 3 o’clock. Then from 3 o’clock back to nine (as you pass by 12 o’clock) push your hands forward and gently use both legs. Not enough to have him leave the spin but just enought to move him slightly towards noon….did you follow all that?

      Or come up and ride with me again 🙂

      • Emmie on February 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm

        I totally follow it! 🙂
        The pie did work!! He hasn’t been moving his hip at all now that I have been doing the pie off and on. 🙂 …He was more just shifting his hip back and forth not moving more than a foot one direction and then he would move it back after a few steps. Kinda odd to explain! lol …Anyways, the pie fixed it!! 🙂
        We got 1 inch sliders on Tuesday!! 🙂 …still working thru some footing issues. ..but i’ve got ’em! 🙂
        Anytime you need a riding buddy on the weekend I am there!!!! 🙂
        Hope you guys are doing great!!!

  3. lacee on January 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I would LOVE to see a video describing this!

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