Get Tighter Turns Today with this Barrel Racing Drill
The spiral drill is a staple in my training program. It helps build your horse's confidence and muscle groups in order to make perfect, tight turns.
The most important things to keep in mind when performing this drill are:
1) Soft, smooth transitions and cues. Your hands should be in close to the same position in your large and small circles. Use your legs as much as possible to draw them down into a tighter circle. Keep your inside hand slightly higher than your outside to keep their shoulder standing up. If their shoulder drops, their hip will swing out - prime body position for hitting barrels. Make each circle slightly larger or smaller than the last. Do not make dramatic transitions from large to small circles. Focus on maintaining the same shape in your horse's body throughout the drill.
2) Ride their inside, hind foot. My super secret NFR qualifying coach taught me to focus on what their inside hind foot is doing. If that foot is reaching up under them and slightly to the inside of the circle, that means they are driving from their hip and their shoulder is stood up.
3) Perform the same number of small circles as you do large circles. This drill is intended to build their confidence. Don't overwhelm your horse with 10 small circles in a row and only two large circles. I will do about 2-3 small circles in a row and 2-4 large circles in a row.
In this video, I am riding Elvis in a simple aluminum correction bit with a medium port. I like this bit when I am working on a horse really giving and flexing. This drill is all about driving them up under themselves and getting that nice collection both vertically and laterally in their body. I prefer aluminum because it is a lighter-weight metal that is softer on their mouth.
If you like this drill, be sure to check out my library of barrel racing drills on my YouTube channel.