Horse Training Tips – Rollback and Spin

Horse Training Tips For The Rollback And Spin.

A video, audio and text, horse training cheat sheet.

Dear Friend and Horseman,

Welcome to another Horse Training Tips Newsletter.

This issue is a long one.

I’m going to start out by answering questions that were sent in by my members and subscribers. Most of the questions are related to rollbacks or spins.

Also in this issue, I’ve prepared a “Rollback & Spin Cheat Sheet“. (You’ll see it farther down the page)

This “cheat sheet” is a list of the key elements for teaching your horse to rollback and spin. You can print it out and take it to the barn with you as a reminder of what to do when schooling your horse.

Also, be sure to listen to the audio instructions. The audio contains additional instructions that are not listed in print. Well worth listening to.

First though, I want to spotlight one of my members. He just had a breakthrough with his training and I want to give him some recognition for his hard work.

Here is the email he sent me:

I purchased your Rollback and Spin DVD a few months ago. I am training my 5 year old stallion and when I received the video I realized we weren’t near ready to even attempt a spin.

I spent some time working on gaining control of the backend, getting him more supple and light and moving off the rein (I think I hear you saying “rein-release” in my sleep).

Anyway, 5 days ago,we finally nailed it! It felt great. As always, the breakthrough was something I was doing wrong.

Thanks for the great information you provide. I am contemplating my next purchase now. Take care.
JW Parker

My comments:

Hi JW,

I love it when a guy actually studies the training principles well enough to have a major breakthrough like this.

Yours is the kind of results that makes all the work of producing the videos worth it.
Thanks for sharing your progress.

Take care and good luck with your stallion.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha Training Stable

Okay, lets get started with the training questions


Hi Larry,
Started re-studying your videos. Especially the one about rollbacks and spins. Is there a distinct cue for the rollback vs the spin?

The hand movement as you describe, is to the hocks ( pivot foot) as in teaching to turn over the hocks. You seem to raise your rein hand a bit higher for the rollback than for the spin.

When handling the reins, is there a separate cue for each maneuver?
If you can put me straight I’d appreciate it.
Many thanks

Alex Kochergen


Hi Alex,
Yes, there is a distinction
in the way the reins are handled for the rollback… and the spin too.

When asking for the rollback, I use the rein more decisively (abruptly) and my rein hand is held a little higher to slightly “lift” the horse’s front end as I ask him to come around over his hocks.

This way of handling the reins encourages the horse to make a complete 180 degree turn with one big move. I almost always jump the horse into a lope after a turn like this.

When asking for a spin, I use my reins in a “subtle” way. I’ll keep my hand low and start the spin by laying the rein “very lightly” on the horse’s neck. This first touch of the rein is so light the horse may not feel it.

Then, I give a short quick release of the rein pressure and lay the rein on his neck again, only this time a little heavier so he definitely feels it. On a trained horse, the entire spin is done with light little touches and releases with the reins.

There is a reason for using my hand real low and cueing with light touches and releases. I want the horse’s front end to stay flat on the ground and cross his front legs over on the turn-around. If I startle the horse with an abrupt move of my hand, he’ll pick his front end up and make a big move, this will ruin the low cross-over.

Hope this helps. Take care.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha Training Stable


Larry, I’m an innercircle member, I’m writing about my mare who is not using her inside pivot foot when spinning to the left.

I’ve got her planting it going to the right pretty good. But when we go back to the left she plants the wrong foot.

She’s using her outside foot to pivot on. What should I do to get her pivoting on the inside foot?

Thank You,
Mike Mitchell


Hi Mike,

Great question. Tons of riders are plagued by this.

It’s not as big a problem to fix as you might think (unless the horse has been doing it for years and it’s totally ingrained).

Forget about spins for awhile and concentrate on doing half turns and rollbacks.

The object is to put some speed in the turn. Speed will force your horse to use the correct pivot foot.

From the trot, rollback into the fence and half way through the turn, pop him on the butt to hustle him out of there.

IMPORTANT: When turning to the right, pop him on the outside or left hip.
Review the “Rollback & Spin” video to see exactly how to do this exercise.

Also, do a series of 180 degree half turns. Do a turn and jump out into the trot. Go 20 feet and do another and so on.

The main point is to turn and hustle out of there. Soon, the horse will be turning quickly on its own and the speed of the turn will have the horse using the inside pivot foot.

In a few weeks, using the correct pivot foot will become habit and then you can start working on the spin again.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha Training Stable


Hello Larry, your DVD on spins has made a huge difference in my mare’s spins, but there is one problem we have not been able to overcome.

She will plant her pivot foot for a little bit, then kicks her butt out one step, goes back on her pivot foot, and repeats this process the entire time. We usually end up about 10 feet from where we started (mainly in a direction she would like to go, like the gate).

She’ll usually plant her foot for 3/4 of the turn before kicking out. I have tried the sidepass exercises from your video, as well as popping her on the butt with the reins (which only causes her to kick her butt out more).

She is not a very motivated spinner, which may be causing the problem. I have also used an exercise where I back her up in a circle while bending her to the outside and exiting with a spin to the outside, which works really well in getting her weight back and she’ll hold the pivot longer, but the minute I ask for more speed we lose it.

Do you have any other suggestions for me to try? Thank you for a great set of videos and any help you may be able to provide.


Hi Breann,
I’ll have to just guess here because there could be a multitude of reasons why your mare isn’t holding the pivot foot. Plus, you didn’t specify “how” you are asking the mare for speed. “How” you ask, is critical.

My guess is you may be pulling too hard on the reins instead of encouraging the mare by clucking to her. Pulling too hard will cause her hind-end to swing out.

You mentioned the mare not being very motivated may be the key. I’d suggest you “get” her motivated. Good performance is seldom achieved by horses that don’t take their job seriously.

On the other end of the spectrum, you mention that your attempts to increase the “speed” of the spin, just messes her up more.

If you pop her on the butt and she kicks her butt out more, she either isn’t ready for more speed or she resents being pushed and kicks her butt out in defiance. When you pop her on the butt, I’m assuming you are popping her on the “outside hip“. If you are popping her on the “inside” you are causing the problem yourself.

Also, it has been my experience that many riders make their corrections too late. They miss the timing. You said your mare starts kicking her butt out spiraling toward the gate, you need to make a correction the INSTANT this happens.

A. Your mare wants to go to the gate because she thinks going out of the arena is where the work ends. Let her go to the gate and continue to work her. Let her know that being at the gate is more work than being inside the arena.

B. Backing your horse up the way you described, will get your horse to use a pivot foot all right… the wrong one. It’s okay to back-up and then turn but you need to hustle forward immediately after the turn.

Here is something that may help:

If a horse’s front end is moving off the reins correctly, the hind end will stay in place. For a horse to swing his butt out, he “first” has to stop his front end. So, your primary job is to keep the front end moving off the reins. If you’ll do that, the hind end will stay in place.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha Training Stable

Rollback and Spin Cheat Sheet

Like many of my newsletter subscribers, you have probably
purchased my Rollback and Spin DVD.

So, I thought I’d give you a few tips to help your training go better. Below,
I’ve listed the most important elements of training for the rollback and spin.

Use this list as a horse training “cheat sheet”.
Print it out and review it the next time you plan on schooling your horse.

Key Factors Your Horse Must Do To Learn To Spin

A. The horse must move forward, quickly and immediately from leg pressure (impulsion).
B. The horse must move his front end away from rein pressure (moving the shoulders).
C. The horse must move away from leg or spur pressure (yield to the leg).

Play the audio to hear Larry Trocha explain even more about the spin.

(If your computer has a slow internet connection, it may take a couple minutes for the audio to start. Click the arrow button to start the audio. Then, read the text below while the audio is loading)

1. Turn your horse, then ‘immediately’ accelerate forward and leave the turn. Start by doing 90 or 180 degree turns only.

This “turning and leaving” is key for teaching the horse to plant his pivot foot.
If you let the horse hesitate between the turn and leaving, he won’t get the idea.
If needed, pop him on the butt (outside hip) right after the turn.

Important note:
When you drive forward after the turn you must accelerate immediately. If you turn and just stand or turn slowly all the time, you will either teach the horse to swing his hind-end out of gear or pivot on the outside (wrong) pivot foot.

2. Your horse ‘must’ move his front end away from rein pressure. If he doesn’t, use your leg as a reprimand.

Example: Pick up the reins and move your hands to the left. If the horse doesn’t
move his front end to the left, press him with your right spur as an incentive for
him to “move away” from the rein. (You could also just bump him with your leg).

3. Use your hands with ‘rein and release’ action. Do not use steady pressure.

Cue for the spin with light touches and releases (rein and release). Using the reins with the “pull and release” method, keeps the front end free and moving off the rein. Using the reins with steady pressure will cause a horse to lock his front end and swing his butt out of gear. Be sure to keep your rein hand low and use the correct angle when applying the reins — rein towards the horse’s hip.

Important note:
Make sure you are using your hands correctly. When riding, your hands should be in front of the saddle swells. Many people ride with too long a rein, causing their hands to travel too far back to signal the horse correctly. This is a biggie.

4. Remember to sit in the middle of your horse. Do not lean into the turn.

Leaning will cause your horse to kick his butt out instead of using his pivot foot. Turn your head and look towards the direction you want to spin but keep your
body centered over the horse.

5. When spinning, make sure to correctly “time the reins”.

When the horse’s outside front leg is just starting forward, apply rein pressure and then release. Repeat this timing with every step of the outside front foot. Applying the reins at the correct time is what allows the horse to do a smooth cross-over with his front legs.

6. To add more speed to the spin, cluck to the horse.

If he doesn’t respond to the cluck, pop him on the “outside hip” with the end of the rein. Sometimes a crop is easier to use. Remember to cluck before you pop him. You want to teach him to speed up in response to your voice command.

7. A spin is very similar to trotting a circle… The smallest circle you can do.

Don’t let all the technical instruction bog you down. Start trotting your horse in a circle and bring it down smaller and smaller until the horse goes into a spin (remember you have to keep the impulsion going). After only one revolution of spinning, jump out and trot a circle again. Repeat this lesson until the horse can stay in the spin two or three revolutions.

8. When doing a rollback, it’s critical to slack the reins between the “stop” and the “turn”.

Be sure to jump-out into a lope after the turn. This “jump out” is what makes the turn clean, fluid and correct. Make sure the horse starts the turn “nose first”.

Important note:
When asking for a rollback, use your rein hand decisively and a little more elevated to slightly “lift” the horse’s front end and encourage him to turn a full 180 degrees.

9. In the “stop” part of the rollback, the reins are handled the same as if you were asking for a good stop on the hindquarters or a sliding stop.

You must ask for the stop when the horse’s hind feet are in the air and on the way forward. This timing of the horse’s stride is “critical” for a good hindquarter stop. Miss it and you’ll force the horse to stop on his front end – ruining the rollback. Its also important to “sit” the rollback just like you would a sliding stop.

Go back and review the Teach Your Horse to Rollback and Spin DVD with this list
in front of you. Make any extra notes that you feel may help you.

Have fun training your horse.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha Training Stable

P. S.
If you don’t already own the Teach Your Horse to Rollback and Spin DVD,
now is the perfect time to get it.

The video clip below is taken from my training dvd, “Teach Your Horse to Rollback & Spin“.

For best video quality, click the “gear” icon in the player and select 480p.

Well, this wraps it up for this newsletter. I hope you liked it.

Until next time, have fun training your horse.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha

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