Join Date: May 2007
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
You can actually teach the spin using direct rein contact first. After that is taught, you can teach it using indirect rein contact. After they know both of those, you can go to one handed (neck reining). Spins should be taught one step at a time. Use indirect rein, sit deep in the saddle, set their weight on the hind as if going to back up (but don't actually ask them for a step backward), when weight is back, use direct rein to ask for a step in that direction. When your horse takes one step in the direction of your direct rein, release pressure, and give a reward(you should see the inside foot come out to the side - it should not go forward or back). The hind end should not take a step, but this should not be as much of a concern at first...focus on getting a step with the front end. Keep practicing until she easily takes a step when you sit back, look, turn your upper body a bit, and make direct rein contact. Then ask for two steps, then three, then 180 degrees, then 360. Keep working on getting 360 until she can do it smoothly and easily with her hind end planted (not taking steps). When you can do this on both sides, I will try to give an explanation of the indirect side.
Let me know if this is unclear in anyway and I will try to explain better. I just learned this year, so it is something that I have been spending a lot of time with :) I am sure there are other ways to teach it, so others might have tips as well.
Also, I believe that the 360+ degree spins are trot type stepping motion whereas the rollback is a setback on the haunches, single step canter motion facing one way - canter step from the haunches - facing 180 degrees in the other direction. Sidepassing is important to know, but you are definitely not asking for the same thing with the spin. In a sidepass, you are asking the forward and hind to move. In a spin, you are asking the front to move while keeping the hind planted.
One important thing to remember is not to focus on speed AT ALL right now. Wait until she responds softly, quietly, and smoothly 360 degrees, both directions, indirect and direct rein separately, every time, and only then start asking for increased speed.
It is fun to teach :) good luck