Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
If he doesn't turn left well and chiro/pain/vision/tack fit issues are all ruled out, it sounds like that is where you start. Generally you want to do things evenly, but if turning left is where his stiffness shows, then you need to spend more time bending to the left. Is he perfectly balanced to the left at a walk, or just better at a walk? If he's not perfect, work at that in both gaits. I really like figure 8's too, trying to get them nice and round can be a challenge. Can he easily get his nose to your foot on both sides when you ask him to standing still? If not, work on that as well. All flexibility and suppleness will help him- part of it is him learning what you want and are asking, but part of it is just getting his muscles and body to where he CAN stretch and bend properly.
If he is a very happy pony out on the trails, work him there. If you find a field or open space, you can do serpentines and figure 8 just as easily in the wide open! I love arabians- they have so much character. Do you have any pictures to share? I'd love to see your boy!
There's a book, Endurance 101, that has some great info for humans and horses new to the sport. I've read it cover to cover a few times- easy to read and you don't have to be an endurance guru to get a lot out of it.