He turns to the left, but refuses the right - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Location: New Orleans, La
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He turns to the left, but refuses the right

While lunging Harry in the round pen he turns his butt to you when you direct him to go the opposite way. I knew it was 'bad' but was lazy and let him get away with it. Today I went out and attempted to teach him the correct method. He now turns into me to go to the LEFT but he refuses to do it going right. He will constantly turn his butt to me to turn right and he gets down right indignant if I attempt to calmly/gently steer him into the correct way of doing it. He got to the point where he'd shove his nose onto the fence because he refused to even turn his head to be lead around the 'correct' way.

He responded fantastic to the left and obviously enjoys offering it to me. Why won't he turn right?

I put him on a long line to attempt to steer him, but he fought me. We ended up doing tight circles at a trot so that I could quickly get behind him and pull his head around.

What should I do?
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 05:19 PM
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He willingly goes to the left because he was only required to run to the left when he was racing. Going to the right wasn't expected of him.

You've created your own monster because you let him get away with not doing what you asked, and now he doesn't think he HAS to.

Why shouldn't he fight you? It's always gotten him out of work before, and he's doing what's been successful in the past.

Instead of trying to retrain this animal yourself, you really do need someone with more experience who won't let him get away with things.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 05:19 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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I have no advise for you, because my mare is doing the same thing, she's slowly getting more comfortable going to the right. But, even riding, especially at first, refused to go right, and if I brought up my right hand she would shy away from it. I chalked it up to the "trainer" she went to prior to my buying her, beat the holy he!! out of her.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 05:22 PM
Green Broke
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First, I would rule and any physical causes. Could he be sore on one side, even a stone bruise can cause this believe it or not. Does he have any tightness or soreness in his back? You may want a chiro to check him out. Also, it sounds like he might have more muscle development on one side and this could take a little time to correct. Be sure to rule out anything physical before you assume it's behavioral. Cinny always has a hard time going to the left when he's due for a trim.

All physical things ruled out, I would begin at a walk and get him turning correctly at a walk. Try a nice, smallish circle at a walk. When you want to turn, step back and gently tug your lunge line and give him a light tap on the rump to encourage him to keep moving forward but in the direction that you want. This is easiest done in a round pen. Don't worry about getting a sharp turn at first, forward action is much more important. Do this until you have him turning at the walk for you, then try a trot/jog with a slightly larger circle. When we are incorrect, make him work a little harder, maybe push him into a trot or canter to make him work harder, then slow him back to a walk and ask again. Make it more work to do what he wants than to do what you want. When you can get him doing it the way you want a couple times, stop and end on a good note.

Remember, it takes time and patience. It's not going to happen in one day, especially if he's unevenly developed.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New Orleans, La
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The vet literally just looked at him about an hour before we started working on turns. We had some concerns about some behavioral issues he was having, and she gave him a thorough inspection and said he seemed to be 100% fine. I've been wanting a chiro to come out and adjust him, but haven't been able to get the number of the woman who does it naturally without whamming on him with a rubber mallet.

Thanks for the positive feedback. I appreciate it when people can offer more than just criticism over something I already know I've done wrong.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-30-2011, 12:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Is he fine when you lead him to the right (like walking around the rail of the arena, tracking right ?

Do you ride him?

He's probably not as comfortable to the right so he rather not go that way. But obviously he needs to. I wouldn't put him on a lunge line just yet.. as he can get tangled up and hurt you or himself.

Free lunging is another option (what you have been doing) but put up BIGGER boundaries like if he switches direction, cut him off and send him the other way HARD. I would only get softer once he listens and is paying attention. Don't ask nicely first or you'll get ignored or worse, challenged dangerously.

Please be safe, though! Have someone with you when you are working with him despite whatever you decide to do as it is always your decision!
Good luck :)
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-30-2011, 06:38 AM
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If you can get him to go to the right in a tight circle start there. Stop and start him several times. Go to the left once then to the right twice. Stop and start even on a short line. After a few times let the line out a couple of more feet and repeat. Until he gets it use him more to the right then the left. If you go out tomorrow and he is still refusing to go right start in a tight circle once again, letting the line out only as he co operates. He has become a bit of a lefty so you need to exercise his right side of the brain to make him ambedextrous again.
You need to be consistent with his work so he doesnt fall back so do not work him in the round pen without total control until he gets it.
He will and it will all come well. Once he does get it always work both ways every time you take him out to do anything. Best of Luck
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-30-2011, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Fantastic advice! Thank you so much!

I have great news. I just got back from the barn and worked with him about 10 minutes and have figured out his problem. He's spooky on his right eye. Yesterday I couldn't get him to give me his right eye. Today I put him on a stud chain with the lead rope and walked him on the RIGHT side, instead of the left (correct) side. Everything I did startled him, spooked him, made him fling his head and back away wildly. The whip was something terrifying, he refused to stand still so that I could walk to his right side. It took me a good 5 minutes of forcing him forward whenever he danced around to get him to let me walk around his shoulder into his drive line. He even forced his head over to put his left eye on me and refused to turn his head! I can see his right eye looking everywhere but at me. I never noticed that before.

So our plan of action is to do everything we can on the right side. Lead, feed, praise and treat, work. I've even thought about turning his halter inside out so the buckle would face the right side :P I make it a point to end everything on a good note, so as soon as he was able to trot around me calmly for two passes I put him away with breakfast.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-30-2011, 04:51 PM
Green Broke
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Wow, sounds like a definite issue there. I'm glad you figured it out!
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