How Can I Teach My Horse a Right Hand Turn? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-14-2013, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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How Can I Teach My Horse a Right Hand Turn?

I've had my horse for about 6 months now. He's a 19 year old QH of unknown background. He is quite stubborn, but we have been making fabulous progress when it comes to respect in the saddle and on the ground.

I noticed something when riding today. He will not turn right. I tell him to turn (he neck reins) and apply pressure with my leg. Just the same as I do for a left turn. But he won't do it. He'll stop, back up, turn left, basically anything but turn right. Now that I noticed this issue I can think back and from the very day he came home I haven't been able to execute a right hand turn from the ground. I'll have to circle him around. But I lead him on the left, so it's hard to turn right but that doesn't explain his issue while riding.

How can I teach him to make a right hand turn? It seems he knows what I want, but just won't do it. I've thought perhaps he has bad vision on that side so he feels vulnerable. We had a vet check done, but I doubt that included any type of vision check. Anyone have thoughts?
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-14-2013, 09:45 PM
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Have you had his teeth checked? It could that he has a tooth that is hurting him when you give the cue to go right...
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-14-2013, 09:46 PM
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When a horse refuses to do something like this, the first thing you always want to rule out is pain --- especially since he is an older horse.

Have you had an equine lameness vet check him? (Not just your local "all animals" vet.)
Have you had him checked by a chiropractor?
Does he need dental work?
Does your saddle fit properly?
Is the bit pinching him and/or fit properly?
Will he turn right out in the pasture on his own, or when lunging him without a rider? (Or does he only do it when you ride him?)

If you can rule out a pain issue, then you can try to begin to fix the issue.

Start with baby steps. Start with ground work. Get him to bend and flex in both directions. Get him to lunge and turn in both directions on the ground. "Re-introduce" the bit while you are on the ground, to teach him to direct rein to the right and left. Get him turning to the right consistently on the ground first, and then try it from the saddle.

Be patient. Be consistent. Do NOT stop asking him to turn to the right, until you at least get a small correct response, and then praise. But you need to release the pressure immeidately when he does something right.
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-14-2013, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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His teeth were horrible when we got him and they are still causing him some trouble. They need to be floated again and the vet is due out next month to do that. I will ask the vet his thoughts on the right turning at that time. He is being ridden in a hackamore due to the condition of his teeth. It also seems that he's fearful of bits (head shaking, backing up upon even seeing one on the headstall). So I can for now rule out tooth pain on this particular issue.

He has not been checked by any specialty vets or chiropractors.

He's had this same issue in three different saddles I've ridden him in. But that doesn't mean it isn't related to saddle fit. I will do a thorough check on the fit.

I'm not entirely sure he will turn right on his own in the pasture. Like I said, it's just something I realized today. If I am leading him, there's no right turns as well as no right when riding. I don't currently have a place to lunge him.

Thank you for your suggestions on how to fix this issue. Like I said he has been doing really well, so I'm sure I can baby step him through this too barring any pain issues. :)
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-15-2013, 04:54 AM
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I'd say teeth is problem more than likely.

That said, we had an ASB that would not circle to one side. He was Pleasure Driving horse and did okay in arena but those were not tight circles, such as when you would go to put him in wash rack, or something like that.

This one may have some issues that chiro and massage would help with too.

Have you ran your hands down both sides, feeling for tight spots?

And how tight a turn is he able to do, or does he never ever turn right?

Most horses are to some degree one sided, in that when you go in to feed in stall, they will turn one way 90% of the time to eat.

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post #6 of 7 Old 04-15-2013, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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He will do a very tight turn to the left, I'm often very surprised at how such a big horse can manage such tiny turns. But to the right I get nothing. He does turn his head to the left when eating too.

I haven't run my hands down him looking for tight spots. I'm a beginner and I probably wouldn't even know what to feel for. I had no idea until I joined this forum that there were such things as equine chiropractors. If my own investigating doesn't go well I will certainly look into finding one.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-16-2013, 04:49 AM
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Agree with what others have said. Sounds like it's a 'can't' than a 'won't', for whatever reason.

Have to say, I find it hilarious that you've had him 6 months, been riding him & only just realised!
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