The left side of evil...

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The left side of evil...

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    07-25-2010, 01:13 AM
Green Broke
The left side of evil...

Very dramatic right? I've never encountered this problem before and I'm a bit baffled.

Before Jynx started losing weight, we were working on her moving off my leg. She can yield half decent and we were starting a bit of sidepass and turn on the forehand/haunches usnig the arena wall (for sidepass). She was doing wonderful - a little crooked, sometimes wanting to back up, but no problems and moving off both legs nicely.

I stopped riding her for the last couple weeks to pack some weight on her, and I rode her for the first time a couple days ago. I kept it light, just walk and jog and I wanted to work on her leg aids. She seemed to be doing alright with general riding, I can get her working off both legs if we're riding a straight line or I'm asking her to bend/turn away from pressure HOWEVER - the wall is evil. But only her left side.

She will sidepass quite nicely off my right leg. She will not, on pain of death, move off my left leg. We must have argued for 15 minutes on this. Not only is she ignored me, she's moving INTO my left leg. I tried nudging, I tried poking, I tried steady pressure, and I tried KICKING. Nothing - she either backs up (upon which she gets both heels and jumps back forward) or she actually moves INTO my left leg, regardless of how bad I escalate the pressure. I wasn't wearing spurs this ride.

I got off, and asked her to move sideways by using my finger - nothing. She will not move. Period. Only to side step right (off left side pressure). She will turn AWAY from the pressure if I let her, but she refuses to step sideways. I grabbed a hoof pick and gave her some pokes for more incentive and absolutely nothing - all I ended up with was a jittery horse who was jumping around and moving in EVERY direction except right.

I rode her today and after a good warmup in the outdoor ring, we tried again. Here I'm a little more leery because I only have a two rail fence instead of a wall if she gets antsy and decides she's jumping forward. We made almost zero progress - she will cut 360 degrees off my left leg, she will yield in forward motion to my left leg (although much worse then right) but she will NOT move sideways when I apply my left leg - either off the fence or on it. I made SOME progress only by allowing her to walk at a sort of 45 degree crab shuffle angle along the fence, and praised her profusely.

Any ideas? I would look for pain, but I'm just not buying it - none of her tack has changed, she was doing this fine two weeks ago and she'll move just great off my right leg. I'm asking for ONE step here - I got a couple half steps and prasied her profusely and actually ended the day on a "half-step". I was wearing spurs today for the record, and even that didn't help much at all except to make her annoyed and jittery. She still moves into them - how do you deal with a horse who will move INTO pressure, in saddle and on ground, even with a pokey spur? (Just Dressage spurs).

Sorry for the novel, I'm just at a TOTAL loss over what's bringing this on.
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    07-25-2010, 03:59 AM
Hmmmmm, I would probably get her checked out. Usually I'd say push her through it, but my boy has always come beautifully off both legs, just a shift of my weight and he flows straight over. He had a month off recently while I got through uni exams, and I started bringing him very lightly back into work a couple of weeks ago. Like your horse, he would NOT get off my left leg, he would NOT bend to the left, he would NOT track up/go forward etc. I thought he was being a stubborn little bugger and rode him for a few more days, but on the last day he went absolutely off his rocker, bucking, rearing, running me sideways into the wall etc.

No lameness anywhere, no sore spots etc. Figured he was muscle sore. Put him out for a few days, then put him on the lunge and he was hopping and tripping behind.
Sure enough, he has a bone spur and onset of arthritis in his hock which has just cost me a fortune to try and treat with no guarantee that he'll be sound in 6 months.

Get her looked at, it'll save you the heartache.
    07-25-2010, 12:13 PM
I wouldn't rule out pain. Her tack may be the same, but she's not. You say yourself she's not at the same weight, and probably doesn't have the same muscle tone. When Ricci needs time off, her back drops and her topline vanishes, and it takes a month of bareback riding to build it back up so my saddle will fit. Plus, Jynx has had a few random problems in the past. Which leg/stifle was it that locked up, again?

When you ask her to step over, are you using your rein too? Your seat? Ideally, you want all your left aids to be walls, so that she CANNOT move left because there's no where to go.

It's possible you're coming at her with an attitude of "she won't do it," and therefore, it's garaunteed that she won't. Make sure you're mental self is calm and neutral, take a deep breath, and just ask.

Are you allowing her to bend away from pressure? If not, it may be worth a try. It's easier to yield [at least for my mare] while they're "wrapped" around your leg. I find if I can control the bend, it's easier for me to control the straight.

And also, moving INTO pressure is a very baby-ish thing. That's what they do with mom. With my little one, it took a... what do you call it?... a "come to Jesus" beating with my dressage whip to get her to move away. I started with a wave, then a nice tap, and then increased the "tapping" until I was literally wailing on her before she moved. And you're already doing the most important thing; PRAISE. Good luck. =]
    07-26-2010, 01:54 AM
Green Broke
Thanks guys.

Honestly, I'm not calling a vet over this. If it persists in being a problem a month from now, maybe we'll talk, but I've never had much use for 90% of the vets around here. Every time I get my horses checked for something it's an "I don't know" and "wait and see". If she starts throwing holy fits to display her displeasure, we'll talk, but I'm just not calling a vet over every obstinate act.

Thanks riccil0ve - I think I'm going to work with her on the ground and see where I get. I'm definitely not ruling out pain, hence the lack of a "come to Jesus" meeting at this point ( ) so I'm going to try a few things and see if praising her for even slight movement in that direction will help.

I've honestly tried virtually everything in the saddle - turning her head away, turning it toward, asking for it straight, putting more weight in that seat bone, escalating force. I don't think doing it outside was wise, because she only had a fence and so I WAS probably much more reserved and possibly a little bit negative in my actions over my concern she may just try going over the fence in frustration. I'm going to try the arena wall again where I can do a complete block on that side with my aids and not worry about her jumping over anything - you want to bounce off the wall, be my guest horse!
    07-26-2010, 02:01 AM
Haha you have the same attitude as me when it comes to vets. Hence why it took me nearly a month to take Hugo to the vet with his problem, and sure enough, I now feel terrible as he's got quite a significant injury there :/

If you're desperate to keep persisting though, have you tried opening your outside rein right out when you yield her? Maybe just 'play' with her, rather than going down the 3/4 line and leg yielding back to the track, just sneak a few steps in here and there, say you're on a circle, bring the circle in a little and leg yield back out. Act like she's an experienced dressage horse that has no problems getting off the leg.
It may be a case of just loosening her up and getting her fitness better
    07-26-2010, 02:08 AM
Green Broke
It's hard, let me tell you. We booked an appointment once to take the pony in because the vet would only prescribe antibiotics for an abcess on her jaw if he saw her. We get there and he's not in, so some idiot small animal vet comes out and goes "I don't know..." I actually yelled at him to just give me the **** antibiotics because an ABCESS is the same in every **** animal and you don't need a degree to see what it is!

It's just been no end of nonsense with my mares fluid filled legs. Ultrasounds and the "best vet around" told me nothing but give her 6 months off. Which I did. She's never been lame, but her front tendon sheath constantly gets swollen, so she's obviously not better?!

LOL, sorry, it's just SO aggravating. I will definitely keep an eye on this problem and see about vet help if I've exhausted every avenue, but seeing as this is only the 2nd ride in a few weeks and she's only just learned leg pressure, I'm going to give her a bit longer to see if it gets sorted. I agree with you - it could just be her fitness and not feeling comfortable doing it yet!
    07-26-2010, 02:14 AM
That's how it goes sometimes. You have them doing what you want almost perfectly and then give them a bit of time off and it's like they never learned it LOL. Oh, the joys of training . I would personally start all over on her training on that side, the more you try to force the issue and make her move over, the more resentful she will become and the harder it will be to fix. As hard as it is sometimes, just take a deep breath and be patient, you'll get there.
    07-26-2010, 02:18 AM
Ah yep I can definitely see why you're hesitant to get a vet if you've been stuffed around so much. I am very lucky to have about 5 different vet clinics all within an hour of me, and the main clinic treats performance and racehorses. My horse's vet was also the Australian Olympic team's vet, and is the primary racehorse vet in the state! So I definitely trust his judgement :) I'm sorry to hear that you don't have a decent one around.
    07-26-2010, 02:36 AM
Perhaps when I'm a vet, I'll have to come to your neck of the woods! At least I'd have some work there, as opposed to the abundance of large animal vets in my area, haha.

When I taught Ricci to side-step, it was in the middle of the "arena" so as not to run into anything, and to move right, I just squeezed my left aids, and then continued to sponge all my aids simultaneously until she moved away. She went forwards and backwards, and even tried to go up a few times, but eventually she caught on. Everytime she made a move, I gave her a moment to either make a mistake or comply, before I corrected and asked again. We had to take several breaks to trot around on a loose rein and unravel, but it did eventually stick.
    07-26-2010, 11:04 PM
Not sure if it is training or physical but do you have an equine chiropractor in your area? I find that for some things they are much more useful than a vet (and usually cheaper too!!). Maybe just keep persevering and doing it whilst wlking along and maybe she will eventually get it. I don't really know though.

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