Refusing to go right on the lunge line - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Refusing to go right on the lunge line

Hello, I have been working with Fay, a 7 year old tb, for three weeks. She is green broke; she has had ground work in the past and has been ridden very little. Her owner offered her to me to work...otherwise, she has been a pasture ornament for 3 or 4 years.

I have been lunging her (on a line) at the walk and trot so far. Monday, I asked for the canter going left. She is very left handed and did pretty well at the canter. Then when I asked her to move right, she took a few steps, turned, and trotted left again. I stopped her and asked her to go right again. She did the same thing, took a few steps right and suddenly turned and took off left. I did finally get her to walk in a small circle right and quit for the day.

Today I was just going to go back to walk/trot. But the same thing happened. Left, her easy way, is fine. Right she will start off fine but turn left on her own. Is there anything I can do besides running at her to keep her from turning? I don't really feel safe doing that, and it hasn't really worked. I don't want to get run over! I ended today by anticipating the sudden turn and getting her to halt before she moves left. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 06:29 PM
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Have you checked to see if she is sore somewhere? Mine was doing this and then I realized he was developing an abcess.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 06:57 PM
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It's so common for horses to do this on one side or the other....most normally on their right, or less dominant side.
What I would suggest is working her on a longe line in an enclosed area such as a round pen or at one end of an arena. This will help you a lot at first. Instead of asking her to start of going left, put her in the center of your "work area."

With the longe line in your right hand and your whip (personally I don't like longe whips...I use a stick and string) in your left raise your right hand and point the direction you want her to go. Kiss or cluck to her if necessary to let her know you expect her to move her feet.
If she takes even ONE step the direction you want her to go, stop her and praise her! Repeat.
Once you get her doing that reliably, expect her to take 2, then 4, and then to make an entire circle. Each time she does what you ask, stop her and lavishly praise her.
Make sure you are staying behind her drive line...on their weak side, the horse usually likes to turn in to get you in front of the drive line so they can change direction or stop altogether. Use your left hand to encourage her on forward. steps. This will build her trust in you and make her more at ease to have you on her vulnerable side.

If she starts off by trying to walk on top of you, use your left hand and bump her off of you and NEVER step sideways or backward. Remember that whoever moves first don't want to be the one to move out of her way, you want to advance and make HER move, then let her know she did the right thing by releasing pressure and rewarding her.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I groom her before I work with her, and I haven't noticed anything. She hasn't acted funny in the cross ties. Where was his abcess?
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Meredith. I figured she just doesn't want to work going that way. For the past two weeks she has trotted right. It's just this week that she has decided to test me I guess.

She doesn't move out on the line going to the right like she does to the left either. I've poked her shoulder to let her know she's getting too close to me. It's also hard to get back by her hip when she's not moving out on the line. I hardly have a chance to get behind the drive line before she's turning in to me to change directions.

I will take baby steps like you suggested. I didn't expect the regression in the training. Like I said before, she was moving forward to the right just fine last week!
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 07:30 PM
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Definitely sounds like she's wanting to see if you're serious about making her go to the right. Mares! LOL!
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-20-2012, 01:33 AM
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I am sure you are doing this already, but...sometimes we can get distracted and not pay close attention to our body relative to the horse's. If it is not her favored direction, it is particularly important to ensure you are pushing her w your body direction/language.
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There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-20-2012, 05:34 AM
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You'll have to work her bad side twice as much as her good side to get her evened out.

Instead of trying to get behind her driveline, direct your pressure at her head and neck. Make her move away and expose her driveline to you.

She is standing facing toward you. Hold the rope in your right hand and point to the right. In your left hand is the whip or stick. Start swinging the stick in big circles then start walking towards her. Only stop swinging the stick and moving toward her if she steps away to the right. If she steps to the left or backs up, keep swinging and walking toward her. If she steps toward you or left, let the stick hit her. You're not going to hurt her or make her head shy. Think of it this way. She knows the stick is there but still decided to move into it. It is her choice to get hit. She is walking into it. If you keep it from hitting her, she won't learn. When she does move away from you to the right, even if it is just a step, immediately stop swinging and even take a step backward. That is the release of pressure she's looking for. That's how she will know she did the correct thing. Repeat and keep repeating, looking for one more step each time until she puts you behind her driveline. Then you can start getting her to move forward.
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-20-2012, 08:27 AM
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IMO it's a respect issue, at least in part. I think if she stops and turns left that you should make her really go left, then stop and ask her to go right. If she goes left, go after her again - make her choice the less pleasant one. When she finally goes right, let her walk without pressure for a bit as a reward before picking up regular work.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-20-2012, 08:35 AM
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Remember also that a pasture puff that has no training otherwise is likely very unbalanced. My guess is she feels very unsteady going right for whatever reason and prefers to just not do it at all. If you were right handed and tried to write left handed, you could only write so long before your arm and hand got pretty tired and sloppy. Same deal here. Give it time and be persistent, as well as patient. She is still a baby training-wise and probably doesn't understand a whole lot yet.
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