Hubby and I have adopted from the SPCA a pony that has been in foster since December of last year. We're not 100% sure how old he is, vets guess about 3. His history is only partially known. If you wish to read the story and see his progress go here: H4 Services - Noel, The Christmas Pony, (Kleenex warning)
Our plan is to get his ground work done and then try to find him a home at one of the local stables for a smaller child.
I've been working with him 3-4 days a week and he's a smart little cookie, but only when your working him from the left side. Go and try to do the exact same thing from the off side and it's like he has no thought process on that side.
For now, most of what I'm doing is introducing him to every object around the barn. From being locked up for months on end he is scared of his own shadow, literally. I'm not lunging him as we feel his joints, tendons and such need more time. I do let him free lunge if he wants.
As an example, I ask him to walk a circle around me on a 10 foot line. Going to the left no problem, ask for him to move out from the right and he just stands there or will disengage his hind end and face me. When he does that, I exaggerate the direction I want him to go with my body and tap his neck out, sometimes he'll get it but mostly he doesn't.
Even grooming on the off side is much more difficult.
Most of the horse's I've worked with have had at least the basics started. Is this normal? Do I just keep asking?