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Training both sides of the horse

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  • horse two brains
  • Horse training on both sides

 
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    04-27-2009, 03:41 PM
  #1
Yearling
Training both sides of the horse

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?

Thanks
     
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    04-27-2009, 03:47 PM
  #2
mls
Trained
If he is concerned about even the grooming aspect of you being on his off side, I would have his eyes checked.
     
    04-27-2009, 04:16 PM
  #3
Yearling
We had talked about that. When we started taking him outside he would balk at everything, we put it down to the fact he had been cooped up in a dark barn for months on end with no light and being outside was a shock.

The vet did do a good once over, but at that point we weren't handling him much, he was too weak, so we didn't have any one specific concern.
     
    04-27-2009, 04:48 PM
  #4
Started
I would say it's pretty normal. The horse really has two brains, if you will. When you switch sides, you switch brains, and you have to act as if it's completely new to him. Try and rush and it will make him unconfident. Just spend a lot of friendly and undemanding time on his right side....letting him graze, finding itchy spots, etc. Even just a nice neck massage can really make a horse turn loose to you.
     
    04-27-2009, 05:09 PM
  #5
Green Broke
Gotta agree with Spirithorse. Walka is very one sided, though we have worked very hard to change that and are succeeding.

I try to do as much as possible on his right side, leading ect... to get him accustomed to my being there. Makes me laugh because at first he would continuously try to reposition himself to the other side, or even tried to move ME to the other side!

I like to spend a lot of time just grooming or rubbing/massaging them in the pasture and that has helped also, as he gradually became accustomed to me being on that less favored side.

Takes time, good luck.
     
    04-27-2009, 05:29 PM
  #6
Yearling
Thanks guy's I'll keep at it slowly.

Did you read his story, heartbreaking
     
    04-27-2009, 11:13 PM
  #7
Started
I did read his story and it was heartbreaking I can't believe that a human being could be so cruel. It was a miracle that he was rescued at all...but for him to be brought back to what he is now is amazing. My favorite part of the story was when he was turned out for the first time. I can only imagine how it must have warmed the hearts of those watching him. I think that you are right to take things slow with him...the people that did that to him could have abused him in other ways as well. I am so glad that you have taken it upon yourself to train him and find him a family. Hugsss and blessings to you hun.
     
    04-28-2009, 12:39 AM
  #8
Showing
Yes, his story is absolutely devastating. :,,( I would go ahead and have a vet come check his eyes because being confined in the dark for God only knows how long may have caused some deterioration in his sight and everything may be a bit fuzzy on his right side. If everything there comes up fine, then just give him a bit more time and keep doing what you are doing and he will come around.
     
    04-28-2009, 12:57 AM
  #9
Weanling
Could it be moon blindness that is affecting only one eye?
     
    04-28-2009, 10:51 AM
  #10
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirithorse    
I would say it's pretty normal. The horse really has two brains, if you will. When you switch sides, you switch brains, and you have to act as if it's completely new to him. Try and rush and it will make him unconfident. Just spend a lot of friendly and undemanding time on his right side....letting him graze, finding itchy spots, etc. Even just a nice neck massage can really make a horse turn loose to you.
I disagree. A horse can SEE things differently due to how the good Lord designed the equine head but not two brains.

A horse that has only been handled on one side I can understand being resistant. But a horse with very little handling doesn't have a base for reaction or non reaction.
     

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