Not taking the left lead?
I started working with my lease gelding Navigator over the summer about two years ago. At the time, he refused to take up his right lead. He was still fairly green at the time and my trainer and I figured it was probably because he was still developing and still a little unbalanced to that side. We worked hard with him and by winter that year he picked up both leads like a pro.
Fast forward to now. Within the last month I'd say, he's taken to refusing to pick up his left lead - the one that used to be his good lead! I can't believe it would be from working his right side too much teaching him his right lead, because as soon as he became comfortable at picking it up, I started working both sides evenly again. He does prefer to bend right, but I can usually get him to bend left pretty well also, after a decent warm up.
He shows no signs of pain or discomfort that my trainer or I have noticed, and he is being ridden in the same tack he has always been ridden in. I thought perhaps it was me sitting crookedly or something, but I have lunged him and he still has a hard time picking it up.
When I talked to my trainer last night she said that recently a few of her friends had ridden him, and they are not quite as experienced as me. She thinks maybe that could have just tuned him down and now that he has the idea that he can get away with not taking the left lead, he just doesn't want to do it. He's a smart horse.
I always manage to get him to take it when we ride, it's just after much frustration and many many tries where he ends up taking the right lead instead.
Has anyone else ever dealt with this sort of thing?
spin him left, then canter departure from that
I had one who couldn't pick up his left lead because of arthritis in his right hip. He wouldn't pick up his left lead even while lounging or playing in the field. If you gave him enough bute he could get him to use his left lead, but he still would pick up his right first just from habit and i'd usually have to correct him a few times to get left, I retired him shortly after discovering this.
If you think your horse is refusing the left lead out of disrespect you're probably right, but ruling out pain is always a good option.
I have never considered arthritis, since he is only 7, but I suppose that could be a possibility.
Once he gets it, he stays on it fine - doesn't try to break back to trot, pin his ears or anything like that - so I do doubt that it's a pain related issue. Still, I'll keep an eye on him, see how he does when lunging.
It is just so frustrating. :P
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