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Solo 02-27-2010 01:47 PM

Won't go left...
Hey everyone,

As some of you may have seen in the "critique" section, I have recently acquired a new pony. When I bought her she had some issues (kicking people, kicking other horses, standing still at the mounting block) but we have overcome all three of these things and you would never know she ever had a problem if you saw her now.

This week however, she has started acting very strangely. I saddled her up, same saddle, bridle, pad, breast collar, etc. and when we got to the mounting block she would not stand still. She kept circling and circling. After about 20 minutes of her putting up a fight I called a friend and him come to the barn and stand at her head. I got on and off her about 20 times, making her stand while I mounted and not allowing her to walk off when I got on her. By the end of the lesson I had her standing without assistance and not walking off until I asked. She was really tired and really sweaty so I cooled her down and called it a day.

The next day, just to reinforce the lesson, I got on and off a few times. No problem. Got on, warmed up. Walked left and right, jogged left and right. Perfect to the right. While going left she started pulling her nose to the right and cantering to the side door (not even the door we go in and out of). Now she is a strong pony and pulled the reins right through my hands. Even when I was ready for her, I couldn't keep her from going to the door. My solution was to make her work harder when she ran to the door. So she would run to the door, I would turn her right (the direction she wanted to go) and make her canter small tight circles. She caught on pretty quickly that it was much harder to do what she wanted then to do what I wanted so I got her going to the left pretty quickly. Problem solved. Kept riding. Then, every time I tried to get her going in the general left direction or making left turns, she would jut her nose out to the right and start bucking (little bucks nothing major) and try to canter off. I just made her do more work, same as before. Finally got her doing what I wanted. After a long tiresome lesson, I let it end on a good note and cooled her out.

Alright fast-forward to today (was in bed sick for two days so didn't ride). Saddled her up. Same gear as before. Went to get on, she jumped straight up and bolted sideways as soon as I stepped on the mounting block and swung around to face me. Every time I tried to get on, she bolted sideways. I don't know why I tried this, but it made sense at the time. I tried mounting from the right side. No problem. Nothing happened. She stood. Didn't even try to walk off once I got on. Definitely a little confused. Walked to the right, no problem. Tried walking her to the left. She would NOT turn left unless I tapped her with a crop. I didn't want to be yanking on her mouth as it has taken a very long time to teach her to be responsive to gentle aids, which is why I was carrying a crop today. After a few times she got it. Trotted to the right. Around the track, we made circles, around cones, etc. Went to turn left, same deal as before. She WOULD NOT go left. I had to tap her with the crop every step of the way to make her go left. And when I finally got her going left around the roundpen, she got so close to it that she almost ran headfirst into the poles (and did hit my knee!) a couple of times. I tried using leg aids but anything I did seemed to cue her to spin right and try to take off.

I would think she was just being a brat about it except for the fact that she is PERFECT to the right. No problem whatsoever. Turning,going past the door, going around cones. All gaits, no problem.

My second thought is that she needs to be more supple to the left. Although it was never a problem before, maybe I need to start doing more bending work? When I tried to tip her nose to the left, she swung her entire body around. When I did it to the right, she put her nose to my boot and stood in place.

Third thought is could she be in pain on the left side? I find it extremely weird that she has issues with me mounting from the left and is also being bratty while going to the left.

What do you guys think?

I may be able to get a video some time this week as I know that might help.

Thanks in advance!

smrobs 02-27-2010 03:00 PM

She might be having some pain issues or maybe her back is mis-aligned causing it to hurt when she rounds her body to the left. Or, she could just be testing you. It sounds like to me (from the issues you bought her with) that she was maybe spoiled by the previous owner and allowed to misbehave, both on the ground and in the saddle and has thus decided that she should get her way. Either way, I would try to rule out any pain before going further.

Solo 02-27-2010 07:45 PM

Thank you smrobs! What can I do to check for pain aside from the usual back check (running two fingers down her spine)?

smrobs 02-28-2010 11:35 AM

See if she is willing to bend her head to the left from the ground, try lunging her to the left and see if she bends her body the way that she ought to or if she stays straight or counterbends.

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