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- - Turning problem (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-riding/turning-problem-54537/)
Hi all I'm not sure if this was the right place to post this but here goes:
I am brand new to the forum and pretty new to horses. I've ridden all my life but just recently aqcuired a horse of my own. Rock is a 12-14 year old (don't quite know) quarter horse (no papers) and is very broken and gentle, stands tied, no real bad habbits, does most of all he should do. He rides well for the most part but does have a few peculiar quirks about him.
Long story short, I got Rock from my wife's uncle, who he was left with for a year and the real owner never came to get him, disappeared, etc. He was ridden all the time until the owner abandoned him and did well, I was told by my uncle.
My problems are this, one, Rock won't lunge, at all. My uncle said he would come after you if you tried to get him to lunge. Is it really necessary that we be able to work this way and how would I go about correcting this?
Other issue, and this may be a bit issue I'm thinking. He does not like to turn to the left. I'm using a curb bit, which actually seems a little narrow for his mouth? Rock does neck rein but when I try to get him to turn left, he refuses, tosses his head etc. He turns right just fine and will turn very tight circles, disengages hind quarters, everything. I can FORCE him to turn left but he just doesn't do it well and doesn't seem to like it. I can usually coax him to circle the pen in a left circle but he doesn't like turning left on a tight turn. Any help on this?
Well with the left turning thing...maybe something sore on him?? I know when my aunts gelding had really bad thrush on the right foreleg he didn't like to go clockwise around the arena because it put more pressure on the bad foot. I'm not sure though why yours wont go that way. I think theres a good reason though, and I'll bet it's a pain issue. Maybe someone with more experience can get on here and help you out better.
He was trimmed a few weeks ago and the farrier didn't mention any issue with hooves, said everything looked fine and in good health. I think the pain issue is probably true but what is my problem. He walks fine, trots fine acts fine about everything but that left turn!
Jester as really stiff in his neck last winter and had that same problem. He'd get pissy and throw his head when I asked him to turn right, and then flat out refuse and pul me around the left. I of course got after him for it, btu I fixed it by flexing him little by little. When I was riding I would gently pull his head to the right (All the way into my boot) and hold it there for a few seconds, then release and do our work. I did that about three times every ride and his stiffness eventually went away.
It sounds like it could be more than that with your gelding, though. If his feet were recently done he could not be used to them yet. Annie got one bad trim and couldn't walk well for a month after it.
Other than just knowing your horse, how did you figure out that he was stiff in the neck?
Rock hadn't been trimmed in who knows how long and actually had to have a little corrective trimming done. He does have a split in his right hoof, but it isn't bad and should grow back. The farrier walked him around a bit and said that it didn't look like it was causing him any trouble. I could see that the split might cause him some problem turning to the right but not the left. I rode him the day he got trimmed and I could tell that he wasn't sure on his feet, he seemed a lot better a couple of weeks later so I was kinda ruling out feet.
I think it could be one of several things.
Teeth is the first place I would go. I would get a qualified horse dentist to do his teeth .
Body worker is the next thing I would do. Get him checked and see if they can find any questionable areas.
If you have a good qualified horse chiropractor you could do that instead of the body worker or in conjunction.
Saddle fit would possible be my next angle. However if you do the chiropractor thing that should be addressed at that time.
As said above, feet - but you say you have already addressed that issue.
However, I did notice that when I pulled him around he would stiffen up and if I pulled him the other way he was perfectly fine. Massage both sides of your horses neck and see which side feels a bit more stiff, sort of like if you've been working out in the weight room and your arms are sore afterwards you can feel it, ya know? Its hard to explain. Just got to listen to your horse. When you flex his head around, generally he will stiffen up and resist you because it hurts to turn his neck that way. Just like a human. If you can't tocuh your toes, it hurts until you stretch out enough to be able to do it.
Try flexing your horse on the ground to the left using a halter. You can hold a carrot or some alfalfa right behind the left shoulder (about where the cinch would be) and see if he has the same problem reaching around to get the treat. If he appears fine and has no problem flexing without the bit or a saddle, you can narrow down your list of possible problems. Try the same thing but walk around in little circle to see if he can flex and walk in a circle to the left. If he can, you can probably rule out a stiff neck and adjustment issues. If he's OK on the ground, try riding him in a rope halter to see if you get the same response without a bit in his mouth. Just keep narrowing things down to see where the problem is occurring.
I got him out and brought him to my place yesterday and rode him around there. I tried flexing him a little before we rode and during the ride. He didn't seem to be stiff at all. I am probably going to go with the fact that he was barn sour back at my uncle's and even rusty from not being ridden in a while. We went through the paces up to a fast trot, rode in circles and he was great. So I'm going to keep working with him and hope that is it.
Thanks for all the help!
Reading through the posts, I thought of one more thing that hasn't been asked: when you ask him to turn, are you just using the reins to tell him or are you using your legs too? I've met many horses that officially neck rein but if you don't lay the rein on their neck AND use leg to turn them, they'll get all weird.
Good luck! :)
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