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Coyote 08-11-2011 11:24 PM

Which way would you circle?
So this is a hypothetical question no one has been able to give me a straight answer on yet. Maybe someone here can give me more insight.

The situation:
So the horse you are riding decides to be a brat, and refuses to turn right. Every time you cue to go right, he turns his head to the left and tries to go that way. You know for a fact pain is not present and the horse is not afraid of anything towards the right, he just does not -want- to go to the right.
You are in the middle of a field with nothing in the way to either side, in order to correct the horse you decide to make him circle in __Blank__ direction.

Which direction do you chose?

1. The Right. A lot of people I have talked to said make the horse circle to the right, because the horse doesn't want to go that direction. The "theory" behind this is basically something along the lines of if you don't go to the right, the horse is getting what it wants and you are rewarding bad behavior. By continuing to go right you are reinforcing the cue of "go right" even if the horse doesn't want to.

2. The Left. Some of the people I asked this to said they would circle to the left. Because it seems "easier" to make the horse go in that direction initially, and because the work of circling will make going right when asked an easier option for the horse. In other words, circling to the left becomes the "work" choice and turning right is the "less work" choice.

3. Either way, as long as the horse understands it must do as you ask.

So which way would you chose? and why would you choose it?

BarrelracingArabian 08-11-2011 11:28 PM

make him go right keeping pushing him that way till you get a good circle then stop let him rest for a few seconds then continue on straight ask for another right turn if he refuses push him more

Amy Wathke 08-11-2011 11:41 PM

I would have to agree with BarrelRacingArabian on this one.. Horses need to be disciplined to the riders expectations willing to preform and do the task at hand for the rider.
As tricky as this situation may seem if he does not want to go to the right, re-enforce that its your decision and that you want him to. I would suggest lot's of lunging and get him bending and flexing to both directions comfortably and consistently. Once this task is accomplished it is time to see how he is under saddle.
Always keep in mind that your the boss. He is not going to get away with doing what he wants when he wants. Sure if your going on a pleasurable hack he can have his way under certain circumstances but this behaviours he has had to you (that you explained) sounds more less like lack of respect and should not be tolerated. Get that respect and your rides will be a lot more beneficial, fun for the horse and the rider.

smrobs 08-11-2011 11:53 PM

I will get them to turn right one way or another. If they are very green, I will normally move my hand farther down the rein and move it way out from their body just to exaggerate the cue and eliminate any possible confusion. If they are a little less green or if they are just spoiled, sometimes I will push them out into a fast walk or a trot and then ask again. Forcing the cue for a turn on a horse like that at a standstill can sometimes cause them to brace and rear up and that's always bad.

The more times you ask for something and give up before you get it, the more solidly the horse will learn to resist said cue. Do it enough and you'll end up with a horse that will never turn to the right, no matter who's on him or how hard you try to force him.

Indigosblue 08-12-2011 01:02 AM

lol, my mare is somewhat opinionated about her love of turning right and STAYING right, so i've had to go though this situation lots. I would say make them go right as well, but be patient. If I were to let her go left she would never turn right when i wanted her to again...

kitten_Val 08-12-2011 07:46 AM

I ignore what HORSE wants to do (given reason is not the pain of course) and make her do what I want. Because you let her do it once, twice, 3 times, and she'll do whatever she wants all the time. So yes, I'd put more leg on, apply stronger turning aids and go RIGHT.

Cherie 08-12-2011 07:56 AM

Absolutely teach this horse to turn to the right. FIX the problem -- not avoid it.

If I am near the ranch and not 10 miles away in a pasture or on a trail, I will just take the horse to the round pen and check the right rein 'lightly' to the back girth on the right side using a full cheek snaffle. I use a ring of rubber cut out of an old inner-tube to actually tie the rein to so it can 'give'. Then, I let the horse go around the round-pen loose. I let it stay on the rail until it goes around at a trot with its head giving to that right rein and keeping it to the inside. Then, I start stepping in front of the horse and teaching it to make a small 360 degree right circle every time I do. This softens up a horse so well for teaching it to 'follow its nose', that I do this with every horse, both directions, before I ride it and any time after that when it is not listening. I do this instead of longing or 'working a horse down' any other way.

Now, if I am out in the pasture moving or checking cattle and the horse refuses to turn to the right, I start working on those right ribs with my inside leg. If you 'soften' up those ribs and get the horse to push them out to the left, the tug-o-war is over. If you only work on the right rein, you stand a chance of forcing the horse to rear. If you work on those right ribs and hips, you get the solution without as much confrontation. Once the horse will disengage it hips to the left and will push its ribs out, it will start giving you its head because you are taken the power away from it that it was stiffening its body with.

If you keep a horse going forward (but not real fast), keep its head as much as possible to the right and keep working over those ribs on the right, it will finally give in and give you its head and follow its nose to the right.

Letting it fight itself in the round pen is sure easier and more productive. A horse that I have taught to follow its nose this way in the round pen has NEVER gone stiff to me on one side or the other. Horses I have had to fight it out with in a pasture have all been someone else's horse that had refused to turn for them.

usandpets 08-12-2011 09:33 AM

Since the horse won't go to the right and wants to go left, I wouldn't circle either way. I would either get off and lunge him quite a few circles to the right or make him back up under saddle. I would not let him go left as it's giving in to him. Trying to go right would end in a tug of war and possibly injury(actually been there). Getting off is not rewarding because he is going to have to work right away. I think backing is a good disciplinary action because most horses, that I've known, don't like to back. When backing, I would also be working on getting him to turn and not just back up straight. I would then get back on and ask again and repeat until he gets the correct answer.

iridehorses 08-12-2011 10:23 AM

IMO, never get off the horse. I don't tolerate a refusal - next time it can come when it could create a real problem. If she doesn't want to go right, as Cherie said, disengage her hind end and move her in the direction you expect.

rob 08-12-2011 11:45 AM

i agree with cherie.take him to a pen and tie his head around to the right.give your shoulders a break.let him teach himself to give to the right.

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