Originally Posted by SammyAnn
I'm working with my new 10 year old mare and she's having trouble turning. She was left in a pasture for 6 months by her last owner and so we're still working out the kinks. She does forward, backward, all her paces perfectly. She turns right decently but left turns are difficult at best and impossible at worst. I can turn her from the ground fine (she's a model horse for ground work) but from the saddle she won't turn an inch. I don't want to do something wrong and mess her up completely so if anyone has an idea as to what's going on I'd love to hear it.
Check your tack and make sure it is good repair and fits her well. If your horse can turn left comfortably without tack, then I would suspect there is an issue with the tack or how it is fitting. Make sure there is nothing pinching or poking her - particularly in the shoulder, withers or along her spine. Make sure the bit fits properly and does not have any rough spots. Have her teeth checked by a veterinarian or equine dentist. Sharp points or misalignments on one side of her jaw can affect her ability to turn under saddle.
After you have eliminated any possibility of a physical cause, then check your own position, balance, alignment and posture in the saddle. All riders are better in one direction than the other. Get help from a trainer if possible who can work with you and your mare.