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Hey all, I need some advice/options/help. Here is my situation:
My mare Dixie is a 20 year old quarter horse in good health. I’ve had her for 6 years. Before I got her she was at a barn that showed western pleasure horses regularly at a higher level. She was pretty much trained WP as a young horse and did only that at a competitive level until I bought her and showed her life on the trails. I’m an older rider, and had sold my “hot”er mare for something like her, trained, respectful, with gaits I could sit. I would do occasional local shows when I first got her but mainly ride trails on her.
Every now and then I would go in the arena to refresh her cues and I had some lessons done on her the first year I bought her to help ME communicate with her since she was leg/spur trained. I have ridden most of my life, but only for pleasure and don’t pretend to know everything about training, even though I know natural horsemanship and all about moving the feet when a horse sometimes needs it.
Yesterday I took her in our arena and started the basic warm up, walk, jog, turning against leg pressure etc. All good. When I asked for the lope counterclockwise she did fine. Reversed. At the SAME area heading clockwise towards the upper left corner she abruptly stops and takes a very sharp right to turn off the route. I suddenly remembered I had had problems with this two years ago, not only in the same arena but in a different arena same exact area, upper left corner approach. I went back and tried again, same act. Moved her feet. Got quite frustrated but only because I was cueing her exactly as always. I didn’t leave the arena until she made a complete lap with no shenanigans. In the scenario at the other arena I had another person watch and then get on and was finally able to get her past the turn without stopping. All in all these three situations have been over a year and a half, I don’t ride much in an arena so once I worked on it I guess I basically forgot about it......but yesterday’s ride reminded me she hasn’t.
Dixie is pretty much a sweetheart.....she has some marish moments not under saddle but she’s basically a point and shoot type of horse-trained to ride western pleasure and would go all day when I first got her and was practicing for fun or local shows. As a trail rider I rarely ask for anything more than a walk or jog, but in the past she’s done fine and knows her walk jog lope from her years of showing.
I am totally confused as to why she might be doing this, always in an arena setting now ( well, last three times); No outstanding issues with health, teeth, feet. And always halfway up the left side of the arena heading into the left corner area. Stop short, hang a hard right. I feel bad because I was thinking last night how I worked her hard by moving her feet and she almost started jigging, it is obvious she is not comfortable at that spot, but will lope fine going clockwise in all the other respectful corners. She really is not a horse to challenge me in any way because she’s been so trained and is very willing to do as asked.
Can anyone tell me what might be causing this? Or how I can work on it? Or is it something I can’t expect her to do for whatever reason. I made her work last night until she got through it then completed the lap and dismounted. She was definitely puffing hard from the struggle. Again she is usually a willing ride but with this becoming a pattern I was wondering if anyone else might be able to give me some advice. Sorry for such a long post, just wanted to make sure I covered details about her past and why this behavior seems so unlike her........but one that she can be made to do when pressured. Thank you for any help!
 

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All I can think is that something bad happened to her once , at that point on the clockface, at that gait, and in THAT EYE. We sometimes forget that horses see the world in two very seperate eyes, and can have difficulty with things in one eye, and not the other. Consider observing if she has any other issues where she is more uncomfortable with things in her left eye, at any gait. When you approacch her in the paddock, does she position herself such that you are in one eye over the other, as a matter of habit?
this may have nothing to do with it, but it's a thought to consider.
 
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