horse traininggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have a 20 month old I have been lounging for about a month. He is fine on his near side, however when I want to get him going on his offside he turns toward me a goes the other way. Normally I am alone when I'm working him. When someone else is there to help I'll have them lead him in that direction, then just walk beside him. Everything is good until they step away then he turns again. This has always worked on previous horses that had a problem going on one side. He doesn't like being led on that side, but will (he hesitates at first). There is nothing physically wrong. Any other ideas?
-- Lynne (email@example.com), May 09, 2001
It sounds like he hasn't been fully trained in going in that direction. People are constantly repeating the 'wisdom' that you should work on your horse from the near (left) side, so much so, that some horses totally freak out if you want to lead them from the right, mount from the right, whatever. Horses need consistant working in both directions, especially at a young age like this, so endeavor to perservere. I've taken a lot of young horses over (and older ones too) who 'will only lounge in one direction', and worked them a while and gotten them trained in going in either direction.
Some horses are more stubborn about what direction they want to go as well. Sometimes it is because it is easier for them to go this way (it seems to me that most horses are right-footed, just as more people are right-handed, and unconsciously lead on the right). There may be some minor problem you are not even aware of that makes it more comfortable this way, or it may even be something as odd as if he keeps going in this direction, the sun doesn't hit him in the eyes as he rounds the barn shadow, or he doesn't see that scarey dirt pile over there. Horses can have peculiarities. I had a 6 year old horse suddenly shy at a snowbank (she'd seen them all her life, and all that whole winter) and bolt and break my hand. She'd walked past that particular snow bank going to and from pasture every day all winter...that day it was life-threatening, in her opinion.
Do you have a round-pen you could work him in to try driving him in the direction you want instead of lounging?
-- julie f. (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 09, 2001.
Julie is SOOO RIGHT... Coming from both the pleasure and racing sides of the idea - just be patient and persevere!! He's still very young, and probably also trying to find out how much you will put up with. A firm, consistant and gentle hand will win the day!! Get creative with him... Don't use too many treats, but the occasional apple at the end of a long right curve might help... Just not every time. Any way to lead him into his stall using only right turns?? Of course you can't develop the right so much that the left falters, but I know you get the picture - GOOD LUCK!
-- Sue Diederich (email@example.com), May 09, 2001.
Julie is right! Have You considered having a farrier and/or vet take a look for anything that may be contributing to his 'left-handness'? It could be anything from a conformation problem to a hidden injury.
If those possibilities are eliminated, try massage and manual suppling before asking him to exercise to the right. You might try working on his collection a little too, since he might not have figured all the mechanics quite yet.
One exercise I've had success with is to spiral in from a relaxed circle (@ 15') to a tight one where we're basically stepping around each other and spiral back out again. Do it once then go on to something else for a bit. Then come back to the exercise once, etc. Be aware of Your body position while doing this. Position back near his haunches, bringing the lounge-line down his offside to Your right hand. Urge him forward while gently asking him to turn into the right curve.
-- Randle Gay (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 12, 2001.
That quite a common problem with longeing, its so easy to work on the near side and avoid the "difficult" side. Horses can be right or left handed just like people and whether on the ground or under saddle they just find one direction easier than the other. My advice is to keep your longe line short, and stay behind the horse. When longing you always want to be moving the horse forward, and keep a longe whip at the horses hindquarters to encourage him. Hold the longe line in your right hand and the whip in your left. Keep the whip at eye level behind the horses butt the entire time. Start at a slow trot or even just a walk in a very small circle. Keep behind him and keep him circling in the proper direction. Gradually enlarge the circle as he becomes more comfortable. If he stops and turns, stop him immediately and get behind and move him forward the right way. I would longe mostly on the off side until he gets the hang of it. Practice makes perfect!
-- Donna (email@example.com), May 17, 2001.
As with people, horses can be right or left handed. Try a long lead rope and start swinging it in a vertical circle near his mid-section and keep getting closer to his head untill he starts moving,then keep him in a circle. Also when lounging to get him started pull him in the direction you want him to go. If you want him to go clockwise hold the rope with you right hand and the tail of the rope with the left.
-- Gary Benner (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 22, 2001.