Driving help please!!!

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Crossbuck Farms

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2004
Reaction score
Chicora, PA
I bought this beautiful driving gelding. He drove fine up until last week. He refuses to go the the right. Even when ground driving and he will not back straight. I know its not his teeth they were just done in June. He is 3 but has been driving since he was 2.
Have you checked your harness to see if something is pinching him? Could be a harnessing problem, could be some soreness somewhere (have a vet give him a once-over) or could be a training/communication problem between horse and driver. My horses all have a tendancy to drop their shoulder going to the right, which I can attribute directly to my dropping my shoulder too.

Is he driving in a different style of bit? I know some horses are just plain use to the O ring snaffle and doesn't like the half cheek snaffle.

Are you perhaps using too much pressure? I have bought several driving horses in the past and even with the slighest bit of pressure they freak out. All of my driving horses have different styles and the way they do things.
Horses are like people, left handed or right handed, very rare to find one that is ambidextrous. Sooo, take the time, PATIENCE to work him on his "weaker" side from the ground. When trouble starts go back to ground driving to train and re-inforce. Work him his "bad" way more than the good way. Remember he is like you, can you write with both hands,...probably not, so work with him on the bad side to strengthen. Use small tugs on the inside line will longlining the WHOLE time he is going his bad way. GENTLY of course...but working that side will supple him up. BTW this is why this whole lead, harness etc from the left is SO not good..makes a horse "one-sided"

If he's historically been good-natured and willing, and has suddenly started refusing, I'd immediatly suspect he's hurting. Either it's a harness fit issue, bit issue or a physical issue, but I'd rule out any possibility he's sore.

If discomfort is ruled out as an issue, I'd get a trainer out for some work. Maybe he needs a new warm-up routine to get his mind and body in the right place. Or could be something you're doing that's making him uncomfortable, or something has shaken his confidence, or there's a training issue that has been snowballing you didn't spot early, or he's just being obnoxious and you need some new tools for dealing with him.
I would immediately suspect a physical problem if he really won't go to the right at all, as opposed to simply not doing it well. He could have put his back out of alignment or injured something in his neck, etc. I would have this horse given a once-over by a knowledgable vet, preferably one with some experience in chiropractics or bodywork.

I also would check to be sure he's not getting pinched, but my hunch is about what Kim / Willowwind just said.

So many times, I have heard my trainer's younger or less experienced riders say "my horse won't turn left" or "my horse won't turn right" and instead of working through it, they just turn half a circle the way the horse "will" go rather than persisting with a 90 turn (or there abouts!).

It's also the same with leads. I can remember when I was new with horses and my first big horse, from my perspective, could not lunge counter clockwise

Also, 3yo is still a baby. In a riding or driving horse, you should not really expect consistency from one so young. Most of my driving horses (have 8 or 9) were started as 2yo's, too.
Last edited by a moderator:
two is too young in most peoples opinions to drive/break a horse. I would suspect an injury and not drive him again until hes been checked over by a veternarian. They are just not done growing enough to break them at 2 and sometimes the result is muscle/tendon/bone injuries.
It's also the same with leads
Brings to mind a friend's mare, many years ago. She could not get her to take her right lead no matter what she did so I got on and put her in a position where she had to pick up the lead. She did catch it, but we later found out she had sesamoiditis.....a legitimate medical reason for not wanting to go a direction that hurt her. I learned a valuable lesson from the unfortunate mare, I listen to my horses now. Most are not conniving enough to just decide not to do something out of the blue.

He's normally good natured and always willing. I tried the ground driving and he evades the right. I have consulted two driving expert trainer and the they suggested he's one sided. They said I should ty him to his weak side for ten minutes. I will do this after the vet rules out physical pain.
Since he's only three years old, it still could be a tooth problem even though they were just done. My three year old show mare last year had more retained caps than I'd ever had on a horse, and her mouth was really sore (and she wasn't driving, this was just wearing halters and being handled). I had the vet remove caps three times last year, and now at four she is comfortable (but I will still keep a close eye on her teeth).

I agree with those that have said it must be a pain issue, so I personally would check into that very thoroughly.
When you say he will not drive to the right, do you mean he will not turn in a circle(say, at least 20 meters dia.), or that he will not bend to the right?

If its the former, maybe grounddriving him, with a person at his head, in a large right hand circle would help. The person can keep him from going off track or wheeling around to the left. Eventually, the person steps away, as the horse gets comfortable with walking to the right.

I tend to say either pain or driver error. Not an injury caused by early work however, unless he was driven hard. But teeth are still a possibility, esp. if he is losing caps. Had a bit seat done? Changed bits, harness, driver recently?

I would not tie his head around, imo, it does nothing to aid you in getting him to go to the right. Consistent work to that side will do far better.
I tend to say either pain or driver error.
Yup, that's what I figure too. My four-year old was all of a sudden doing the same thing...not turning to the right, just not bending at all. Poor lil guy was in the midst of loosing both top and bottom corners, on that side. It just had to be hurting. I just worked him slowly, and would very lightly "play" that side of his mouth prior to asking for a turn, giving him lots of warning...gently.

Latest posts