What exactly was she/he trying to get you to do? I guarantee you, it was a means to an end. It was probably about an asymmetry in your body. So giving this as advice to someone who probably doesnt have the same asymmetry.. Well, you get the idea..
It always helps, in the long run, to understand WHY you are told to do something odd, or to exaggerate something
A: There are more than one exercises to address each problem.
B: Why do you assume I don't understand why this exercise works?
C: Do you guarantee anything else in life?
D: Why not let the OP see if it works for her/him or not?
"Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht
Nope, no more guarantees But I teach enough, and use that trick enough, to know its to exaggerate something in order to show the rider something about their body. So what was the instructor trying to get you to correct? Do you naturally twist the other way?
If the OP uses it, and it works for her, but she doesnt know why, how will that help her in the long run? In other words, without knowledge to back it up, the poor OP could go around twisting her head around to the right for the rest of her life, thinking the magic was in her head LOL
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
--- The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
I do not advocate this for an advanced horse/rider pair, but for a pair that is struggling, that totally does the trick. I had a similar issue when my mare was 4 and starting canter work under saddle. I take lessons from an international judge who had me do this exercise. So don't worry, it won't mess up your Grand Prix aspirations.
Do you understand that you asked the OP if she was looking where she was going then gave her an "exercise" where she would NOT be looking where she was going? How does that help the OP? Looking at the center of the circle doesn't help your horse turn, which is the OP's problem.
I would think that looking at the center of the circle would cause the rider to twist and rotate the torso, throwing the horse right out through that outside rein....and....pop the shoulder. You can "look" with your eyes, but don't turn the upper body or....you will pop your shoulder and the horse's shoulder will then pop..and then off we go.... Sit up and keep that outside shoulder back. This problem is really one of the most notorious rite of passages of dressage...lol.
Most horses and riders are crooked to the right, which means their torsos are slightly rotated to the right. When a crooked, beginning rider is learning to ride the counterclockwise circle, if you tell them to look to the middle of the circle, it helps them get their weight correctly on their left seatbone (hopefully). The problem with telling a beginning rider something like this, is the purpose is not explained to the rider...and yes, they might go on forever thinking this was correct.
Now, if we take that same crooked rider, but go in a clockwise circle, the very last thing we would tell them is to look to the middle of the circle. This just makes the rider more crooked as her torso is already turned that direction by too much. In this instance, equitrainer's advice for the rider to look at the horse's outside ear is correct. Why? Because this turns the rider's torso slightly back to the outside, which is the adjustment for the torso needed for a rider that is hollow right.
Neither instruction is correct if the rider is not told just what the purpose of the exercise is. Another exercise that is akin to this one is the raising of an arm straight into the air. For that counterclockwise direction, raising the outside (right) arm would help place more weight on the rider's left seatbone. However, if the rider lifts the outside arm when moving clockwise, we are back to an incorrect weighting because the lifting of the outside (left) arm is putting more weight still in the right seatbone...definitely not something that is wanted here.
Many rider exercises are taught by rote...if you raise the outside arm going one direction, then you must raise the outside arm going the other direction. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Because the exercise has been divorced from the real purpose of the exercise, without taking into consideration just why you are doing something, only one direction will produce the correct results if the instruction is followed as if by rote.
When we are hollow right (I am), our left leg tends to stay too forward and our right leg too much back. This is because the left side of our pelvis tends to stay too much up and forward and the right side of our pelvis stays down and back. The way the legs hang should not be a deliberate position per se. They should hang freely from the pelvic sockets, and because they are hanging evenly, the leg just falls naturally into the correct position, assuming a vertical allignment with the ground.
I wish it happened that simply!!! Because of our crookedness, the muscles surrounding the pelvic socket stretch or contract to the degree the pelvis is out of allignment. Muscle memory is very difficult to overcome, either in ourselves or in our horses. The exercises we do are to attempt to stretch those muscles that are too short in the allignment and contract those muscles that are too long. This helps to bring us back into balance. The weight aids in the stirrups should be only as the results of a correctly and freely hanging leg that drops unhibited from the socket. The rotation of the upper body helps with this allignment for the motion being ridden.
We can feel when we and the horses are crooked. Our legs, while we might think they are hanging freely, are a tell-tale. The groin on one side will lie against the horse's side...maybe even giving a feeling of the horse's side pushing against it, while the other leg never seems to have that groin area against the saddle.
Most of us do not have custom saddles either. Having our feet in stirrups that hang too forward on the saddle's tree prevent our leg from taking the correct vertical allignment with the ground unless we point our toes toward the ground to help push the stirrups back under us so we don't lose them. Now, in this circumstance, not only are the stirrups not weighted properly on their rear edge, but our legs are not in the correct position of effectiveness to apply weight aids correctly to influence the horse's torso rotation. We cannot correctly straighten the horse this way, and with our weight taken forward and on the front of those forward-hanging stirrups, we put the horse on the forehand.
I know this is a long-winded explaination. However, to say that we put a leg on the girth or behind the girth implies that we deliberately do so in a way that feels correct to us, and viola! Horse gets correct weight aids. Nope! What I am saying is that it is not about the legs, but about a correct pelvis, just as the arms are not about the arms, but correct shoulder points coming from a properly and balanced torso. Legs and arms are only as good as the core.
I have nothing to add to these wonderful suggestions other than the title of your thread immediately made me think of Zoolander! LOL You're just like him!! Although he can't turn left! You're just not an ambi-turner! :-) Sorry I couldn't resist! Back to the good advice! :-D
I keep seeing this thread at the top of the list and all I can think of is Zoolander.
Angel is totally correct!! Humans tend to fold the right hip more than the left. In the saddle, the right seatbone tends to be carried behind the left. Driving makes this worse, IMO...
Horses, too, have the same assymmetry.
Some things I use to make each of my hips work equally for myself and students:
-exaggerate (on the ground, not on the horse) each hip being thrust fwd while walking. Doing this also powers me over the ground -- it's kinda fun.
-I have my students in the saddle work to bring their R hip fwd and to position each hip across from each other -- I'll tug the R leg fwd. This straightening starts from the waist. I have them bring the hip up under their shoulder, have the right thigh stretch long, etc., and the result? They feel a lot more stable in the saddle and when turning right.
-work on hip stretches at home; cross both legs
-do things using my left hand and positioning my hip/leg correctly at same time. It's pointless if the torso and hip aren't stacked as they should be when using the left hand.
Also, OP, maybe riding a bike in a parking lot, turning to the right, and practising getting yourself aligned?