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Leading Question

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  • Leading Question

    Ok, the first part is my question? then I will vent a little.

    Why is it that you lead only with the horse standing to the right side?



    ....and now the vent. I am so perplexed by this "one side only rule". I had always handled horses either way, some times for saftey reasons. Then I had this Fancy warmblood and her previous owners were absolutely appauled by my lack of -- proper etiquet. That mare had been led the "correct way" all her life, lead her to the left and she would get all nervous and try to move into my space to get back to "the correct side". Shouldn't you be able to handle a horse any which way.

  • #2
    Any horse should absolutely be handle-able from either side. In fact, I've been making a point of handling my OTTB more from the right lately because he's so left-side-focused and much stiffer in all things right.

    I briefly worked with a spotted draft stud that was so accustomed to being handled from the left that you COULDN'T do anything from his right-- if you tried to lead or longe from the right, he would literally run you over to get back on what he thought was the "correct" side. It wasn't a mean thing-- he just didn't get being handled from the right, and let me tell you, it SUCKED.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

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    • #3
      I think when interacting with a horse in a setting where there are other horses and people around, it's polite to follow the 'rules' just because that's where people will be expecting to see you and it won't introduce confusion and perhaps cause problems.

      That said, I do think that any horse (barring medical issues) should be able to be led, mounted, etc. from both sides just from a safety perspective - if you're in a trailer accident or a barn fire or something, and the only way you can get to the horse is from the 'wrong' side, do you really want the horse spazzing out because you're not where you're supposed to be? (Likewise, mounting from the wrong side - what if you're on a trail and fall and the only place to safely mount again is on the wrong side?)

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      • #4
        I think every horse should be able to be handled from either side too. As far as I know the only reason that all of that stuff gets done from the left side is because knights/cavalry wore their swords on their left side so they were avoiding having the sword in the way.
        Who needs wings when you've got a jumper?
        http://darkstr.webs.com

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        • #5
          From cavalry traditions

          I had heard horses were traditionally handled on the person's right because the persons sword would be on their left. Now its just plain traditional. That having been said, I do everything on the ground from both sides.

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          • #6
            Add me to the "handle them from both sides" list.
            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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            • #7
              I handle my horse from both sides as well. He leads very well from either side and I can mount him from the right as well as the left (although it's really weird mounting from the right! just for me, not him!). I've made it a point to do so, just in case I need those skills one day.
              I love my Econo-Nag!

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              • #8
                The very first thing I teach is that you do everything from the left. Lead, mount, and whatever else. Should your horse tolerate things from both sides? Sure. But it's basic horsemanship to know how things are done.

                Think of a halter with only one buckle. If you led from the right, you'd have to cross over in front of the horse to take it off. Same thing as a bridle. Girths with elastic on only one side, the elastic goes on the left so you can tighten right before you get on. Each time you cross in front of your horse, you are wasting time, and of course you run the risk of getting run over if horsey is obnoxious or gets spooked. And more people are right handed, (I'm not) so you would want your strong hand next to the horse for better control. It's practical, it's not just "the right way because someone thousands of years ago said so."

                I'll lead my horses from both sides. But it's me being lazy and I know I'm not doing it correctly. I don't do things like that when there is someone watching what I do. (Potential employer, client, buyer, seller, whatever.)

                To understand where those previous owner people were coming from, when I see someone leading from the right, for no apparent reason, I wonder what else they do wrong. Do they put the bridle on backwards? Boots on the wrong legs? Are they going to endanger themselves or the horse by doing stuff wrong or different from what the horse is used to? Sometimes that's an overdramatic assumption, but sometimes it's not.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
                  Add me to the "handle them from both sides" list.
                  ditto, mount, lead, tie, etc...
                  A Merrick N Dream Farm
                  Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique

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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE]
                    Originally posted by ApolloGirl View Post
                    Ok, the first part is my question? then I will vent a little.

                    Why is it that you lead only with the horse standing to the right side?
                    dates back to cavalry times made for ease and speed of work w/in a platoon as far as mounting and care

                    as well as most cav. men were right handed and the swords were hung off the left leg and drawn across the body...so you cannot mount with a sword being slung over a horse only alongside it


                    ....and now the vent. I am so perplexed by this "one side only rule". I had always handled horses either way, some times for safety reasons. Then I had this Fancy warmblood and her previous owners were absolutely appalled by my lack of -- proper etiquette. That mare had been led the "correct way" all her life, lead her to the left and she would get all nervous and try to move into my space to get back to "the correct side". Shouldn't you be able to handle a horse any which way.


                    people who get all caught up in the"one true way" do so as they are lacking something somewhere else in their lives

                    yes she should handle and mount from both sides easily

                    best
                    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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                    • #11
                      Why do we lead from the left? Tradition born of necessity.

                      Add me to the list of both-siders though. My horse, and any other I spend considerable ground time with, automatically leads from the left. However, I do teach them that if I switch sides and use and "opening rein" of sorts with my left hand, then they need to lead from the right.
                      "Beware the hobby that eats."
                      Benjamin Franklin

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                      • #12
                        Hahahaha

                        Here is a shocker (for some). Mine not only lead both sides but on the command "walk on up" walk AHEAD of me!! "Drop back" gets them walking behind me.
                        Sometimes I lead two at a time and the walk on up and the drop back have come in very handy going through narrow places. Absolutely would not do if I didn't have 100 percent faith that I won't get kicked though.

                        Have to admit I don't do the right side mount but that's because I feel so terribly awkward doing it. Don't imagine my horses would mind though.

                        Will admit, too, that my mare is anal about one thing being done "properly". You can ONLY worm her from the right side of her mouth. Not sure how that started but I just go with it.
                        You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Seven-up View Post
                          The very first thing I teach is that you do everything from the left. Lead, mount, and whatever else. Should your horse tolerate things from both sides? Sure. But it's basic horsemanship to know how things are done.

                          Think of a halter with only one buckle. If you led from the right, you'd have to cross over in front of the horse to take it off. Same thing as a bridle. Girths with elastic on only one side, the elastic goes on the left so you can tighten right before you get on. Each time you cross in front of your horse, you are wasting time, and of course you run the risk of getting run over if horsey is obnoxious or gets spooked. And more people are right handed, (I'm not) so you would want your strong hand next to the horse for better control. It's practical, it's not just "the right way because someone thousands of years ago said so."

                          I'll lead my horses from both sides. But it's me being lazy and I know I'm not doing it correctly. I don't do things like that when there is someone watching what I do. (Potential employer, client, buyer, seller, whatever.)

                          To understand where those previous owner people were coming from, when I see someone leading from the right, for no apparent reason, I wonder what else they do wrong. Do they put the bridle on backwards? Boots on the wrong legs? Are they going to endanger themselves or the horse by doing stuff wrong or different from what the horse is used to? Sometimes that's an overdramatic assumption, but sometimes it's not.
                          Agreed. It's one thing to know the "rules" and traditions and make a conscious choice to amend them to your situation for a reason. It's a whole 'nother thing to be oblivious to the "rules" and traditions and do things willy nilly or think you know better than your predicessors and pooh-pooh the "rules" and traditions.

                          Also what kookicat said -- practice your chosen amendments to the "rules" and traditions in private and when in public, get with the expected program.

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                          • #14
                            Well just to throw another scenario in here, I HAVE to lead my one mare on the right/"incorrect" side because she is blind in her left eye and she operates off visual cues (i.e. I start walking and she walks, I stop and she stops). She's a good soul so the transition to the right side (she had two good eyes for the first several years that I had her) didn't really faze her at all, and to me it's just second nature to do that with her now. I had a barn manager try to convince me I had to lead her on the left anyway because she could spook and run me over without knowing I'm there; however, it turns out she spooks AWAY from what she can see which actually puts me right in the path of danger that way! She is super careful to know where I am and avoid me at all costs anyway, so I'm safer where she can see me.

                            My other mare will lead from the right, but only after she's checked to be SURE you're not making a mistake She's always had a little bit of doubt in the intelligence of humans, though.
                            Zenyatta and Rachel ROCK!

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