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An "I wonder why..." question

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  • An "I wonder why..." question

    Why do we always track left first in a flat class? I've ridden for years, so it's ingrained into me, but never known where that tradition came from. Any ideas? thanks for indulging my curiosity
    "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"

  • #2
    Because we do everything on horses to the left stemming back to riding with a sword and the general dominance of right handedness in the population?
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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    • #3
      I've noticed that when I pull into a parking lot, I tend to turn left. It's a lot easier from (a) handedness and (b) driving on the right side of the road.

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      • #4
        Actually most judges want it that way to remember where they are during a long day of showing. One told me she'd had a number of occasions where she looked up and they were trotting to the right. She'd check her sheet and yes, sure enough she'd judged the other way already!
        I guess kind of like driving and you suddenly realize you have gotten almost to your destination and have no idea exactly how...

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        • #5
          Starting to the left is in the rules (not sure if it is in all association rules, but it is in the ones I use to judge). Having it in the rules means the intial riders can't pick their favourite way, or judges can't be accused of picking a certain way to play to favourites.

          It makes sense that the left is the first direction, as most horses canter better to the left.
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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          • #6
            do we think that horses canter better to the left becuase that is the way we usually start them? or does anyone notice a tendency to be more left-oriented in their riding/training? isn't the general consensus to do the same thing both ways and keep your horse as "even" as possible? I know many horses have their preference, but to what degree do you all think that horses tend to be "best" to the left?
            Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

            Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

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            • #7
              Eh, I've always *heard* that most horses are left-handed, which is why tracks are run the way they are. Is this true? Dunno. I'm sure there is a research article on it, but I can't say personally.

              But when it comes to handedness (hoofedness?), how do you judge that? I say my horse is right handed, which is rare, because he is better balanced to the right, turns easier to the right, can canter on a smaller circle to the right and doesn't fight me on the lunge. Not so the left. The trainer said the opposite, and said the reason everything is difficult to the left is because he is left handed, and stronger that way, and more likely to fight/resist. Uh? Of course DH, being the wonderfuly neutral soul that he is, says he sees both sides...but I know he secretly sides with the trainer.
              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                Eh, I've always *heard* that most horses are left-handed, which is why tracks are run the way they are. Is this true? Dunno. I'm sure there is a research article on it, but I can't say personally.
                But in Europe (GB/Ireland, anyway) they run clockwise/backwards. So are European horses genetically different than American horses? And if so, where does that leave the influx of Euro-bred warmbloods?
                www.ayliprod.com
                Equine Photography in the Northeast

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                • #9
                  Both my "hunter" horses are much better to the right! But, both are by the same stallion so maybe he is "right handed" - LOL.

                  Coming from dressage, it never really dawned on me that the hack always started to the left until someone brought it up. It makes sense though to have a rule so that everything is consistent and everyone knows what to expect.

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                  • #10
                    I suspect horses become "better to the left" because of our "to the left" bias in English riding in general.
                    ~Veronica
                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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                    • #11
                      I think I heard Beezie Madden say that most horses canter better tracking left because their heart, like ours, is on the left side and their natural inclination is to protect it in flight.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ccoronios View Post
                        But in Europe (GB/Ireland, anyway) they run clockwise/backwards. So are European horses genetically different than American horses? And if so, where does that leave the influx of Euro-bred warmbloods?
                        Like I said, it's what I *heard*.
                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gilescito View Post
                          I think I heard Beezie Madden say that most horses canter better tracking left because their heart, like ours, is on the left side and their natural inclination is to protect it in flight.
                          This makes no sense.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by littlecreek View Post
                            Actually most judges want it that way to remember where they are during a long day of showing. One told me she'd had a number of occasions where she looked up and they were trotting to the right. She'd check her sheet and yes, sure enough she'd judged the other way already!
                            I guess kind of like driving and you suddenly realize you have gotten almost to your destination and have no idea exactly how...
                            Now that makes sense!!!
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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                            • #15
                              I too have heard that most horses are better to the left but of course I have an exception

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                              • #16
                                Most horses (like people) are right side dominant. They canter better to the left because it is their RIGHT leg that is the pushing leg. Right side dominant means "soft" on the left.

                                Maybe in the UK they start to the right with the theory being the horse will start off left lead, swap for the turn, and then swap back to its dominant leg therefore being less tiring as they are changing leads? Or maybe related to the side of the road they drive on car wise?
                                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Gilescito View Post
                                  I think I heard Beezie Madden say that most horses canter better tracking left because their heart, like ours, is on the left side and their natural inclination is to protect it in flight.
                                  That's what I heard too!
                                  Princess: evil first pony, Patch: RIP my baby girl, Lucky:I miss you, Molly:be good for your new kid, Charisma: my current project

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                                  • #18
                                    When you are lunging a horse you would start to the left because you lead them out on the left side and push them away from you.

                                    When horses in the US are racing, they warm up to the right and then race to the left.

                                    A friend of mine in the QH world says the trend now if to enter tracking left, then halt and reverse on the rail and work the class going right first.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Jumperrider55 View Post
                                      That's what I heard too!
                                      With all due respect to a lady I TRULY admire... I do not consider her an expert in that sort of animal behavior analysis and this explanation doesn't make sense.
                                      ~Veronica
                                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                                        Like I said, it's what I *heard*.
                                        Didn't mean any disrespect or other negative...sort of my quirky humor...

                                        Carol
                                        www.ayliprod.com
                                        Equine Photography in the Northeast

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