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Horses Have to Be Trained From Both Sides of His Head

Updated on August 15, 2016

How it looks to them

Did you ever wonder why it is only correct to get onto a horse from the left side? Have you ever tried to get up on his back from the right side?

Those really trusty horses that know you and you can do anything with them, that let the kids pull their tail and crawl up their legs, will probably allow you to also get up on him on the right side. But normally and especially with a horse that you do not know, this is not something you want to try.

Here is the reason behind this rule. A horses brain is divided in half. Anyone that breaks a horse, knows that you must train them twice, once on the left side and then on the right. Horses eyes are set on each side of his head. When you mount him on the left, he lets you because that is what he was trained to do. He has never seen a person from his right side mount him, therefore might be a little uncooperative, or even frightened if you were to try it.

If you are handling a young horse, or are trying to work with a horse that has never been ridden, the first thing you want to do is to put a halter on, and walk him, again leading him from one side and then the other. Next you want to tie him up to a post, and with an empty burlap bag, rub the horse all over his body, starting with the head and neck and work your way down, remembering to do this from both sides of the horse. Spend extra time around the saddle area and where the cinch goes, for it is not a natural thing for them to just take to having anything touch them in certain areas of their body.

You will want to work with the horse every day doing any kind of handling that you can think of that will be similiar to grooming and saddling. Eventually, and very gently try lifting a saddle up on his back, remove and again put the saddle up on his back. Go through all the motions of saddling up, without mounting the horse. When he gets used to having an empty saddle on his back, begin walking him with the saddle. This will be strange for him for the stirrups rubbing and bumping, and the cinch, it takes a while for him to get used to feeling all these new strange things.

So it is with everything that you do with your horse. If you exercise him by lunging him, You must train him to go in a left circle around you, the again to turn around and go the other direction. (Lunging is when you make your horse walk, trot or gallop around you with only a halter and a rope, with you in the center.)

Even grooming must be introduced to you animal on each side. All these things are especially important to remember if you are handling a new addition, or if your mare has a foal. The young horse has to learn many things, and it can be not only frustrating, but dangerous if you forget this important step. Young colts are known to play with you, by biting and kicking, just as they would play with another horse, and if you deal with this problem only from one side and not the other, you could get hurt.

Other horse habits or even problems, such as one horse I had that always wanted to spook whenever we came up to a corner of a building. I spent many many hours making her approach these kinds of places and situations. I always had to remember to turn her around, and approach the corner from the other direction, so that she would truly know and understand that there was nothing there to spook at, from either way, or side.

Knowing is half the battle, or in this case a quarter of the battle, for you must do everything twice when teaching your horse anything. Good luck and have patience.


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