Left & Right Brained vs. Left & Right Sided - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 07-30-2010, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Left & Right Brained vs. Left & Right Sided

I recently had an interesting discussion with a friend on this subject, and I am interested in hearing what you all think.

The brain is supposedly divided into two halves: the left half, which is the thinking and reasoning side; and the right half, which is the instinct and survival side. The Parelli's use the terms "right brained" if the horse is acting fearful, and "left brained" if they are using thinking or reasoning skills.

Most horses seem to prefer people to be on their left side, whether it is leading, grooming, tacking up, clipping, bathing, etc. Some are spookier at objects on their right side, but are fine with objects to their left.

What is your explanation for this? Do horses react more from things on their right because it is the fearful right side of their brain, or because humans have made them that way by doing things mostly from the left?

I'm on the "humans make them that way" side, but I am interested in hearing everybody's opinion. Thanks!

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post #2 of 3 Old 07-30-2010, 10:47 PM
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What I've always gone by (And please correct me if I"m wrong, probably am... lol) Horses don't differentiate between sides, what is normal on one side, isn't normal on the other. Therefore you have to teach them from both sides, like always saddling up on the same side (but with work you can do it from both sides) and desensitizing and such. I just always went with the "Learn it on One side, then Learn it on the Other."
But the whole left side thing could be a "We've always done it that way" thing....

Also, from my bio classes and such, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa but with humans, is it the same with horses? haha

Interesting thought.... Lol You've got my mind pondering now. :P

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Last edited by RogueMare; 07-30-2010 at 10:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #3 of 3 Old 07-31-2010, 01:35 PM
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There is something to different sides of the brain "thinking" differently. Look up a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It's an art book, but it's written to help the non-artsy let go of the supposedly more analytic left side of the brain and reproduce what they see through the more creative right side. Very interesting book, with lots of comparison exercises to show how each "brain" sees and reproduces the world in drawing.

Supposedly, also in people, the stereotypes associated with "handedness" are attributable to the sides of the brain and that each side manages the opposite side of the body. So, southpaws are right-brain dominant, so more artistic, creative, and less analytic and organized, and vice-versa for the left-brain dominant right handed person, goes the theory.

As far as horses being more comfortable with things on the left vs. the right side of their body, I believe that that's purely a result of time spent on a given side.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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