Better to the right or to the left? - The Horse Forum
View Poll Results: Is your horse better to the right or to the left?
To the right 9 64.29%
To the left 3 21.43%
Equally good both ways 2 14.29%
N/A / I don't know 0 0%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Better to the right or to the left?

The horse books I've been reading lately say that most horses go better to the left than to the right. However, two of my three are better to the right than the left. So I thought I'd ask what other people's experience is.

Is your horse better to the right or to the left?

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Australia
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My horse has a tendency to hang on the left rein a little bit (definitely my horse, not me - others I ride don't have the same issue) and because she wants more pressure in the left rein, she usually travels more correctly/straighter to the right, because she's in the outside rein and not hanging on the inside rein.
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
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What I think should also be taken into consideration is the strength of the rider and their dominant hand/side etc (and more below). My friend has terrible sitting posture. Typically sits slanted with one arm resting on the side of the chair. This has made her SO wonky when riding that she has to have one stirrup up higher. With no stirrups she's STILL wonk and one side always aches more. Walking behind her as well her hip is noticeably dipped one side. As a result she does better to the left. An exercise that highlighted the HUGE discrepancy in my own riding was to do leg yields in trot to the left and right. Going left I was significantly more stable - comfortable even. Going right I nearly lost my balance and couldn't for the life of me keep up that trot. It was worsened by the fact that horse (not Katie) also was a huge mover. I don't do anything fancy this was just for fun but what a shock to realise I'm not nearly as well rounded as I thought :P

Katie when being diagnosed with TMJ (jaw disorder) at that time also had a small mouth ulcer :<. During that period and of investigation she was MUCH better on the right rein but that was due to pain avoidance (we didn't know at the time!!! :<). Once that healed within about two weeks she improved on both sides. But recently she has been slightly off on her right hind and as a result has preferred her left. I feel really bad for horses that end up with owners like me - the inexperienced eye so to speak. Because the way they move can tell us so much but it's a skill aint it? I find solace in that, like you, I'm trying and reaching out to those around me in person and online to learn and assist!

Saddle fit for both horse and rider... wonky rider... uncomfortable bit... aches and pain... plain old fitness related... so many reasons...

All of it is really interesting to learn though. Your brain must be absolutely frying! :P
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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My horse is weaker tracking to the right, mostly because well, she is an OTTB. They always track to the left on the track, so it makes sense. She also has an old SI tear, so I am working on building the muscle, it has gotten a LOT stronger. Still needs work, but I work on that side as much as I can. :) The more, the better. One day I work going to the right, the next to the left, etc. It has helped a lot. I think we as humans also have a dominant side. I find when I'm in the car, I lean to the right more. Definitely lots to work on!
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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As a general "stereotype" most horses are better to the left.

My experience with horses has mostly been true to that. Coming from a barrel racing background, it is very important to determine your horse's better side because most people prefer to have two turns to the horse's better side, rather than two turns to their "hard" side. Of course, you always want to make your horse as equal as you can on both sides, but just like a human will still prefer to write right-handed or left-handed, horses will also always have a side that is easier (preferred) for them.

Shotgun turns pretty equally both ways, but he's actually a righty when we look at the fine details.
Red is absolutely a lefty. (very swayed to that left; we have to work hard to the right)

Dexter is a lefty.

Beau was a righty, although he wasn't predominately so.

Romeo, didn't have him very long, but he was a lefty.

Jammer (also didn't have her too long), she was a lefty.

Misty was a lefty.
Scooter was a lefty.

Crinkle (my mothers horse ) was a lefty.
Reckless (her current horse) is a lefty.

So yeah, mostly leftys holds true for me!
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 11:22 AM
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My lease horse goes better to the right, but then, she's a bit arthritic in the hind right, so it makes sense. She doesn't feel as comfortable weighting and pushing off with that leg when we go left. (Although she's at a "use it or lose it" age, and goes a lot better when she's fit, so we power through with some maintenance.)
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Hard to answer-
having a stiff side and a supple side makes for different strengths. For my pony- the connection is usually quite good on both; but there's definitely detractors from both sides. They're equally good- but in different ways, and equally bad- also in different ways.

Which is I guess why we do a million changes of direction and gait- kinda like a "quality blender" and become a nice well rounded pony.
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 01:25 PM
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I think generally my mare is better going left. She generally feels more supple and when going right she has more of a tendency to lean on the rein more.

I think a lot of that is that I handle her more on her left side, but I try to walk on both sides to stretch her out evenly.

I find that at the beginning of a lesson she might be tighter on the right, but then after working her, it will almost seem to switch halfway through.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 01:57 PM
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Majority of horses are better going left. Part of this, I am sure is because most people are right handed and, it is easier to hold a lunge line in your left and whip in the right.

The main factor though is that there are a lot more interaction from the horse's left side.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-25-2020, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
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I think it's really interested that as of 2:00 CST, three times as many people said "to the right" as "to the left," considering that the majority of horses are supposed to be better to the left.

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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