Is there really a "wrong" side to approach/walk beside horses - The Horse Forum
View Poll Results: Wrong side
Yes 3 6.98%
No 33 76.74%
Maybe 3 6.98%
Other 4 9.30%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 1
• Horses: 0
Is there really a "wrong" side to approach/walk beside horses

I've heard this a few times starting to ride. Not to approach or walk beside the "wrong" side. Googling it the only mention of "wrong" side is regarding mounting.

They're prey animals. I don't see there being a natural "wrong" side to a horse. But I can see the horse lack's exposure/experience with people on that "wrong" side causing issues.
SueC and jgnmoose like this.
BlackHorseThunder is offline  
post #2 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,326
• Horses: 0
It's about what they're used to. If a horse is used to having everything done from both sides, then they're equally "safe." But if not, then best to stick to the left side, which most are used to. Horses' brains don't translate information from one side to the other very well, in the sense that something they're used to on one side can be totally "new" and scary on the other side.
SteadyOn is offline  
post #3 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 09:01 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 25,443
• Horses: 7
The "right" side and the "wrong" side is a UNIVERSAL training method. Meaning that all horses should be trained to mount on the left. That way anyone can approach a strange (trained) horse and know that you mount and saddle from that side. Now a good trainer will desensitize a horse from both sides. A good trainer will have people mounting and dismounting from every side.

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
farmpony84 is offline  
post #4 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 09:24 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 852
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by BlackHorseThunder View Post

I don't see there being a natural "wrong" side to a horse. But I can see the horse lack's exposure/experience with people on that "wrong" side causing issues.
You're absolutely right , they don't have a 'wrong' side. As previously said, when they have been trained by humans, then a 'wrong', translate that to 'accustomed to' side develops. Horses are naturally very, very perceptive to their environment and changes. So, depending on the horse, they can become wary of the human leading or mounting from the right side instead of the left. Some horses wouldn't be bothered even if it isn't what they have been trained to, but some will be quite bothered and upset. Personally, I think its a safety measure to train your horse to be handled, led, and mounted from both sides. You never know when a particular set of circumstances might make it necessary to lead or mount from the right. I've seen a video of a horse just about running over a person leading from the right.

Not exactly the same (right Vs left), but the other day, I did something that was a slight change that briefly upset the horse. I'm riding a friend's horse regularly, Friday was the third or fourth time that I've ridden her. I had only put on a pad and bareback pad instead of a saddle. I was using a 3 step mounting block, so it was tall enough to almost just throw a leg over with a slight hop , which I did. She skittered sideways away from the block and I had to scramble the rest of the way into position as thoughts of falling off flashed in my brain. I made it fine, and she settled right down after I was in a balanced position and we had a nice ride. But, later, it dawned on me (duh, Fay) that without the precursor of feeling weight in a stirrup prior to a leg thrown over, probably felt weird to her,,, in other words, a change that she found disturbing. Probably it was similar to say, a cougar pouncing on her in her prey brain. I don't know......but in hindsight, I should have 1) asked her owner if she's ever been mounted or ridden bareback (probably not), and 2) if not, given her some prep first --as in lean across first with my body,,let my arms swing and pat the opposite side, when she was confident with that, then get my seated position from laying across her first instead of 'pouncing' by essentially jumping on. I'm lucky it turned out ok.

Good question!

Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
mslady254 is offline  
post #5 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 10:15 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,845
• Horses: 0
It is fine to say that horses should be trained from both sides equally, but reality is that most are trained to accept certain things from only the left side (saddling, mounting). The same can be said for roping, as most are trained only from the right side to drag and the like.

You may start a horse in a different manner if that is your goal, but in riding other horses it is only smart to stick to the traditional methods.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
Knave is online now  
post #6 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 6,227
• Horses: 3
Side point: if YOU have only mounted from one side, or saddled from one side, you may find it very awkward at first, like writing with your 'wrong' hand. Probably the horse feels the same way.

Short horse lover
Avna is online now  
post #7 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Kansas
Posts: 191
• Horses: 0
My filly (long 2 yo) will mount, saddle, halter and bridle equally well from both sides and stand still till asked to move. From the start I have always done from both sides . You never know you might need to dismount or mount from either side when out riding and you always want to mount/dismount from the uphill side for safety both yours and the horses. A horse that won't do both is an incomplete horse.
ksbowman is online now  
post #8 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,909
• Horses: 0
Horses should be trained to be saddled,lead and mounted,dismounted from both sides.

If you trail ride sooner or later you're going to have to ,dismount from the right side. And mount from the right. Both my horses lead can be mounted or dismounted from both sides. Can also saddle from both sides.

I on a regular basis saddle from both sides ,and mount and dismount from both sides. Same for leading do it from both sides on a regular basis.

It's our job to make sure our horses are well educated,both on the ground and under saddle.

Out riding my horse.
rambo99 is online now  
post #9 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,114
• Horses: 2
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Side point: if YOU have only mounted from one side, or saddled from one side, you may find it very awkward at first, like writing with your 'wrong' hand. Probably the horse feels the same way.
THIS! I have tried getting on from the right side and it's like using a whole different set of muscles. My right leg cannot reach as high as my left because I haven't properly trained myself to do it.

To answer the question, I don't think there's truly a "wrong" side but like others have said, you do need to make sure the horse is trained to be led from either side.
NavigatorsMom is online now  
post #10 of 36 Old 12-09-2019, 12:37 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 16,575
• Horses: 1
No 'wrong' side, although everyone has a's definitely important that the horse gets used to someone being on the other side, or mounting on that side.

Every few rides I try to mount on the other side, although yes, I have always gotten on using the 'left' side. I also lead my mare with me standing on the left. But she's fine with both sides, in general.

Ride more, worry less.
PoptartShop is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome