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.