Is there really a "wrong" side to approach/walk beside horses - Page 4 - 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

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post #31 of 36 Old 12-12-2019, 09:07 PM
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I did once hear - & I don't know if it's true but ive never heard a more plausible reason - that the tradition of mounting from the left came about in the days of riders carrying a sword on their left hip, making mounting from the right difficult. Wonder if left handed warriors mounted on the right...
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post #32 of 36 Old 12-12-2019, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
I did once hear - & I don't know if it's true but ive never heard a more plausible reason - that the tradition of mounting from the left came about in the days of riders carrying a sword on their left hip, making mounting from the right difficult. Wonder if left handed warriors mounted on the right...

Considering that left-handedness was the mark of the devil and parents and teachers went to great lengths to convince the child, by any means necessary, that they were right-handed, I doubt it. Noble children, especially, would have been trained to be right-handed whether they were or not.



My dad, as a Catholic schoolboy in the 1950's, had his left hand tied to his belt when he arrived at school each morning until he learned to use his right hand instead. He was told he was a sin to be left-handed. He can write right or left-handed, and was wicked on the baseball field as he'd switch hit depending on how the pitcher threw. He does remember those years as being traumatic-- being forced to use his left hand for everything caused him to start stuttering and get anxiety attacks until he adjusted.
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post #33 of 36 Old 12-12-2019, 11:20 PM
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Yes and no.

Horses are not naturally only able to be handled on one side. However, horses do not generalise, and a large number are not used to being handled on the right due to tradition so deeply dictating "handle the horse on the left". It comes from cavalry times when riders carried a sword on the left hip, as swinging the left leg over the horse also meant swinging the sword over and this could be unsafe. So, they would swing the right leg over, thus mounting from the left side.

The question above about left-handed swordsmen is interesting. As a lefty, I can tell you that it's only fairly recently that being left-handed was accepted as an okay thing. In the middle ages, it was seen as a mark of the devil. Left-handed people had their left-handedness beaten out of them more often than not.

But I digress.

Is there truly a "wrong" side? No. Is it unsafe to approach a horse you don't know from the right? Sometimes.
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post #34 of 36 Old 12-13-2019, 01:12 AM
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I can get into or out of the saddle on my mare from either side. I train them that way, because there can be times when the right side is the better side and I'm lazy enough to not want to turn my horse around to dismount just because, for example, she's standing with a stream on her left and I don't like dismounting into water.. The horses will only care if we make them care. If we make both sides normal then it will be normal.

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post #35 of 36 Old 12-13-2019, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
I did once hear - & I don't know if it's true but ive never heard a more plausible reason - that the tradition of mounting from the left came about in the days of riders carrying a sword on their left hip, making mounting from the right difficult. Wonder if left handed warriors mounted on the right...
The poor sword gets blamed for everything (supposedly the reason men's shirts button left over right, etc..). LOL

Now I will concede that the rifle (carried properly, cavalry or mounted infantry style) will have a small impact on mounting since you don't want it in the way of the pommel on the side you mount from, but depending on whether you're right or left handed usually decides which side the rifle is carried on. You want the rifle carried on the side you shoot with so you don't have to bring it across the withers to shoulder it for shooting. I shoot right handed so I carry the rifle on the right, so in those cases I always mount on the left.

Of course the cowboy movie way of carrying the rifle is the most impractical location imaginable. Sticking out towards the rear of the horse is a terrible location if you need to retrieve it while mounted. Also makes it more possible for the rifle to be accidentally pulled out while bushwhacking (and might not even notice). A lot reasons why mounted troops kept their long arms in front of them and it would impact what side they mounted from.
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post #36 of 36 Old 12-13-2019, 06:29 AM
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I mostly mount from the left side because that is what I'm used to and feel more comfortable with it. I do frequently mount from the off side for various reasons like when I carry my sword, or when the higher ground is to the right of the horse and I want to re mount on the trail. None of my horses have issue with this.

Growing up a bit of a wild child, my left handedness and creativity were never beat out of me so I will still wear my sword on the right lol. Hmm, I guess if this were 400 years ago, I would have been placed on a pyre and burnt alive.
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