Left and right - two horses in one skin
There are important differences between the left and right sides of the horse; in a sense, we have 2 horses in one skin – a left horse, and a right horse, and each has its own character and behaviour patterns.
Recent research indicates that the left is usually the “rapid reaction” side, and the side the horse prefers to have anything it is unsure about or anything to which it wishes to react quickly. It is also the side on which most horses learn more quickly.
Most horses will put a human on their left, or rather, look at the human with their left eye, given the choice. Many horses are nervous when we are on the right, and will try to place us back on the left. As we work with out horses, we need to try to even this out until the horse can accept us on both sides.
As the left is usually the horse’s preferred side, we generally recommend starting each exercise on the left, then moving on to the right, but if you find your horse seems more comfortable with you on the right (and there is a small percentage in which the left preference is reversed), it’s fine to start there. If the horse finds the right difficult, stay a little longer on the left, then try again. Don’t force the horse to accept you on the right, but persist gently until it does.