Glenn

Are horses left or right footed?

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Are horses left or right footed, much like people being left or right handed? Or do they even care?

 

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a Most higher animals have a preference for the right or left hand or forefoot. Your question is reasonable one. It can be quickly be found on the net. I would do that but I have to get back to work or my spouse will kill me.

Regards,    SLAG.

 

Edited by SLAG
tidyness

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Horses can be "one sided", comes from people only handling them on the "on" side usually, very rarely is a horse one sided on the "off" side. Comes from bad horsemanship.

Edited by turbo7
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My experiance is that horses are predominantly left side dominant. Yes that is the side we refer to as the "near side" but not always. One finds when training horses that about one in 20 just don't want you coming up on the left side, takes a bit more work to exept you approaching,, haltering, saddling and mounting on the left. Now as I train driving and trail horses, mounting and dismounting from either side is a must, as is tacking and untacking. 

One will also find a horse has a preference for one "lead" or the other, this which foot the step out on first, and slightly extends farthest.

firther you will notice one or the other of the front feet will be forward and one back as they graze, this is also preferential and leads to one foot being ever so slightly clubby. This is more pronounced in long legged short neck horses. 

So yes horse have a dominant side, and no it isn't poor horsemanship that causes it, it's nature. Poor horsemanship is not recognizing it and working with the horse to minimize the isues it causes us humans, with out causing undue problems for the horse. 

 Turbo Just isn't as long winded as I am, he went for the short answer. 

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I was explaining to Glenn, A friend owns an Arabian that is right sided. its not a mistake, its an adaptation due to her being blind in the left eye. She is more pet than anything, living out her life on the farm with other horses.

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ditto..   All horse are one sided.. As are people..   On key thing a lot of people forget is..    We influence anything we touch..   Lots of riding horses have problems with their backs or pelvises because the owner does..  It's funny to think we create more problems than solve.. 

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My wife and I are both left handed.  I never thought about horses being left or right dominant but I have always mounted or saddled from either side.  If we are on a hill side I mount from the side that is easier and I have never (after years of riding) had a horse object to the side that I was mounting from.  We just got home from going up in Ky to pick up another horse.  11 year old Tennessee Walker.

You all have fun ya hear

Let me know when I can help you.

Wayne

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Charles said exactly what I was thinking which is leads. It's weird to say but some horse have a harder time going in a circle in one direction than the other and also have  an easier time changing from one direction than the other. He also mentioned that it's poor horsemanship to not recognize this, I agree. When training horses, which I don't claim to be a horse trainer, you teach them to do things both directions, it's basically teaching them to ambidextrous. If you teach them to move the front end to the left off a spur from the right they don't connect it that they should do the opposite if you give them a rub on the left side. It's got to be taught. Sometimes you've got to spend more time working on one direction than the other. That said, I've got a horse currently that I have hell getting to turn right like I'd like him to, it's frustrating. 

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Horses are not the sharpest tool in the shed. All the race tracks here go in in the one direction, so horses always turn right. They reckon the hardest thing to do when you get an old race horse, is convince it to turn left!

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10 hours ago, Jackdawg said:

All the race tracks here go in in the one direction, so horses always turn right. They reckon the hardest thing to do when you get an old race horse, is convince it to turn left!

Is that an Australian thing? As I recall, racetracks in the States go counter-clockwise.

Coriolis effect south of the Equator, I suppose....

 

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I believe that a horse with a side preference is usually due to unequal training stemming from ignorance. I am no master horseman, but from what i have seen, if a horse is only ever worked, saddled, or mounted from side x, it will object to any of the same routines on side z. If a foal only has his left ear handled he will grow to submit to it, but he may fight to protect the right one. 

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So, How come we humans aren't raised to be ambidextrous if we expect a horse should be? Just thinking. Had a quarter horse once. Definitely left lead. You wanted him to cut either direction you best be hangin on! He was just as good both ways.

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is there therefore any advantage to teaming up left and right handed hooved horse in a team for carrage driving and If yes, is there then a preference as to which side the horses are harnessed on?

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13 minutes ago, Smoggy said:

is there therefore any advantage to teaming up left and right handed hooved horse in a team for carrage driving and If yes, is there then a preference as to which side the horses are harnessed on?

That's a pretty good question but like most other things, that's out of my realm of knowledge. 

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JackDawg, there is the odd track in Australia that does go round to the left.

Smoggy. Maybe, say if one was easily spooked by traffic.

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31 minutes ago, turbo7 said:

JackDawg, there is the odd track in Australia that does go round to the left.

Smoggy. Maybe, say if one was easily spooked by traffic.

As my horse racing addicted grandfather said to me - Queensland and New South Wales, the horses go in the right direction, Victoria and South Australia go in the wrong direction :)

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You are not wrong, and that applies to much more than horses :)

 

You are not wrong, and that applies to much more than horses :)

 

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I wasn't going to get in on this conversation but had to add my  2 cents worth.  Race Tracks in the states RACE Counter Clock Wise, England and many of her early Colonies Clock Wise from what I've seen.  US Standard Bred Trotters & Pacers are "Warmed up" before racing a couple times and that is done Clock wise so when you swing the horse counter it knows its race time. 

We were trained to  always approach a horse from it's left side "Near" always speak to  the horse before touching always harness, saddle, doctor it from that side.  Now when harnessing you are on both sides to get everything correct esp. when "Putting To" the vehicle. 

With a team/pair we if they came to  us as a pair we kept them the way  they came as we had them to sell and fooling around with a good going pair wasn't a smart idea.  But if they weren't going well the first thing we did was swap sides worked sometimes and others not.  Often one horse just didn't get along with the other one esp. if it was lazy.  The old saying "two willing horses, one willing to pull the load and the other willing to let him." Matching up  another horse worked sometimes others it didn't.  Horses esp. ones with a little age are a accumulation of their past, how they have been used, (not all trainers can train) who trained them, their whole baggage.  Many horses ruined by humans passed through our sales barn.  We saved some, some we couldn't. 

Are they right or left hoofed?  Never seen one throw a baseball or write a letter.  Some have trouble with one lead or the other some seem smoother going one way of a ring not noticed outside the ring.  Dressage Horses are certainly ambidextrous from training.  Putting a pair together using L & R hoofed horses never a consideration or concern we had trouble putting Mares & Gelding together for fancy driving but work  teams worked OK usually. 

This is my experience from 55+ yrs and a few hundred horses, I asked my wife about the L & R as her family had many horses Hackneys to Quarter Horses over 3 generations and she laughed at the question! 

 

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I've seen a couple of occasions where the owner has his gyp rope or lunge line in use and he or she has the horse go more in one circular direction than the other. In both cases, the person was facing the horse's near side and the horse was going counter-clockwise moreso than going clockwise. It was kind of an unconscious thing where the person didn't realize they were favoring and spending more time on one side than the other.

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I've worked with Fjords for a number of years and learned that they tend to favor their right (at least my few have). One stud in particular though favors his left since he has poor vision in his right eye. Once you work them evenly though then they don't really care. 

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