Why is everything with horses done from the left?


Ever wonder why everything with horses is done from the left? Starting every task from the left-hand side of our horses has been drilled into our routine ever since we began to ride or handle horses.

Leading from the left.

Tacking up from the left.

Grooming from the left.


Although we carry out this routine, have you ever stopped to wonder why everything with horses is done from the left?


Horses have monocular vision, as their eyes are placed on the side of their heads. Monocular vision means the horse can see either side, but not directly in front of them. Therefore, approaching and standing to one-side of the horse is beneficial to allow them to have an adequate view of you and what you are doing.

As they can see you properly, they can assess whether you are a threat or not, and what to do next. So, why do we choose the left field of view?

The left-hand side is the natural preferred field of view for the horse. Studies in feral horses have shown, that from a foal into adulthood, there is a preference for left-eye vision. Therefore, starting all tasks from the left aids the horse in achieving the left eye vision.

The left-hand side is the natural preferred field of view for the horse


It is also suggested the left eye’s visual field is important to the horse’s social responses.


Information collected by the left eye will be sent to the right side of the brain. The right side of the brain processes recognition of familiar faces and expressions. Therefore, seeing oncoming items, people, or horses, through the left eye helps the horse decide whether they are a threat or not.

Horses have been shown to relate facial expression to positive and negative outcomes, therefore approaching with a positive facial expression may be helpful when carrying out new or strange tasks, or even just catching your horse!

Approaching and carrying out tasks from the left-hand side may also be of benefit to the horse and owner bond.

Research has shown that bonding behaviour between mares and foals most commonly occurs on the left-hand side. Therefore, carrying out grooming and handling to the left could improve the trust and partnership between you and your horse.


It must also be considered that the industry is set in its ways. Everything is done from the left and has been for numerous years.

The likelihood of your horse being handled from the opposing side is slim. This means your horse will probably be more comfortable with activities undertaken from the left-hand side.

Stress increases learning time, so handling from the right side may hinder performance when training from the ground.

However, this does not mean you should neglect the right-hand side completely. Although it may be more challenging to carry out tasks from this side at first, slowly introducing routine from the right will be beneficial.

Improving trust and cooperation from the right could prove important in emergency situations and training. Nonetheless, it may be easier to start new tasks from the left at first.


Never miss a news piece or an article. Subscribe and we'll send it all straight to your inbox each week.

We promise we’ll never spam! Take a look at our Privacy Policy for more info.

Just published

Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul. Photo credit: Event Rider Masters

Gatcombe Park’s Festival of British Eventing Cancelled Due to Economic Constraints

In a disappointing turn of events for equestrian enthusiasts, the iconic Gatcombe Park's Festival of British Eventing has been canceled ...
Mother's Day Gifts for Mums that like horses

8 Mother’s Day Gifts for Mums that Love Horses

Discover Great Mother's Day Gift Ideas for Mums that Love Horses with Everything Horse Magazine Here you'll find 8d Mother's ...
Abdulrahman Alrajhi & Ventago Longines Global Champions Tour 2024 Doha, day 1

Abdulrahman Alrajhi Rides Ventago to Victory on Opening Day of LGCT Doha

The Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha commenced in spectacular fashion at the renowned Longines Arena at Al Shaqab. Crowds ...
cannes stars win season opener in Doha. Podium shot

Cannes Stars Triumph in Thrilling Opening Stage of 2024 GCL Season

The equestrian world was set ablaze as the 2024 Global Champions League (GCL) season kicked off in Doha, Qatar, with ...
NIHI’S original horse whisperer, Carol Sharpe with a horse and client

Welcome to ‘Equine Wild Wellness’ at NIHI Sumba

Named as one of the best hotels in the world, you will find NIHI Sumba nestled within a hideaway in ...
Ride Egypt a horse and rider stood on sand

Discover the Majesty of Ancient Egypt with Ride Egypt’s “Palms, Pyramids & Pharaohs” Adventure

For travellers seeking a holiday filled with temples and tombs, pharaohs, and phenomenal experiences, Ride Egypt (described by a previous ...

Everything Horse Classifieds

Everything Horse Classifieds banner