Are You Supposed To Mount From The Left or The Right Side of a Horse?

We get a lot of questions about horses and the appropriate and proper way to do things. We are happy to answer questions and normally do it from the cowboy perspective. Cowboy custom is to mount your horse from the left side. Growing up, we were told the Indian custom was to mount from the right side. We were taught to mount from the left when using a western saddle and from the right when riding bareback. Of course, we paid nearly no attention to these verbal instructions and did it just like we saw our “teachers” do it. The old “do as I say and not as I do” approach worked as it typically does with kids. So we climbed on whatever side happened to be handy, but more often than not from the left.

By the time we were grown, we often used the left side out of habit and because it was the generally accepted manner. As age began to take its toll, the left knee started to ache more than the right. It didn’t take a “rocket scientist” to figure out the left leg was doing most of the work getting off and on. It was wearing out faster than the right leg. Being extremely health conscious, and pain adverse, I started using the right side a lot. Over the years, it has allowed both legs to share the load.

You want your horse to let you mount from either side, from a fence, a rock, tailgate of a truck or nearly any other way you can think of. If you work from a horse or trail ride frequently, sooner or later, you are going to have a need to mount from one specific side. When it happens, it probably won’t be an opportune time for training. Better to already have your horse accustom to you mounting from the right as well. I can’t count the number of times I had to get off on the side of a hill and get back on the horse. Hats that blew off, water bottles dropped, you can pretty much name the reason. You may not be able to safely turn your horse around on the side of the hill and you sure as the dickens don’t need to be trying to get aboard from the downhill side. Might get you hurt and downright inconvenient at best. Alright, more than you wanted to know, simple answer from us, use the side you like!

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