Breaking Traditional Barriers in our Horsemanship

I just happen to be reading a book with a short synopsis of things throughout human history that perhaps seemed like a good idea at the time but in hindsight were not or eventually had become outdated. Below is a brief history of railroad track building... bear with me as this relates to our horsemanship.

There was a short blurb about the standard distance between rails on the railroad tracks built in the US. The length is an odd number because that is the way that they had been built in England. The English engineers used the measurement because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built pre-railroad tramways. The trams used that distance because they were built with the same jigs and tools used for building wagons. The odd wheel spacing of wagons was designed to fit wheels into the ruts of old English roads, which were carved into the dirt by Roman war chariots. So we are still building modern-day railroads based on centuries-old Roman chariot wheel/axle sizes. 

This "traditional" way of doing something has become outdated and reminds me of some of the "this is how we've always done it" ways of interacting with the horse, such as why we "always" mount on the left. Folks are taught this is how things are done, accept it and move in. For those who don't "know" any better, they ask, "Why is it that way?" 

When horses were used in the cavalry, riders wore their weapons on their left hip. Which meant that they could swing their right leg over the saddle, unhindered by the heavy metal objects they were wearing. So my question is, how many folks in present-day wear weapons as they ride or have items hanging off of their left hip? I have yet to encounter anyone who does. So, should all riders still be taught that we only mount from the left? You decide. 

Perhaps take a few minutes and think about your own behaviors and if there are ways in which you interact with your horse. Assess if it is a safety precaution or a "traditional" method. If it isn't a safety issue you might experiment with what you present, and notice if you have unintentionally created patterns of expectation in your own horse- from the side you lead on, tack up, mount from, etc. and start to expand those boundaries if they are creating unintentional limitations in how you interact with your horse.

Remote Horse Coaching can help you gain insight into challenges with your horse. Find out how Sam can help you and your horse today! 

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