The Historical Reason Why We Always Mount Horses From The Left

If you never had riding lessons you may not be aware of this but for thousands of years, people have been mounting horses from the left. Not sometimes, not often, not most of the times, but always. Every single time. So one can easily wonder, how this came to be? Why it has to be always from the left? 

Let’s find out.

To find the roots for this tradition we need to go back to ancient times, when people were using horses in war. Since most people are right-handed, they were carrying their swords on their left side so they could easily reach them with their right-hand. This means that a with a long sword hanging from a rider’s left side, it would have been impossible to mount the horse from the right side because they would have otherwise sit on the sword. Because of this, people were mounting their horses from the left. (the article continues after the ad)

That being said, in his book “The Art of Horsemanship”, circa 350 B.C, Athenian historian and philosopher Xenophon strongly recommends that one should learn to mount horses from both sides, in order to be prepared for whatever he may face in battle. As it turns out, no one listened.

But anyway, why do we still continue this custom even though we don’t carry swords anymore?

The tradition remained because horses are one-sided! What they can learn doing on one side, they don’t know how to do it from the other side. Because people have standardized the left side as the side in which they mount, halter and basically do everything with horses, it’s easier for the animals themselves to be handled from their left side.  

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Why Some Countries Drive On The Left And Some On The Right? 

Main Article Photo: Wikimedia
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Why Do We Mount from the Left Side?Good Question: Why mount horses only from the left side?

Why Is Corned Beef Called ‘Corned Beef’ When It Contains No Corn?

Why Do Spanish Speakers Call US Citizens ‘Gringo’?