Training

Left Brain, Right Brain

Knowing how horses operate can help your horse-training efforts.

Horses are very one-sided because they have a very underdeveloped corpus callosum, which is the connective tissue between the two hemispheres of the brain that allows messages to go from one side of the brain to the other.

Humans have a very highly developed corpus callosum, meaning we think with both sides of the brain at one time.

In horses, however, there's not a lot of information going from one side to the other.

So, that's why you train a horse on one side and then you have to go back and train them completely on the other side.

What are the most-appropriate training aids for your horse? Get advice from Dennis Moreland in AQHA's Horse Tack Information report.

A horse pretty much thinks with one side of his brain at a time.

This has many implications for behavior and safety.

For learning, this one-sidedness means that we have to train both sides of the horse's brain, but we should only work on one side of the horse at a time. In other words, if you are training the horse to be mounted, you would work first on the left side, train the skill thoroughly, then go over to the right side of the horse and start over with the training until the horse gets it.

For some horses, the second side will come much more quickly; for others, it is like you are starting all over (especially if you have not handled the horse from both sides).

Horses are individuals and require different training techniques. Let Dennis Moreland help you choose the tack that's right for you and your horse in AQHA's Horse Tack Information report. Download your copy today!

Being able to switch from side to side fluidly with any skill will only happen once the horse is thoroughly trained on both sides.

How quickly a horse picks up a new skill on the second side is a good indicator of how balanced, or two-sided, the horse is (which, of course, is a good sign for performance training).