"That's just the way we've always done it…"

Traditions persist in the horse world. Does anyone know why flat classes traditionally start on the left rein?  I caused a little stir recently, at an open hunter show by starting on the right rein in an equitation class. Can you think of other enduring (though puzzling) equine traditions?

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, until evidence leads us to look outside. I do like how AQHA is encouraging judges to mix up the gait calls and direction of flat classes. I do this regularly when I judge and appreciate it as an exhibitor. Ring sourness is a problem with show horses. Horses learn by association, anticipating what's next. This is classical conditioning – the same principle causing my cat to appear at the sound of the can opener.

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