My friend has a TWH, and her trainer has been teaching her how to park him so that she can mount from the ground.
This seems convenient for the trails, as I'm not quite tall enough to mount from the ground and have to find a log after those incidents where I've fallen off
Parking seems like a nice alternative, but I'm wondering what that does to their backs and legs? Does it put additional strain on those areas?
What are your thoughts? Is it safe to do this, or better to avoid it?
Nonsense. If you are too heavy for your TWH, then it doesn't matter how he stands--you WILL hurt his back. Otherwise it is quite common for TWH owners to train their horses to park when they mount. My horse, "Trogdor", who was 19yo when I bought him, would park when you mounted. Considering that way too many gaited trainers start their horses by getting them to take off right after you mount and establish a VERY bad and dangerous habit, parking out for mounting is a great way to encourage your horse to wait for you.
My Amish farrier--the Amish community near me breeds a lot of TWH's--showed me a good way to start my KMH colt. He pulled his front feet, one at a time forward by grabbing the chestnuts--I never would have thought of this--but my horse obliged. You will need a LOT of patience, but this winter is a good time to devote 10 minutes/day to this. Give this an English word so that you can ask for it verbally when your horse learns this.
Thanks for the thoughts. I just wasn't sure if there were additional risks.
Just for clarity, my friend's horse is a TWH. My horse is a Paso Fino cross. Not sure if that makes any difference.
Also, my boy is taught to not move a MUSCLE until I ask when I mount, so I'm not worried about him taking off. Just worried about making it easier to get on
If your horse is a Paso Fino cross, I would think that it would be a relatively small horse anyway and you would have to be a REALLY small person to have to have your horse park out for it to be easier for you to mount lol. But, I can't say anything. My mare was 15.2 hands barefoot and I'm 5'3" and I had to train her to park out for mounting. Lol. So, I guess it depends on the horse and rider combo. But, it shouldn't hurt a horse's back no worse than regular mounting does.
When a horse is standing squarely they can shift their weight very slightly as the rider mounts. This eases strain on the horse. Note that "slight shift" is not "walks off."
The "parked out" position clearling weakens the back structure. That can have negative consequences.
The real reason I don't like the "park out" process is that it hides a wealth of conformational flaws and makes evaluation of a horse much more difficult. A horse standing squarely on all four feet is being honest. Maybe that's the origin of the saying "four square" meaning "honest."
If your horse is a Paso Fino cross, I would think that it would be a relatively small horse anyway and you would have to be a REALLY small person to have to have your horse park out for it to be easier for you to mount lol.
I'm not as flexible as I used to be. Years of sitting at a computer 10+ hours/day for work.
I'm 5'2", and no, I can't mount my 14.3h Paso from the ground. I did it once by lowering my stirrup two holes, but it wasn't a comfortable process for either of us.
A neighbor of mine used to have a little morgan mare that her kids rode when they were little. Just about the time mom would get ready to yell at the kids to give the old mare a break the mare would park out and nothing short of an earthquake could get her to move again. When she parked it meant get off kids, I'm done and that was that. Love old horses!
Right now I'm thinking it would be a good trick for my new mare to learn. She is a tall horse and I'm short and don't have the figure I had at 18. Could come in handy out on the trail.
I'm thinking used constantly it wouldn't be that great for a horses back either but a horse in reasonable shape with a rider that isn't huge it shouldn't be a problem here and there.
I've never had a horse that parked out. Maybe my mare knows, maybe she doesn't. She was so darn skinny I haven't done much with her besides groom and feed. Be a good thing to work on while she gains weight. How would I cue that or teach it?
I've looked into this and from what I've gathered it puts a lot of strain on the horse's back. It's not something I would do all the time. Having said that, being of a shorter stature myself, I've still considered training for it in the event I get stuck somewhere and that's the ONLY way I could get back on.
I have a mounting block at the barn to use there or at the start of trails (or I climb on the fender well of my trailer). I have a little tri-pod thing designed for mounting on the trails and it usually works BUT there was that one time when I had to get off and the soil was so sandy that my tri-pod kept sinking. I finally found an old log, but if I hadn't, I'd have had to walk home lol.