Ex racer - mounting problems... how do i train her to the mounting block? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 04-24-2012, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post

What are the components of teaching a horse to stand at a mounting block?

Here's what I can think of, and I really would like other ideas.

approach something unknown , both following the human and being 'sent' by the human.
stand near "strange" thing, then walk off, rinse repeat.

STand still anywhere . Handler asks horse to just stand for a bit, where told to .

move shoulder over, move hind over, back up

Tolerate the pull of the stirrup on one side.

Tolerate something heavy on the back.

??? what else.?
Good point(s). Most racers haven't been introduced to any of this. Another thing that can create a huge concern with a mounting block is the idea of a human towering over them. It's not natural or comfortable for any horse and certainly not a familiar part of the race horse routine. The other is the pressure on the bit applied as a matter of course by most who mount riding horses. These guys are used to being secured by a ground person when the rider is tossed aboard and are often taught a pull on the bit means go. So there's two more to 'practice' in pieces .
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-03-2012, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Clacton, Essex UK.
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I have tried using a leg up, (i'm not brilliant at it, as she's closer to 16'2h than when i got her at 15'1h) but doesn't help much, and i always get worried about the person giving me a leg up, so it takes two people on the ground (someone at her head to keep her calm and someone to give me a leg up)

I have a bit of experience with backing youngsters (as i successfully backed my 3 year old two years ago and never actually gave much thought or planning, i just did what felt natural, and shay did wonderful) so i'm hoping to restart her, going back to the basics, as i feel that this could be a better way of going about it without to much stress....

I've also found out that her overies are inflamed (we thought she was pregnant!) so i can also help this problem and fingers crossed... she'll be a good girl again :)

time to invest in a good back protector for me, and a good set of training wraps for her!
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-16-2012, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Good news! i have had a very brave friend help me with Maisie and we've be able to on with a little treat giving... fingers crossed for the next few weeks so she's bomb proof getting on i can finally ride my own horse after 9 months
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-25-2012, 10:49 AM
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OTTB Mounting Problems

I also own an OTTB. When I first started working with him, he had no clue what a mounting block was. The first couple of times I mounted I had someone hold him - just for safety. I never had a problem getting him to stand near the block for me, but as soon as he felt any weight in the stirrup he would walk off. Thankfully no bucking or rearing or anything like that, but since I had back surgery 7 years ago, I really need the block and him walking off was definitely not going to work for me. It's important to understand that when being mounted on the track, they are always walking so this is just a habit they learned while training for racing! What I did was this, as soon as he would move I would get off the block and start working him in a very tight circle - after a few turns, I would lead him back and try again to get on. It didn't take long for him to learn that I wanted him to stand still. The idea is that you make it more "uncomfortable" for him to walk away than it is for him to stand still and let you mount! It is a Clinton Anderson technique, who is as you might know, a natural horsemanship trainer. I believe you should never use pain of any type to get your horse to cooperate!!!! My horse, Topper, still sometimes doesn't wait for me to get my right foot in the stirrup, but he NEVER walks off while I'm in the motion of getting on! This tight circling technique works for a lot of the basic ground work you should do with your horse long before you even consider mounting! If your horse learns to respect you on the ground, it is soooooo much easier to develop a good riding relationship! Hope this helps! Good luck!!!!
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-25-2012, 12:15 PM
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I really, really want to underscore the info that Nanette has posted.

The whole idea of standing still while be mounted, being mounted from a block, or a rider sitting immediately after being mounted is very foreign to a racehorse.

I am reluctant to recommend having the horse held because if the handler is inexperienced and braces against the horse, the horse may go backwards or go up.

Watch a telecast of a horse and watch the horses being mounted in the paddock; it will give you some perspective on what the horses are used to.

I would start by working with the horse in a stall or round pen; and with someone to give up a leg up. Start by allowing the horse to move forward but in a small circle when you mount. Then start asking the horse to halt after a few steps. When he accepts this quietly, start reducing the amount of steps forward before you ask for the halt.

My habit with TBs and actually all horses was always to mount, catch my off stirrup and then allow the horse to walk off and gradually settle my weight on their backs. I think this is good practice for all horses, but especially so for one fresh off the track.
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post #16 of 17 Old 06-25-2012, 12:24 PM
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I admit I didn't go through all of the responses so apologies if this has been suggested. First desensitize to the mounting block. Use a round pen or other small enclosure..what you want to do is limit how far away the horse can get form the "scary" object. Put the block in the middle and just let the horse roam around. Horses are naturally curious and eventually he will walk up to it, sniff, paw, snort....

Do this again, or at the same time, with a saddle on their back..get them used to the saddle and the mounting block. Obviously if the horse is prone to rolling, use old tack :) If they have already seen a block and have been tacked up several times this part won't take long.

Someone else mentioned the next step, the old, walk up to the block, stand, get a rub and trrewat, move two steps back/sideways, you reposition, rub, treat, move the block, reposition them and get them to stand still, rub and treat..put one foot on, if they stand still, major praise like they just won the Derby, treat..you get the idea.

My horse was like this. He would only stand for the block if it was in the corner. The first time I worked with him in the middle of the ring it took 90 minutes and one heck of a lot of treats and he finally stood still. We still haven't beat it 100% but he is getting better. I did use Clinton Anderson's technique of tight circles and backing but due to a possible (even the vet isn't sure) front suspensory strain, I hesitate now to use that particualr technique, at least on mine, since neither the vet nor I can figure out what caused it.

As for the riding, reintroduce the mare to weight on her back. Lean on her back, not actually mounting. While laying there, rub all over, praise her for being still. Repeat as needed. The idea is to get her used to the weight and the activity and get her to realize she doesn't have to "run" when weight is on her back...it sounds like she may still be carrying around race track memories where weight on her back meant "go really fast."

The important part is to remain safe and if necessary, locate a trainer who can help you retrain her.

Last edited by tlkng1; 06-25-2012 at 12:28 PM.
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post #17 of 17 Old 06-25-2012, 12:38 PM
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Thanks, Maura. I reread this thread and am bothered by the rearing (this can turn to flipping quickly and get very dangerous). It's important in such a case to keep the horse moving forward as you mount (as Maura underscores in her circle suggestion - but you can do this in a straight line too). The concern is freezing - and horses can hurt themselves and you coming out of such a panic attack. Frankly, this horse may have some serious issues beyond your ability level, but it's tough to know without seeing what's going on. When I'm dealing with a horse that is explosive about under saddle activities (and that starts with putting tack on), I go back to ground work to begin the resolution process - especially now that I'm getting older . Please be careful.

http://www.HorseSenseAndCents.com has a free blog focused on young horse training, alpha issues, horse care, equine careers and more. Google "Horse Sense and Cents" or "Nanette Levin" to find fun surprises. Enjoy the Ride!
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