Getting a horse to stand still

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Getting a horse to stand still

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    09-17-2007, 11:12 PM
Getting a horse to stand still

Can anyone give me some advice as to what I need to do to get my dad's horse Penny to stand still while we are mounting her. She wants to move around and go around in circles when we try getting in the saddle. Once we get on her she does fine. It is just the mounting part. I have gotten pretty quick to just get up there as she is moving but I would like to work with her to get her to stand still. Our horse Troy will stand perfectly still when we get on him. Any suggestions?
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    09-18-2007, 12:56 AM
I love to fix these kind of horses, it's as easy as back her when she goes to walk off.
    09-18-2007, 06:33 PM
Also, practice towards the end of the ride when she is good and tired. Get on and off a few times and if she walks off, back her then make her work for 2-3 more minutes. Eventually she will be glad to stand.
    09-18-2007, 10:45 PM
Thank you for your advice I will try that tomorrow when we ride.
    09-19-2007, 08:45 AM
I am no horse trainer but when working with our babies and a few we have had that won't stand still heres what I do. In the round pen or anyplace you have that you can work with your horse without the other horses, stand beside the horse(holding lead rope) and jump up and down keep jumping till they stand still, when they do give lots of praise and pets. I do this a lot with babys.
Another one: Let go of the lead rope and walk away if they walk off I make them back a few steps. Keep doing it till they stand still then give pets and "good girls"
Also when you do mount up never just take off, always make them stand in place for a few min. People have a tendancy to want to take off as soon as they get in the saddle teaching the horse that when butt hits leather its time to go. You have to break the horse of this by making them wait a bit after you mount.
I will add a safety note here, when doing the jumping up and down make sure to start near the horses shoulder that way if she freaks out and trys to kick (had it happen) they won't reach you. Work your way back to the barrel. Once I know they wont freak I put my hand on the back like I am mounting and do the jumping.
I am an old broad and use a step stool to mount. The horse has to stand still to do this so I have had to retrain a couple and I want my babys to learn right. It has worked for me. Hope it works for you
    09-20-2007, 01:13 PM
Different methods work for different horses, but one of the best things to try is making her work when she tries to move off when mounting. She will come to associate moving when you're mounting with work, and standing still while you're mounting with comfort and rest.

First thing I would do is make sure she's desensitized to the saddle and stirrups. Flap them against her sides a bit because with some horses, as soon as there's any kind of 'movement' or action involving the stirrups (putting your foot in), they decide to walk off. Do not stop flapping the stirrups until she stands still and relaxes. As soon as she stands still, relaxes (cocks a hind, drops her head, licks and chews, etc. - if she doesn't do any of these, wait for a minimum of 15 seconds), then stop and reward with pets and "good girls". Do this a few times on both sides. Then try mounting her, but go slow, just put your foot in the stirrup lightly and put a bit of weight into it. If she stands still, give lots of praise. If she tries walking off, immediately start circling her at an active pace and make her go around 15 times or so. It's best if you can actually lunge her in a circle by having a halter under her bridle for this part, but if not, just take the reins from over her head and make her do this at a jaunty walk. Stop and try again. Everytime she moves off when you mount, she has to go around in a circle 10-15 times at a pace YOU dictate - make sure it's active. She will come to learn that she'll be made to go out and work if she keeps moving when you mount. This will take patience and consistency on your part. The other alternative to the walking in a circle is backing them up pretty aggressively for about 20 steps (not lazy, slow steps - really make her move backwards like NOW). Everyone has their preferences and so do horses - see what method works best.

As soon as she does make an effort to stand when you mount, give her LOADS of pets and vocal praise. Then get down and put her back in her stall - now the reason I say get off and don't ride is because you want her to understand that her standing like a good girl will get her rest, comfort, reward, etc. If you put her into a hard workout after that, she'll get confused, because no matter what she does she's going to have to work. Next time you do this exercise, do the exact same steps, but don't put her away right after she stands still for mounting. Get off and re-mount a few times and then put her away. Then after this you can start riding her after you've mounted. But remember, sometimes horses will have a relapse of behaviour even if you've taken the time to train them, especially if you don't repeat and reinforce. So make sure everytime you mount her she HAS to stand still for you. After you've mounted, sit on her for a good minute before you ask her to walk out. She is NOT allowed to move until you ask her. If you ask her to move out too quickly after you've mounted, she will begin to anticipate this and start walking off again while you're in the middle of mounting or you've just mounted, so be careful.

Good luck.
    09-22-2007, 03:19 PM
I wanted to thank everyone for your advice. I have tried a combination of a couple of things ya'll have said. First I would walk her if she would move when I tried to mount her. Then I tried the jumping beside Penny. I started at her head where she could see me. Since she did not move while I did it I moved back just a little. She started to move but I put her back where she was and jumped next to her. I continued to do this until I was at the saddle. Before I would move back I would stop and give her lots and lots of praise and "good girls". She is not completely still yet but she is getting much better. My kids can now mount her while I stand next to her and tell her stay. I make sure that I give her praise when she does good for them. I think that she will be still for mounting soon since she is show much improvement now. Thank you all for your help.
    09-22-2007, 07:51 PM
Just got home from a nice trail ride at our local city lake and saw your post. So glad to hear you are getting some improvement. I can't take credit for the jumping up and down trick. I saw it years ago but can't remember who did it, I think it was John Lyons. He was always big on getting horses used to all the goofy things humans do when around horses.
    09-23-2007, 10:22 AM
This is an issue with many horses. I'm assuming that this is a broke horse and has already been de-sensitized to the stirrups/fenders. I am also assuming that your horse flexes through the neck and poll laterally. When you go to step on, gather the left rein up snug so that your horses nose is tipped in to you. Put your foot in the stirrup and apply weight-- your horse may start to dance around and want to move out. But, due to her neck being laterally flexed, she cannot move forward, only in circles. Proceed to kind of hop around with her, or you can stand in the stirrup and wait until she has ceased moving. Then step back to the ground, walk her out, bend her neck, and repeat. Repeat this as many times as neccessary- it'd be a good idea to do this a few times every day for a while. She'll eventually figure out that she can only go in circles. It's good that you are asking for help- I've seen lots of people who let their horses walk out as they mount. This is not a good habit to get into! On a fresh, sensitive, or nervous horse it can result in a not-so-pleasant ride. Good luck!
    09-23-2007, 12:52 PM
Thank you Ranchgirl for the advice. Yes you are assuming correctly. She has been broke and all. I think that the people my parents got her from did not take the time to make her stand still. I think they just let her walk like she has been doing. I have been working with her everyday and with the consistancy I think she will be standing still before too much longer. She has shown signs of much improvement already. I make sure that she gets lots of praise and kisses when she does stand still. She is really a good horse and I love her dearly and I make sure she knows it. Here is a pic of her.


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