Yet another mounting issue

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Yet another mounting issue

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    07-01-2009, 03:23 PM
Yet another mounting issue

I am not the best at mounting, have done it all my life, many, many, different horses, still the point I feel most vulnerable. I like it best when and experienced horse person gives me a good leg especially in a sticky situation. No one is available for that where I currently am riding regularly but there is a nice tall mounting block easily accesible, but one horse won't get near it. He is smart and obviously knows whats up and just won't stand close enough to mount. He doesn't dance, he just steps calmy sideways, or to far back, or forward, or just out of reach. I think it's from everyone just plopping, onto his back and I have since corrected that with everyone who rides around me. I haven't had him long, but he is the most well trained horse I have access too and he has become my lesson horse. I can usually trick him by mounting from a corral, or chair, or somewhere unsuspecting, but not everyone is capable, and yesterday one ladys mission was to mount bareback and with her experience and agility I allowed her to do it alone. With a small plastic(mobile) mounting block it only took twenty minutes or so, but she did accomplish it on her own. I can wrestly him to the mounting block but who wants to have three people on stand by for that? The chair has fallen underneath after mounting which is dangerous and spooky so its not good. Everything else he's to smart for and he's sensitive so escalating things to a battle just doesn't seem right. He knows what I am asking so it's not understanding, he's just saying I don't like the get on, get hit in the back process. Unfortunately I have a few heavy people who insist on taking lessons on him and there may be no fixing the discomfort he feels when being mounted, but I am not his owner (a heavy person who doesn't usually ride him, but probably the reason he is sour in the first place) and cannot say someone can't ride him, instead I choose to supervise and correct the plopping to the degree I can, and educate these people in how to properly work, ride, and maintain their horses. They still plop, but now it's on accident, and they should improve?! Hopefully. Maybe carrots to make the experience pleasing no matter what? Let me know what you would do given all the factors. Thanks.
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    07-01-2009, 04:21 PM
It sounds like he would just prefer not to stand there, lol.

What I would do is lead him up to the mounting block (tacked up is best, so he thinks he's got everything figured out) and ask him to stand. Let him stand next to it for as long as he's willing, and then praise him and lead him away. Re-approach and try again, and try to get him to stand longer than the time before, then praise and walk away to reward. When he stands for as long as you want, try stepping on the block with him standing nearby. Even if you can only jump on and immediately back down before he walks off, praise him for standing and try to push the envelope a little further the next time. The trick is to praise the good behavior before he exhibits the bad. If he does jump the gun, back him up at least however far he walked plus his length, then re-approach and try again. When you're ready to mount, start with raising your foot, then praise and reward, and progress to putting your foot in the stirrup, weight in the stirrup, to a full mount and dismount. Once you're fully mounted, make him stand on a loose rein until you say go. If he walks off by himself, back him up, just like you did from the ground, and give him the chance to stand quietly again.

It takes a while, but I've seen it work. I've also seen a Ken McNabb demo that taught the horse to sidestep to the rider on the block, but I don't remember the steps.

I'm not sure what you can do about other's plopping on him, but you may just have to periodically mess with him and mounting at a standstill. I hope that helps! There's always vaulting (JK )!
    07-01-2009, 07:15 PM
One thing you can do that really works with most horses is to start on the ground away from the mounting block. The idea is to teach the horse to turn their neck and head towards you while you mount. It sounds odd, but I have been successful with it in the past.

1. As I said start on the ground. Have your reins over your horses neck as if you would when you are getting on any other way. If you get on from the left, take up the left rein, and ask your horse to bend his head towards you. Hold it there for a second, ask him to stand. When he stands for a second, give him big praise and release. Repeat this over and over, TONS of praise.

2. When he'll stand like a gentleman with his head bent for up to 30 seconds not moving, try the same action, and add your left foot barely in the stirrup. Don't worry about getting on yet, and if your horse is tall, feel free to lower the stirrup so it is comfortable for you to have your foot in there from the ground. Do the same as in step one, but ask him to stand still with his head bent towards you with your foot in the saddle for up to 30 seconds. This can get tricky, because the horse that evades mounting will try and step away. The rein pulled to your body helps keep your horse from walking forward. The trick is to keep your foot in the stirrup a little bit even if he takes a few steps. This involves some hopping and maneuvering on your part, but eventually he'll stop moving if you stay persistent. Practice this until your horse will stand still for you to put your foot in the stirrup and apply pressure. Remember, tons of praise. Give him some release from the rein pressure in between tries so his neck doesn't get tired.

3. Now that you have a horse that stands like a gentleman for you to put your foot in, you should be able to easily throw your other leg over without your horse running off. If you are comfortable, your next step can be to simply stand up in the left stirrup, putting your body weight in the stirrup but not fully over his back. Now you want him to stand still while mounting until you ask him to walk.

4. The last step is to take it to the mounting block. Put the block in a corner, so you have the horse between the wall and the block. The only place he'll be able to go is forward, and at this point you should have him trained to stand still for mounting. Practice the same things with him, bending his neck, asking him to stand quietly, etc.

It will take a lot of practice and repetition, but this does work. It helps keep the horses focus on you, instead of off in the distance. This is also one instance I'd suggest using a treat if you are comfortable. When you get to the point of mounting off of the mounting block, your horse will automatically turn his head for you to get on. From here, when you hop on and ask him to stand still while you get adjusted, you can offer him one single sugar cube as another form of reward. Don't overdo it, but it can help. The sugar dissolves quickly and won't interfere with the bit in his mouth.

Stay confident, tell him he's a good boy. This is absolutely something you can do on your own even if you aren't the most experienced rider ever. Good luck!
    07-01-2009, 07:32 PM
Couple of problems, with the last post, he already stands like a gentleman on the ground, and I can't get on from the ground. Combination of his height, not limber, never very good at it, and english saddle. Also, I think getting on from the ground, esp as heavy as I and most of the people who have ridden him are, is actually painful to him and that's what I am trying to eliminate. I like the first post, just making the mounting block a really cool place to want to hang out at because of praise/treats/whatever, and I agree, it is just going to take me making a lesson out of just mounting, instead of being annoyed until I get on and then forgetting about it. I think if I make it enjoyable, and esp praise/treat him, once mounted he will realize the benefits of the situation. Once on, he doesn't really move off or dance, I think he just has been squashed and that's why he doesn't like it. It will also be, get on get off all hour long, instead of just riding once the battles over. Also, the last post said to turn their nose towards you when mounting, I'm not saying your wrong but I was always told to turn their nose away from you, so that if they do decide to move, they have to move their body closer to you rather than spinning away. Is that what you were saying and I misread? Curious. Thanks for trying though!
    07-01-2009, 08:00 PM
Ahhh, I hear you on the not limber/tall horse/heavier person kind of thing. :) I didn't really mean just get on from the ground, but if you can teach him to stand still when he *thinks* he may be mounted with just a foot in the stirrup (like I said, make it really long to assist with the limber issue!) will translate to the mounting block.

I do hear what you mean about turning their head away, and for years I did that too. Then I was working with a very reputable trainer in Wisconsin and her horses. She had just gotten a new horse in for training. This big, behemoth of a horse, dumb as a rock, mouthy, would not stand at the mounting block and would trot off once you finally got on the dude. The trainer I worked with taught me to turn their head towards you while mounting. I didn't quite understand either until I saw it work. After one session of only working on mounting and standing at the block he never took off again... and I've had the same results. I really don't quite get why that works as well as it does,

I guess the concept is to turn their head towards the mounting block so if they start walking they'll just walk around the block. I've found when you turn their head away they seem to think that you want them to move and then they do. Turning their head in, especially teaching them to do it on the ground with just pressure from a foot in the stirrup or even a hand just seems to keep their attention on you more, and it just really seems to help so much.

I don't know, I really can't quite explain how or why it works as well as it does. I wish I had a video to show you what I mean. I do agree with Scoutrider, make mounting fun! And again, with this horse maybe a sugar cube will help him tolerate it more? Not that I suggest treats for everything, but in this instance a horse that hates being mounted tends to accept it more willingly if he gets a little something sweet for being a good boy.


I'll try to get a video of me using the head in trick. I've got a new gelding I'm training that hates being mounted, he'd be the perfect little subject.
    07-01-2009, 08:14 PM
Thanks for understanding the situation, and yeah, treats are only a special occasion kinda thing for me too, I don't like to spoil, but I do like to sweeten the deal. I will try the turning him into the mounting block thing, and I think my rider who worked with him last on the issue may have been doing just that. She said it was a matter of him turning, moving the block, turning, moving the block, over and over again. But hopefully treats might cut down the amount of time it takes. A video could help, that would be wonderful and your gelding and I could both get a lesson out of it. Thanks!
    07-02-2009, 02:17 PM
I will get a video, today or tomorrow.
    07-02-2009, 02:37 PM
Can you use a step stool or a plastic portable mounting block? Then do as posted in this video. I'm not thrilled with the use of the lunge line attached to the bit, but the training concept is solid. I used this method with my kids, using a step stool. I just stepped down from it to lunge.
Horselink Magazine issue #4 : Mount Up Training with Julie Goodnight
    07-03-2009, 06:06 PM
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
Can you use a step stool or a plastic portable mounting block? Then do as posted in this video. I'm not thrilled with the use of the lunge line attached to the bit, but the training concept is solid. I used this method with my kids, using a step stool. I just stepped down from it to lunge.
Horselink Magazine issue #4 : Mount Up Training with Julie Goodnight
Hmm Interesting. I am using a similar technique in the roundpen when he doesn't want to be caught, fine don't want to be my friend, go run, and it worked, actually I showed it to the girl who has been riding him and I told her it was her battle. This is the same person who battled with him for twenty minutes about mounting. She's very good at letting me show her what to do and then walk away, I hate it when a lesson turns into let me do it for you, or will you do it for me kind of thing and this girl hasn't done that to me yet which is great. I could certainly try it, but I have to say he has a high work ethic so it could take hours, and I am going to see if a few treats won't bring him around more quickly. I know quicker isn't usually better, but I think there is a difference between expressing past discomfort when mounting where I might use treats, versus I just don't want to be caught, where he is punished by having to work. I like to use a variety of different ways to communicate so I see how her method should work, and if he's being a butthead I will turn the tables and see how he likes working. Thanks for the info.
    07-03-2009, 06:15 PM
Saro, down there in my signature, gave me fits training her to stand still while I climbed up on a step stool. Totally wore me out
The "if you won't stand still then move" tactic works great for her since she is basicly lazy at heart

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