Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I use a mounting block for every horse regardless of height. I bring the block to them before they are even tacked up and show it to them, let them sniff it, lick it, lip it whatever they want to familiarize themselves with it. At first there is no wrong answer, they just need to get used to the scarey plastic steps on both sides. I hold the lead rope and let them retreat to the end of the rope and then I get them to start approaching the block. If it's only 1 or 2 steps closer to the block, that's fine, they can stand there til they relax. Then another step or 2 toward the block. All the while I'm making noise by stomping on the block, picking it up and setting it down, slapping it, whatever. If it takes several sessions before they totally ignore the block as a been there done that think, that's fine. I also like to put a treat on the steps and let them walk up to the steps and take the treat. Seems to make them accept the block really quickly.
Once they'll stand next to the block with me coming up and down, stomping my feet, shoving it around on the ground next to them, pushing it under their belly to the other side and they'll totally not be bothered by it, then I bring it close to their side and lean over the saddle from it. I put weight on my arms and lean over until I can fully belly over and they don't get antsy or upset and don't walk off with me bellied over them. If they start to move, I just say whoa and slide down their side and pull them to a stop with either the lead rope or rein and take them back to the block. Again, just repetition, no wrong answers and I do everything from both sides. Then eventually I step my foot in the stirrup and put just a little weight in the stirrup and then step off. Back and forth, back and forth until it's no big deal and they don't move. If they move, I step off and bring them back to the block.
totally agree. this should get your horse pretty well desensitized to it. You could even try chucking the block or rubbing him with it if it's light enough.
Now horses that move away from from blocks do so for one of two reasons. Either their scared silly, which is covered well in this thread, or they don't want to be mounted.
If you horse is just avoiding being mounted, then as clinton would say, make you idea their idea.
Go to mount and as soon as your horse moves send them off. either back them, lunge them, whatever, but do so slightly aggressively. When your horse tires a lttle, try again. If he moves, then repeat the process. Make the mounting block a great place to be. As soon as he does stand still for you to mount, just sit there. Don't go anywhere. Let him rest for like 5 minutes. Make them think "Wow, moving is alot of work, but if I stand still and let this chick on my back, then I get a break. This mounting thing ain't so bad after all."
Then you can practice again. dismount, send him off, mount him, let him rest. Try that a few times, then do what you had originally wanted to do in the saddle. But when you go to finish, dismount, send him off, mount him, and let him rest with you on his back one more time before putting him away, just to reinforce what he learned. And do that every now and then throughout your lessons, even with your ground work. instead of desensitizing with the stick and string from the ground, do it from the saddle. and practice mounting from both sides.
Also, as far as flexing when mounting goes, I don't. It's not because I don't agree with it, it's just that my horse flexes so far over that when I go to mount, I don't have room to bend my knee without bumping his face, which would not encourage reinforcement with my flexion. So, as the clutz that I am, I don't flex when mounting.