Ex racer - mounting problems... how do i train her to the mounting block?
Here's a small history on my tb mare, she was raced as a 2 year old... only 3 races ... trotted past the finish line on the last race... then was sold, and sold on again to the owners i bought her from, who had no idea what to do with her as they'd only ever had ponies and they put her up for sale and a noivce girl came to ride her and kicked her in the side as she mounted and maisie bolted off and the girl didn't get back on so they sent her to a selling yard to be sold and get her schooled a little, this is where i pop up i when to view her and she was as good as gold so i thought yeah she seems prefect so i got her, bought her home and a few days later lunged her and when to get on, with a friend holding her as soon as i put my weight in to the saddle she reared up and bolted off...
after getting her back, teeth, and saddle check with no problems i put her on 2 months rest to make sure she settled in before stressing her, before winter i got on her a few time without much trouble a few rears and bucks but was alright then the winter came and had to stop work.... then spring reappeared and she's back to stage one, scared of the mounting block, saddle and riders
so basically i wanted to know how to start her back to being mounting and how i get her use to using a mounting block again....
I will say i've had her back, saddle and teeth rechecked and they are currently all good and also i have broken in ponies before but Maisie is a 16hh tb not a 12.2h pony :)
I've also purchased the retraining of racerhorses 'racing to riding' dvd but it's yet to come.... so am looking for tips and advice, ALSO has anyone else had this problem with there horses?
I used to gallop racehorses and whenever we had a horse that was jumpy while mounting or ever training the young ones, we would always use a stall or a roundpen, just to get a little more control. I would have someone (strong) hold the horse, then stand in a bucket in the middle of the stall and mount them. If they wanna have a fit there is not to many places they can run off to, so in their head they never "escape" the situation. Sometimes it would take a minute, other times it would take an hour, but eventually the horses would give in and just let you get on. Usually you would have to mount this horse in a stall from then on, but at least you arn't risking your life everytime you get on.
Hope this gives you a start. :)
I have an x racer, Harry 16.3 and he had so many odd habits, he had been schooled very slightly but was pretty fresh iff the track, he had a year off for an injury then sold but the lady was very nervous so i bought him one his habits was the mounting block, on a much smaller scale but he didn't like it and wouldn't stand still and he would get agitated and try to get away (jockeys don't get on from blocks whilst the horse is standing still they do it walking) please don't think I'm patronising you if u know all this but I didn't have a clue when I got Harry! I started off for the first few weeks every day I walked him up to the mounting block with a polo or carrot and just got him to look at it and be near it then rewarded him. Then moved on once he was calmer round it to getting him to stand by it and the second he did it even if it was just for a few secinds he got his minty reward! Then I tacked him up and did the same. As I got on he would start walking off to start with but I always made him stand once on and gave him a good pat and lots of fuss. It took a few months of repetition but now I lead him up make him stand once stood I give him a pat then get on and he doesn't move till I tell him to. He use to pull away and trott off and just fidget as soon as we were near the mounting block and I thought he was incapable of standing still but it was just so foreign to him. I also used a long thin crop that I just gently placed on his backside to guide him over so he was close to it as I could get his head end there but his ass would be no where near and now I don't have to. All his funny trades were just fear, as long as I'm confident with him he gets confidence back and will willingly do anything.
I use to have a nightmare with his back legs when picking
them out he use to snatch them back like he was going to kick and start moving away and pulling back but once I leart to be firm and confident he stopped it. I had this with road signs, drains, sheep, water, the sound of water, road crossings........ even just tying him up he would lift his head and pull, snap the lead rope! I think it's just such a massive change of environment that they need repetition, routine, confidence, patience and lots of time. I had to lead him down our track by his head collar am and pm and show him the drains that go across the path as when I was on him he would just reverse and rear and freak. So I grabbed a treat and walked him so he could see it then rewarded, then got him up to it, got him sniffing it then got him over it ( jumping it to start with!!) then once he was calmer I replaced treats with pats and lots of fuss ( talking to him like I would my 18 month old girl in a proud mummy cooing voice) I never got cross or told him off as he was just generally really worried about these things and once he knew it wasn't anything to be scared of and I had reassured him of this he was a different horse!
Sorry for woffeling on and on and on and again sorry if u already know all of this!!
Best of luck and stick with it, you sound like u have loads of experience, it's just don't worry about rushing her and give her lots of general work from the ground when your tending to her daily
Abi and Harryn
Also got a thorogood saddle fitted that is great for tbs! Oh god and he use to freak when I put the numna on as well, but I just slowly, slowly kept on gently gettin him use to it!
Right rant over, good luck!
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It sounds like you need to sack him out. Try to use bags that wont rip easily when he dumps them.
My maisie does the lead rope thing as well.... just causally put her head up and walks backwards! I have a thorogood saddle but it's not a tb type one it's a cob one but it fits her to the tee, as she's got zero withers and is actually oddly flat backed for a tb, i might try the polo thing.... it's just a bit worrying cause of her size, my pony before her was a 12.2h welsh b .... biig difference to a 16'2 tb mare... (well she was 15'1 but she's grown so much in the last 9 months)
thanks for the advice it's very helpful :)
I don't have a racing horse, but my horse has an issue with mounting blocks.
The way we've deal with it is he stands (ground tie now.. but before I held his rope) and I got to pick the mounting block up, and put it down. Up then down. Stand on it. Get off it.
If he moved, I'd undo his movements. If he backed 2 steps, I'd bring him forward 2 steps.
Then I'd get on the mounting block and if he didn't flinch I'd stroke his neck and ruffle his ears and do everything he loved on that block. When I got off it, the loving stopped. Back on it, love on him, off it and it stopped.
Then when he was okay with that, I'd move the block around him. First I'd drag it and he'd spook away but I held him. Made him come back and stand. Then I'd drag it again and would stop before he blew up. I'd rub his neck as a praise and give him a few seconds to breathe. Then I'd drag it again, and if he didn't flinch I'd love on him and stand on the block.
I'd scuff my feet on the block, not paying any direct attention to him. If he stood there I'd praise him.. if he didn't, get off the block, undo his steps, back on the block and scuff it. If he didn't flinch, I'd praise him and get off the block.
So now he was fine with me moving it, dropping it, scuffing sounds on it, standing on it, etc. Now the final test was adding the saddle and mounting in.
Now when you mount, you have to be careful not to jab your toe into their side. That causes them not to like the block, or being mounted. Stand on the block and push one hand into the stirrup like your foot would be. If your mare moves, get off, put her back and get on the block again. Same thing, add pressure on the stirrup if she doesn't move, remove pressure and praise her. Then grab the saddle and wiggle it around. If she moves, get down and put her back.. back on the block and do it again. Praise her when she stands.
Then comes mounting. It helps to have a friend hold your off stirrup and horse for you. By now, your horse should be alright with being mounted. Just be sure not to indirectly ask for your horse to move via kicking or squeezing.
I know this is very drawn out but again.. mounting block issues can get you hurt. I had a friend whose horse shied from a block when he was nearly on (and it caught the horse's eye).. flew sideways and he landed tailbone first on the block.. couldn't sit comfortably for a good 2 weeks.
Now if this fear extends to under saddle as well.. then you need to do some ground work and riding involving the block. I have it so my horse now stands next to it and can trot by it without jumping 6 feet sideways.
Best of luck :)
It's rare to find a racehorse that's been mounted from a stirrup (or mounting block). Typically, the rider (usually light weight) is 'legged up' in a way where they're basically launched into the saddle and land lightly. You might want to consider trying this first (not sure how good you are about bouncing off a leg up and landing lightly) to determine if it's a confusion or behavioral issue. If you can leg up without the acting out, just take it slow introducing her to a stirrup mount and block. The stall mount Kingkillkannon suggested is a good one. I realize most disciplines deem this dangerous, but it's what most TBs are used to early on. Also consider mounting 'on the walk' where you have someone legging you up with another at the head leading the horse forward. Some TBs react badly to being mounted by standing still. If you can do this and eliminate the likelihood of a behavioral issues (deeming a mere lack of understanding) you have a pretty easy route of slow acclimation. If the behavior continues with these approaches, you're probably dealing with a memory issue that will require you going back to the point before the problems started happening (starting over). Since racing and winning are the primary goals for such horses, often early problems arise in the rush to get them producing money. Eliminate pain as an issue first (this is common) and then see if you can mimic what she likely experienced at the track to make it go away. If not, you're probably in for a long stint working on correcting this. Sadly, not all TBs have a good start.
I think you have to break down mounting at a mounting block into the necesary components, and work on them one at a time, getting full success at one before moving on to the next. If you try and force him, such as pinning him against a wall, i think you will end up having to force him for other things.
But if you work at having him do small things FOR you, earn a reward and then back away, he will start to think that HE controls this situation. He knows how to make you give him a treat. he will learn quickly and willingly with such a mindset.
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.?
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You can always draught in some help, someone with experience with tbs/x racers if she's really having problems?
Best of luck
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