Exercise suggestions to help mounting
My horse is about 16.2 hands tall, and I am a mere 5' 3". I cannot mount him from the ground. My mom is an inch shorter than me and she can. I weigh 185 lbs and I'm not very flexible. I am actively losing weight, I lost 25 pounds last year and hope to lose at least another 20 this year. But, I'm not sure what the best exercises might be to improve my strength and flexibility for mounting. I would so love to not have to depend on finding a rock or tree stump to use to mount.
I'd love to hear what helped get you off the mounting block/fence/rocks and mounting from the ground!
Take a chair that would roughly be around the height of your stirrup and practice stepping up on it. When going up stairs, skip over a step and step up on the second. I think those would help build your strength.
You could try lunging exercises as well to stretch your legs.
I've never had an issue with mounting, except in winter and wearing insulated bibs. These were just ideas I thought of.
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I used to always mount from the ground but a few years back I switched instructors. She advised to use a mounting block whenever possible as it is easier on your horse's back & your saddle. Fair enough, I pay her good money for her instruction, so I use a mounting block whenever possible.
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Subbing, I need exercises for this as well:oops:
The chair would not work since the stirrup sits roughly just above my navel. I don't have any chairs that tall. :shock:
Being flexible is key to being a better rider IMO. It's not only going to help you with mounting but in all aspects of your riding if you can be fitter, slimmer and more flexible. I stopped riding for years because of my excess weight, it was too hard to manage being on a horse at the size I got to before I decided "enough is enough" and I began a fitness and weight loss program. I modified my diet and joined a gym, consulted my doctor and a personal trainer, and did lots of exercise to improve fitness and flexibility, increase strength and attack excess fat. Lunges are great, as is using a variety of machines at the gym. One of the best I found for riding is the "glute press" which basically tightens up the buttocks. I did shoulder presses for upper body strength, ab exercises for core strength, and lots of cardio to shed the fat! Rowing machines are terrific for both cardio and strength.
Without a gym, the best exercise IMO is stair climbing. :D
ALL those suggestions plus practice mounting the fence. Part of your problem is you aren't close enough to the horse. You need to super bend your left knee (for mounting on the horse's near side, opposite for mounting on the off side), keep your hip next to the "fence/horse", bounce 3x, then stand with legs straight, THEN settle gently down. The fence is perfect bc it replicates the horse, but it doesn't walk off on you.
When you try it next time with the horse, imagine you are trying to vault over the horse's neck, and you'll be in the best postion. It's really nice =/ when someone tells you to face backwards, grab the stirrup and swing yourself up, but I've only been in that kind of shape for about a decade, and that was about 15 years ago. My horses are trained to be patient when we mount. I only take a few hours of their time every year to ride them, so they need to accommodate me.
I am now 55yo and I can still mount my DH's 16'3hh gelding from the ground. I am training him for my DH to use a mounting block, so we do that, too.
The fence is a great suggestion. I don't have any fences to use, but I may be able to swing a little practice in at a friends'. My flexibility is the main issue, plus the fact that my body doesn't quite know what to do since this is a new thing for me. My horse also does not stand still at all for mounting, he just dances around. It's very frustrating!
My mom is 53 and can just swing right up from the ground! But she spent most of the first 25 years of her life on a horse so the movement is very natural to her. I just need to figure it out and then get the strength behind it too.
Oh jeeze, I hear you about the shortness and stretching to those itty bitty stirrups...
My lease is near seventeen hands. There is no amount of stretching I can do to get up on him, as I'm five feet tall. I get enough trouble just trying to put his saddle on!
We use a chair. Just a regular old plastic chair and it is plenty tall for me to easily slip my foot in and hop on.
But in other situations where a horse is too "scared" of my mounting block, I have to, unfortunately burst my pride and bring the stirrup down (if english) so I can easily hop on without too much trouble. But once I'm in the saddle I just readjust it to my length and move on.
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One of my kids had some pretty tight hip flexors and is only 5'3". She could run like the wind, but not raise her knees very high. So, it only figures that she is the one that goes into polo horses big time. Tall, often needing to mount without a block available.
I had her lay on her back and pull her knees up, one at a time, using her hands. She eventually went to doing a crawling, lunging thing on the living room floor to get more hip flexion. Bending one leg forward with the other extended back and laying forward onto the bent leg.
The is a saying in exercise/rehab circles, too. It's "Stability before mobility." So, any exercises that will strengthen your trunk and give your extremities stability will also help you control your whole body as you mount a horse. Pilates, yoga, some plain old army exercises, lots of options.
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