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creepalurkin 10-08-2008 12:55 PM

Another issue with my gelding: Mounting
 
I figure while I'm snitching on my brat I might as well give you this one too!

I can't get on him without someone there.

He refuses to hold still for me to get on him (and I need a mounting block to get on him) so as soon as I move the block next to him, he scoots away. I've tried putting him against a wall or fence but he'll just move forward even if someone is holding him. I can't even get on him with a leg-up because he just won't hold still. It's like as soon as he knows I'm about to get on him, he moves away no matter if I have someone holding him or not, he'll find a way to move.

I'm not jabbing my toe into his side, either.

kickshaw 10-08-2008 12:58 PM

he knows that's all he has to do for you not to get on ;-)

all i can reccommend is the one legged hop - - commit to getting on him - each time you do, the less he'll move :)

creepalurkin 10-08-2008 12:59 PM

But I can't get on him without a mounting block, I can't even reach the stirrup from the ground lol. And most of the time, there isn't anyone around to give me a leg up.

kickshaw 10-08-2008 01:02 PM

can you lower your stirrup so that you can reach it - even if it's too long to ride in?

another thing that i've seen people do is make them circle around the mounting block...but that makes me dizzy just watching :shocked: -

creepalurkin 10-08-2008 01:05 PM

I'll give that a try! Thanks!

Royal Freckles 10-08-2008 11:06 PM

I can tell you something I used on a gelding I was working with who did the same thing. And to this day, he will stand perfectly still to be mounted.

For one, like the above mention, I had to lower the stirrup cuz he was too tall for me to get on.

After that, I kept a long line on him (12'). I would go to get on him and he would move, so I would lunge him. Not lunge him to get tired, lunge him to work him. I rarely even did full circles. Usually about 4-5 times around the pen, but I would CONSTANTLY change direction. Maybe half circle, change direction, 1/4 way around, change, mix it up, and only a few times around. Stop him and try mounting again. If he moves, start the work again. :oops: After about 4 times of this he stood still while I stood up in the stirrup. I did not put my leg over though, I did lean over the saddle. If he moved at all, I got off and worked him again. When he stood still, for me to get up, lean over, put my leg over and get off, I rewarded him by going to the middle of the pen and rubbing him. I would get on and off several more times and when he stayed still I unsaddled him and put him out.

After that, there were a couple of times, that before a ride he would move. I could work him once, and he would stand for me to get on. After that, he just stood until we were ready to go.

I know it sounds like a lot of work (and it is) but it is not a quick fix, done properly, it is a problem solver and you can move on to working on other things.

Another thing you need to make sure you are not doing is mounting and immediatly moving off. Horses get in the habit of that and they will start moving sooner and sooner and pretty soon they are moving as you try to mount.

Royal Freckles 10-08-2008 11:13 PM

I can tell you something I used on a gelding I was working with who did the same thing. And to this day, he will stand perfectly still to be mounted.

For one, like the above mention, I had to lower the stirrup cuz he was too tall for me to get on.

After that, I kept a long line on him (12'). I would go to get on him and he would move, so I would lunge him. Not lunge him to get tired, lunge him to work him. I rarely even did full circles. Usually about 4-5 times around the pen, but I would CONSTANTLY change direction. Maybe half circle, change direction, 1/4 way around, change, mix it up, and only a few times around. Stop him and try mounting again. If he moves, start the work again. :oops: After about 4 times of this he stood still while I stood up in the stirrup. I did not put my leg over though, I did lean over the saddle. If he moved at all, I got off and worked him again. When he stood still, for me to get up, lean over, put my leg over and get off, I rewarded him by going to the middle of the pen and rubbing him. I would get on and off several more times and when he stayed still I unsaddled him and put him out.

After that, there were a couple of times, that before a ride he would move. I could work him once, and he would stand for me to get on. After that, he just stood until we were ready to go.

I know it sounds like a lot of work (and it is) but it is not a quick fix, done properly, it is a problem solver and you can move on to working on other things.

Another thing you need to make sure you are not doing is mounting and immediatly moving off. Horses get in the habit of that and they will start moving sooner and sooner and pretty soon they are moving as you try to mount.

Ottakee 10-09-2008 08:34 AM

First, I would check saddle fit and placement. If it is hurting him at all, he will want to avoid you riding. Does he have any signs of back pain, dry spots under the saddle, etc?

I have the same thing with my horse. His saddle fit well but I have to use a mounting block and he would move around. I went to a Kathleen Lindley www.kathleenlindley.com clinic to audit and she talked about this. She said you slowly move the horse up to the mounting block. As long as they are moving towards where they need to be to mount you just have them take it one step at a time. At the FIRST step though away, to the side, etc. you quickly and firmly (but not harsh) turn them around with the reins (with YOU still on the mounting block) and send them back to start again.

This might take many tries for them to figure out that it is much easier to just stand there than it is to keep moving all around. Then she would have the rider just wiggle the saddle so the horse squares up and then get down, lead the horse around, and start over. After a few times of this, she would have the rider put some weight in the stirrup, but not get on. Lead the horse around, and then go back. Then the rider would get on, sit for a minute without asking or letting the horse walk off, and then dismount. Finally, after many times, the rider would get on and actually ride.

I would plan some time in the round pen or small arena to practice this--somewhere safe where your horse can't really get too far away from you if they do pull away. Plan LOTS of time to work on this. Then the next day, plan lots of extra time as well. This is not something to work on when you have a group waiting to go out on a trail ride.

This method worked very well for me. My guy has not taken a step away since I got this down. I understand the lunging one but I am not very coordinated to get that all done and this method was less work and stress on me as well.

loosie 10-09-2008 07:36 PM

Agree with Ottakee that the very first thing is to check his saddle... back, neck, teeth, etc. Rule out pain before treating it as a training issue. Balance International have some good info on their website if you need it.


On that note, I would not be using a stirrup to hoist yourself up from the ground - at least while training & as a rule. Even a perfectly balanced & braced horse with a perfectly fitting saddle & perfect rider will feel some level of discomfort as he's pulled(often dragged) off balance if only for a second, especially if he's too big for you to spring up on. Therefore I recommend using a mounting block to make it as easy as possible. Ensuring he's trained to allow you to mount from either side will also even out the amount of discomfort he feels, especially when you come to mount from the ground.


It's either the actual mounting or your riding that he's got a problem with, so I would also want to rule out problem riding - ensure you're sitting balanced & riding him well - get someone experienced to evalate this who can tell whether he's uncomfortable & unhappy with you up there.

Below is a post I wrote previously on this issue...

MOUNTING



Basically the trick is, work towards what you want in baby steps, persevere at whatever stage while he's moving away and reinforce his smallest 'tries' along the way. Make the 'Right' things easy and Good and the 'Wrong' things difficult and unpleasant. It will be easier & more effective - & fun for you both - if you add positive reinforcement(something Good) such as a treat, scratch on the withers, etc to the negative reinforcement(taking away a Bad Thing) of removing pressure. This is effectively the principle of desensitising & training a horse for anything.



Starting from scratch, maneuver him into position beside the mounting block and then stand on it & get into position. I expect he's already started moving by now? Just keep putting him back there & repeat it until he decides to stand. *the instant* he does, reinforce him positively(reward) with a treat or scratch & negatively (remove pressure) by getting down.



Once he's good about standing at the mounting block & allowing you to be there, for a while, just standing to begin with, then fussing with stirrups, etc, then the next step can be foot in the stirrup. Or even an intermediate step of standing facing him & leaning on the saddle as if you're about to pull yourself up. Hold the reins short but not tight so long as he's standing, but when he moves, tighten them a little to add a bit more discomfort to his 'Wrong' behaviour. The instant he stands still, drop the pressure - reins and weight/intent - to reinforce the behaviour. Repeat this until you're putting on and taking off the pressure without the horse moving.


While you're working towards training him to be mounted alone, it will help if you've got a helper for this bit, to minimise the difficulty and amount of time you're hanging off the side! Don't try to stop him from moving away, but with your helper, try to ensure you stay with him, foot in that stirrup, so his behaviour doesn't work for him. The instant he stops, reinforce that. Repeat the process until he stands to allow your foot in the stirrup. Remember to repeat(reinforce) this successful step many times without going any further. This is the step that is hardest for you & the horse, so make sure it's really strong & well ingrained.

It's also a good idea to increase the time you stand there(horse's patience) in small increments AFTER you've got him doing it for a short time, as with the above. When the horse has mastered the above, start keeping your foot in the stirrups for longer before removing. If he gets antsey, just hold a little pressure on the reins & go with it until he stops, again reinforcing immediately.

The next step would be half mounting. You might start this by bouncing up & down, between the ground & standing in the stirrup, or you might start by standing & staying up in the stirrup until the horse is still. Depends on how safe you feel at this point. Either way, negatively reinforce immediately he stands. Repeat this exercise as for the above before putting a leg over & doing the same.

It will also be beneficial to work on this in very short sessions rather than trying to get it happening all at once. You can do about as many 5 minute sessions each day as you like, so long as you break them up with some stress free relaxation or games in between. Even if this also is only a few minutes.

After the pony has learned all this, it will also be to your advantage to continue these exercises regularly for a while, without necessarily getting on. Then do them less often, until it is just occasionally and when you need to. Once he learns that he can and that it's easier to stand and brace himself for you, he will choose to do this, so long as what follows isn't too hard or unpleasant for him.


I realise this all sounds rather tedious & long winded, but whatever method you use, there is no quick fix to good training. Also, while initially it will indeed be tedious, as you progress & he gets the idea, it will get quicker & easier to get what you want from him, and you will find that handling his fears or problems in this way will show him you're considerate & fair and will enhance your whole relationship. These lessons will also rub off on other issues, making them much easier & quicker to deal with.


Best wishes & have fun!

creepalurkin 10-09-2008 10:15 PM

I think the saddle and stuff is all fitting him well. No sores or anything funky like that. I don't even think I'm comfortable with mounting from the ground... I feel like saddle will slip and even if it doesn't, it pulls the horse and might cause more problems in the future. I'll definately try the suggestions though! Thank you!


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