Step 1 - Mount the Horse
Doesn't that sound easy?
We all know how to mount. Grasp reins in left hand, face horse, place left foot in stirrup, swing up and settle lightly into the saddle.
For this plus rider, it's not easy at all!
First of all, placing foot in stirrup puts my bent knee above my hip. Result? I cannot straighten that left leg to swing up.
Ok, lets get the mounting block out!
Hmmm, same problem. It seems my belly is too big to allow me to get close enough to the horse to gracefully mount.
Hubby holds off stirrup so saddle won't shift under my weight.
I stand on the stool, place left foot in stirrup and grunt while I try to literally climb my way up the side of the very patient gelding, Chip. No doubt he's wondering what the heck I'm doing!:lol:
Pull grunt pull grunt, leg comes up and I'm balanced on my belly over the saddle while my right leg scrapes across his butt. Ooooo graceful!
I hear hubby's encouragement while the horse snorts derisively.
I'm up! In the saddle! Oh boy I made it! Joy and happiness!
Hubby is happy. Chip licks his lips, wondering what took so long?
Maybe next time it will be more graceful, eh?:wink:
This was actually an accomplishment for me since Chip hasn't been ridden since last year, but he was such a good boy, patiently standing there over three attempts of his owner/rider huffing and puffing her way up his side, while his buddy Nick was offended at being left in the pasture so he was running up and down, calling to Chip and bucking and carrying on.
Congrats on getting up there - it's more than I can do! I have to use a picnic table or the handicapped mounting blocks at the lake we usually ride at.
When I rode my Dancer on that first/last trail ride, I hadn't seen the mounting blocks my daughter had been telling me about. Now, I really want one just like those! That mounting block was actually wheelchair accessible, and was up tall enough that all I had to do was swing my leg over - not a very easy feat, but I did manage it without looking like too much of a sideshow. Daughter nearly fainted from excitement that Dancer put up no fuss about that block, either. (Or my fat backside getting on!)
I think that block made it so easy for me to mount that I was able to settle into the saddle very gently - which I'm sure Dancer appreciated. I have been fussing at my sons in law to build me a home version of that mounting block. When hubby saw it, he started fussing at them too - he had a stroke several years ago, and can't get on a horse anymore due to left side deficits. That block would make it fairly easy for him. We would need to find him a new horse, since his was killed about a year ago, but it would be wonderful for him to be able to ride again (his doctor would even like to see him ride - it would help with his balance!)
Maybe some day our fussing will pay off, and we can ride at home! (At least we can once my foot finishes healing up and I can get a boot on again!)
I use a mounting block or a tall bucket...or the fence...or the tailgate of the truck..or or or. LOL. Basically, I use to be able to jump up and go. But my senior year of highschool, I was kicked by one of my show steers, and it cracked my hip. Ever since, it hurts to bad to put all my weight on my right leg. Then 3 yrs ago I broke my tail bone...twice. So that makes it hard to put my foot up in the stirrup without pinching something horrible. I've given up on mounting without a block.
Now my problem comes in that I can't really mount up on the trail without climbing on something. I've seen those extra long stirrup things, but I don't see how those would help. Someone I know rides with one of the 3 legged stools. She has it on a rope, and attached to the horn. So when she mounts, she pulls it up and stores it in her saddle bag/behind her saddle. I may have to do that.
I'm out of the cast, now, but the foot is still way too swollen to get my stupid boot on. I've threatened to ride in my tennis shoes...which may be why the sons in law haven't built my mounting block.:-(
Daughter was riding her little mare yesterday, and letting her kids ride around on the lead line for a little while. Dancer came over and put her nose on my shoulder as if to ask when we were going to go again...:-)
I hate mounting.. I had a 16.2hh friesian stud barrel down the arena with me and the saddle hanging on his side because friesians are practically witherless and the saddle slid off. I am 6'2 and rarely find it necessary to use a mounting block, as I always thought they were intended for people that couldn't reach the stirrups. Now I realize - after doing a face plant into the arena sand - that mounting from a block is a lot more helpful than that.
I feel so vulnerable when I mount. Like for those few seconds while I'm pulling myself up into the saddle, the horse could do anything. If my horse doesn't stand still while I mount, I get very agitated and aggressive toward fixing that problem. I remember at Sav's second show I walked her around the first 20 mins because I was just afraid to swing up - I wasn't afraid of what she'd do once I got in the saddle, I just get so nervous that between the time my right foot leaves the ground and enters the stirrup on the other side of the horse, so many things could go wrong.
So I'm <fairly> in shape for a big girl. I have no trouble mounting with a block or dismounting for that matter...without a block? That's another story!
I'm 5'10" which is pretty darn tall, BUT I'm all torso and my GUT is where I happen to carry most of my, ahem....bulk. Short legged and long/round bellied is NOT the ideal physique for mounting a horse from the ground. My belly and boobs make it almost impossible for me to get into a good position to hoist myself from ground to saddle, and my weight makes the saddle slip. IT SUCKS!
Just yesterday out on trail we hit a stretch of paved road that was covered in pine needles (disastrous for a horse wearing shoes) and I felt the safest way to get down the road was for me to get off. Well we got to the grass and my skinny friend who weighs no more than 110 pounds had to help me back into the saddle! I didn't want her to hurt her shoulder or back giving me a leg up, so I did my best and got about 3/4 of the way up and she gave me the final SHOVE I needed to pull myself all the way up. Embarassing? Eh....no not really. Funny, YOU BET!
Being chunky + getting into the saddle from the ground= not so easy!
I am around 5'6", 200 lbs. I always try to find what I call a "strategic mounting area" out on the trail. Either a stump, ravine, rock, indentation in the ground, etc.
For some reason I have trouble getting my foot to the stirrup (OMG, I never thought about it until you guys mentioned it, but it could be my belly!), but once I do, I can get myself up (if the saddle holds, lol!). My normal sized friend told me the other day to "just get on the horse, Zane is going to be a whole lot bigger." Zane is my yearling colt who the vet is always telling me is going to be huge. :lol:
Did I mention my horses are 14.3 and 15.1, hardly that tall. For some reason the 14.3 horse is just as hard to mount as the 15.1 horse. I think it is because the 14.3 horse is built like a tank and his barrel holds the stirrups out farther away from him.
Anyway, yes, I feel your pain! I was so happy that my Fox Trotter has withers! She holds a saddle a lot better than the short tanky Mustang. He is like trying to keep a saddle on a barrel!
PS. I tried a stirrup extender one time and didn't like it. Because it hung lower than my normal stirrup position I had trouble clearing the cantle.
I have a problem getting my foot up because of my back I tried the extender and it did not work it was to low and I could not get my other leg over the horse.
I hate my 5'5 friend that thinks he's sooo cool because he can swing up - saddle or not - just by JUMPING up there. Grabs a tuft of mane and 2 seconds later he's on the horse. NOT FAIR
Honestly, I've never been able to mount from the ground very well. I'm only 5'1", so even in my younger, slimmer days, mounting was a challenge, since my horses were a tad tall. (My first horse was a 16hh 2 year old draft cross - would have been a HUGE mistake since I new nothing about horses, but hubby and all our friends were horsey, so it wasn't so bad. Then again, Snoopy was a real sweetheart). I had to jump up to grab the saddle horn, just so I could jump with enough stability to catch my foot in the stirrup. Then, because my knee was in a bind and I couldn't lift my body with my leg, I had to pull myself up high enough to free my knee. It was pretty comical.
And Trailhorse, after my unfortunate encounter with a ravine, I think I'll not use them anymore! :-)
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