Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Unless you're under 5 foot or using a track saddle, you should still be able to mount from the ground - but you can use a sturdy little stool if you must. I would do this on good soft ground, like in a sand arena - it will make you feel less nervous about any accidents.
1. Drop the stirrup down as long as I can (although I never go to the last hole, only the second last, as it leaves more to tuck and is therefore more secure)
2. Using a tight left rein held at the base of the withers or at the pommel, bring her head around til she's looking at you - a lot harder for her to rear or run like this, and she'll only be able to turn around you, so you'll not have any trouble getting your foot in the stirrup
3. Put my left food in the stirrup, as normal
4. Spring up, but not throw my leg over, just stand on one side and lean over the saddle slightly (be ready to bail if things get dangerous)
5. Count to 5
6. Get back to ground
7. Repeat 3 times - but after about 3 goes, take a break and do something non-stressful with her like work on her leading manners, then go back and see if she'll allow you to mount nice and quietly, and if you have less nerves.
Once she's worked out that mounting doesn't equal pain (assuming that all physical issues have been sorted and saddle fit is good) and in fact mounting doesn't even necessarily equal work, she should stop giving you problems, and meanwhile you'll stop associating mounting with pain (i.e. being thrown) and you'll be able to regain your nerves safely. It's a lot easier to bail if you're only on one side BUT only bail if things really get dangerous, not at the first sign of irritation/stress from your horse, or it'll reinforce her understanding that she can get out of work by playing up during mounting.
Worked with my boy - he never reared but he worked out that spinning and scooting made my life a whole lot harder. And I felt a lot more in control when the only place he could go was around me in a tight circle. Now mounting is one thing he does perfectly (he's a bag of trouble in other areas still) - halts, lets me mount from anything, waits til I've adjusted stirrups and girth and only when I ask does he move off.