Help - horse moves away when trying to mount - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-13-2015, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Help - horse moves away when trying to mount

I have had my horse about six months and have been riding him in the arena. I have to use a mounting block to get on. I had a little trouble at first but got to where I could get on him without someone holding him. He usually moves a little but could get on.

Last night I had to ride him in the round pen and there is just a concrete block to use for mounting. I lunged him for about 10 minutes and then tried to mount. He would back up or move away. I would try for about 15 minutes and then lunge him again. For about 3-4 minutes and then try again. This went on for over an hour and I never could get on. I know he could feel how frustrated I was.

I want to try again tonight. Should I have someone go with me just to hold him while I get on? Should I try by myself first. If I do get on, should I keep practicing mounting and dismounting? Once I mount him he will stand still so I don't have a problem with him walking off. Not sure how to fix this issue - help?
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-13-2015, 06:44 PM
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It will take time and patience to train him to stand still while you are mounting. First of all, cut out the working part whenever he walks off-this is not really teaching him anything as it isn't directly related to the problem. You have about 2 seconds to correct a horse and it must be done during the misbehavior.

Line him up with the mounting block. Position the reins just snug enough that you can pull him back when he moves. Act like you are going to put your foot in the stirrup. If he moves, pull him back to "whoa" and then release. Catch him in the act of that first step forward. Do it over and over again. (Boring and tedious isn't it?!) Move onto actually putting your foot in the stirrup and do the same thing over and over.

One of the best things you can teach your horse (and not just while mounting) is that Whoa means Whoa, no ifs, ands or buts! Stop, hold still and don't move until I tell you otherwise. Don't use the Whoa word unless you mean it and mean it when you say it. (And if you are a woman, get rid of the high pitched little girl voice-speak long and low and horses will listen) Consistency, repetition, patience and lots of time is what horse training really is. If you are willing to take the time to show him what you want, you'll have a great horse that is never a problem.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-13-2015, 07:30 PM
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Something I have done with a horse that doesn't stand well at the mounting block is after I have finished riding I go over and dismount on to the mounting block then spend some time there just having the horse stand still (they are often more co-operative after riding). I will scratch the horse or rub his shoulder etc and then if he is standing quietly, maybe lay over his back a few times or put my foot in the stirrup then out again. They soon get used to you just fooling around and do learn to stand quietly for all this.
You could even try this sometime when you are not riding, do some ground work and then spend time at the mounting block.
I treat mounting and dismounting as part of my lesson program for all horses. If I have a young horse not ready to ride they all spend time at the mounting block just standing while I do things like lean on them or brush them or walk around them and they all learn to stand still for all this.
As Chasing Ponies said teach your horse to whoa and that means a compete stop with all four feet and stand. That one thing has saved my bacon a few times over the years so I consider it very important.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-13-2015, 07:36 PM
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When I got my new horse last October he was the biggest wiggle worm EVER about mounting...I tried EVERYTHING...backing him, circling him actually lunging him, just saying no....nothing was working. Finally I decided to teach him to come to me, hes a very treat motivated horse. First I got him used to my dressage whip, then taught him to move the body part I was tapping with it...so I'd tap the leg that needed to move forward...

Now hes where the patience comes in..I stood on that block and would tap for him to come forward. If he did it, we rested, if he passed me, I laughed at him and we started over. I stayed relaxed and and just laughed it off and that seemed to help him too. Also when he "lined up" to me the right way he got a cookie. Once he was getting the hang of that the cookies stopped, and he had to wait till I was on for his cookie...and then we'd flex to get a good stretch in too! He never knows if he may just be getting 1 cookie or 3 (not often) so he always waits patiently. Its kind of like clicker training minus the clicker, I'm too uncoordinated for that. He doesn't get grabby or anxious for the cookie either, he knows he has to stand calmly. I feel like this is the best thing I've EVER taught him though, I can now get him to line up to ANYTHING on the trail so I can get back on if I had to hop off for something. I also just use teeny tiny Buckeye's no sugar added horse treats...so I don't feel too guilty for giving him a few.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-13-2015, 11:07 PM
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I utilized that when teaching a horse I used to ride to line up to the block. he'd only ever been mounted from the groun, but I cant. using patience, treats, a touch of the whip and more. but, having a horse ok with something over his head (you on the block), and something coming over his back from one eye to the other as you swing over is real imortant. and getting them ok with movement, swishing, brushing their sides, the saddle banging on them, your leg accidently touching them.

my current mount, who I rarely have the chance to ride, has some anxiety about mounting blocks, but I thinkit's more tension about things that are above him. quite normal for a prey animal.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-14-2015, 03:26 AM
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Though I am mounting from the ground (I am tall and my horse is a 153cm Arabian), I agree with the pony chaser above regarding catching him in the act.
My mare is 5, was started this past spring (I took her in April) and we have had "lots of fun" learning to mount. She would be cool, then she would take off and I would eat some dust (on three occasions it happened). Problem was solved by not mounting, but pretending to be about to mount and making her stand still. Many times - saddling, leading out, standing next to her, putting the leg in the stirrup, then releasing, then some weight and so one, slowly. Took about two weeks to get rid of the bolting episodes and has not happened since.
I suppose in your case it could be replaced by leading up to the block - might make her more comfortable.

With regard to lunging - I know it works for many, but it did not for us. The bolting only happened after she had been lunged. May be a coincidence, but the moment I decided to stop lunging was when the bolting stopped (combined with the repetitions above so not sure what contributed more). Perhaps she would get too excited being lunged (though she did not really demonstrate it).
My feeling is that she learnt to trust and it was not necessary to get her dead tired to proceed. All along, an established trainer and former successful competitive rider (half a century in the horse world) was adamant that by not lunging her I will end up injured as "this is what you do with a young horse to be safer". My point is that these creatures are also individuals and one size does not fit all.

Last - I also had someone hold her 2-3 times even after I already felt that we had reached the "safe" level of mutual understanding regarding mounting.
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-14-2015, 10:57 AM
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If the horse is moving away from the mounting block, lunging them as a "correction" gives them exactly what they want: to move away from the block.

I like evilamc's idea, of breaking it down into steps.

How I did it was play ring around the rosie on the mounting block (aka I was standing on it, and directing him to stand next to it, if he moved then I had him circle the block so it was always close by his side with enough room so he didn't bang into it), and praise him when he lined up properly. I also working on parking him near the block and standing up on it. If he moved I reset the activity, if he didn't he then got lots of pats and scratches on his wither, which he enjoyed.

As long as I amconfident, he's confident.
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-14-2015, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
If the horse is moving away from the mounting block, lunging them as a "correction" gives them exactly what they want: to move away from the block.
that depends on why the horse is moving away from the mounting block.
is he moving away becuase he is scared or anxious about you being over his back or above his head, or you getting too close to his vulnerable hindquarters?

or is his just so savvy that he knows he can keep you from mounting, and thus keep from work, by swinging his butt out.?



If there is a fear issue, then I would not approach him with any sort of "punishment" idea. no thought of "making" him do anything. I'd probably work on hiaving him near me as I stand on the block, move my hands around a bit, and not worry too much about his hind end, but work on having him ok with me close to his front, then progressively work back. Or, get on the ground and do some work just touching his hind end, and throwing a rope up on him or brushing him with your sweater, and if he needs to move around a bit, let him, until he doesn't feel so worried about it. this might be too much for someone of your level to try, but I'm mentioning it to add it to the discussion.

if the horse is savvy and naughty, I'd feel a lot firmer with him, and maybe I d make him move around a bit and try again, but it would be a fast/hard move around, not a stroll.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-14-2015, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
If the horse is moving away from the mounting block, lunging them as a "correction" gives them exactly what they want: to move away from the block.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
that depends on why the horse is moving away from the mounting block.
is he moving away becuase he is scared or anxious about you being over his back or above his head, or you getting too close to his vulnerable hindquarters?

or is his just so savvy that he knows he can keep you from mounting, and thus keep from work, by swinging his butt out.?



If there is a fear issue, then I would not approach him with any sort of "punishment" idea. no thought of "making" him do anything. I'd probably work on hiaving him near me as I stand on the block, move my hands around a bit, and not worry too much about his hind end, but work on having him ok with me close to his front, then progressively work back. Or, get on the ground and do some work just touching his hind end, and throwing a rope up on him or brushing him with your sweater, and if he needs to move around a bit, let him, until he doesn't feel so worried about it. this might be too much for someone of your level to try, but I'm mentioning it to add it to the discussion.

if the horse is savvy and naughty, I'd feel a lot firmer with him, and maybe I d make him move around a bit and try again, but it would be a fast/hard move around, not a stroll.
My approach isn't to punish the horse, but to keep setting the horse up where I want him to be, and then proceeding to the next step. This works with fearful horses

As for horses being naughty, depending on the horse, it also tends to work. But if a horse moves while you're trying to mount by only stepping up on the block, they are creating distance between themselves and the block. If you then chase a horse away from the block, you create more distance and also get them hyped up. Or if you get off the block and calmly go lunge the horse, then that does absolutely nothing to help with the standing while mounted issue.

This is just from my experience, I'm not a professional but I have dealt with a few problem horses, younger horses, and stubborn lesson horses. I didn't see any benefit from chasing them off because that is what they wanted to do, but it may work for some just not for the horses I've worked with.

ETA: If he swings his butt away from the block then I'd keep asking him to yield his butt quickly, while I stood on the block, until he felt he was done. If he then tried to pull me off the block, I'd keep directing him until he stood still by the block. If he did, then he got to stand quietly.

There are probably flaws in what I do, but it's been successful so far with the horses I've worked with. Especially my initially terrified/spooky/uneducated horse.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-18-2015, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all the great advice. Going to start with baby steps and see what I can accomplish.
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