Help - horse moves away when trying to mount - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 09-19-2015, 04:03 PM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan, USA
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I have found that making the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy makes a horse choose the right thing. When my mare started taking steps back from the mounting block, I just kept backing her up (jumping off the block) for quite a few steps. After correcting her 3 times in a row, she quit backing up. Then, down the road, she started swinging her butt away from the block. I pulled her into a tight circle (same direction she was swinging) and made her go around me twice. It only took two times of that. She has stood still for mounting since then.
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post #12 of 14 Old 09-19-2015, 11:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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I took a similar approach. I just was working on this last week. I put the mounting block so I had a "lane" between it and the fence. That eliminated one direction she could move away. Then I had her in her rope halter and led her to the block, told her to stand, and stood up on the block.

I did all sorts of stuff besides mounting. Scratching her butt, patting the saddle, putting my foot in and out of the stirrups, messing with her mane, etc. If she moved, she went forward, I could pull her around and direct her back and forth through that "lane" until she stopped nicely at it. This way she couldn't escape the block by being naughty.

When she did stop nicely at it, I gave her what she wanted. I got down and scratched her ears. Then I got back up again and we worked on it again, until I could get on her, then immediately get off her without her moving.

Once on her, I spend a minute practicing flexing so she assumes the first thing we're going to do when I'm in the saddle is stand and flex, not move off. I don't want her to anticipate moving off.

Once she was solid near the fence, we worked on it in the center of the ring. Now she is doing really well.

Word of caution, if you have a horse that pulls you with a rope halter on, you want to do more ground work, because you don't want it to pull you off the block and hurt something.

Anyway, it's working for me.

Make the right thing easy and comfortable, the wrong thing uncomfortable, and remember to reward the first few good behavior with what the horse wants, instead of what it doesn't want, (you hopping on its back and working)

Good luck, and patience!
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post #13 of 14 Old 09-20-2015, 02:27 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oregon
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I used clicker training as a previous post mentioned, to teach my horse to stand still for mounting. I would say it is one of the quickest and most successful and long-lasting training that I've done with my horse.

My horse was a young (5 year old) wiggly but good natured gelding. He just didn't know or care about standing still at the mounting block. Considering that this is one of the 'danger' areas in riding (you just can't react well to a spook or anything when you are '1/2 on and 1/2 off' during mounting), I thought it was extremely important to get this addressed.

So I started by just introducing the clicker training in the stables with a small thing (looking away from me). This gave him the whole idea of the clicker/treat positive reinforcement approach. Then, I lined him up at the mounting block and rewarded 'successive approximations' (each time he stood correctly for a little longer) until he got the idea that standing still lined up was what I wanted. Then I waited to reward until after I got on. This all took a few sessions (maybe a week?). From then on (this was almost 2 years ago), he has ALWAYS stood still for me. And, not only stood still, but he has his attention on ME and not on anything else that might be going on around him.

I give him one small treat. I vary which side I give it on as he will anticipate and want to turn in one direction or the other instead of staying straight while I mount. I sometimes just don't have a treat, so he does't always get it. I also make him wait a bit after the treat before I have him walk off. I used the clicker (or a click sound with my tongue) during the initial training period, but don't use it now that it is an established behavior.

Note that I did not start with any issues such as anxiety about mounting or pain or previous bad experiences. Those may require additional training ideas.

One of the best sites I know of to learn about clicker training is called ConnectionTraining. Hope that is helpful.
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post #14 of 14 Old 09-22-2015, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
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Originally Posted by Pearsj View Post
Thanks everyone for all the great advice. Going to start with baby steps and see what I can accomplish.
You have a lot of good advice to work with the only thing I might add is that staying on top of your horse to stand still in other situations such as grooming and tacking, will help reinforce your training.
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