Walking off while getting on! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Walking off while getting on!

Hello horse people!
I know there has to be a thread on this somewhere, but I thought I'd pose this question one more time. How do you stop your horse from moving while you are trying to get on? I love my horse dearly, but she tries my patience after about 30 minutes of her ignoring me and trying to walk off while I'm trying to get on. And it's not that she is a young horse; she is at least 25 (we don't how old she was when we got her), and she is a solid, bombproof horse. But the little cuss blatantly ignores me when I'm trying to mount up. How do I fix this? I've tried spinning her around in circles until she stops, mounting facing her (if that makes any sense), etc. And I feel guilty, but after about 30-45 minutes, I really start to loose patience. To her credit, she is great at just about everything else. She's a bit barn sour, but gets better with each ride, and she stumbles a little bit on the trail, but she is an older horse. So any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 08:53 PM
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Has she always done this or is it new? I'm wondering if she maybe sore somewhere. At 25, if she has always done it, you are going to have an issue training it out of her, if it's new then you need to find out why.

Having said that my QH was a pain when we first got him, and I was spinning him around, lunging him around the block etc. My trainer fixed it...she went to mount, he moved off, she got after him with her voice and slapped him on the shoulder a couple of times while he backed up with an offended look on his face. She then calmly led him up again and he stood like a rock. Now he is usually good, but when he tries it on, I just get after him, and he remembers his manners

“Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”
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post #3 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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It's very interesting how the mounting issue with her has been going; when I first got her she was horribly underweight (the vet said at least 200 pounds underweight) and she had deplorable ground manners. I was of course fascinated with her since she is my first and only horse so far and I'm still a teenager. But I worked with her every day on standing still and she eventually got very good at it. Then we had a "disagreement" with the boarding facility and she basically threw a tantrum because I wouldn't let her ride my underweight, 25 year old horse with a heart murmur on her two hour long trail rides so she could make herself a profit and made us leave. We moved her over to our just finished pasture, and because I don't have any other horses, she was naturally very nervous being by herself. I stayed with her every spare minute but I eventually had to leave to go to school again in September. Then I had the good fortune of next-door neighbors that moved in with two horses of their own. I've been trying to extend the fence so that she can see them and be more at ease (after all, horses are herd animals). So yesterday I did an experiment, because whenever she would try to walk off it would be to leave the driveway. After my usual routine of frustration I decided to just walk beside her and see where she would go without leading her. And she marched straight up to the blacktop road and turned left. But because I don't trust her on the road, I led her back onto our driveway and she took the trail that we made right over to the neighbors horses. Once she saw them she settled down instantly and let me climb on without much of a fuss. With that said, I know that I should get her a companion, but I am an unemployed 16 year old (my parents won't let me work) who has to do chores to earn the $87.00 a month it takes to feed her and I can barely make enough money to keep up with her expenses because of her nasty reoccurring eye infection. I'd love if I could get my neighbor to ride with me again but her schedule is busy. It's my personal opinion that she has done well going on trails with only me for company, but I think that if she had a companion (or even just see other horses) she would be more comfortable leaving the pasture and maybe stop being to barn sour. (sorry, I got a bit carried away!)
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-25-2015, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 17mwallingford View Post
she is at least 25 (we don't how old she was when we got her), and she is a solid, bombproof horse. But the little cuss blatantly ignores
First & foremost, she's not a 'little cuss' and she is not ignoring you! Although if she could talk, she might say exactly the same about you. She's at least 25yo, was in bad condition when you got her, you don't say if as well as gaining condition & fitness before riding her, that you had the saddle checked lately for fit, or whether she had any chiropractic treatment or such - at 25yo, saddle or otherwise, it's highly likely she has at least some body issues, which might be causing her pain to be ridden, and she might be trying to tell you that, in the only way she can, but you're 'blatantly ignoring' her.

I've tried spinning her around in circles until she stops, mounting facing her
Pain aside, have you tried reinforcing her for doing the RIGHT thing, rather than just trying to punish the 'wrong'? Instead of just focussing on making the 'wrong' things unpleasant, focus as much or more so on making the 'right' things Good for her. Eg. when she stands still, tell her 'stand'(or whatever cue) and give her a treat, scratch or such. When she moves away, put her back where you want her, say 'stand' & reward her for being there. When you put your foot in the stirrup & she moves, keep your foot there, pull her around to a stop, then reinforce her positively(reward) and negatively(remove pressure; your foot) for being where you want her.

and she stumbles a little bit on the trail,
That could be a number of things, but IS something to attend to & not ignore. It could be that her feet are not well balanced, long toes or such. Could be that her feet are weak/hurting somehow. Could be that the trail is a bit rough for her. Could be saddlefit restricting her shoulders & hurting her, making her 'clumsy'. Could be a body issue, could be her eyes...
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-25-2015, 01:36 AM
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I agree with Loosie.

Regardless of age, 30-45 minutes of schooling is a lot if you are only working on standing still while mounting.

Are you using a mounting block or are you mounting from the ground? While it is a good skill for a horse and rider to be able to mount from the ground, hopefully it is a rare occurrence.
Here's a video that shows how much torque getting on from the ground places on a horse's spine and back muscles. You can imagine that if you are doing this over and over, the horse could end up very sore:


Practicing getting on from the ground could be enough to make the horse sore and resistant to standing while being mounted.
Rather than drilling on this, I'd just practice the "whoa" while riding and make sure I had a good, solid stop whenever I asked. Then when getting on, if the horse started to move off, I'd use my "whoa" and make the horse stand for about 5 seconds. This is more productive than getting off and on.
I'd never make a horse back after mounting because some horses start to anticipate and back up while you're getting on, so you end up on their neck if you're not fast enough.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-25-2015, 02:29 AM
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I had a similar issue with my horse. He was also a couple hundred pounds underweight, 19, and had some attitude problems towards me. Nothing dangerous, but just enough for him to get across his absolute disdain for me.

When I started riding him I used a metal crate as a mounting block. He would never stand still next to it. If he even so much as heard it move he'd side step away. It was incredibly frustrating. When he would move away I'd immediately stop what I was doing and quickly move him in a sort of pattern I formed of walking and verbal "hoe" cues to stop him at random intervals. All with my hands off the reins, he was expected to do exactly as asked off the verbal cues alone. This got him paying attention to me and in the habit of obeying my voice. I'd do that once or twice (or sometimes three times!) and then he'd stand still for mounting without a fuss. Once I'd successfully mounted he'd get lots of praise and we'd sit still without moving off for a few minutes.

Slowly I was able to halt his side stepping with a sharp, verbal "ack!!" and then I'd move him back to the crate and we'd be successful. Then I began work on moving him close to rocks for mounting, fence boards, decking, even standing him in a ditch. It took a while because I didn't want to escalate the situation every time but after about a year I had a horse I can easily mount off the ground or any nearby object on the first try with no objection.

It's also worth noting that during this time I was really stressing on getting him to listen to my voice so I also never tied him for grooming or tacking up. He learned to stand still nicely wherever I put him and I think that ultimately helped the mounting problem.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-25-2015, 08:45 AM
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My first thought would be with your trying to mount from the ground on any horse...
Well, regardless of how much you weigh that is a lot of pressure to the spine and back muscles as you heave your weight from the ground, now twist and swing astride and then settle on the back...
A lot of twisting and turning of your horses back....more than most realize.
Try a mounting block.

However, you need to be able to mount anyplace, anytime in case you "dismount" where you were not planning {fall off}.
Not being mean but firm to the horse....have you tried facing her into your fence if she walks off as you get astride... she can't walk forward and you need to be astride in a second, NOT hanging off her making her unbalanced and her needing to move to stay upright.
She is a older horse you say, and yes...you do need to take that into consideration of her muscle tone and strengths...and her old learned behaviors.

I also get your horse wants to see the neighbors horses and have some companionship, but caution it not become a "sour" attitude and you not be able to ride or leave those "friends"....it can happen in a hurry that change of attitude.

Just some thoughts on what I have also experienced and had some successes at when I had similar issues with my horses....

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post #8 of 17 Old 11-25-2015, 10:38 AM
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1. find someone who wants to board their horse in your pasture. An old retired pony or small horse for example.

2. assuming this is not pain-caused, break it into smaller pieces. Master each piece completely (you would bet $100 that your horse can do this successfully) befpre going on to the next one.

a. standing still on command for one minute (use a watch)
b. standing still next to a mounting block on command for one minute.
c. standing still next to a mounting block while you are standing on the block, for one minute.
d. standing still next to a mounting block while you are standing on it raising your arms and legs, gathering and loosening the reins, etc.
e. while you are putting your foot in the stirrup, putting your weight in the stirrup, taking it out of the stirrup.
f. while you are swinging up and immediately getting off
g. while you are swinging up and sitting still for one minute and then getting off

I suggest that every time she stands still for a slow count of five, give her a tiny treat. Never treat unless she has stood still for that long. After she always does this, make it a count of ten.

After each of these lessons PUT HER AWAY. If you finish the lesson by scrambling on while she's walking off, you may as well not have bothered.

Once you've gotten all the way to being able to get on and sit on an immobile horse for five minutes, you can start riding her off afterward. But then make it a firm habit to mount and sit there without moving for a noticeable time (I say a Hail Mary under my breath), every time you ride.
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-26-2015, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Avna View Post
make it a firm habit to mount and sit there without moving for a noticeable time (I say a Hail Mary under my breath), every time you ride.
Ha ha!
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post #10 of 17 Old 11-26-2015, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
Ha ha!
I try to multitask . . .
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