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Ex racer - mounting problems... how do i train her to the mounting block?

6710 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Nanette Levin
Hi there,

Here's a small history on my tb mare, she was raced as a 2 year old... only 3 races ... trotted past the finish line on the last race... then was sold, and sold on again to the owners i bought her from, who had no idea what to do with her as they'd only ever had ponies and they put her up for sale and a noivce girl came to ride her and kicked her in the side as she mounted and maisie bolted off and the girl didn't get back on so they sent her to a selling yard to be sold and get her schooled a little, this is where i pop up i when to view her and she was as good as gold so i thought yeah she seems prefect so i got her, bought her home and a few days later lunged her and when to get on, with a friend holding her as soon as i put my weight in to the saddle she reared up and bolted off...

after getting her back, teeth, and saddle check with no problems i put her on 2 months rest to make sure she settled in before stressing her, before winter i got on her a few time without much trouble a few rears and bucks but was alright then the winter came and had to stop work.... then spring reappeared and she's back to stage one, scared of the mounting block, saddle and riders

so basically i wanted to know how to start her back to being mounting and how i get her use to using a mounting block again....

I will say i've had her back, saddle and teeth rechecked and they are currently all good and also i have broken in ponies before but Maisie is a 16hh tb not a 12.2h pony :)

I've also purchased the retraining of racerhorses 'racing to riding' dvd but it's yet to come.... so am looking for tips and advice, ALSO has anyone else had this problem with there horses?
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Hi Hun
I have an x racer, Harry 16.3 and he had so many odd habits, he had been schooled very slightly but was pretty fresh iff the track, he had a year off for an injury then sold but the lady was very nervous so i bought him one his habits was the mounting block, on a much smaller scale but he didn't like it and wouldn't stand still and he would get agitated and try to get away (jockeys don't get on from blocks whilst the horse is standing still they do it walking) please don't think I'm patronising you if u know all this but I didn't have a clue when I got Harry! I started off for the first few weeks every day I walked him up to the mounting block with a polo or carrot and just got him to look at it and be near it then rewarded him. Then moved on once he was calmer round it to getting him to stand by it and the second he did it even if it was just for a few secinds he got his minty reward! Then I tacked him up and did the same. As I got on he would start walking off to start with but I always made him stand once on and gave him a good pat and lots of fuss. It took a few months of repetition but now I lead him up make him stand once stood I give him a pat then get on and he doesn't move till I tell him to. He use to pull away and trott off and just fidget as soon as we were near the mounting block and I thought he was incapable of standing still but it was just so foreign to him. I also used a long thin crop that I just gently placed on his backside to guide him over so he was close to it as I could get his head end there but his *** would be no where near and now I don't have to. All his funny trades were just fear, as long as I'm confident with him he gets confidence back and will willingly do anything.
I use to have a nightmare with his back legs when picking
them out he use to snatch them back like he was going to kick and start moving away and pulling back but once I leart to be firm and confident he stopped it. I had this with road signs, drains, sheep, water, the sound of water, road crossings........ even just tying him up he would lift his head and pull, snap the lead rope! I think it's just such a massive change of environment that they need repetition, routine, confidence, patience and lots of time. I had to lead him down our track by his head collar am and pm and show him the drains that go across the path as when I was on him he would just reverse and rear and freak. So I grabbed a treat and walked him so he could see it then rewarded, then got him up to it, got him sniffing it then got him over it ( jumping it to start with!!) then once he was calmer I replaced treats with pats and lots of fuss ( talking to him like I would my 18 month old girl in a proud mummy cooing voice) I never got cross or told him off as he was just generally really worried about these things and once he knew it wasn't anything to be scared of and I had reassured him of this he was a different horse!
Sorry for woffeling on and on and on and again sorry if u already know all of this!!
Best of luck and stick with it, you sound like u have loads of experience, it's just don't worry about rushing her and give her lots of general work from the ground when your tending to her daily
Abi and Harryn
Also got a thorogood saddle fitted that is great for tbs! Oh god and he use to freak when I put the numna on as well, but I just slowly, slowly kept on gently gettin him use to it!
Right rant over, good luck!
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I think you have to break down mounting at a mounting block into the necesary components, and work on them one at a time, getting full success at one before moving on to the next. If you try and force him, such as pinning him against a wall, i think you will end up having to force him for other things.

But if you work at having him do small things FOR you, earn a reward and then back away, he will start to think that HE controls this situation. He knows how to make you give him a treat. he will learn quickly and willingly with such a mindset.

What are the components of teaching a horse to stand at a mounting block?

Here's what I can think of, and I really would like other ideas.

approach something unknown , both following the human and being 'sent' by the human.
stand near "strange" thing, then walk off, rinse repeat.

STand still anywhere . Handler asks horse to just stand for a bit, where told to .

move shoulder over, move hind over, back up

Tolerate the pull of the stirrup on one side.

Tolerate something heavy on the back.

??? what else.?
I think using a treat or reward in such a situation doesn't let him control you it at all it shows him that the second he's listeners to you something nice happens and it reinforced the fact that theres nothing to be worries about, the food treat is always taken away. I don't believe in tit bitting a horse by hand as a day to day habit, it can give really bad habits, Harry doesn't get hand rewards anymore and he doesn't need them or expect them or look for them in any situation. A treat doesnt control the situation its a temporary aid at the very start. But it totally has its place whilst using a slow and steady approach and building up a relationship with time and gentleness. There's no need to rush its adjustment and getting the horse use to an alien environment.
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My maisie does the lead rope thing as well.... just causally put her head up and walks backwards! I have a thorogood saddle but it's not a tb type one it's a cob one but it fits her to the tee, as she's got zero withers and is actually oddly flat backed for a tb, i might try the polo thing.... it's just a bit lt .... biig difference to a 16'2 tb mare... (well she was 15'1 but she's grown so much in the last 9 months)

thanks for the advice it's very helpful :)

yea it's a big difference and your tb is younger and I know her issues are on a larger scale to Harry's, he was quite intimidating when he was having a paddy but we have a relationship now and the hard works paid off, he's super chilled out now and fits in, he has an older tb mare as his companion and they are so content! Everyone is in love with him!
You can always draught in some help, someone with experience with tbs/x racers if she's really having problems?
Best of luck
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