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Off the track Mounting issue

990 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Lilarella
Hi guys!
I have an ex-steeplechaser who has been OTT for 2 years and had some questions about his behavior!
Woodsman is 11 and has been OTT for 2 years. A nice lady bought him and just did hunting, then i bought him and have done a variety of things like PC, Gymkhanas, ODE's and western days. Although he does have quite a high wither. I've done all the ground work, flatwork, jumping etc... We just have an issue when I try to mount him. He doesn't like it very much and I have tried quite a lot to fix this but nothing really seems to work. I can get on a high fence. But most of the time he pins his ears back, bucks and cow kicks at me when I try to get on any lower. I don't mind this when I'm at home doing things its just when I'm at events and shows It bothers me because he loves doing games, and i need a leg up because i have no upper-body strength lol, but i just don't want other people to get kicked. He also reacts sometimes when i lean forward to give him a hug when I'm on him. He doesn't react so much when i get off him thought. We have got everything under the sun checked out on him, although he did have ulcers which are now a thing of the past and are gone. I'm not sure if its an attitude thing or a thing that he is just used to doing either.
So I was just coming on here to see if anyone had any advice or ideas why he might be doing this and if there is something i can do to stop it!

Thank you!!!

Than you guys so much!!! You have no idea how this has helped me! i dont want people to think I am inexperenced, whitch btw i am not. I still ha ve things to learn but I know what i am doing for this, I have had a horse blind in one eye and have come very far with Woodsman groundwork, flatwork and manners.
I am going to a western clinic this weekend with him so hopefully he doesn't flip out because he cant sniff his beloved girlfriend at home! So hopefully they help me with this issue in person.
But thank you all so much with your advice and wisdom! ❤❤

P.s This is kind of what his wither looks like, maybe a little less hollow.
View attachment 1148786

Woodsman (NZ) - Race Horse Profile RACING.COM
That link is him racing (he's the gray)
TW: He does fall over in the first video that pops up.
Or you can just search "woodsman steeplechase NZ"
Agian thank you all so much!


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Mounting up from the ground puts a significant torque on the horses' spine, which can be very uncomfortable for many - especially if there's an underlying issue. It seems that this is exactly what your horse is trying to tell you, as such extreme behaviours are never just "attitude".

Unfortunately, the only solution to that is to always use a high mounting block or something similar (like a fence) - or to learn jump up like a vaulter would, although that demands great skill and upper body strength.
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Ground 11 years of age and only off-track for 2 of those, he doesn't know what it is you are doing to him.
The horse is programmed to have a rider put up and off they go to condition and race...
The horse it sounds is accustomed to a working environment and relationship with their rider.

The animal is not accustomed to a outward show of affection from astride of you putting your arms around the neck to the horse... :eek:
You are off-balance and hanging on.......
Think about that and what to a well trained animal that means....rider going down!
I would suggest you save your bearhugs for from the ground for your safety and the animal not capitalizing on you being very off-balance and dump you in a heartbeat.
Learn instead to give a nice neck rub, gentle pat and soft-kind word spoken...that to is praise and affection but far safer.
Save those bearhugs for happening from the ground.

I agree with Saranda though mounting from the ground.....not on this one and he be happy.
The prior owner may have been a very fluid, fast and spring in her step, or took a leg up and you just may not be any of those, or the horse didn't like ground mounting from them either.
When you are pulling yourself astride, all weight hanging from one side while you climb your way to sit the saddle...:cautious:
The twisting of the horses muscles, nerves, vertebrae and hurts.
So do right by the animal and learn to use a mounting block or similar always, or get a leg up and see if the disagreeable attitude not disappear.
The animal has issued its warning...take heed or take a kick.

Remember as a racer he was handled by professionals....
The majority of his life professional handlers on the ground and astride he had....
For 2 years it has been different, and he was not with his prior rider/handler for very long and now you have hands on.....the animal has a work ethic, not learned to be a pet of amateur's handling, yet.
He worked for a living.....big difference.
🐴.... jmo...
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I am in agreement with @Saranda and @horselovinguy .

Race horse owners and trainers will tolerate quite a bit of misbehavior from the ground, so long as the horse makes money for them on the track.

Add a mounting block to the gear you take to the events and shows. Don’t let random people give you a leg up. If it becomes necessary, make sure it’s someone who knows what they’re getting into, and are agile enough to safely do the job.

And limit the hugs. Horse people seem to enjoy hugging horses. Most horses I know either don’t like it so much, or don’t really care one way or the other.
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I'd use a mounting block just easier on the horse like others said ground mounting can really torque on the spine. Some horses don't like being hugged being he's ott probably hasn't been fussed on so doesn't know what to think about it.

My gelding doesn't like when I hug him he pins his ears flat back.

For most part I use a mounting block or fence to get on if on the trail sometimes have no choice but to mount from the ground.
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I am going to hop on this thread, my OTTB does the same!!!! Well, kinda, he will just back up or move away. It is so annoying.
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Agree with the above. I’m old, short and much less flexible than I used to be. I simply can’t mount from the ground unless I do a lot of pulling on my horses. So I’ve taught my horses to stand next to many different items and in ditches so that I can get on. My husband made me a stand similar to this
and I loved it. I unfortunately I broke it so am waiting for him to make another. Wonderful for taking out to areas where there Is nothing.
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In addition to what's been said, have you had your saddle fit checked professionally?
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Have you had your horse checked out by a equine chiropractor? It might sound funny but they can help a horse a lot.
Another thing is that he might be expecting pain from past abuse even though he is not currently having any.
He might have moved off and someone punished him severely in the past so he is now overly protective.
I agree that a mounting block would be a great idea.
One thing you could try is just tacking him up going out to wherever you ride and just pretend you are going to mount but don't do it all the way. Lift your foot to put it in the stirrup but don't put it all the way in. Then back off some, reassure him, then do it again. lots of times. Then actually put your foot in the stirrup but don't put any weight on again and again and again until he is completely relaxed with that on both sides. Then put some weight in the stirrup. Continue to praise and reassure for any compliance coming from your horse. Eventually start hopping as if you were going to get on but still with your foot in the stirrup. After that you could either just stand with one foot in the stirrup like half way up his back or you could just crisply swing on. If at anytime he starts getting anxious or you think he might kick you use the rein to ask him to move his hips away from you. I would say this would be easier to do from a mounting block at the beginning but then transition to the ground. If he ever acts frightened or acting like he is ready to kick go back to the previous step. Again, if he is in pain this won't help very much because he will still be hurting.
I hope this helps :) and good luck
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In addition to what's been said, have you had your saddle fit checked professionally?
I sort of have, i went to pony club and a saddle fitter came to teach us. She said my saddle was perfect fine and fit him very well. I use the same saddle for my 17.2hh standy aswell.
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