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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my mare DOES NOT like to stand still to mount. Just when i think she'll stand. I go and put the mounting block up by her, then i get on the mounting block (im holding the reins by her withers not super tight but not super loose either) and she will immediatley start to walk off in a circle around the mounting block.

I've been told by several people that this can be quite dangrous, but those people ahve never helped or told me how to fix it. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get her to just stand ?

Thanks :)
 

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The easiest answer would be when she moves off put her feet to work yield her hind quarters with energy four or five rotations, then ask her to stand. If she moves off do it again until she realizes that moving gets her more more work. You really need to make that hind end hustle not just lazily move it around, make the right thing easy and wrong thing difficult. You could also try putting her between a fence and the mounting block to discourage her from swinging her hind end away from you. But she will most likely move forward, so move her feet and hustle that hind end. Once you get on make her stand for a few minutes, do some lateral bending, vertical bending, mess with your stirrups, just sit quiet so she knows that when you get on it does not mean take off and go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
that was really helpful ! thank you ! i'll try that!
 

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Good advice above. Just want to add, the split second you get the success you are looking for, reward her so she knows she did the correct thing. I've noticed, for mounting in particular, if you wait even second to reward them for standing still, you've blown it and they're back to walking off again.

And yes, it is dangerous. I know several people who have twisted ankles and knees trying to mount moving horses.
 

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Put a knotted halter underneath and hang onto the lead instead of the reins. Arm yourself with a riding crop. When she starts to move forward, get down fast and back her up hard and fast using the crop to tap her chest. And look at her like you plan on murdering her. Back her up a good 30'. Then as tho nothing happened bring her back to the block. She may not have made the connection and you may have to repeat the backing. Now she's starting to figure it out. When you mount, back her two or three steps and allow her to stand on a loose rein. If she decides to walk off back her again from the saddle only this time add a few more strides. Someone has allowed her to walk off and that is what she thinks is ok.
 

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I think most mounting problems start way before mounting. When I hear people stating their horse moves off while mounting, or I see this happening, I watch to see how the horse stands to be groomed...whether tied to a rail or ground tied. *Usually* horses that do not stand still to be groomed and tacked up don't stand well when being mounted.

Start while grooming the stand still thing. if your horse moves a foot, put the foot back where it was. Same with the hip or shoulder. Mark a spot where you groom and tack up and make your horse stand there. Once the horse gets he/she is NOT to move until cued....mounting will not be a problem.

Also, people do not realize when they swing the leg over and place their foot in the stirrup they get the horse in the ribs with their boot. Watch how you put your feet in the stirrup on the off side while mounting.
 

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Don't you love that when people say what you're doing is wrong or dangerous and then offer no help whatsoever! I have that a lot in my little riding community. ;)

I agree with get her doing a lot of exercises where she is moving the hind quarters and/or shoulder to start. She needs to mostly understand that what you say goes and the way you do that is with groundwork. Pressure and release of pressure. Pressure when you want her to do something and release as soon as she does.

M.
 

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As an aside...and it surprised me. When I learned it I used the yielding the hindquarters exclusively with my horses if they refused to stand still at the block. A few weeks back my current boy really surprised me. Due to scheduling I had gone down very early top ride..right around the time the horses are normally turned out. Even though he had been ridden the day before, he was antsy and just plain pushy..he was giving me that "I want to go outside not go to work" attitude. Weeks prior we had gotten past the whole moving while mounting issue but this particular day I could NOT get on no matter the amount of yielding and/or backing. Rather than keep arguing, I put the reins behind my irons and free lunged him for a good ten minutes as in all trotting or cantering and no walking allowed. When he finally decided he was tired, I brought him back to the block and he stood stock still and didn't even LEAN forward. I then proceeded to work the proverbial devil out of him for the next hour (fewer walk breaks). By the time I turned him out he only walked up the hill to the other horses which is another unheard of scenario.

That was the only time I ever had that yield and/or backup exercise fail as a "remiinder" lesson once the initial lesson of standing still had been achieved.
 

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I started fixing this sort of issue with my new horse yesterday. Normally as soon as my foot is in the stirrup and my other has left the ground he's moving. Not his fault, just last owners I think jumped and said "go".

I use a bit of clicker type training (without clicker though) - but lots of people don't like that, still my method works without treating, just a little slower in my experience.

The way I see it is most horses have a certain point when they move. It might be when you climb on the block, gather the reins etc. Anyway I find that point and then go to before it. Horses know your routine and they'll tense up just before they move off.

Basically I work at the "tense" point until it's relaxed and then the next point becomes the "tense" point, then I relax it etc, but because I never move beyond the "tense" point they don't need to go to the action (walking away) point. Sometimes my horse starts to moving and I correct it, backing them to where they should be but then I continue with my method. For example when you rest your hand on the horn (or pommel) that might be the horses "get ready to move" point, so I rest my hand there maybe move it about, rock the saddle until they calm down and stop associating it with "tense up to move away". Then I might put my foot in stirrup always stopping before they move, doing it until they're relaxed and not thinking about moving. It worked in under five minutes for my horse, he was super calm to get on. I'll do it a few more times to reinforce it, but it's what worked for me.

This method works for me because it keeps my horse calm. Yielding and getting them to move their feet can work too, but in my experience it can also make them more alert, active, tensed even where as I like things, such as mounting, to always be calm. It's all just learned behaviour mostly, I figure I'll just teach my horse something else.
 

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You need two things in working order before you mount. Your horse needs to have a stand still cue and know how to move off of pressure.

First i'll teach the horse to flex. Stand at your horses side and with a halter on, just take the slack out of your leadrope. Make sure that you are just holding the pressure and not pulling. If you're worried about it hold the upper part of your arm against your side so your arm won't move back. You want to have the pressure outward vs straight back to make it more simple for your horse. As soon as your horse gives her nose and keeps her feet still remove the pressure and let her straighten her head. Wait a moment and repeat. She'll move around in circles at first most likely, just hold to pressure and wait for her to stop. She may also just lean on the pressure, again just hold it and don't increase it. As she gets better, raise your arm so it'll be closer to the hight of where your hands will be when you ride. Repeat on both sides.

She should also disengage her hindquarters. Shorten your lead rope so you've taken the slack out as you make an arc to her butt. Either use the end of your lead or a whip to then tap ( or twirl) the air, slowly increase the pressure to a tap, then if needed a whack until she untracks her hind feet. You want the inside hind to cross OVER the outside. If it doesn't keep the pressure until it does happen.

You horse also needs to know how to lunge. Grab your lunging setup ( mine is a rope halter with a 12 foot lead. Great for teaching a horse because you can still be close. When I'm lunging a horse that knows how to I have a 23 foot line), stand in front of your horse and point the direction you want her to go we'll use to the left here. Your left hand holds the line, it should be short enough that you've taken the slack out and are just applying a bit of pressure. Cluck ( or whatever your verbal trot cue is), now use a training stick or lunge whip and twirl it on the other side of her neck ( her left, your right). If she doesn't move after a few twirls, tap her on the neck.

Some horses move before the tap, that's great. as soon as she moves forward on a circle, leave her be, quit pointing and quit twirling. Other horses start backing up, don't increase the pressure, just follow her back with the same amount of pressure on the halter and tapping her. You don't want to increase the pressure because she is already trying something, increasing it would just make her run backwards faster. Again as soon as she goes, leave her be. Other horses still are pretty dull and you'll have to tap on her neck progressively harder until they do try something. By breaking it down into steps you'll end up with a horse that will lunge off of only you pointing.

Repeat until she gets it and you don't have to tap her to get her to move forward. Once she gets to go forward on a circle Then you can worry about keeping her going, again slowly increase pressure till you get what you want. If she pulls on you, just bump her nose into the center of the circle then release. You don't want to hold pressure because it will give her something to lean on.

When you are ready to stop pull the leadrope across your hip then put pressure on her hind end to disengage it. You may need to shorten your leadrope a couple times for her to get it.

Now that you have a solution to your problem you can start. You won't be using a mounting block for this, lower your left stirrup as much as you need to. It's MUCH easier to teach without a block. Once she gets to stand then adding in the block is simple. You either want split reins for this or to stay in your lunging setup. You want to be able to move quickly to moving your horse around. If your reins are singular reins that go over your horses head, don't use them. If you are in split reins, half hitch that right sucker up so it's out of the way.

Now before you mount, be critical of how you do so.


This is a great video showing how to mount properly, and can be done enlgish or western. Many people mount by instead standing perpendicular to their horse and pulling themselves on. This will cause the saddle to want to roll and your weight is too far away from the horse. Even the best trained horses will start walking off after enough of this to keep their balance.

So, flex your horse and stand at your horses side. Is that good? Yes?
Raise your left foot. Is that good? Yes?
Go ahead and put left hand in mane and right hand on horn and raise your leg. Is that good? Yes?
Put weight in the stirrup and step up, leaning your weight over your horses back. Is that good?

When you find a place your horse no longer wants to stand still, immediately put her feet to work, being quite firm. You don't need to do more than a few circles as it looses meaning to the horse.

Then stop your horse, flex and begin your checklist again. Within a few mounting attempts she should stand stock still if your timing is right and you prepared your groundwork correctly.
 

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This is what works and it works if you stick to it-Don't get on until the horse stands stock still, the second the horse moves, move him back to the exact spot and try again. Even if you are half way on and he moves an inch, get off and move him back an inch. With tough cases, it takes about an hour, most horses, hmmmm maybe 5 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks for the help everyone! I'll definatley try all of these suggestions!
 
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