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Basic Horse Handling: Training to Stand Still During Mounting
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Basic Horse Handling: Training to Stand Still During Mounting

Whichever method you prefer when mounting your horse, the most crucial part is making sure that she remains relaxed during the entire process. You can do this by learning the simple tricks that will enable you to treat her soundly and properly while mounting. Before mounting, give her room to adjust her steps in such a way that her body stands square for the mount.

Being Inexperienced

A young or inexperienced horse will naturally react by moving and being restless if she feels something on her back. Therefore, you need to make her get used to the process of mounting by preparing her on the ground with her saddle. Start by training her to stand still during simple activities like tying before moving on to slightly more physically tasking others like mounting. Every single step that she learns to allow to happen by staying calm - when you put your left foot in the stirrup, when you lean over to put weight on her saddle, etc. - stop for a short time and praise her. Repeat this until she learns to stand still during the entire mounting process.

Need for Retraining

If your horse shows difficulties with being still, consider retraining her or reinforcing her skills to stay calm. This may happen if she didn’t learn these skills fully, or if she has lost respect for her human handlers over time. Sometimes you may realize that training her while your weight is in the stirrups, and then on the back, seems not to have your desired effect. In such a case, consider switching to lounging exercises in her round pen until she learns to respect your orders. If she still continues to move restlessly during the mount, get hold of her left rein such that her nose will be turned slightly in. If she tries to move while in that position, she will only be able to turn in circles. Soon she will realize that moving is more tiresome than standing calm and therefore learn to stay still.

Physical Causes

Some behavioral issues with your horse may have physical origins. This is more so with a change of behavior from standing calm during mounting to being restless. First, check her saddle fit. If it is something you can’t handle, or you are not sure about something, contact a saddle-fitting expert. Also, check her for back soreness and have a vet check her hocks. If her hocks are painful, she will usually try to compensate them with her other body parts. You may also need to check if there is any connection between her back being sore and any hock issues noted. Lastly, be sure that your method of getting on her back and sitting is the right way. Always sit light in her saddle during the mounting process so that her back does not get unnecessarily stressed.

Anticipation for Mounting

If your horse is lazy, she will always associate mounting to a burden and will therefore try to avoid it. But if she loves being ridden, she will be excited and look forward to it. If she feels pain somewhere, she will associate riding with discomfort. A lazy horse will require you to often remind her of her training skills and respect. A restless one needs to be taught to stay calm using the circling exercise. After you have mounted her, don’t beckon her to start moving immediately. Train her to get habituated to waiting for your commands before doing anything.


Image source: flickr.com

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

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  1. jst4horses
    Good article. It reminds me of the Dog Whisperer, who reminds all owners that calm and submissive is a place................standing is a place. A horse needs to understand that is a calm and submissive place. People want to ride, and their own impatience to me is the problem. I see many people on the show Dog Whisperer, "walking" dogs that are pulling, lunging at people, and other dogs, and not behaving. The Dog Whisperer always goes back to the front door gets the dog calm and submissive and at every step takes the time it takes.................I know for sure that Pat Parelli says, take the time it takes, or you might just be forced to take the time it takes (to get healed from broken bones, or even to die). A horse that does not stand can be very dangerous to the rider. One foot caught in that stirrup and dragged is a very serious injury or death that can happen. The horse itself can stumble over you dragging along and fall and get hurt or need to be put down. People need to know, get your horse to stand long before you put that saddle on, and that horse will stand when the saddle goes on, and when the rider mounts. I used to train baby race horses at the track, for their first ride ever, and they STOOD. solid for their rider up. That is NOT the ideal condition for a first ride. Those riders are used to bucking, spunky horses and do not like to wait for the first ride to be ideal conditions for training..........so.......I trained my baby horses the day or two I had BEFORE their first rid to stand, and to bear weight, I would hold carrots over their back and when they reached up and back to get the carrot, I would lean on them . Time after time. and as their rider stepped up the first time, I gave them the rubs we call "cookies" and they were great!
  2. Day Dreamer
    Day Dreamer
    Good article, Great Read
    1. dajine
      Thank you Dreamer for support

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