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.
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.
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
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