Getting on your horse safely and calmly is a pleasant start to your training. This goes well for many horses, but there are also horses that cannot stand still, are scared of the mounting block, run backwards or bolt. What are the things you have to consider when you are going to train a horse with a mounting problem? We have compiled 10 tips for mounting.
1. Have the horse’s physical condition and its tack checked
Before getting started, it is important to know that there is no underlying cause that makes it difficult for the horse to be mounted. Before you start training, have a professional check that the saddle and the rest of the tack fits properly. You do not want to train a horse that is experiencing pain or discomfort.
2. Determine where the challenge lies
Mounting problems can be serious. Look for the trigger in the horse: is this as soon as you approach the mounting block? Or only when you try to put your foot in the stirrup? Do not forget the reins, sometimes picking up the reins is an (extra) trigger for the horse.
3. Always work in a safe environment
Work on a soft footing. In addition, an important point of attention with regard to the safety in this type of training is the mounting block. Make sure you work with a solid block, so that the horse cannot accidentally get his leg stuck in it.
4. First standing quietly to mount / at the mounting block
Before you practice getting on and off, make sure you can get your horse to stand quietly at the mounting block. If the horse takes a step forward of its own accord, ask it to back two steps. If the horse backs, you do the reverse. Do not forget to reward the horse when it is standing still, for example, even walking it away from the mounting block completely.
5. Use objects to train movement above the horse
A challenging moment in the mounting process can be swinging your leg over, as the rider moves from one eye to the horse’s other eye. You can train this with, for example, a flag. We call this desensitizing to movement. Timing is important here. Have someone who is familiar with this technique help you the first time. Working with a ball can also be a good training, read more about this in this article.
6. Mounting in steps
When the horse is well used to movement over its back, you can continue working towards the actual mounting. To do this, break up the mounting process into small steps. Start small, for example by stepping up and down the mounting block without your horse moving. Expand the training a little further each time.
7. Work with two people
Ask someone to help you. That way you can guide the horse better. The person helping you holds the horse while you train mounting and dismounting. Never stand directly in front of the horse, but next to it with a slack line. That way, should the horse bolt, that person will be safe. If this goes well, the helper can take more and more distance until you can actually mount by yourself.
8. Practise mounting in many different circumstances
If you always get on immediately when you enter the arena to ride, the horse can easily link these two things together. This makes it possible for your horse to build up tension before you have even started your training. Try to practice mounting after your ride or even during.
9. Train on both sides
It would also be good for your horse if you teach it to mount from both the left and right. In the beginning this feels very awkward, but it is good for your horse’s body. If you are going to practice getting on, train the offside as well every now and then.
10. Set yourself and the horse up for success
Do not set unrealistic goals in mounting training and take small steps. With a horse, it is often better to do short training sessions that you finish successfully each time; than one very long training session where you want to achieve everything immediately. A horse learns through repetition. So try to make it as easy as possible for your horse to get it right.