View Full Version : Mounting Problems - any advice?
24th May 2002, 08:48 AM
I've just moved on from a bombproof, rocksteady 22 year old cob to a 10 year old, fizzy gelding who is really testing my riding skills! One of the main problems I have is actually getting on him! His owner is a 15 year old girl (I have him on part-loan) and she is very agile and can mount him from the ground. I am a very much less agile 36 year-old and I have to use a mounting block.
And that's where the fun begins! He doesn't like being led to the mounting block and when I've eventually got him there, he dances away so that I can't get on him. We have two mounting blocks, one blue wood and one stone. He is quite scared of anything blue, so I have worked on walking him up to it and showing it to him etc. etc. But as soon as I get onto the block, he shies away.
Now, somebody has suggested it may be because his back is sore - but he doesn't show any other signs of a sore back (as far as I can tell). He is generally quite a strong willed and naughty chap, so could he just be playing up?
Any advice or experiences welcomed!!!!!!
24th May 2002, 09:32 AM
Have you tried mounting at the stone block?
24th May 2002, 09:35 AM
It may be worth getting his back checked to rule that out as a problem. If it is clear then he is just being an ill-mannered brat and a little re-schooling is in order. You may have to forget about particularly going anywhere and keep taking him back to the block and standing him there until he stays where you need him, lots of praise and maybe a treat when he's good, firm 'No, stand' when he doesn't.
24th May 2002, 09:56 AM
Thanks - I will get his back checked, I would hate to think that I'm causing him pain whilst I'm on him.
I have tried him at the stone mounting block, and he's just the same!
I'm sure my time with Monty is going to produce lots more questions in the future.... you may get fed up of me posting before long!
24th May 2002, 10:53 AM
my youngster used to stand really well till I tried to mount her from the block bareback! Since then she keeps herself just out of reach, unless you're really quick!
I've started mounting from the ground again, she doesn't mind that.
Last time I went to get on her at the mounting block which is a big wooden box, she tried to climb on to it too!
She has had a sore mouth, so I am being patient, but she is starting to take the mickey!
Her back is not sore, she is just very green and sensitive.
24th May 2002, 01:09 PM
Does the horse not like you standing over it, and therefore associate the mounting block with just that.??? If this is the case, desinsitise the horse by standing on a bucket, brick etc. when grooming, feeding etc. Make his associate it with something nice that he enjoys.
If he is scared of the blue mounting block, have you tried covering it with an old horse blanket or sheet to hide the colour and make it look more natural..???
24th May 2002, 02:41 PM
Thanks Ali - more good advice! I will be working on this problem this weekend coming.
I can't access the site again until Monday, but if anybody else has anything to add - please do!
27th May 2002, 05:57 PM
how about feeding him next to the block? i find bribery works wonders for most horses!
28th May 2002, 05:54 PM
I have to use a mounting block as my horses are quite big!! The only time I can get up without it is when I fall off! :D I think that's when the adrenalin kicks in!!:rolleyes:
BUT, the Master Saddler who fitted my saddles said that everyone should use a block as getting up from the ground twists the saddle and hurts the horse. My old saddle was actually distorted from just that and sat on the horse's spine.I bought it with him and used it for a while too before noticing it was uneven.!!!!
My younger horse sometimes walks away from the block just as I'm getting up, but he doesn't do it so often now. It's just a case of spending the time and to keep bringing him back, just like teaching them to stand. I often stand on the block and stroke his head and then get down so that he is well used to it.
However, I do know someone whose horse has never got used to the block, in fact she gets up while he's on the move!!
28th May 2002, 11:43 PM
I have had the same problem with my 4 yr old, and I agree wholeheartedly that patience and bribery works.
I think with your horse, it would help if the owner would work with you, so that he's taught to stand at the block until you're on board with both of of you.
With Breeze I cheated at first, I have a grooming box which is really sturdy and I used to get on using that, she had realised what the mounting block was about and used to side step, just enough so mounting was either difficult or impossible. With the box I used to face her into a wall and quickly climb on, giving lots of praise and a chunk of carrot.
After a couple of weeks I started using the mounting block, leading her towards it with me on the outside and getting her to halt by using my schooling whip as a gate, if she stopped in a bad position, I circled and asked again, at first it took quite a few attempts, but I made a point of not getting cross or impatient (not easy I know) but carried on until she would stand in position. I have to admit there were days when I thought 'she's just taking the pee, and she'd never stand' but she did, and she does, now 9 times out 10 she remains stood until I'm comfy and only moves off when I'm ready, but if she does walk forward I halt her, then ask her to walk on. When she was good I gave her lots of praise and a bit of carrot, but I have been phasing the carrot out.
If the owner works with you, he'll accept standing quicker, if she won't, he'll still learn. Horses do learn to accept people as individuals, don't get disheartened.
I'm another who doesn't recommend mounting from the ground, it does put a huge ammount of strain on their backs. Breeze will now stand at walls, troughs and banks.
You never know, he maybe uneasy about being mounted, because his owner mounts from the ground.
29th May 2002, 11:58 AM
Thanks to everyone for your advice! I have been following parts of it (trying to make it a pleasant experience, patience, praise, etc. and it is beginning to make a difference.
I will just have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day - and a Monty wasn't made to stand still in an afternoon!
29th May 2002, 07:34 PM
Heather I have exactly the same problem with the horse I have recently started to loan. She gets this look in her eye as we approach the mounting block and then turns herself right round. It seems as if it is just to be perverse, because she will stand beautifully the other way round and let you get on no problem.
I watched my instructor lead her up to the block (from the other side of her). She stood right by her head and held her reins close to the bit and asked her take a step forward at a time, praising her as she took each step, but not allowing her to take more than one at a time before halting her again, so she couldn't swing round, and pausing until she was totally calm between each step, until she was by the block. Then I could get on. Easy with two people hey! But actually I have found that if I do the same thing and then sneak round her head and scramble onto the block (saying "Stand" all the while if I think she is about to move), it seems to work. Don't know if your horse might be a bit too fizzy for that!
12th Jun 2002, 11:32 AM
Well, you've all come up trumps again - Monty is now much better at letting me mount from a block.... now all I need to do is to sort the jogging out....
But I think I'll leave that to another day!
Cheers all :-)
9th Jul 2002, 06:06 PM
When I mount from the ground (I'm 15 and should be agile!!! and only getting on a quiet 13.3hh) I have to put my stirrup down about 5 holes and drag my self on. you should try that. I ahven't much practice at getting on as i always mount from a block or leg up, but you haven't got that luck.
10th Jul 2002, 02:18 AM
I always mount from a block, upturned bucket whatever whenever I can. Moving away from being mounted was one of the few signs my horse gave when his back was getting sore (sorted now).
The other problem I had was going from using a 'mobile mounting block' to using a permanent one - since he had no idea what it was all about. To make matters worse I had been doing some NH type training with him and he therefore a) would lead anywhere and b) would make sure that he presented his head to me. So in my first attempt to lead him beside the mounting block he first, tried to follow me up it then when he did get that he had to stay on the ground he swung his hips away so that I 'had his head\attention'. It was really nice that he did these things so it makes it doubly hard to try to tell him, no that's not what I want this time.
Using the move over command was fine, but as soon as I got back on the block he would give me his head again.... in the end I had to do a couple of lessons 'standing' by the block and when ready to try mounting I leaned over him with a crop and gently tapped his quarters on the off side if he moved away, until he was beside the block again. Didn't take him too long to catch on.
14th Jul 2002, 03:22 AM
There are a couple of things I would suggest.
As with my other issues with Max this has been a point of contention, between he and I, but with practice we've managed to curb it.
Firstly, several horse books I have read on Dressage, and horses in general have said that mounting from the ground is harder on the horses back than using a mounting block. It is also hard on your tack/saddle when you have an animal some 16 hands high (something about it stretching the leathers or girth, etc). I'm 25 and not nearly agile enough to jump onto max's back without a boost LOL :) I doubt you're causing any pain to his back by mounting him in either instance, it may be he's just testing his limits... or needs to be reminded how to behave.
Secondly, bribery does work. However, I would also suggest a trick I was taught by my former dressage instructor. Lead the horse up to the block (you standing on the left side of course), but carry a dressage whip (don't worry it's not for anything awful, it's just like a nudge stick in this instance.) As you approach the block, hold the whip in your right hand and take a step onto the block, if the horse turns away, take the whip and gently (but firmly) say no, and tap his butt back to the block. If he doesn't respond leave the block, circle around and lead him up again. If he won't approach the block (staying two paces behind or so) use the whip to tap his bottom forward. When he does it right, praise him well with treats or verbal work either way. Remember that the whip is only for encouragement, it's not a strong arm or anything else, use it like a tap on the shoulder.
Hope this may help,
14th Jul 2002, 08:02 AM
Hels, Sounds like your instructor has done RDA !! At the RDA all, absolutely all the horses have to stand at the block, with no ifs,buts or issues.Quite often when they first arrive, particularly if they're mature horses (which RDA ones, usually are) have never had to use a block before and generally don't understand.The RDA instructors teach them as Hels' instructor did.Step at a time.Standing in front of the horse, often with a steady gentle tension on the bit rings. They also use a parallel block, so that horse has to walk through, without stopping initially.Then later, they have someone stand on the parallel block, so that they have to get used to someone towering over them so to speak, at the block.It is time consuming, and I know that SOME of them never get there.But our centre has 32 RDA horses and ponies, all of whom do it, and one of whom is a little silly about it.31 out of 32 isn't bad, so I think you have a decent chance with Monty.Whichever method you use, good luck.I know how frustrating it can be.Go for it.
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