As at teenager, I used to pride myself on my ability to swing into the saddle as the horse moved off. That is, until my boss caught me in the act and chewed me out from head to toe. I can still hear him yelling at me: “You’re not doing an- yone any favors by letting that horse forget her manners. You’re not the only one who rides her!” It clicked that someone else could get hurt if she walked
off. From that day forward, I made sure she stood still as a statue while I mounted.
Does your horse stand still until you are securely in the saddle, or does he
swing his hips away from the mounting black and try to face you? Is he afraid of
the mounting block? Does he back up the minute you step up?
Most of these issues are the result of gaps in basic training. If you allow your
horse to head off right away, then you have accidentally taught him that this is
what you want. Horses aim to please and do what you teach them, so you have
to be careful not to teach them bad manners.
Teach your horse
to stand still
while you mount.
We demonstrate the training process with a green 4-year-old warmblood. This is the first time he has
been introduced to a mounting block
and backed. The trainer is standing
next to him with a lead for safety.
/ Step 1 /
The mounting block introduction
should be simple and relaxed. Let your
horse see, sniff and stand next to it.
The focus should be simply to have
a quiet, relaxed horse standing still for
a few minutes next to the mounting
block. Reward with a kind word and
pat. Do not allow him to walk off on
The trainer is not
standing in front
of the horse; you
want the horse
from the very
no matter where
you are standing
he should not