Stand to Mount

We can not start our ride until we can get on our horse and for some that can be a long and tedious ritual. The good news is that it does not need to be a struggle and we can teach our horses to wait patiently for us to get into the saddle no matter how clumsy we may be. We need to start with an understanding that horses are lazy by nature and we will use that in our favor. We also have to remember that the horse is like a computer and we can not get out of the horse something we did not put in. With that in mind, lets program our horse to stand for mounting.

Today I will explain how I address the problem using the bridle. I start with a full check snaffle bit and continuous round rope reins. I do not use nylon as they can burn your hands and round is easier to hold then flat. Remember to praise often and look for every opportunity to praise, it makes the lesson go faster.

Next, I take my horse to a safe enclosed area such as a round pen or arena. It is easier on you and your horse if you have already tried your horse 1) a go-forward, stop and back up cue, 2) how to move the hips and shoulders over and 3) all while softening to the bridle reins. From here you will all those cues as corrections when the horse does not stand still.

Take your horse to the block or place you will be mounting. Line him up using the previous cues you already have taught your horse. If at any time the horse moves, take him away from the mounting area and with energy work on his hips, shoulders, back-up, and go-forward cues. When he is soft and responsive, walk back to the mounting area and set him up again. Continue in this manner until the horse stands calmly. Then you are ready to add mounting.

With the horse standing quiet, place your foot into the stirrup and then remove it. If the horse stands still, praise him. If he moves off, take him away from the block and work with energy on his shoulders, hips, and other cues. When he is soft and responsive go back to the block and let him stand. When he will stand still for you to put your foot in and out of the stirrup, start adding weight to the stirrup. When he will stay quiet for that, actually mount up, but do not ask him to move forward. At this point if the horse moves you will work the previous cues from the saddle. When he is soft and responsive, ride him back to the mounting area and dismount. Continue uploading and dismounting until the horse will stand and wait for the go forward cue.

Take your time, it's OK to spread the lesson through the day or even days. Have fun, because if the teacher is not enjoying the lesson how can the student? It is when we try to be somewhere we are not that we find ourselves in a wreck. If you do not get it today, it will come tomorrow. And the great news is when you are done, not only have you taught your horse to stand quiet for mounting, but you have also gotten your horse softer and more responsive to his bridle, his shoulders and hips lighter, his go-forward and back up cues stronger, and tought him to wait for your cues.