Methodical Mounting

Mounting a horse – if you are reading this, most likely you mount up regularly, know how to do it safely, and don’t think much about it.

La Prima was a good girl with mounting when I got her, but had some areas to improve on; not straight, walking backwards, and not being still after getting up. Since she’s my girl, and I love a horse that stands perfectly for mounting, I decided to restart the process from the beginning. Turns out she both learned quickly and liked the process, and she is now a really nice mare to get on.

Here’s how we do it:

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Park solidly by the mounting block after checking girth again.

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Foot in the stirrup without the horse turning its head or stepping sideways.

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One hand on the cantle, the other on the reins. I love it that I do not have to touch her at all in the mouth.

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Balancing softly, notice that the left toe of the boot is never poking into the girth area or the elbow.

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Leg high to where there is no chance of touching her.

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Slowly lowering down. She still has not moved.

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It should not be a punishment getting the rider on. Being careful, balanced and slow, with no pressure on the hand on the neck.

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I love it when the horse does not walk off right at this step 🙂

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Sitting down, she’s still standing there, with time to get the other stirrup.

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Petting her, taking the reins, I like to sit there for a second looking like a fool before we head off. Kyra Kyrklund, the gilded queen of dressage from Finland with heavy ties to Sweden, uses sugar cubes after mounting to encourage horses not walking off right after mounting. (You can read a recent article about her here at the Wellington Classic Dressage Master Symposium: http://www.psdressage.com/viewarticle.php?id=1055 )

I don’t know, maybe it’s a Swedish thing, but I’ve always done this. La Prima doesn’t like sugar cubes, but will stand still anyway now. We definitely have this part with the mounting down.

(Everyone knows that mounting blocks are great to use. This short video from Centaur Biomechanics shows why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_jQEYDApSI )