Moving While Mounting
Mounting a moving horse is dangerous. Does your horse stand still for you to mount? Does he walk off once you swing your leg over? There is a real easy fix to this if you take a few moments to practice each time you mount.
You are the most vulnerable when you mount your horse. If he spooks, shys, or bolts while you have only one foot in the stirrup, you are in big trouble. You want your horse to stand there while you get on and get settled.
Horses love doing things they know you’re going to do, ahead of time. If you mount your horse and immediately take off, the next time your horse will take a step as soon as your foot is in the stirrup. And, the time after that, he may only wait until your butt hits the saddle. He knows you are going to ride off as soon as you get on, and he gets quicker and quicker at it.
Teach Your Horse to Flex
My horses know how to flex. I use it in the one-rein stop and as a way to relax my horse. Start by teaching it from the ground, then work on flexing from the saddle. Flexing stops the horses forward momentum and, for my horses, signals to them that another instruction is coming soon so “cool your jets”. Flexing is giving to the rein without having the horse’s feet moving.
Teach Your Horse to Yield Hindquarters
Every horse should know how to yield their hindquarters both from the ground and under saddle. Yielding hindquarters takes the horses power away. He can’t go forward if you are yielding those hindquarters. From the ground, I use my finger to simulate where I place my heel to move my horse’s hindquarters away from me. If he starts to walk forward, I use the lead rope or rein to stop him and look for that inside rear foot to cross in front of the other.
Putting it All Together
When my horse knows how to flex and how to yield hindquarters, I put it all together. My pre-signal for mounting is to grab the saddle horn and gently rock the saddle. It lets him know I’m coming and to stand still. If he moves while I’m adjusting the stirrup to place my foot inside, I stop and begin yielding his hindquarters. The first time we go two full revolutions with vigor.
Then, I give my horse the option of standing still once more and we begin again. If he moves, I stop and repeat, only on subsequent times, I usually on go one revolution. The horse simply needs to understand it is easier to stand still and let me mount, but if he wants to move, we’ll move.
The important thing to remember is that your horse needs to understand you are not mounting a moving horse. He needs to stand still. If he isn’t standing still, stop the process and make the wrong thing difficult. It won’t take him long to figure out which is the better deal.
Once he stands still and you can mount, immediately flex him to the right and left. A correct flex includes giving to the rein WITHOUT HIS FEET MOVING. If he moves his feet, maintain your flex until he stops, release, and flex to the other side. Once he has flex correctly to each side I let him stand still for a moment before cueing him to move forward.
Putting It All Together
You will know it is all coming together when your horse stands still when you mount and while you are get settled you see him flex on his own at the standstill. And, after all, isn’t much better to have your horse flexing than walking off? Once you’ve got them standing still you can check out this cool mounting block video.