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Proper mounting is a vital part of the equestrian experience for both the rider and the horse. Attempting to mount a horse from the ground can create a stressful experience for both horse and rider if not done properly.

How Improper Mounting Affects Our Equine Friends

Attempting to mount from the ground or from an unstable raised surface can create an uncomfortable or even painful experience for the horse. Tugging on the saddle to pull yourself up and onto the horse can exert pressure on the horse’s spine and shoulders, causing him to pull away. Similarly, unintentionally pulling on the reins as a rider tries to clamber into the saddle startles and confuses the horse.¹

If you find your horse moving about just as you are mounting, consider that pulling on the saddle can also cause the horse to momentarily lose its footing, which causes the horse to need to step away to get his feet back under him. If your horse moves away, you may find yourself with one foot in the stirrup trying to salvage the operation, which only makes it worse.

If you are not mounting in a smooth manner, you may also be inadvertently hitting your horse’s side or hindquarters with your toe or leg. This can startle the horse or cause him pain, resulting in him moving away from you and becoming skittish around the mounting process as a whole.

Why to Use a Mounting Aid

Using a quality mounting aid improves the experience of being mounted for your horse and leads to safer mounting for the rider as well. Being able to get into the saddle without tugging on it means your horse is more comfortable and places you in the proper position to settle softly into the saddle.

When a horse experiences the low-stress and comfortable experience of a rider mounting smoothly and softly, he will learn that stepping away is not needed. This leads to an easier mounting experience going forward for both horse and rider.²

How to Use a Mounting Aid

Many objects can serve as mounting aids, but ideally you want a mounting aid or platform that is sturdy, consistent, and safe for you and your horse. An automatic-style mounting aid that folds away into the wall of the training area once you are on the horse creates the ideal mounting situation. Once you are on the horse, the platform quietly and smoothly tilts up back into the wall. This keeps the floor area clear of obstructions for you and the other riders using it.

Some basic tips for best mounting practices are:

  • Make sure you have proper saddle fit and positioning to minimize discomfort for your horse.
  • Be sure your horse has settled and is standing squarely on all four feet before attempting to mount.
  • Position your horse as close to the mounting platform as possible to minimize any sideways forces.
  • Be conscious of where your legs and hands are at all times during mounting. Do not tug the reins to the side or bump the horse with your leg or foot.
  • Turn your toe toward the front of the horse before you step off the mounting platform. This way, the toe of your boot does not dig into the horse’s side and cause discomfort.
  • Gently transfer your weight into the saddle to avoid jarring the horse’s spine.
  • Sit quietly in the saddle for a long moment after mounting so that the horse learns to wait for you to ask him to move.Mounty Mounting Block

Good communication between horse and trainer is always vital. Often the focus of that training communication is on getting the horse to move in certain ways and not enough on standing still and mounting practice. Spending time with your horse working on mounting helps create a better riding experience for both horse and human. The use of a mounting aid can help facilitate that training process.

Vitafloor USA, Inc. Offers High-Quality Equestrian Equipment

Visit Vitafloor online to check out our mounting aids or call us at 1-831-319-2704 to learn more about how we can help you to improve mounting technique and safety. You can also contact our Global Headquarters to speak with one of our international representatives in your country.

Sources:

  1. https://www.horsedigests.com/safety-lesson-using-a-mounting-block-by-lynn-palm/
  2. https://www.horsejournals.com/riding-training/general/ground-work-handling/how-teach-your-horse-mounting-manners