The Correct Way to Mount and Dismount Your Horse While Teaching Them to Stand Quietly

When it comes to most things in life, there is a right way to do things and of course the wrong way, which is usually the easy way. There is much more to this exercise than the obvious. If you are at a show and the judge asks you to dismount and remount, if your horse takes as much as one step forward, you could lose the class. If you are a cowboy or cowgirl out on a range herding cattle, or horses, and you have to dismount for a moment, if your horse takes off with you as you are mounting, especially if you are in mid-air and end up behind the saddle, there could be some serious injuries incurred not to mention bruising your ego, and listening to the razzing of your fellow horsemen.
As I am trying to convey in all articles that I compose, this has every thing to do with respect. Being a successful horseman involves the constant demand of respect from your horses as well as the constant giving of respect to them, from you. Boundaries must be set at all times and if those boundaries are disregarded there will be consequences. There are many ways that you can help your horse understand that a certain behavior is not acceptable. Always keep in mind that even though they are very strong animals, we are smarter in many ways and have the ability to outwit them on a moment to moment basis.
After your horse has had all the necessary grooming, feet picking and proper saddle and bridling, bring your horse outside to a neutral, non-intrusive area to be mounted. Go to the left side of your horse, reach up gathering your reigns and put them into your left hand, holding the reigns in front of the saddle. It may be to your advantage if you are fairly new at this, to also grab a handful of mane while holding the reigns. Now, while holding the reigns, turn your left side into the horse, facing the back of the horse. With your right hand, turn the stirrup around toward you placing your left foot into the stirrup. Slowly turn your body facing the horse with your left foot turning also while in the stirrup, with your right hand either on the back of the saddle seat or the pommel, pull yourself up onto the saddle as quickly and easily as possible swinging your right leg onto the other side of the saddle. You can try to spring up and pull yourself up at the same time or you can take one or two little bouncy hops to give you a little spring. If you are riding English, more than likely it will be easier to grab the back of the saddle seat as well as holding onto the mane with your left hand to help bring your body up into the saddle. You of course must make sure that your girth is tight enough to support your weight. Also if you are riding English, you can just let someone give you a leg up. This is where you grab the reigns in a way that you have very light contact with your horses mouth, face your horse back by the saddle, left hand with reigns and some mane, right hand at the back of the saddle, bend your left leg in the shape of an “L”, the other person can use one or two hands holding your left leg, get synchronized usually with a count of one, two, three, jumping easily up into the saddle but it is VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO FLOP DOWN ONTO THE HORSES BACK.
Your horse should stand quietly as you mount. There are exceptions such as race horses as you want them to walk on as soon as the rider is up and you usually will have someone at the horses head so they will not walk off too quickly. If your horse is being stubborn about standing, you can have someone stand in front of them, they would need to hold the reigns behind the bit so they can have control in case the horse wants to go forward or sideways or even backwards. If this still is not working, try mounting your horse inside of the stall, preferably with someone at their head until they understand that you want them to stand as you mount. If this is not possible, take your horse to a corner of a paddock, place their head right in the corner making it harder for them to go forward. Sometimes you will encounter a horse that is insistent on moving as you mount. Well my friends, you are probably going to be spending a large amount of time mounting and dismounting. If you are consistent and practice many times during schooling, eventually, your horse will get the message and comply making life a lot easier for both of you. Remember that when you mount your horse that you do not want to take too much time mounting and hanging on the side of the horse. This is not the best scenario for their back and withers, not to mention that it is probably not very comfortable for them.
Always, always try to make every experience with your horse a positive one. Positive interaction makes for a strong bonding and willingness from your horse. Horses are loving caring individuals that deserve our respect and understanding. Kindness and patience in teaching them will go a very long way. After your horse does a good job, tell them, get excited when you let them know, and rewarding them with a carrot or two after cooling them out is not a bad idea either.
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