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Horse won't stand still to mount, help!

14 replies

Mustbemad123 · 08/11/2015 12:29

Looking for some advice, my horse absolutely refuses to stand still when I am trying to mount. This is a recent problem, and is causing all sorts of issues (not least embarassment as I have to get someone to hold him Blush while I get on). He is 16.3 so obviously I need the block to get on. However, he swings his back legs away whenever we go near the flipping thing. I've tried walking round and then re approaching the block, and tried niceness and tried sharpness, it's not happening. If I am on my own (which I often am) it is seriously testing my patience and obviously restricting my riding time, and often results in a mad scramble from me from about a foot away. This is not good. Any advice on how I can get him to stand properly?

OP posts:
MoonlightandMusic · 08/11/2015 22:57

Does he do the same if you try to mount from a low wall or a fence? If not, and it's recent, I'm just wondering what he's started associating the block with.

The other tack to take for a while (but only short term as it's not great for their back) is to drop the stirrup and hop up that way. I had to do it for a bit on a 17.2 (and I'm 5'2") so you should manage.

If he's got iffy for everything then it may be a case of planning to spend at least two, (but could be more), sessions of boring him into submission by spending the whole time leading him to the block, and not even trying to get up, just getting him to stand. You may also want to consider using a dressage whip to very gently tap his offside hind each time he swings and then walk round and back-it up with a push back towards the block (assuming you are not likely to get a kick-out in response!) rather than always circling.

Sychnant · 09/11/2015 09:27

Have his back and saddle been checked recently? I agree with the suggestions from the previous poster, but only if pain has been eliminated first. As this is new behaviour there is likely to be a cause for it :)

Dismalfuckers · 09/11/2015 09:36

Try putting the mounting block near a wall so that he can't swing round. This worked for dd.

Gabilan · 09/11/2015 18:19

Agree with sychnant - back and saddle check first and if they're ok, then tackle the problem. Otherwise you can end up pinning a horse down, when it's trying to tell you it has a problem.

PuppyMouse · 09/11/2015 22:38

I had this issue when I took on my loan horse and she would side step so she was facing me every time. Drove me nuts. I would walk her round and make her do it again every time. I was warned it was an issue so have persevered.
If it helps what has worked for me is:

Wherever possible I use our plastic portable mounting block not the fixed one.
In the arena I can stand her in between fence and this mounting block to stop her bum from shifting out.
I gently hold my whip out next to her hind quarters just to guide her into position as we approach the block. I have never really had to do more than hold it or feather gently as a prompt.
I used to get on super quickly as she sped off but the more she's got used to it the longer I take sometimes - just leaning a bit and asking her to stand repeatedly.
I ask her to take a couple of steps back as soon as I get on.

Hope this might help you. I know how frustrating it is and I too often get on totally in my tod with nobody to hold her so had to sort it quickly. Even my husband commented on how much better she was and he's not horsey at all and knows it was driving me nuts!

PuppyMouse · 09/11/2015 22:40

I second what previous posters said about back checks. Mine was a bad habit from a previous loaner, combined with impatience and never having been mounted using a block.

Mustbemad123 · 10/11/2015 22:04

Thank you all for your advice. Will try out some of your tips tomorrow when I finally get to ride this week (stupid work commitments!). I do use the plastic portable block but it ends up with me having to constantly pick up the block and move it as he moves, so will try the tip by the fence, although I don't imagine he will like it. All tack has been checked recently and although he has a history of back problems, I don't think it is that, as he is fine once I get on. That also means that I don't really want to be attempting to get on from the ground. I will get the vet to take a look when he is up next week anyway. I will let you know how I get on, although if I disappear altogether then I can be found in a school somewhere fruitlessly walking around and around with the bloody block... Will try the fence method. Argh, horses Eh?!

OP posts:
PuppyMouse · 10/11/2015 22:23

I was marching round with reins in one hand and block in the other for many weeks. But she's getting better and better. To the point where I fell off twice in one jumping session and despite being a bit shaken I didn't even have to think "oh crap now I have mounting to deal with." She stood really well. So for me practice has really helped and being consistent every time. Good luck Grin

Mustbemad123 · 10/11/2015 23:47

Thank you puppy wow twice in one session? I would have been hobbling back to the yard holding my middle aged type bones in agony. The more falls I have the worse they seem to hurt, in terms of physical and mental pride! And to think I used to go haring around the countryside
On my little tiny pony from the age of about 11, pop a jump over a fallen log (ya know, because I just felt like it), and now I am stumbling about round a
Mounting block. I am sure it's down to sheer bad manners (that he has certainly not learned with me!) practice does make perfect, and I've tried, I really have. I am just sick and tired of having to ask people to hold his head when I am trying to get on (oh and I am mid 30's - just feeling a tad disillusioned with life) he is my outlet (I have a stressful job - who doesn't?) and it makes me feel defeated and annoyed when half my riding time is taken trying to get him to stand still. He's not bored, he has plenty of variety in his life, just think he is taking the mick now, and it is wearing thin... Especially as the nights are drawing in, and it gets more and more difficult to care for them and actually get to ride. I am lucky as he is on loan, so I pay for full livery, but he is in work everyday except the weekends, so no excuse for acting up. I realise this has turned into an essay... Sorry.

OP posts:
Mustbemad123 · 10/11/2015 23:58

Ps he has been on box rest a fair few times this last year or so, and has taken off and literally flung me off. I have still got back on and done some quiet flat work despite feeling like the worst rider in the world, and quietly shaking in my boots, which I know he can sense. The more I fall, the less scared I get, but that's not happened for a while and I've built it up in my
Head, even though I have had him on loan for five years. It's true when they say they can sense a change in mood.... Don't know if his reluctance at the block is a reflection of my own fear. But like I said, once
I get on, we are fine, and I am aiming towards the next dressage comp, at a local yard so nothing fancy, but something that he excels in.

OP posts:
PuppyMouse · 11/11/2015 07:51

I sympathise so much! I am mid 30s too and while I wasn't ever the bravest when I rode as a child I am so aware of being a Mum and having a mortgage!
Luckily my falls barely hurt and I had my back protector on. I really hope you can sort it. X

Booboostwo · 11/11/2015 15:39

It's worth eliminating a physical cause. Once that is out of the way recondition him to the mounting block. Get him to walk up to it, treat him, walk him away, walk him up to it again, treat him. Then get him to stand next to the mounting block, gradually move yourself to the same side as the block, eventually climb the block, etc. Basically you break down the complex activity of mounting into smaller components and reward for each one achieved. Repeat little and often, repeat in different places and don't always make it more difficult revert to rewarding earlier, easier parts of the activity.

Alfredoshoes · 11/11/2015 20:11

Mine will side step the block if he thinks I'm going to school him. If I've got a hi-viz on and the gate to the school is open meaning we are going for a hack he's good as gold..

LaLaLaaaa · 15/11/2015 05:10

First port of call should always be a back and saddle check. Horse is trying to tell you they are not comfortable, possibly that something hurts.

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