Stand Still for Mounting
© 1999 Cherry Hill www.horsekeeping.com
For the past month my 20 year old gelding will not be still
when I try to mount up. He backs up, turns circles and won't stand still. He did
not used to do this. Any suggestions?
a trained horse begins to act differently all of a sudden, you can bet your boots
that there is a specific cause. In the case of your 20 year old gelding
all of a sudden getting antsy when you are mounting, I immediately think that
he might have a sore or weak back. He seems to be anticipating you landing
on his back and his movement tells us that he is trying to avoid it. Here are
some areas for you to check:
The saddle might not fit his
back. Have you recently started using a different one? Are you sure
the saddle is the correct shape and size for his back?
might be holding the bridle reins too tight causing him to back.
might be holding one bridle rein (usually the left one) too short causing him
to circle to the left and move his hindquarters away from you.
might have sores or crusty scabs on his skin (hidden by his winter coat) where
the saddle rubs. Have you given him a very thorough grooming?
saddle blanket might have burrs or something in it that causes him discomfort.
Any horse, but especially an older horse, takes longer to
get "back in shape" after a time off. If your horse's back muscles
are not in shape, your weight landing in the saddle could cause him discomfort.
Older horses tend to develop a sway back and more prominent withers which often
require special attention to saddle fit and pad/blanket choice.
check your mounting techniques. Be sure you rise smoothly without pulling
the saddle off to one side, swing your right leg over without bumping his hip,
and land lightly in the seat of the saddle.