How to Mount A Horse

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How To Think
Like A Horse
Becoming An
Effective Rider
101 Longeing and
Long Lining Exercises
Longeing and Long Lining
English and Western
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill
Your Horse Barn DVD
Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill
101 Longeing and Long Lining Exeercises
Longeing and Long Lining the Western Horse
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Adapted from Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill

  2006 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information


Although you have been able to prepare the young horse for almost every sensation he will experience during the first ride, three things that will be new to him are the feel of your legs on his sides, the feel of your weight on his back, and the sight of you above and behind him.

Making Not Breaking by Cherry HillYou can get your horse used to your weight on his back by stepping up on a mounting block so you can lean your body over his bareback. You can either have someone hold the horse while you do this or hold onto the leadrope yourself. Be sure to remove any belt buckles that could dig into the horse's back as you practice this exercise. At first just get him used to the idea of seeing you on both sides of him at the same time. Then lean your weight onto his back, but still keep contact with your feet and the mounting block. Finally lift yourself all the way up on his back and lean all the way over him.

When it comes time to mount and ride, I like to start young horses with a Western saddle even if they are destined to be used as English horses. First of all, the weight of an empty Western saddle does a better job of accustoming a horse's back to carrying. Second Western Longeing and Long Lining the Western Horsestirrups and fenders familiarize the young horse with movement against his sides preparing him for the feel of your legs. Third, when properly fitted, a Western saddle has less of a tendency to shift when a rider mounts. This is due to the friction of the large contact area of the skirts and the wrapping and enveloping effect that a Western saddle tends to have. And fourth, and perhaps most important, a Western saddle has a larger bearing surface than an English saddle so distributes a rider's weight over a larger area of the horse's back muscles. A horse's back is like a suspension bridge, not really well designed to carry weight. The horse's neck, abdominals, and back muscles already have a big job suspending the weight of his abdomen and now the muscles must work even harder to keep the back from sagging under the weight of the saddle and rider. The longer, wider bars of a properly fitted Western saddle make bearing the weight of the rider more comfortable for the young horse. Once the horse's back has begun to strengthen and develop, it can more easily bear a rider's weight via the panels of a properly fitted English saddle.

To prepare a horse for you being above him during riding, when you groom or clip him, step up on a box or when he is turned out, sit on the top rail of his pen and let him come up and investigate you.


Evaluate Your Every Day Mounting Habits

Become aware of your everyday mounting habits that could use improvement.

  • Do the toes of your left boot dig into a horse's side as you rise to mount? Pointed toe boots are particularly inappropriate when mounting unless you choose to mount facing forward.

  • Does the saddle shift way off to the left side because you have to pull yourself up with your arms rather than lift yourself up with the muscles of your left leg?

  • Do you wobble as you swing over the horse and throw him off balance or bump him on the croup?

  • Does your seat land with a thud in the saddle or do you have the muscle control to lower yourself softly into the saddle?

  • Does your right leg slap his side as you find your position or do you let your leg settle softly on his side?

If you have any of these problems, practice mounting a safe, trained horse until your bad habits are replaced with good ones. Here is one place where being in good physical condition will help you perform more effectively and safely.


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  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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