Having Trouble Getting on a Horse

I ride at a therapeutic horse riding program in Chatsworth, CA. I’ve been having trouble getting on a horse starting at the end of July. I don’t know why. I also do Kempo Karate, but I keep on changing instructors every few months. It reminds me of what happened at my therapeutic riding program five years ago. Would that affect me with mounting the horse on the block?

My dad is so overly competitive with everything including bowling and horse riding. I feel like I’m not allowed to have fun when I’m riding horses. Everyone is allowed to have fun but me. Is that part of the problem?

I just need to get on a horse by myself again, soon. I need to fix the problem fast.

What kind of a problem are you having with mounting? Would a change in the mounting block such as making it higher be helpful? Are you worried when you are about to get on? Maybe some stretching exercises right before you get on would relax your muscles so it is easier.

Have someone experienced from the riding program watch you mount and help you figure out how to make it smother and easy.

I can’t keep my foot in the stirrup when mounting, and I can’t get my leg over the saddle. I think my safety stirrups are too small. My dad got me 4 1/2 size stirrups, but the person from the saddlery said to get 4 3/4 size stirrups.

What kind of stretches should I do?

Can you talk to your trainer at the therapeutic center? She/he, not the saddler, should be telling you what size stirrups you need. Are you riding your own horse in the program, or one of the center’s horses? The therapeutic riding centers I have known have certain saddles for certain horses and riders and the instructors and volunteers know which saddle for which rider and horse. I would bring your problem to them. Is it a PATH program?

Using stirrups that are too narrow is dangerous. What does the riding center say? Don’t they have wider stirrups you could use? Is this your own horse? If not I don’t understand why you need to provide your own tack.

Is the center licensed to work with the disabled? If they can’t provide help with basic skills such as mounting it might be a good idea to find another place.

Talk with one of the physical therapists at the program. She should be able to give you some stretching exercises that mimic the movements you make when you are mounting. if you can loosen up those muscles with stretching, swinging your leg over the horse should be easier.

Different stirrups may make a big difference for you. Many riders have a favorite pair of stirrups that stay put for them. If you look at photos of eventers who are riding cross country, you will see many kinds of stirrups and stirrup pads. You might just need a different type of rubber pad in your stirrups so they stay put, or you may need a different type or size of stirrup. Your instructor should be able to borrow a few types of stirrups for you to try.

I have my own dressage saddle. I use the program’s horses. It is a PATH certified center. They have a new three step mounting block which is fine. When I had my all purpose saddle, I used a different kind of safety stirrups with no rubber bands which I loved. My dad is the one who told me the stirrups were fine, but the employee at the tack shop said to get 4 3/4 size stirrups. What is the best kind of safety stirrups?

When I did Tae Kwon Do in middle school, I never had any problems with mounting a horse then.

I also wear really tight breeches and thick socks with my boots, and it really hot in Chatsworth, CA, right now. Could that be part of the problem?

Can you mimic the movements of mounting wearing the clothes while not on a horse? Like lifting your leg up to put it over? Can you try with a different saddle just once to test if it is something about your saddle configuration vs your body? You don’t even have to ride in the other saddle if it is a bad fit for you otherwise - just test if you can mount and dismount safely.

There are many kinds of safety stirrups. Look at www.adamshorsesupplies.com or another big online site and you will see some choices. Also google Mountain Horse safety stirrups. Endurance people often like the safety stirrups with a cage to keep the toe from going too far into the stirrup. Look at pads that will fit into our stirrups to make them less slippery, as that may be all that you need.

Personally, I like the flexible stirrups such as the cheaper copies of the Herm Sprenger flexible stirrups. For me, a heavier stirrup makes it easier to keep my stirrups and to get them back if I lose a stirrup. See if you and your instructor can borrow several types of stirrups to see what works for you.

You can use the same stirrups on a dressage saddle as on an all-purpose saddle. But really the director of the program or your instructor there is the only person really qualified to tell you which stirrups you should be using. Not your dad, unless he is a certified PATH instructor.

Why do you wear tight breeches? Can you get stretchy riding tights, pull-ons? They stretch like panty hose and are cooler in hot weather than breeches.


I also wear really tight breeches and thick socks with my boots, and it really hot in Chatsworth, CA, right now. Could that be part of the problem?[/QUOTE]

Yes. It could. This past Saturday it was quite cool out so I put on my fall breeches (heavy stretch plaid) instead of my light stretchy summer tights. I could.not.hit.the.stirrup. My dear husband who had come to the barn and was (needlessly) heading my horse had to give my leg a hoist.

Nothing else had changed. Just the breeches.

What kind of non-low rise lightweight riding tights or breeches that are good in hot weather? I can’t stand the heat. I think that is part of the problem.

I wear Kerrits tights. I’ve had some for 4 or 5 years and they are holding up very well.


Here’s the Non-low rise version

Do Kerrits riding tights have an elastic waist? They look nice. Lately my dad had to help me get on the horse from the mounting block. I want to be able to go to shows.

Yes they have an elastic waist. Some models also have a drawcord in addition to the elastic.

I have an old pair of Tropical Rider Winter Riding Tights which won’t be good for hot weather. I might get a pair of the Kerrits Klassic Performance Tights, the Irideon Issential riding tights, or Irideon Synergy riding tights. What are other good non-lowrise lightweight breeches or tights with an elastic waist for schooling and shows?

Yesterday, I was able to get on the horse by myself on the mounting block because it wasn’t as hot. I got a handhold which helped, and I used leather braided reins instead of the rubber rainbow reins which also helped. I am sensitive to latex which could be in the rubber reins.

I still don’t understand the correlation between being hot out and being able to mount. I also don’t understand the correlation between what kind of reins you use to mounting. You don’t use reins to mount.

If you truly cannot hit the stirrup - DON’T FORCE IT!

I was NEVER able to hit the stirrup to mount…went on a riding vacation and the only way to mount was from the ground. Ripped my labrum off the bone!

You may have a physiologic issue going on…

I used to have private lessons all the time at my therapeutic horse riding center in Chatsworth, CA, but then two other riders showed up without anyone telling me or my parents. The other riders bribe the instructor with coffee every Saturday, so the instructor leaves me behind. I work better in one-on-one lessons. Today’s lesson was better than the past lessons because I had different instructor who didn’t leave me behind. Could that be part of the problem?

Maybe you and your parents should talk with the director of the center. If you are paying for private lessons you should be getting a private lesson.

Only the director of the center is qualified to answer your questions about stirrups, breeches, and your problems with your lessons.