Mounting issues

I just started shareboarding an 8 year old mustang with “personality” (read: spirited with a mind of his own). He is a hard mount: he dances, throws his head, and takes off as soon as my leg swings over the saddle, which makes my slight anxiety of getting on skyrocket. Tomorrow is the first day I’ll have him all to myself without my trainer to hold his head or hand me a crop after I get on.
If you guys have any suggestions on how to get on without him taking off immediately, I would really appreciate it!! :winkgrin:

[QUOTE=debonairduchess;7960860]I just started shareboarding an 8 year old mustang with “personality” (read: spirited with a mind of his own). He is a hard to mount: he dances, throws his head, and takes off as soon as my leg swings over the saddle, which makes my slight anxiety of getting on skyrocket. Tomorrow is the first day I’ll have him all to myself without my trainer to hold his head or hand me a crop after I get on.
If you guys have any suggestions on how to get on without him taking off immediately, I would really appreciate it!! :winkgrin:[/QUOTE]

Sounds like that is a horse with some holes in his basic training.

I would start to re-train him like you would a colt you are starting under saddle.
Except that he is not your horse, so don’t know if the owner will be happy if you do that.

Don’t progress until he’s chill. If that means you stand at the mounting block for an hour, that’s what it means. If he trips out when you grab a stirrup leather, hold on to it and wait until he settles down, THEN let go and pick it up again. Rinse and repeat until it is no big deal. This is not a hard problem to correct, but it does take timing and feel. Please, please, please get a trainer that doesn’t treat a horse that won’t stand for mounting as “no big deal”. It is a big deal, and you can get badly hurt by a horse jigging around when you are trying to get on.

I feel your pain. My horse (now 10) did this constantly when I bought him at 3.5 y/o. Lots and lots and lots of practice. He moves off? Back to square one. Make him stand. He moves off? back to the mounting block and make him stand.

I had him reliably trained in 3 or 4 months. Fast forward to age 10 - he started doing it again. I ended up falling off mid-mount twice, thwacked my back and head HARD on the ground. After that, I spent about 1 or 2 months having someone hold him while I mounted. I was too self-confidence-shaken to try to get on myself for a while. He’s better now, stands like a rock until I tell him to move on. Good luck.

[QUOTE=Bluey;7960870]Sounds like that is a horse with some holes in his basic training.

I would start to re-train him like you would a colt you are starting under saddle.
Except that he is not your horse, so don’t know if the owner will be happy if you do that.[/QUOTE]

Ayup. This.

Back to round pen/longe for some ground work.

G.

I think that all of the above posts are right about problems in the horse’s basic training, but I just want to suggest that you check the fit of the saddle. Trying to scoot away upon mounting and in the first minutes of the ride can be an indication of a saddle that is pinching the horse at the withers or that is otherwise causing pain.

A saddle that used to fit a year ago or several months ago, may no longer fit now. Here’s a link on evaluating saddle fit: http://www.saddlefit.com/educational_2.html

That horse needs several days where riding is off the menu and standing still is the entire agenda. Also every ride practice mounting and dismounting many times at the end of the ride when his “go” level is much lower.

[QUOTE=Posting Trot;7960898]I think that all of the above posts are right about problems in the horse’s basic training, but I just want to suggest that you check the fit of the saddle. Trying to scoot away upon mounting and in the first minutes of the ride can be an indication of a saddle that is pinching the horse at the withers or that is otherwise causing pain.

A saddle that used to fit a year ago or several months ago, may no longer fit now. Here’s a link on evaluating saddle fit: http://www.saddlefit.com/educational_2.html[/QUOTE]

That is a possibility, also that the one mounting pulls on the reins as it gets on and the horse is reacting to that.

I still think, the description of the horse as ““personality” (read: spirited with a mind of his own)” may meant he is either confused about what humans want and reactive and/or trying to figure what people really want, because no one taught him how to behave.

That brings us back to, maybe he is poorly trained, get on the ball with some proper training.

Would you buy a car that drove off when you opened the door?

I spend lots of time doing nothing at the mounting block, and the expectation after mounting is to continue doing nothing.

"That is a possibility, also that the one mounting pulls on the reins as it gets on and the horse is reacting to that.

I still think, the description of the horse as ““personality” (read: spirited with a mind of his own)” may meant he is either confused about what humans want and reactive and/or trying to figure what people really want, because no one taught him how to behave.

That brings us back to, maybe he is poorly trained, get on the ball with some proper training."

Your idea about the reins may be the issue: I tend to grab mane and keep a firm hold on them when I’m getting on. I thought this would help keep him in place, but now I wonder if he’s getting upset about that. I’ll try to see if keeping a lighter grasp will help. Thanks!

I always put my go-go-go ASB with her nose into a wall or fence. She always took off at a trot; if she didn’t, you were screwed (too much time for her to think at a walk). After a trip or two around the ring, she was fine. She was an old school show horse - that’s how she was broke.

If you jogged her, it was easier to long-line her 100’ & then pull her up to get in the bike.

Some people may disagree, but there have been so many threads about this, and this is one of the situations where TREATS really help – if the horse is food-motivated and you’re allowed to give him treats (ask the owner.)

Make the mounting block a nice place. Don’t try to get on immediately. Take things very slowly and reward for the “next step” no matter what reward you are using. Could be a wither scritch, a treat, whatever.

When I was rehabbing my mare, under saddle work was painful for her and I used peppermints to get her to stand still at the mounting block until I told her it was time to move off. Over time I eased off the peppermints and now (almost 5 years later) give her one about once a month when I get on at the mounting block. So in behaviorist terms, you start with continuous reinforcement and move to variable interval reinforcement. Out of the trails, if I need to get off of her for some reason and must remount from a rock or a tree stump or some other weird thing, she almost always gets a peppermint. But she is VERY food motivated and will turn herself inside out for a peppermint, even a tiny one.

I’m not a ‘treat for everything’ person by a long shot and have had fabulous success with this method with my mare. In her mind, the faster she locks her legs at the mounting block, the faster she makes me get on to give her a treat. I climb on, she gets her snack and mumbles on it until I ask her to walk off. Iused to have to leap on a moving target.

Last night I was dawdling chatting before getting on and she started prodding me with her nose to get on with it.

If she doesn’t get one, she’ll look back a couple times to see if I’m serious or if I forgot. If I ask again, she just gets on with her day.

Quietann, I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but the cookies/treat thing is so individual. I have my mare trained that a pat on the cheek while mounted means I have a cookie for her, and it is an excellent way, with her, to derail a spooky jig fit over the horse-eater hiding in the trees. If I tried it with one of the others, it would be a good way to end up sitting on a horse that wouldn’t move until he got his cookie, or a “who trained who” situation. Again, it’s one of those timing/feel/experience things. A greenhorn can get into a lot of trouble carrying treats around horses. Sometimes when a horse nips at a pocket being pushy they can pick up a chunk of thigh too.

Also, if they are eating a treat, they don’t have time to be thinking about moving off.
Especially if you have a chaser treat coming once settled, generally on the off side and stand there while they area eating that second one and then wait until you decide to move on.

Can do the same without treats for those allergic to them, just takes less if a horse is motivated with other than expected to figure what we really want, if we use treats as it learns static exercises.

You have to train about treats first, of course, so you don’t have a problem with a horse begging and pushy for treats.

Thanks everyone! Unfortunately, I only shareboard twice a week, so I don’t think I’ll be able to do much training, but I’m looking forward to trying some of the ideas. Bluey, your idea about the reins might also be a factor. I was taught to have a tight grip on the reins and grab some mane to try to control a naughty horse. I’ll try to be a little bit more relaxed with them and see if that helps.
I’ve been riding on and off for the past 20 years (wow, I’m getting old!), and I’ve never heard of giving treats; what a wonderful idea! I’m not sure that I’m graceful enough to pull it off, but that’s definitely worth looking into.

i agree with going back to basics,including ground work, instilling total obedience to the word ‘whoa’
I had bad knees for years, that prevented me from being able to mount from the ground, before replacements. It thus became an absolute that all of my horses, even the green ones, learned to stand at the mounting block, or anything used as amounting advantage-be it a log, ground advantage or the wheel well of my trailer
Just wondering as to why you have your trainer hand you a crop, on a horse that is already anxious, not that it is the main problem
I agree with not mounting until that horse is standing still. You can also make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. If he moves, don’t mount, even if you still can. Take him away from that block and make him move. I use making that horse yield his hips hard, several turns-but that is just what I do
I then take the horse back to the block, and ask him to whoa. Only when he is standing, do I get on
On a horse that you are still not 100% sure of, there is a way to make that mounting safer, by getting on him as you would a colt Use your left hand to hold cheek piece, checking horse’s head slightly towards you, and hold both reins in your right, until you are on. A horse can’t bolt ahead this way
Once on, as stated, don’t just ride off. Sit there. maybe ask for some vertical flexion. When you do ride off, don’t always just ride straight ahead. You can back enough to clear the mounting block, then ask for a quarter turn over the haunches and ride off
The point being, you teach that horse to wait on you, and your requests

I’m with the treat givers. I’m also with shortening the inside rein, so that the walk off while you are in the early retraining stages ends up as a turn to you rather than a straight ahead.

But shortening the outside rein moves the body towards you instead of away. Much more efficient than hopping along chasing the butt.

You do have a quandary, since you are sharing. However, over time, horses being pretty perceptive, the horse can understand what ‘you’ want and comply if ‘you’ are consistent in the requirements. If it were me, just going on what you describe, I’d have the near rein shortened when I get on, not a ‘panic grip,’ but such that he has to circle if he moves. And during the ride, I would make sure halts, building up to longer duration, are part of the work.

In general, I’ve had good results over the years with schooling on mounting at the end of the ride. Horse has worked and should be more mellow, and the reward for standing (better and better each time), is, hey congrats, you did that right, we are done for the day. I like to practice mounts and dismounts on both sides, myself, just to expand horizons and have the capability.