Why won’t my horse stand still when I mount him?
I get this question from frustrated riders all the time. And while we can all agree that a well mannered horse is one who stands still while we mount, it is not always the horses manners at fault when he fails to do so.
Here are a few signs that you may be the problem causing your horse to not stand still as you mount. (I will assume you have already checked to ensure you have a proper fitting saddle.)
3 Signs You are the Problem
- Your horse moves away from you when you approach to mount.
- He raises his head and drops his back (even if only slightly, this is a big red flag)
- He puts his ears back on your approach
While a horse will have to deal with the occasional poke in the ribs or rough mount, but he should not be conditioned to expect pain every time you mount him.
Ask yourself the following questions if any of these signs sound familiar.
11 Questions to ask:
- When I mount, am I pulling the saddle in a way that hurts the horse?
- Am I hanging on the saddle? (This will pull the horse off balance which he does not enjoy)
- Am I hitting the horse in the stomach as I jump up onto the saddle?
- Do I poke the horse in his side when I put my foot in the stirrup?
- When I swing my leg over the horse, am I kicking him in the hip or croup?
- When I land in the saddle, am I banging down hard? (If the horse drops his back this may be one of your issues)
- After getting into the saddle, am I kicking the right side of the horse with my right leg as I reach for the other stirrup?
- Am I pulling on the reins as I mount? (Pulling on the horses mouth is not an appropriate way to balance yourself as you get on the horse.)
- Speaking of reins. Am I pulling, yanking, or shaking the reins as I get settled in position in the saddle?
- Am I shaking and jostling around my body as I settle in the saddle? (The goal is to be quiet and soft as we settle in the saddle)
- Do I instantly kick the horse to go as soon as I am in the saddle? (I see a lot of riders do this. Not good. Don’t do it)
Be a good teammate
Too few riders who have trouble mounting their horse take the time to ensure they are doing their part to make mounting a success.
Next time you go for a ride look for the 3 signs that you are the problem and ask yourself if you are teaching your horse to fear mounting.
Riding is a team effort. Make sure you are being a good teammate and respecting your horse whenever you mount him and go for a ride. You’ll be amazed how much better mounting will go when your horse doesn’t fear it.
For more equine guides and tips read these articles:
- Horse Camping Tips
- Essential Trail Riding Tips
- Trailer Loading Training
- Top Horse Stirrups
- Essential Oils for Horses
- Calming Paste for Horses
- Best Riding Helmets
- Best Horse Saddle Pad
- Best Horse Riding Gloves
Fred is the editor of Equine Ridge. He grew up raising horses and has been riding, training, and competing for almost four decades. Fred started out performing on the AQHA and PHBA circuits. Fred trained other competitors in English and Western riding disciplines and today offers free riding lessons to youth who would otherwise not be able to afford lessons. When not working with horses he can be found backpacking or trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Email Fred at email@example.com