Stepping Away When I Go To Mount.

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Go the Distance, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    My little arab mare I broke in last year has a very bad habit that I thought I had broken but it has raised its head again with the pressure of competition and training for competition. She has always been difficult to get to stand up when I mount. She is a busy little horse with a busy brain. I initially solved the problem by using my usual method which is make doing what I don't want her to do difficult and standing up to be mounted easy. We never ever stood up on first attempt but it would only take a few attempts and then she would stand. I would get on her make her stand until I tightened her girth and I would then let her move off. I have to use a block, anthill, passing Labrador to stand on otherwise my saddle slips as she is very round in the barrel and I ride in a treeless.

    However as she has got fitter and more confident she is now quite difficult to get to stand even with my usual method to stop her moving when I go to mount. Even with a one rien stop on her she still spins around me which just results in me launching myself on an unbalanced moving horse.

    At our competition last weekend I ended up getting my mate to hold her each time I went to mount which is something I DON'T want to start but we had a clock against us. I was also riding with someone else and she had been extremely patient waiting each time I mounted but I could see that it was becoming a trial for her too.

    So has anyone got any ideas? Or do I just keep persevering with the one reiner and wait until she stops spinning.....???? I have had her spinning around me in a one reiner for ten minutes without her stopping. I don't think it is working. I have never had a horse that I haven't been able to stand up. Normally I get them sorted fairly quickly. I have a lesson with a good breaker next Saturday who is going to watch what is going on and see if he can offer me some ideas to get her to stand.
  2. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    Hi GTD

    Spinning around is not hard work, to make the wrong thing hard it is best to either back them up hard or yield their HQ or a combination of both. For her I would suggest to back her up hard for a kilometre at a time if you have to ;). Backing up also gives a big dose of respect which she sounds like she is lacking!

    You have to break it into steps and make sure she is still and accepting EACH step until you move onto the next one. For instance step 1 for me would be walking up to the mounting block and standing still where I direct, step 2 would be me stepping on the mounting block, step 3 would be gathering the reins, step 4 would be putting foot in stirrup irons, step 5 would be stepping up in the stirrup etc etc. Therefore the first thing I would do with my steps would be getting her in position next to the mounting block...I would walk her up to the mounting block and ask her to stop and once she stopped I would leave her alone (keep my hand on the rein with no pressure or contact on the mouth) soon as she moved when not asked I would back her up hard and make her move...very black and white and no ifs or buts, then I would relax and calmly move back to the position again and again dare her to make a mistake and move....I would do this for ever single little step of my getting on sequence. Therefore it is very clear to the horse that fidgeting or moving when not asked always ends in a hard and fast not so go fun back up and/yielding the HQ.

    Hope that helps :)
  3. mav

    mav Well-known Member

    ^^this is good^^

    my gelding does the same thing. one day hes a gentleman and waits for me to get my unfit butt into the saddle and other days he waits until i go to mount (i use a crate) and the he backs up, goes sideways, forwards, into me you name it he will do it. something similar to retros advice worked for me. i now make him do a few steps around me (similar to a one rein start) and then ask him to go sideways and then back him up quick smart. i do this about 2/3 times each side and then ask him to stand still again. if he stands nicely for all of it then thats fine - the minute he fidgets he gets this treatment.

    if he fidgets once im in the saddle i do something similar to my ground method - half a one rein stop, then move hindquarters all the way and then back up.

    he remembers his manners on most occasions after the first lot of reprimand - its harder then his actual lesson half the time!!
  4. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    the best thing I have ever done is to just stand still once in the saddle. For long periods of time. Once they get it into their heads that the second you get on you dont always take off often it is easier to get on.

    Another as already mentioned is as soon as you do get on to reinback instead fo going forward.

    Bloody horses they do love learning bad habits lol.
  5. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Thanks RR for breaking it down into steps. I am not riding tomorrow but I will get her out and do some practice with the steps.

    Thank you for all responses. I appreciate it:)).
  6. RVP Horses

    RVP Horses Well-known Member

    I like all of the above replies. And it is more or less the way I would break the habit. Unfortunately this all takes alot of time. In the mean time, if you are in a hurry and unable to follow the steps, another method you can try is bending their head away from you. I am aware that normally we bend their head towards us, (but this will only work if they have been taught that this means stop, not if the reins move their feet and they think this means move you HQ.) bending their head away from you throws them off balance a bit, which gives them something to work out and it is easier to stop theHQ moving towards you with the use of blocking than it is to stop them moving away from you. But preferably persevere with the steps as outlined in the other posts the out come will be better in the long run.:)
  7. mav

    mav Well-known Member

    i just thought of another one...

    went to mount at sec the other day and he wouldnt stand still so decided to move where i was mounting and found a built in block with lots of green grass on top. he stood there and ate while i got on... not the best method in the world but it worked :D
  8. nannygoat

    nannygoat Gold Member

    Hobbles. on and off on and off on and off - boring.

    It is the one truly reliable thing about my mare. She is rock solid A one when it comes to mounting anywhere anytime anyhow anymood.
  9. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Raise your expectations and make sure you are not holding her hand, trying to prevent her making a mistake. She can not learn if you put a lot of effort into preventing her making a mistake. Expect her to stand still, on a loose rein, while you mount. If she moves off (not goes to move off, but actually does move) get up her as in RR's suggestion, then back to the mounting block, park her, loose reins, full of expectation, and go to mount up. If she moves off, dive into her again. Be consistant and she will learn.

    I have taught my horse to "line up" next to whatever mounting obstacle I choose to use, and teaching her this might make her more accountable??? When she is not lined up correctly, she is having to move her feet, on command. When she is lined up, she gets to stand still.

    Be slow to move off once mounted, especially when you can during training rides. Only move of promptly when you need to during competition rides.

    Change the pattern of moving off. Sometimes just move of in a straight walk, sometimes leg yeild out of the halt, sometimes rein back and turn on the hind before moving off on your ride etc. Keep her guessing and looking towards you for cues. Make sure she does not think she is in control. You are the driver and she must be the passenger.

    Good luck.
  10. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    ^^^^ I like what Deb had to say **)

    Besides a bunch of other things that aren't quite installed to the 'auto' stage, does this issue indicate that your little girl doesn't have a lateral mouth?

    And doesn't have any sort of ORS installed?

    Or is a mounting issue such as this completely different to a mouthing issue?

  11. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    "I initially solved the problem by using my usual method which is make doing what I don't want her to do difficult and standing up to be mounted easy. We never ever stood up on first attempt but it would only take a few attempts and then she would stand. I would get on her MAKE her stand until I tightened her girth and I would then LET her move off."

    Loved Debs post. I've also highlighted two words in your OP, which I think might work better if you switched them around. I get the feeling you are used to jumping on and you're off like a gun, and having to hold her back earlier and earlier. I also get a mental picture of her being really scattered instead of calm and listening by the 'making the wrong thing difficult' exercises that are neccessary before you mount at a competition.

    It's difficult because you've worked so hard to get a superfit firecracker loaded for a 40km sustained flight. But she has to stay engaged in the brain and with you until you light the fuse. Poor girl, you are both raring to go so you are both fighting the pent up expectation of the race, standing still is contrary to all her training ;)

    Changing her expectation is key, and you will have to stay super disciplined for the rest of your endurance career- to teach her to come over and line up to you, for you to take your time getting on (and off, and on again if necessary), to sit up there and do nothing for 5-10 minutes, asking her to move (not letting), then stopping again (however many times it takes), then working out a rev-up pattern to work her back up to race mode. Probably going to work best as a culture you install at home. Hop on, stand still, do some bending, ask her to walk off, do some mini schooling, stop and have a drink, walk over for a chat with someone, stand still some more, then go off and do your rev-up routine to prepare for the start.

    Which would all require an awful lot of discipline and 'wasted time' on your part, but is really just another form of training and would fix the mounting issue.
  12. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Some rather good advice here and I have ummmm'd and ahhhh'd over whether to contribute or not.

    I have a few different possible solutions.

    To start off with check her stance. Are her feet close together or spread apart? If her feet are close together then of course she's going to move around because she needs to shuffle to stabilise herself and that one step she needs to take to stabilise herself very quickly turns into several and fidgeting and snowballing from there. Whenever I go to get on a horse I always check their stance and if their feet are close together simple hold the pommel of the saddle and use it to rock the horse slightly from side to side until she spreads her feet. Once feet are spread see how you go from there.

    Failing that ^^^^^^^^^ Check your one rein stop on the ground. I know you said you've tried it but I'd be inclined to go there again without adding the extra task of getting on. If she won't settle in a one rein stop/lateral flexion on the ground without you having the intention of getting on then of course she's not going to settle in a one rein stop for you to get on. Just something else to check and perhaps tune up a bit.

    The next option (and building on from the above) is to lengthen your stirrup on the near side so you can reach it (given you suffer from a slight case of ducks disease) put her into lateral flexion and do the old hop hop hopparoo and let her circle around you until she settles and softens on that rein. Once she settles and softens on that rein, give her a pat, take your foot out of the stirrup and let her be for a bit before you take the rein up and go again. Once she's happy with that and settles for you to put your foot in the stirrup then step up on her but don't swing your leg over, rather do a half brace. If she wants to spin around let her, if your brace is effective you can stay balanced on her while she fart arses around under you. Once she stops, pat and step down and let her be. Yep, a lot of repetition of any of the above, lots and lots of repetition combined with Debs suggestion of moving off a different way every time to keep her guessing.

    Now you say she's rather rotund and the saddle slips so I'm going to ask what your mounting technique is like................ Left hand on the neck with a hunk of mane and rein and right hand on the pommel with a fit rider such as yourself and there shouldn't be any problems springing up with the girth undone. Back in my fit days (and 20kgs lighter) of riding 3 - 4 horses a day and giving riding lessons and I was able to spring up onto any horses back with the girth undone on their saddle from both sides, stuffed if I could do it now though :blink: Some may see that as gloating, no, I say this to highlight that I'm not being a smart arse and setting the impossible because I know it can be done, I don't pass on advice that I haven't tried/done myself in the past with success. I even saw a 5 foot 5 dot of a lady in her 40s get on a 16.3hand thoroughbred with the girth undone so it is possible.

    The other thing is to put her to work (easier done with something like a Quarter Horse so with a fit Arab this could be interesting!) She wants to move her feet, fine, she can move her feet but she'll be doing it your way ie hind quarter yields, changing of direction, back up etc etc. Do a few laps then bring her back and try to get on again.

    Anyway, just a few different options to go with the rest of the really good suggestions here.
  13. South Boulder Boy

    South Boulder Boy Well-known Member

    We have alot of horses come in that don't know how to stand, this is because the are used to have a jockey legged up and then straight into work (never time to stand around in racing! Haha). Obviously we like them to stand as we mount them normally and walk off calmly down the road.

    We don't have the time to work on the issue in the ways suggested, often the horse isn't even there long enough. So how we train 'stand' is with 2 people. One person holds the horse, if they are really bad that person stands on the offside. Then with a hand on the halter and one on te should the horse is told 'stand'. Once as still as they are going to get the rider gets on. They walk a few steps forward (mostly to clear the mounting block) and are asked verbally and psychically to 'stand' again. They then get a girth check. This is done everyday. Eventually the horse stands completely still, usually after a few days (never longer than a week) the 2nd person doesn't have to even touch the horse just their presence is enough and after that they can be removed completely. On average after 2 weeks you can lead them up to the mounting block ask for stand and hop on no problems. And with the regulars in work you can fluff about, walk away etc and they will just stand at the mounting block. Most will do te same regardless where you go, so if we fall off out bush they will stand by a log etc.

    I know most will think having 2 people is not correct training or practical and it probably doesn't help you (OP) but it works really well for us so thought I'd share a different training method :)
  14. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Thank you for all your responses.:)

    I did some work on the ground with her today with some success.

    She is only broken to halter/hackamore as I don't break to a bit but I still get them so that you can do an ORS. She will stand still with her feet planted and yield her head when we are standing.

    Her issue is respect as RR pointed out so today I spent time backing her up and then getting her to move forward and stand still next to the block. When she moved her feet she got backed up. I have now got her so she will stand still next to the block in a relaxed manner.

    I think it is going to take time and training. I will change my habits from mounting to moving off quickly to making her do a few tasks first in an effort to break the cycle of being busy.

    Competition will always be our hardest place because the energy is so high in both of us but I am hoping if I get a good routine at home then I can try and tap into that when we are out.

    She is a very work orientated mare and takes her work very seriously. She is also very honest and will work with you well when you give her the right circumstances so I am sure we will solve this issue and learn something in the meantime.

    Thank you everyone for your good advice!
  15. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    I haven't read all the replies yet, but two things I would do are
    1) apply reverse psychology and "rock" the horse from your mounting position. Like, push/pull it away/towards you in a rhythmic manner until she plants her feet to stabilise herself.
    2) if she wants to move, fine. Make her move in a tiny circle around you or better yet, redirect her train of thought into a turn on the forehand and only stand still when you let her. Then desensitize her to your mounting, by just making her stay still whilst you faff about, picking up and dropping the reins, chatting with friends etc, lift ur leg up to mount etc. If she goes to move, then push her forward hard enough so she thinks her movement is your idea, and that stopping is your idea too.

    I usually incorporate both strategies, but 1) works the easiest.j
  16. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Great minds think alike Blitzen. Your first suggestion was also my first suggestion ;)
  17. ArBeeBar

    ArBeeBar Active Member

    Okay, I wasn't going to post, but here goes. It's all training. Need to get them anticipating anything other then moving forwards. Rocking helps them secure their footing and great to make sure you're not mounting a slouchy pony. Plus it helps them prepare for a mount. Methods such as asking to back up/flexing/stepping from behind first all gets to get their mind on the job. Working on a station and in yards, being dog tired, worse thing is green horses with nothing better than forward thinking. Getting them working and thinking where their feet are may be time consuming but it's all part of training. First thing when I get on is ask something other than moving forward :eek:

Share This Page