When mounting a horse, if the horse keeps moving back and forth, not only is it annoying, but it also poses potential safety hazards. A well-trained horse will stand quietly when mounted and move forward only when given the signal by the rider. The secret to training a horse to stand quietly when mounting is to make the horse start thinking and focus its attention on itself. The specific way to do this is to make the “right things easy and the wrong things difficult”.
The following example of using a mounting block is given in the text to explain the solution to the problem of a horse moving around during the mounting process:
If a mounting block is needed, first stand about 3 meters away from it and let the horse move back and forth between the rider and the mounting block, moving its limbs. This exercise can help the horse get into the state of mind of thinking and obeying the rider. After training for 5-10 minutes, the horse will become tired and want to rest. At this point, the rider can release the pressure and let the horse stop, but can only rest by standing next to the mounting block. If the horse tries to move away when approaching the mounting block, immediately continue to require the horse to move its limbs. After repeating this a few times, the horse will know that the only place to relax and rest is next to the mounting block.
After the horse can stand quietly next to the mounting block, the rider can stand on the mounting block and start touching the horse’s entire body from its neck. Repeat the training on both sides of the horse’s body.
If the rider is not used to using a mounting block, in step 2, they can pretend to mount the horse. If the horse tries to move, immediately require it to move its limbs by making circles or moving back and forth between the rider and the mounting block. When the horse has no reaction to the rider’s “pretend mounting” action, the rider can put one foot in the stirrup, lean over the saddle, and start touching the horse’s entire body from its neck.
If during the process the horse tries to move its limbs and leave, immediately continue to demand that the horse enter working mode. The rider stands about 3 meters away from the mounting block and requires the horse to do a back-and-forth movement between the rider and the mounting block, constantly moving its limbs, or making circles. When working, it is necessary to strongly demand the horse, making it clear to the horse that standing next to the mounting block is a very easy and comfortable thing to do, and if it cannot stand quietly, it will be forced to move.
Loosen the reins, make the mounting action, or pretend to make the mounting action according to the horse’s condition. If the horse moves its limbs during the rider’s mounting process, immediately go back and demand that the horse continue to work. The meaning of loosening the reins is that the rider cannot restrict the horse’s movement, but instead needs to make the horse understand that not moving is the correct choice, in order to fundamentally solve the problem. Dare to let the horse make mistakes, always taking care of the horse, helping the horse to think, the horse will never make progress.
At the same time, this behavior also lets the horse know that the rider’s mounting does not mean that the horse should move forward. The correct way for the horse is to wait for the rider’s command.
Through repeated training, the horse can gradually learn to stand quietly during the rider’s mounting process. At this point, when the rider sits on the horse’s back, it is not necessary to immediately ask the horse to move forward. The rider can ask the horse to do some neck softness and flexion exercises in place. Horses that are accustomed to moving around when being mounted usually do so because the rider, after mounting, immediately asks the horse to move forward. Over time, the horse anticipates the rider’s behavior and thinks it should move forward.
Horses are very good at anticipating the rider’s actions, so whether during riding or daily care, if the horse exhibits this behavior of anticipating the rider’s actions, the rider should try to change their daily interaction with the horse, slow down their movements, and avoid habitual actions. If the horse starts moving forward before the rider has given any commands, the rider can do some circling exercises in place to get the horse’s limbs moving. After a few circles, stop and let the horse stand quietly and rest. If the horse still wants to move its limbs without commands from the rider, immediately ask the horse to continue doing circles and repeat the training until the horse can stand quietly. (Translated by/Li Yanping)
SEE ALSO: How to care for horses