There are three reasons why horses won't stand for mounting.
One reason is they aren't trained to not move. So many times people just live with the horse who moves away when mounting. They either don't care or they don't know how to deal with it and they manage.
Another reason is the horse is trained TO move during mounting. This is usually the result of some low self-esteemer who needs to continually be operating in the world of "Watch this!" Spectacular mounts and other flashy high-speed maneuvers demonstrate their "horse powers" or cowboy skills. You see them on trail rides, at horse shows and other places where they can show off their abilities.
The third reason is physical discomfort. The saddle or the act of mounting is causing discomfort enough to cause a reaction of some sort - moving sideways or backwards, dipping into the mounter's space, swishing the tail, ear pinning even grunting and biting.
I have arranged the reasons for moving off when mounted from the least likely to most likely.
The most likely reason is discomfort from the saddle or the mounting itself.
The act of mounting by itself brings a number of leverage forces into play. If you are using a western saddle and you mount by using your hand on the saddle horn and your foot in the stirrup you are placing a surprising amount of stress on the off side of the withers. If the horse is in the right position or you use an abrupt movement to get on you can move the thoracics out adjustment or in chiro speak, cause a subluxation.
If you have an engineering or physics bent you can see how the act of mounting brings a number of fairly stout forces into play. These forces can knock vertebrae out of whack, damage muscles and twist saddles out of shape.
Do minimize the chances of causing a physical problem ALWAYS use a mounting block. A mounting block can be anything from an actual mounting block to a picnic table, stump, tail gate, fender well, anything that will get you closer to the back of the horse. I have even used ditches or low spots.
Learn to mount from both sides of the horse and switch often. This lessens the chances your saddle being twisted out of shape and helps to keep the thoracic vertebrae in alignment.
Carefully examine your horse by checking to make sure that each half of the horse's looks the same. If one side falls off round and the other side falls off dipped, your horse has a physical problem that can cause it to move off. Press into the back muscles with your finger tips watching the horse for any reaction. There is no diagnostic purpose to dragging a finger down the spine, the saddle shouldn't touch there. If your horse reacts a call to an Equine Sports Massage Therapist is in order.
Sight down the horse's spine from the back to be sure there are no bumps to either side of the spine. If there are a call to an equine chiro is in order.
Examine your saddle very carefully. Check to make sure the saddle isn't twisted or damaged. If you use an "English" saddle you want to make sure the panels are smooth and evenly flocked (filled with padding) and are the same size. It wouldn't hurt to have your saddle evaluated by a skilled saddle technician to be sure that it not only is in good condition but that it fits you and your horse.
Not too many years ago horses were used for work. If the horse couldn't pull well it wasn't kept or bred. This served to make all horses look pretty much the same conformation-wise. Now we use horses to appeal to our inner selves and horses are all over the board conformation-wise. In the not too distant past one saddle would fit a wide variety of horses. Today it is a struggle to find the right saddle for one horse.
Barring any physical problem, here's how I deal with a horse who moves when being mounted...
The first thing I do is make sure the horse and I are on the same wave length. To do this I put the horse through a herd dynamics procedure that creates a leader / follower relationship. For a free text copy of this procedure send an email to my autoresponder Bonder@MarvWalker.com and in a few moments you'll get an automated response telling you some things I want you to know AND where on the Net to find the procedure. (Click Here To Email For A Copy)
I also have a video titled "How To Form An Intense Mental Connection With Practically ANY Adult Horse In Less Time Than It Takes To Clean A Bridle!" In this video I go into how to use herd dynamics to mentally connect with horses in depth. I explain the theory in a "lecture" and then I follow it with a number of actual unrehearsed sessions with different horses. Click Here For Video Info.
Once I have successfully put the horse through the herd dynamics procedure I then take the horse back into the enclosure and tack it up. I begin to mount taking my sweet time. I may start and back off a number of times, I may get on and then get off, I may mount and just sit there.
If the horse moves on its own at any time I send it out for a round or two in each direction, bring it back in and then try again. Each time that it moves on its own, I send it back out for a couple rounds and then pick it up again.
Horse are great anticipators and sequence graspers. If we do a sequence of things such as saddle, mount and then move off they'll begin doing the last step in the sequence sooner and over time, the next to the last step, then the next to the next to last step and so on. We see this demonstrated all the time at speed events and ropings.
When it is to our advantage to have the horse do this, great! When it is not we need to change the sequence.
I have yet to have it take much more than a few send outs to have the horse stand until told to move out.
Click here to check out my very reasonably priced DVD inventory covering many of the subjects featured on my site's pages in greater depth.
Back To Top
For Further Information Contact Marv Walker 706 468-6990 Evenings 9 to 12 PM
Questions, comments or suggestions
Back to Marv Walker's Index Page