Mounting without a mounting block
Setting: older rider with winter weight gain and green horse go on a short trail ride.
Yep, I'm not young anymore, have gained weight and did not exercise this winter so I know right off the bat I have set myself up in the wrong way. But I've been riding my greenie a couple of times a week and yesterday went for a short ride with a friend. There were several gates to open and we shared the task. At one gate there wasn't a "natural" source of mounting block (like a dip in the trail or a tree stump) so after closing the gate I attempted to mount like I had when young and agile. It so didn't work. :D
What or how do you get back into the saddle?
Teach your horse to help you
You can teach your horse to help you with the gate. Works as long as the gate is on working hinges and vaguely balanced. You may need to offer to put the latch up to an easier height.
I can't get on and off without a tall mounting block or similar in height object. (Back injury)
I used clicker training, (positive re-enforcement) to shape the behavior I wanted the horse to do. I started by standing on the ground next to an easy,convenient gate. Every time the horse made the begining of the move toward the gate, she got a click and then a small favorite treat. By having her target my hand for the treat, I could move my hand to the gate and have her touch the gate with her nose. Every time that there was a big correct move, she got a "jackpot" of lots of treats, fed one at a time, and tons of praise. This process takes time, especially at first when the whole concept of rewarding thinking is new. Once the horse has the concept and understands the click is a cue of doing the right thing, the following things you want to teach get much, much easier.You have a 2 way communication system, so there fewer random, confusing, frustrating attempts. The horse will try harder and shut down less often.
There is quite a bit on the net about clicker training.The version I use is the one that marine animal and zoo keepers use.
P.m. me if you want to discuss it further.