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Horse nervous when mounting

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  • Horse nervous when mounting

    We've been at our new barn for just two weeks now and trainer has about 7 rides on my young horse. I previously had him very relaxed and chilled out for mounting (most days!), but in the new environment, he's pretty nervous for the first few minutes once you get on. He's fine on the lounge line, and awesome after he settles in to work, just those first few minutes riding are tough! It is a lot of new stuff for him - new rider, new arena, has never been ridden with much contact before, etc. and I think overall he's doing great. So far we've just worked on her (trainer) getting on and off several times with me at his head until he can stand still. Would you just continue this routine? I think this week we'll try giving him a piece of sugar after she gets on and see how he does. Any suggestions or does it sound like he probably just needs time to settle into all the "new-ness"?

  • #2
    Maybe needs some time to settle in....

    some suggestions:

    - when at the mounting block, give horse a moment to chill, pat/cookie for just standing there quietly.

    - when you give sugar, or a cookie be sure that you are rewarding for standing still. I would have the person that is mounted to give the cookie.

    - For whomever is mounting, be sure that they aren't just slamming into the saddle immediately, but easing onto the saddle.

    - That the horse is given a moment to reassess the situation, a chance to look around. Not being asked for contact asap. Given a pat or scratch on the whithers, with a good boy to let her know it is all okay. Allowed to walk off quetly on a loose rein and inspect the situation.
    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
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    • #3
      Agree with all the above advice. Also, remember training isn't always 'training'. Sometimes my youngsters get a day of just mounting, petting, dismounting and done. Other days are just to stand, saddled and mounted inside the ring while others go by. This is indespensible training for warm-up arenas. So, maybe just not 'work' everytime you mount up.
      Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


      • #4
        The biggest thing I have found is to make them stand still until the rider gives the cue to walk off. Treats are good, having someone hold the horse is good, but if you let them walk off on their own before the rider has given the cue, then they keep pushing it and pushing it until you can barely get a foot in the stirrup and they are off.


        • #5
          One thing to consider is that his muscles are having to be used in entirely new ways and he is probably experiencing some stiffness and soreness, leading to tension about being mounted. A day or two off may cure this issues


          • #6
            New rider IS using a mounting block, right?? It may help your young horse if you use a mounting block while groominr, showering ect..so he can get used to that perreferal image of someone/thing that is taller than himself. Had a 2 yr/old that this was an issue for so grooming from the block helped to defuse that! Good Luck...hope this helps!
            "Success comes in cans, not in cannots!"


            • #7
              I would give a little treatykins (from the rider) upon mounting.

              If, during the loose-rein walk warmup, occasional halts are asked for (which will likely be initially fussed-at by the horse), and also result in a treatykins when we are standing still enough for a rider to reach down, the horse will likely relax pretty quick.

              And of course, rub him and pet him.
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              • #8
                My first horse walked on while I mounted. My current horse would shy away. Both were taught pretty quickly to stand like a statue. Someone held the horse a few times while I mounted, horse standing perfectly still, a "good boy or girl" and a treat. My current horse can't wait till I get on, she becomes a statue right away.
                Yes treatykins do not hurt.


                • #9
                  Yes to the sugar cube! My OTTB came to me complete with the "running mount" as I called it, lol! A sugar cube right before I got on kept his handsomeness standing like a statue. After a few weeks I didn't need a treat anymore, he had just gotten used to me mounting and it being a good thing.