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Mounting block vs mounting from the ground

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  • Mounting block vs mounting from the ground

    I recently tried out a horse for sale, and when I started to mount it (from the ground), the horse got upset, tried to back up, threw its head up, etc. It turns out no one ever mounts it without using a mounting block - even though the horse is only ~15 hands. How common is this?? I know that some people claim mounting from the ground may be detrimental to the horse's back, but I have never used a mounting block - and what would happen on a trail ride if you needed to get off and remount?

  • #2
    I'm short and lazy, so I'd be guilty of having a horse that didn't know how to be mounted from the ground--- with all of the biomechanical drama included.

    On the trail? CruiseControl *is* broke to stand anywhere I put him... precisely so that I can stand up on something. The bumper of my truck is a favorite.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

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    • #3
      I'm short, lazy, and not very flexible. I can mount from the ground if I absolutely need to, but I try to avoid it at all costs. I'll stand on pretty much anything to get back on before doing it from the ground.
      http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
      Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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      • #4
        The schooling barn I grew up at never mounted from the ground so I have just kinda continued that. I did go ride for a farm that broke and trained horses and they always mounted from the ground. First week they gave me a 17+ h horse and there was just no way in hell.

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        • #5
          Also short and lazy here. I'm 5' even and my gelding is 17.3hh+. When standing next to him, my stirrup, down, hits me in the chest. No way I could get on from the ground. But the moose is broke to stand next to anything for me to claw my way up My smaller horses might be more feasible, but again, short and lazy. I also think it's better for their backs, and my tack, to step over and on, vs scrambling my way up..... They'd likely all be good sports about being mounted from the ground, we just don't do it.
          A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

          http://elementfarm.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            I'm nearly 5'10" and pretty flexible and the horse I ride is only 16hh. I could easily get on from the ground, but I don't. I always use a block. It's better for the horse's back and better for the saddle...when I was shopping for a used saddle I saw more than a few with twisted trees, always in the same direction, from repeated mounting from the ground.

            Because I'm tall, I don't worry too much about having to get back on out on a trail, I can get on most things from the ground...managed to get on my friend's 17HH mule out in the field OK. You can always look for something to climb on too.

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            • #7
              I've been taught to mount from a block, and was even at a barn where the block was so high you didn't put your foot in the stirrup! However, I have mounted Fella from the tailgate of a gator so he's not averse to different mounting approaches.

              Paula
              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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              • #8
                OK, I'm average height but I'm chunky, lazy, and my mare is TALL. I'll be hanging under her belly before I'd be able to get on from the ground.

                I just LOVE a nice wooden mounting block!!

                I do think ground mounting is tough on their backs, and definitely tough on the saddle!
                Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

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                • #9
                  Both horse & rider should be prepared for the contingency that they have to mount from the ground. I also think you and horse should be able to do it from the wrong side.

                  I grew up always getting on from the ground, even bareback, sometimes (those days are long gone!!). We were taught to drop the stirrup all the way down if horse was too tall for us.

                  If horse was really tall or when I was smaller I might get a leg -up, but I don't remember any blocks at all. I do remember trying to get on my nasty pony bareback & he would never line up with the rock, fence or whatever I was trying to spring from. Eventually learned to do it without a boost (hum Glory Days here)

                  Now I always use a mounting block. It is def better for their back, but every now and then I test myself (& horse) & get on without one, if someone is around to hold down opposite stirrup. One of the HUGE horrors I had when I came back to riding after 30 was that I needed a block. Then I was glad to realize it was actually better for horse. Got me out of embarrassing situation : )

                  At our schooling show I offered to give a leg up to someone & she had no idea how to get on that way. She has been riding for 25 yrs.!

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                  • #10
                    I have pretty bad knee problems so I don't mount from the ground despite being young and not very lazy I'm not too short but between not wanting to twist a horse's spine, my saddle, or my kneecap out of place... I prefer to mount with a black for everyone's sake.

                    That's not to say I haven't been known to mount from the ground on beach rides when needed!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Old rider View Post
                      I recently tried out a horse for sale, and when I started to mount it (from the ground), the horse got upset, tried to back up, threw its head up, etc. It turns out no one ever mounts it without using a mounting block
                      I suspect horse was just disturbed by strange person doing strange things
                      it should be easy enough to teach him what you want once he has some trust in you

                      As others have stated, consideration for horse's back & tack, means that I know very few people who do not use a block or fence or rock or natural slope ... though it's also usual to teach the horse to be familiar with ground mounting.

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                      • #12
                        I'm short and normally use a mounting block, but a lot of trail riding and riding in fields with gates means that I've perfected the art of climbing up on my horse from the ground like a monkey. "Clambering up" might be a better phrase.

                        ETA: I also ride my horse in from the field bareback and bridle-less, so being able to mount with no block or stirrup is something I have yet to accomplish but which would be very helpful. I like to think that my repeated (failed) attempts to run and jump up onto my OTTB (which results more or less in him getting body slammed by 110lbs of blonde girl) have made him more bombproof and therefore good for something...

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                        • #13
                          Odd that nobody mentioned the "other" way to mount a horse. Saw this at a horse show. Rider was, say, 15 or so and built like an adult. Horse was short-ish but not a pony. Tall Daddy lifted up his DD up by her waist onto the back of the horse. DD didn't bother to use her arms, legs or anything else to assist with mounting, as if she was 3...
                          (And, no, not a disability, Daddy got a bit on her case.)

                          Or side saddle, where women routinely need a "gentleman" to lift them into the saddle. My fiancé wouldn't go for that...
                          Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

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                          • #14
                            Yeah, no I don't mount from the ground ever. Mainly because I can't, what with me being chubby, uncoordinated, and having a left hip that gets tight (guess which side I always fall off from...). I'm so freaking jealous when I see someone just gracefully step on from the ground! On a trail, I have to walk until I find a suitable log/bank/rock/etc. to use and then pray that my not-entirely-bombproof-on-the-trails-yet gelding stands still long enough for me to climb aboard.

                            The first time someone got on my horse from the ground it blew his mind a little (OTTB, then came to mounting-challenged me).
                            I love my Econo-Nag!

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                            • #15
                              When there is a mounting block or mounting block like feature about (such as a log, the side of a hill I will use it. But sometimes there ain't nothing (yes it's a double negative but ya'll know what I mean). I can get on from the ground without incident with a saddle. But if I'm riding bareback it's a bit more of a challenge for 49 year old me (that's not the best excuse but I ain't as spry as I used to be) to get on 16.2 hand horse. In the middle of no where, adrenalin kicks in and somehow I get on. I aim to be more spry in 2013!!!

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                              • #16
                                I *can* mount from the ground, but between being short and my 'bounce' leg's knee not being in the greatest shape, I really prefer not to.

                                Also, with Lucky being off the track, using a block was a good way to 'reprogram' him. He will still walk off sometimes (I pay attention) but he's much better at standing next to a thing than while someone mounts from the ground or is legged up.
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                                • #17
                                  I wouldn't see why most any horse would get upset from a person mounting on the ground UNLESS the person was really pulling on their tack/back in order to get up.

                                  I can and have gotten on all my horses from the ground if I had to, but I prefer to find something elevated to stand on and then mount solely for the purpose of not wanting a sore back/body.

                                  It really can be bad for your horse to continually mount from the ground. I leased out my perfectly sound 17 year old large pony to a shortish, chunkier woman. She used him mostly as a trail horse and apparently often got on and off on the trail to help her young daughter with whatever. My pony came up on and off lame in the left shoulder after being with her a couple months, and stayed that way through the duration of the lease. He's just a field ornament now, but sometimes looks NQR trotting in the field in that left shoulder. I know it has to be from her getting on and off from the ground on the left side and the weight pulling on him.

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                                  • #18
                                    I don't mount from the ground either. I wouldn't even be able to on my horse - he's 16.3, and I am just not that flexible. Now, large pony? 15 hand horse? Ok, if I must. But all my other options - mounting block, fence, picnic table, car bumper, jumps, tree trunk, or a leg up - would have to be exhausted first.

                                    Honestly, my whole riding life, ever since I was a child, we never mounted from the ground. They didn't even teach me that when I was a kid. I tried it on my own when I was about 11 or 12 and riding a pony.

                                    Getting on from the ground is certainly a great skill to have though. And if you can mount a tall horse from the ground I applaud you!

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                                    • #19
                                      God bless my mounting "platform." It's three steps up to a 3-foot long platform. So easy to just step up and get on or off!

                                      Horse 1 = round as a propane tank Clyde-X mare. Yeah, she's only 15.2 and I'm 5' 6" but there's no way that saddle wouldn't slide around her porkchop self no matter how tight the girth. Not to mention my knee would never forgive me.

                                      Horse 2 = 17.3 Percheron. 5' 6" me ain't getting up there without vertical assistance.
                                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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                                      • #20
                                        I always used to mount from the ground. But my current horse is 16.3H, and anything over 16H I cannot get on from the ground. I can just do a 16H horse. I do trail ride, and if I am trail riding, I have to find a higher piece of ground to stand on, or a stump, or rock wall or something to get on with. And then sometimes I have to let the stirrup down, too! So, given the size of my horse, I always mount from a mounting block, and if on the trail and I have to mount without one, I have to find a spot that's a bit higher to get on from.

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