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stop horse from walking off when mounting

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  • stop horse from walking off when mounting

    Maybe I'm in the wrong forum, but this is the one I know best, and I trust the moderators to move the question if necessary. Anyhow, my horse is a TB off the track (and has been off the track for many,many years) but has retained the tendency to walk off when I'm in the midst of mounting. Now, I am older than dirt, and prefer not to land face first in same. My young, springy trainer just hops on, but my creaky knees won't support me long enough to swing on if he moves. It's way too humiliating to run around looking for someone to hold my horse while I get on (I'm old, but not THAT old!). Anybody got any tips for me?

  • #2
    I'm sure someone will give you a "proper" way to fix this, but a quick fix might be to give him a treat right after you get on. If he gets used to turning around and looking for a treat, he'll probably stand like a rock until he gets it. Eventually you can phase the treat out.

    Comment


    • #3
      For what it's worth, here's my 2 cents...

      Personally, I taught my OTTB to do this via ground training. When I was in the "ground" phase of her re-training, one of the things I did *every single time* I was handling her was place the lead rope across her neck near the wither (where the reins will sit when you're mounting), and made her stand still while I felt all over her, or while I just stood there, or whatever. The idea being, when the rope (or reins) are sitting there, that's your parking brake. If she ever started to walk off, I'd catch the rope (always kept myself near enough that it was within easy reach), make her "whoa", then start over again. She got the idea pretty fast, and that translated right over into mounting. I had to "remind" her a few times about it at that point, because it was a different scene to her with me on that mounting block. But, she understood quite quickly, and stands nicely now.

      If you'd rather not do the groundwork thing (which I do recommend, but some people aren't into it), then here's my other suggestion... If you have someone that can reliably be there *every time* you mount for a while, then you can do a progression training with their assistance. They can physically hold him for you at first. After he starts to realize he has to stand, they can stand right there with you, but without a hand on the reins - that way, if he tries to move off, they can catch him and make him stand. As he gets used to standing without an extra set of hands on him, have the person nearby, but not right next to his head....etc. Until you can get on him with no assistance.

      Best of luck!

      Edited to add: I'm using "he" in here to refer to your horse, then I realized your name has "mare" in it, so apparently your TB is a mare. I apologize and hope I didn't offend!
      ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

      The equine love of my life: Gabriel
      4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3

      Comment


      • #4
        Standing for as long as I feel like puttering about while I wobble on a fence is the first thing all new horses that come to my farm learn.

        I'm of the opinion that mounting and dismounting are the most dangerous times in riding, with the exception of unplanned dismounts...which is just another dismount.

        What I do, is make standing, a training priority. So, if that means I do nothing but get on and off a horse for a few rides (that has never been the case) that would be what it takes.

        I mount from a fence, because it is tall, I'm short, and I can sit on the top to get balance, stand on 2nd board to just step onto the horse, and have no foot in the stirrups until I pick them both up.

        I usually have a dressage whip, not to hit the horse, but to touch the outside hip/side to move him over. So, if the horse does not understand the concept of moving away from a tap, that comes first. And not explosive moving away, but stepping away.

        Once the horse understands moving his hindquarters one way or another in response to a touch, I add in the command "Stand Up".

        This usually takes a few tries. I walk the horse up to the fence, Get him where I want him, and say "stand up". I then proceed to turn around and climb the fence. The horse then moves, and I climb down, put him back where he was, and do it again. Once he is standing, I proceed to step onto the saddle. If he moves, I get off, reposition him, and start over. No yanking on the reins, no anger, just get off, reposition, stand up, climb fence, step on horse, pause.

        I also do not expect the horse to stand for a long time after I'm on, but I do require him to wait for ME to ask him to move. With a young one, straight off the track, the key is to be reasonably quick in settling and asking for the walk-off. If I ask first, it is good. If he walks off before I ask, start over.

        It rarely takes more than 2 sessions.

        There is never any drama, or ill temper. It is simply a case of outwaiting the horse. Even a hyper horse, straight off the track can learn this, it is part of ground manners 101 in my book.

        I know a lot of people disagree with asking ones straight off the track to learn that as their first new skill, but it works for me...it also works on old school horses who've developed the bad habit.

        Comment


        • #5
          My horse didn't just walk off when I got on, but wait till I was putting my foot in the stirrup to take ONE step backwards, knowing I couldn't mount then. Here was my fix: every time he moved when i was getting ready to get on I backed him up 3-4 steps then brought him up to the block again. Any resistance to moving up to the block i made him back again. The first time it took at least 10 times before he stood still and each time I rode i still had to go thru the drill only fewer times. Now it's only occasionally he tries it but i go back to the backing up. As for not walking off after you get on: does your horse understand WHOA? Teach him that means stop and use it in this situation. No fix happens overnight and if your horse has been getting away with it for awhile you will have to be persistent and patient. I too am "senior" rider so i know how you feel.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Right on Target View Post
            I'm sure someone will give you a "proper" way to fix this, but a quick fix might be to give him a treat right after you get on. If he gets used to turning around and looking for a treat, he'll probably stand like a rock until he gets it. Eventually you can phase the treat out.
            This. Watched my trainer and her assistant work with a young OTTB and this is exactly what they did.
            Full-time bargain hunter.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Right on Target View Post
              I'm sure someone will give you a "proper" way to fix this, but a quick fix might be to give him a treat right after you get on. If he gets used to turning around and looking for a treat, he'll probably stand like a rock until he gets it. Eventually you can phase the treat out.
              I did this with my mare, though she was backing away from the mounting block rather than going forward. Sugar cube every time she stood still for a couple of weeks, and then I started giving them less frequently, and got down to about one in 7 rides. Worked like a charm.

              She's been rehabbing from a suspensory injury for several months and I guarantee you I'll break out the sugar cubes when I start riding her again.

              ETA: I tried a more punitive approach first, backing her and backing her if she took so much as half a step backwards at the mounting block, and all it did was make her mad and me frustrated. There are times where punishment is needed, but with a lot of horses rewards work better
              Last edited by quietann; May. 25, 2010, 10:30 PM.
              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

              1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 17hTBmare View Post
                Maybe I'm in the wrong forum, but this is the one I know best, and I trust the moderators to move the question if necessary. Anyhow, my horse is a TB off the track (and has been off the track for many,many years) but has retained the tendency to walk off when I'm in the midst of mounting. Now, I am older than dirt, and prefer not to land face first in same. My young, springy trainer just hops on, but my creaky knees won't support me long enough to swing on if he moves. It's way too humiliating to run around looking for someone to hold my horse while I get on (I'm old, but not THAT old!). Anybody got any tips for me?
                lots of reason why any horse walks off from a mounitng block

                but common faults are digging your toes into the horse sides which makes him walk off before your ready, plonking oneself down into the saddle with out any regar to the horse or kicking him as you swing your leg over

                as this your error and not the hroses as he does stand its not him we have to fix its you

                shorten your rein on the opposite side your mounting on, so his head is turned slightly away from you , dont dig him in the ribs as you get up and on, say stand - put your foot in the sitrrup and on the ball of your toes on stirrup tread count to three and lift your selve up with a spring, then amke sure you clear his buttock with your leg and ease your self into the saddle dont just plonk into it
                take a bit of care when ,mounting him and he will learn to stand for you as he does your trianer - also watch your hands dont take up the reins to quick and jab him in the mouth as you get on as this to will make him walk off

                the horse is just doing what your asking, toe digging, leg kick ing bum or jabbing the gob and plonking in the saddle will all make a horse walk of as its uncomfy for him

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am sure that advice is very much appreciated. Most people do like to be told that they don't know anything about horsemanship.

                  How can you write that without having any idea how this person rides, mounts, etc.?

                  And there are maybe 100 reasons why horses don't stand to be mounted besides your thoughts.

                  OP:

                  I have always been able to cure this problem by myself with no help at all by boxing the horse in, just like the bronc rider does when the horse is in the chute, except of course there is no gate.

                  You can do this with your paddock fence, barn wall, a horse trailer, whatever.

                  put something behind the horse so he can not back. a horse trailer or jump standard a a pole on his off side, a hay bale or mounting block on his near side and use the reins to keep him from moving forward.

                  Two jumps in the form of an "L" will work just tine.

                  I have used this method to cure several.

                  However, my newly acquired OTTB ran backwards and almost hurt both of us. I don't know his history, but I suspect that he was hell in the gate.

                  His history seems to be a secret, so that is just my guess.

                  My method will work on the average horse and it has the advantage that you need no help, don't spend hours that could be spent riding for fun and the horse picks it up all on his own.

                  CSSJR

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I used this technique to teach my OTTB how to stand when out foxhunting. The gallop full tilt and then stand aroudn and wait for the hounds was hard for him but he loved getting a treat and it took no time at all for him to catch on.

                    Originally posted by Right on Target View Post
                    I'm sure someone will give you a "proper" way to fix this, but a quick fix might be to give him a treat right after you get on. If he gets used to turning around and looking for a treat, he'll probably stand like a rock until he gets it. Eventually you can phase the treat out.
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      this problem is very very annoying, and can also be very dangerous. I find that the first thing that u should do is starting off by having someone hold him. I know u dont want to have to do that, but it helps with the training. The next thing to do is when you get on, make the horse halt. Do not let him/her move for at least 1-2 minutes. This tells the horse that that they are not allowed to move until you are ready. If they try to move, make him halt again. This normally helps when a horse moves while you are trying to mount
                      he may hit a rail, but at least he wont break my heart <3
                      Inside the rider u have become is a little girl who fell in love with horses, ride for her (;

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you ask someone to hold your horse, you need to be certain that person knows how to "read" what a horse is thinking.

                        The reason I like my method is that I will not have someone pulling on the horse at the wrong time, which will probably result in the horse throwing his head up, at best, and at worst running backwards.

                        So there is nothing wrong with having someone hold the horse. Just be really careful that you pick the right person.

                        The probem is that even if you know the right person, that person is not always available.

                        CSSJR

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                          lots of reason why any horse walks off from a mounitng block

                          but common faults are digging your toes into the horse sides which makes him walk off before your ready, plonking oneself down into the saddle with out any regar to the horse or kicking him as you swing your leg over

                          as this your error and not the hroses as he does stand its not him we have to fix its you

                          shorten your rein on the opposite side your mounting on, so his head is turned slightly away from you , dont dig him in the ribs as you get up and on, say stand - put your foot in the sitrrup and on the ball of your toes on stirrup tread count to three and lift your selve up with a spring, then amke sure you clear his buttock with your leg and ease your self into the saddle dont just plonk into it
                          take a bit of care when ,mounting him and he will learn to stand for you as he does your trianer - also watch your hands dont take up the reins to quick and jab him in the mouth as you get on as this to will make him walk off

                          the horse is just doing what your asking, toe digging, leg kick ing bum or jabbing the gob and plonking in the saddle will all make a horse walk of as its uncomfy for him
                          It seems to be very common on the track in the US for the jockeys to be thrown up on a moving horse. Since this horse was a track horse at one time she has likely never really been taught to stand to mount. The OP is asking how to do that retraining. Because of the horses original training I would not assume that OP is causing the issue by her mounting technique or lack thereof.
                          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I use the cookie method, works with horses that walk slowly off or bolt wildy ( those are fun). Put horse at mounting block say whoa, go to block, stop horse say whoa give cookie. Stomp on mounting block, stop horse say whoa, give cookie.

                            Basically you don't want to progress past standing at the horse's side, on the mounting block, or with one foot in the irons until the horse has understood everything before. Once you swing up stop the horse with a whoa and the reins, give a cookie from the saddle. Get off horse and repeat.

                            For a nervous or very stubborn horse I would not actually do any mounted work for a few days. Horses like short cuts, and hanging out at a mounting block doing squat and getting cookies is pretty awesome.

                            I'd say it takes me about 2-3 days to make this permanent. After that you can work on fussing around in the saddle before you let them walk off, but that is less important to me then being able to get on without getting dragged.

                            You may have to repeat the lesson at shows or when the horse is extra fresh a few times.
                            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 17hTBmare View Post
                              Maybe I'm in the wrong forum, but this is the one I know best, and I trust the moderators to move the question if necessary. Anyhow, my horse is a TB off the track (and has been off the track for many,many years) but has retained the tendency to walk off when I'm in the midst of mounting. Now, I am older than dirt, and prefer not to land face first in same. My young, springy trainer just hops on, but my creaky knees won't support me long enough to swing on if he moves. It's way too humiliating to run around looking for someone to hold my horse while I get on (I'm old, but not THAT old!). Anybody got any tips for me?
                              If your trainer is riding your horse, make sure she is reinforcing the need for the horse to stand when being mounted. Since you are retraining behavior learned at the track, consistency will be key so you don't want your trainer inadvertently working against you.
                              Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                              Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                How can you write that without having any idea how this person rides, mounts, etc.?
                                It's a gift. Not a particularly good or useful one, but a gift, nevertheless.
                                Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  DMK, that response was priceless!

                                  I agree on the treat thing, I'm not above bribery.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree - I would remind the horse in hand the command to stand - I would make sure your horse is standing fairly square... I would have a treat to have your horse paying attention to you and not wanting to move away (being a TB off the track - they learned this HABIT to walk when mounting... and when someone's weight pulls on them, it may feel more comfortable for them TO move - so you have to break the habit and do something that really snaps their attention - I think Food and Friends are what a horse values in nature so....) and position the horse and mounting block so that the horse cannot go forward away so easily. This is most likely habit - and you may mount a little tentatively and the horse is taking advantage. From what I get from what youve said - I do not think you are a newbie rider nor do I think you are likely mounting hard on the horse's back. You are probably taking your time and your horse thinks this is a game to step away.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Feed him a treat when he pulls up to the mounting block; feed him a treat when you put your foot in the stirrup, feed him a treat when you get on.

                                      If he scoots when you get on, halt him again, and then feed him a treat.


                                      A lot of people will at this juncture say, "But this rewards him for walking off!"

                                      No, it rewards him for HALTING.
                                      He will soon associate "halt" with "treat".


                                      I am not just giving hypothetical advice either.
                                      This worked with a horse who was EXTREMELY cold backed and he would canter off and fuss and buck and scoot for quite a few circles before I got the halt. After I finally DID get the halt two or three times, the behavior at the block was fixed.

                                      If you don't want to sit through any possible scooting, have someone hold you so that he stands long enough to get his treat. He will figure it out really quick.


                                      Another good time to practice is at the END of the ride. When he is done, hop off, hop back on, feed a treat, hop off, hop back on, feed a treat, go home.
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                                      • #20
                                        Sugar cubes have worked well for me.

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