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Do you dismount right after each ride?

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    Do you dismount right after each ride?

    Okay, slightly strange question but this recently came up:

    After each riding session, lesson or trail ride I dismount immediately, loosen the girth and then untack quickly. Often taking the horse handgrazing in halter right after. My previous riding instructors/coaches taught me that you do not use your horse as an armchair - just sitting in the saddle after you are done riding. Apparently this is uncomfortable for horses?

    There is someone at my stables who routinely sits on her horse a good 15-20 minutes after a lesson/ride and shoots the breeze with people around her. Her horse is obedient, stands quietly and doesn't look overly bothered. But I cringe whenever I see this. I mean I have untacked, cold hosed my horse, gave him treats - meanwhile she still happily natters on and makes no move to dismount.
    I recently mentioned to her that this "might be uncomfortable for her horse" and "that he probably wants that saddle off after a hard lesson" ...she was a bit put out.

    So, my question is: do you dismount right away after each ride?

    I don't imagine that the horse minds. Working horses, like a ranch horse or a police horse, get ridden for several hours. And they are taken care of, but probably not overly pampered at the end of a day. A hard lesson is not enough to put your average horse into a state of exhaustion.


      I ride at home by myself, so there is no reason to stand around and talk. I hop off, he gets a treat and I loosen his girth, then back to the barn for untacking/hosing/etc.

      Back when I boarded I might have stayed on for 10-15 minutes talking, but I'd just walk on the buckle while I chatted.

      In general, I agree with you that your horse doesn't want to act as your armchair.

      I also realize that for some horses, standing there calmly may be part of the training itself (though it doesn't sound like it in this situation). I can't imagine it's comfortable for the horse, but I also don't think it would be all that much worse than standing with a backpack? No idea really. I've seen people do it at H/J and Western shows all the time waiting for their turn to ride. Not common at all with the more structured dressage shows.


        I am not sure there is a totally right/wrong answer here. What works best for that horse and that rider might not be what is best for the next horse or rider.

        I hack over to my lessons so typically I hack back home and then dismount. That is probably more work for my horse than sitting on their back for half an hour gabbing with my friends.

        Some people will go out for a hack/trail ride after a lesson to do their cool down.

        I do agree that my horse is not a couch. If I am at a show and there is an extensive time between now and my next ride, I get off and let my horse relax. I just do not think that sitting for a bit after a ride or lesson is going to be an issue.


          For sure we are all guilty of this sometimes, someone walks up to the ring and you chat with them while mounted but in general I agree with you. Once cooled out, I do not make it a habit of sitting on my horse to socialize unless we're going to go for a walk with someone out of the arena. Does it bother the horses? Probably not, but I equate it to taking off a sports bra after a good workout- its not going to kill me to keep it on, but it feels great to take it off! LOL The exception to this is showing- I hate when people sit on their horses for hours at a show. If your class isn't going to go for a while, don't use your horse like an arm chair.


            I will spend a good bit of time walking out on a loose rein after a ride. There may be chatting involved but usually not so much. So no, I do not immediately hop off etc. I may also get off and walk the horse for a good bit after a ride. Cooling out is every bit as important as warming up and I think it is often skimped upon. That said, I don't just sit there on the horse for more than a minute or two once we are done, either.
            No matter where you go, there you are


              There's nothing really wrong with sitting on a horse post ride-- unless that ride was an endurance race, cross country run, etc. I've hopped off quickly and done your routine, and I've shot the breeze while walking around the ring or just standing in a group. My horses have behaved the same way regardless of the post ride routine I undertake.

              I feel like you've got the mindset of "they're doing it all wrong!" and want to tell folks that. I'd just close my mouth and do my thing, otherwise you come off as a bit of a know-it-all.
              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                At the end of my riding career, I always got off, loosened the girth and thanked her. I think she knew and understood it.

                Might not immediately put her away if we were chatting after a lesson or ride but getting off yes.
                Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr


                  Eh, I think this more of a personal preference thing than a clear right or wrong thing. 10-15 minutes doesn’t seem to be hurting anything and it’s part of their routine. I occasionally use dismounting immediately as a reward, and I definitely don’t like to see someone sitting on a horse for 30 or 60 minutes waiting for classes. But I’ll also hack after a lesson to cool out, ride back to the barn, or hang out waiting for others to be done too. I’d leave it alone if I were you (and certainly not cause drama or conflict trying to get this person to agree with you).


                    The colt starter I sent my mare to specifically told me to spend time just standing. It teaches them patience while they also get a break and get to relax, and my mare is the dominant kind that needs to have a job and expectations of good behavior. So yes, I routinely take a few minutes to stand and chitchat with my trainer, and also walk around on a loose rein cooling her out.

                    If it is uncomfortable for the horse, you probably need a new saddle! Nothing about you being on their back should be uncomfortable. Lord knows that as good as my horses have it, the least they can do is work for an hour five times a week.


                      I vary because it helps my horses to not be so barn/buddy sour. Sometimes I immediately come home and unharness/untack, cold hose then toss back out in pasture. Sometimes I leave tied (for up to an hour) after working. Sometimes, I make them stand with me mounted or while still hooked to cart for a good 15-20 min.

                      I almost never do the same routine 2 days in a row bc it teaches them patience. If they are extremely sweaty (in winter or summer), I will usually cold hose or place a cooler sooner rather than later.

                      I do not use my horses as armchairs at shows, trail rides, hunter paces, etc. If it's going to be a long time waiting around or for next class, I will usually at least loosen the girth. I don't just stand around mounted for an hour before a class.


                        I always do now not because it is better for the horse, but because I have other things to do.

                        When I boarded it wasn't this way and sometimes I would talk with others while mounted after a ride. If my horse was hot, or needed walking or hosing then I would take care of that right away. Under normal circumstances it isn't harmful and may actually be beneficial as the horse doesn't expect to be put up right away.


                          I will walk for a few minutes and then hop off, loosen girth and walk around for a few more minutes. I don't think you should use your horse as a couch but I also don't think it's a terrible thing to teach patience either.
                          My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!


                            as a pony clubber we got penalized for using horse as armchair.
                            now I often will sit on my horse and let him graze towards the end of a trail ride.
                            or the rare time I ride in the arena, I might ride out to some grass for the same reason.
                            A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                              On the trail we often have to wait for others, or someone is training a horse on the trail, so we wait. It is good for the horse to understand that sometimes we stand. we don't have to be moving all the time, only when asked. We often talk or laugh during trail rides, but have stopped at the property edge, so the horse does not just rush home. We will stop and talk for a few before allowing the horse to go home.


                                I grew up with working horses, they were used for hours over the length of a day. That jumping off and loosening girth when done, just did not happen. We did not sit around on them much gabbing at the end of the day, but there was sitting on them to start our day. Talking, to know what we were planning to do. I do not think horses suffered for it! Riders got off and on a number of times during the day, probably tightened girths. Stopped, got off to eat lunch. Horse was not unsaddled, girth was probably already loosened a bit, which happens on long rides.

                                Same thing when I did long trail rides. Come into camp, remove bridle, haltered and tie horse up to the trailer for a while. Usually 30 minutes or so. Girth NOT loosened during tie up time. Time let the horse relax, skin under saddle got comfortable, (we called it equalizing) after rider got off. Horse had hay, water, while tied.

                                Doing long trail rides, horses who were unsaddled immediately after arriving in camp, OFTEN got sore backed in a couple days. Some actually welted up in the shape of saddle, across their backs. Unrideable. Those horses allowed to wait a while before unsaddling, did not develop those issues, not sore backed as the ride days added up. Happened with both English and western saddles, a variety of saddle pads used. I was "told" that quick ungirthing, saddle removal, causes the blood to rush into area under saddle. So horse gets "pressure sores" if not allowed to slowly permit "blood equalizing" by his body, over his back by leaving saddle in place for a while when long day was finished.

                                Does sound hoky, old-time information, very unscientific! But for me, seeing is believing. Sore backed horses are quite common on those long trail rides. Lots of other factors could certainly be the cause. But I practice the "wait to unsaddle after riding," have no sore back horse issues. This is after short rides, an hour or a full day of trail riding, horse doesn't care if they are saddled or not, with food in front of them. They are more patient, do what is asked of them, they don't get a vote. I do not put myself in their place about "feelings."

                                I HAVE dealt with some horses used for lessons who get really TICKED OFF should the ride time go past 50 minutes, or you get off and then back on to ride more! They have been trained that 50 minutes is all they work! Tack is "SUPPOSED" to be removed immediately after dismounting!! We had to discuss that issue, they quit "timing" the rides, and were much more enjoyable equines to ride! He is not overworked, not exhausted during ride times. Does not actually work that hard, compared to me cleaning stalls, grooming, weekly, to give him a nice life! Ha ha

                                I was very clear to the kids when showing or competing, that they dismount every hour, walk horse around a bit, to give his back a rest. They spend a lot more time in the saddle at a show than riding daily at home. Made sure horses had THICK saddle pads for extra cushion as kids were not always sitting straight or balanced. I know hanging around on horseback with friends, is a fun part of showing, so did not criticize. Horse was not sore backed the next day after a full day of classes and "visiting."

                                Glad OP did not make her snippy remarks to me! I would have given her an earful after an ambush like that! Horse was not being hurt, probably ruined all the nice day-end glow woman had collected from her ride. OP's ways and horse are hers to deal with, leave others alone with how they like to do things! I have had some folks come over to the trailer, trying to tell me how mean I was by not unsaddling immediately! We had some words about horse care, their lack of knowledge, before they stomped off. I talked to the Trail Master, another 'wait to unsaddle' believer, who then talked to them about good camp manners. I got to ride every day of the Ride, while their sore backed horses made them go home early.

                                Horses are adaptable, never read all the horse care books. There can be MANY right ways to do things, that are not how you do them.


                                  Wow I thought this was in reference to sometimes throwing your right leg over the horses neck and sliding off facing away from the horse. When my sholder hurt like hell I did that all the time. I don't think we really ride our horses long and hard enough for it to make much difference if we sit on them and chat a few minutes. Unless it has been a hard, long ride. I was also taught to only loosen the girth two notches at most and let the horse relax before unsaddling.


                                    I’m not terribly put out by it.
                                    I often use immediate dismount and bath as a reward for 2 and 3 year olds who are learning a work ethic and only have so much of an attention span. But I don’t think her horse is suffering because she isn’t immediately putting it up.
                                    However, I WAS taught to not just sit on your horse while he stands. If you’re on, you’re at least walking. Just sitting on a standing horse can make their back sore. However, if her horse doesn’t seem to mind, I wouldn’t worry to much.


                                      goodhors - In all my years of riding in the mountains, some 20-30 years of it, - full days too, 10 or 11 hours were not uncommon, and untacking right afterwards, I have never and neither have any of the people I ride with ever had "pressure sores." Not saying it can't happen but I've never experienced it. Horse was good to go the next day. We did the same as you, on and off a few times during the ride, for lunch or just a break, loosened saddles, pulled bridles, etc. It does irk me a little when I see people using their horses as armchairs but it's their business, not mine. What does bother me is a couple I used to ride with who would leave their horses fully tacked up, no food, no water for hours after a full day in the saddle. They weren't planning on going again, they had some old timer tell them that all the horse's blood was in their legs after a long ride and if you took the saddle right off, you could kill them. I kid you not. These people believed it and they were not stupid, just didn't use common sense. I mean, they saw everyone else untack after a ride and none of those horses dropped dead.


                                        It’s true that sitting on a horse while stationary for long periods can be more strenuous for their back than walking on a loose rein. If the option is there to walk, like if I am chatting after my ride with another mounted rider, we will keep walking or go for a hack. If I am chatting with someone on the ground, though, I don’t think there is really anything wrong with staying mounted for 10-15 minutes. I have an anxious horse and I used to park him in the middle of the arena after my rides sometimes, and just sit there (usually teaching off of him, or watching other horses school). It was a great way to instill patience and teach him to relax under saddle. Working horses are often “parked” for much longer periods with their riders mounted.