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Mounting from a mounting block

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  • Mounting from a mounting block

    Like I'm sure most people here, I was taught to mount facing the horse's rear. That way if horsie moved forward, the momentum would propel you into the saddle.

    When mounting from a mounting block, do you still face the rear? I used to, even though it felt awkward. But I always had someone heading the horse, so it didn't matter much. I managed to clamber on. But I'm at a new barn now with no one to head my horse.

    Watching the disaster of me mounting on my own, the BO gave me some tips and said to forget about facing the horse's rear. Start out facing his head and then, as mounting, look at his ears.

    So, which way do you face when mounting from a mounting block?

  • #2
    I face the horse- neither front nor rear.

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


    • #3
      I have always mounted both from the ground and a mounting block facing the horse and then swinging towards their ears as I start to lift myself of course.

      Your horse can be trained to not step off until you ask him to. I drilled that into our horses. We go trail riding and I can't believe the hopping around and chasing that some riders do trying to get back on their horses after opening/closing a gate. Mine will stand perfectly still but it did take training. What if you are in an accident while out by yourself and need to get back in the saddle to get home? I see it as a safety issue. Luckily I've never had that happen but it's best to be prepared.

      Happy Trails~


      • #4
        Same here, face horse, then swing towards ears as leg goes over horse's back.

        When using a mounting block I generally don't bother w/ putting a foot in the stirrup, I just step over onto their back. But I'm 5'11 so generally mounting blocks are...a nicety rather than a necessity.
        True Bearing Equestrian
        St. Helena Island, SC


        • #5
          I'll have to pay better attention tomorrow!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Janet View Post
            I face the horse- neither front nor rear.
            Same here.
            Founding Member of "I Kept 'Off Topic Day!' Open"


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Janet View Post
              I face the horse- neither front nor rear.
              Interesting response. The "horse" is a being with front, back and middle parts. To which do you refer?


              • #8
                I stand facing the horse also. By that I mean I'm standing parallel to his body, basically staring at my saddle head on. When I put my foot in the stirrup I'm still standing parallel to his middle section and I only rotate toward his head as my right foot swings over his back.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by anexalter View Post
                  Interesting response. The "horse" is a being with front, back and middle parts. To which do you refer?
                  I am facing the middle/ the saddle.

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                  • #10
                    when using a mounting block, I also face the middle of my horse.

                    But there is not always a block around, sometimes it's a picnic table, muck bucket, fence (while avoiding the electric part), LOL in these cases, I don't care which way I face, I just am lucky to get on! Ha ha!


                    • #11

                      When mounting from the ground, yes, I like to face the rear. I stand at the shoulder when I do that. Cavalry method. It also gives you more room to swing your leg over *gracefully* because you can "step into" the mount (mount is a verb here, as in the action to mount), and by doing so you can give yourself enough momentum to barley put weight in the stirrup, so you don't pull the saddle down as you lift yourself up. You have to face the rear if you want to mount without using your stirrups at all. Like vaulting on.

                      The mounting block ... I face the side of the horse and then I ease myself into the saddle. I never use my stirrup when using the block. It doesn't look safe for starters. You end up putting too much weight in the stirrup because you don't have any momentum to help swing up lightly and QUICKLY.

                      Mounting a horse is really one of the times that you are totally off balance until you are squarely in the saddle. I guess I learned on a couple of horses that having your foot in the stirrup and being half way up into the saddle was NOT a good place to be (bolting, bucking), so the shorter the time in the air the better.


                      • #12
                        For my wife and I aging knees and equine comfort dictate the use of the mounting block.

                        I generally face the saddle and use the same "push off" technique that you use from the gound. Our block is not all that high and gives about a 12"-15" advantage.

                        My wife uses a Brazilian technique, which is to face towards the horse's 2 o'clock position, with her left hand holding the reins and grasping the mane just forward of the pommel and the right hand just forward of the left also grasping the mane. This permits her to use the push off and lift with the right hand in coordination. The advantage is that she never has to move the right hand during the mounting process and can continously use it to steady herself as her leg goes over the cantle.

                        Both methods require that the horse be trained to stand quietly for mounting. IMO this is the very first thing a horse should be taught after you introduce the saddle. We usually do this by teaching the horse to "ground tie" (laying the basics during the ground work done while the youngster is still a two year old) and then using the "stand fast" command just prior to mounting.

                        In this process there are many roads to Rome and just how you use the mounting block (and what type you use) will vary.

                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                        • #13
                          I stand squarely facing the middle of the horse.

                          Houdini used to like to go a'wandering while I was trying to mount.

                          I'm sure you're probably already correcting this behavior, but if it happens before I get a foot in the stirrup we do four or five really fast laps around the mounting block. If it's after I get a foot in the stirrup, I use my rein to demand that he halt.
                          I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                          • #14
                            i use a block, and basically wherever i end up standing with the horse dictates the direction i face. If i halt him and he's a bit behind the ideal spot, then im likely facing his rear while beginning the mounting process. If he's even, then im facing his side/the saddle.

                            this brazilian way sounds interesting... i may have to youtube it as it's hard for me to imagine (and to try it out may not be very wise... im not the most coordinated person on the ground, even)


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Janet View Post
                              I face the horse- neither front nor rear.
                              Me too
                              Now in Kentucky


                              • #16
                                Thinking about it, I actually face the horse diagnaled sort of toward the head -- think 10 o'clock position -- if that makes sense. Using a mounting block and from the ground.

                                I never understood facing the rear. Then they get a toe digging into their side while you mount up and swing your leg over. Can't be that comfortable for the horse..


                                • #17
                                  Let's see. I am old and fat and arthritic, and can only mount from the ground if the ground happens to be a hill for me and a hole for the horse. (If I am desperate out on the trail and cant find a rock or a stump or a log, I will settle for a hill and a hole.)

                                  If I am using my mounting block, I tend to grab a healthy chunk of mane and reins in my left hand, and if the horse hasnt cooperated in girthing I reach over and grab the offside stirrup leather in my right hand to prevent as much rolling of the saddle as I can, while I heave myself up on the left toe in the stirrup and swing (or drag) my fat leg and arse up over the cantle. Graceful it aint. I am facing the back of the horse slightly when I put that toe in the stirrup, twist front as I'm heaving and dragging.

                                  Needless to say, my heese have been taught to stand until I am up there and settled. They get a cookie for being rock solid. In times past, before they were trained to stand and before I had a proper mounting block and was re-reriding at the age of 52 after a 10 year hiatus, I tried facing back and counting on my (non-existant) momentum to get me up there. Ha. Where it got me often was on my back kicking my chubby little legs at the sky.


                                  • #18
                                    I face the horses body and saddle. I point my toe forward so I do not jab them in the side and inadvertently signal to walk off. So I guess I end up actually facing more forward than anything.
                                    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                    • #19
                                      Facing the horse.
                                      With my handicapped access
                                      I don't have to put my left foot in the stirrup. Sophie waits for a pepermint before moving off
                                      I wasn't always a Smurf
                                      Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by sar2008 View Post
                                        I never understood facing the rear. Then they get a toe digging into their side while you mount up and swing your leg over. Can't be that comfortable for the horse..
                                        The toe must be pointed down. I was taught by an "old school" instructor who didn't believe in mounting blocks (I'm sure the horses are glad times have changed; I know I am!), and the method was to face rear, put the left foot in the stirrup, do a couple hops for momentum, and point the left toe down while "gracefully" swinging up.

                                        I always use a mounting block now, but the method depends to some extent on the horse and the particular block. The permanent block at my barn is TALL, and when I had my just barely 15.1hh mare, I lined her up, held the reins, whip, and a chunk of mane in the left hand, placed right hand on the pommel, and swung my right leg over. No stirrup, since the the height of the block and the shortness of the horse precluded it.

                                        My current guy is 16.1hh, and I use the same method, but I use the stirrup, and tend to point my toe forward, towards his head. He's not a pro at lining up just right, and if he doesn't walk far enough up (so I'm closer to his head than I would prefer) I adjust my approach, but if he walks too far forward before stopping (so I'm looking right at the cantle) we re-do the line up.

                                        If I'm using a portable mounting block, I'll adjust its placement to be right under the stirrup.