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Standing for Mounting Issues (cont'd from Dangerous Bucking from awhile back)

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  • Standing for Mounting Issues (cont'd from Dangerous Bucking from awhile back)

    Some of you may remember the post a few months back about the horse who would explode into dangerous, explosive bucking behaviour when girthed. Well that horse has come a long way and now can be saddled, girthed, bridled, lunged with stirrups down, great voice commands, and is going w/t very lightly under saddle. However, he still gets tense when first girthed, until he takes a few steps and also when first mounting (always after lunging).

    The mounting problem is also only a problem until the first 3-4 steps are out of the way then the rest of the ride is always just fine, not a single issue. However, when first getting on, as soon as he feels weight in the saddle, he gets tense but stands obediently. As soon as he feels the rider's leg drop down to grab the second stirrup, he gets fidgety and has often gone into bucking fits, throwing the rider (think BIG bucks). We've been able to contain the behaviour with a one-rein lateral halt plus voice if he starts to jump, but I don't want to have to pull his head around each time I mount. So looking for other suggestions from those who have dealt with similar 'sensitive' types.

    Some things to note that we have already tried:
    -Having a helper stand at the head and ask for the 'stand'
    -Leaning over the back and hopping off when he stands still until he seems bored with that.
    -We always lunge for 20ish minutes first to loosen up the back.
    -We are always careful to 'sink' into the saddle when getting on.
    -Have had the chiropractor out, no problems in the back
    -We are treating for ulcers just in case.
    -Vet looked at teeth and back before starting training and found no issues.

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    use a clicker and some treats

    Comment


    • #3
      ditto some clicker training on this one. Question, if no back probs, why twenty freaking minutes of lunging to loosen it up??? I'd be out of my mind with boredom by then.

      Not a trainer here, OK, just a lowly 55 yr old trail rider with bad knees and an overactive bladder who HAS to have her horses broke to stand quietly next to anything, and I mean anything, in order to be able to mount.

      I cannot ride where I ride and how I ride unless heese have good mounting manners. Ankles arent great, either, so fishing for that second stirrup can take awhile. I've owned three horses since becoming a rererider in my early 50s, none of them were good about standing when I got them, but they all learned. And 95 percent of the time I have NOBODY around to hold horse, and never mount up in a round pen, arena, or other confined space because I have none of the above, unless you count a ten acre field now subdivided into paddocks.

      So its doable. And clicker training helped my worst problem child.

      When the day comes that I cant climb up on an improvised mounting block I will teach heese to knee for me.....

      Since pulling his head around works, do that. Click and treat until he associates the standing (and head pulling) with the treat. In a very short while he will PULL HIMSELF around for the treat. Then you just lengthen the interval. Once he realizes he gets rewarded, and not abused, for being good he'll relax. There are some excellent resources for clicker training horses on the web.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here is a video called "Teach your horse to stand when you mount". I don't know if it will address your particular challenges, but it might give you some insights.
        Hope it's helpful!
        http://www.barnmice.com/video/video/...58:Video:43310

        Comment


        • #5
          To get my guy to stand at the mounting block, it was a lot of repetition and praise. As a former racehorse, he was used to mounting up while moving...

          I'd start by leading him to the block, then me standing on the block, holding the reins, and say "whoa" pretty firmly. And if he stood still he'd get a treat, then rinse, repeat for a few times without getting on. I would then mount up and ride, and he'd usuallly only go a step or two, before I'd "WHOA" and pull back on the reins to get him to stop. Didn't want to burn him out, so spaced out the lessons over several rides.

          So next ride, I would do the same, but then attempt to mount up. If he moved, I'd get off the block, say "no" firmly, then make him make a small circle. Then we'd try again. Rinse repeat.

          It didn't take long for him to figure out if he stood still he'd get a treat. He'd get to the point where after I sat in the saddle, he'd crane his neck around looking for a treat. After awhile, I started phasing out the treats for lots of "good boy" and rubs and pats. I still throw in a treat every once in awhile. He stands still until I am ready to move, so we practiced me sitting up there for 30 seconds or so, putting on my gloves, adjusting stirrups etc, until I ask with my seat to move on.

          Not hard, just lots of repetition and praise. Patience is a virtue with this lesson!

          He now stands stock still with a loose rein when I mount up.
          View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com

          Comment


          • #6
            I addition to the other suggestions, I would take a mounting block to the grooming area, and groom him from it. Make sure you spend some time reaching over him and grooming the off side. This will help get him relaxed about seeing a human up above him, and reaching over him by adding it into his daily, non-ride routine.
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

            Comment


            • #7
              Didn't follow the previous thread on bucking, so maybe this has been addressed, but has this horse been fitted by a professional saddle fitter and provided a saddle that actually fits him?

              Not one that almost fits, or mostly fits, or that can be made to fit with blankets, padding, and riser pads, but one that is custom made or custom-altered to fit his back? That's where I'd start.

              See my post on saddle re-flocking in the Horse Care forum for our story.

              Good luck.

              Comment


              • #8
                Do you own my horse? lol. He did the bucking when first girthed issue too (before I bought him) and was a pain to get on at first. He'd want to back up, swing to the side when you mounted, then tense up, often bucking or bolting. He also never had treats when I bought him. Fell in love with peppermints, and that has been the difference.

                I reinforced "ho" at the block, then gave a peppermint. While munching, I'd get on, then bring his head around to give him another peppermint. Now that he knows he gets one when I get on, there is no way he wants to go anywhere! He waits for me now. I also put his butt in the corner of the arena, so he can't back or swing. Now I wouldn't do this was clausterphobic types, but he hated people around his head while I was mounting, so this was the best way to keep him straight. Our big breakthrough was when I trailered him to a scary new place to school, and they had no mounting blocks! I got on him from the ground in the middle of the arena, without him moving a muscle. It's taken 6 months though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry, here's the reflock thread: http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=180174

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=sobriquet;3718407]Some of you may remember the post a few months back about the horse who would explode into dangerous, explosive bucking behaviour when girthed. Well that horse has come a long way and now can be saddled, girthed, bridled, lunged with stirrups down, great voice commands, and is going w/t very lightly under saddle. However, he still gets tense when first girthed, until he takes a few steps and also when first mounting (always after lunging).

                    The mounting problem is also only a problem until the first 3-4 steps are out of the way then the rest of the ride is always just fine, not a single issue. However, when first getting on, as soon as he feels weight in the saddle, he gets tense but stands obediently. As soon as he feels the rider's leg drop down to grab the second stirrup, he gets fidgety and has often gone into bucking fits, throwing the rider (think BIG bucks). We've been able to contain the behaviour with a one-rein lateral halt plus voice if he starts to jump, but I don't want to have to pull his head around each time I mount. So looking for other suggestions from those who have dealt with similar 'sensitive' types.


                    how are you getting on the horse?
                    ie if you plonl yourself down into the saddle the horse will buck
                    if the saddle doesnt fit the horse will buck
                    and if both the horse will explod in a series of buck
                    one never gets in the saddle like a sack spud, but we put ourselves in the saddle nice a nd easy and gentle down on his back maing sure thy lifts the leg up way higher than his bum
                    so not to jab in the arse as we get on another reason why horses buck or walk off from mounting
                    also check your bit and bridle fits correctly and that when you get on your not jingle jangling asin fiddling with the reins asnother reason why horses wlak off

                    hold the both reins in one hand and keep the outside one a bit shorter so head is bent away from you slightly then get on nice and easy but dont diddle daly as horses are impatence when young so if your fiddling as in hestistating when to get on or taking to long about it
                    guess what horse walks off and can buck to,,
                    lack of confidence in you and the horse see no confidence or trust so walks off

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                      use a clicker and some treats
                      AGREE!! Had this work for some tough cases...you don't have to actually use a clicker.
                      A good or whatever you want to use works fine.
                      You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We used carrots when my then teenaged daughter was training her youngster. He did well until his first big dressage show as a 4 year old, when he bucked her off in front of the TD as she mounted. We then started feeding him tortilla chips at shows when she was mounting. The crunching of the chips seemed to calm him down and block out the show noises. Also, chips don't leave an orange slime on the bit.
                        Now, the horse is a 6 year old. He stands quietly for mounting and will even let her vault onto him or climb on from a fence or the side of the trailer.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll look into the clicker training but I already do use praise to our advantage whenever possible. I may have to start the treat from in the saddle idea.

                          Just to rule out other pain/mounting issues, he has been fitted for saddle, but he has this behaviour even with a surcingle. Also, I do get on very slowly, One foot in the stirrup, praise, then slowly lean my body over him so not too much time is spent on the one foot, rather more even weight, then very slowly lift leg over and sink as gently as possible. I actually think the issue is more with the feeling of my right leg first sliding down to the stirrup moreso than the weight itself. Once my foot is in and we walk off a few steps he actually isn't even that sensitive a horse overall. I also spent a ton of time before the backing process itself standing over him on a mounting block and also jumping down beside him, which he's perfectly fine for. He stays completely relaxed in the aisle if I get on a block and I can clip out his bridle path etc from this position with no stress. Also, our 20 minutes ish of lunging isn't always just straight lunging in a circle, I realize that would be boring, he gets poles some days, moving around the arena while on the circle, lots of transitions, breaks to work on yielding work in hand, etc. all to get his attention on me and to relax a bit as well.

                          I appreciate the comments!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            He sounds like an old racehorse I had for a while that was cold backed. The reason he stands their tense is because he is really trying to be good and do the right thing. Since you are already lunging, you are just down to repetition, and don't be too diappointed if it never goes away, it is a physical issue. We had vet out, saddle guy, everything was fine with my guy but it was musculator (sp?) and some days would actually cause him pain when you first sat on him. Thing that finally helped him and now he stands for his new owner is being out 24/7. I didn't have that situation for him and after being bucked off, bolted on, and reared over backwards on in a 4 month period I sent him down the road. He has been with his new home for 8 years, and after the first week they never had an issue with him.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've used treats successfully in the past. Have a helper feed them while someone gets on. Progress to the rider giving the treats. Eventually even the antsy ones will settle and start to look for the treat when you mount instead of blowing up.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Duramax View Post
                                I've used treats successfully in the past. Have a helper feed them while someone gets on. Progress to the rider giving the treats. Eventually even the antsy ones will settle and start to look for the treat when you mount instead of blowing up.
                                I wonder if it's partly because eating the treat makes the horse chew, and the chewing motion itself is relaxing, or a sign of relaxation? Sort of like if you smile you actually feel happier?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I second and third the treat idea. My gelding has always stood statue still during mounting. I have not experienced this issue, but I do use treat/reward from the saddle to encourage flexing and relaxing under saddle. All I do now is tap my gelding on corresponding shoulder and he will flex around for a treat. Great reinforcing tool!

                                  One thing I have taught all of my horses is to mount from both sides. That seems to get horse over being one sided. I put my saddle on from the right side and do a lot of debugging from the off side. I can and do mount and dismount all of my horses from the off side.

                                  I think the problem with a lot of horses is one-sidedness.

                                  Try it from the off side! It can't hurt. If your horse has never done it, it could get him over it quickly....new association for ol' dobbin!
                                  Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                                  Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I sometimes ride a mare who's problem is that she is SO sensitive that she actually mistakes me putting my foot in the right side stirrup for a leg aid...in this case, the problem is me, not her. I have to be very, very careful not to brush her side when I put my foot in the stirrup.

                                    I agree that he sounds cold-backed. Try warming the saddle blanket up a bit before putting the saddle on if you can...that can help some cold-backed horses. So can a girth sleeve.
                                    Manes And Tales

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Update

                                      Just got back tonight and tried the treat idea which worked wonderfully! Also used a girth sleeve even before I saw that suggestion, not sure if it made a difference but it certainly didn't hurt. I did the usual routine, mounted and when he went to move off, I used the one rein stop again. As soon as he stopped/gave I reached down with the treat which was already in my hand and he seemed so pleasantly surprised and then the first few steps off after that were much more relaxed than they have been. Such a simple thing, which I'm sure will continue to help him along with all the repetition.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It flat amazes me the number of good horses out there who have NEVER been given treats or rewarded for doing the right thing. When my Sadie was trying to kill me routinely and i was just beating my head against the wall of her attitude I stumbled on to clicker training (btw, for those not familiar with the concept, all the click does is link the desired behavior to the treat, it just improves the odds of the horse understanding what he's being rewarded for) and she had the exact reaction of being pleasantly surprised.

                                        In fact, she acted like she couldnt BELIEVE a human could do something so nice. Truly, she became a different and much nicer (and safer) horse within days.

                                        My gelding had been whopped on the head and probably had his ears cranked before I got him. He was too headshy to halter or bridle somedays and would freak out if approached from the right (former owner paralysed on left side of his body and had to mount from the off side) I started witholding treats unless I had one hand on his ear...gelding loves ear rubs now.

                                        Comment

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