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Exercises to help with mounting?

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  • arabianeventing
    started a topic Exercises to help with mounting?

    Exercises to help with mounting?

    I am getting up there in age (70) and have just gotten back on my wonderful Arabian mare after not riding for a couple years. I have been diagnosed with osteopenia but, after reading about the possible side effects, have refused to take the drugs my doctor suggested. I got a mounting aide that gets me within about eight inches of the stirrup, but I still find it difficult to mount -- it is hard to pull my body up and then lift my right leg to swing over. Can anyone offer suggestions for exercises that might help strengthen the muscles used in mounting?

  • Scribbler
    I returned to riding in my 4Os. I ride English on a 16 hand mare. I have no particular physical issues.

    As a teen we expected that anyone could vault on to a bare back horse from the ground, and we never saw a mounting block. Of course my horse was only 14.2.

    When I returned to riding I discovered that current best practices state a mounting block is better for horse and rider. I thought I would quickly be able to mount from the ground again. But after a dozen years I have given up on even thinking about that.

    In a pinch I only need a height boost of under a foot and can mount from rocks or logs when trail riding.

    But at home I always use the biggest mounting block to get on, and by choice to dismount. I used clicker treats to get her to stand nicely for both. Maresy really appreciates this. She will even get her belly over the corner of the mounting block to make is easier for me to get off!

    If I have to get off otherwise I pick the softest ground. No hopping off on pavement or even hard packed gravel road except in emergency.

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  • Donkaloosa
    A tall mounting block. At the barn where I am now, I use a picnic table, as do other people. But this weekend we're building a multi-step mounting block with the top step even with the stirrup height. I admit it's a little embarrassing to need such a tall mounting block when I ride a 14.1 Haflinger. But I've had a ton of knee surgery including 2 replacements on each knee, and I have absolutely no spring left to help propel myself up and over

    Besidez, it is easier on your horse and the saddle to use a mounting block.

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  • betsyk
    I will answer from the therapeutic riding world: don't mount from the ground. Don't use your stirrup to mount; get a tall mounting block with a large, stable surface on top. Enlist someone to train your horse to stand beside it until you are settled in the saddle and have both your stirrups. She should Never, Ever, Ever consider walking before you ask her to.

    But to answer your real question: you need stability and balance to stand on one leg while you swing the other, and you need flexibilty in your hip to get your leg up and over the saddle. I've had young kids practice mounting on a board or rail fence, using the "step, stand, swing" sequence -- step onto the lower rail with your left foot, stand safe with both hands on the fence (practice with both hands on the "pommel," don't mount with your right hand on cantle, your horse is much more likely to step away from that pressure on her back), swing your leg over. The fence doesn't move, doesn't judge, and doesn't have a cantle, unfortunately, so you will need to swing your leg a little higher to practice for that height.

    Anything that you can do to mobilize your hips and promote balance on one foot will be helpful. That can be as low-tech as standing on one foot while you brush your teeth (try it, it's harder than you think!) to starting yoga or pilates. Now that it's winter, maybe look for an exercise class someplace (senior center, the Y, ??) so you can be accountable to a day and time and a goal that by spring, mounting will be much easier. Anything that congributes to flexibility and core strength will help.

    You didn't ask about dismounting. Don't try dismounting to the (tall, stable) mounting block until your horse is absolutely perfect for mounting at the block. When you do try it, keep your left foot in the stirrup and step back onto the block with your right foot; if your horse moves while you're in the process of dismounting, you'll be in better control of your body if your left foot is still in the stirrup. This goes counter to therapeutic riding protocol but I have learned the hard way that kicking both feet out and groping for the block with your left foot, before swinging righty over, does not always go well.

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