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Horse backs up when trying to mount

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  • Horse backs up when trying to mount

    I have a horse who always backs up when I go to mount. He is usually fine once I get in the saddle, but sometimes I can't even get on. I can't have anyone hold him at the moment, my mom usually helps me out with it but she is out of town for a few weeks. Any suggestions on how I can stop this problem?

  • #2
    Put the mounting block where he can not back. Eg corner of arena, wall, fence.

    Teach him to stand still. Say halt and praise. If he moves uh uh replace say halt and praise. Do this every single time from now to forever. Then groom, tack, walk to mounting block. Say halt. Praise. Mount. Praise.
    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


    • #3
      I would back him up from the ground fast and hard the first time he moves his foot backwards. He needs to realize it is much more work to back up than it is to stand still.

      Set time aside every ride to work on this. Make it a priority, as standing still during mounting is always important.
      "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


      • Original Poster

        I worked with him this morning and backed him up quickly if he moved back a step, it seemed to help a lot! I think I will practice this a few more days and then ride, thank you!


        • #5
          I wouldn't back him into a corner. Some horses will panic if they try to back up and hit a barrier. Results=bad.

          Can you move his feet in the direction you want if you are on the ground? If so,then you stand on the mounting block and direct his feet until he is standing where he needs to stand in order for you to mount. If he moves, drive him back into position until he stands there.

          You're not pulling or holding him with the reins - you are using a guiding hand and a driving hand to position him.

          If you can't do the above, then I'd recommend finding someone to work with you and your horse on groundwork.
          I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


          • #6
            If backing is helping a lot he might be cold backed. Some cold back horses are much better after taking a step back before going forward. My boy is like this and even though I put the girth on loose if I do not back him when he is out of work if he takes a step forward he will jump and rodeo buck. If I take him a step back forward before asking him to step forward as long as the day is not way too cold he will not jump and buck.

            Other than that as said above it is not good to teach a horse to go backwards before it has been taught to go forward. If they get the inkling that they can use it against you it is one of the most scariest things you can ride. Once they start going back you can't stop them. If you pull on the reins they go faster. If you kick they go faster and they keep going until they back into something, fall over something or fall into something, all of which is not at all good when it happens to the rider.
            It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


            • #7
              Have patience.

              If the horse backs up a step when I go to mount, then I ask them to move forward. Try again.
              If they move forward, I back them up to where they were. Try again.

              Rinse and repeat. It takes as long as it needs to take. I do not mount, until the horse is standing quietly and waiting for me.

              This does require your horse to be respectful on the ground and have good ground manners. So you may need to work on that first.

              I don't use a mounting block when I ride western, so I'm free to move where I need to. I do use one when riding English, but I will just use a lunge whip in my hand to move my horse, while I stand on the mounting block (this is where it is especially important that your horse already has good ground work). If he moves any direction, I use the whip to tap him back into place. Again, I don't mount until they are standing quietly. And it takes as long as it needs to take.

              Side note: I always stretch my horse's front legs after they are cinched, and then walk them for a short period after tightening the girth a second time, before I mount up.
              It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.


              • #8
                ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                Originally posted by LauraKY
                I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                HORSING mobile training app


                • #9
                  You might want to make sure he's squared up before you mount. He might be backing to balance himself in anticipation of you getting on. I tell mine to "come get me" to get him to the mounting block and then "even up" to get his front and back feet planted before I even think about putting my leg into a stirrup.

                  Also, make sure you leave those reins loose and that you aren't in his mouth, inadvertently causing him to back.


                  • #10
                    This is an easy fix....Do this,take the reins on the side you mount, bend his head toward whatever side you mount on...keep the pressure on his rein until he stops moving... this will take a few moments, but no more than a minute or so. He will get tired of spinning in a circle. when he stops moving, hold his head there. With the hand that grabs the horn, hold the rein so his head is bent and this EVERY time you mount and trust me, you will think its magic. IT WORKS... no pain, no meds,no mounting block. I do a lot of cross back country riding and you can't always count on a fence to back in to or a mounting block. This is a perfect, easy, resolution.


                    • #11
                      I'm thinking he doesn't want you to mount him for good reason - like his back is in pain. When horses don't want you to mount them, it's because they're in pain. Your saddle fit is probably wrong and either digging into his back or spine. Behavioral and performance issues are usually the result of poor saddle-fit issues. The poor thing is in pain.


                      • #12
                        Treats. It fixed my horse in less than a week with no negativity. I haven't given him a treat in at least six months and yesterday he was practically falling asleep at the block.


                        • #13
                          Totally agree. Using the 'back them up' quick fix does not allow them to search for an answer (and often involves anger). It will become their go to when they think they are in trouble (e.g., scared, or confused as to what you want). It creates horrific loaders, and wrecks tied or in the crossties. Not to mention dangerous to vet and farrier. Forward is always the answer. Practice in a halter. When he moves back, gently bring him back forward to the mounting space. Very much like teaching them to ground tie or even open a gate--you are directing the legs to move to a particular place. You can do this.

                          I've seen awful rearing incidents at shows where ground person holds the reins while rider mounts.

                          Do you use a mounting block? I was at a Tom Dorrance clinic 25 yrs ago. He solved this problem by having the rider (western) use a mounting block. The rider was a sloppy mounter; her horse's ears went back as soon as she gathered her reins and prepared to climb aboard. Mounting block almost instantly solved the problem.


                          • #14
                            A tub of treats at muzzle level will often keep the horse focused on eating rather than backing up. Then, after he understands that holding still makes you happy, you shouldn't need the treats. Sometimes, they want to please but can't figure it out.