Dear Appy,
My person takes so long to mount it’s hard standing still. Especially when she puts her foot in the stirrup I rock back or take a step back. She won’t mount when I do that. I’m not against her riding. Why do I do that and how can she teach me with positive reinforcement to freeze at the mounting block. I’m fine not moving as she gets off onto the mounting block which is now equal to four steps. I’m 16.1.

Dear Blue,
My person was reading over my shoulder while I wrote this (rude) and suggests your person experiment with placing the mounting block in different locations and positions that might help encourage you to stand in place and that may help her experiment with her body position when mounting. She suggests doing brief training sessions, without mounting, asking you to stand at the block without moving, gradually increasing the length of time you are required to stand at the block and you should be rewarded for standing still until she asks you to move. (She knows a couple of horses that won’t move until the person is in the saddle and they get a reward but not everyone subscribes to that idea.) If you back up, she needs to calmly walk you back in place. Then, when you don’t move, she should tell you how spectacular you are. If all else fails, maybe she could position you in a corner or near a wall that makes it more difficult for you to back up–but she should be very, very careful if she tries this. We don’t want to you be startled if you were to back up and bump into something. I wonder though, does it feel like she pulls on the saddle when she mounts, causing you to step back to balance yourself (maybe it started that way then became a habit)? You have to go easy on vintage riders. Some aren’t as flexible as they used to be, especially in their hips. If that’s the case, the resident dog could demonstrate a few yoga poses (they don’t call that pose downward facing dog for nothing) that will help with her hip flexibility and core strength without feeling like “exercise”. The goal is to lift her body up rather than pull herself into the saddle which often causes the person to lean back, then lurch forward while swinging her leg over. A video of herself mounting may help her see how/where the problem originates. You can see that there are different takes on the issue. I think the person might be the cause and my person says the horse might need more training to be patient. Sigh. We’re perfect until humans get involved. We should get medals for working with them, bless their little hearts. Let me know how it goes. 

Are you and your horse struggling with an issue? Having trouble connecting? Just not getting along?


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