Mounting Issues

hannahmac

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7 March 2006
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Hey
I was wondering if I could get some HHO advice for myself but also on behalf of a friend. My friend (L) loaned two horses about 4 years ago, a newforest and an ArabX, both were nice uncomplicated rides, (I rode them myself). They went back to the owner when she went travelling for two years. When L got back, the owner asked her if she would like to buy them.

Long story short when she went to see the horses again they had been in the field and not ridden since L left and according to the other liveries the owner barely came to see them and left the farmer to feed them each day. L hated the idea of them doing nothing in the field so decided to go for it, and has asked me to help her as there is two of them.

The gelding has progressed very nicely since we started working them again however the arabx mare has developed a problem when it comes to mounting. Whilst ridden she is doing alright albeit spooks at everything and anything but when mounting she swings her back end towards us and spins round. L has had her back checked and the saddle for fit.

Has anyone got any advice and is this likely to be a pain issue or just bad manners? Any advice would be great.
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Thanks
 

Annagain

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If you're sure there's no pain causing her behaviour you could try this, it's a slow process but it worked for my horse. You need a helper but it sounds like you have that so you should be ok. You need to do it just as a part of riding, not as a training session in itself (ie don't get on and off repeatedly in one session, get on, ride and then get off as you would normally)

Start with somebody holding her and giving her treats as you mount, this should distract her enough to stop her misbehaving and once you're on, give her one last treat and a big pat and carry on with a fun riding experience - whatever she's happiest doing to begin with. (You may also need another person to keep her back end straight to begin with, my horse would walk off so slighlty different problem). Once she's doing this well, only give her a treat once you're on, don't use them to distract her. Once this is mastered, have your friend stand by her head but not hold her and again give the treat once you're on. Then progress to your friend standing a few steps away and coming to the horse to give the treat. The horse must stand and wait for the treat though, not wander off to look for it. After that your friend should hide round the corner and only come with the treat once you're on and settled. The final step is putting a treat somewhere accessible (on top of a wall or on the mounting block) so that you can tell the horse to walk to it and take it without another person being involved. In the end a good pat should be all that's necessary and a treat when you get off.

The idea is that the horse connects the positive behaviour (standing still) to the reward, but as soon as she's in a comfort zone she has to do slightly more to make sure she gets what she wants. Obviously this only works if there's no pain as that will quickly overturn any reward.
 

canteron

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Agree with above .... my horse developed a nervousness of being mounted and basically overcame it by similar method to 'annagain' - slow and patient. Here are some other thoughts which may/may not be appropriate.

With my horse, he tensed as soon as someone was in a 'mounting position' (ie standing on mounting block), so I groomed him standing on small box and went from there to leaning over him while brushing his other side, feeding him polos over his back (if that makes sense), and anything I could think of that broke the mounting process down into smaller bits and made him comfortable/accept having people putting weight on his back in a more relaxed setting.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I've successfully done the helper & treats thing as well but also used straw bales or wall & gate to pen horse in and so encourage correct behaviour (particularly with ClydeX mare, as she knew how big she was and threatened to squash helper)
 
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