Teaching mounting block manners..

oxo

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We have a good teachable boy. I do like a horse to stand quietly at a mounting block - he's OK but not completely where I would like him to be with it. I have taken to on grooming times, taken him just with his rugs on and have him stand at block, pat him, make a fuss if he's being a saint, then repeat 2 more times and leave it for then. I have moved on now to taking him to block with his tack on and he does stand but once the mounting procedure starts - he moves :( I do want this habit to be corrected. Maybe I am going too fast at this point and need to break it down?

Any suggestions ?
we need to get his saddle sorted as its not a great fit but its what he came with and has no back issues that the Physio could find.

so tips to crack this issue. We are at a new livery having had to move him in the first 3 weeks.. so I guess he is still settling in.

thanks!
 

cobgoblin

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If his saddle isn't a great fit then it may be pinching him as soon as you put any weight in the stirrup and every attempt at mounting will reinforce his reaction.
Get the saddle sorted so that you are certain it's not the problem. Even if it is the saddle, he may still move a few times until he realises it's not going to hurt.
Otherwise..its just boring repetition until he realises he's going nowhere until he stands still.....you'll get there in the end.
 

JillA

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I had this sorted with the help of Kathleen Lindley many years ago - you reinforce (with food treats or fuss, whatever floats his boat) when he stands still alongside the mounting block, but the INSTANT he swings his rear end away, or pushes through, you back him up as fast as you can manage. If your timing is good, he will learn that standing square is the quiet place to be - at the fourth attempt mine corrected himself as soon as he felt that backing up starting. And of course eradicate any possible pain or discomfort issues. Actually a few practises with a polo for the right thing sorts it for most horses these days. Good luck.
 

glamourpuss

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Similar to JillA's technique but I don't back up. I tried that with one & he just started backing up the second you put him next to the mounting block.
So I spin them round quickly in a few tight circles if they move when I'm getting on. The point is just to make standing still to be mounted the nice place to be.
 

Dry Rot

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Similar to JillA's technique but I don't back up. I tried that with one & he just started backing up the second you put him next to the mounting block.
So I spin them round quickly in a few tight circles if they move when I'm getting on. The point is just to make standing still to be mounted the nice place to be.

Another one for JillA's method. Works for most after just a few tries.
 

oxo

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thanks everyone - great ideas - have yet to try polos but food or lack of it for picking his feet out sorts that issue - so maybe a polo will do for this issue when he does stand. Turning in circles does tend to wind him up more but may still use that or the backing up- thanks!
 

applecart14

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I am a bit naughty insomuch that I never make my horse stand still when I mount (always from a mounting block) but I know that if I repeat the process reinforcing his good behavior with a treat it would only take me a couple of days for him to do it as its worked before so I know with him its not saddle fit issues (had them checked about three months ago as it happens).

I guess its easy to get into bad habits and it never bothers me that much as its not as if I will fall off - he only moves forward slowly and not with a rush or anything. Funny really as I can't bear him scraping the floor with his foot (he rarely does this because he knows I will be cross!) and yet I let him get away with walking off when mounting! I think some things are more important to some people than others.
 

Annagain

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I did something pretty similar to JillA's method with my (very treat orientated) boy when I first had him. Making him move if he fidgeted didn't bother him, he'd back up all day and not get bored so we used treats as a reward rather than movement as a deterrent. It needs a helper, but does work - again this assumes all saddle / physical problems have been sorted.

Start with helper holding him next to block and feeding occasional treats to keep him still - get on. Then progress to him standing still, you getting on and then he gets the treat. Then have helper standing next to him but not holding him, then a couple of steps away - keep going further away each time. Then have helper out of sight but coming to give him a treat once you're on and he's settled. I then progressed to my helper getting on her horse first but giving him a treat from her horse once I was on. This was a big thing as my biggest problem was getting on away from home if I ever had to get off. Knowing I could do it without my friend getting off to help or if I was on my own was my big goal. It took about 2 weeks of daily riding and repetition but I can get on him anywhere now.
 

Bunnymare

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My horse stands still but as soon as my bum is in the saddle we're off. She does play a little game though, stands at the mounting block, I climb the mounting block then she takes 2 steps backwards to check for treats in my pockets - no treats given, I get down move her or the block, get back on the block she moves again 😊 Happens 2-3 times before I get on. No other fidgeting but it's a pain in the bum.
 

ozpoz

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I'd get the "not great fit"" saddle sorted as a priority, and have his back thoroughly checked if a well fitted saddle didn't help.
I wouldn't try to train him through pain or discomfort - too confusing for both of you.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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We have a good teachable boy. I do like a horse to stand quietly at a mounting block - he's OK but not completely where I would like him to be with it. I have taken to on grooming times, taken him just with his rugs on and have him stand at block, pat him, make a fuss if he's being a saint, then repeat 2 more times and leave it for then. I have moved on now to taking him to block with his tack on and he does stand but once the mounting procedure starts - he moves :( I do want this habit to be corrected. Maybe I am going too fast at this point and need to break it down?

Any suggestions ?
we need to get his saddle sorted as its not a great fit but its what he came with and has no back issues that the Physio could find.

so tips to crack this issue. We are at a new livery having had to move him in the first 3 weeks.. so I guess he is still settling in.

thanks!

voice and repeat and reeapeat and do not proceed further till her stands, if you go to put foot in and he moves circle him away and reapeat.
 

Makemineacob

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once your saddle is sorted then lots of practice and reward (whatever your horse enjoys), I have a very food orientated mare and when I first got her she refused to stand at the mounting block. I started off with a helper holding her, I got on, lots of praise and a mint and then got straight off. Practiced lots and went through treats, then started trying it without a helper, worked very swiftly and my mare now point blank refuses to move away from the block once I'm on her until she's had her treat. I forgot once as mind was elsewhere and was nudging her and kept wondering why she wouldn't move and realised! I find it very useful as makes things very safe as you have time to check girth, fiddle with leathers etc etc and she will absolutely not move no matter what as so focussed on her treat.
 

BSL

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Make sure horse comfortable in tack first. What worked for me, was placing the mounting block a few feet away from a wall/fence, so quarters couldn't swing away far. If he walked forward, I would just circle him around the mounting block and start again. Lots of treats, and praise when still. Repeat, repeat. You won't need a wall forever.
 

Charlie007

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This is how I taught mine who was horrendous when he came!! Headcollar on so no stress of tack. Lead to block. Say ' and stand' lean over and give treat on off side. Repeat a few times then put away. Same thing for a few nights then repeat with tack. Took my lad only a couple of sessions. Now stands rock solid and he still gets his polo!!
 

dollyanna

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This is a perfect job for clicker training once any discomfort is eliminated, actively teach and reward what you want rather than reacting to what you don't. I started my baby pony last week, spent 10mins at the first session teaching her the position I wanted by the mounting block with me leading from the offside, then progressed to walking round the nearside and onto block while she stayed standing, then progressed to leading from the nearside to climb mounting block as we went. Probably 20mins in total, about 5 the next day to reinforce, not had to do it since and have extrapolated out to a water trough and a gate to mount from with no problem. Might need a wee bit longer to correct a problem though :)
 

Theocat

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Treat when standing still. Get straight on. Treat when safely in the saddle. My too-clever-for-her-own-good mare was standing with her head bent round and mouth open ready for a treat by the third try.
 

GermanyJo

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With all my young horses, I start working on this when we are lunging .. I put a moveable mounting block in the middle (you need to be careful not to trip over it. I then work them round the block, and then stop, I go to the mounting block and stand on it , I then guide the horse beside me , once in position, I just fuss on them and let them rest.
you need for them to be responsive to your rope/line and able to guide from the block, but it is amazing how quickly they pick up that when I am standing on something , standing next to me is really cool as they get to rest. It gets to the point that when we are out walking and I find a log to stand on, they immediately line themselves up next to me as they know they can stop and rest and get a fuss.
When I start to back them I usually try to start off getting on from the ground, however, it is a slow process , I do not have anyone holding the head, I bend the head slightly to the side I am getting on , and then start with tiny steps .. so first step is moving my foot up and down as if I want to put it in the stirrup ... if they start to move, I let them but I keep moving my leg up and down , as i have the rein closest to me shorter and their head is slightly bent, then they can move, but just in circles ... I keep moving the foot until they decide to stop, then I immediately stop moving my foot ... then start from the beginning again , I do not go to the next stage until I can bend the head and move the foot and they stay relaxed ... next stage is foot in the stirrup and hopping .. same as before , if they are worried and want to move, they can ... I keep hopping until they decide to stop, then immediately stop and remove foot .. start from the beginning again .. next step is once they are relaxed with me hopping , then I spring up and lean over them .. again , with the rein on one side shorter, if they are worried, they can move in a circle .. once they stop , get down .. start from step 1 again .. next step lean over and swing leg side to side as if I was going to swing over .. again , they can move if they want .. once they stop , start from step one again ... next step get on .. by the time you get to the get on bit they should be really relaxed about the how procedure.
sounds daft , and with my latest youngster it took 5 days to get to the point I could get on him ... however, now I can get on him anywhere and he stands like a rock, seems like short term it would be easier to just get someone to grab the head and make them stand, but these 5 days invested means I now have a horse which always stands to be mounted.
For me it makes no sense to get someone to grab the head and make them stand, they are generally moving because they have some level of anxiety , I don't want anxiety at this point , cos it only builds up and if they are worried about your foot moving about next to them they are not going to be that impressed with you sitting ontop of them :)
once they think the mounting block / me standing on something higher is really cool, plus I can get on them from the ground with no stress and they stand every time, I combine both together.

sorry for the essay, hope it is understandable
 

Makemineacob

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I think you post is comprehensive but relies on the fact that the handler has a certain level of skill to enable them to carry this out and not make the issue bigger for the horse. Use of a person standing on the ground to offer reassurance (not "grabbing" the horse) is particularly useful and gives the horse confidence and ensures additional safety as a lot of people don't have arenas or facilities to ride within, so many people have to rely on working with a mounting block in whatever setting them have. an issue like this can be over complicated unnecessarily. It took about two days to teach my very nervous and spooky mare to stand rock solid at the block and have since used the simple method with two other horses and it is very simple to achieve. OP, repetition and reward (whatever your horse is into, scratch/rest or treat is the simplest way. Hats off to GermanyJo and I'm not dissing your methods, they are just a little over complicated for most people to achieve and not mess up.
 

GermanyJo

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Hi Makemineacob
I agree, the handler needs a certain level of skill, but I would not say my method is complicated (may have come across due to my crap explaination), what is may be is 'slower' then the 'get a handler to hold the head' option yes ... but as soon as you 'stop' the horse moving and provide some security .. you are often covering up anxiety. As soon as your 'helper' is gone , the horse is more anxious than before.Hence why often a horse seems to be nice and quiet with the person at the head .. everything is fine until the horse moves or the handler moves away and then all hell breaks loose. Most often the experienced horses are having issues to stand during mounting due to a level of anxiety.
Anyone who has some patience can train a horse as described above, I know it does not appeal to most as the quicker option is often just have a person at the head and get on (presumably why there are quite a few horses around how have some issues to stand for mounting or who walk straight off when you get on
 

Makemineacob

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Absolutely GermanyJo. Terrifies me how many people don't spend the time to teach their horses to stand at the mounting block, it's a serious accident waiting to happen. Im sure I read about a lady getting killed last year from her horse bolting from the mounting block and something about her laughing prior to the accident about having never bothered teaching him to stand still. I think perhaps I got a bit lost in your thread so apologies. I am some who who spends so much time doing groundwork to solve issues but it does amaze me that some people don't try to resolve issues like this, I was just trying to make it sound simplified in the hope that it gives someone the encouragement to try to resolve an issue such as this.
 
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