Horse & Rider Weekly #6: Keeping your horse standing still at the mounting block

Horses that refuse to stand at the mounting block can indeed be frustrating. Especially if you’re in a hurry to mount on, and aren’t tall enough to mount on without a mounting block. And I have some tales of the past to tell you with, Vanja once again, leader of all horsey struggles. And in fact when it comes to not standing at the mounting block, Vanja is a champ. He is an expert at it. So here’s a few things that a lot of us face trouble with:


  1. He’ll walk over to the mounting block sweetly as if he’s the sweetest horse in the world. When you come over and ask him to stand, he’ll stand. But when you shorten the reins and hold the saddle, ready to hop on, he’ll turn, head towards the mounting block, leaving you with only 2 choices. 1) Turn the horse around and bring him to the mounting block again, or 2) mount on without a mounting block. Obviously, the first one can get quite tedious because you’ll bring him over to the mounting block to repeat the same exercise again and again. And obviously the second one is impractical if you’re too short.
  2. When he sees that you’re taking him to the mounting block, he’ll get stubborn and start to pull back and raise his head. He’ll also get mouthy.
  3. He will walk over to the mounting block and as you get ready to hop on, he’ll start walking backwards.

Neither of the above are pleasant. They can really frustrate a lot of us. If you’re taking lessons, then your instructor will hold the horse. A lot of the instructors won’t bother telling you how to keep the horse still, but my instructor was kind enough to tell me that, so here I am, sharing those tips with you.

  1. Be firm
    If your horse is doing either of the above, tell your horse that what he is doing is not appreciated. Don’t beat him, but give a little pull jerkily in the bit, or just verbally say in a firm, strict (remember, not scolding, just firm and strict) way “Stop it!” or “Stand!”. If you have a well-trained horse who’s just being plain naughty, he’ll understand what you’re trying to get across. Remember, don’t be too gentle at this stage. A horse judges you by your intelligence. Meaning, if you know how to handle a horse correctly, the horse will admit you’re the boss, if you’re being foolish with him (i.e in this case, being very gentle, patting your horse, still being affectionate towards it) he thinks he’s the boss and he won’t ever listen to you. At this stage, the horse is playing around, testing your mental level. If you be gentle and kind, he’ll be like “Oh this is easy. He’s a fool. I’m the boss now”.
  2. Shorten the rein which he turns on
    What I mean is, if your mounting block is to the left of the horse, which it definitely is, and if your horse is doing the first issue (turning his head to the mounting block), Then shorten the rein which is on the right of the horse. So the horse cannot turn his head toward your side. If he does turn, he’ll turn his back toward you, which is not so easy for him to do. So before he tries it, you’ll usually be on.
  3. Use your crop to straighten the horse at the mounting block
    If your horse does the first issue (turning his head to the mounting block), if shortening the right rein does not work, try this: Your horse is standing, head toward the mounting block. Come to his right side, start poking his right hind flank muscle with the crop and click your toungue. That will force (if not encourage) your horse to make his back straight and turn his head away from the mounting block. Now quickly return to the mounting block and mount on. You might need to repeat this exercise a couple of times before your horse really has had enough.
  4. Be quick at the mounting block
    Something I lack, hence to why Vanja always played up at the mounting block with me. You gotta be quick, else the horse gets uncomfortable.
  5. Ask your trainer/instructor for tips
    These tips are those that my instructor gave me. Maybe your trainer/instructor has some better tips that will work for you!

I think that’s all what I have to say regarding this matter πŸ™‚
Thanks for reading and see you guys next post πŸ™‚


2 thoughts on “Horse & Rider Weekly #6: Keeping your horse standing still at the mounting block

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