September 23, 2013
When it comes to mounting and dismounting, safety should always be your No. 1 priority.
I have had several mishaps while mounting and dismounting. I always triple check the cinch, but just last week I tore the offside billet while trying to mount. Both the horse and I were jumpy after that. I have also had the saddle slip as I dismounted. I have a lower back injury that makes it difficult to mount quickly and have put on a few pounds over the years. Any suggestions on how to making mounting and dismounting safer for me and the horse would be helpful. Would a breast collar help in this situation? I use a mounting step when possible; however, there are situations where one is not available.
For the answer to this question, we spoke to Peggy Adams from the Certified Horsemanship Association.
Mounting and dismounting your horse after an injury can be done successfully with a few modifications to your current technique. Here are some suggestions that you might find helpful:
- Use a mounting step or platform when possible. To increase the stability of the mounting block, ask someone to place their foot on the bottom step to keep the block secure.
- Once you are on the top step of the mounting block, hold the reins, along with the horse’s mane, in your left hand. This will give you some pulling power without shifting your saddle’s position on the horse’s back.
- Reach your right hand across your saddle to the ‘off side’ pommel area, rather than reaching for the cantle or back of the saddle.
- Place your left foot in the stirrup, look up — rather than at — the saddle, tighten your core muscles, push off with your right leg/foot, and pull with your left hand against the horse’s mane.
- Once you have your momentum going, swing your right leg over the horse’s back and sit down easy into the saddle.
The key to successful mounting is to bring your energy up in a quick burst, putting all of the steps together at once. Another helpful tip is to ask a friend to put her hand into the off stirrup, putting pressure into this stirrup at the same time you are putting your weight in the left stirrup. This will help keep the saddle from slipping. Once you are in the saddle, take a few minutes of each ride to do leg and core muscle exercises such as standing position. Before long, you will notice that mounting is easier.
In general, a breast collar helps keep the saddle from slipping from front to back, such as when going up and down hills. It would not be much help in stabilizing the saddle side to side. When dismounting, once you swing your right leg over the saddle, lean into the saddle with your right hip until you can kick your left foot out of the saddle. This allows you to stay centered over the horse until you are ready to slide to the ground, landing on two feet.
Good luck, and enjoy your time in the saddle!
The Certified Horsemanship Association, an American Quarter Horse Association alliance partner, seeks to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces how-to DVDs and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information, visit the CHA website or call (800) 399-0138. To find a certified horseback riding instructor or accredited equine facility near you, go to www.CHAinstructors.com.
*AQHA and the provider of this information are not liable for the inherent risks of equine activities. We always recommend consulting an AQHA Professional Horseman.