Mounting The Horse

Approach the horse from its sides. Never walk behind a horse. As the horse cannot see you if you come from behind, the horse can get startled and you do not ever want to be on the receiving end of a horse’s kick. Beginners may also find it easier to mount from a mounting block instead of straight from the ground. This can also prevent putting additional stress on the horse’s back or even accidentally kicking the horse with your right foot if you are not yet used to mounting a horse. It is traditional that you mount the horse on its left side.


And it would be better that for the first few times that you mount a horse, have someone hold the horse’s head so that it stands calmly. While standing on the left side of the horse, hold the rein with your left hand. Step your left foot into the stirrup with your weight concentrated on the ball of your foot placed on the center of the stirrup.

While still holding the rein in your left hand, grasp onto the horse’s wither with the same left hand.Grasp the cantle of your saddle with your right hand as your right leg becomes your support for balance as you prepare to spring up.Use your right leg to push you up. Be sure that you lift high enough so that your right leg does not kick the horse’s body as you swing it. As you start to lift yourself up, use your hands for balance while your right leg swings over the horse’s back.Settle in your saddle gently and avoid landing on the horse’s back with a thud as this might startle your horse.


Adjust the stirrups so that they are just at the correct length with your legs. The stirrups should let your feet rest in them while your legs are slightly bent. The balls of your feet should be resting comfortably when your feet are in the stirrup.Arrange the reins so that you are holding them properly. You are now ready to ask the horse to walk.

Horse Running Back Home Part 2

You have probably read the first part of the article before. Now I would like to continue.

2.Once this procedure is completed and your horse is soft and no longer resisting it is time to do it from the saddle in the arena or contained area.  Get on and ride some to warm your horse up. Now ask for a stop and stand. Sit relaxed on your seat and take the pressure out of your stirrups (relax and breath deep and slow). Place the heel of your hand against the front part of your saddle where it rises or your saddle horn and push back – notice your seat will get heavier and feel anchored in the saddle. Now take the direct rein again and as you ask him to bring his face and head to your knee. Keep pushing with your hand and look at the hip of your horse on the same side as the direct rein. Your horse should give you his head and just stand still and wait for release after the count of seven. If your horse moves or goes in a circle keep your hand pushing back and keep looking at his hip until he stops, then release and ask again just as you did on the ground.


Do both sides the same. Hand pushing (not grabbing or pulling) on the pommel or saddle horn will keep you anchored in the seat and looking at the hip will help keep you balanced. Once your horse is standing and just giving his head relaxed and calm on both sides you are ready to go on a trail ride. Try out your flex stop a few times along the way. Just be gentle and asking and when he will flex and stop reward him with a good boy or a rub on the neck.

3.When you start for home and he starts going faster and faster you can ask him to flex and if he has to move his feet and go in a circle you can stay seated, hold, and wait for him to stop his feet. Then release and on a loose rein ask him to walk. As soon as he goes faster than you want him to, repeat the flex lesson. Always keep calm and relaxed when you are teaching – not forcing. If your horse is just too excited and will not listen this flex position will give you enough time to dismount and ask him to work on the ground (it is always good to have a rope halter and twelve foot lead along for this moment). I leave the rope halters on under my bridle and carry the rope halter on my saddle or in a saddlebag if it has a metal clip on it. The clip can hit your horse in the face if you ride with it attached.


Cautions…If you get off do not just walk home. Put the lead rope on his halter and ask your horse to work in a circle for a while, then back up and side pass. Look around you for some obstacles to take him through or over until he calms down. Then get on again and ask him to walk home on a loose rein. Some horses will be easier than others. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days but don’t give up or give in. If your horse is getting angry or excited you are probably using too much pressure and you are showing signs of anger yourself. The only way to successfully teach a horse to be soft and responsive is to stay calm and in control of your emotions. You are the teacher and horses do not forget; they are amazing teachers also.

Horse Running Back Home

Riders react differently to this common problem when starting the ride back home. Some riders just let the horse jig and bounce them all the way back as they continuously pull on the reins. All the while this is happening the horse becomes wound up tighter than a kettle drum. Others take off and do anything from a fast jog to a dead run all the way back – just for fun. When any of these things happen some riders get angry, whip the horse and end up on the ground. Riders who can stick continue to abuse the horse into submission. Then there are those riders who send their horse off to a trainer and pay lots of money to get their horse trained to walk home. Others yet give up and sell their horse. The people I see that succeed most often are the ones that look to solving the problem by educating themselves and seek advise from an experienced, humane equine teacher.


One way to safely get this potential wreck under control is to first teach your horse to flex stop in the barn or paddock. This effective method requires repetition and patience and to accomplish the training task it’s best to have your horse in a rope halter, snaffle bit or swivel shank bit to give soft cues. What to do…

1.Start on the ground standing at the horse’s side (about where your stirrup lies on his side).

Place your arm over the saddle while you hold the direct rein (the rein on the side you are standing on). Stay close to your horse with your body against him like you are hugging his back. Now slowly bring the slack out of the rein. (Do not jerk on him or pull hard.) As soon as you see or feel the slightest give toward you with his head, release the pressure and give him your praise (I usually say good boy and rub the neck). Now take the slack out again and ask for more this time. If your horse moves his feet and begins to circle with his hind quarters stay close and keep asking for his head with the rein and say Whoa or Ho or Stand but do not release until he gives you his head.


Stay in position at the stirrup being careful that your toes do not get stepped on. You should continue this procedure until your horse puts his head all the way over to you and can hold this position without resistance or moving for a count of seven seconds, then release him and reward him again. Continue this procedure until your horse gives you his head as soon as you pick up the rein. Some horses will get very responsive and light while others will require more pressure. However, you should be as light as possible. You will need to do this on both sides of your horse until he is responding appropriately as described above.