TWH Doesn't stand still to be mounted.

Colorado 8 year old  TWH, ridden in pasture in WH Bit and Western saddle by a beginner.

Question: My horse won't stand still for mounting.  What can I do?



From Panelists Laura
 
Usually the problem with a horse not standing still for mounting is what happens after the person gets on.  Do you hop on and then ride off quickly, hoping to catch up with your friends?
 
A lot of horses get in the habit of moving off as soon as the rider's foot hits the stirrup because they know they are leaving that area quickly.  A lot of riders actually reinforce this bad habit because they don't take a few minutes to make the horse stand after they are mounted.
 
A quick way to correct this behavior is to mount your horse as usual, then make them stand still in the spot where you mounted until they are quiet and relaxed.  Once they learn to stand quietly, they will start standing better for mounting since they don't anticipate leaving as soon as you are on your horse.
 
To "make" the horse stand still, every time the horse starts to move, sharply tighten your reins and then loosen them (you can't hold the horse still with a constant tight rein - it just makes them fight you).  Do a lot of neck petting, scratching and use verbal praise when the horse is still.  The idea is to get the horse to relax and enjoy standing still.  When you are ready to go (wait until the horse isn't moving at all), give a VERY clear signal to move, such as a cluck, squeeze with your legs or tell the horse to walk.  Don't let the horse walk off on their own while you think "I wanted to move anyway so I'll just let him go."  You need to let the horse know that you are moving off because it was your idea.  
  
Every time you stop, make the horse stand quietly on a loose rein and make sure it is obvious to the horse when you want to go.  Within a few days or so the horse will figure out that you are calling the shots and will start standing better for mounting.  
 


 From Panelists Darla
 
 Stand on the side of your horse in the position to mount.  When you start to mount and the horse steps away get back down and ask him to move his hind quarters away from you.  You can do this by touching the horse with your index finger behind the stirup area or tapping him on the hip while at the same time you have the reins or lead rope in your hand and keep his head slightly turned toward you.  This directs the horse to step his rear away 
form you. Do this several times until the horse wants to stand and be quiet.  
 
Then try mounting again.  Sometimes this takes a few lessons.  I did it for a week with one horse but each time it moved less and finally just let me get on.  Make sure once you are in the saddle that he stands perfectly still on a loose rein.  I do not pick up the reins until I want him to walk off.  Again this takes time and patience.  One student told me she had to keep him moving really fast for over five minutes before the horse was ready to stop.  Then when she went to get on he stepped away again.  Soooo she went through it again and again.  Horses are creatures of habit. Over time he has learned to move around when you mount and it will take time for him to learn to stand still.

Happy trails and best wishes. tlc Darla