Dusty and I are still working on her mounting block issues. The good news is she is picking up on what I want/need from her. It’s become apparent that the more I work on her position at the mounting block without getting in the saddle, the better she comprehends the lesson.
Once she’s in the correct location, I pet her and speak very softly to her to let her know what a good girl she is. If she moves and I can’t correct her hind end from the mounting block, we calmly walk a circle and come back to it. This only takes two or three tries before she stands like a statue. Then I use my hands to put weight on the saddle; if that goes well then I put my foot in the stirrup and weight it on and off. It’s almost like working with a green horse that is being introduced for the first time to the whole mounting process.
This time when she finally stood quietly for a few minutes I got on expecting her to shoot off as usual once I was in the saddle. Color me surprised when she simply stood there and waited for me to ask her to walk. I really think she’s starting to get the whole concept and it hasn’t taken that long. All it takes is patience and understanding on our parts to try and figure out what is right for a particular horse. With Dusty it seems if I’m soft, relaxed, and speak quietly to her she will in turn unwind and treat this process as if it’s no big deal.
I admit rather sheepishly that most of her problem at the mounting block has probably been my fault. For years I’ve been a little tense while mounting. Not just her but any horse (except Erik--he stood like a rock; it was his best gait.) I’ve always been anxious that a horse would move off while I was halfway on (Dusty did this a lot) or I would somehow fall in-between the mounting block and the horse and get trampled. There’s no sense telling someone not to be fearful if they’ve got it in their head that something could go wrong. I know it’s an unfounded and foolish fear, but there you have it. Once I’m on I can usually deal with any antic a horse can throw at me, including ducking out at jumps or galloping around during a spook. I’m not an apprehensive rider, but that whole mounting process has me tense and nervous. Go figure. Maybe if that’s the worst thing I have to deal with it’s not so bad. So while Dusty is getting over her issues, I’m working on getting over mine. Actually, I’m feeling pretty good about both of us after this last session.
Oh, and we had a nice softening walk around the arena, too. Seems when neither of us is tense at the mounting block and walk off calmly she takes a lot less time to soften at the walk. I’m thinking I might be onto something good here. Wish us luck.
Until next time
Quote for Today
Riding is a partnership. The horse lends you his strength, speed and grace, which are greater than yours. For your part you give him your guidance, intelligence and understanding, which are greater than his. Together you can achieve a richness that alone neither can. - Lucy Rees-