Horses Who Don't Want To Be Mounted
My friend has a 20-year-old thoroughbred mare who used to be a school horse. She attempts to mount the horse using a mounting block, but the horse usually walks off before she can mount, and needs to be held in place by someone in order to be mounted. When my friend does get on her back, the mare sometimes bucks her off. The horse has been checked by a vet and the fit of the saddle has been checked. Any ideas?
Some horses simply do not like the feeling of a rider on their backsand this is often true of school horses. In her former career, this mare probably endured all kinds of riders; maybe some had strong hands and others did not know how to mount properly, for example.
Barbara, your friend may need to retrain this mare to understand that riding can feel good, or at least that it’s not so awful! I suggest beginning by simply teaching her to stay still while a rider mounts for a food reward. Tell your friend to be careful that when she mounts up, she doesn’t slap down into the saddle. Instead, she should use her legs to slowly sink into the saddle. Someone should hold the horse steady while your friend mountsand as soon as she is up, she should reach forward and give the mare a treat, then a hardy scratch on the crest before immediately dismounting. Repeat this process until the mare will stand still for mounting without someone holding her.
Next, she should ride the mare short distances to desirable places, like to a pasture to graze, or take her on a short trail ride someplace new and fun. The rider should be sure to keep a soft seat and hand and reward often with pleasant touches and treats.