We all know how to mount correctly. Or at least we hope we do! But nowadays we all use mounting blocks; from a riding school horse`s point of view it is much nicer than having an unfit dead weight haul themselves aboard, and in theory saves thousands on physiotherapy. I`m afraid to admit but I am also a sucker for a mounting block, I have to psych myself up to mounting from the ground. Part of me worries about their backs, the other worries about the saddle slipping (I am notorious for having a loose girth)
This video demonstrates very well the strains that we put on our horses back, but I think it fails to demonstrate the agility of the rider, and whether the horse is used to this technique and therefore has developed stronger muscles; also it neglects to say how important it is to mount from either side to encourage equilibrium in the horse`s back.
We always used to mount from the ground; but then again there was only one or two 16.2s at my childhood riding yard, and we all know it`s not that hard to get on a 14.2hh without help! The horses did put up with us clambering all around them. Once, my 9 year old friend had to use the quad bike to mount one of the 16.2s! That was hilarious.
We also once had a competition about legging up; to see who gave the best leg ups and who was the easiest to leg up. I am unashamedly proud that I was voted the best at both; I think my strength helped with giving the leg ups, but I also jump to assist my legger upper so that even said 9 year old friend could push me up onto a 16.2.
Not so long ago I was at an event, with my Uncle chauffeuring and I asked him to leg me up as my saddle slips. The next day I couldn`t work out why my hip and groin hurt so much. After a bit of discussion, and receiving another leg up, I realised that he had pushed my leg out sideways whilst legging me aboard. Which would explain why I didn`t make it very far and why my hip ached! Since then I`ve invested in a foldaway step to go to competitions!
Despite being good at being legged up, I have very little natural spring. So can never get on horses bareback! Not even a little 13 hander. How embarrassing! I just wish I`d practiced more. My old instructor`s boyfriend, Rob, who was a lorry driver of about 5`3 and about that wide, dared me to vault onto one of the big horses. Big by Welsh standards is 16.2hh. I refused knowing full well I couldn’t! So the client who was eavesdropping said she could, jogged up to the horse and jumped. About one inch off the floor. We stifled our giggles. Then! Rob just stood casually by this horse and swung up! I was gobsmacked! And to this day do not know how he managed it.
Occasionally it`s useful being able to mount from the floor. I once took out this hack and when asked who I wanted to ride said “Paddy. I haven`t ridden him before”. I realised my mistake when we reached the first bit of wood; trees are a lot lower when you are on a 17.2 horse! A bit further into the hack came this cry from the back “My bandage has come loose”. So off I hop, undo the rest of the bandage, curse the grooms, and tie the bandage round the horse`s neck. I managed to find a tree stump to help me back on… But a bit later on, in the middle of a corn field comes this cry “another bandage is loose” So this time I have to undo the bandage and then REMOUNT on a flat surface with nothing to help me! I told the clients they had to vouch for me if I succeeded. Thankfully I managed, but I was not amused when we got back to the yard!