Difficulties getting on


Jun 14, 2015
I've been riding a new (to me) horse at my RS recently. He's a joy to ride in the school in all paces and is very reponsive.

However I have terrible trouble actually getting on him! It generally takes two of us around 15-20 minutes to get me mounted. He won't stand still at the mounting block and either swings his hindquarters away or shoots forwards. I can sometimes get on from the ground but it's not easy as he doesn't want to stand still. He seems very tense and tight in his body and head, and it always takes a while for him to relax once I'm on and riding.

I know I'm limited in what I can do as he's an RS horse but it's becoming a problem for me as I now dread getting on him. I'm also worried he might be in pain or anticipating pain but the RS just seem to think he's misbehaving to avoid work.

It's not just me he does this with but I think he does it more frequently with me because I feel stressed and anxious so it's a bit of a vicious circle.

I have spoken to my RI about this but she said I just need to get on really quickly...but I feel like I can't do that if he won't stand still.

Any thoughts anyone?


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
If they will let you, a short time spent getting him to stand by the block calmly with lots of positive reinforcement works wonders, jess got a bit in a hurry to go last year, now she waits as she knows I'll give her a treat once im on and sorted if she stands nicely :)


Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2010
15-20 mins? and this is in your lesson time Im assuming? For a RS horse if you are paying for this time Id expect them to sort this out and to be paying ride something that will stand nicely at the mounting block. It’s not your job to have to fix that.

Other than that, Jesseys idea is a good one. Also, if its a portable block Id keep a loose hold on him, dont hold on tight as tension=tension. Loose reins, attempt to get on, if he moves just follow him with the block and try again. Ive seen this work once they realise moving away is futile; also backing him up when he goes to move will help. As I said though, I dont think this sounds ideal for a RS horse. good luck with it!


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
I did teach the RS mare I rode to stand at the block for me to mount her. I used a method recommended at that time by the trainer Mark Rashid. Rashid changed his mind later, but it worked for me. My teaching the mare was important to me tho it did use up ten minutes or so of my lesson each time. Years later it enabled me to share that same mare.

However, now much later my feeling is that RS students are in a poor position when confronted with problem RS horses. I recently abandonned lessons on one such horse when the RI stipulated that I must not do anything unless accepting direct instruction from herself. It can easily get to a point where the student or the students crooked body, or the student's attitude is blamed for what is going on with that horse. Even tho that horse displays the same behaviour with other people and including the RI owner.

I dont have a solution for you except to request another horse. At least for a short time. Until a member of staff schools the problem horse to stand while being mounted.
Or to look for another riding school. Again perhaps as an interim measure.
Or do what I have always done and go hacking instead.

It is not right for an RI to tell you to get on quickly. It stresses you if you feel you must hurry and the art of mounting is to do it gently -For a human being the mounting process always involves some tension as your feet are no longer on the ground. And the horse too is taking the additional strain of bearing the weight of the rider on its back. So for both rider and horse you need to mount and then to sit there till both of you feel relaxed and able to move off. It is not good to have the horse move off immediately with its head still up -and unresponsive to your cues.

I have not currently solved my own lesson situation - One needs a horse and a teacher together who can contribute to one's learning process. And I know from experience that means shopping around local schools and that no solution is ever permanent. Horses age or get injured or are disliked by other students. Teachers also age, get married, leave for other jobs.

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
I've had some problems with my new horse not standing to mount. I have watched loads of utube vids on this. Sounds like you need to watch them but your riding school should sort this themselves. Nor sure if I can explain very well but if you can find some you tube vids it might help you understand my explanation.
I started by placing mounting block close to gate/wall. He has to walk between the two. So he could only move forward or back not to the side. Once he got that i moved mounting block away a little more to create a bigger gap. Once I had a large gap if he moves as I go to get on the block. I would immediately get down and I make him step back. Get his feet moving. Move him backwards ideally, not leading or turning, just back, back, back. Right away from the block if necessary. Then ask him to come to the block again. He then learns that when you put him next to the block standing is more pleasant.
Another method i watched is a video which shows that whilst you stand on the block you use a long schooling whip, tap him on the bottom on the off side which teaches him to move from the tap tap. As soon as he goes to move closer you stop taping. That is a release reward. Mine soon understood this.
I'm still working on mounting from gates. Some days hes perfect, other days it takes three or four attempts. I will place him next to gate as I go to get up on gate he swings away from it. So I get off gate go the other side a use whip, tap, tap until he steps away from the whip and steps closer to the gate. If he gets to the third attempt. I make him start backing up. Then ask him to come in again.
Try putting ' mounting issues' or 'teaching your horse to stand to mount' on you tube. Some of the vids I watched come up. Might give you some ideas to try. Think the most important thing ive learnt from the vids is to get they horses feet moving in a way they don't feel comfortable with. Sounds silly when you actually really want them to stand but it's working for me.

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
Teaching a horse to stand takes some skill but mainly just time and patience. With my own horses I always take the time to teach them behaviours I want them to have. But it's unlikely you can do this at a riding school. However there is no way you should have your lesson time wasted this way so either they need to teach him themselves or they should provide a different horse.
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Gimpy Gimp Gimp
Jan 19, 2005
I wouldn't be very happy about that situation as a paying customer.


Jun 5, 2016
I've got a cob that just won't stand still at mounting block when tacked up as soon as he sees u stepping up onto block he moves his quarters away and if u put him along side a fence etc and block other side he just either shoots forwards or backs up I've had him nearly two years and this has been an on going battle since I've had him he won't even stand when given a treat but when he is just in his head collar and no saddle on he stands there lovely and will allow u to get straight on bareback can anyone recommend and ideas or tips as I am running out of things to try. His back and tack are all fine as well any tips would be great Ty


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
If they're taking this time out of your lesson then I'd tell them, not ask, that I wanted a different horse until this issue has been dealt with & you can mount normally. It isn't your problem to fix, and while it maybe something that could be overcome by you mounting really quickly the fact is that many RS riders aren't happy to jump onto a moving horse, and why should they?
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Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
No RS safety abd BHS ordain that a staff member must hold the horse while the student mounts.


Well-Known Member
Dec 3, 2014
Rhode Island,New england
I agree with a lot of the comments here - Your paying for a riding lesson not to spend half of it JUST TRYING TO GET ON.
Plus after all that hassle to just get ON how can you be focused to ride well in the lesson.

I give my horses a pc of carrot when I get on and they look for it. Now Jeff my trainer working with Andi gets on Andi fine with no carrot given.
I like to give a pc of carrot.

I don't think your getting your moneys worth. They should be working with that horse for it to be mountable.
How well does the instructor focus on YOU when your finally mounted and start the lesson?
I finally smartened up that I was not getting my moneys worth years ago at a place I was taking jumping lessons at-
but it took being told go jump x- x -x then go x-x -x. So I do and ask HOW DID I DO.
The response was " oh I don't know I was talking to Janie" What was the point of me jumping all that
I had not idea if I did good or bad right or wrong and Neither did the instructor cause she was too busy TALKING.

You said hes a joy to ride when your finally on him. What kind of riding are you doing>
I would not have a lot of confidence in an instructor like that to keep me safe.
I don't feel that telling you to "JUMP ON QUICK" is safe at all.

If it was me I would go beyond wanting a different horse. I would not only want an different instructor since she
thinks that is fine. I would probably look for a different school since they obviously seem to think its OK AS WELL.
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