Did you know that FREDERIC PIGNON, one of the greatest horsemen in the world, GETS OFF if he feels any tension coming up in his horse? ANY TENSION? ANY TIME? And he does that because he’s looking for a happy expressive horse who’s turning themselves inside out to be with him and any tension will get in the way of that.
I was tickled pink for what I’d been teaching for so long, to be validated by someone I admire so much. 🙂
Believe it or not, the act of actually getting on a horse, mounting up, has the vast majority of riders experiencing their first Not Quite Right in the saddle, even if it’s subtle.
For all but two of the many, many people I have gone through this exercise with, (including some very, very advanced riders) there were only two who experienced no moment of vulnerability as they got on their horse – hundreds and hundreds of people and only TWO had no Not Quite Rights as they mounted up.
This vulnerability that you’ll see in the video is one of two sources of Not Quite Right when you are getting on.
The other source of Not Quite Right is your horse themselves. If your horse is not in their Comfort Zone about being mounted, then it is unlikely you will be.
For your horse, you will be working with the three stages again:
1. RELEASING any old stresses about a person getting on them, by backing off at every Not Quite Right – all the way to getting off again if you have to – and waiting for The Chew, which could take a while on a release. Be open to notice ALL the ways in which you experience that early warning signal that something is Not Quite Right, that we’ve gone through over and over again in previous lessons and don’t need to this time. 🙂
2. RE-LEARNING how to stand still and politely while you get on, which means listening to your Not Quite Rights to help you notice the baby steps your horse needs for getting this task completed happily.
3. RE-PROGRAMMING standing still happily and politely into AUTO-PILOT by feeling inside yourself, soaking up and appreciating the good feelings.
Here’s a video to eliminate your side of the mounting Not Quite Rights and to world class horsemanship.
Here are a couple of practical tips that I missed on the video…
1. When you are getting on, have the tip of your toe pointed in the space behind your horse’s elbow, that way you won’t jab them with your foot as you get on.
2. If you are mounting from the left, your right hand is over the other side of the FRONT of your saddle, so that your body weight there is helping even out the weight of your body in the stirrup as quickly as possible. Western riders have the horn in the way, so just keep in mind your goal of pulling on your horse’s back as little as possible.
3. These days I actually pull downwards with the stirrup or the front of my saddle on the OTHER side away from me. In my western saddle I pull down on the front of my stirrup leather or the front of the skirt, to balance my weight in the saddle as I come up. If we do that properly it eliminates saddle movement and pulling on our horse’s back.
Keys to Success
1. Every step of the mounting process should feel good and secure, so listen carefully inside yourself ALL the way.
Listening inside yourself is the biggest key to success. Listening inside will enable you to notice Not Quite Rights earlier and when they are smaller. That is, your horse can communicate with you more easily – they don’t have to shout. And we don’t want horses to have to shout while we are riding them, do we?
Back off, take the pressure off, even get off when you feel a Not Quite Right and, while you are listening inside with soft eyes if you need them – wait for The Chew. This will allow your horse to process and get rid of any old resistance or trauma and will also create the space for you to understand any changes that you may need to make.
2. If you have any trouble with the strength to mount up, then get your good posture and lock in those core muscles before you put your foot in the stirrup and keep them locked all the way up. Then rub your head and your tummy in different directions. … Just kidding about rubbing your head!
3. If your horse is walking off while you are mounting there are two possibilities – either they don’t want you to get on yet for a number of possible reasons – or they don’t understand that you want them to stand still.
If they don’t want you to get on yet, then back off and wait for The Chew with a Quiet Mind and get the insights that you need for change. This lesson with a Quiet Mind for problem solving might help.
If you think they just don’t understand that you want them to stand still, then going back to this lesson Preparation for mounting – manouvering them around the mounting block will help.
IF and only if you are absolutely sure that your horse just needs standing still explained differently, then you can also step off the mounting block and walk to their hind end holding the rein as you go there, saying “no thankyou, I would like you to come back here” and line them back up at the mounting block. This is the same manouvre that Valezka was doing with Topacio in this lesson about “pay attention to me please in a halter”.
Take care that yielding their hindquarters like that be an explanation only, because for many horses this manouvre was used as a punishment to make them stand still – and we wouldn’t want to do bully them into standing at the mounting block if they had a Not Quite Right.
Get in touch with me if you simply cannot figure it out.
4. For sheer even-ness for you and your horse, it’s a good idea to get on from both sides of your horse. The only reason we all learned to get on from the same side all the time is that when the military were all lined up in a row, mounting from the same side was the only way to get on without knocking each others heads off. Hmmm… no reason for US then, hey? That’s a very good reason for using your version of Magic to get your co-ordination happening from the other side first! 🙂