You never know when you might have no choice but to mount or dismount from the “off-side” of your horse. For some, it's easy; for others, it takes practice...
It’s easy to master mounting and dismounting from both sides of your horse. Start by practicing at home with a kitchen chair. The back of the chair becomes the front of your horse. To mount in the traditional way, swing your right leg over the chair and sit softly onto the chair. Now practice from the other side by swinging your left leg over the chair. Reverse the motion for dismounts.
Practicing this motion on a chair helps build muscle memory in a safe environment before you add your horse and other outside factors that may make practicing more difficult (plus, if you accidentally kick the chair, your chair isn’t going to scoot out from underneath you).
It is helpful if your horse is patient and will stand still while you practice. A tall mounting block is also helpful. Do the same exercise you did with your chair with your horse and the mounting block. As you build comfort and confidence, gradually reduce the height of your mounting block until eventually you are practicing from the ground.
Having this skill will prove invaluable when you actually need it, and you’ll be glad you took the time to practice.
Note: Always mounting from the ground pulls on your horse’s spine and withers. Over time this can cause asymmetry in your horse’s spine and possibly pain. It is best to mount from a mounting block as it reduces the strain on your horse’s back. When I ride, I mount from one side and then dismount from the opposite side so there is balance in the movement on my horse’s back.
Kim Baker, KB Natural Horsemanship
Author, Holistic Healing, Animal Communication, Horse Clinics, Lessons, Natural Horse Training and more...
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