How to Get Your Horse to Stand Still for Mounting

Two Methods:Mounting an Uncooperative HorseAddressing Serious Issues

Do you have a horse who would rather turn around and around than stay in one place when you try to mount? It can make you feel rather dizzy, not to mention disheartened! Rather than giving up, maybe these tips will help you to get your horse to stay still.

Method 1
Mounting an Uncooperative Horse

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    Tighten the girth right before mounting. Feeling the saddle shifting to the side while riding is frightening both for horse and rider! You want to do this right before mounting because many horses tend to hold their breath when you first put the girth on, so when before you mount they tend to let it out, which may loosen the girth.
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    Gather your reins in your left hand. After checking the equipment, prepare to mount. Gather your reins and hold them firmly, but with a little slack. Yanking the reins while you mount may cause the horse to rear or protest. Wait until the horse is completely still before you continue.
    • If you are a beginner, at a show, or if you do not have the time to be patient, have someone else take the reins and keep him still. In general, you are better off teaching him to stand correctly as described below, as it will greatly assist you in the future.
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    Put your foot in the stirrup. Put your weight on the stirrup, not with your arms. Your hand can use the pommel for balance, but you should not grab it tightly or pull yourself up with it. If you need a mounting block or a boost from another equestrian, get it.
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    Stop immediately if your horse moves. When the horse begins to move away, immediately remove your foot and take up the slack in the reins. Keep the reins short so the horse is forced to walk in a small circle. Wait until the horse stops moving, then start again. Repeat as many times as it takes to train your horse.
    • Be patient. Some horses will keep walking for some time. Trying to mount while they are still moving will teach them that they do not have to stand still.
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    Reward your horse when it stops. If the horse stops in response to your correction, reward him immediately with a pat or a kind word. If necessary, lead him back to where he was and attempt to mount again.
    • If he moves, correct him in a stern voice, but never slap or yell at him.
    • If the horse is stubborn and will not stop, just keep putting your foot in the stirrup, without trying to mount. When the horse finally stays still, reward it with a treat. Repeat until it consistently stays still for this stage.
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    Begin mounting. When he is completely still, you can start to swing your right leg over. If he starts to move while you are doing so, dismount completely and make him stop again. The horse will likely hate this aborted mount, which will help it learn to cooperate for a faster result.
    • Many horses take two weeks to become used to mounting for the first time.
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    Push the horse back (optional). If you need to move the horse back to the starting position, apply pressure on his chest to send him moving backward. You can also try this on an impatient horse, to teach him that he will not get anywhere without you.
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    Repeat as many times as it takes. Make sure you reward the horse for standing still. When he does not, you may correct him sternly, but do not punish him or shout. Just make sure not to give him treats or praise when he wanders off.
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    Get comfortable. Once you are seated, take an extra few moments to adjust your stirrups or tighten your girth as necessary. When you do decide to move, it should be your decision, not the horse's. Reward your horse for the patience, and enjoy the ride!

Method 2
Addressing Serious Issues

  1. 1
    Consider reasons the horse may misbehave. If the horse is young or spirited, it is most likely just bored by standing still. Similarly, a horse exposed to a new location, new people or animals, or even just a change in weather will often be less cooperative. The instructions below are only necessary for horses that persistently refuse to stand still, with no simple reason for their behavior.
  2. 2
    Try mounting in a different location. If the horse refuses to cooperate, try taking it to a different place. For example, mount in the arena if you normally mount in the stables. Sometimes, a horse may be distracted or agitated by something you do not even notice. If you can successfully train it in the new location, you may try again in other places. If possible, try to locate the issue, so you can either eliminate the problem or train for it.
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    Check the tack for suitability and fit. This includes the girth, saddle, martingale, breast collar, bridle and anything else you put on the horse. Fit means the right size, shape, and how and where you place them. If you're not sure how to check your tack, have an experienced rider help you.
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    Analyse your mounting. If your horse misbehaves when being mounted, he or she may dislike being mounted. Here are some factors to consider:
    • Do you get better results when you mount from a mounting block, or from the ground?
    • Does he cooperate better when other horses are around, or when he is alone?
    • Try to enter the saddle gently, if you currently slam down with force the horse may react strongly.
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    Analyse your riding. A horse may resist being ridden if you are unbalanced, or if you keep yourself steady by pulling the reins. The best way to fix these issues is to enroll in a lesson with a good instructor.
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    Analyze the activities you do. Some horses dislike certain types of riding. Give them something to enjoy instead:
    • If you never leave the school, try a ride outside it.
    • If you train only for one discipline, or spend all your time at one pace, switch it up a little. A horse that sweats and blows a lot is probably overworked, while a horse that strains may want to gallop.
    • If you spend all your time hacking alone, invite some friends alone.
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    Have your horse checked for soundness by a professional. A persistent dislike of being mounted may suggest an unsound horse. Although a professional can be expensive, this may be your only option for a horse that hasn't improved after several weeks of training.


  • To reinforce the training, tack him up (except for the bridle - leave the halter on) without planning to go anywhere. Mount him the way you usually do, then dismount. He will learn that he must stand still, even if he isn't wearing a bridle or being ridden.
  • Make sure your horse isn't afraid of the mounting block you are using. They are often tucked out of the way in a place that is fairly dark corner. Bring it out to a lighter spot.
  • If your horse only takes a small step with one hoof, don’t overreact. He could be just getting into a comfortable position to take your weight.
  • If your horse is very difficult about this, try lunging him to wear him out a bit.
  • Positive reinforcement is always the best way to go. You may correct him in a stern vice, but never yell at or punish the horse.
  • If you're a novice rider, practice mounting small horses before trying to mount taller ones.
  • At first, if you have a horse that pivots away to the right when you start to mount, keep the right rein a little shorter than the left one. Adjust back to normal reins as the horse learns.


  • Beware that yelling at or slapping your horse can have bad effects. Your horse may then associate mounting with pain and fright and will refuse to even let you tack him up. After a while, he could even become dangerous.
  • Do not pull the reins tight when mounting. This is can make the horse back up right out from under you.
  • Never mount anyway while the horse is moving. This is dangerous and encourages bad habits.
  • If you are not sure how to follow these instructions, do not attempt them on your own. Ask for help from a professional or more experienced rider.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety helmet
  • Another person (If you are a novice rider)

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