Help Support CattleToday:

Ellie May

Well-known member
Jan 4, 2004
Reaction score
Tennessee Ridge, Tennessee
I was wondering if anybody could help me. When I get on my horse I put the reins & in one hand and hold on to the horn put one foot in the sturrip but as soone as I put my foot in the sturrip no matter how fast I get on my horse takes off. I'm use to it now but sometimes I want to just get on with no troubles. I've found tying her to a fence getting on then untieing her works but that is dangerous. Any advice, tips, or techniques you could give me would be great.
Ellie May
When you are getting on, are you kicking her with your toe? If you are not, then just practice getting on and off. When you get on, stop and make her stand, get off and try it again. Keep doing it until she starts to stand. If she does not catch on to what you are asking maybe wait until the end of a long ride when she is tired and then practice.

Another way I have heard poeple getting the horses to stand is to offer a treat after you get on. Then the horse will look for a treat when you get on and forget about running forward. If you ride with a bit the treat thing may not work.

The key to this is you have to always be working with her on it and not let her get away with it "Just this time".
Ellie May,
Does your horse take off in a straight line or does she turn toward you. Try slight pressure on the off side rein if she turns toward you. If she goes straight away then pull back and tell her whoe. Maybe even have some one hold her while you mount till she gets the drift. Is she green or is this just a bad habit she has picked up? :?:
Head tie or face her into a deadend spot such as facing a fence, building, etc. If you can face her into a corner should reduce her tendency to take off. She probably also needs more ground work...stand, stay, "good doggie," etc.
Thank you guys/gals for all your help. No she isn't green, she has been broke for a while. I got her last year from a couple that wanted to retire, and so I've been the one to really ride her. I never really thought if my toe was kicking her I'll see if it is or not and if it is I'll stop. I've had everybody hold her but they are afraid of her. I don't let her get away with anything but as far as everybody else they don't. When some body holds her she tends to be figdey & shakes her head, and walks around. She takes off in a straight line that I've noticed. As soon as I get on I have to pull back. The treat method, I'm gonna have to try that. I treat my QH when she does good things but don't treat her, and I don't know why. I'm gonna try that though. Oh and I don't know if this makes a difference. But the horse is a palomino Walking Horse cross, she is about 6 yrs. old & 16 hands high.
Thank you again,
Ellie May
Maybe the saddle digs into her when you go to get on. Try using a mounting block and see if she continues to do it. Of course she will the first few times but maybe after she realizes that you are not hurting her when you get on then she will stand. It could be a long shot but you never know sice the critters can'nt talk.

Good luck
You can also hobble the horse's front feet and repeat the mounting procedure. Get on, get off, repeatedly. Just sit there on the horse without going anywhere.

When you take the hobbles off and start mounting the horse, don't ask it to go anywhere for a few seconds after you are mounted. Always queue the horse when you are ready to leave.
Lots of good suggestions here, assuming your not kicking her or pulling on the reins when you get on, she may need more ground work. I wouldn't tie her to mount or hobble her, sounds dangerous... seen a few horses flip over with hobbles you have to train a horse to hobble. you might try using a halter and lead rope, saddle you mare and just put your foot in the stirrup, if she moves off then back her up a few feet by shaken the lead rope hard and fast (not jerking down on her nose) and walking into her telling her "back" then whoa her, tell her "whoa", tell her whoa again before you put you foot in the stirrup. She she needs to understand and respect the word whoa. Horses hate to back. This may take a while but I bet you see a change in a couple of days, just sounds like bad manners. I never beat a horse but it's basic in all my training, good things happen when it's done right and it's uncomfortable when things are done wrong... uncomfortable not painful, painful comes when there's biting, kicking, running over or striking.


Reminds me of a joke; two horse together, one says my name is Charlie what's yours...Whoa dammit!
Sometimes they start that because their feet are not square under them. So your added weight causes them to shift, then just keep moving. Teach her to "square up" then practice mounting and dismounting as others have said.
Firstly, look at what the horse is thinking when you go to mount. Taking off in a straight line tells me that she is impatient and not respecting you or she is running from pain. So the first thing that you have to do is to check the saddle out and see if its causing any pain. With that out of the way, you must change the horse's thinking. You can't pull on both the reins at one time, ever. That just gives her a barrier to fight against. To use treats would just teach her to look for that instead of listening to you. The act of mounting is always an "iffy" in terms of your safety and should be done safely. Standing her in a corner is just another barrier...what if you were out on the trail and stuck in a bad position where taking off forward was just not an option? Bottom line, you do not have control and you are not safe. You have also reinforced this by getting on anyway even though she is moving forward. (sorry, truth hurts, doesn't it?)
You'll have to give her some mounting lessons to get her straightened out. I would go to an enclosure of some kind and let her work the kinks out to the point where she still has energy, but is not doggy. The enclosure will help to get her to realize that she is not going anywhere. After the kinks are out, I would saddle and bridle her slowly and look for anything that may be causing her pain. You should have one wrinkle in the corner of her mouth for proper bit position. If you have a curb strap, you should be able to get two fingers under it when there is no tension on the reins. (I would use a snaffle bit for this lesson, though) The saddle pad should be clean of debris and have good loft. If its well used, it will have pressure memory and checking out the shape of it will sometimes tell you where the pressure is happening. You should be able to stick 3 fingers vertically under the front of the saddle where it sits above the withers. The channel down the spine should also be up and off the spine. When you are sitting in the saddle, there should still be two to three fingers above the withers. When you sit the saddle on the horse's back, run your hand under the saddle from front to back on both sides and see if anything is digging into your hand. If there is, its going to dig twice as bad when you put your weight in the saddle. Make sure that the girth is clean and that the skin is not pinching when you do it up and do it up in increments, walking in small circles, then doing it up a little tighter each time. Not only will this prevent the horse puffing up on you, but its better for the horse mentally to adjust to it as well as physically, because the girth lays over a main artery to the heart as well. Put lots of bug spray on before you start, if necessary and expect the horse to stand still for this lesson.
You start by standing on one side, at the horse's shoulder and facing front. Put a little pressure on the rein on that side, just enough to get the horse thinking about it...and wait, wait. The horse will try to avoid by moving, raising her head and doing different things to relieve the pressure. Move with her, whatever you need to do, but keep the pressure on until she does the right thing....turning her head toward you, instant release, lots of praise. Do it again. It should take about 10 minutes for the horse to figure out to give to the pressure. She'll get the hang of it, do it well, then get doggy about it, but persist and reward when she does it. Once she gets over the doggy part and is responding again, that's when she's really learned it. Then do the other side. Once that lesson is learned, then putting on pressure, her giving, continuing to hold pressure instead of releasing like you have been and she'll start moving her back feet away from you. That's disengaging her hip and the only way that you can truly stop her. This is called the one rein stop and is essential for your safety in all situations. When you get to the mounting, lengthen the stirrup on that side to make it a little easier for you and the repetition that you need to do. Tell her ho and move slowly back to the stirrup area, ask her for a give, release, praise. Feet are not to move at all during this exercise. Shake the stirrup, ask for a give, release, reward, make her smell the stirrup and move it around, snapping the strap and increasing the intensity to increase the desensitization factor....weight on stirrup, foot in stirrup, hopping while foot is in stirrup (put the ball of your foot where it needs to be in the stirrup and watch your toe) Lifting yourself to a standing position in the stirrup on one side, then swinging your leg over, settling and still she must not move till your say so. Everything in small graduations, give, release, reward. Ask for a give everytime you see her tense, raise her head and is about to move. Have her in a give position when you mount. She is looking at you, is listening to YOU, has her hip disengaged and has nowhere to go except around and around. If she's smart, she'll have this fact down pretty fast. You've got to do the other side too, every step of the way and it's a lot harder, cause you're teaching yourself to be ambidextrous as well, just mirror your movements from the good side. Well, are you up to it? You asked, I answered, and sorry, I did go on with this one! I think you have a wonderful trail horse that has the heart of an endurance horse. She's looking down the trail, she wants to go there. I think that's wonderful! Sure a lot better than a horse that is constantly thinking, "o.k., now, I'm leaving the barn, leaving the barn, LEAVING THE BARN! LOLOL! She just needs to learn to be polite and safe about it. Hope this helps, happy trails!
Thank you for all your help, I'll try the techniques. Another question I am going to my first show tom. any advice, I'm going to take my Quarter Horse, and try western pleasure.
Ellie May
Ellie May-
Pick up the newest copy (August issue) of the Western Horseman. It has a mounting article in it. I just got mine yesterday & thought of you when I saw the article. ;-)
Ellie, good luck on the show let me know how it went, what kind of show was it, QH spondsered, all breed schooling, ect. My wife and I are starting into Western Pleasure, Western Riding with Paints and QH.

Good Luck!
Well I went to the 4-h horse show. It wasn't big about 25 to 30 kids other then me. I showed in Showmanship (got 3rd place), Western Pleasure (got 2nd place), Equitation (1st place), Trail (4th place), One Barrel Speed Race (2nd place), Regular Barrels (2nd place). I think I did all right for my 1st show. Next time I'll show my QH and maybe my TW if I can mount her right without her taking off. I'll try your techniques. Thank you!
Ellie May
Congragulations Ellie May
Sounds like you did very good, whether it be your 1st show or 10th show.
Thank you! Yeah she did better (my horse) than what I thought she would do, she's a great all around QH!
Ellie May

Latest posts