Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Allison Price
A riding school will teach you how to mount and dismount a horse. Although they may seem easy at first, there are some things you need to be aware of. How do you mount a horse correctly?
Stand on the horse’s left side, and tilt the stirrup toward your left foot. Next, grab the reins and a little bit of the mane using your left hand. Finally, place your foot into the stirrup. Grab the saddle’s offside with your right hand, and then quickly grab your horse’s back.
It is easier to dismount a horse. To do this, let go of the stirrups and swing your right leg over the horse’s rump. Then, slowly lower yourself on the ground.
With enough practice, both mounting and dismounting horses will become second nature. There are certain bad habits that riders should avoid.
Learn how to mount or dismount horses!
Step by Step: Safely Mounting Horses
Before you mount a horse, ensure that your girth is correct and the saddle won’t slip as you pull yourself up. Set your stirrups at the correct length. To make sure your horse is calm, attentive, and straight, check-in with him.
Safely mount a horse:
- Standing on your left side, face your horse’s front or back
- Grab the reins with your left hand and a bit of your horse’s mane.
- To prevent your horse’s departure as you mount, hold the offside rein a little tighter.
- Turn your right hand towards your boot so the stirrup metal is flat against your boot.
- Place your left foot in the stirrup, and then grab the saddle’s offside with your right hand.
- Grab your saddle quickly and lift your right leg above your horse’s rump.
- Next, find the right stirrup for your horse and then stand straight on it.
Safety tips Don’t stand too long on one stirrup as it will unevenly pull your horse’s back muscles.
How do you dismount your horse?
Before you mount a horse, ensure he is still standing straight and calm.
Safely dismounting a horse:
- You can hold the reins in your left hand and stop your horse if he moves forward.
- Both stirrups should be let go
- To support your weight, rest your hands on the withers of your horse while you are shedding.
- Move forward and place your right leg over the horse’s rump.
- To absorb the shock of landing on the floor, bend your knees.
- When using an English saddle, ensure you have your stirrups raised and secured so that they don’t touch your horse’s side when he moves.
You might want to loosen your horse’s girth after he has gotten off. This will allow him to walk more comfortably back into his stable.
Why would you mount a horse on your left side?
The tradition of riding a horse on the left side stems from when horses were used in war. Since knights are right-handed, most wore their swords on their left side to make it easier for them to draw them in battle. To avoid the sword hitting the horse, warriors mount from the left.
It is unknown when exactly riders began to mount horses from the left side, but it was likely in ancient times. Xenophon, a Greek philosopher and horse master, mentioned in his book The Art of Horsemanship that a rider should learn how to mount a horse on both sides. This was as early as 350 BC.
The ancient practice of handling and riding horses on the left side is still used today. Riders are still taught to mount horses on the left side of the horse, and most don’t question this.
Why you should mount your horse on both sides
Riders should instruct their horses to mount from both sides for many reasons. These reasons are related to muscle development and safety of riders. You should practice dismounting horses from both the front and back.
Mounting from the left side of the horse will cause uneven muscle development. The horse will be using the muscles to the left side of the spine to support the rider’s weight. These muscles will get tighter, bigger, and more powerful. This will affect the horse’s performance as well as saddle fit.
By switching sides, the horse will be able to use his back muscles evenly. This will prevent future problems. You won’t need to change the stirrup leathers because it will stretch them evenly.
You can also learn to mount and dismount your horse both from the right and left sides, which is useful for trail riding. You should start slowly if your horse has never been mounted from the right side before.
Safety tips when mounting or dismounting horses
Horse accidents can and do occur. Here are some tips to help you mount and dismount your horse safely.
First, teach your horse to stand still before trying to climb up on his back. This trick is faster than shouting at your horse and will make it easier to do this.
If your horse attempts to get up on you, turn him around and mount again. This will help your horse learn that moving too fast can cause more trouble. It will be amazing how quickly the results can come about!
You can have someone else hold your horse while you mount if it makes you feel more secure. You can have a second person assist you when you mount from the ground. They will push down into the opposite stirrup. This will reduce the strain on your horse’s back especially if you have a large height difference.
It is strongly recommended that you use a mount block, or an equivalent object, whenever possible. Mounting will be easier and safer for you and your horse.