Should I use a Mounting Block? 3 Reasons to Save Yourself and Your Horse’s Back

In a word YES Please do! I remember the days when my equestrian prowess was measured by how high I could lift my leg to get on a horse. These days, however, the mounting block is your friend and the friend to your horse’s back as well as to your saddle.

Using a Mounting Block is Better for Your Horse’s Back

Mounting Block

Mounting Block (Photo credit: Ryan Stanton)

Hauling you’re a$$ into the saddle from the ground may be convenient. As a good friend and mentor of mine once said, “I don’t ride a horse that I can’t see over its back.”  If you can do this it may negate the necessity for a mounting block.

A mounting block removes the stress and strain from the horse’s back. We’ve all seen the riders who deftly spring up into the tack. Likewise we have seen the not so deft climbing up the legs of the horse and shimming up the sliding saddle to the shouts of, “get out the crane”.

When you mount the horse shifts its weight to the left legs causing an imbalance. In addition the horse raises his back on the left side and when the rider mounts, the panels of the saddle press against the side, spine, withers and back of the horse. Over time, this can result in sore muscles, out of alignments and back pain. Please see this excellent article regarding mounting blocks and horse’s backs – Mounting Blocks

This pulling and hauling on the saddle shifts its weight to the horse’s withers. And can cause twisting and torque on the horse’s back. This can be especially true if the riders fitness and balance are not strong.

Using a Mounting Block is Better for Your Own Back

Sometimes, if you ride several horses a day, for example, using a mounting block is easier on your own joints and muscles. Likewise, if you are a recreational rider and not too fit, using a mounting block will reduce the wear and tear on your legs, hips and back.

Using a Mounting Block is Better for Your Saddle

Saddled

Mounting from the Ground  Causes Uneven Weight Distribution.  (Photo credit: eric.surfdude)

Mounting from the ground causes uneven weight distribution on the saddle and can result in a twisted tree. The sideways motion of mounting from the ground is a foreign way for the horse to move. The horse is designed for speed, flight and running. Forcing them to stand while a rider approaches from the side, and bends the horse’s body sideways is an un-natural movement for the horse. They have little support to assist and resist this movement. Consequently, the saddle bares the brunt of the mount.

Understanding mounting mechanics can extend the life of your saddle.

Remember as well when you mount, you usually mount from the near side so switch up your stirrup leathers so they stretch equally. How often do you switch up your stirrups?

Leave me a comment (or email) and let me know how you have adjusted to using a mounting block.

 

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About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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