Sunday, April 14, 2013

Return of the Mounting Block Monster

Loki, as most of you who read this know, is off the track. He raced a total of 21 times so I would consider him to be a fairly experienced racehorse. Most of you probably also know that racehorses are never mounted from the ground or from a mounting block and they are almost always moving while they are being mounted. It is understandable, therefore, that when I first started working with Loki he had a few mounting issues. Nothing horrible or super scary you just had to be aware and on your toes. At first he barely gave me a second to get my foot in the stirrup and my leg over his back but as my trainer and I worked with him through the summer he improved greatly.
In fact my trainer used a video of us as an example for a blog she wrote over on Horse Junkies about how to properly mount your horse. You can read the article here or just watch the video below:


As you can see even here Loki still didn't quite have the hang of actually waiting for me to get mounted but he was tons better from where we started and by the end of the summer he was standing for me about 95% of the time. The trick was just not making a big deal about it. Mounting quickly and safely without being jarring or flopping on his back like a monkey and definitely no grabbing his face allowed.

Well apparently having nearly 7 months off has left a little hole in Loki's memory.  Lori said that he has been having trouble with mounting again. Nothing huge just closer to where we started. The day before, though, she decided to get back off to repeat the mounting experience but when she swung down Loki backed up and stumbled. In order to keep him from panicking Lori let go of the reins and Loki thanked her by taking a little tour of the trails that go around the pasture.

Silly horse!! He was completely fine and I'm very confident that he will be back to ship shape in no time but I do think that this might be a reoccurring thing for a while especially in the spring.

13 comments:

  1. Oh Loki, horses do love to keep us (and trainers)on our toes!
    Hopefully he re-finds the hard drive that that memory is stored on and keeps on making a positive return to fitness so that he can be tip-top shape when you get back real soon!

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    1. LOL, with Loki I think he just gets anxious to get the job done. He was probably halfway down the trails before he realized he'd left his rider behind. I'm confident he will figure it out again but I'm also confident he will always find ways to keep me on my toes!

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  2. LOL, my horse is 14 and still forgets that you gotta wait!

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    1. Yep, patience is maybe not so much a virtue for our TBs, lol.

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  3. Speaking of mounting, I saw a woman--who said that she had gone to a clinic with Bill Dorrance, a well known Nat'l Horsemanship guy--move the mounting block to the horse when the horse stepped away, rather than ask the horse to come back and get into position for mounting. The woman never did have the horse move rather than move the mounting block. Jeez. Apparently, even though she went to the clinic she didn't learn ANYTHING.

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    1. The main mounting block at our barn is very heavy and pretty much stationary so nearly impossible to move to the horse. Although, I admit to occasionally getting lazy and moving the mounting block (if it is mobile) rather than having the patience to wait and teach. But you definitely aren't doing yourself or your horse any favors by not making them learn the skill.

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  4. He's just making sure that you guys really mean what you teach him ;) lol

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    1. I do think horses have a sense of humor. He was probably laughing the whole way down the trail, lol.

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  5. That's one thing my trainer is really, really good about - implementing solid manners and being very firm about the mounting block.

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    1. Yes, ground manners are so important!

      I learned a lot last summer about working with off the track thoroughbreds. It is very tempting to try and "make" them stand still when you are mounting but this actually makes mounting a much bigger issue as they feel trapped. Loki especially is an anxious horse by nature. I mostly just ignored his antics and did lots of repetition, getting on and off and different times/places, etc and by the end of the summer he was pretty good. I'm sure he'll get there again. And I'm also sure there will be other issues to work on as well, lol.

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  6. Even though they're being bad you can't help but laugh at their antics! I'm sure he'll get back to mounting soon. I've found with Wiz, he use to be GREAT at mounting, but now he's way too eager to get on to work- so, we've had to go back to re-emphasizing the mounting and not walking off until I say so lately, too :)

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    1. Yep, this definitely gave me a laugh. I can just picture him getting halfway down the trail and then realizing he was on his own!

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    2. They have to keep us on our toes! I read a good quote from John Lyons, "the only two emotions that belong in the saddle are patience and a sense of humor." I think that's pretty true, and something I need to strive towards! I might add a third emotion to that for eventing- determination! Need that to get through a cross country course :) But still, patience and a sense of humor when things don't go your way. Loki seems like a horse with a good personality!

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