A viewer wrote in and asked, “Do you always bend your horses head around when you mount?”
In Episode 16, I showed how I teach my horses a ‘parking brake’ so that they stand still when I am mounting. However, later in the horses training, I want the horse to stand still on his own. The key to this transition is in the statement at 1:15, “Before I’m going to climb on his back he needs to to get these answers correct 100% of the time-without hesitation.”
Many horses don’t stand still when the rider is mounting because they were never taught to stand still. Often people ‘hope’ the horse will stand and then ‘correct’ or punish the horse if they don’t stand…but they don’t teach the horse a cue that means stand still.
I teach my horses that when I bend their head around, without any kind of ‘go forward’ cue, then they should stand still. I do this by bending and holding the bend until the horses feet stay still.
I use this ‘parking brake’ until it becomes a habit for the horse to stand still. As I become confident with them staying still I bend the horse less and less until eventually I am not bending them at all. Should the horse make the mistake later of moving while I mount I can simply remind them of the ‘parking brake.’
If you have ever struggled to get a horse to stand still while you are mounting you may want to consider going back to the basics with that horse.