Thursday, January 8, 2009

Partial Mount Up - A Good Safety Tool

Partial Mount up
Before I go further with Trigger's progress, I wanted to talk about partial mount ups.
Everyone who has started colts under saddle has a partial mount up. Desensitizing the horse to a rider on the horse's back before the rider actually gets on the horse for the first few times.

Stacey Westfall is one reining trainer who really developed a detailed partial mount up exercise.

Partial Mount Up for Riders

I not only use my extensive partial mount up program when starting colts, I also have adopted it for my students as well. In fact, I use it every time I mount up even on my champion reining horses. I've even used it on cattle drives when my horse is SO excited about working, that they sometimes don't want to wait for me!
It's a great way to check to make sure everything is ok before you completely mount up.
What a peace of mind that can be for alot of riders; especially beginners.
The rider has the horse's face flexed while they half mount or partially mount. If the horse is quiet and everything seems ok, then the other leg can be swung over and the rider can complete the mount up. If there is any trouble, the rider simply pushes off the horse to safety.
Since this is SUCH an important tool for a rider to have, (in fact it's one of the first things I teach my students), that I want to include the steps from Lesson 6 - Partial Mount Up & Lesson 9 - Mount Up & Flex from my book.
Lesson 6 - Partial Mount Up & Lesson 9 - Mount Up & Flex (from Foundation Reining Training step-by-step manual)
In round pen, horse saddled & bridled, standing on left side of horse at saddle fender with a rein in each hand:
1. Flex&hold horn (so horse stands still) with left hand, other hand on cantle for balance & to steady your hands. Toe in left stirrup, push yourself up & balance over left stirrup. Really rub their off side & praise them. Step down. Release hold on horn. Repeat up & down on this side a few times while horse stands still. Always repeat for other stirrup. Check for reactions & respond accordingly. Stand & Rest to absorb for Reward.
2. To Partial Mount Up: Once calm, flex&hold horn again. Toe in left stirrup & push yourself up & rest your belly across saddle seat while you balance yourself with left hand on horn. (Partial mount up!) Really rub them all over & praise them. Step down. Release horn. Repeat a few times on this side. Repeat for other stirrup. Check for reactions & respond.
3. To Mount Up!: Once calm, do a partial mount up but complete the mount up by swinging your other leg gently over rump & rest yourself gently on saddle. (Mount up!) Keep this leg out of stirrup so you can dismount in a hurry if necessary. Sit quietly for 10secs, rub on horse. Smoothly dismount. Reward horse. Release hold on horn. Repeat at least 10 times, check for reactions. Repeat for other stirrup. Good job! Rest to absorb.
4. Flex After Mounting: After mounting, with reins in bridge position, slide (don’t reach) one hand 1/2 way down one rein then pull back toward your leg so horse’s head is bent 90° toward stirrup.
5. Set rein taut by holding rein on your leg so you can feel when horse gives a little & loosens rein. Then…
6. Immediately place reins on horn for reward.
7. Repeat several times each side until horse easily gives face laterally to bit pressure. Then rest for reward.
8. Always repeat for each side.
9. Do the reverse for a dismount: flex to stop, stand to rest, flex both sides & then dismount.

Goal: To get horse to stand while being partially mounted, mounted& flexed & dismounted safely.
1. Horse panics, push yourself away from horse while holding rein. Repeat lesson 3 – Flex with Bridle until calm then repeat.
2. Practice this partial mount up on a broke horse first.
3. Practice emergency push-off on a broke horse first.
4. Be sure you are not driving your toe into horse's side.
5. Use lots of repetitions & tiny incremental steps.
6. If horse won’t jog or trot, decrease bend in horse’s neck.
7. Gets them used to seeing & hearing you from above.
8. Rubbing on them makes session enjoyable to them!
9. Teaches horse to balance themselves with your weight.
10. Hand on horn, steadies hand & prevents bumping mouth accidentally.
11. Use partial mount up until you are ready & confident to completely mount up.
12. Partial mount up can be done before mounting up on any horse (especially unfamiliar) to check out horse’s mind set!
13. Great for a horse that won’t stand still to mount up!!
14. It’s important to check horse’s mind set especially on green broke horses.
15. For more information on teaching a horse to flex&hold horn or partial mount up, please refer to my Body Control Colt Starting lessons for instructions.
16. It’s important to know & do for safety. See also Stacey Westfall’s Horse&Rider Smart Start© series.
More Notes
1. Longe horse bitted up first to get the fresh off & horse paying attention to you.
2. If horse panics after mounting, do an emergency one rein stop (E1RS) & dismount.
3. Teaches horses to stand still for mounting.
4. Partial mount up gives you an opportunity to check for horse’s mood & any problems before mounting.
5. Flex after mounting gives horse something to standstill for & you can check horse’s stiffness before riding.
6. This is a review of my Body Control Colt Starting. Please refer to my Body Control Colt Starting lessons for complete instructions.
7. See also Clinton Anderson’s Starting Under Saddle© series. And Stacey Westfall’s Horse&Rider Smart Start© series.

I recommend the partial mount up before every ride!
Putting my spin on safely mounting.
©Copyright KISS Reiners

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