There are physical and mental advantages to being able to mount and dismount from both sides of your horse. Mentally, it is comforting to know that your horse will allow you to mount and dismount from both sides. There have been times when I have been trail riding and dismounted to pick up an item or trash only to find that the ‘off’ side was easier to mount up on due to obstacles or a hill.

After a recent blog I wrote, Annie G. commented:

“Teeny-tiny point: always mounting and dismounting from the near side stretches the stirrup leather, and after a while you can’t get them even. Alternating sides prevents this.”

I agree with Ann and I would also add that, if this impact is measurable on the saddle, there is also the muscular and skeletal system of the horse to consider. Do you have trouble mounting up on a horse?Equine chiropractors and massage therapists often recommend alternating the side you mount and dismount from as the same ‘pull’ affects the muscles in the horse.

With this information in mind, I mix up the side that I mount and dismount from. I might mount the right side and then dismount from the left, mount up from the left and dismount from the right or mount and dismount once from the left and the next time from the right.

I also have found that the exercise has similar benefits for the rider. Riders who have lost flexibility and strength can often benefit from introducing this routine, even if they need to practice by stepping up and down on a smaller horse or even a kitchen chair. The method of mounting does impact your horse.

When I attended college and majored in Equestrian Studies one of my ‘test’ was the ability to mount up without a girth. The instructor didn’t just loosen the girth – she completely removed it. The whole class got a chance to try with the same patience horse. Thankfully the horse was around 15 hands and had a nice set of whithers…but the point was also made.

Mounting isn’t about d..r..a..g..g..i..n..g.. your self on. It is about technique.

I will be the first to admit that the size does matter in this example. The challenge is greater if you are shorter and your horse is taller. I can see where mounting blocks could be beneficial in some situations. Personally, I have taught my horses to bow or lay down for easier mounting. It was a more time consuming process but I also don’t have to remember a mounting block when I’m out on the trail!

Do you have issues mounting? How have you tried solving them?