“What about dismounting? Mountaining block or not?”-Kim M

This question came in after my blog, “What is your opinion on mounting blocks? Is it easier and better for the horse?”.

In general I think proper dismounting is an under discussed subject. Dismounting without pulling on the saddle is just as important as mounting without pulling…but thankfully it is generally easier. I have had several equine chiropractors tell me that they believe much damage is done during dismounting improperly.

To dismount properly, in your mind, picture a rider who is dismounting after riding bareback. The rider would lean forward, swing both legs to one side and then slide down or push away from the horse. Most english riders are taught to dismount in a similar fashion. Riding in a western saddle is no excuse though. The saddle horn makes laying your belly down more difficult but it is possible to use your arms to support your weight directly over the horse. In the video below I love that my husband quickly warns our son about not pulling the saddle off during dismounting. This advice is a little ‘gem’ hidden in the rest of the video.

The true difficulty in a proper dismount is the landing. Sliding off a 17 hand horse and having a ‘perfect’ Olympic-gymnist-type landing isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially if your knees, hips or ankles have any issues in their past. Again, the age, size and athletic ability of the rider will play a part. Learning how to properly bend your knees to absorb the impact is the key. If this is physically a challenge then you need to get creative.

If you think you will pull while dismounting then feel free to use a mounting block or whatever other safe object is nearby to decrease the need to jump or pull on your horse.