Groundwork: Training a Horse at the Mounting Block

Here’s a quick video talking about the importance of training horses at the mounting block by doing groundwork from the mounting block. One of the differences between doing groundwork at the mounting block in comparison to normal groundwork is that you are higher than the horse and it’s a different view for them. The other key difference is that you have to do all the work from one spot as mounting blocks are usually just big enough to step on. These two items make it different but the groundwork itself is the same.

For example, in the full circle or half circle exercises there are two main directors of the horse. The leading hand which gives direction, and the non-leading hand which is generally used to drive when direction doesn’t work. With that there is the ability to step forward and that body movement augments the leading hand and non-leading hand. When you’re stuck standing on the mounting block, you only get the hands. This can be a challenge and in turn the horse may not respond as well or know that it doesn’t have to respond as well.

The main goal of this exercise is to get the horse to get used to coming up to the mounting block and standing there quietly ready for you to mount. There are of course other ways to get this done by getting off the mounting block and positioning the horse or have somebody help, but the point is that this should be possible from the mounting block with simple groundwork exercises.

So here’s a quick example of that with a case study of ours that struggles to ride and in turn leading up to the mounting block is completely expected as the next thing that would happen is to ride. While I note it in the video, it’s important to remember that this is a slow and patient exercise with a horse that has a history of being troubled. They don’t do this out of anger, malice, to be trouble and disrespectful, the generally do it out of fear. so that’s something to consider.