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Published: 2017-01-06 13:16:52 Categories: Guides Rss feed

mounting a horse - truths and myths
background source:

Maybe some people have never given it any thought, but many riders keep asking themselves: should I mount my horse from the ground? Why do we mount horses from their left side? Do the so-called "stairs" act only as convenient for the rider? In this article we will try to answer these and other questions concerning mounting a horse ;)

Mounting - each riding journey starts from it, each ride and each training. If you started riding as a child, you surely remember the proud feeling after you mounted a horse on your own for the first time. Mounting from the ground has always been something!

We always mount horses from the left side!

If you ever approach a horse clumsily from his left side, you surely heard "You forgot again? Always mount from the left side!" from your coach. But have you ever asked "WHY"?

If you ever did ask it, you might have heard some incredible answers. Such as: "your horse sees you as a friend on his left side and as an enemy on his right side." Depending on the story teller's imagination, the stories may vary. 

mounting from horse's left side source:

What is the truth?

Mounting horses from their left side is just an equestrian tradition that takes it roots in the Middle Ages. Formerly, armored knights were wearing weapons in the so-called sheath - leather case worn on an arm strap. Because most knights were right-handed and they preferred using blade weapons with their right hands, the sheaths with swords were worn on their left sides. Thus, it would be difficult for them to mount their horses from the right side as their weapons would disturb them :)

So it doesn't really matter for the horses if you mount them from the left or right side. However, you should bear in mind that horses, like many other animals, quickly get used to certain patterns of behavior. Your horse will be surprised if after 5-6 years of riding under the saddle somebody would suddenly try to mount him from the right side if it was always done on the other side.

It's good to be an aware rider and know that while mounting your horse always from one side, the left stirrup leather will extend with time and will no longer be equal in length to the one on the right side. So it's worth exchanging the left and right stirrup leather every now and again.

Another effect of mounting your horse only from the left side, and at the same time the most important effect, is the fact that while doing so, the horse's body works unequallyOne side is always more burdened than the other. Especially the horse's shoulder blade takes your weight while you're mounting your horse and then you always fall in the right stirrup

Such prolonged loading one side of the horse's body is nothing good. There are reasons for which you should try mounting from the right side. First reason is that it is also a new exercise for the horse, who can not be able to stand still while the rider tries to mount him from the right side, even if he can stand perfectly still on the left side. You may see one day in the field how valuable and useful it might be to be able to mount your horse from both sides, when you won't have the possibility of mounting your horse from the left side or you will have to get in the saddle as quickly as possible. Then you wouldn't have time to go around your horse, as he may have troubles with standing still, being frightened, or even panicked. 

From the ground or platform?

mounting from a platform source; from left:,

"Oh look, she can't mount her horse from the ground! She's such a great rider that he cannot even get on the horse! She has to have a stool to do it!" How many times can we hear such things on the manage? But is mounting from a platform a convenient solution only for the rider?

You cannot forget that even if your mounting from the ground is proper and quick, you cannot control the uneven load on one of the horse's sides, especially his left shoulder blade. You also cannot prevent, no matter how tight you fasten your horse's girth (which is not very comfortable, especially at the beginning), the saddle from shifting while mounting. In result, the whole process of mounting will not be very pleasurable for your horse, thus it's not surprising that he won't stand still.

Mounting from a platform limits these unpleasurable effect for the horse. You should definitely avoid mounting from the ground! Of course, you won't always be able to help yourself with a stool, stairs or a special platform. However, you can use the manage's fence, a bigger stone, an obstacle, pretty much anything that you can think of. Alternatively, you can ask another rider to help you.

mounting from a stone There are always solutions that will allow you to not mount your horse from the ground, both in the field and on a manage, souce:
mounting with somebody's help Mounting with other rider's help, source:

Not only people that are short, stout, or inexperienced should use a platform. It's not only about the rider's comfort, but most of all, your horse's health. So do not treat mounting your horse as a challenge, but try to think about his well-being ;)