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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do

Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design

Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook (Howell Reference Books)

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage: Designing and Managing Your Equine Facilities

- Mounting -

Before you even think about getting on your horse, you need to make sure the saddle is in the correct position and that it is neither too far forward nor too far back.  Make sure that the saddle pad is not wrinkled up underneath the saddle and has not become too tight over the withers. Check the bridle to be sure it is firmly secured, and that everything appears as it should. Be sure to see that your girth is done up properly, that is is neither too tight nor too loose, and that it is not pinching your horse's skin. When you are absolutely sure your tack is positioned and fastened properly, take both stirrups down. You can approximate the length your stirrups will need to be by holding the leather out and touching the stirrup bar. When you do this the stirrup iron should come to just under your armpit. This is about the length your legs will need while you are riding. You should also be able to tell by looking at the stirrups if they will be roughly the right length for you or not.

Now you are ready to mount your horse. Stand on the left side, or near side, of your horse, and take your reins, and whip if you have one, in your left hand. The reins need to be sufficiently short to prevent the horse from reaching for the ground or walking off, but should not be short enough that the horse thinks you're asking him to step backwards. Put your left hand near the horse's withers, and using your right hand to turn the stirrup iron clockwise, put your left foot into it. Pivot around so that you are facing the horse, place your right hand either over the waist of the saddle or on the front of the saddle, and by hopping on your right leg, spring lightly and carefully into the saddle. Be careful not to kick your horse in the back or quarters as you swing your leg over, and never just flop into the saddle. You could injure your horse's back this way. Instead, hold yourself steady and settle carefully into the saddle so you don't jar his back. Then put your right foot into the right stirrup. Check the stirrups for length before you start out, and then you are ready to ride.

An alternative to mounting from the ground is mounting from a mounting block, which is a special step used for mounting your horse after you've positioned him alongside it.

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