THE SAFEST MOUNTING BLOCKS
There is no shame in using a mounting block. In fact, it’s a great habit. A block not only makes mounting easier for you but reduces strain on your horse’s back. It’s crucial, however, to make sure the block is safe for both of you.
The best choice is a solid, molded-plastic block sold specifically for that purpose. The base is wide enough to not wobble under the rider, and there is almost no way for a horse to hurt himself, even if he were to step or fall directly on it. Despite their bulk, these plastic blocks are usually easy to move and can be loaded into a trailer to be used at shows and other events. Wooden, purpose-built mounting blocks can be another good option. The safest of those are built to have no openings that a horse or human foot could slip into and they have traction tape on the surface of each step. If a horse were to panic and somehow step onto/into a wooden block, it would likely break before any significant harm were done.
Some older farms have poured-concrete mounting blocks, which are safe but obviously can’t be moved. Historic carved-stone mounting blocks are a common architectural feature in parts of Europe and, with some creativity and masonry skills, you might be able to replicate one on your property.
Do not mount from a metal step stool or similar equipment. Even the calmest horse might move sideways to steady himself as you mount, and if he were to step into one of these contraptions the results could be tragic. The metal of step stools won’t bend or break easily, and a panicked horse can lacerate ligaments and tendons—and even break bones—in an effort to free himself.
If you find yourself without a proper block and mounting from the ground isn’t an option, get a leg up or, if you are alone, look for a large log or a sturdy fence to serve the purpose.