EQUUS - - Hands On -

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.

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