How to Mount a Horse Safely

Getting in the saddle is the first step in learning to ride. In this video, Macy Chisholm, an H-B HM certified member of Ramona Vicente Pony Club (Southern California Region) demonstrates how to use a mounting block to get on your horse and safely adjust your tack in an English saddle.

Pre-Mounting Checklist
Before you mount, make sure you are your horse are both safely equipped and ready to ride.

  1. Dress safely for riding, with boots and an ASTM/SEI-approved safety helmet that fits you well, with the chinstrap fastened and properly adjusted.
  2. Do a tack safety check before mounting to make sure your horse’s saddle and bridle are adjusted correctly. (Beginners should have an instructor or experienced horse person help.)

Mounting a Horse Step by Step

  1. We traditionally mount from the left side of the horse. Before you mount, make sure you have remembered to pull down the stirrup on the right side of the horse, and check again that your girth is snug.
  2. Put the reins over horse’s head and gather them up in your left hand by your horse’s withers, so that you have enough control to keep your horse from moving off.
  3. Step up on the mounting block and put your left foot in the stirrup, pointing forward.
  4. Place your right hand at the front of the saddle, or across the middle. (Resist the temptation to grab the cantle, or back of the saddle, as this can pull the saddle over.)
  5. Spring up, swing your right leg over, and settle gently into the saddle. Be careful not to accidentally kick your horse, or thump down hard on his back!
  6. Place your right foot in the stirrup and take up your reins in both hands.
  7. Make any tack adjustments needed, such as tightening the girth or adjusting your stirrups. Now you are ready to ride!

How to Dismount

  1. Put both reins in your left hand, and take both feet out of the stirrups.
  2. Lean forward and swing your right leg over the horse’s rump, and slide down to the ground, turning to face forward.
  3. After dismounting, bring the reins over the horse’s head and run up both of the stirrups. Be sure to hold on to the reins while you do this.
  4. If you are done riding, it’s time to head back to the barn to untack and take care of your horse.

Learn More
For more detailed instructions on mounting, refer to the United States Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship Basics for Beginners D Level, Second Edition, pg. 25-30.

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