How To Mount A Horse

When you are getting started in riding horses, one of the top techniques to master is properly mounting a horse. A good mounting technique is just the first step in building the right relationship with your horse.

Why Is A Proper Mounting Technique Important?

There are a number of reasons why you need to develop a strong mounting technique:

  • It helps create a good relationship with your horse.
  • It gets you on the horse as safely as possible.
  • It increases the chance that the horse is just going to stand still while you are mounting.

Which Side To Mount A Horse?

A horse can be mounted from either side and you should practice both. However, the left or near side is the most common.

The Most Common Mistake In Mounting A Horse

The most common mistake I see when people are learning how to mount a horse is not using the right parts of your body. You want to focus on mostly using your anchor leg and momentum to lift yourself in the saddle.

Do not try to pull yourself up with your arms. This will usually result in moving the saddle out of position and put more strain on the horse’s back.

Physical Requirements For Mounting A Horse

In order to get yourself up in a saddle easily, there are some physical attributes that will make it a lot easier:

  • Strong legs. As I mentioned earlier, you want to let your leg do most of the work. In the beginning, you may want to use a mounting block or something similar like a step stool, fence or stump to get you at a higher starting point.
  • Good balance.

Mounting A Horse Properly From The Left Side

The following steps will take you through the process of mounting your horse from the left or near side. If you want to mount from the right hand side, the process is the same, you just want to swap right and left in the steps below.

You should try to learn mounting from both sides of the horse.

1. Take The Reins

In your left hand, take the reins and move your horse’s nose slightly toward you. With the reins in your left hand, get a good grasp of the horse’s mane as well.

One of the most common mistakes in this step is to grab the saddle’s horn instead of the horse’s mane. Dong so will pull the saddle out of position.

2. Position The Stirrup

While holding on to the reins and horse’s mane with your left hand, take the stirrup in your right hand and position it toward you.

While doing this, you want to keep you body in a position where you are facing the opposite direction of the horse.

3. Step Up

Place your left foot in the stirrup and your right hand on the back of the cantle.

4. The Quarter Turn

Turn yourself so that you are now facing the side of the horse.

5. Propel Yourself Up

With your right foot on the ground, spring yourself up and allow your momentum to propel yourself toward the saddle.

While propelling up, use the strength in your left left to help move you up. Do not try to pull with your arms – only use your arms to help you keep your balance during the process.

6. Lift Yourself Straight Up

Concentrating all the weight on your left stirrup and your body on the horse’s body, lift yourself straight up.

This process will allow you to determine whether or not the horse is going to stay still while you are mounting. If the horse starts to move, you can easily abort and step back down on your right leg. If the horse stands still, maintain balance with your hands and continue lifting yourself up.

7. Swing You Leg Over

At one point while moving up, it is going to feel natural to move your right hand from the cantle and swing your right leg over the horse’s back. This is the first step in getting you in the proper seating position.

Try not to bump the horse with your leg during this process. You don’t want to spook the horse!

8. Sit

Sit down in the saddle gently.

9. Position You Right Foot

Take your right foot and place it in the right stirrup. At this point, you will also want to verify that your saddle is properly seated in the center position on the horse. You may need to gently shimmy your body weight to get it back to the right position.

Here is a good video on it as well:


How To Dismount A Horse

Dismounting a horse is basically the exact same process in the opposite direction.

When dismounting, a common issue is people that remove both feet from the stirrups and swing themselves over and landing on the ground. This is very unsafe.

Keep your left left in the stirrup, swiing your right leg over to the left side of the horse and drop down in one movement. Once your right leg is on the ground, remove your left leg from the stirrups. Donig it this way allows you to quickly mount the horse again if the horse decides to move while you are dismounting.


There are many methods for mounting and dismounting a horse. You must find what works for you and what your horse prefers. Good luck!

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