If you enjoy hacking, it’s likely that you’ll be faced with a gate to open and close at some point so that you and your horse can continue on your chosen route. Of course, dismounting and opening it on foot is an option, but nothing ruins a good ride (or wastes time) quite like having to walk a long way to find something to stand on so that you can remount because your horse won’t stand still while you open the gate on board.
What’s the secret to training a fidgety horse to stand while you open a gate or remount? Your Horse asked it’s #Hack1000Miles community for their top tips and this is what they said:
1 Persistence is key
“Do every gate you ever come to. Don’t be afraid to get off. Be over the top with positive praise when the horse stands still,” – Matt Turner.
2 Do the ground work
“I teach my horses to draw their quarters in when mounting. Sideways softness is key either for mounted gate opening or parking up to mount [off a bank or something similar],” – Lisa Dixon.
3 Build trust on the ground
“Use voice commands and start them in the stable. When I open a gate while onboard, I teach my horse to push the gate open. Then you won’t need to remount,” – Kay Conway.
4 Use treats as a reward
“One when they stand at the gate and another when you get back on. This has worked for all of mine, including an ex-racer. I can mount from anywhere now,” – Amanda Hamley.
5 Teach them to halt
“Reward them for standing still while you do up the girth, clip on an air jacket etc. If they happen to move before you’re ready, reposition and ask them to wait until you’re ready,” – Sue Squirrell.
“Clicker training and treats work. Plus teaching them to move their hind quarters over towards you if they’re not straight. Keep relaxed once you’re on and halt until you ask them to move away,” – Jen Birtchnell.
6 Try Trec
“I can’t remount from the ground so I went to a Trec clinic which is fantastic for teaching you and your steed to tackle obstacles such as gates. I practice at home in the arena with the gate while mounted,” – Lou P.
7 Hack with a friend
“Go out with someone who can open the gate mounted,” – Jane Ballinger.
8 Be patient
“We teach horses to yield to pressure but when we want to mount, we actually want them to come into the pressure as it makes it all much easier. Rethinking this is useful I think,” – Maertina Diehl.
9 Sometimes walking is better
“It can be frustrating as sometimes it’s a long walk but a bit of a walk is better than a tug on the horse’s back,” – Martina Diehl.
10 Change your leather length
“I lower my stirrup for about two holes if I have to mount from the ground,” – Wera Arnz.