Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Portable Mounting Blocks

After an October of cold and rain, we had a great November – after deer hunting season was over – and the horseback riding was wonderful. My friends and I managed to get out riding many times each week. Generally speaking, by the end of Minnesota's hunting season (which is 10 days covering the first 2 weekends in November), trail riding season is over since it's too cold and lots of times icy and snowy, but not this year.

I spent a lot of time riding Ole, my daughter’s 16-hand Quarter horse, and in doing so I realized how much more athletic my daughter is than I am! Admittedly she is taller, but there’s no way I can get up onto him as easily as she does...to ride him, using a mounting block is a must for me.

There are quite a few mounting aids available, one of which was given to me for Christmas last year. What I received is a portable mounting block – a small, folding stool with a cord attached. The idea is to unfold the stool, use it as a small boost to reach the stirrup, and then pull the stool up after you are in the saddle. It folds up into a nice bundle that can be either tied to the saddle or put into a saddle bag. This portable mounting stool is great for trail riding, when you might have to get down off your horse on the trail.

Two other mounting aids I’ve seen which you can bring along on the trail are drop-down mounting stirrups. One is attached to the regular stirrup and one is on a long strap attached to the saddle horn that you would then pull up after mounting so it's not hanging as you ride. I think I would be more inclined to use the EZ Up Stirrup Extender since it seems to be more stable. I could see the mounting aid swinging a little as you tried to get on, especially if your horse has trouble standing still when you are mounting.

I also had bought – actually for my granddaughter to use in the bathroom to reach the sink – a lightweight, folding stepstool that could conceivably be used for mounting a horse. If a cord were attached to it, it could be pulled up, folded and then either tied to the saddle, or if one had large pocketed saddle bags, it could be stored in there.

To tell the truth, my favorite way of getting back on my horse while on the trail is to find a large rock, log, or slope of land before getting off to use as my “mounting block.” Sometimes that isn’t always the case as I found while riding in Italy a year ago last September – then it was a good hard push on the rear from a fellow rider!