Monday, November 29, 2010

Mounting... a Failure to Launch Story

Mounting: a topic I have very pointedly avoided for some time for one very specific reason... I suck at it. Always have. It doesn't matter what I have to my advantage- the upside of a hill, a particularly short pony, a long stirrup or extra tight girth... It doesn't matter if I stand in front, side or behind. This white girl just plain and simply cannot jump. And you know what? I'm not cool with that fact.While there are many things I'll unabashedly admit to sucking at.... like being a slow runner.... or that I cant pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time... or how sometimes when I throw a ball to the left, it goes right... But not being able to mount in one effortless, fluid and graceful motion really burns my ass! And it is not for lack of trying. I've watched with envy those cowgirls and tried to mimic their methods to no avail. Let's take a look at the most common schools of thought...

From the Front- stand in front of the saddle facing the rear. Take the rein and a chunk of the horses mane in your left hand. Twist stirrup around with your right and place foot in. Hop with your standing leg as you jump, twist, throw a leg over and settle in to the saddle facing the right direction. (this is the way I was first taught).

The Cowgirl Way. Grab the horn with your left hand and the cantle with your right. Place your left foot in the stirrup and then, while hoisting yourself up with the help of your hands, swing our leg over and swivel to face forward.

The SUPER Cool Cowgirl (or Stripper) Way- Put your foot gingerly into the stirrup without touching the saddle and (no matter how tall the horse) make it look effortless.... as if you were as flexible as a prepubescent teenage cheerleader doing a kick split... then in one fluid motion, hoist yourself up (again, be sure to make this look as easy as a *insert adjective that doest make me sound like a bitter chubby wannabe with a serious complex about skinny, flexible and athletic cowgirls*), then, using the horn like a slick stripper pole, swing yourself around (slow-motion hair toss optional) and settle into the saddle as light as feather on a puff of wind.

Bite me.

The SUPER Cool Cowboy Way- Walk towards your horse from the rear. As you approach the saddle, without breaking stride, jump in the air, snag the stirrup in your right foot, the horn with your right hand (pause here to admire the flexed and sinewy muscled forearms of said super cool cowboy) and in one fluid motion swing your leg over and settle your fine denim clad ass in to the saddle in less time than it takes to say thank you ma'am.


For the record I have tried all of the above methods. Even the Super Cool ones. Sometimes I give myself a little pep talk before hand... like "Okay Chelsi, let's get this done... you can do it!" or (see inspirational baby below)... No matter which way I've set up to mount the end result is the same- Foot in stirrup, hands on saddle, standing foot hops, jumps and then.... eghch.. hughmph.... eeeeee.... eeh, eh, e.... *very bad word*.... humph... and I'm up. I then settle lightly in to saddle. No matter how hard I have to work to get up there I never, ever, flop.... which is a minor consideration really when you consider the time I spend hauling myself up but I have to salvage what little self respect I can.

There is no happy ending to this story. I didnt write this to share some magic method or quick fix...nor did I discover some inspirational guidance that helped me accept myself for the "failure to launch" cowgirl I am.

And that's all I have to say about that.


Bitter Chubby Wannabe with a Serious Complex about Skinny, Flexible and Athletic Cowgirls


  1. haha, I too have always envied people who can mount easily. Especially tall cowboys that dont put anymore effort into mounting than walking, grrr. Well maybe a shorter horse in the answer, like a miniature, lol.

  2. You gotta do it my way....

    Get a mounting block :P hehehe

    I tried hoping up on my horse "once" from the ground... you know that flight feature horses seem to be built in with, mine took that exact moment to go "OH MY GOD MOM WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" and he was GONE! (I think my poor boy has been a show pony too many years to succumb to the mount of the ground methods apparently!

  3. hahaha - I feel your pain. Being short AND chubby really nixes any chance at getting on a horse gracefully.

    I'm with Crystal - mounting blocks are my new BFF.

    My BFF in high school was one of those skinny, gymnastic athlete types and she would just literally pop up onto her horse. Bitch. lol

  4. Oh man you make me LOL.

    I understand where you are coming from, though I'm not short :D

    One thing I learned from when I was riding icelandics is to not hold the BACK of the saddle, but the front of the saddle-on the off side-with the right hand, obv. the left hand on the horn/pommel etc. (we always used english saddles on the icys). It kind of helps you hoist yourself without dragging the whole saddle over, which of course, sometimes happens. :D

    Use a block. I use one all the time-not because I cant reach the stirrup, but more becuase I don't want to give my horse back pain XD Use a block and get on bareback- swing/jump/hoist! It will come.

    Or maybe what we've got here is the new kind of mounting awesomeness?

  5. The absolute, very-first-thing I taught my mare Gigantor was "come stand next to this stump/truck/cooler/hill/rock/monster so I can climb up on it and climb up on YOU." That's how much of a weenie I am.

    So, I'm with ya.

  6. oh wow girl I couldn't quit laughing through out this post! Sounds oh so familiar! The mare I just sold was 15'2H, holy crow that was hard as hell to get up there! I felt like a huge lard ass! lol Though my replacement is 15H he's still a little bit of a struggle to get up on though!

  7. Can I just tell you, I hate them skinny b*tches who can just swing up like it's nothing?

    I especially hate the ones who can grab a hank of mane and swing up bareback. Me? I look like I'm trying to climb a mountain - and that's with a mounting block. I have gotten better at the race up to the top mounting stump and swing my leg across her back as she spins around the block type of mount, but that's only because I have to just barely lift my leg up to get across her little 14.2h back when I'm at the top of the stump.

    When riding in a saddle, I use the #1 method you listed and pray that I can hop high enough on my right leg (after, of course, using both hands to raise my left hand to my face to shove it in the stirrup) to at least lay my body across Estes' back and can mountain climb from there.

    Thanks for this post, you made this short, fat cowgirl feel so much better.

  8. That's awesome! I used to be one of those effortless mounters - not so much now that my ass has gained ground. One of my friends used to make me soooo jealous because not only could she mount the traditional ways - but she also could swing a leg over her horse's neck and have them catapult her onto his back, in addition to being able to run, and jump on the horse over his rump. (Yes, I know not safe - but sure was crazy fun for us kids.)

  9. Serious growing pains in high school kept me from ever accomplishing one of the "cool" mounts. I admit, I hopped a lot until I got the right amount of "umph" up, or a friend assisted. Most commonly though, I used a mounting block. I use a mounting block today because my broken down body just can't mount my 16hh horse from the ground and I wish to be kind to my "old" self and my boy.

  10. Very funny.

    I prefer the cowgirl way - but I am able to do the "Super Cool Cowboy Way" or at least I used to be. I used this method on occasion - on purpose if there was a good amount of people in the warm-up arena at a show or..... if we were asked to dismount for a bit check during a class...

    NOTE TO SELF - Patrick is too tall to try this with and if you try it you will fall flat on your face at a show - not a recommended course of action with this horse...

  11. I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.