Janet and Parker warmed up by playing games on the ground, and then headed over to the mounting block to start a riding lesson.
Parker was distracted at first, and not standing squarely. If Janet tried to mount now, he might not be able to stand still for it. He might even walk away without waiting for a signal.
And, in fact, that is what happened. Janet brought him to a halt at the barrels, hopped off, and started over. She knew she needed to get him more focused and balanced before she could mount smoothly. She also double-checked his saddle and cinch to make sure there was no physical issue to hinder him. She ended up turning him around to face the other direction and practice mounting from the “off” side.
We discussed the importance of taking time to make sure that both horse and human are relaxed and ready before mounting. Jumping into the saddle as soon as the horse is close enough and then clinging on with one hand while trying to find the other stirrup does not set either of you up for a safe ride.
There is no hurry to get into the saddle or to leave the mounting block. A deep breath before mounting can make all the difference to the rest of your ride.
We all took a moment to relax near the mounting block before Janet mounted, and then another moment after she settled into the saddle. Parker was still note quite balanced when Janet mounted, so he had to take a small step as she settled into the saddle. This is not the same thing as a horse walking (or running!) away as soon as you sit down. Because Janet had prepared him well and collected his focus before mounting — which we don’t have a picture of, but which did happen between the previous picture and the one below — he adjusted his feet as necessary and then was able to stand quietly while Janet got herself situated.
A good experience at the mounting block helped Janet and Parker ease into their warm-up lap and focus on the riding lesson.