Your April editorial really hit a nerve, and I admit I was smiling a bit when I read it, as you were describing me. Although new to the horse world, I had some pre-conceived ideas and using a mounting block was one of them. I mentally scoffed when I saw someone not mounting form the ground. I could understand if one was vertically challenged, either being of short stature or having a very tall horse, but anyone else was not much of a horse person in my opinion.
I had led my horse from either side but had only mounted her from the left. Then, I began to see articles regarding the benefits of using a mounting block, especially of being easier on the horse’s back, and I vowed to start doing that, since my horse is important to me, but I just never got around to it.
In January 2005 I had spine reconstruction surgery and couldn’t ride for six months afterward — a very long six months! When I began again I had no choice but to use a mounting block, and I also had difficulty swinging my right leg over the saddle due to nerve damage and muscle weakness that had occurred prior to surgery. I had a tendency to fall backward when I tried to mount so I needed someone to stand behind me as a support.
Since I wanted to become as independent as possible, I decided to try mounting from the right. My horse, Robin, is a calm, well-trained Paint mare. She stood patiently while I mounted and that has been our routine ever since. I now mount from the right side using a mounting block. It works well for both of us and I know that I am preserving her back by doing this. Your publication is filled with very good and practical information. Keep up the good work!