Mounting Blocks Put Less Strain on Horses
Getting on a horse from a raised platform rather than the ground puts significantly less force on the horse, research has confirmed. Ten different riders were monitored while they each got on the horse several times, sometimes from the ground and at other times from a platform raised 35 centimetres (14 inches) off the ground.
The study used over 250 sensors inside a mat placed on a horse's back to measure the forces applied while a rider mounted.
The sensors documented that the total force the horse received while a rider climbed aboard was higher for heavier riders. As well, the amount of pressure placed on the horse was significantly greater when a person got on from the ground rather than the mounting block.
While mounting from the horse's left side, the greatest strain usually occurred as the rider's right leg swung upwards towards the saddle. In 97% of the mounting efforts, pressure was mostly exerted on the right side of the withers. This demonstrates how important the horse's withers are in stabilizing the saddle when a rider mounts.
C.A. Geutjens, H.M. Clayton and L.J. Kaiser. 2008. Forces and pressures beneath the saddle during mounting from the ground and from a raised mounting platform. The Veterinary Journal. 175(3): 332-337.