Renowned horseman and past Road to the Horse judge Jeff Williams of Post, Texas demonstrates the proper way to mount a young horse to collegiate colt starters who are a part of his mentorship program. Judge Williams explains that he has seen a lot of colt starters mount young horses in the wrong manner.

Colt starters mount horses the incorrect way when they grab the cantle, placing a lot of weight on the back of the horse as they shift their weight into the saddle and swing their leg over the horse.

Riders who grab the cantle when mounting a young horse place themselves in danger. Judge Williams strongly advises colt starters to mount young horses while standing by the shoulder of the horse.

“We always want them to step up on the shoulder here – even if they have to turn the stirrup facing the horse,” Judge Williams explained. “We don’t ever want them to grab the cantle.”

Mounting a colt from a position at the shoulder keeps a rider out of danger from the colt’s hind legs and allows for the rider’s weight to be evenly distributed. Grabbing the cantle while mounting a colt is not only dangerous, but allows for an uneven distribution of the rider’s weight, pulling the colt off balance. 

The rider should dismount in the same way so that they end up in the positon that they started the process in, which is at the front of the horse by the shoulder.

Photo: Jeff Williams instructs Beau Rees (from Casper College) how to safely mount a young horse for the first time