I am a 5’2″ small adult. Teeny. My Belgian Warmblood horse is 17hh. Or to non-horsey people, 172.72cms. Enormous. Ladders are my friend.
When I was two years old but not yet 2 foot tall, they put me on an enormous horse of about 18.2hh. A teeny rider started a love affair with humongous, enormous horses.
I moved to France with no command of the language. My only option to find work was to use my only other marketable skill. Horses.
My first “client” was a teeny Falabella horse. No problems climbing aboard there. I didn’t ride him.
The second was an enormous horse. A 17.2hh Appaloosa stallion. One extreme to the other.
At first, for mounting this horse, all I had at my disposal were large round bales. Up I would clamber. Tao (for that was his name) would wait calmly. “OK. The Teeny Hooman is being weird again.”
Then the third horse arrived. A giant Percheron mare standing at 19hh! I invested in a sturdy purpose-built block. Fine. Until you have to dismount while out riding.
Unless you want to walk all the way home, get clever if you want to get back aboard your enormous horse.
I asked the members of the enormous Facebook group, Horsey n Over Forty n above, how they re-mount their horses when there is no mounting block to hand.
1. Stand on Enormous Stuff
- Gate, fence or wall
- Trailer or car fender
- Car hood
- Chest freezer (yes, really)
- The backs of 2 men (wow! Seen on an advert, apparently.)
- Get onto a teeny horse first
2. Put Enormous Horse in a Ditch
I have used this method frequently. In rural France, almost every road or path has deep drainage ditches on both sides. Park enormous horse. Teeny rider climbs aboard.
Even the most flighty horse does not appear to have a problem going into the ditch. Especially if you let them graze towards the trench. They eat their way into the hole.
3. Lengthen the Stirrups (If the Teeny Horse Rider can Reach)
This only works if you have extra long stirrup leathers. Also, I think it only works on an English-style saddle.
And there is one further problem for the real shortie. Sometimes, this method only gets you high enough up the side of the horse to be at a taller rider’s starting point.
Then on completion of this mountaineering exercise? One still has to remember which hole to choose for the correct length.
This last problem, however, has a solution in an ingenious invention – The Hunter’s Leather:
4. Teach Enormous Horse to Bow
Many horse riders in the group chose a variation on this theme. Although a fabulous suggestion, this one may require a little preparatory training.
Perhaps I will give this suggestion its own article.
5. Give Teeny Rider a Leg Up
When delivered professionally, a leg up is very helpful. A thing of beauty, even.
With impeccable timing — on 3 or after 3. Not in the split second between them. The correct leg grasped so the teeny rider lands facing the correct direction.
And the correct amount of force so the teeny rider neither hits the enormous horse then slides back down. Nor sails off into the air to land the other side.
There is a local riding instructor who puts teeny children on enormous horses. He throws them up there. Brilliant! A proper 70s disregard for health and safety. Like when I was a kid.
6. Climb an Enormous Tree
Good for a dismount, too. I know a very nervous lady (not teeny) who has grabbed a passing branch frequently to get off her horse. Not stylish. But highly amusing for the rest of us.
But for mounting an enormous horse? Unless it is a flexible yet firm tree. That your enormous horse can get under? This is asking for a poke in the eye with a sharp twig.
7. A Teeny Trampoline
One does not come across random, abandoned teeny trampolines while out riding. But what a fabulous replacement for the traditional mounting block back at the yard.
I have included this idea because of a YouTube video I must share. And have to try out at some point.
And I will video it too. Perhaps it will be an enormous success.
Necessity is the mother of invention.