Western Pleasure Guest Ranch - Sandpoint, ID, 83864, USA

How to Get on Your Horse Bareback

November 13, 2010

  • wispering

The art of mounting a saddleless horse is something I have tried to master for years. I am sorry to report that...well...I still really stink at it. However, with my years of experience at trying, I have learned a few techniques that I will share with you today.

The models in the pictures will demonstrate these techniques, however I must apologies to them ahead of time because they don't know that I am using these lovely pictures of them on this blog.


It is vital that your horse stand completely still while you attempt to swing onto their bare back from the ground. I find that it is best to first whisper to your horse your plans. In this case, I decided to make sure my horse was paying complete attention to my whispers by taking her head in my hands and speaking directly into her eyes. Here I am imploring her to stand still and think small (very small) while I attempt to get on.

  • sammi

Here, Sammi Jo Gulickson (one of the ranch's past wranglers) is swinging onto Lil' Horse. She began by standing next to Lil' Horse's head facing her hind quarters, then swung her right foot up and over Lil' Horse's back. Note that Sammi uses her left leg, wrapped around Lil' Horse's front left leg to help her climb onto her steed's back. 

Once Sammi has swung her leg on top of Lil' Horse's back, she uses her arms to pull her the rest of the way up. Her left hand pulls on a chunk of mane, while her right elbow is hooked over the withers.

  • mel1

This next horsewoman is Melissa Peck, another past wrangler at the ranch. Please note that her horse, Rhythm, is 16+ hands tall. Melissa begins with the same technique as Sammi by facing her horse's hindquarters and swinging her right leg over her horse's back.

  • mel2

This is where Melissa's technique varies from Sammi. Notice Melissa is using her right leg to grip Rhythm's right hip and pull herself onto his back. A word of caution here: if you are wearing spurs make sure you have very calm horse or be prepared for a large movement forward!

  • mel4

Congratulations Melissa on successful and graceful bareback mount onto a very tall horse.

  • me

As I mentioned at the beginning I have not yet mastered this skill. I would now like to demonstrate a bareback mounting failure. Yes, that is me, and yes that is a pony whose side I am clinging to. Not my finest moment here. Let us dissect my form, or lack there of. Had I used Sammi's left leg method and climbed Lil' Horse's leg like a ladder, I might have made it on. Or had I employed Melissa's technique of using my right leg and spur like a climbing axe I may have succeeded. Or could the real problem be that my horse just didn't think small enough? Yes , I am going with that one.

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