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How to Mount a Horse Without a Saddle or Block

Updated on May 21, 2013

Mounting the horse without a mounting block is one thing, but what if you are bareback and mounting blockless? Don't despair. I have several ideas you can try!

*Please remember to wear a helmet for safety!

Makeshift Mounting Block

You've probably already done this, but try looking around for something else you can use as a mounting block. It should be something solid, like a stone wall or tree stump. In New England, where I live, there is always a large rock to use as a mounting block. Be extremely careful using a bucket or something similar that might tip over and spook your horse.

The helper in the video below would be able to give the rider a better, more efficient leg up if she were facing the same direction as the horse.

Ask For a Leg Up

If there is anyone else around, ask if he or she can give you a leg up. It's very easy to assist the rider in mounting with a leg up, but it may take you a few times tries before you are in sync.

How to Give a Leg Up


1) The rider stands on the left side of the horse, facing the same direction as the horse. Her hands are holding the mane around the withers. The helper stands next to the rider, also facing the same direction as the horse.

2) The rider lifts her left leg, and the helper firmly holds the rider's mid-shin and knee.

3) Both the rider and the helper begin counting to three together (this establishes an rhythm so the the rider jumps at the same time that the helper lifts the rider). The rider usually bends the right knee on each count.

4) On three, the rider jumps as the helper lifts the rider's left knee. The rider gracefully swings her leg up over the horse's back (without kicking him). The helper releases the rider's leg.

The leg up does not always go smoothly, but it does work when done correctly. The helper can be of almost any size, because the helper is not so much lifting the rider up by brute strength as she is simply giving a boost to the rider and securing the rider's leg.

Mounting From the Ground without Stirrups

Sometimes there is nothing to stand on and no one around to give you a leg up. In these cases, you'll have to mount from the ground. It is not very hard to learn to mount from the ground, as long as your horse is not extremely tall!

Your horse must be patient, and stand quietly as you mount. It is recommended that you practice while a friend holds your horse.

Option one:

1) Stand on the left side of the horse, just in front of his shoulders, facing the opposite direction the horse is facing. Place the left hand the horse's wither's and hold the mane.

2) Swing the right leg and push off of the left leg as you pull down on the horse's mane and throw your right leg up over the horse's back without kicking him.

Option two:

1) Stand on the left side of the horse facing towards the horse's shoulders. Place one hand on the horse's lower neck and the other on his withers.

2) Jump and lean the weight of your torso over the horse's withers.

3) Swing your leg up over the horse's back, find your seat, and sit up straight.

Sit up quickly and find your balance in case your horse begins to walk away!


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    • profile image

      Horse Girl 

      2 years ago

      I have tried and tried to jump on the horse "Indian Style" but it's hard, but the second I can do. I am not the tallest person ever, and my horse is a good size, she's kinda tall. To get on the horse though I have to put the horse on a little bit of a lower spot, and I have to stand on the higher part of the ground.

    • sgiguere profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Giguere 

      6 years ago from Worcester, MA

      Thanks for the heads up Ghost32-- it must not have saved my last edit!

      There is definitely an awkward learning curve when it comes mounting from the ground... everyone goes through it :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting...though you might want to check the last line of text. Seems like there ought to be a few more words there, plus maybe a period for punctuation. :)

      I grew up on a ranch in Montana and would literally die before I'd wear a helmet on a horse. Or even on a rodeo bull, for that matter, though most of this generation's riders are doing so.

      I don't wear a helmet on motorcycles, either...except in gestapo states that sic the cops on you if you don't.

      Might go for the Kevlar vest. Maybe.

      Prob'ly not.

      You reminded me, though, of my "turning point" performance regarding the ability to mount a horse bareback from the ground. I was nine, so not particularly tall yet. There were no witnesses, mostly because I've always worked best alone. Goldie was an extremely gentle mare, so she let me do what I had to do without shifting a hair.

      Time after time after time after time, I managed to ALMOST pull myself up there. And eventually, yeah, somehow it happened.

      Got better at it, after a while.


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