Pasquale, 40-something year-old Quarter Horse, speaks his mind
Hey, all you "traditional" riders out there - I just want to mention a little somethin'. There's a big difference between a good, sound reason for doin' somethin, and a reason that just sounds good. Fer instance, I remember when my person taught everybody to mount from the left, or off, side, because it was "proper". It was a long time ago, thank goodness. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate forgettin' that nonsense. I think that all started back in the time horses were used for battle, and the swords got in the way, but hey, come on now, this is the new millennium. Save it for the judge, if they are lookin' for that.
Mountin' blocks are the kindest to a back, but they don't grow on trails, and most times folks use the stirrup. Anyways, now everybody I know is mountin' me equally from both sides. My whole ancient body has felt better ever since. You know, I suffered from arthritis for years on my left side; bad stifle, used to lock up on me (I finally figgered out how to git myself out of that lockin'-up mess by movin' the rest of my body), my ribs ached, and my left fore ankle acted up constantly. Things have been goin' great since my riders know better. If they git off durin' a ride, they mount on the opposite side the next time they git on. And every time they come out, they remember which side they got on last ride, and mount on the opposite, to keep things balanced. That's what it does - keeps the balance, divides the stress - on both sides equally and not just one, for me and for you, and your stirrup leather. So do your horse, your saddle and you a favor and start tradin' sides when you mount. That is, if you can . (see what I mean?)