Beginners Guide to Riding the Mounting Block!

I hear you! You are saying :”Whaaat? Ride a mounting block? What is she talking about?”  Well ,Dear Readers, let me explain.

During the winter season in Florida I train with coach and international competitor,Luis Reteguiz Denizard, known as Lou to his friends.This year when I arrived in Florida I watched a couple of lessons Lou was giving to his other students and I kept hearing this reference to the mounting block: “sit evenly on the mounting block” “let the third step of the mounting block touch the ground.” I was puzzled but I knew that in my first lesson all would be revealed. And it was.

I had warmed up Biasini for the start of the lesson and Lou asked me to dismount. I did so. He then asked me to sit on the edge of a three-step mounting block. I had to sit right on the edge so that when I moved my seat (bum/bottom …whatever..) forward it would pull up the back of the mounting block off the ground behind me. This must be done without leaning forward of backward; always nice and upright in the body.

Then I had to tip the mounting  block forward and let it drop back in the rhythm of the walk(1,2,3,4,), the trot(1,2,1,2,) and the canter.(1,2,3,1,2,3)  Then I had to let the part of the block I was sitting on ‘release’  forward and down as far as my knees would allow and let my legs release. Cripes! That is not as easy as it may look. Then I would let the block go back and be on the ground again.


Lou is giving a mounting block “lesson” to his assistant Lindsay Sanderson. She is doing a good “release” forward here.


What does this have to do with riding a horse?   When I mounted up again and started walking with Biasini Lou asked me to replicate the feel of how the mounting block felt as I moved it off the ground behind me.  I did that in the walk, trot and canter.

Now, let me be clear, this is NOT a pelvic thrust or riding with my seat to push the horse forward. This is all about keeping my seat in the saddle and moving with the horse. No bouncing, no air between my bum and the saddle, no shifting of my weight side to side, no leaning in or putting my weight on the inside seat bone when going around corners. I am sitting on the mounting block and if I were to do any of the aforementioned squirreling around then the mounting block would not tip forward.

In the very first lesson I could tell that this was going to cure me of some of my bad habits. Habits like leaning in as if I was riding a motorcycle instead of a horse around corners. This is a bad habit because the horse is not a motorcycle and if you lean in or place more weight on the inside seat bone, the horse will move toward the inside of the corner or the circle to balance  himself. The muscle memory of the mounting block soon cured me of that

After this first lesson I took a few opportunities to come and practice riding the mounting block in order to cement the feeling in my mind.  Now that I have been riding with the mounting block reference for a few weeks it is becoming more solid in my riding on Biasini.  Here are the other things it has helped me with:  learning to release. Releasing any tension in my legs, and back and arms is essential. Otherwise this tension transmits to Biasini and how can I expect him to be moving freely if I am tight.

Next is allowing the mounting block to go back down to the ground behind me. This is not like doing ab crunches in the gym where you are not allowed to put your head back down on the mat. The mounting block returns to the ground at the end of each forward movement.  I have been amazed at how effective this is; allowing the mounting block to go down behind me with each stride. When I ask Biasini to give me an extended trot I can actually sit to his big trot movement. And that is just the beginning of the things that are helped by letting the block touch the ground before it tips back up again.

So a mounting block is not always just a mounting block. It can be repurposed into a useful tool to assist riders in developing a better seat for dressage. I am still learning how to ride the mounting block but one thing for sure, it is really helping me to ride my horse.







19 responses to “Beginners Guide to Riding the Mounting Block!”

  1. Riding the Mounting Block Update! 2 New Apps! – HorseAddict Avatar

    […] For those of you who have been with me for awhile you may remember when I wrote a post about ‘Riding the Mounting Block’. Then last winter there was a new ‘app’ added to that concept; the Stability […]


  2. regasssa Avatar

    This is an amazing idea. Maintaining your seat is hard enough without unbalancing the horse as well, but it sounds like it’s really helpful to remedy some of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It is. Lou comes up with “outside the box” training aids and this is one that has worked well for me. It made me realize how far i could go in order to go with the horse’s movement and still be ‘sitting’. Thanks for your comment!


  3. aHorseForElinor Avatar

    So now after reading this again – I really DO want to try this more. So wish I could get a lesson on this. If you know of a video somewhere I’m all ears! I’m not getting the “release” part. Love how it can help the rider “square off” on the horses back – I think I’ve become more and more crooked and “leaning”, however that’s possible! But the release part is not sinking in just yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Well this mounting block thing is Lou’s invention so I will try to persuade him to allow me to make a video!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. aHorseForElinor Avatar

        I tried to think of it some during today’s ride. It was HARD. Valiosa came out without her regular bolts tightened, very snorty, tense, and intensely forward yet sucked back at the same time. Yep, in heat. Trying to sit on her squarely resulted in bucks. Sigh. Tomorrow we have a lesson again, and I really want to keep this as a background thought throughout – if she can settle down 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen Avatar

          Every once and a while I go and sit on the mounting block and do the movement on it just to remind myself and remind my body ( especially my seat) of how to do it. So maybe that might help you as well. Have a good lesson!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. When is a Whip Not a Whip? – HorseAddict Avatar

    […] it and see if it works for you. And  if you did not see the Beginners Guide to Riding the Mounting Block last year do take a look at it and try that  with real whips in your hands and then transfer the […]


  5. doar nicole Avatar

    So much self-control and awareness, done naturally and in a relaxed manner, it’s just great! 🙂


    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It is amazing how something so simple as sitting on the mounting block and then moving it can translate to being in the saddle! I’m glad you were able to get something from it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This Is the Year That Was–2017 – HorseAddict Avatar

    […] One post focused on a very interesting technique that my Florida coach, Luis Reteguiz Denizard uses. He teaches his students to ride the  mounting block. Do I hear you say: What??  Well this post explains how this can help any rider, of any level, improve their seat , position and effectiveness.  Curiously enough this post was popular enough that Luis was asked to give  a clinic on riding the mounting block. The Beginners Guide to Riding the Mounting Block. […]


  7. Challenges and Solutions – HorseAddict Avatar

    […] Beginners Guide to Riding the Mounting Block […]


  8. usathroughoureyes Avatar

    Wow Anne. What an amazing drill to assess your style. So much to concentrate on that I was never aware of. I cannot imagine the hours of practice needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. nathaswami Avatar

    Amazing ! A simple trick to teach (and learn) a wonderful riding principle !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Yes. Sometimes a simple back to basics tool like this can be very helpful.


  10. Alli Farkas Avatar

    Wilhelm Müseler talks about this in his 1930’s book “Riding Logic”. But he uses a stool or a chair instead of a mounting block. This is an excellent book if the rider is advanced enough to understand the principles he is talking about and the feel he is attempting to describe. The only down side is that in the translation to English some words do not mean what we think they mean. Specifically, when he says “brace” the back in the translation, he really means “tuck the pelvis under”. The illustrations are accurate but the words are misleading. A real educational experience if you should decide you would like to peruse this book!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Thank you for this information. I do understand that translations can be difficult. Nonetheless I will look for this book.


  11. Repurpose: Mail Distribution Center | What's (in) the picture? Avatar

    […] Beginners Guide to Riding the Mounting Block! – HorseAddict […]


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