How To Dismount From a Horse?

how to dismount

If you this is your first horseback ride you may be wondering how you are getting off without hurting yourself or the horse.  

You also do not want to look funny trying to dismount either.  In this article are the steps to help you dismount safely and gracefully.

How To Mount a Horse

Before you can dismount from a horse you need to know how to mount one.  

  • Stand next to your horse’s left shoulder facing the tail.  Hold the reins in your left hand at the top of the horse’s neck, or when you are just learning, have someone else hold the reins.  Hold out the stirrup with your right hand and insert the ball of your left foot, toe first, and then put your right hand on the pommel and turn so you are facing their side.
  • Bounce on your right foot, pushing with your left so you can swing your right foot over the back of the horse, being careful not to kick the horse.
  • Sit down in the saddle gently and put your right foot in the other stirrup.

After you are on your horse, take a few steps to make sure that the girth is tight and the saddle is not going to slip.  You also want to make sure that the stirrups are the right length and comfortable.  You want to make sure that your ride is comfortable for both you and your horse.

  How to Stop Rearing in Horses

Things To Do Before You Mount Your Horse

Before you even get on your horse, there are some things that you need to do to make sure that the ride goes smoothly and comfortable for both you and your horse.  You also want to make sure everything is done to ensure a safe ride.

  • Saddle pad should be smooth and straight
  • The buckles of the bridle are correctly fastened, the reins are not crossed, and nothing is twisted.
  • The girth is tight enough and buckled correctly
  • The stirrups are pulled down and the right length for your height.
mom helps daughter e1590597831844

How To Dismount From a Horse?

When dismounting from a horse, there are certain steps that you must follow.  

  • Make sure that your horse is quietly standing still.
  • Remove both feet from the stirrups as you don’t want to get tangled up when you try to get down.  If you are struggling with a foot in the stirrup, it could frighten then horse and cause him to run.
  • Take both reins in your left hand, leaving just enough tension that you can pull your horse up if it starts to step forward.  You can also use a little mane to help steady yourself.
  • Lean forward with both hands on your horse’s neck just in front of the withers.  Shift your weight onto your arms so your seat (butt) comes a little bit out of the saddle.
  • Swing your right leg up and over the haunches.  Make sure that you lift your leg high enough to clear the back of the saddle and haunches of the horse.  Push yourself slightly away from the horse so you do not hit any of the equipment and will land clear of their legs.  The shift of your weight and momentum of your leg will help you to vault off.
  • To absorb the shot of the landing, bend your knees before your feet hit the ground.  Straighten up and take a step back to balance yourself.
  • Once you are on the ground, take the reins in your right hand, grasping them closer to the bit.  Lift the reins over their head so you can lead it.  Make sure that one hand goes under the chin of the horse and the other is holding the bight of the reins so they do not dangle on the ground.
  Can Horses Eat Bread?

Precautions To Take

One of the first things that you need to make sure of when learning to dismount is to make sure that you are in an area that is safe for practice.  Since you will be getting off a horse from a few feet in the air, you should wear comfortable clothes that do not bind.  These will also make the ride more enjoyable.  Proper footwear is also important.  No sandals or flip flops.  You should be wearing boots or other suitable footwear.  A riding helmet is also essential.

horse dismount

Things Not To Do

When learning to dismount from a horse there are certain things that you should never do.

  • Do not swing your leg over the front of the saddle as it puts you off balance and you could also kick your horse in the head or neck.
  • You should not try to slide down backward off a horse as you could startle them and get kicked.


  • Make sure after your ride that you take good care of your horse and put all the tack away properly.  At riding schools, they will normally have someone take of this for you.
  • You should be able to dismount from either side but the left side is more traditional.
  • Some riding schools have a mounting block to help you get on your horse, especially if you have a bad back.  
  • If your horse is acting a bit nervous or anxious, try talking to it in a soft tone of voice and gently patting it until it calms down.
  • Most horses are trained for people to dismount from the left side
  • Trivia—soldiers used to carry swords on their left side so mounting on the left side kept their scabbard from getting in the way.
  • When you dismount your horse, do it in an open area, never in the stable, barn, near a fence, etc because if they suddenly spook, you could be seriously hurt.
  • If you are ready to dismount and your horse suddenly moves, try to stay in the saddle until your horse calms down.
  10 Most Popular Horse Breeds