Karen mentioned someplace that she wasn't/isn't teaching Tam to stretch first, though, in order for his back legs to be further under him, so that when she mounts it's easier on him. Is that right, Karen?
Almost! I didn't start with the backcrunch, but I did add it later, because Tam wasn't understanding that he could lean back without my help.
The main point for me, so that I could mount him while he was bowing, was that he not have his forehead on the ground, between his legs. I want his head to be up, because then his balance will be more even and not all on the front end.
(EDIT) The lured bow (holding a treat between the front legs) is a very, very pretty bow. It looks elegent, but I was concerned about how the horse balances for that kind of bow. I taught Cisco to bow that way, and I don't feel comfortable trying to mount him with his head on the ground. So with Tam, I decided to try it by rocking him back and not luring.
Brenda, don't ask the hind legs to remain still...just let her sort it out. She will have to walk her hind legs back in order to make room for her foreleg to come back. She'll sort it out.
With Tam, I picked up his left front leg, and got him to be ok with me holding it. Then I brought the leg back slightly. Reward the tiniest try to lean back with the leg. As the horse becomes comfortable with leaning back, they will be ok with leaning back more, etc. Until the bent leg touches the ground.
Tam required me to support that leg for the longest time. Then while playing around with the back crunch, he figured out that he could lean back with out my help, and soon after that, he figured out he could hold his leg up on his own.
Just remember to go slow (ask less, get more!). I think, Brenda, you will have it very quickly!