Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Gloomy Indianapolis
How have you been working with her? Does she back on the ground? I do all the groundwork with the youngsters at the farm, this is how I start them backing. I train Rocky/Kentucky Mountain Horses.
Of course they need to respect my space, I work on leading and such before I ever try to back them.
With a longer lead, 10' at least, stand right in front of them at the end of the lead, leave a little bow in the lead, don't stretch it taut.
Body language is huge here. Think dominant. KNOW you are the leader. Start by shaking the lead and walking toward them confidently, the whole time saying, "back" or whatever you choose to be the verbal cue. Typically, they look at me like I'm an idiot and take a few steps back. AS SOON as they start to take a step back stop shaking and praise them. Ideally after just a few times they start to get the idea and you just have to fine tune it. However, sometimes they don't. If they don't want to back for you with just shaking, start stomping a bit as you walk toward them while shaking the lead. I try to avoid getting to this point, but if needed you can also have a "carrot stick" in your other hand and don't hit them with it but swing it slowly in front of you so that they have no choice but to back up or get bumped with the stick. I've seen a few other methods but IMO they are asking to form a bad association for the horse.
Once they are backing well, gradually remove the lead shaking and replace it with a hand signal. Always reinforcing the verbal cue though! Whether you want them to back up when you wiggle a finger or something else, work until they can do it in their sleep.
NOW you start in the saddle. Make a wall with the reins. DON'T jerk or haul backward, just gather the reins until you make contact and hold the wall. Tell them back verbally while cueing with your legs. Some people lean forward or back when cueing its up to you. AS SOON as they step back release the wall and praise them. If they don't catch on you can have someone on the ground in front of the horse cueing them while you cue from the saddle. They gradually transfer the groundwork cues to you on their back and voila!
Nothing works 100% of the time but I have had very good luck with this. Hope it helps!