Backing through an obstacle in a Trail class

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Backing through an obstacle in a Trail class

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  • Back through for trail class
  • Photo of horse backing through obstacle or l

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    06-13-2007, 01:51 PM
Backing through an obstacle in a Trail class

This is a back through on a trail course at the show I went to last weekend. I am still working on his headset, so no need for critique there unless someone sees something really important :) What I am wondering about is - where should I be looking on a backthrough. I always look down behind us to see where we are going. Does anyone know if that is what to do. Anything else about my seat, position, or my horse's body position?
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    06-15-2007, 02:26 AM
I'm not 100% sure about APHA but in AQHA you're supposed to be looking forward when you're backing. You can hesitate to look behind you and adjust if necessary, but then you should return to facing forward.

Reason for this: If you're looking down and twisted, you're making it very hard for the horse to back straight as it almost indefinitely twists their body and they are more likely to step out of the rails.

Hope that helps you some.
    06-15-2007, 02:53 AM
I thought when you where backing up you are supose to have a loose rein and the horses head has to be relaxed and down and slightly bridled up ( on the bit western syle :roll: eg - western head carrage).

When you back up Well I use my seat and slightly use my leg and I have a loose rein. I lean Slightly forward and squeeze.

But I guess everyone is different.
And I don't do western.
    06-18-2007, 08:47 PM
Yeah looking back can throw the horse off the track.

As for his head I think lowering your hands would help out. Although it's hard for me to tell where your holding them, they look in that picture like they're a bit too high. If your hands are up that encourages him to lift his head. :) I hope that helps you. Also sit back into the saddle.
    06-19-2007, 02:39 PM
Thanks for the help about where I should be looking, I knew I wasn't looking correctly, but I wasn't sure what I should be doing.

As for his head position, my hands, and body position - yes we are very out of whack :) He did fabulously in the warm up arena on a loose rein, calm, etc. When we got into the class, he got all worked up, kept pushing on the bit horribly, rushing through everything, and gaping his mouth agains any rein use - it was horrible - he is pretty good at all of the trail obstacles, but you wouldn't have known it. He is a 5 year old stallion with ohly about three shows experience, which is no excuse, but makes me believe it will just be time and experience that will help.

I am working with a trainer to help supple him to the bit and my body cues, which has shown great improvements (away from the excitement of the show ring :) )

As for me - every time I start focusing on him, I quit paying attention to my body position - bad me :) - I am working on it.
    06-24-2007, 03:58 PM
I'm not really sure how you're supposed to negotiate a corner without looking... :roll: Which would lose you more points? Looking or hitting the poles?

When you back up a car, you look behind you. At the very least, you use a rear view mirror. It would be silly to expect you not to check where your horse's feet are going. The purpose of a trail class is to show how well your horse can negotiate obstacles out on the trail. No one in their right mind would back around a corner without watching that their horse's feet were on the trail, especially if that trail was on a hillside.

So my vote here is to check to see where you're going. Train yourself to use as little movement as possible and not to be doing a whole lot of twisting in the saddle to throw off the horse. In the photo you appear to be leaning forward and turning a bit, but that could just be camera angle.

Sit straight like you would in an equ class with shoulders square. Practice doing straight back ups first, without poles or anything. It's okay to look back over your shoulder or down toward the ground so long as you're not twisting in the saddle. Do one step at a time, stopping between each step to settle your horse and yourself. Taking your time will help improve your seat as well as the horse's head set.

By starting out without poles, you reduce the stress that both you and the horse may be feeling. Relaxation is the key to a smooth trail class. Once you can back ten steps or so without turning in the saddle and keeping your horse relaxed, set up some poles and practice. I always like to set them wider than you'd find in a class so that the horse feels confident to begin with; it also helps you determine if you're twisting and throwing him off without him actually hitting a pole. When you can get through a wide back up, narrow it up and perfect it again.

You can work on a pivot on the forehand without poles, too. Again, the less you have around your horse's feet to begin with, the smoother the results in the end. I always try to set both horse and rider up for success rather than failure; sometimes it takes a little longer to get where you're going, but it's well worth it in the end!
    06-27-2007, 12:08 AM
Hey again,
Ummm when you are backin try to look just infront of you or even at the top of your horses head the reason for this is when you look down your body weight shifts the slightest bit and that can affect the horse when backing.

Try and sit deep in the saddle and lean back a bit, have you feet move ford enough for your to feel what you are asking when backing.

You need to get you horse to understand when you are askin him of this it means back and soon enough you will have him on a loose rein and beable to do that with him understanding, so then he will look more westurn with his head set in the correct place as I explained to you last time.

But yeh just try and stay of the bit with a loose rain but apply the things above and then once he understands then start on loosning you reins.
Hope this helps for you
    06-27-2007, 09:36 AM
I think you guys are confusing backing up in a trail class with backing up while in a performance class. They require two different things. It's like saying to ride with noodle reins in an eq class; one just doesn't do it.
    06-27-2007, 09:41 AM
I think you guys are confusing backing up in a trail class with backing up while in a performance class. They require two different things. It's like saying to ride with noodle reins in an eq class; one just doesn't do it.[quote]

Lol its not that confusing once you no what you are doin lol
Once you get the idea of what needs to be done then the horse will understand of what is bein asked
    06-27-2007, 08:37 PM
Okay, now I am confused, what is the difference between backing for a trail class and backing for a performance class?

Since I have begun my reining lessons, I can get him to back up by sitting back and just barely picking up on the reins. For this, I have no problems with not looking back because I can tell if he is going straight by looking in front of me. In trail, when backing through the very narrow "L", I can't help but look, because it is so narrow, you can't mis-step with even one foot without knocking a pole. Maybe I should get some rearview mirrors for my horse :) How do I know where to move him without looking at all. Do I stop, look, face back forward, and start maneuvering again?

Also, this may be a silly question, but why don't you ride with noodle reins in an eq. Class? Are you talking about western eq.? Are you saying this because it would be too hard to perform the pattern? Or some other, more asthetic reason? Forgive my questions if they are silly, I haven't shown since 4-H, somewhere around 10 years ago (I have been barrel racing in between - and not focusing on the beauty of myself or my horse) :), and even then, some rules are different between those, and "real shows".

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