Backing horse

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Backing horse

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    06-24-2010, 05:02 PM
Backing horse

I was on a trail ride about a month ago and it wasn't going the greatest. 20 feet in the gate the horse I was riding started bucking because two mules rode past her. Then another person suggested I trade horses with the owner of the mare ( She saw I was scared half to death as well as embarassed because half of the people on the trail ride were well known and respected trainers. Fyi it was the first time I ever had a horse buck me).

So we traded and rode down the trail a little ways. Lucky for me, this horse, who is usually well behaved and trained, decided to be a brat today. She wanted to trot the whole time I was on her and then she just stopped and started backing.

Now to my would you stop a horse that is backing without being cued to do so? It's not a habit with this horse, but I was just curious. In my mind I thought if I pull on the reins she will continue to back from the pressure; and if I kick her, it might make her back more. What should I have done?

P.S. We eventually traded horses back and the rest of the ride went fine.
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    06-24-2010, 10:43 PM
I know why she started backing, I just don't know how to correct a horse when they do that
    06-25-2010, 02:41 PM
Two things that I would do:

1) I might yank her head around and make her walk in a circle. Don't let her win. Point her nose towards the place she was backing up to. Make her work. Teach her that bad behavior just makes more work for her.

2) Do you carry a crop? Bump with your legs and if she doesn't move forward reach around and swat her on the butt. She won't want to keep backing up after you give her that. Horses naturally want to move away from pressure. It's a natural prey reaction, especially if something is getting them on the rump like that.
    06-25-2010, 03:01 PM
DUH (hits forhead)! Smacking her rear end! I kicking myself for not thinking of that. I've been riding for 5 years now and just started riding young(er) horses (between 3-8 years), so I wasn't used to their antics. Going from a 23 year old bombproof and seasoned mare to an opinionated 4 year old is quite the jump.

But I realize that I have to get used to young horses acting young to advance in my riding! And that I have to get over my emotions in the saddle ! Thus I continue my journey with horses!

Thanks for your help!
    06-25-2010, 03:13 PM
Circling works for my super-green mare who backs toward home as soon as we ride out alone. Takes forever, though! She circles LOTS before she decides backing is less work Popping her with the end of my reins made her buck. I stayed on, but next time, who knows, so I stuck with little circles!
    06-25-2010, 04:31 PM
Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    
Two things that I would do:

1) I might yank her head around and make her walk in a circle. Don't let her win. Point her nose towards the place she was backing up to. Make her work. Teach her that bad behavior just makes more work for her.
Yank her head around? Nice. Not. It's not a war. There should be no winning or losing. You simply ask and then tell and them make the horse respond.

If a horse wants to back to avoid work, we back. And back and back and back. Pretty soon the way to avoid the real work - is to go forward.
    06-25-2010, 05:01 PM
Originally Posted by mls    

If a horse wants to back to avoid work, we back. And back and back and back. Pretty soon the way to avoid the real work - is to go forward.

I agree with this.

Did you have a hold of the horses mouth? Could you have been pulling back more than you thought?

I wonder if you were doing something you did not realize you were doing. Two normally easy going horses acted up in short order when you started riding them. It could be something as simple as your nerves were getting to the horse(s).

I know why she started backing, I just don't know how to correct a horse when they do that

If you know why she started are you going to tell us so it is easier for us to tell you how to make it stop?
    06-25-2010, 05:21 PM
The first horse I was riding:

1. She is 4 years old and does not like paints, mules, apps; almost anything with 4 legs, hooves, and that can whinny.
2. She was in heat and gets moody when she is
3. The majority of her behavior was my fault. I made two mistakes 1) as the horses walked past I had a slight, tense hold of her mouth trying to make her stand still (rookie and stupid mistake as she wasn't trying to move forward) and 2) I wasn't paying attention to her. I was too busy admiring everybody elses horses to realize she wasn't happy with me or the mules being close.

And that as a whole contributed to her bucking.

For the second horse:

As I said in the origional post, I was scared and emabarassed because of what just happened. So when I got onto this horse, I was thinking "I'm going to die today and everybody thinks I'm an Idiot" I do realize now that everybody who was on that trail ride has had to learn how to deal with a bucking horse and has felt scared at one point or anther on a horse.

So I was hyped up with my emotions and that made her want to jog. And when I gave her a whoa to stop, she stopped but started backing. I took it as she misunderstood me so I gave her a release but she still kept backing. I even stuck my legs out to the side so I knew I wasn't putting leg pressure on her.

So it was a mixture of emotion and misunderstanding that made her back, but I didn't know how to make her stop.
    06-25-2010, 11:30 PM
I have done both the "ok, if you want to back, then we will BACK.....and back and back, until he wants no more of it. Works for that horse. He is usually just being bratty and not wanting to do something he has done a hundred times. The other horse, is better if I bend his head around and make him work circles. He is greener. I agree that this can be difficult in some places, especially on a trail, and you do risk lagging behind and causing even more issues as the buddies get farther ahead. If you are with people who will wait a minute, then either works, really, depends on the horse and the situation.
    06-26-2010, 01:18 AM
I'm going to clarify my earlier post....

I meant, in a more blunt way, point her nose where she is backing up to and make her work when she does something bad. When she's ready to stand still, release and let her know she did good. Annie used to do this all the time. I used both those methods and they worked. That's just me of course.

And as for the war, I meant you can't let the horse have their way or they will pick up bad habits. It's like letting a horse run back home without permission and not doing anything about it. The horse will eventually learn they can run like hell for the barn. If you let the horse have their way and back up when you don't ask, they learn that if they don't want to do something they can just back their butt up and you won't do anything about it. And the circles create pressure. Everything in training a horse is about pressure and release. You make them work, and then when they behave you behave. If they're bad, you have to be bad right back until they learn that its a lot better to just do as you say. You have to be the herd leader....'Cause if you haven't noticed, the horse is bigger than you. If she thinks she can dominate you, you're in trouble.

backing, cues

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