Backing up while mounting - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-02-2010, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Question Backing up while mounting

I've had Dancer for about 2 months now and he's always been pretty good about mounting. When I first got him he would get nervous when I mounted so we did tons of exercises to help that and it did and the most he would do is immediately walk off when I got on him, which we worked on and he stopped. However, starting last week, he starts to back up whenever I put my foot in the stirrup. I'm getting frustrated and I don't know what to do. I've tried to make him back up as sort of reverse psychology. I then tried getting him to brace he rear feet. I've tried turning his hindquarters. I tried lunging him and getting him to listen to me. So far nothing as worked. I've resorted to backing him into a corner made with the gate and fence. I have a lesson with my trainer on Friday but was wondering if you guys had any suggestions.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-02-2010, 10:19 PM
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Once I rule out any possible saddle fit or back pain, I just keep backing them.

I lead them up quietly, and go to get on. The second they take a step back, I get down and send them back. Fast. I will go around the entire arena if I have to. When they look like they want to stop, Ill back them some more until I can tell that they've 'given up'. I keep it as stress free as I can, but I make him realize how NOT fun backing is. Just backing a few steps doesn't work.

Then I ask them to stand quietly and calmly and try again. If they start to do it again, I just repeat.

This has worked for me. Putting them in a corner will work, but I feel like it doesn't actually fix anything.

Are you mounting from a block or the ground?
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-02-2010, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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He does it when I'm mounting from the ground or block. I mainly use a block, though. His saddle fits well and I'm pretty sure his back isn't painful. I really think he's testing me.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-03-2010, 05:03 AM
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My horse did that, because he was taught to go backwards when something bad happened (wasn't my doing)
I would make in walk forward, and make him stand still, I also had my whip in the hand closest to his bum and if he went to walk I would give a slight tap.

He doesn't back up anymore, if he does it's only a step, before he was nearly running back.

Hope I helped through my rambling :)
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-03-2010, 07:54 AM
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Yep! Agreed with the others - rule out pain, and then just back him up. Scout used to do this as well. I actually just let him back himself up... when he quit, I got on. He learned pretty quickly that backing himself up was just more work that he didn't really have to do.

One thing to consider - how are you holding your reins when you mount? Some horses will back up if you have contact with their mouths as you prepare to swing aboard. I would hold them short enough to be immediately useful if necessary, but with a little slack so that the horse doesn't misinterpret you. Think slack like the "drape" in a power line between two phone poles - not much, but there.

Good luck!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-03-2010, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone.

Scout- I learned that when I first got him that I needed to have the reins really slack or else he backed up. I have them in my hand but they are extremely slack and I mainly hold on to his mane when mounting.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-05-2010, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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**Update*** I had a lesson today and I was right about my suspicions. Dancer is definitely testing me. My problem is that I'm being too nice and basically a push over. My trainer gave me lots of tips and we worked on it quite a bit. Hopefully we'll make some progress and he'll quit being a butthead about it.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-05-2010, 09:54 PM
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I like the way you are able to percieve yourself and how you fit into the problem. Lots of people would never be able to see that. Hope it going well. I learned something by reading the responses to your post. I have never had this problem but I wann be prepared if I ever do.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-05-2010, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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tinyliny - thanx...I work in a vet clinic and a lot of the behavior training we teach clients is basically human training so I kinda thought the same applied with me
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-07-2010, 11:49 AM
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Backing didn't work for me. My farrier suggested I basically put her in a one rein stop as I mounted. First I brought her head around on the ground, telling her to whoa, flinging my arm over her back. Then I brought her to the mounting block, brought her head around and leaned into her. If she moved, then she got moved around a bit, then told to whoa. Then we'd go back to the mounting block and try it again. The whole time I'm telling her to whoa as I lean into her, throw myself over her back, etc. I did this both bareback and with a saddle on, putting a foot into the stirrup, then taking it back out again, expecting her to stand patiently.

Finally, I got up on her back, still with her head in the one rein stop position. I kept her flexed that way until I was settled and ready to go. Then I would let her relax for a second or two before allowing her to walk forward. If she moved before I signaled her to go, she got circled.

It took a day to train her to stand until I was ready to move. Now as I lead her to the mounting block, she turns her head on her own and waits patiently for me to get on and get settled.

"When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age, you splatter." -- Roy Rogers
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