Backing up - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-12-2008, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Backing up

When I was shopping for horses last year I test rode one that had a unique way of backing up, or maybe I should say that the rider had a unique que for the horse to back up. Either way I had never heard of this method but looking back at it it was easy and felt natural and I'd like to know if anyone has ever heard of this.

To get the horse to back up the rider sits deep, puts their feet forward, towards the horse shoulder, and wiggles their toes. Very little pressure was put on the reins. The horse backed right up. At the time I thought, how weird, but it was so smooth and easy.

Maybe the horse was just trained well in doing this, or maybe this is more common than I know. Has anyone ever heard of or used this method?
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-12-2008, 12:48 PM
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HMMMM I have never heard of this way. It sounds kind of interesting. What breed of horse was it? and was it trained in a specific discipline.?
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-12-2008, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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It was an Arabian and she was a 4-h horse trained in western and english. She wasn't A circuit, but she was more highly trained than we needed. I was riding her in a western saddle. I'm not very experienced in horse training but my mother-in-law, who was with me, is and she had never heard of this before. It was just so easy, the horse backed up with such ease I would love to train our current horse to back up this easily. I just don't know if this a common thing or just plain ol' weird!
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-12-2008, 04:20 PM
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That is unique! You can train a horse using any cues you like so, although that is unorthodox, apparently it was effective for that horse. I can't imagine how that is more useful then a standard cue but it was their horse.

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post #5 of 13 Old 10-12-2008, 06:33 PM
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I kinda use this method actually. I sit back and push forward with my feet like I'm bracing against a wall sort of. Not way, way forward though. My girls are in constant training, but what you describe is where I'm hoping to get to one day.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-12-2008, 06:44 PM
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Some reiners and Western riders train their horses to back that way because it looks better in the arena where it every point could decide your place. You just work your horse up to it by sitting deep, pushing your feet forward, and wiggling your toes, like you said. But then, if your horse doesn't back, you just start bumping with your feet against them and as soon as they back, release. After a while, they'll learn to back when you wiggle your toes.

A lot of horses like it more, I've heard, because they don't like it when people are in their mouth, or on their face.

I think it's a good method, mostly because you don't have to be in the horses mouth. Not to mention, it looks effortless, like you said!

To rein a horse is not only to guide him,
but also to control his every movement.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-12-2008, 10:03 PM
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Interesting! I taught mine to back up by just closing your fingers on the reins (english bit), or lifting the reins (western bit), lightening your seat (to free up the horse's rear end and back by tilting the top of your pelvis forward a bit), and "thinking" "back up". My mare used to toss her head when you pulled back to ask her to back up, but once she got it with the subtle cues, she'll go the whole length of the arena without any complaints!
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-13-2008, 12:29 AM
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Chances are you were test riding a reining horse...that is how a reiner is cued to rein pressure..."wiggling the toes" means back faster.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-13-2008, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Well, it's nice to know that the method is not completely foreign! I just really liked the ease and the fact that I didn't have to put much pressure on the horses mouth. She seemed so willing! I guess it was probably her training and not just the method.

They were advertising her as an both an english or western horse. The people who were selling her used her for 4-H and they never mentioned reining, but the horse could have been used for reining before they got her.

Why do they use this method for reining?
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-13-2008, 01:06 AM
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As they have said before it looks good to have little to no pressure on the reins. Reining horses are judged by the ease with which they give to the rider. The perfect reining horse does not look like you are cuing it and it moves effertlessly through its paces. Nothing can ruin a beautiful sliding stop like a wide open gapping mouth because too much bit pressure is being applied.

Anyway, we use this method of backing when training our horses. We train with the goal of riding bridleless, in which there are no reins to cue the horse. The horse is controlled completely off your seat position. When I lean my seat forward it moves my energy forward and the horse responds with forward motion. I lean back, and it encourages the horse to also shift backwards. I actually lightly bump my heels in an alternating fashion for the horse to back faster.

Hope that helps.
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