backing up - Page 2

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backing up

This is a discussion on backing up within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    02-07-2007, 10:12 AM
Originally Posted by BeautifulBay
The big problem is on an open road or in an open field....I don't think she is barn sour...and she's my only horse, so she is definitely not herd sour... but she feels vulnerable in open spaces that are not familiar to her.
i understand completely what you are going through. My horse is the same way, although she does rear. She is the only horse at my place, and there are no other horses near, except some down the road about 1½ mile away.

What I have been doing with her is this:

Halter and lead rope only, take her off the property to the road (which is where I want to ride). We slowly walk down the road. When she starts to get nervous and looking back towards home, I let her walk back a few steps. Then we stop. I then turn her back around and we walk a few more steps. Continue.......

We are starting to get farther and farther each time we do this. She is learning that its OK to go away from her home, where she feels secure and safe. She will be back shortly. She will still get nervous and look around but she is doing much better each time and we are getting farther down the road.

I have decided that because tj has been bought/sold so many times, (between the breeder and me), that she doesn't know where her home is, and about the time she starts feeling comfortable at a place, she was sold and moved away. Then she had to start all over again.

Knowing this, I have worked to build a bond with her, just me and her, and letting her get use to where she is, is now home. (we have had other issues that we've been working on ) I really think she knows that I am safe and that she is secure with me. Now we have to get past the fear of leaving home, so that's what we've been doing.

I agree with equineconnections on the barn/buddy sour horse and what was recommended.
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    02-07-2007, 11:47 AM
Well, it has been soooo cold here, so no riding for a little while. I'd like to spend some time just walking her some more...but I like equineconnections idea on walking her around, touching things...etc. and will try that next time we're on a ride. Some days I just don't know how well she'll go up the way is great all the time, the other way is not so gets frustrating. But I've been patient with her.
I'm lookng into a second horse now too. Riding out together will probably help her a lot in getting past these scary points that she has put into her own head.
One thing she does spook at, is birds. She hates it when they scatter off from the trees and she anticipates it too much!!
    02-07-2007, 12:06 PM
Re: Response to Backing Up

What I and equineconnection said was:

Originally Posted by equineconnections
You might want to take her for a walk on foot one day, and ride her away the next day. Keep switching your strategy.
try doing it on foot, leading your horse, not riding it.

I even let her graze on the side of the road a little bit. That helps her to relax and realize that there really aren't scary things out there that are going to jump up and bite her.

So walk (lead) her to those scary open areas and let her see its ok.
    02-07-2007, 06:28 PM
Mommadog, I've done that a million times with her. I've even saddled her up completely, but only walked her all over the roads, leading and talking to her. I just don't know what is up with this one has to be the open space there....What else could it be??
    02-07-2007, 06:58 PM
Originally Posted by BeautifulBay
I just don't know what is up with this one has to be the open space there....What else could it be??
ok, lets go at this from a different angle then........

About 150 yards from TJ's barn/pen is a creek with a bridge over it. Now that is her stopping place. To the south, north, and west of that bridge is nothing but open pasture for almost 2 miles.

BUT, along that creek run coyotes, turkeys, deer, raccoon, possum, and (the neighbors say), a mountain lion.

Now we've seen all but the mountain lion. and when the coyotes get into our property they die.

So that is alot of different PREDATOR smells going along that creek. So I have to take all that into consideration when I try to get her (PREY) to cross that bridge and go on west. That's why I continue to lead her over there, to show her that i'm not afraid and neither does she have to be, when she is with me.

So is it possible that there are predators in that open space that she is afraid of????? Remember, she can see movement and smell better than we can.

Just another thought........
    02-08-2007, 08:25 AM
I had the same problem with my horse for the first year I had her. I think sometimes she was just scared of something that I couldn't see/smell... what I tended to do was just loosen my reins and relax in my saddle, give her a hug... (stroke) and lightly squeeze wiht your legs to see if he'll go forwards... if not you could try getting off and leading him past the point which he's scared of.
However, if he isnt scared and he's just being a pain (which my horse also ALWAYS used to do) try pulling his head around to your knee, and pushing his bum around on the same side so that he turns all the way around. (I know this can be scary when your right on a cliff top, hehe.) but he won't go down it. Then try leading him in the direction you want to go and give him a tap on the bum.
Another thing that helped me on many occasions but best not to do it on a ledge but make it "uncomfortable" for him to go anyway but the way you want him to go... by kicking him or using a crop so he can only go the way you want easily...
Don't know if that was any help, but hope its all sorted.
    02-08-2007, 10:22 AM
so is it possible that there are predators in that open space that she is afraid of????? Remember, she can see movement and smell better than we can.
I have to say that I've ran this idea through my mind before, but disregarded it because I assumed if she was afraid of them in one spot, why not in others.....but the open spaces plus predators would definitely be scary for a horse. We have a lot of coyotes here, plus bears and I've heard mountain lions are coming back to the area.

One day I tried riding her up this way on the road and managed to wait out her backing up, did circles, everything, but refused to get off and lead her yet again.....we made it over to a neighbor's huge huge huge 200 acre field/woods. I had her walk into the field, and she was literally tip toeing her up over a small hill and down a path, then she just suddenly got so scared. Nothing I said helped, patience didn't help, she just trembled, turned in circles and backed up. Her eyes were wide, she was sniffing the air real heavy, ears were tilted every which way. ...I've been convinced that she's been getting an idea in her mind that something is out there and she thinks about it too much. Funny thing is, this spot is only on the other side of the tree line from her paddock. The smells shouldn't be that different.... So I may have to spend a lot of time walking her through open fields this summer, talking with her and showing her that nothing is going to happen to her here.
You should see it, because she freaks out in this field, but if I move her across the road into the other field and stay closer to the trees and thicker meadows she's fine and rides without any problems. :roll: I'm always telling her that she's delusional LOL!
    02-08-2007, 01:34 PM
Sounds like a good plan. Good luck.
    02-08-2007, 01:39 PM
Thanks Leonora, I didn't disregard your post at all, but have also done what you described....normally all of these suggestions would work with's just this one way that I try to go with her that she won't's weird.
    02-10-2007, 03:19 PM
Hi, you could try whats called an up and under, you can make one out of a piece of rope about two feet long, when your horse trys to go backwards you use it like a whip but you hit just behind your legs at one side then the other side straight after, it uses their natural instinct to run away and move forward

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