Sarah, other members have suggested some methods of teaching a horse to back up. They are good ideas to try.
Personally I sense another issue. You are prepared to force a horse, sometimes with the help of other handlers, to back up when all that should be necessary is a pointed finger to the chest and the words "Back up, horse".
You like the 'stall' system, your horse doesn't. You are irritable that the horse won't do as it is told. You think the horse is a cussed. You get angry. Next you'll think of using a whip.
But you are creating resistance in the horse not compliance.
Now if the horse won't back into that confined space, and my own horse might understand why, then it the animal is fearful probably from a bad memory. You are trying to contain it in a small space with no grass, no hay and no water. It will feel it is in a concrete cage. It will try to escape.
How do you get on loading into a horse box?
How do you get on backing up straight under saddle?
Have you ever done any backing up round poles laid on the ground? as in Le Trec?
How does the horse take to the farrier?
If you persistently force a horse to do something which it is constantly fearful of you create a problem for yourself and the horse will start to mistrust you.
Try persuading the horse, one to one, to back up into a much larger space - say through the door of a stable where you have put in a haynet. Leave the horse to eat a mouthful of the hay, then 5 minutes of so later bring it out. Walk it around in hand and do it again. ANd again And again - three times at least.
Try grooming the horse cross tied ie one lead off the left side of the halter, one off the right side, each lead attached to a hook preferably above the horse's head.
My point is that in the end no single human has the power to force a horse to do anything , the aim of the game is always to ask it so that the horse understands and then obeys in order to please its handler.
When this starts to happen, the handler must never force a horse to do what is finds fearful - the handler should persuade it. Usually the problem is one of communication.
Remember all you should need to make a horse back up - is a pointed finger.
And tell the kids that it is dangerous to walk around the back of any horse - if they don't know already. A stable yard should be a quiet calm environment at all times with at most some light classical music.
Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 01-21-2011 at 05:51 AM.