>>> Backing Up

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>>> Backing Up

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    03-29-2011, 02:15 PM
Question >>> Backing Up

I have been riding my friend's horse for about 7 or more years and we are doing great!!!
I only started him really training last year (collection and extension, small jumps ext.)

Problem is he refuses to back up under saddle. We have done in hand backing. Up inclines to build back muscles and even used driving reins to ask him from behind. He has backed over poles no problem. He backs using my voice from the ground with no physical aid but for the life of me he REFUSES to back up when I'm on him. Maybe two steps until he stops and throws his head in the air. Even when I use my voice command and light rein pressure.
To add, he shows no discomfort in doing these exercises....
(when the owner first got him he backed up by the time I started he wouldn't)
So I'm wondering (by myself as there usually isn't anyone else with me) What would be my next step to having him accept backing up.

Any help will be appreciated! Thanks everyone
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    03-29-2011, 02:48 PM
1. If he throws his head, seems that you're pulling on the reins. You need to just hold them like a wall to indicate no forward movement.

2. Tip slightly forward in your torso to take all weight off his back.

3. You could have a helper back him from the ground as you're giving him the cues astride.

4. Reward the SLIGHTEST try: one step on his own? STOP & reward.
    03-29-2011, 03:01 PM
Northern, great suggestions. I had a horse with this problem as well, until I realized it was ME with the problem. ;)

Originally Posted by Northern    
Reward the SLIGHTEST try: one step on his own? STOP & reward.
I wasn't rewarding the tiny efforts; I was greedy and wanted 5-6 scurried steps back every time right off the bat. When I started working on my release and timing of reward, he lightened up significantly and after several hours of work (different sessions, of course) he gives gives me those 5-6 scurried steps I wanted from the beginning, with only a light leg pressure and seat adjustment. :) Good luck! Don't get greedy!
    03-29-2011, 06:07 PM
Stop him in the corner of the arena and then ask for a back. You have to break it down into small steps: pick up the reins, rub your hand down the reins, separate the reins into two hands, then start gently tapping your feet on the girth or slightly in front of the girth, and yes reward the slightest try.
    03-29-2011, 10:53 PM
I agree with the method you have all suggested.
And I have praised even the slightest backward notion with pats and even cookies. Several different sessions (off the back seat) and only light leg on the girth. I've put him in the corner as suggested, probably have too much on the reins :(
Poor guy....

I'll keep trying if possible with smaller steps.
Thanks :)
    03-29-2011, 10:59 PM
Northern already covered it. Reward every step in the beginning. I used to only get 2 before my horse stiffened. I can now get 6 nice steps. I use my legs alternating to ask each leg to take it's step backwards if that makes any sense. If he gets really pissy, occasional stop and just ask him to stand and soften without asking for any backward steps. That way he's not anticipating being asked to back up every time he stops.
    03-30-2011, 02:50 AM
I used to know a horse that backed great on the ground but wouldn't under saddle. He would rear, buck you name it he did it.

I would suggest the using another person way. Have the person on the ground give the cue while the rider gives the cue, then try to slowly wean the person on the ground away.

Or wait it out. I had a horse once that would not back at all. So I sat there for probably 20 minutes with even pressure, till the horse lost balance and took a step back, it was downhill from there. Its you just got to start and be ready to reward, as every one else said, the smallest possible try.

backing up

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