Backing Up. - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,143
• Horses: 3
Backing Up.

I used to have Savanna backing up pretty nicely, with her head down, although she'd back kind of slowly. Yesterday I took her on some trails at the new place where I board, and she kind of caught me off guard and jumped into some thick trees, so I stopped her and was trying to back her up and she wouldn't have it. She kept shaking her head and her nose was in the air and her mouth was wide open. Today I rode her in the arena and would walk, stop, attempt to back (sad attempts, at that... she would only take a few steps back and even then she was fighting) and repeat.

I always ask with my hands low, and I gently squeeze the reins and bump with my legs. I want her to back-up somewhat quickly with her neck rounded as opposed to slow baby steps with her nose in the air and her mouth gaping. I have asked her on the ground as well, that's where we started, and she is even pushy in her halter when it comes to backing up.

Anyone have some good techniques on the ground and / or saddle that I can apply? Thanks in advance!

Equilove is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 05:53 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5,526
• Horses: 0
Talk to your trainer.

Last edited by Spyder; 07-03-2011 at 05:59 PM.
Spyder is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In Denial...
Posts: 1,679
• Horses: 1
I really found that my posture made or broke Scout's back-up. If I'm lazy or sloppy, then I get inversion and resistance, complete with the gapping mouth and nose in the air. If I'm meticulous in my execution, he nearly dances backwards.

Really think about sitting up and looking up and forward. Let your chest fill out just as if you were going to move forward, but gently block the horse from moving that direction with your hands. Another little position tweak that I found helped reinforce that idea of closing of the front door was to tilt my pelvis forward slightly from the position I sit when moving off at a walk, trot, or canter. If I need them, I'll apply my legs to start the movement, but once the horse is traveling backwards with rhythm I go back to neutral legs and use one side at a time to keep him from drifting or to steer him.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
Scoutrider is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Uk
Posts: 394
• Horses: 0
Excellent technical explanation from Scoutrider. For some reason many people lean back for the back up which is entirely unnatural.

You mentioned your new yard. How long has your horse been there? Is it a recent move?

Secondly have you checked the saddle, any possible hinder loin issues? To back correctly means bringing the hind under and often shows any issues with stiffness or pain.
Doe is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,143
• Horses: 3
Thanks for the advice :) I don't "lean back" when I ask her to back - I drop my hips and make a "heavy seat" when I ask her to stop, but it's all in my hips, and I don't move my upper body. When I ask her to back, I squeeze and barely bump with my legs till she starts moving (which usually takes a while..) and then do pulsations with my hands instead of a constant pressure (although I've tried both ways). She will yield to the bit and pull in her head, but not move. Or, she'll evade the bit by putting her nose upward and *maybe* moving backward. Actually, yeah; that's what her backup is: one big evasion. It's sloppy and it's not like I'm asking her to do anything. She's just trying to get away from the pressure.

No saddle problems, she's never been stiff, we always warm up and cool down properly and do a lot of flexing. She's very soft in her mouth until it comes to backing. No problems stopping her from a walk, trot, or canter. I just really want her to dig in and backup deliberately.

Equilove is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 07-04-2011, 12:24 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 40,790
• Horses: 2
I just loved Scoutrider's explanation of the slightly counterintuitive way that you must have your body; NOT leaning back but rather having the hips ever so slightly angled forward. WhY? to make an openning under your seat so that the horse can come up under you with their back, which will naturally occur if the step back under by lifting their feet, rather than draggin them from a stiff and inverted back.

IN any case, back to you and YOUR situation; one thing that you can do to break up a horse that is resistant to backing it to use one rein much more than the other. Start asking to the backup with two reins, your body and light, alternaiting legs (alternating IF she is actually moving backward, so they follow her barrel), . Have one rein be slightly more active than the other and look for your horse to have a little flex in the jaw toward that side. If she only braces or throws her head up, then take in THAT rein and create a bigger bend , so that she is effectively backing in a circle. This will disengage her hind quarters. WHY? to break her out. She gets stuck and if you fight her with more even pressure, she will just brace evenly. But pulling her on one rein only will break her out. Once she has disengaged, you probably will feel her head come down momentarily. Ease off everything, then reposition for another try. Don't worry if she is no longer backing in the direction you want to go. ALL that mattters is that she back up when asked. so, ask again, lightly with one rein a bit more active than the other, and if she reisists, take her into a backup circle. If she thinks about backing up and you feel it, give a tiny release, a praise and then reask.

Also, try more work backing her on the ground , while facing her and while standing by her side. If she has trouble on the ground, be sure that there is now comfort issue involved. Being unable to back up is a sign of chiropractic problems, though I am by no means saying this is your case.
tinyliny is online now  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Backing up?? katieandduke Horse Training 8 09-18-2010 01:20 AM
Backing up stacieandtheboys Horse Training 5 12-11-2009 11:10 PM
Backing Up? andysgagirl Horse Training 7 08-15-2009 07:55 PM
Backing up! biggame12 Horse Training 15 05-18-2009 10:43 PM
backing up BeautifulBay Horse Training 22 02-12-2007 04:12 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome