She can be going along, completely soft, stop with her head low, but her entire attitude changes when I ask her to back up.
Even if I ask her to back up on an entirely loose rein (one soft+short pull backwards then release, with light leg pressure is her back up cue), her head flies up.
I'm pretty sure this is a deeply ingrained training issue for her because when I first got her, any request for backing up was also a request for her to rear as many times as possible. I assume that whatever is going on here most likely stems from that. I was able to train her to stop rearing but we've gotten no further than that.
I'd love to get her backing up comfortably since she's obviously uncomfortable right now, I just don't know where to start. I do try to back her up a few times a ride (I'm a little nervous about doing it too often because she used to use backing up as an evasion on the trail) but that doesn't seem to change anything.
She's most comfortable with no rein contact while she backs up but even then, she feels very nervous about it.
She did back up with her head down once (first time ever!!), 2 rides ago, but she was really worked up at that point and was doing her best "I'm a wild Ay-rab!!" impression so it was more her being worked up vs any actual training in progress.
She has no issue backing on the ground and she prefers to back up with her head up then too, but as of late I've been teaching her to put her head down to back up (on the ground) and she's doing really well with that. So maybe it'll be a progression...? She also has no problem backing up on her own time, loose, with her head down...
Ideas? How do you guys train your horses to back up all nicely?