Pretty much Mitch knows how to back up haltered up and does it easily, sometimes he won't listen but a light brush over his chest along with the normal aids and he goes back for me, put on a bridle and it took about 10 minutes for him to back up for me, the first few times I brushed his chest and he backed up for me fine after that. I let the pressure of the reins go as soon as he steps backwards also. All this is from the ground and he does it fine, it's just under saddle that we have problems.
Under saddle I use firm (but not hard) pressure evenly on the reins and usually very slight pressure on his sides, but the one and only time I have managed to get him to step back under saddle was when I took my feet out of the stirrups and put my legs way forwards, almost brushing the front of his shoulders. Any other way he will not go backwards.
Is this just purely a training issue or could there be an physical problem? He is having trouble on the left rein in a circle at trot/canter undersaddle and lunging, so out comes the chiropractor hopefully next week (Mitch scrambled a bit getting out of the float on sunday) dentist and farrier are also out next week so here goes the royal treatment for him .
If it is not a physical issue, then how should I go about training him to back under saddle? I have had mum brush his chest for me while I am giving signals in the saddle, but apart from the one time I haven't been able to get him to back up without another person helping from the ground, and it's starting to frustrate me... Because I can't really open gates on the farm on him if he won't back undersaddle... and getting on and off a 16.1-16.2 horse every 4-5 minutes isn't really ideal for me.