Cue for your horse to go forward and backward

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Cue for your horse to go forward and backward

This is a discussion on Cue for your horse to go forward and backward within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    04-01-2012, 06:30 PM
Cue for your horse to go forward and backward

I have just recently started working with a horse that is new to me about 1 month ago. I have been working on collecting while at the walk and trot.I have also been working on backing up. But I am a bit confused and I feel as if my horse is too. My trainer has told me that in when you start your horse off from a stop to a walk or trot you should put pressure with your feet (which is obvious) then (for a horse that doesnt know how to collect yet, aka my horse) put pressure on the bridle until the horses head collects. And the horse should move forward while keeping collected.

But, then my trainer told me in order to teach my horse to back up I need to first pull back on the reins slightly (which has the same effect as collecting the horse) then if the horse doesnt automatically back up put pressure on him with your legs and he shoudl back up because thta is the only way to go because essentialy there is a "brick wall" in front of him.

So after all that explaining my problem is those 2 ways for 2 totally different things are very similar so sometimes when I mean for my horse to go forward he ends up going backward. What am I doing wrong? Are these the wrong cues to use? How did you guys signal for your horse to move forward and collect? What about go backward? Thanks for the help!!
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    04-01-2012, 06:38 PM
Sounds right. I squeeze into the bridle to go forward. But for backing I also use my legs. Typically I rhythmically squeeze in my knees instead of my legs. It's partially body position and intent. I like to have a leg cue for backing up because eventually you can back up without reins! And that's rewarding.

It takes a little finesse, and your trainer should help you. A real nice show horse, otherwise known as a "trainer's horse", has several different, complicated sets of "buttons". There is no simple "forward, back, turn." There's a dozen different ways to go forward, sideways, left, right, back, up, down, etc. While it might be confusing, ask your trainer what you can do to "define" the cue in your mind.
    04-01-2012, 06:47 PM
My mare is still very confused by leg commands and will typically back up if I ask for forward motion from a standstill through a leg squeeze. She is very sensitive to seat cues, so I've started working with this and can ask for forward motion simply by shifting my weight forward a bit on her back. A 'whoa' comes by me sitting back on my seat. When I want her to back up, I tighten my grip on the reins and ever so slightly pull back. My arms don't even move, it's barely enough pressure to flex my wrists, but she's so soft that it works. I can move her from a walk to a trot by just barely touching my heels to her sides, or 'kissing' to her. I've found that, as long as she's already moving forward when I touch her with my legs, she won't back up. She's got some quirks to work out.

As for collection, we're not there yet. I'm just trying to teach her basic cues now and once she can go forward, back and to the side with confidence, I'll start working on collection.

backing up, collection, new horse, quarter horse, training

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