Help with Backing Up? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: in a mystical, magical place called Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 137
• Horses: 2
Help with Backing Up?

I've been working on stop/back with my horse, and she's gotten better, but sometimes she just decides she doesn't want to back. I'll be alternating squeezing on the reins, and telling her back and sitting down, and she just won't. But I don't know what I should do when she just stands there and doesn't listen. Should I give her a sharp jerk or a whack with a crop or something to get her to pay attention, or just keep tugging and asking and show her that I'm going to keep bugging her until she backs?

LoveHaflingers is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 02:08 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 43
• Horses: 1
Definitely stay on her!

Start with a little bit of rein, just close your fingers around the reins so there's contact and start 'flapping' your legs. if she doesn't back, increase rein a little and continue flapping your legs, if she doesn't listen, really get on her with your legs, she understands you want her to back so i don't think yanking on the reins is helpful if you already have enough contact to tell her what you want. Maybe pop her in the shoulder with the crop, but really stay consistent and get harder and harder with your legs, and make sure you give release when she does do it!
Mariss is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 02:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Milano,Texas
Posts: 1,105
• Horses: 0
I usually stand up a bit, and ask them to come back, and sit there with pressure till they make even the tiniest move in the right direction.
Janna is offline  
post #4 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 02:31 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 40,748
• Horses: 2
No. Don't go into a long drawn out "bugging" session. She'll just learn to ignore that , and you will teach her to be able to tolerate increasing levels of nagging wihtou being obedient.

If you ask her to back up, try this.

First, aske her to flex her head to one side , let's say the right, just a little bit. I mean , she flexes her head from the poll, so that her jowl kind of tucks into her neck. She will be softening on that rein. When she is soft on that side, make that hand kind of firm (to disallow her going forward) and put your legs on a little to ask for movement. I like to put the leg on more strongly on the same side as she is softened on.
THINK back, in your mind and body. Sit up very straight, maybe roll your upper body back a tiny bit, but don't roll back onto your tail bone.

Think of kind of "pulling" her back with your leg on the side that she is softened toward.

Get one step backward, with her soft in the mouth, and release. Good job.

Now, soften to the left, firm up your hand and leg on that side and "pull" her back with that leg (I dont literally mean pull, but rather think of your leg encouraging her to come backward with it, so you can even kind of brush your leg on her side , from front to back). one step backward, and release.

so , you get her to go backward by addressing her one side at a time. Softening in the jaw, asking for movement with the leg, and closing the door for forward movement with a firm hand, and thinking "backward", And rewarding for each good step.

If only I could show you! so much easier to do than to describe.
tinyliny is offline  
post #5 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 08:16 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,045
• Horses: 0
The "rein back" is actually quite an advanced maneuver. Dressage trainers do not ask for the rein back until the horse is capable of lightening his forehand and doing turn on the forehand and so forth. The rider and horse need to be capable of communicating through the half halt.

In riding forward at the walk, if you push the horse with your seat and legs and give a half halt, can you feel the horse's forehand lighten? OR do you feel like you are more in a tug of war where the horse is moving forward through your hand and fighting the half halt?

If it is the former, it is time to start rein back work. If it is the latter, the horse needs more education and foundation to understand lightening his forehand b4 you go to the rein back.

If you ask for the rein back by pushing the horse forward and using a gentle but firm squeeze with your hand ANY movement to the rear should be rewarded with immediate and complete release. So.. if the horse raises the root of his neck and leans back.. even slightly.. REWARD THAT IMMEDIATELY.

The object of the rein back is to work toward a calm walk backward with each diagonal leg moving back together and the horse well balanced and comfortable.

Most mounted rein back issues are the result of asking a horse before he is balanced enough or leg responsive enough to do this maneuver.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
Elana is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,029
• Horses: 2
I work from the ground using a loud aggressive BACK BACK BACK - first on a lead, then while ground driving, then without pressure on the lead using voice... I then can get it under saddle using my seat and rein cues with the loud voice cue if she doesn't get it right away...

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Nelson Mandela
Ace80908 is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 10:23 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canadensis, Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,313
• Horses: 1
My mare was terrible with backing up under saddle. I taught her the vocal command back, in hand, on accident. Her real command is me stepping towards her chest, touching it, or moving the lead toward it.

I found that if i put my feet a little bit in front of the girth, touch my heels to her and then run them back, she backs up.

Then I started doing that and saying "back" at the same time. Then we added rein.

She caught on pretty fast. I think that's because she already had an understanding of "back" and pressure.

I hope that helps a little.

I live to ride and I ride to live
Horses are just angels without wings
11/01/09 <3 my horse left hoof prints on my heart
Lexiie is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 11:03 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 40,748
• Horses: 2
Yeah, I use leg with a kind of "pull' back sometimes. I also kind of lift my hip on the side that horse will step back into, so it creates a bit of an openning there for horse to step into.
tinyliny is offline  
post #9 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 11:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ashland, OR
Posts: 8,433
• Horses: 1
On top of what is already said, I find sometimes you have to unstick that hip.

I'm a western rider, I don't know what you ride but I am confident it still applies.

I'll use my own horse as an example. Worst back-er-up-er ever. Laziest thing. Hurrying her up and pulling doesn't work, just gives her something to lean on. To get this beast moving, it takes the hip.

If she won't back up, I will aggressively move her hip off one of my legs (Turn on the forehand) for four or five steps. Then I'll move the other side of her hip. Then I'll go back to the other side. Do it assertively a few times.

Then, relax, take a deep breath, and think "back up". For me, this works with hard to back horses. It's not the front end you want to get after; it's the hind. If the hind doesn't move, the rest of the horse won't either. Nagging the horse isn't going to get anywhere.

To keep the hip freed up and keep this problem from occuring, I do a lot of expanded forehand turns at the walk/trot and on more advanced horses the lope which then turns into one piece of the flying lead change.
tinyliny, Lexiie and Army wife like this.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
SorrelHorse is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 11-17-2012, 11:45 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: northwestern montana
Posts: 267
• Horses: 0
i try to keep most things pretty simple when it comes to horses..and training a horse. you will never be able to out pull a the harder you pull to back up.if they decide not to.its over. no use hurting the mouth or teaching him or her that doing it is optional. for me.and most times im having problems backing up are young horses im training but i stop them.then give the comand to back legs.hip.reins voice.and if the sull up i drop my hands low and start to turn them left of right while giving the comands for backing. try to shift there weight from the front legs more into there back legs for a turn and they will break free and start to back up some. i stop.pat love and praise then do the same thing the other direction and make them back up more. repeat the love. and it never seems to take long till they just decide to back up for me.hope it works out for you. part of the love of training horses is every one is different.takes new ways of getting them to do old things.
montcowboy is offline  

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
Please Help! 3yr old backing KinlaraSerenMai Horse Training 24 12-13-2011 08:18 PM
Backing Up. Equilove Horse Training 5 07-04-2011 12:24 AM
Backing up BarrelracingArabian Horse Training 10 04-28-2011 07:25 PM
Backing Up? andysgagirl Horse Training 7 08-15-2009 07:55 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