Help with Backing Up? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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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?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 03:08 AM
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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!
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 03:21 AM
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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.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 03:31 AM
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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.
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 09:16 AM
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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.

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post #6 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 10:34 PM
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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
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-16-2012, 11:23 PM
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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.

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post #8 of 13 Old 11-17-2012, 12:03 AM
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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.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-17-2012, 12:25 AM
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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.
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-18-2012, 12:45 AM
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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 horse.so 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.
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