How do I get my horse to back up properly?
 
 

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How do I get my horse to back up properly?

This is a discussion on How do I get my horse to back up properly? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • How to back up a horse
  • How do i get my horse to back up

 
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    05-30-2012, 10:48 PM
  #1
Weanling
How do I get my horse to back up properly?

My horse has a soft mouth, responds well to the leg as well as verbal cues, but he is hell trying to back up. I have to pull on his mouth real hard just to get him to back a couple steps and he always backs sideways not straight. I need some help.
     
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    05-30-2012, 10:53 PM
  #2
Started
Instead of a steady pull, try this:
Keep your rein snug, squeeze with your legs and give little tugs on the rein. It usually works!

Here's an awesome video by ME :P
     
    05-30-2012, 11:01 PM
  #3
Showing
I hold my hands steady by using the pommel so I don't accidently bring them back when he moves his head. My legs ask for movement. If he can't go forward, he'll take a step back. Immediately release the pressure on the reins and your legs. He may even just rock back a little so release as it's a start.
     
    05-30-2012, 11:14 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Well, I give the cue back from a halt, almost a half halt cue, and because red will back crooked I direct one foot at a time, back with left rein, right...etc with steady leg pressure.
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    05-31-2012, 03:01 AM
  #5
Yearling
Do you practice backing in ground work?
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    05-31-2012, 06:16 AM
  #6
Weanling
Perhaps he doesn't really understand? You could try doing some ground work and ask him to back up from the ground with gentle pressure on the reins. If he ignores it, tap him on the chest with a crop until he takes at least one step backwards. Reward him, and practice this regularly. He will soon learn that gentle pressure on the reins is asking him to back up.
     
    05-31-2012, 06:38 AM
  #7
Yearling
Does he back well on the ground?
     
    05-31-2012, 10:58 AM
  #8
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by sempre_cantando    
Perhaps he doesn't really understand? You could try doing some ground work and ask him to back up from the ground with gentle pressure on the reins. If he ignores it, tap him on the chest with a crop until he takes at least one step backwards. Reward him, and practice this regularly. He will soon learn that gentle pressure on the reins is asking him to back up.

+1 - I've done this with two people. One ground and one saddle.
     
    05-31-2012, 11:09 AM
  #9
Yearling
He needs to understand what it means to back up from the ground first. If you can back him straight up standing next to him with a lead rope then you can graduate to undersaddle.

You need to think of backing up as a forward movement. You are driving the horse forward with the pressure from your legs, but you are blocking that energy with your hands. The only place for the horse to go is back. Do not release your leg pressure until the horse makes an effort. If you give up before he backs, you are teaching him to ignore your cues. If he doesn't "try" with the leg pressure, you may have to alternately bump your legs against his sides until he does something. Just keep the reins steady, do not release OR try to pull the horse backwards. The second he even thinks about going back release your legs and hands immediately and let him rest a minute. Then repeat, looking for one step at a time with a full release of all pressure with every effort.

You might need to disengage his hip before you ask for a back-up undersaddle if he has a tendency to lock-up when you stop.
     
    05-31-2012, 11:18 AM
  #10
Weanling
He doesn't back well on the ground either. I will do as you suggest and work with him more on the ground first. Thanks.
     

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