Need advice for "backing up" a horse
 
 

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Need advice for "backing up" a horse

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  • Name something need backed up
  • Horsetrainingtipsonbackingup

 
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    08-22-2008, 01:31 PM
  #1
Weanling
Need advice for "backing up" a horse

My mare is only 3 years old. I would like for her to be a little quicker at backing up. However, when I cue her to back up she ats like she is a little hard mouth or is just not responding to the cues. She only takes about 1 or 2 steps and stops. I use a tom thumb snaffle copper bit ("broken bit"). Even sometime when I try to pull the reins back she will turn her head to the side and just stand there. I am not pulling head in that direction, she just puts it there and I end pulling more on the other side.
     
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    08-22-2008, 01:45 PM
  #2
Weanling
I'm having almost the same trouble with the horse I am currently riding. Mine is in a loose ring snaffle, and the laziest horse I have ever come across as of yet.

As for your horse though, it could be that the bit is very harsh. I've heard a lot about tom thumbs, and everything I've heard says that it's harsh. Could be that when you pull the reins back, cueing back, she turns her head to the side because it hurts?

I'd suggest doing a lot more ground training with backing up. Use voice commands as well as normal cues when asking for her to back up.

Good luck!
     
    08-22-2008, 01:50 PM
  #3
Foal
I always like to start on the ground first... sometimes for youg horses backing up can be a hard balance thing.

Walk next to your horse along a straight fence, stop and then face your horse directly infront of him, by respecting your space as you step towards your horse he should step away. (sometime you need a crop as insentive hold the rein with one hand and on the tap the horse on the flank with a dressage whip on the side not against the fence) The whip offers energy, your job is to channel that energy backwards- do not let your horse move forward or sideways.

Only take a couple steps, stop move forward and reward and try again. Be very concious of your body position during the whole thing. Another thing to note is backing is a 2 beat gate, like the trot diagonal legs should move together not each one by on it's own- which many horses do.

Once your horse is doing this well from the ground have a firend help you. One on the horse the other on the ground, have the rider incharge of the reins, remember it's half holts for each step not constant pulling, tip your hip's forward. Have the person on the ground still use their body language by facing the horse and using the whip as insentive. Once the horse relates your forward hip angel and half holts with backing your all set to back all day long!!

Just remember like anything in horses it's not going to happen over night, don't pound it into him just work on it a couple times each day you ride and reward every small improvement alot!! Good luck!
     
    08-22-2008, 02:18 PM
  #4
Yearling
I agree with first working from the ground. I like to use voice commands with mine. It comes in handy when I've got my hands full and I want them out of the way. One word and they move.

In order for a horse to back up correctly they need to be on the bit and working off the hind end. To do that you don't pull you "set" your hands. The horse needs to have his back feet under him, to do this, you must push your horse into the bit with some leg pressure. Lightly set rein pressure will keep the horse moving forward. Then add a little more rein pressure and the horse should tuck his head and back up.

If she gives you even one step praise her and then go onto something else. Come back to it later after she's thought about it for a few minutes. Getting into a pulling contest asking for several steps is just going to frustrate her. She's getting stiff in the neck and mouth because she's looking for the release and not getting it.

To reinforce the back up, when I ask for a whoa I then ask for a step or two back, halt and then carry on.
     
    08-23-2008, 05:30 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
In order for a horse to back up correctly they need to be on the bit and working off the hind end. To do that you don't pull you "set" your hands. The horse needs to have his back feet under him, to do this, you must push your horse into the bit with some leg pressure. Lightly set rein pressure will keep the horse moving forward. Then add a little more rein pressure and the horse should tuck his head and back up.

I totally agree with that. Groundwork first, but using LEG to back your horse. My goal on a finished horse is to back with only leg and no use of hand at all, so to get there, you start with hand and leg, but don't forget the leg!![/quote]
     
    08-25-2008, 10:16 AM
  #6
Foal
I agree as well, that was better explained. I think once properly backing it should be done by legs and seat and your hands should just be to stop any forward motion, but your legs are telling your horse to move and your seat is telling it to move backwards. By saying "half halts" I was jut trying to get the point across not to be constantly pulling back hard to get the back.
     
    08-25-2008, 11:16 AM
  #7
Weanling
See I can tell a horse to turn "left" or "right" with leg commands and neck reining. However, I have never been successful with cueing a horse to back up with leg commands. Everything has been by cuening with the bit and pulling the bit back in their mouth and getting that head to bend in, then the horse backs up.


I did start doing some more ground work and using "word commands". She is responding, but it is something that I know that will take time.

Other suggestions are welcomed! = )
     
    08-25-2008, 01:15 PM
  #8
Showing
[quote="Rubonsky]
Quote:
I totally agree with that. Groundwork first, but using LEG to back your horse. My goal on a finished horse is to back with only leg and no use of hand at all, so to get there, you start with hand and leg, but don't forget the leg!!
Agreed
Legs should be the ultimate goal. I start on the ground with voice cue ("back") and tapping on the chest/front of shoulder. Then from the saddle, Sit back feet forward tap with your feet as far forward as you can reach. This is really exaggerated till your horse gets it down. So your tapping almost where you would be tapping from the ground, does that make sense? Gradually you won't have to go so far forward and just wiggle your feet and the horse should recognize the cue. Ultimate goal again will just be legs forward, seat back, without using any bit at all.
I'm not a horse trainer, this is just the way I do it. If its wrong feel free to correct me.
     
    08-25-2008, 04:55 PM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velvetgrace
See I can tell a horse to turn "left" or "right" with leg commands and neck reining. However, I have never been successful with cueing a horse to back up with leg commands. Everything has been by cuening with the bit and pulling the bit back in their mouth and getting that head to bend in, then the horse backs up.


I did start doing some more ground work and using "word commands". She is responding, but it is something that I know that will take time.

Other suggestions are welcomed! = )
Your right it is going to take time. Watch horses at liberty, backing isn't something they do very often. They will side pass, turn on the haunches, turn of the forehand, anything other than backing.

On a finished horse all I want to do is slightly lift the rein and apply some leg pressure. Pulling on the reins to get them to tuck their heads only makes them brace and hollow their backs, you want them on their haunches with a nice round back. That's what frees them up for the movement. Take a look at some reining videos on youtube.
     

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