The right way to back up? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Red face The right way to back up?

Okay, so I'm a little confused as to how to train my horse to back up. I've tried the wiggling rope thing and he doesn't move. I've tried twirling the rope--towards his chest-- and he rears. The only thing I've found that works if using my fingers and putting pressure on his chest while saying "back". This works but I'm not sure if this is okay to do as I don't think there is really any cue I am giving him and it does put both of us in a awkward postion. I'm bending underneath--or curved around-- his head.

Totally not sure what do train him to do. Advice greatly needed!

thanks!
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 12:07 AM
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It's not just a matter of wiggling the rope. You're sending energy down the line. Start with a little energy then get bigger and bigger with the wiggles and stick with it untill his feet move. You may have to really get wild with the rope but as soon as his feet move quit. That is all the reward he requires. Just be sure to start small and quit as soon as he has moved the desired amount( it will increase as he gets better at moving). It wil work as long as you don't stop to soon.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 12:23 AM
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The way I cue is by standing in front of Ice, facing him, putting slight pressure on the rope, stepping forward and saying "back". that way, the halter applies pressure to the top of his nose, just like my hackamore would if I were riding, and I'm invading his space, which is asserting my dominance. If I'm in a place where I can't stand in front of him, like in his stall door, I hold the lead rope in my right hand and do the same thing, bringing my arm up, so my elbow is near his chest.

the "yo yo" way of doing it has never made much sense to me.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 07:17 AM
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I agree with kevinshorses that there is definitely a "right way" and a "wrong way" to do the rope wiggle. I've never been able to get consistent, happy-faced reactions from my horses to the rope wiggle method, myself, but I have seen it work beautifully, and have backed horses that way myself. My boys must just be dense... (sorry, Scout )

For a horse without a clue about backing up, I put my hand closest to them on the bridge of their nose, about where the noseband sits on their halter, and put gentle pressure there and make a clucky "we're moving now" noise. The noise says move your feet, the pressure says "not forward this time." Make sure you are standing facing their shoulder, with your feet at a 45 degree angle to their front leg (in the "safety zone").

When they have it really nice that way, I'll graduate them to me just clucking while I'm facing their shoulder. If the idea doesn't carry over, I remind them, either with hand pressure or by picking up on the lead (this is why you want to initially start with your hand where the noseband sits, building a "reverse button") and gently guiding them back.

Hope that was helpful, good luck!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much guys, I'll give both of your ideas a try. I may have not been sending enough energy down the rope when I was "wiggling". I was a little hesitent to really get into it because I had a friend who was backing her horse up this way and the metal snap on the end of the lead rope hit the side of the horse's mouth and knocked her wolf tooth out. She the wiggling be side to side of up and down--kind of like a wave?--?

Thanks again everyone!
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 11:49 AM
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I had to actually bump my guy under his bottom lip with the rope to get my guy to start backing up. I don't use a clip just a lope on the end of the rope. As he figured out what I wanted I didn't have to wiggle the rope as much.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 11:54 AM
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The trick with any method is removing the pressure the instant you get a reaction. Start with a little "ask" working your way up to a bigger and bigger "ask" until he takes a step in the right direction then STOP immediately and praise.


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post #8 of 11 Old 10-20-2009, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireFlies View Post
Thanks so much guys, I'll give both of your ideas a try. I may have not been sending enough energy down the rope when I was "wiggling". I was a little hesitent to really get into it because I had a friend who was backing her horse up this way and the metal snap on the end of the lead rope hit the side of the horse's mouth and knocked her wolf tooth out. She the wiggling be side to side of up and down--kind of like a wave?--?

Thanks again everyone!
I don't use a metal snap type of lead rope when doing this type of exercise. I use a rope halter and a no snap 14' rope. The snap is sort of stealing the energy you are sending up the rope by stopping it at the snap. Does that make sense?
I'll go out this afternoon and take a photo of what I do and attach it.

Ok, here is how I tie a lead to a rope halter. There are several ways to do it, I like this one. Its easy to do and easy to undo. Make sure you leave a fairly long "end hanging out. Not long enough to smack them in the eye but enough to get a good chin smack.
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Last edited by Vidaloco; 10-20-2009 at 12:35 PM.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-21-2009, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireFlies View Post
Thanks so much guys, I'll give both of your ideas a try. I may have not been sending enough energy down the rope when I was "wiggling". I was a little hesitent to really get into it because I had a friend who was backing her horse up this way and the metal snap on the end of the lead rope hit the side of the horse's mouth and knocked her wolf tooth out. She the wiggling be side to side of up and down--kind of like a wave?--?

Thanks again everyone!

She needed the wolf teeth removed anyway!! I don't think it matters if you wiggle up and down or side to side as long as you start small and work up untill the horse CHOOSES to move back. The horse can stand there all day but that rope is going to get pretty wild and it might come in contact with the horses head but they have the choice. You're not physically forcing her to move her feet. You're just making the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-21-2009, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Goodness, I have so many questions . How far back from him should I stand when wiggling? Laugh, does anyone else think that term sounds funny? If you didn't know that I was teaching him to back up you might think I was dancing or something.
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