Teaching my horse to back under saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Teaching my horse to back under saddle

I am having some trouble getting my OTTB Rocket to back undersaddle. When I ask him to back he just braces then starts to tuck his head almost to chest and just stands there. I'm not really sure how to get him to understand that I want him to back, not bring his head down. Any suggestions would be fantastic.
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 07:06 PM
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I alway use a LOT of leg pressure if they don't get it, then sponge the reins. THey will want to move because of the leg pressure, and by sponging the reins (not pulling) the only movement they can do is back
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 07:49 PM
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My greenie is pretty good to back on the ground (we do a lot of grooming and showmanship practice), but has no clue what I'm asking under saddle. My plan of attack is to enlist someone to cue him from the ground while I cue from the saddle to get him going. I haven't tackled this yet, we're working on perfecting basic forward gaits, but this task is looming, lol.

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 #4 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Rocket is a pro at backing on the ground, I have had a few times where he was being just a complete idiot and we ended up back the whole length of a feild. :p

But when I get in the saddle I try to lift his ribcage while cuing and like I said he just tucks his head into his best impression of a rolkur .
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 08:49 PM
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I would ask for some help from someone on the ground like Scoutrider said. He is just confused and if he can associate what you are doing in the saddle to what the person on the ground is doing, then it will click and make more sense to him. :)
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 08:55 PM
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Lift your tailbone so its almost like a he has room to backup. Put some pressure on the reins and squeeze.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-22-2009, 10:48 AM
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Try getting someone to help you on the ground while your on the horse. Give the cue and have the person on the ground make him back up one step. Pat him and over exagerate how good he was. Keep doing it until he understands that your cue means the same thing as when your on the ground. Always remember to give plenty of praise and as soon as he backs up one step, release all pressure, both on his mouth and with your legs.
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-22-2009, 03:16 PM
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My advice would be to hold one rein a bit shorter than the other because this will cause him to be unbalanced and it will be harder for him to brace against the bit. Also, apply pressure with your legs one at a time. It will further off balance him just enough to encourage him to step back. Later, you can time your legs to move in tune with him, and it also can be a great speed control while backing.

"Maieutic Manege"
The art of horsemanship through sharing new ideas with one another
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-22-2009, 03:30 PM
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Try just lifting one rein at a time and add some leg. Your giving him something to brace against by using both.

You can also start this from the ground. Stand at his shoulder and lift the rein, just hold it still. If he doesn't move then start bumping the rein softly at first getting stronger until the second he moves a foot and then release and drop the rein. Reapeat until all you have to do is lift the rein. This will 100% transfer to the saddle. Do both sides of the horse.

Last edited by G and K's Mom; 06-22-2009 at 03:37 PM.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-22-2009, 03:57 PM
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Does he respond to a voice command from the ground? I used that to transfer it to the saddle for Soda, ie give cue from saddle, say "back up", then gradually work out the voice command. This has the added benefit of allowing you to back your horse up easily if you are ponying him.
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