Trying to teach my horse to back...

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Trying to teach my horse to back...

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    07-15-2009, 10:14 AM
Question Trying to teach my horse to back...

Hope this doesn't sound to weird... but ok;

My horse knows how to back; She will do it fine when you hold the reins in each hand (like for direct reining and such) But, since I've started showing her in Western Pleasure, I need her to back up while I hold the reins in one hand. It doesn't seem like it would be that different, but she refuses to back at all when I hold them like that. She backs fine on the ground, and when holding the reins in two hands, like I said above. Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong?
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    07-15-2009, 10:21 AM
What are your aids specifically when you ask her to back up? What kind of bit is she wearing?
    07-15-2009, 10:29 AM
I look at back as the same as forward only in the opposite direction. I speed my horse up by bumping him with the spurs. Once I teach the horse to take a step backwards I speed it up by bumping him, I also steer with my legs. If the horse really knows how to back and it does NOT involve just yanking on the mouth.
I say the word BACK, lift the reins and nudge with my heals. The reins are to prevent forward motion, not pull the horse back. Since my heals are asking for movement and the reins are saying no to forward he goes backwards.
Again practice the 2 hand back, saying the word and just lifting the reins and jiggling them, not actually pulling him backwards and ask for motion with you heals.
    07-15-2009, 11:27 AM
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
What are your aids specifically when you ask her to back up? What kind of bit is she wearing?
She uses a snaffle, and her aids are simply the word 'back' and occasionally kicking, altough I don't like to kick since it confuses her and she tries to move forward. I usually lightly pull on th reins, never hard since she's really sensitive. She does know leg commands, but I wouldn't know how to cue her for the back.
    07-15-2009, 03:14 PM
My western horse has a bit of this problem. What I have done is to bridge the reins in between both hands and using both hands on the reins ask for the back. You are compromising here-the horse gets confused when you use one hand to ask, so this way you can continue to ask for the back using both hands like the horse is normal, but your hands will be close together asking simultaneously. Eventually you can bridge them and hold with one hand, and then later hold the reins like you are suppose to and ask to back.
    07-15-2009, 09:38 PM
Well, when I was teaching my horse to back up, all I used to do was always use the leg commands and so on and so on. but there was a girl I met and she was a horse trainer and she showed me a really neat and effective way of teaching horses how to back up.
this is hard to explain just in writting, but ill give it a whirl
When your mounted on your horse, make sure you have her just standing still. Take both reigns and put one in each hand. Than very gently, rock your hands back and forth( like pull towards yourself than away ) very quickly but very gently and just use your wrists- not your whole arm ! Haha . As you do this, your horse should be lowering her neck slowly and should be very relaxed. ( this is what most horses do ) once that is accomplished, praise her for it. Do this over and over until she understand what the rocking back and forth means in her mouth. After that, once you do maybe two or three "rocking back and forths" than she should automatically lower her head, and when she does this, gently pull on the reigns and wriggle back and forth just a little bit- most horses will back up without a problem, mine did anyway, but all horses are different, some take more time than others. If she doesnt than pull a little harder until she does, than praise her. Eventually, she'll know to lower her head withouth wriggling her mouth and all you will have to do is gently pull back. I know it doesnt sound different than what most ppl do, but getting them to lower their head is very important and it relaxes them and they understand better what you are asking of them. Try it, it worked really well for me.
sorry if it doesnt make sense or if it doesnt work for you, but its hard to explain and that's the best advice I can give you good luck !!
    07-15-2009, 10:57 PM
Originally Posted by Cerko    
She uses a snaffle, and her aids are simply the word 'back' and occasionally kicking, altough I don't like to kick since it confuses her and she tries to move forward. I usually lightly pull on th reins, never hard since she's really sensitive. She does know leg commands, but I wouldn't know how to cue her for the back.
The rein back is a 'forward' movement. It goes, leg on, lighten seat to not block the horse's back, and 'close' the hand...not pull back.

She's backing with two hands because you're hurting her mouth. She won't back with the reins in one hand because that changes how the snaffle puts pressure in her mouth, which she can stand.

Back to basics and learn to back her w/o pulling on the reins.

Step 1: The halt must be FORWARD so that the horse halts with engagement.

Step 2: Leg on and ask for FORWARD

Step 3: Simultaneously lighten the seat to unload the horse's back

Step 4: Also simultaneously, 'catch' the FORWARD energy your leg aids generated and the horse will back up. The moment the horse thinks about backing you soften the hand. It is the RELEASE that cues the horse back, NOT a pull and NOT the 'catching of energy'.

Step 5: You may have to apply the leg aid again to tell the horse to keep stepping back for as many steps as you'd like....preferably no more than 3 steps as the back is very hard on the body.

If the horse raises it's head, it can NOT back up because the back is locked and therefore the hind legs are locked.

Do NOT force the horse's head down as that only teaches the horse how to tense and brace.

Halt the horse with engagement and the head will be where it should be and the horse will very easily back up when the aids are applied.

backing problem

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