Yesterday I bought a crop to use on Lacey when she starts doing her backing up thing on the trail...
Background: she'd randomly stop and back up whenever she decided that she didn't want to lead the trail ride any more and I exhausted all the suggestions I got on here and everything I could think of (lateral movements, circles, forcing her to back up until I told her to stop, disengaging her forequarters/hindquarters etc) and she was still backing up without warning when she didn't want to go.
So I got to try out my new crop today.
It's the 26 inch kind so I can pretty much reach where ever I need to on her body. And it has one of those popper things on the end so it can't actually hurt her, it just makes a loud noise. I tested her out in the arena first to make sure she wasn't spooky about the crop and she was totally fine with it.
So my friend and I went out on the road. Heheheh. We decided to keep switching leaders so that it was an extra reward for Lacey when she was calm (because we only switched when she was calm leading). The first time we switched Lacey tried to follow the other horse in turning around but I stopped her. Then she stopped and started backing up. I smacked (I wanted to make sure she'd listen the first time, that's why I didn't just wave it, I didn't want to give her a chance to fight me like she usually does) her so hard with that crop she never knew it was coming. She LEPT forward and started dancing all over the road trying to evade going forward. I smacked her again, not as hard but still kinda hard and she started walking forward. I sat back, relaxed and sighed to her (she often relaxes in a tense situation if I start sighing to her) to tell her it was ok because she was pretty hyped up. After she calmed down I took her to the back and let my friend lead again.
The next few switches were a little difficult but since I had smacked her the first time I was able to just wave it to get her to go forward without much of a fight after that first time. She got calmer and calmer, she was still more hyped up than usual but I don't blame her, I would be too if I had suddenly realized that I wasn't in as much control as I thought I was!
Once we started back towards home I started having her turn around and walk away from the other horses and home, just to cement the idea that stopping and/or backing up is not the answer. The first few times she had issues and really wanted to turn around and book towards everybody else but I kept her going forward and by the time that we were within sight of home I actually had her turn around and walk away from the other horses and home using only leg pressure, with the crop put away where she couldn't even see it!
Yay! Go Lacey! I plan to keep the crop on me the next few times (or until she shows me that she's not going to try anything) I take her out but hopefully I won't need to use it.
On a side note, my friend was very impressed with how I handled Lacey and that's saying something since she knew me back when cantering a horse that I hadn't ridden for 6 months was a terrifying thing. I'm also proud that I had a really solid seat the whole time and there was only once (when I first smacked Lacey really hard) where my butt was not moving with Lacey and firmly on the saddle.
Sorry for the novel but I'm pretty ecstatic. I feel like we've had a major break through since this is a habit she's had (according to my trainer who known L for awhile) since she was at least 15. A 9/10 year habit.