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barrelracer717 01-03-2012 10:37 AM

HELP! backing horse
I have a 5 year old gelding I just bought about 5 days ago and hes great with lunging but when I stop him and ask him to back (by shaking the rope and clicking to him) he doesnt do anything but walk towards me. and I barrowed a smaller whip and tapped his chest with it and shook the rope but he still doesnt do anything but eather back only one step or rear. I really dont know what to do. when his owner did it with him he did just fine and im doing the same thing as her. PLEASE help!!

DuffyDuck 01-03-2012 10:42 AM

If he backs up ONE step, walk on, thats progress.

Don't shake or snake your lead at him, you don't do that riding.

I prefer to work in a rope headcollar, ask for things like left, right, halt, forwards etc first BEFORE I ask for back. When you ask for back, ask his head needs to be low, soft and without resistance. Don't keep a constant pressure, make it almost like a pulse, stood infront of him, and walk to him saying BACK, if he doesn't listen, tap, if he still doesn't listen, smack. IF he rears up, let him go and chase him- this is a respect issue and if he does it on the ground you do NOT want him to do it under saddle.

blue eyed pony 01-03-2012 11:00 AM

If he does it for the owner he is testing you. Don't let him get away with it and keep at him until he responds. Don't just keep the same pressure either - start real small and work your way up, and if you REALLY have to get after him, do so.

I can back both my older gelding and my yearling with minimal pressure and both are pushy types. The reason they both back softly is because I am not afraid to really get after them if they don't listen to the softer asks.

You ask, tell, demand, promise. As in, "please pretty please" and if the horse doesn't listen "back up". Still no response? "BACK UP RIGHT NOW" and your last resort is "BACK AND IF YOU DON'T YOU'LL WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN" which you will find you rarely have to use if it's truly a GOOD and STRONG phase four. That said your phases are tailored to your horse, a stronger pushy type needs stronger pushier aids than a timid and shy type.

Your aids can be anything. My mother uses a raised finger for the ask, a wiggled raised finger for the tell, and then a wiggled rope for the demand and a harshly wiggled rope for the promise. She rarely has to go above a tell. MY aids are soft constant pressure on the noseband or bit, and then stronger constant pressure, then on-and-off, then strong on-and-off. If I go to the promise phase I'm sometimes accused of being abusive but both my horses are pushy types and if I don't go to that REALLY strong aid when they're not listening, there's no way in hell they'd respect me. I'm little, and I'm light, and either of them could easily push me around if I was soft on them too!

Respect is key.

DuffyDuck 01-03-2012 11:01 AM


Originally Posted by blue eyed pony (Post 1291356)
You ask, tell, demand, promise. As in, "please pretty please" and if the horse doesn't listen "back up". Still no response? "BACK UP RIGHT NOW" and your last resort is "BACK AND IF YOU DON'T YOU'LL WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN"

Respect is key.

These bits, ESPECIALLY the first bit, oh my, the promise bit made me LOL!

blue eyed pony 01-03-2012 11:03 AM

lol Duffy those are the exact words I've used with my horse several times before now - and I have made BOTH of them wish they were never born! But like I said both are pushy and would be dangerous in soft hands. A softer horse, you don't have to go that far with - but then again a softer horse isn't as likely to test you out.

barrelracer717 01-03-2012 11:06 AM

Wow thank you both of you! I will try that out when I got see him tonight.

blue eyed pony 01-03-2012 12:45 PM

Let us know how it goes :) The main thing is to not stop when he rears up, and allow one step to be a victory because hey, he's actually moved in the direction you were asking for. When I started with my two a shift of weight backwards was a victory.

barrelracer717 01-06-2012 07:16 PM

hes doing better now. I just had to let him know whos boss lol thanks guys!

blue eyed pony 01-08-2012 02:12 AM

Super! I thought that was probably the case.

Iain 01-08-2012 02:22 AM

When teaching a horse to back up, really make sure that you make yourself as big as possible. Make as much noise as possible, make yourself physically determined to back him up (I'd do this in private, cause you kinda start looking a bit crazy when doing this :D). If possible, use the end of your lead as another intimidation technique.

While you're doing this, take it slow... Very slow. Start off with 1-2 steps back, and then reward him, whether that be with treats, or a break, or food, or a quick rub. Then very gradually make your way up to longer stretches of steps.

Just be intimidating and take it slowly :)

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