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Horselover03 06-23-2013 03:10 PM

Training Fork?
I have been long lining my Morgan mare, and when it comes to backing her up or sometimes when she is just not wanting to do anything she will toss her head back really far... When I back her I pull really softly and make sure that I use light contact to pull her back slowly, but after say two steps she tosses her head. I am just wondering if anyone uses or knows of something to use.? I was thinking of a training fork but one that has tubing so it stretches it looks like this

Thank yo for your time!

Clayton Taffy 06-26-2013 09:41 PM

Your photo did not work. I don't know what a training fork is.

Backing a driving horse is a very advanced manuver and I don't recommend it until you are well into driving your horse forward. You never want your driving horse to use backing as an evasive move. Concentrate on moving forward and bending if you are beginning long lining.

ButtInTheDirt 07-01-2013 08:53 AM

I am assuming you mean something like a martingale? I personally would not use one, especially not just to cover up the problem. The only place where martingales should be used in my experience is for a horse's balance at high speeds. (With that said, I would prefer a horse to learn to balance on its own prior to doing such events.) It is a device constantly misused to tie down a crazy horse's head, and if a horse relies entirely on it, without it they can flip over backwards. (I've seen it happen.)

And, as Taffy Clayton has pointed out, backing can be a very dangerous thing to teach a driving horse. We have a mare who went to training and is now collar shy, and will try to just back up to get away from the pressure. With horses like that it is hard to fix. There is no whacking this horse on the butt and expecting her not to take off like a bullet. Already not liking the pressure, I could only assume she would go as fast as she can. (She was pulling carts very well, then was moved into fieldwork and her problems worsened.)

I wouldn't see a problem with asking maybe one step, when we are ground driving and pulling a tire, often times they stop and the traces are pulled tight, so we have them shift their weight backwards so we can unhook them, but nothing more than that. As long as you have a very good stop, and good stand, you shouldn't need to teach backing until she has accepted most of what you can throw at her, and is in the cart driving willingly.

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