From reiner to pleasure
Hey y'all. I just purchased a 5 year old appy gelding who was trained extremely well in Reining. I have little to no real experience riding reining horses, I purchased him because I needed a level headed smooth riding horse because I just had extensive back surgery and he totally fits that bill. No spook, buck, rear, bolt on this guy.
The problem I've been running into is sometimes, especially in an arena, he gets back into his reiner mindset, especially if I have just asked him to do some spins or anything that would resemble a reining pattern, is that he will start backing up very fast, and even if I totally drop my reins and take my legs off he will still back himself into a wall. Once he hits the wall he's willing to move forward again. While he's backing I've also tried to ask him to turn to get his mind on a different task, but he's set on backing.
I've tried smacking his butt with the reins (any other horse I've been on if you hit their hind quarters it's a reaction for them to move forward not back), and that doesn't help either.
I've tried different bits on him, and that doesn't seem to be the issue either. He was ridden in a correction bit when I bought him, he rides fine in that but does the same thing. Also tried a regular "sloppy snaffle", a Tom Thumb, and even just riding him around in a halter and all are the same results. I don't know if I'm accidentally giving him some sort of leg or seat cue to do this?
Do any of you have any helpful ideas on how to curb this habit? I originally rode Dressage for many years, and then moved to Western Pleasure for 3 years when I purchased the horse I had before this one, and then took a hiatus for about 3 years to have my son and deal with my back injury.
Any ideas would be helpful! Thanks a lot and have a great day!
I think this would be a really good time to take a few reining lessons! If you are close enough to ride with the person who trained him, even better. I would guess you are either leaning forward or back, and he feels that is his cue to go backwards. Well trained reining horses are FUN, but have a lot of buttons to coordinate.
I think that that's probably it. I know my position has gotten hideous since my riding hiatus, I can definitely feel it while I'm riding. When I get back to MY position basics I bet it will make all the difference. I'm gunna say that this has nothing to do with why he was sold-the guy I got him from I've worked with for many years and he doesn't work like that. We bought all of our lesson horses for my old barn from him-very honest guy =) I'm 100% sure it's rider error and lack of knowledge =)
I would ask the previous owner what the cue is to stop the back. Many of them it is, as Pat said-a little forward with your seat and hand down on withers. IMO reining training is wonderful for a horse you are going to use in any western discipline since it reaches them to respond to the rider really well. With a history of back issues, I would be a little cautious when I say WHOA. Just be ready for it. You may want to work a bit on downward transitions, since reiners are pretty much lope and stop. THey are not very accustomed to lope-trot-walk.
You say you are taking your legs off? Where are your legs sitting when he backs up?
A lot of horses know to stop and back when legs come off - generally you would take your legs off and sit them slightly forward, and put your weight back and your horse will back up.
I bought a quarter horse that had a lot of reining experience that I wanted to be able to ride on the trails as well. I wanted to keep her reining training, but also be able to have a nice ride without a spin, and without a sliding stop when I even though "easy" at the canter. I also wanted to work on some English riding, because that is what I am most trained in.
After a year together things are much better, she still has her reining training, but she is also willing to be calm on the trail. It has been a lot of trial and error on my part, even with lessons. Body position is EXTREMELY important with her, a slight lean back means fast backing up. And leg can lead to a spin. I have spent a long time getting used to her buttons, and then working on a slower response when I want them.
Even though she can still be sensitive I LOVE this horse! She is the best thing that I could have ended up with, and she is safe.
Good luck with your boy!
I'm going to guess that it has to do with a cue that you are giving that you may not even realize. Reining doesn't always involve backing...that's only 1 time in a pattern after a stop usually. There are stops that include roll backs and just walking out of the arena. Backing at the wrong time would result in a 0. That's why I'm pretty certain it's a cue. I agree that you should either take some reining lessons, or talk with the previous owner and have them watch you. They might see a cue right away.
I know that some horses will just back to avoid working when they're being stubborn too. That's a really crappy habit, but I've seen it several times. In your case, though, it sounds like it's something you're doing with your body.
When my horses see my feet by me taking my legs off, they start backing up.
Try keeping your legs on his sides and under your hip.
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