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ColonialButterChurner 10-21-2013 10:04 AM

Horse Backing Up Instead of Going Forward?!
:shock:So, I'm relatively new to horses (4-5 months) and own 2 TWH. My 4 yo TWH is a real sweetheart and I'm sure it is rider error. MY TWH are also buddy and barn sour, which I have been aware of and working to address. Recently, my 4yo TWH is backing up when urged to move forwards. Why is she doing this? What can this inexperienced newbie do to correct it? She was also extending her neck and doing a weird thing with her mouth/lips? Was the saddle cinched too tight, ya think?

I have another TWH mare (12 yo) who absolutely refuses to enter the trail. I'm at a complete loss with her. I know it must be me. I lack confidence and when my horses "disagree" with me, I find myself getting nervous and uncertain. I know, grow some b@ll$.

I know that I need a lot of saddle time to build up my confidence. Any tips for new rider appreciated. I do practice ground work 2-3 times weekly.

Speed Racer 10-21-2013 10:11 AM

You need an instructor. A horse backing up is basically giving you the finger. It's not quite as dangerous as rearing, but it could escalate into even worse behavior if it's not addressed by someone who isn't afraid of your horses.

tinyliny 10-21-2013 10:25 AM

Yeah, it does sound like your newness to horses is what is making for the horses being able to get away with this bad behavior. I would agree that a real live instructor is your best bet for now.

ColonialButterChurner 10-21-2013 10:28 AM


DuffyDuck 10-21-2013 10:30 AM

Instructor, saddle, back, teeth.

4 year old horses have a lot of teeth changes, and aside from taking the watsit out of you, she may actually have pain.

This is something that has to be addressed straight away, for your safety mostly, but also for the stage in this horse's training. If she learns to get away with it now, you will have hell on fire later on. It takes a lot longer to 'undo' a mistake than it does to teach it.

If you can't afford a trainer, I would suggest, once all health checks are ticked, that you get an experienced rider to get on and give her a few wet saddle blankets.

HOWEVER, the horse may pick up on you being the weaker link and revert when you get back on.

If the 12yo refuses to get on trails, and you don't feel confident, then work in the field or sand school until you are happy together. Lead her out in hand, if you have to, get her used to a short trail, and you too. Take another horse and rider along, to give her confidence. And, naturally, wear hat, gloves and put her working bridle on.

ColonialButterChurner 10-21-2013 10:45 AM

Just had her teeth checked/floated! I am looking into a trainer. Thanks again for the suggestions! I'm sure it must be me. My husband hopped on her right after I rode her yesterday, and she did the same thing to him, but he doesn't put up with any BS (he has no fear) and she didn't do it again. I know I need a trainer, for ME, not necessarily the horse. She is a **** good trail horse. It is me. I need the help. :-D

Saddlebag 10-21-2013 10:52 AM

A barn or other horses represent security to the horse, therefore it can become reluctant to leave. This is often displayed as you start getting farther away, with either suddenly turning to head home or backing up. Normally I would suggest working the horse hard very close to where it wants to be with tight circles, and especially small serpentines. By doing this the horse is continually bent which makes it harder for it to display unwanted behaviour. When the horse is puffing and sweating, ride it a hundred feet or so up the trail and allow it to rest. If it starts heading back without your asking, return to the area you worked in and start again. Usually by the third time the horse has figured out how this works and will want to go to the resting spot. Also, if you feed your horse after a ride, that is giving the horse good cause to come home.

ColonialButterChurner 10-21-2013 10:58 AM

One thing to mention-- when we go trail riding with our "riding peeps" both horses are PERFECT. No spooking, no balking, no weird behaviors. I feel way more confident when riding with our group. When just my husband and I ride the horses alone, we encounter these issues. Again, I know it must be the herd mentality/security and wienee beginner rider combination. I have to find a trainer, asap. Feeling so disheartened right now.

Zexious 10-21-2013 11:06 AM

Her good behavior in a group could be partially attributed to your confidence in a group, but also because of the other horses. It is easier to stay calm and behave when a whole "herd" of horses are doing it, too.

dommycob 10-21-2013 01:37 PM

When I first got my horse she was playing up. Just know what you want and don't give up until you get it.

Your 4yo May be backing up because, as your a new rider, you may be pulling slightly the reins and your lower leg is too far back and he's been trained to reverse to these aids. Watch his body language when he backs up. Is his tail swishing? Also get a different more experienced rider on him and see if he does it again

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