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BeautifulBay 02-03-2007 08:06 PM

backing up
There is something my horse does that drives me crazy...when we're riding and she decides we've gotten to a point where she doesn't want to go farther, she tries to turn around on me.....if I don't let her turn, then she begins to back up. She's backed up down into a ditch before, and that can be scary. What do I do about that? What's a clear way to tell her that backing up is wrong to do?

bubba13 02-03-2007 08:08 PM

Carry a crop. Get her turned in the direction you want to go. Whenever she tries to turn around, whip her butt HARD while turning her back around. She's being barnsour and she needs to stop. Otherwise it will progress to rearing.

Raini 02-03-2007 08:31 PM

Turn her in circles. She thinks she can't go forward and the only way is back. I'd show her another direction or just turn her around. Then lightly tap her on the butt showing her a way out of turning. Always give her another option. Also turning her makes rearing out of the question. Can she rear if she's turning in circles? well not unless she's a super horse. :) Sometimes they just need a way out of there.

Also instead of kicking her if she starts turning her. Gently show her the way with the reins and tap her on the butt with a whip...not whipping her but just tapping. If she doesn't move forward turn her around a couple times and give her the option of moving forward.

mynameisntlola 02-03-2007 10:50 PM

Yes, Raini is right.

I rode a friends horse that she had just bought named Buddy and we went on a trail ride. All he wanted to do is go backwards (he was trying to get out of doing what I told him to because he didn't like it), I just kept turning him in tight circles until he decided that trying to go backwards wasn't so fun. I didn't have crop but that would probably help.

kristy 02-03-2007 10:51 PM


Originally Posted by bubba13
Carry a crop. Get her turned in the direction you want to go. Whenever she tries to turn around, whip her butt HARD while turning her back around. She's being barnsour and she needs to stop. Otherwise it will progress to rearing.

Really forcing a horse to go forward can actually lead to rearing more quickly then the situation it's self, in my opinion.

I agree with Raini. Tight circle. Either she go forward or in a circle. She will realize forward is less work and less uncomfortable.

equineconnections 02-04-2007 04:04 AM

Response to Backing Up
Hi there: Horses that are "barn sour" or "herd bound" do this because going further away from the security of the other horses makes them nervous. Instead of smacking the horse (which will only make the situation worse), turn her around and let her go back about 25' and then stop. Interrupt the thought processes of the horse by sidepassing a few steps (if she knows how to do this) or ask her to walk over to a few things and put her nose on it. As long as she remains calm, ask her to move forward a few steps, and do the same thing.
Forcing a horse to give more than they are ready for is a big mistake, because that's when they will escalate their dangerous behaviors, like rearing. If you can begin to recognize her thresholds and use approach and retreat, she will start to feel less anxious, and offer to go further and further away from her herd-mates.
It is important to retreat a good distance back so that she knows that you recognized that she was getting emotional. Allowing her to retreat, will give her less incentive to blow up if she's thinking about it. Eventually, you won't need to retreat at all - just stop and play around to make sure she stays on your aids.
Work on the baby steps of building confidence. If possible, do this alone - just you and her - avoid going out with other horses. If you are young, have an adult walk on foot with you. Your horse has to know that her confidence comes from you - not from the other horses at the barn. The problem will never go away if you don't tackle the problem on your own. You might want to take her for a walk on foot one day, and ride her away the next day. Keep switching your strategy.
Another thing to consider - isolation from the herd for a minimum of 3 days, but longer if the horse continues to whinny and run the fence. Isolation means just that - out of sight, out of hearing, out of smelling distance. If this isn't possible; out of sight is the next best option. Herd-bound behavior is on the same emotional level as a foal getting weaned from it's mother. Isolation will accelerate her bond with you.
There is a video rental service online called It's a cheap alternative to rent instead of purchase, but they have all the dvd sets from Anderson, Parelli, etc. You might want to rent some dvd's and learn some different techniques.
Best wishes for you and your horse.

BeautifulBay 02-04-2007 04:24 PM

thanks everyone....I don't mind using a crop, but it is not my first choice without first helping my horse understand what she needs to do, and to help her relax.
Ella is not the rearing type....she has never even bounced up on me. She is usually very easy. She's obedient and not very spooky.
This is what I usually do:

I take her to my neighbor's field, I had to teach her to walk between pine trees, kind of in a tight spot, this made her really nervous and she always backed up right here. I did the circles with her, not letting her go anywhere but to the trees. Then we'd stop completely, facing the direction of the trees and I'd wait to let her think it out as I talked to her in a happy voice, urging her that it's ok. The very first time, I got off and led her through....after that, I stayed patient and it worked....we pass through the pine trees each time with no problems now! Success!!

The big problem is on an open road or in an open field....I don't think she is barn sour...and she's my only horse, so she is definately not herd sour... but she feels vulnerable in open spaces that are not familiar to her. I can ride her anywhere as long as we have protection of trees nearby.....but an open space makes her jumpy, nervous and she starts to think too much. So, I've done the same thing as with the pine trees....we do circles, wait it out, I talk to her.....but nothing seems to work....she stays nervous and I have to either get off and lead her through, or turn around and leave, because she will back up repeatedly as long as I expect her to go forward....and she does not seem to settle down....There are 2 places in particular that she does this....other than that, we can ride anywhere. It is just weird. She has no other problems to speak of.

savepitbulls 02-06-2007 01:58 PM

Onyx does this exact same thing. I've had her for 12 years and I know that she knows better. She just needs to try it out and see how I'm going to react. We've gone on many trail ride in many places so she knows how to behave but basically she's NOT a trail horse. She will never be one of those horses that will just quietly walk along with no concerns. She's a horse that has to have something occupying her mind all the time and for me that's too much work to do when all I want is a nice quiet ride in the woods. Sure I can make her cooperate, but she wouldn't be enjoying it so what's the point? I take a different horse instead that will enjoy it more and I save Onyx for other stuff that she does enjoy. I don't know if that's what your mare's deal is but it's something to think about.

BeautifulBay 02-06-2007 09:44 PM

That sounds similar, because she is always thinking too everything, she's very alert to her surroundings. I'm not sure if she'll ever be the type to just settle down and walk along without much thought, but she does get used to certain areas pretty well and likes to walk through them for something to do...but she's soooo nosy and curious about everything...she just eats up the fact that there's so much to look at!

xbeccix 02-07-2007 08:08 AM


My girl has done this before, and if your in a safe area play her at her own game...

When bliss started to back up with me, i carried on and asked her to go backwards and she was really quite suprised and got her act together! Im not saying that this will work with you but it REALLY worked with bliss!! Ans shes not done it since!!! :) Good luck keep us posted!!!

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