stupid question- but how to stop a horse from backing up?
Was riding on the side of the road yesterday, and my usually unflappable horse decides he a) does not like standing on gravel and b) is not so sure about school busses either. I tried to have him just stand quietly while the bus went by, but because of the gravel he did not want to stand. So he started to back away- into traffic. ( luckily people were very careful - no idiots..) I obviously did not want to pull back on the reins and have him think i wanted him to back up. And was afraid to nudge him with my heels for the same reason. Several loud WHOA's got him to reasess the situation but... stupid question.. how do you stop a horse from backing up? I had no real room for error here.
Did you try turning him to one side, cueing with legs and rein.... almost forcing the issue.....?
Turning him may work depending on how fast he's backing up. If kicking/squeazing & asking him to move forward again doesn't work then you may need the aid of a whip. It never hurts to carry one with you just in case (does he do this often?)
I know my arab has moments where she just stops & instead of going forward, she'll start to back up. The ONLY thing i found that will make her stop & go forward again is if she knows a whip is there. Don't even have to smack her half the time, just give it a swing & slap my leg with it. Works every time.
I would whack him on the butt if it were me. If you do that just be ready for the lunge forward. Are his feet sore? That should be the only reason that he doesn't like to stand on gravel. Maybe he needs to be shod if he isn't already.
This is the first time he has backed up on me. He is usually the 'been there done that' horse. (now my daughters horse is a different story..) I am sure it was a combination of the gravel and the bus- one or the other would have been ok, but I think he felt he had to get off the gravel AND away from the bus. I think I will shoe him in the spring, and keep him off gravel till then.. but a nudge in the ribs would hopefully tell him to go forward then? No back.. faster?
I know this isn't the cure for the situation you were in - but Nelson will do this to me when his mind frizzles. Usually when he has a temper tantrum about something he thinks he should be permitted to do, and me saying ...ah..no.....
One time, on a Fox Hunt, everyone was jumping these round bales, that were laying on their side....and Nelson thought he should be allowed to follow the crowd..where I was saying "get bent" and he had a temper tantrum and started to back up.....like...Micheal Jackson Moonwalk Back Up....I had to get the Hunts Master come back and get me...lol.
BUT the 2nd time he did it to me, again...was oddly enough on another Fox Hunt.....where a Whipper In galloped past us trying to get a few Hounds who were straggling..and Nelson wanted to follow, and of course, we cannot because that's not part of the rules....and he started to back up again, trying to mimick Micheal Jackson....so this time, I said "ok, you want to back up - lets back up" and I made me back up...and back up...and back up.....and back up.....until he got tired of backing up....and even when he decided to stop backing up, I wasn't done so I made him back up even more...
He's never done it to me again. He tried once, on the recent Hunt, but I opened up my hands and sat deep and asked him to move forward and he did. He didn't bother to back up.
I know it is frustrating - and scary to go through not knowing how to correct it, when you are trying all you can to get them to go forward.
The first time Nelson started to back up on me, I tried kicking him forward, very hard kicking too, and a crop - but he kept backing up. :/ It took having the Hunts Master coming back, grabbing my bridle and ponying us back up to the rest of the group. :/
Leg on always eguals "forward" except that if your reins and your body position are saying backward, then leg on means "go forward in the backward direction" In other words "MOVE!" and the rein says "this way".
In the situation you had, I would put a good strong leg on , have loose reins and PUSH hinm forward. Or a whack with the rein ends if necessary, but as Kevin said, be ready for the lunge forward.
I used to ride a little Arab cross mare who would do the fastest 180 spins and bolt when faced with a school bus. I had to be aware of the schedule when riding on the road.
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