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My 30 something year old most perfect walking horse never backed. He would very slowly sit, or even slower, rear because I think that's what he thought I was asking for...

My 5 year old mare is not backing. She is a kind soul and does not have the word NO in her vocabulary so she is not resisting because she's naughty. She's just green.

Is it more dificult for a walker to back? Is there a special method to teach them? She really does not seem to get it. She's willing, just confused.
 

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How have you been working with her? Does she back on the ground? I do all the groundwork with the youngsters at the farm, this is how I start them backing. I train Rocky/Kentucky Mountain Horses.

Of course they need to respect my space, I work on leading and such before I ever try to back them.

With a longer lead, 10' at least, stand right in front of them at the end of the lead, leave a little bow in the lead, don't stretch it taut.

Body language is huge here. Think dominant. KNOW you are the leader. Start by shaking the lead and walking toward them confidently, the whole time saying, "back" or whatever you choose to be the verbal cue. Typically, they look at me like I'm an idiot and take a few steps back. AS SOON as they start to take a step back stop shaking and praise them. Ideally after just a few times they start to get the idea and you just have to fine tune it. However, sometimes they don't. If they don't want to back for you with just shaking, start stomping a bit as you walk toward them while shaking the lead. I try to avoid getting to this point, but if needed you can also have a "carrot stick" in your other hand and don't hit them with it but swing it slowly in front of you so that they have no choice but to back up or get bumped with the stick. I've seen a few other methods but IMO they are asking to form a bad association for the horse.

Once they are backing well, gradually remove the lead shaking and replace it with a hand signal. Always reinforcing the verbal cue though! Whether you want them to back up when you wiggle a finger or something else, work until they can do it in their sleep.
NOW you start in the saddle. Make a wall with the reins. DON'T jerk or haul backward, just gather the reins until you make contact and hold the wall. Tell them back verbally while cueing with your legs. Some people lean forward or back when cueing its up to you. AS SOON as they step back release the wall and praise them. If they don't catch on you can have someone on the ground in front of the horse cueing them while you cue from the saddle. They gradually transfer the groundwork cues to you on their back and voila!
Nothing works 100% of the time but I have had very good luck with this. Hope it helps!
 

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I had a heck of a time getting my walker to back too..finally after persistance and work, he backs up great. His main problem was he would keep throwing his head up, which would make it all go wrong. Finally will the right amount of bit pressure and then the pressure release (of the bit)when his head was just where I wanted it as we backed up, he no longer throws his head, and backing got easier for him. He doesnt back up as fast as my quarter horse does, but he gets the job done now. I think the suggestions from the ground that were suggested are great way to work on backing too.
 

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How have you been working with her? Does she back on the ground? I do all the groundwork with the youngsters at the farm, this is how I start them backing. I train Rocky/Kentucky Mountain Horses.

Of course they need to respect my space, I work on leading and such before I ever try to back them.

With a longer lead, 10' at least, stand right in front of them at the end of the lead, leave a little bow in the lead, don't stretch it taut.

Body language is huge here. Think dominant. KNOW you are the leader. Start by shaking the lead and walking toward them confidently, the whole time saying, "back" or whatever you choose to be the verbal cue. Typically, they look at me like I'm an idiot and take a few steps back. AS SOON as they start to take a step back stop shaking and praise them. Ideally after just a few times they start to get the idea and you just have to fine tune it. However, sometimes they don't. If they don't want to back for you with just shaking, start stomping a bit as you walk toward them while shaking the lead. I try to avoid getting to this point, but if needed you can also have a "carrot stick" in your other hand and don't hit them with it but swing it slowly in front of you so that they have no choice but to back up or get bumped with the stick. I've seen a few other methods but IMO they are asking to form a bad association for the horse.

Once they are backing well, gradually remove the lead shaking and replace it with a hand signal. Always reinforcing the verbal cue though! Whether you want them to back up when you wiggle a finger or something else, work until they can do it in their sleep.
NOW you start in the saddle. Make a wall with the reins. DON'T jerk or haul backward, just gather the reins until you make contact and hold the wall. Tell them back verbally while cueing with your legs. Some people lean forward or back when cueing its up to you. AS SOON as they step back release the wall and praise them. If they don't catch on you can have someone on the ground in front of the horse cueing them while you cue from the saddle. They gradually transfer the groundwork cues to you on their back and voila!
Nothing works 100% of the time but I have had very good luck with this. Hope it helps!
Thats pretty much exactly what i was going to say...well put

another thing I was going to say, when ground driving, I'll have the horse woah, then back up, and as soon as the horse takes one step back, STOP! then have them walk off. I've got one now that at first wanted to shake his head and prance around, now with the slightest bit of pressure, and the word back, he'll back up a mile. Its all about being in control and doing it right imo...

Nate
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have been working with her for about 6 months. She's very willing, sweet sweet girl. She has excellent ground manners, no space issues what's so ever. Very well-behaved. She does not back from the ground, been doing just what has been stated above on all counts. That's why I was wondering if gaited horses are just plain different. Sounds like it may not come as easily to them. I know in the field when my QH's are told to back off they will scoot backwards no issues, she will move sideways and turn but doesn't back even in the field.

We'll just keep working it! I geuss we'll stop asking from her back though until we get it from the ground. It's semi there. I actually had to take my trailer apart the other day (It's a 4 horse slant load w/ a back tack compartment). She was in the back and would not back out to save her life. Had to take the bar down and scoot the tack compartment over so she could turn and come out forward.....
 

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I have a Foxtrotter and have had a hard time getting her to back as well, from the ground I have tried everything--Clinton Anderson style, she will not back. In the saddle I can get her to do a few steps but not as much as I'd like to. have to keep working on it.
 

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Our TWH backs fine, so does gmas foxtrotter, I think it isn't so much a physical or mental issue as it is a training issue... They might just be unique horses that require a special way to teach them.
 

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That's why I was wondering if gaited horses are just plain different.

Hmmm, you just might have something there. When horses back up their legs move in diagonal pairs like they do when trotting. (I don't know why this is, but if you get down on all fours and try to back up you'll do the same thing). That might not come naturally to a gaited horse.
 

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A horse is a horse..No matter what breed they all back. Now I think alot of the ole timers never taught the gaited horses to back they were taught to go forward. My twh and mft both back without an issue...I have had horses that didn't have a clue on how to back up. It all comes down to what they were taught from the ground as youngsters....:lol: jmo
 

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The Mangalarga Marchador horse can have one of three different gaits and be correct: the marcha picada, a lateral gait similar to a stepping pace; the marcha batida, a diagonal gait similar to a foxtrot; and the marcha de centro, similar to the running walk of a 1930s era Walker. I've got all three gaits in my herd; all will back up on command without difficulty. It was no more difficult to train one than another.

IMO it's a myth that the laterally gaited horse has more difficulty backing than a diagonally gaited horse. It's all in the skill of the person teaching the manuever.

This is not to say, however, that all horses are equally easy to train to this manuever; they are not!!! :) Rather, any training difficulty in my experience is unrelated to the gait being performed.

G.
 
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