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 Post subject: How To Teach a Horse to Back
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:57 pm
Posts: 195
Location: Iowa
Someone asked me how to train their horse to back up. I gave them this advice, and they contacted me the next day and said it worked! This gal's mare learned to back with these simple steps:

For backing up, I would suggest working with her on the ground a little bit. When you pull back on the lead line or reins, towards her chest, does she step back for you at all? I would stand beside her left shoulder, facing back towards her hind end, the direction you want her to move. Pull back on the lead line, say "back", and if she doesn't move, push her chest. She should give to the pressure. If she doesn't move, you will have to give her a sharp nudge with your elbow in the chest. Keep it up until she does step backwards. If there is ANY sign of a move back, even just one hoof moving backwards a few inches, release all pressure immediately (stop pulling) and rub her neck and pet her.

Let her rest a moment, then ask her to step back again, first with a slight steady pull, then with the pushing against her chest. Practice this repeatedly, releasing all pressure when she does step back. When she does this well from the ground, then try it from the saddle. Pull back, steadily. If she doesn't move, keep pressure on her. She might fling her head, toss, and fight the bit, but keep pressure until she moves a foot backwards, then release immediately.

If she's trying to keep forward movement, try facing her against a fence or corner. Don't let her move sideways, and keep asking for a "back". Once she steps back, release pressure and praise her. Don't use treats or food as gimmicks. Teach her the cue you want her to listen to, and her reward is a release of pressure.

If anyone else has any thoughts or ideas on training a horse to back, please post them here!


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