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JenniferLVAQHA

How To Stop Horse From Backing When You Don't Want Him To?

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Cheri, You don't believe from what I read in your post, that the horse's vision, the way the water looks to him in this instance is reason for him to be afraid.

You stated he's crossed water before so he should cross this. No, this is different looking just as a mailbox is differnt looking at it going than it looks from the other direction.

Forcing a scared horse by saying:"You just have not spanked him hard enough..." Is not training him to be confident with a new type water crossing. It is forcing him to go forward even though he is frightened or else he will feel your wrath.

Not training. Old style cavalry method of "making" the horse submit to your will.

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Cheri, You don't believe from what I read in your post, that the horse's vision, the way the water looks to him in this instance is reason for him to be afraid.

You stated he's crossed water before so he should cross this. No, this is different looking just as a mailbox is differnt looking at it going than it looks from the other direction.

Forcing a scared horse by saying:"You just have not spanked him hard enough..." Is not training him to be confident with a new type water crossing. It is forcing him to go forward even though he is frightened or else he will feel your wrath.

Not training. Old style cavalry method of "making" the horse submit to your will.

If you reread what Cheri said carefully, from the start, you may get a different impression:

---"I do not believe in 'beating' horses to teach them. I train literally dozens of horses each year that are never spanked or spurred, ever. I don't believe horses learn new things well through pain or discomfort. I believe in instant relief from all pressure when the horse does the correct thing. Most of the horses I train from start to finish never get hit or spurred. Most of them go from step to step of their training without so much as an arguement."---

I think, but of course have no way of knowing, that, like all of us, Cheri has learned over the years many ways to handle horses and uses what may work at any one time for that one horse.

For the situation here, I would back off and train the horse somewhere else to be very responsive first, so when it comes to any little disobedience, the horse knows without a doubt what it needs to do.

Now, once where the problem happens, I think that the rider may be at fault some, because horses rarely just stop going and decide "I don't wanna", not without a very good reason.

When a horse does that to you without good reason, I would say the rider has been asleep at the wheel and let the horse keep making decisions to the point the horse thinks it is running the show.

Once confronted with the refusal, the rider can back off, work the horse a little and, once having established forward without question again, work back to that situation and most horses will then go without remembering they once were thinking maybe they had a choice not to go over that little stream.

They may hurry the first time, but they will go and come back and go again, as you work them around that place and get used that it is ok.

Now, the first time something surprises a horse badly and he refuses, I would listen to the horse, give both of us time to be sure there is nothing there and then just keep on going.

Once my horse knows that I will pay attention, they quit that and I have had some real spooks to work with, that eventually learned the world was not that scary after all.

Always remembering that there are some quirky horses out there and that sometimes, the horses really are right to spook, as our mustang, that was leery of brush piles, once really was shying badly of one and on approaching, an attack wild turkey bomber flew out from there.

By then I guess he already knew what was there and didn't spook again, but I did. [ROTFL]

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I would bet the horse does not have a vision problem. If he did, it would come up at other times -- not just in one place.

I would bet the horse is not acting out of fear. He is acting out of habit. He has 'talked himself' into this behavior and was not stopped the first time he has a 'thing going' for him. He may have been uncomfortable the first time he was asked to go there. He backed up and he won that time! That was all he needed for it to become a 'habit'. If he goes other places on many trails, it is not a fear problem, especially since this is a particularly 'bad' place. [Actually, it would n't matter if it was. He should go only because he is told to go.]

And Merry is right. This behavior did not appear out of the blue. He has hesitated before -- maybe not been bold enough to stop and totally refuse -- but you can bet he has not been as compliant as he should have. If a rider is not totally in charge all of time, the horse starts trying to take charge. It is oftentimes little things that go unnoticed by a lot of riders. But, you can bet the horse noticed it.

Now, if this horse is ponied over the bad spot or follows another horse, it will get the horse over the spot, but it will not fix the real problem. The real problem is not the spot, it is the disobedience. This is why I do everything I can to get a horse to go first over a new scary place like the narrow bridge on our one trail ride. If I can get a horse to go in the lead, by himself, I know he is doing the right way -- because I told him to.

I also do what Merry is talking about. I make sure I have good forward impulsion BEFORE I approach a known or a possible bad situation. This is what I mean when I say I do not ask a horse to do anything that it is not ready to do correctly the first time.

Case and point:

Last Saturday I took a green (ridden about 10 times) filly on a trail ride in the National Park 5 miles from the house. There are steep creek crossings, canyons and solid rough rock footing with many gullies and ditches. The only creek with running water can be avoided, so on Saturday I did not ask her to cross it. I went around. A young man riding his horse on her first trip out was also with us. He was riding an 11 year (now 12 year) old broodmare his mother had recently bought at the auction near here. She had been ridden 5 times -- first 2 by me, second by the lady and Friday and Saturday by her son with my coaching.

We left the trailer and her son headed straight to the creek. I stopped him and told him he was not ready for that yet. We rode about 10 miles. I left the group and rode 30 minutes by myself. Came back and told the boy to do the same on his mare. He did. He had a little trouble leaving the group, but finally got her lined out and going good. Then, we spent the rest of the afternoon playing 'leap-frog' by taking turns going way out in front of the group (out of sight) and them having another horse pass and go out in front leaving the first horse behind. His mare whinnied a couple of times but went on without hesitating. Mine did just fine. When she acted a little anxious about being left behind, I took her off of the trail into the rough brush and rocks and got her attention on where she was going. I like really rough terrain for that.

We got back to the trailer without incident. I knew my filly was ready for the creek crossing, so told everyone else I was going back to the creek -- about 150 yards from the trailer. Besides, I wanted to leave the group one last time. She left them without hesitation so I knew she was ready for the creek. I took her to the edge and did not let her stop or sniff it or anything. I just lightly bumped her in the ribs with my heels and gave her a 'smooch' and she stepped right into the creek. It was about 18 inches deep and about 20 feet wide. We went back and forth 3 or 4 times. The last time I stopped her in it and let her drop her head and get a drink. She did exactly what I expected her to do because she was ready to do it.

Sunday we went back. I took a different filly that had about 20 rides on her and the lady took one of my trail horses that was getting a little 'herd bound' and her son rode the old broodmare again. We did everything we did on Saturday. I could see the old mare was riding a lot better for the boy. When we got back to the trailer Sunday, I told him I thought she was ready for the creek. He left and went to the creek where she hesitated for about 10 seconds and then went right in. She was ready. She might have gone the day before, but it would have probably taken a lot more urging. Like I tried to explain to him Saturday ? if you think there is a good chance you are headed someplace you think the horse may refuse to go, wait if you are not 99.9% certain the horse will go without a big fight. If you are not ready to have it go off without a hitch, then don?t do it until you are. Once you ask, you are stuck with either making it happen or spoiling the horse if it does not.

Another little case and point:

I have explained many times how I use a ?lip string? to teach spoiled horses to trailer load. I do not just put the string under their lip and go straight to the trailer. I ?condition? them to go forward unquestionably by taking them several other places I think they will refuse to go. I go over a bunch of structural pipe that is lying on a slab of concrete. I take them over a 4 X 8 piece of plywood lying on the ground. I take across several obstacles that I know they are not going to like. THEN, when I have gotten them to figure out that it gets very uncomfortable when they do not lead where I ask them to and they find out that they get complete and instant relief for going forward, I take them to a trailer. I usually load them in my big gooseneck first. Then I make them back out (usually this is also a BIG problem), but I have worked on backing before, too. Only then, do I think they are ready to lead in and back out of the trailer they have been refusing to load in. 99% of the time, they are loaded in less than a minute. They were ready to do the task I set up for them. I spent 15 or 20 minutes getting them ready for it.

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I think one of the most important aspects of horsemanship is knowing how to read your horse. Is this reaction out of true fear, confusion or plain disobediance. This is where most professionals can read this better than the average horse owner. They know how far to push a horse for what their asking it to do. The goal is for the horse to be a success. I agree, green and spoiled are totally different situations. I will never forget a I told you so, I had to hear from my husband. Same problem, horse did not want to cross stream, I made her go but took me forever. I circled her until I was dizzy. Well, the next day my husband was with me. This gooffyness started again, He says light her butt up and stop this habit now. I had to admit he was right, He said I would rather spank her good for 10 seconds than aggravate her for 2 hours. There is a huge difference between beating an animal and correcting one.

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Floridacracker -- you are absolutely right.

I see so many posters on this forum talk about riding a horse through something or working them around and around until they finally do it. It works for that day but it does not fix the problem. The behavior comes up over and over. They should do it because you said so, not because you wore them out and they finally relented. When you do it that way, you have to work them through everything they look at crosswise. They are making the decisions insstead of the rider.

I don't want to have to 'ride a horse through' every little problem. I have to be able to put inept and very inexperienced riders on every horse I train and they have to be willing to go anywhere for these riders that don't have the ability to ride them through things.

Again, we are talking about the difference between a rider training a horse to do the right thing every day and a horse training a rider to do what it takes to get it done that day. These two concepts are as different as night and day to a horse.

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You have your opinion from the Cavalry method, horse disobeys....whack him.

I have seen that method and was taught different. I know horses vision is different than mine and take that fact into consideration. I build the horse's confidence. I don't come to the conclusion that a horse is disobeying out of being spoiled or bad rather than address it for what it is, a fear issue.

I prefer not to force a horse to obey me but to show a horse there is no reason not to obey.

Difference in philosophy. I also believe any fool can whack a horse and scare him across water; it takes a trainer to show him he can cross it willingly on his own.

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Manestails, so what your saying is you consider if a horse bulks at something that you give it the benefit of the doubt that its always out of fear? I'am speaking of a horse thats been riden and not a green horse here. Believe me, the one I had that tried me, was far from scared. I know you don't agree , but I know after that whacking I never had her bulk at anything again. This was 5 years ago, I have ridden her in parades, our neighbor takes her for duty at the fair and he has taken her if they were short horses for police duty. He took her when they were doing the search for Casey Anthony ( The missing child, found dead in Florida) Talk about distractions and reasons to blow a horses mind, that was mass confusion, and a real testament to a well trained horse. I would really like to know how many folks would trust their horses enough to put riders that have never been on a horse and have that horse take care of that person in the terrain that Cheri rides. Thats confidence in your horse, and the more confident you and your horse is the more pleasure they are. I might be a fool, but the horse I ride out by myself, is a true pleasure. Thats to me what riding is about, not dreading it for whatever reason. As far as mental anguish from her whooping, I'am not that far from you, come on down and this mare will be right in your back pocket as she is a real people horse. I'am not going to change my mine anymore than you, so lets agree to disagree, least whys I didn't resort to calling you a fool just because I don't agree with you.

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Now now ladies, no need to get so defensive. There is more than one way to skin a cat. You just have to find the way that works best for you.

Let us know how it goes. I bet you don't really have much of a problem at all with it. :winking::happy0203:

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Cody did great today! When he went to back up, I'd make him go in 2-3 tight circles, then ask him to move forward again. And when he would hesitate, then take a step forward...I'd stop and praise him before asking for another step. Not even 5 minutes later we were going back and fourth over the stream. Granted, he was jumping it about 2-3 feet but still...I'm glad with today's outcome. I will keep working on it for sure, though.

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So glad to hear that, Jennifer! [Not Worthy] :happy0203: I think you did it the right way. No whacking, nervousness, or anger!

Like I said before, I used to make Chief do the tight circles, too. His balking and backing was out of just not wanting to go a certain way, not fear. But he found out that going the way I wanted was easier than the tight circles.

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Good for you.

Did you try doing your circles and having him pay attention before you ever got to that place, so he was primed and ready to just do what you wanted when you got where you knew you may have problems?

That helps sometimes.

Some horses do jump little bitty ditches big when they are scared, at first, so you need to be prepared for their big effort and be sure not to grab them in the mouth, as you have to scramble a little for balance yourself.

Whichever way works, that is the right way for you and your horse. :smilie:

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Manentails, like Cheri, I beleive in having a horse broke enough before taking them out. I also ride in rough country, the Rocky Mountains, and there are many places you can't have a horse second guess you

Can't have a horse decide to balk on a steep trail with a drop off, or decide to start backing, as you could well back right over a cliff

First time you take them into a fast flowing river, can't have them stop or decide to turn around. Unless you keep going, both of your eyes focused on the opposite bank, you will become dis orientated to the point that you will no longer know if you are even moving, or drifting off of the crossing

The point is to become the leader to your horse that you take away the need for him to worry about every situation, becuase he puts the trust in you that he would a lead mare, knowing you will not ask him to do something that will cause him harm

If he is forever wondering which of you make the decisions, the horse will never gain confidence in his rider. If you don't lead, he will-it is the nature of a herd animal

Like Cheri said, train them right and you never get in the situation where you have to over and under them. Going where you ask them to go has become second nature.

We took young horses out into the mountains for years and years. Ifd you need to negociate with your horse where the trail gets tuff, wreaks happen

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Like I said Smile, difference in philosophy. I train the horse to trust me and don't scare them into complying. If the horse works for you out of fear he does not really trust you as his leader. He fears you as his leader. Those are the horses I get to retrain that are afraid of whips, crops and bats.

Those are the horses that when you fall off are glad to leave you. JMHO.

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Exactly, Smilie. I completely agree with what you say. But, in the original poster's case, getting the horse to overcome that problem, whether it was from fear or just resistance, should be done without beating the horse.

I think the way she did do it was good.

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