Basic Horsemanship : Backing up a Horse
Articles Blog

Basic Horsemanship : Backing up a Horse

October 20, 2019


We’re going to go ahead and discuss backing
a horse up. Often times when we think of backing up, we think of it kind of like reverse or
negative energy or some way not in the way that we like to think of it, which is a very
energized and more positive kind of a maneuver for a horse. If we get into thinking that
backing up is in some way just pulling and creating negative energy, that’s typically
a horse that’s not going to eventually back up in that straight, quick, handy fashion
that we all desire. When we ask a horse to back up we have to recognize that it is an
energy filled kind of an exercise. We know that we get energy from the horse through
our leg, it’s our leg that prompts and asks for the energy that the horse gives us. As
we think about backing we want to think of it in a way I often think of everything, it’s
planned, organized and ask. Be sure that you know exactly what steps you are going to take
and then be sure you have them ready to execute so we ask the horse in a easiest fashion possible.
We are always trying to minimize the amount of pressure that it takes to get our desired
outcome. We are going to start asking this horse to back by letting him know which direction
he needs to go. That will come from just a nice quiet half halt from our fingers, if
it didn’t initiate a backing up step, we might use our hands but we are always trying to
use as little as possible. After, the minute he starts to take that first backward step,
we’re going to use our legs to then ask for and create the energy. We also want him to
be backing up straight so we think about how we can keep his shoulders in order and his
hind quarter in order, so that he backs up straight, straight in his order. So we will
start with our hands, we’ll ask for that first step, now she gently wraps her leg around
the horse as she wants more energy she could ask going further down towards her heel. The
leg creates higher energy as we get closer to the heel. We do wear spurs in our sport
often and we’ll go ahead and demonstrate, that was good. Spurs are the ultimate kind
of highest energy. We don’t use them to be abusive, we use them to be encouraging, motivating
and pin point sharp pressure. If this horse were, we wanted him to back up even quicker,
we would start and initiate the backing up and then let our leg pressure begin to wrap
telling him more energy, more energy and get it all the way down to our heel to finish
it out in that quick fashion. If the horse were to get real crooked in its stance, if
the hind quarter or the shoulders were to shift out of place, the rider would have had
that knowledge, how to kind of move those shoulders over or move the haunches in line
to keep that horse in a straighter fashion. And we like a nice handy quick moving western
horse that has all of these basic skills, ready to put to use either for barrel racing,
cow work, western pleasure reining, they all come in handy at some point.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Thank you. Your videos are bery imformative. Please continue making them for every possible thing you you could think of!

  2. @littlereynolds

    Actually he is being impatient; kicking at the stomach and stomping one foot is a pretty clear indication. I wouldn't say mad, just irritated and impatient.

  3. what helped me with backing is to learn how to time the ask with rein in an alternate fashion, but timing the ask with the feet, asking on the side where the horses foot is just about to leave the ground – this creates a nice smooth flow, and remembering to always give slack back, the horse will then search for the flow and release … just my 2cents

  4. I still did not understand how she initiated going backward!! All you explained was freaking energy blah blah blah. Just explain the damn main topic. What should my hands or legs do to give the horse the sign of going backward? Stupid video.

  5. Why won't ANY of these trainers show how to actually start a horse wanting to back up who has been spoiled by beginners and will not back?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *