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Horse backing up when he has had enough

I have read some of the Q & A's on your website and tried to see if someone had already asked this but I couldn't find it. I got a 10yr old Morgan gelding about a month or so ago and the previous owner had him since he was 2. She started habits in this horse and one of them she constantly let him get away with is when he gets tired or just doesn't want to ride he will back up.

We usually ride in a 2 or 3 horse group down the road or around the barn but if he feels like going back home or just not riding then he will find a ditch to back into and wont come out unless he gets to go home. I am loosing my patience with it now because I thought it was just happening since she didn't ride much and I ride daily usually with a day off a week. I have worked him in slow though and when we do ride its only about an hour. When riding around the house/barn I can get him to do what I want and go where I want but it seems like when we leave the yard he doesn't want to go and just back up constantly.

I am not a fan of whips or spurs and when he does his backing I usually turn his head where I want him to go and kick but it only makes him back up more. everything I do just makes him back up! I lunge him for about 10-15 minutes before I ride just to loosen him up and get him ready for the ride and to build up a little muscle. where I board him we have a "trainer" but she doesn't know what to do either and the only thing anyone ever says about it is use a crop. but I still don't like the idea and I know there has to be some way to fix it. Please help! Thank you in advance!

Amanda :)


There are a few things to try. One, of course, is a crop. But often that makes things worse. For horses that want to back up as yours I have often kept them backing up. I make certain there is plenty of room and when they decide to back up I keep them backing up, FOR A VERY LONG DISTANCE. You need to be set up for this by having a long distance to keep them backing up. Another option is to get very good as doing turns on the forehand. This is no fun and neither is backing up. Your goal here is to make the horse uncomfortable for his backing up. Firm turns on the forehand (both directions) done enough times that he doesn’t like it won’t hurt him but may help. Another thing is to work him more before going out. Ware him down some and see if that helps. Also, if he backs up and you take him him hard right after getting hom so that being home is not so great and peaceful and being out and about is easier. So there are a few things to try. Good Luck.

Sincerely, Franklin

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