Teaching a Horse to Back Up
When training a horse to back up you must first make sure the horse is able to be ridden. After you "saddle broke" the horse, meaning the horse is used to a saddle and a person in the saddle, you can then start teaching him to listen to different commands such as backing up. The best method to use is the give and release training method.
Steps to teaching a horse to back up
~Apply steady pressure through the bit (while on the horse) pulling backward. DO NOT yank on the bit! Start out with gentle pressure then GRADUALLY add more and more pressure. The horse will eventually move away from the uncomfortable situation.
I started with very little pressure(above picture) than added more until Zoey stepped back (below pictures).
~Once the horse gives into the bit even if it is a very slight backward motion then your release ALL pressure. At the beginning you do not even want your horse to be making a full step before you release. Once you feel the horse is giving to the bit you release.
~Once the horse understands that when pressure is applied he becomes uncomfortable and the only way to get rid of the pressure is to give into the bit and back up, then you can start asking for a full step.
~Do not rush, take your time with your horse and remember he is trying and learning as you work with him.
~If you start to get frustrated in any way have your horse stand with ZERO pressure on the bit and take a moment to relax. If you get worked up so will your horse and that will result in nothing getting done.
~Only work on backing up for a few minutes every time you ride then move on to something else to keep you and your horse from getting frustrated.
NOTE- To help your horse learn backing up more quickly when ever you stop your horse while riding have him back up a few steps. But first have him come to a complete stop the release pressure to rewards him for stopping. Then you can add pressure when he is stopped to have him back up.
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