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How Does Backing Benifit A Horse
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How Does Backing Benifit A Horse

How does backing benefit a horse?

When a horse backs up, it is a two beat gait. Meaning that the right front foot and left hind foot move together, and then the left front foot and right hind foot move together. Backing on the ground teaches the horse to get out of your personal space. Backing a horse gets them to respect you more, you get more control over the direction of their feet, you can do more with the horse, and if you do need to you can get assertive with backing the horse up if they are acting up.

Getting control of the horse

Getting to a level of control where you can move the horse’s feet backwards just one at a time is a great accomplishment and a wonderful feeling. You build a relationship with the horse, they will respect your personal space and not enter it unless asked. Not to mention that you can then do some fun stuff with them. Moving the horses feet backwards is just as important as moving the horses feet forwards.

Having control all directions

Backing the horse up different ways gets you to be able to communicate differently when you need to. Teach the horse how to back up off you wiggling the lead rope. Steady pressure from the halter, and maybe even like Clinton Anderson and change your body language from passive to active while you are in front of the horse. When I first started learning about training horses I would teach my horse’s different ways of backing up, but didn’t really understand why. Then one day I was opening the gate and the horse was getting to close to me and I just started wiggling the lead rope and the horse backed up. Then I understood, because if the horse only knew how to back from steady pressure on the halter then I wouldn’t have been effective.

Different ways for different situations

Having numerous ways to do an exercise isn’t a bad thing. Because usually you want to be able to back a horse out of a trailer by steady pressure on the halter. If you are working with the horse and need it to back up, but want to stay where you are, then wiggling the rope would be a good exercise to use. And having more than one way to back a horse up is just more ways to control the horse’s feet going backwards. You can back the horse’s feet up in squares, circles, serpentines, etc. Both on the ground and under saddle.

Having a good back up in the foundation to a good stop. The better the horse can back, the easier and better the horse will back. And if you get the concept across while you are on the ground, it will be easier to get across when you are on their back. Having more than one way to back a horse is just like having more than one way to stop a horse. You can stop a horse by having the horse listen to your body language and seat, by stopping with both reins, and also by saying whoa. And it all starts with a good back up.


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