Backs When Mounting
© 2006 Cherry Hill www.horsekeeping.com
have recently bought a 3 year old colt. I am having trouble with him backing up
when I am trying to get on him. What can I do to keep this from becoming a big
problem. he is gentle and fine once you get on him. What do you suggest?
is somewhat common, so don't feel like the "Lone Ranger" but we'll get
First, I suggest you do a review
of your ground training so that your horse knows that he can stand still while
you are at his side, at his hindquarters and behind him. I usually conduct this
type of lesson in a round pen or arena because the horse is either on a long lead
rope (15 foot) or you have ground tied him and told him "whoa" as you
leave his side. A lot of horses back up when you mount because they want to see
you and have their head next to you for security and familiarity. So the thorough
ground training will make him be confident that it is OK for you to be in different
positions around his body. The goal is for him to stand absolutely still while
you move around him. You can do this unsaddled first, then saddled.
you've done this, then review your "whoa" command in-hand (while you
are leading) and while you are longeing. In other words, you want to make a very
strong association with your horse that when he hears "whoa", he plants
his feet and stays put. So review leading lessons like walk-whoa; trot-whoa; but
don't do any whoa-back lessons right now.
the longe line or free longeing, also review his transitions to halt and make
him stand along the rail for progressively longer periods of time so he knows
that when he is told to "whoa" he should stand there until asked to
do something else.
Finally, after you have
reviewed all this, be sure when you are mounting that you don't have too much
contact on the bit when you mount because you could be accidentally signaling
him to back up as you swing up.
often suggested that when a horse is young, if they have this tendency to back,
that you get a friend to hold the horse a time or two just to help make the point
But if you do all of the homework
I have outlined, I'd be very surprised if your young horse doesn't learn that
he should stand still until you ask him to walk off.
and by the way, once you do get up in the saddle, always sit there for 10 seconds
or so before you ask him to walk off. This will prevent him from anticipating
and starting to walk off before you even ask him.
hope this helps. Let me know how you make out. And be sure to visit my website
at www.horsekeeping.com where I post lots
of articles, book excerpts and FAQs about horse training and care. You can also
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