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Horse Backs Up When It's Supposed To Go Forward

Hi Marv

I've got a question for ya. We've got a 4yr old Paint horse that I can't tell you anything about his past except he was trail ridden. He's quiet under saddle and fairly welling, still very green broke thou. The problem with him is working him from the ground.

I've read the bonder a few times and think I have a pretty decent understanding of it. Until recently we didn't have a pen to work him in, we had to longe him. Well that's damn near impossible to do unless you've got him on a lead rope and are practically right on top of him. Otherwise he will go backwards no matter where you position yourself or how much you "bite".

This crazy idoit backed up a 60degree angled rock hill with me behind him busting his butt trying to get him to go forward. Now if I put a rider on him while longing and they use legs to incourage him forward he will go. I've finally gotten him so he's pretty decent about walking and trotting on the lead rope to the right. However, to the left we are back to fighting about going forward again. What I've been doing is getting right beside him and lightly bumping to busting him in the side to walk foward. These seems to work, but that's not how I'd like to be teaching him to do this.

We recently put up a pen to work horses in. Figured now maybe I could really bonder him and teach him to go forward. Nope, dang thing wants nothing to do with it and baled out of the pen. So we are back to working on a line again.

I want to try and send him up to Connie's. However, I believe I'm gonna be working that weekend. He's acutally my 5yr old daughters horse. I'm just not sure she can understand how to do the bonder and I don't want her to get hurt if he'd get stupid. Thoughts or suggestions?

Well, my first thought is that I sure wouldn't want my 5 year old on a horse like that.

Young kids do not belong on young horses especially young green horses. Green horses + green kids = asking for trouble.

My second thought is that if he bailed out of the RP too much pressure was applied at the wrong angle such as directly behind him.

My third thought is mental imaging and thoughts when working with horses are so important. If you give a horse (dog, kid, whatever) a bad name they will live down to it. He may be simply living down to your expectations.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that horses aren't idiots and they are rarely crazy. If they do not do what you ask them to do you aren't asking them right or they are unable to physically do it because of some discomfort.

I believe horses move toward pain or the expectation of pain. If you are at a gaming show and you have a horse who simply isn't interested in going and the rider begins whaling away at the horse's butt, what happens? The horse backs. If you have a horse on a lead line and you start whaling away on it for crowding you what happens? It crowds you harder.

"Busting a horse's butt to get him to go forward" is actually telling him to back up.

My impression from your email is that this horse is not even remotely broke. Oh, you may be put someone on him and have him carry them around but he is not broke.

He has no ground work skills. He has not been taught to move, maintain & change speeds (transitions) or yield to pressure or respond to cues from the ground.

Teaching a horse to longe, for instance, requires a series of steps that start close in with the horse. Most folks teach the longe by putting the horse out on the end of the longe line and then begin trying to get it to circle. Actually, the very first longeing steps are but small changes in leading.

If the horse will not longe at 3 feet it will not longe correctly at 30 feet. You say that encouraging him to move while you are close seems to work but it's not the way you would like to do it.

In the end, it is the easiest and quickest way to do it.

I cover all this in my "Longe 101" & Longe 101.2" videos available from Video Inventory.

I'm really sorry that you have not been able to get him to Connie's. Even if we're not there she may be able to do a lot with him.

This horse needs to be started from scratch.

Click here to check out my very reasonably priced DVD inventory covering many of the subjects featured on my site's pages in greater depth.

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