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help with reinback issues

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  • help with reinback issues

    I am trying to help a student work with a horse who has issues with the reinback. She has worked from the ground and the horse does ok. I have helped while she is in the saddle and the horse will take a few steps back and is rewarded. Left on her own, the horse just throw up his head and refuses to step back. The teeth have been checked. The rider is not driving down with her seat. We are pretty sure there are no saddle fitting or back issues. We don't want to "haul" on the horses mouth. Looking for suggestions and ideas. Thanks.

  • #2
    My guess is that the student is not going forward into the rein back. In other words, she is primarily using her hands and not her leg. Explain to her that she needs to think about moving the horse up to the bit, and then when the horse finds that he is not allowed to walk on despite the fact that he is still receiving a forward aid, then he will move backward.

    She can encourage him to remain round by asking for a little lateral flexion at the poll if he tends to come above the bit.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


    • #3
      Are the aids correct?

      The horse must be in front of the leg first - be sure
      he is quick to the leg aids at w-t-c.

      When beginning to ask for rein back (which is misnamed in
      my opinion), the rider need to remember that you never
      pull back. The rider closes the leg, the horse starts forward,
      then because the rider does not soften the hand, he 'hits'
      the bit and bounces back. When the horse completes the
      required number of steps, an allowing hand permits the move

      So rein back is a 'forward' movement also.

      When training, patience is required - you may have to wait and
      wait and wait until the horse processes the info. Just be sure to
      keep asking him forward.



      • #4
        eclectic horseman types faster



        • #5
          Originally posted by dotneko View Post
          eclectic horseman types faster

          But you express yourself more clearly and thoughtfully, m'dear.
          "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


          • #6
            Originally posted by dressagemom View Post
            I am trying to help a student work with a horse who has issues with the reinback. She has worked from the ground and the horse does ok. I have helped while she is in the saddle and the horse will take a few steps back and is rewarded. Left on her own, the horse just throw up his head and refuses to step back. The teeth have been checked. The rider is not driving down with her seat. We are pretty sure there are no saddle fitting or back issues. We don't want to "haul" on the horses mouth. Looking for suggestions and ideas. Thanks.
            Maybe get a little insistent and let it be a little less than perfect the first couple of times?

            Yes, you don't want to haul on the horse's mouth, but you don't want to get into a situation where you say, "Horsey, please? Please? C'mon, please?"

            First, you say the horse 'does ok' when she does it from the ground.

            What's this, "ok"?

            If the response from the horse is sticky and stiff on the ground, tap him once across the shins with your whip and have him step back and say "Yes ma'am!" He may be surprised and annoyed with you the first time, at which point you say, "Well, I'm sorry about your bad luck, you're horrified I know, but back you step my dear." Do three prompt steps back, then three prompt steps forward, back, forward, make it snappy please, and then good boy, love him and pat him.
            He should respond promptly from a light touch, and he should say "Yes ma'am."

            Then, do the same from the saddle. Ground person stands next to him with a long whip, rider asks, if he does the whole sticky routine again one smart tap across the shins and back we go two or three steps, then love him and pat him.

            Without the ground person, if she has to use her hands a little more than she would like for the first two tries, fine, but get a "Yes ma'am!" from him. Once she has one or two "Yes ma'ams" she should be able to go to a lighter and lighter aid.

            The trick is to do a lot of transitions (forward, halt, back, forward, halt, back) in rapid succession and EXPECT him to make it snappy, instead of coaxing and pleading.

            Obviously on a nervous or tense horse the strategy would be different, but if you are standing there patiently explaining it for the nth time while he is going, "Yaaaaaawn, hm? What? Ohhhhh, ok maaaaaayyyyybe I will take one draaaaaaaggy step baaaaaaack.....eveeentually....." a quick wake up session can make a world of difference.

            And then you love him and pat him and tell him he's great!
            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
            Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


            • #7
              What level are we talking?

              Backing for round-and-round shows is quite a bit different than reinback in dressage.

              While in an ideal world, the aids would be the same, there are a couple tricks you can use for the round-and-round backing. They'll help you place, but won't gymnasticise your horse nor boost your obedience/suppleness scores.
              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


              • #8
                What aids is she using? The fact that the horse tosses the head up to try to escape the pressure on the bars would cause me to bet she is sitting heavier (or btv), lowering the hands, and rather fixed action. For sure the first element is whether the horse goes forward into the hand (actually steps forward), but the rider must stretch the legs slightly more back, sit lighter, pulse the aids (and perhaps even lift the hands). This can be combined with someone on the ground pulsing into the chest (combined with the above) for a horse which is very confused can help establish routine for the horse.
                I.D.E.A. yoda


                • #9
                  When she is not being coached is she pulling her hands down towards her crotch? I see a lot of people do that, and the horse gets stuck and throws the head up. She should have the same "carrying the hands" posture as normal.... just a thought.


                  • #10
                    I had a breakthrough with this movement a few weeks ago--SPURS

                    I have just started wearing spurs with my mare and I asked her for a rein back by squeezing my legs and tightening my fingers. I keep my leg pressure the same and let go with my fingers every step and ask again by tightening my fingers. It works wonders. Previously it was hit or miss (without the spurs) and I relied too much on my hands and my horse blew my legs off.
                    Connemaras Rock!!!


                    Meet my new horse Piedmont Penelope http://community.webshots.com/album/287402098dfpwFc


                    • #11
                      Remember that even though you are going in reverse, the energy must always be thinking forward. Most horses would prefer to tighten, drop the back and drag thier legs along instead of tucking thier hind end under themselves. Think of when you ask for a transition forward into the walk and the activity you create into soft suppling hands. Rein back is quite similar, just slightly different aids. I like to activate the hind end to lead to a square halt, then slightly raise my seat bones and postion my legs very slightly back and keep soft suppling hands that DON'T PULL but resist just enough to prevent a forward step. When I say resist it's positive tension not pulling or locked hands.


                      • #12
                        Patience and loading of the Hind End = is the key!

                        For the correct and easy flowing, willing Rein Back:

                        * start with the honestly connected trot/halt transitions on every other letter on the rail. Do a couple of arena rounds with those transitions in both directions. Halt at least for 5 seconds (counting 1-1 thousand, 2-2thousand...) Only after you established a willing transition in to the halt and out of the halt you may ask for the Rein Back.

                        * At the quiet halt you need to shift the horse's weight on his Hind End BEFORE asking for the Rein Back: sit tall and load your seat bones with more weight, move your whole body very, very slowly 1 inch back (do not do anything with your hands) your arms/hands just following your body. It can take you up to several minutes to explain to the horse that you want him to shift his weight more on his Hind end. Be patient and load more of your body weight deep in the saddle. As soon as you feel the slightest weight shift - or weight re-distribution of horse's body = THIS is the moment to ask for the Rein Back!

                        *Put your calves a bit back (1") and give a little squeeze toward the back, while still displacing your center of gravity aka your weight back towards the Hind end of the horse. The horse naturally would want to re-balance himself and would follow your center of gravity by stepping back.

                        Rein back has nothing to do with reins or bit or horse's head.
                        Rein Back is all about the re-distributing the weight of the horse.
                        Correct Rein Back is the door to the correct Half Steps and eventually Piaffe = the idea is the same = the beginning of the movement is the same = the re-distributing the weight of the horse towards his hind End.

                        PS: if you do not feel or see the weight shift right before the rein back = do not ask for the rein back, go back to the trot/halt transitions and ask for immobility in halt and easy in-out transitions.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                          He may be surprised and annoyed with you the first time, at which point you say, "Well, I'm sorry about your bad luck, you're horrified I know, but back your step my dear." ...and then good boy, love him and pat him.
                          LOVE IT.

                          The big thing is the release. When the horse begins to realize that the release is based on moving the feet...it will become a willing exercise rather than drudgery.


                          • #14
                            I don't want to 'reward with a release'. I like to maintain the connection.

                            needs to be more supple. i dont like the forward, hit bit, bounce off bit, back up, i don't feel that's a good idea. it used to be if a horse did not want to back up, i would teach him to do it as a trick, without sufficient contact, if they objected to the contact. I don't any more. i figured out it does not work, it does not create the suppleness one needs. i want to maintain a contact and have the connection maintained and the horse be more supple during the rein back.
                            Last edited by slc2; Jul. 29, 2009, 06:51 PM.


                            • #15
                              Use of your voice

                              When you practice on the ground, use a "back" voice command with a very specific tone (that you duplicate each time).

                              Then, when under saddle, say "back" in that same tone, volume, pitch (and "repeat, back, back, back," until you ask horse to walk forward) as you give your aids.

                              Growing up mucking stalls in a barn with combined driving horses, you learned consistant voice commands quickly

                              Hope that helps!


                              • #16
                                When you practice on the ground, use a "back" voice command with a very specific tone (that you duplicate each time).

                                Then, when under saddle, say "back" in that same tone, volume, pitch (and "repeat, back, back, back," until you ask horse to walk forward) as you give your aids.
                                Vocal cues help ALOT also remember the first few times it probably isn't going to be pretty. Pretty comes later, insistent comes first.
                                I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                                • #17
                                  Pretty comes later, insistent comes first.
                                  That is not true with Rein Back. If the horse has his solid basics and is set up correctly, even the very first step of Rein Back will be willing.

                                  Rein Back is one of the commonly misunderstood movements. It's a shame. I love RB tho, with out correct Rein Back so many other upper level movements are not possible.

                                  No, spurs or other "insistence" has no place in the correct/honest Rein Back. You'll end up with a horse that is shacking his/her head and may be even goes up. Please don't go to the road of riding tricks or poddle dressage. "Backing up" is NOT Dressage "Rein Back".

                                  See if you can canter out straigh from the Rein Back, with out any walk steps, so the 1st step out of Rein Back would be canter = that is a sign of the correct Rein Back.
                                  Last edited by Dressage Art; Jul. 29, 2009, 02:43 AM.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by dotneko View Post
                                    eclectic horseman types faster

                                    Originally posted by dotneko View Post
                                    eclectic horseman types faster

                                    lol thats funny -- must have electric fingers lol

                                    rein back you cant do that unless you gone from the basics of flat workschooling like half halts ly and si etc as rein back is more advanced work with a horse

                                    reinback is a an obediance exercise
                                    as el h and dotneko have stated its a thinking forward movement in other words the horse should be thinking forwards as he moves stepping backwards with his legs in the diagonal pairs
                                    at 2 time pace
                                    you cant be sucessful doing the exercise until the horse is giving plenty of forward movements
                                    and you have the horse easily between leg and hand and in a good outline
                                    bring the horse to a halt stand him square or as near as you can be with a lower head carriage and relaxed yaw
                                    when your ready close both legs on to his sides and close your fingers to resist the forward movement and as you create the implusion with your legs and resist with your fingers the horse should move backwards
                                    dont keep asking for it all the time to begin with ask for perhaps once or twice to start with so he takes a step back or two open your fingers and allow the horse to go forwards which he should do easily and readily and try not to rein back to a halt

                                    if your horse can ly and si and stand still will a lower head carriage and relaxed yaw he should be able to do it but if he find its difficult and resists in the mouth then dismount and stand in front of him and push him back evenly and say the command back once the horse doesnt have to rely on the vocals and understands the word back and the simple backward movement of a step or 2 and and relates
                                    it to what your asking then try it mounted
                                    if he goes crocked then perhaps asked against a wall so he can learn to go straigh back to begin with


                                    • #19
                                      And, as with anything that the horse is resistant about---

                                      ask for rein back at the end of your training session. Then you can dismount and lead him back to the stable. When the horse makes the connection that all he has to do is rein back and he will be done working, he will learn to do it more quickly.
                                      "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                                      • #20
                                        Dressage Art, you just explained the rein back almost the same as my trainer did, only better. I have a clearer understanding now of what my horse and I are trying to do. When I do it wrong, which is more times than right; he throws his head up in the air. I was working on doing a trot/halt/rein back/trot exercise and used my legs a little too vigorously and went to canter in one step from the rein back. My horse felt so balanced and wonderful that we quit for the day on that note.