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Old 07-01-2006, 10:49 AM   #1
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why does my 12yr old mare stop and back up in mid ride???

Hey guys!! Ok, question for you all!! I hope i do not sound too stupid!! In all my years of riding and owning horses, my 12 year old Tb mare, who is very well broke and is a very good all around horse,is the first horse I have been on that will all of a sudden stop and back up or want to turn around!! Seriously, this is something new for me. She just started to do this in the last couple months. All I have been doing when she does this is circle her around and keep going forward! But it is annoying! It is her only vice!We can be riding along the trail or mountainside casually and all of a sudden she stops and backs up or tries to go back the way we are coming! Thanks guys!!! Take care!
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:19 AM   #2
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Hmmm... does your mare eventually decide to go forward without pinning her ears, bucking, whirling, spinning? If so, then you're lucky! I had a horse that started doing that and it got far worse.

He was a truly EVIL horse, 1/2 Arab, 1/2 QH who initially did not present with any vices. About a week after we got him home, I'd make it about a quarter mile from the barn and he'd start to back up very rapidly and try to whirl with me. (This behavior resulted in his name being changed from "Misty" to "Beavis.")

I started to carry a crop with me (I was only about 17 at the time but had ridden all of my life and had dealt with rank horses before) and would give him a firm tap when he'd try to pull this stuff. Unlike most other horses I've ever encountered, he fought back. He'd reach around to bite me, pin his ears and pull the backing up thing again, do a little bit of rearing up.

Well, I was a lot younger and dumber at the time. One day, after getting sick of having a horse that I couldn't ride beyond the barn, I declared war and when he pulled his backing up routine, I got serious with the crop and with my heels and yelled at him.

Most horses would have shaped up -- Beavis went NUTS. He went into bronc mode, bit my leg, bucked and spun. I chose to bail and hit a fence, landing on my outstretched arm and got whiplash. Beavis proceeded to buck his way across the pasture and then come after me. Needless to say, my parents shipped him off to my uncle's farm and put him up for sale.

But before devil-horse left us, he managed to kill a sheep and charged me again.

So that's my experience with a horse that backs rapidly -- indicates to me that the horse isn't interested in being ridden and thinks that he or she is in charge. Rapid backing is dangerous because the horse can't effectively see what it's backing into and when a horse is rocking back on its hocks, it's a precursor to rearing up. In my experience, it's something that became quite dangerous. Unfortunately, I don't have any good advice on how to prevent it!

Maybe someone else on the forum will have some training advice for you. Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:58 AM   #3
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hi again! And thanks equinelaw78! No, jazzy is not rearing,bucking,or mad,she just stops mid ride and will want to turn around and if I refuse her turning back,then she backs up. That is when I circle her once or twice and away we go again(the direction I WANT to go!!). Some rides she is fine but most days she does it once or twice(sometimes more!!) on our 1-3 hour rides and we ride everyday! I am wondering how to stop it!!??I am glad you(equinelaw78) did not get any more hurt from the devil horse(as you called him, lol!!)
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:27 PM   #4
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Your mare sounds a bit like my hubbys gelding Hercules! Basically, he likes to "test" you. You are doing the right thing. Do NOT let her go back home because she wants to! Usually once they realize that you won't let them have their way, they "grow out" of it. But sometimes it is just a "quirk" that you have to deal with. As long as it doesn't get dangerous (bucking, rearing etc) I would just keep on doing what you're doing! Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2006, 06:29 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! She really is a great horse and I will just keep trying!!! I am sure she will get better as she already has a little since it first started,now that I think back on it!! Thanks again!!
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Old 07-01-2006, 06:52 PM   #6
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Sounds a lot like my gelding, BJ. BJ can be very nappy (baulky), often refusing to go forward, or backing up, or turning around on the trail. Here's what we've been doing:

Be firm and clear. Stick to whatever escalating sequence of cues you give her to move forward (leg cue, cluck noise, voice command, crop/spur). Don't give her time to stop and stand and think about things. When you feel her even begin to stop, put a little leg on her or cluck to her to keep her moving.

If she turns around, turn her back the other way. I've found that it's most effective NOT to turn in circles with a baulky horse (at least mine). If he turns left, I make him go back right and straighten up. Then I encourage him to keep moving. If I let him circle, he'll keep doing it. If he walks onto the grass verge to get off the road and I let him, he'll keep doing it. When I make him turn back the other way, he gets tired of being a giant butt fairly quickly.

If she stops and backs up: 1. try to get her before she stops -- keep her moving forward. 2. If she does stop, try to keep her moving forward --maybe not straight ahead, but any forward movement is good. 3. If she backs up, that's NOT acceptable. Be firm and make her go forward. That means giving her the sequence of cues for forward movement, increasing their intensity, until she actually moves forward.

BJ has been very stubborn, but he's getting better by leaps and bounds since we started working with an instructor for both of us. This is part of what she's taught us, and it's really helped us. You're probably doing all this, but I just thought I'd share it ...
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:55 PM   #7
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My mare will do the same thing about every other trail ride. We will be going along just fine when she will suddenly stop and back up. I learned the easiest way to deal with it on her is to give her the spurs. I have tried the circling method, but she will circle forever. And if we are on asphalt, I get really uncomfortable worrying about her slipping.

So I just give her a good dose of spur, and it is like she thinks, "Oh yeah, guess I better listen." Then we go on down the trail and she is an angel the rest of the ride. I got her 9 years ago, and she was much worse about it then. Now, it is like she is just checking to make sure I am still in charge. I don't expect her to ever completely get over it.
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Old 07-03-2006, 10:44 AM   #8
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why does my 12yr old mare stop and back up mid ride?UPDATE!

Hi guys! I just wanted to let you know that I went riding yesterday and I did what you guys suggested and just kept her going forward before she EVEN stopped and had a chance to try to back up and IT WORKED!!! I did not have to circle her at all! After 2 times of her trying she did not do it again on our ride!! Yesterday anyways!! We will see what today brings!LOL! Thanks alot you guys!!!I really appreciate your advice! I love to be able to go for a ride and have some new ideas on how to work through a problem! Thanks to you all!!
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Old 07-03-2006, 11:54 AM   #9
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Hooray! Yes, it's amazing how well it works, isn't it? On a horse like yours (and like mine, for that matter) you just have to be one step ahead of them. As long as they can get away with fudging things, they will -- but they certainly respond to cheerful firmness!
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:43 PM   #10
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why does your horse do that

There could be so many reasons why the horse is doing that.

One experience I have had with my 3 year old.. I had been riding him in a roping saddle and it has a little wider tree than all our others.. then one day I got the idea to try and use my barrel saddle on him and after about 10 minutes he would just stop and not move.. We figured out it was the second saddle was too narrow..

Have you changed any tack recently?? If so, try going back to the origional equipment and see if that helps.
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