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To teach a horse to back up under a saddle, first teach the horse the term "back" while on the ground, apply gentle pressure to the nose, and use positive reinforcement. Get a horse familiar with the right vocal and physical cues to step back with helpful advice in this video on training horses.
Hi, I'm Rick Gore out at Travis Equestrian Center. Today, we're going to be talking about how to get your horse to back up under saddle. Teaching a horse anything under saddle usually starts on the ground. So, if your horse knows how to do it on the ground, he's going to know how to do it easier when you get in the saddle. So, to get a horse to back up, there's a lot of ways to do it. First, you want to teach him what back up is. So I might put a little pressure on his nose and move into him and he'll back out of my way. So he just backed up a little bit there. After he knows that means back up, maybe I'll use "back" with a little pressure from the lead rope. Back. And I'm going to get in his face. By putting pressure on this lead rope and teaching him to back up like that, I'm going to give him the exact same cue when I'm on a saddle. So when I'm on a saddle, what I'm going to do to back him up is right here. I'm going to pull back on the rein a little bit and go, "back, back." And since he does it on the ground, he's going to do it in the saddle. I've set him up for success because I taught him what the word back means for one cue, what the pressure to the rope halter means as a second cue and then, I say, "back" and pull on these and just lightly put pressure and he backs up. So, when I get on the saddle, he's already going to know how to back up. So all I'm going to do is how him that's what I want him to do while I'm on him. So, since I know he knows it, I'll go ahead and jump on him here. Good, boy. And now, since I know what he knows he's supposed to do, I'm going to add an additional cue of leaning back and putting my feet forward. So, because later, I'm going to want him to back up by just me leaning back. So, I'm going to say, "back," I'm going to lean back, put my feet forward, put a little pressure on him, say "back, back." Since he knows it on the ground, he knew it in the saddle. And that's how you teach a horse how to back in the saddle.