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Hi Bob,

I have a question for you concerning my daughter's horse. She has a two and a half year old paint gelding that she has just begun to ride outside of the round pen. Things are going well until about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of her riding him. She will trot him down the dirt driveway to a gate (about 75 feet) then trot him back towards the barn. When she gets to area near the barn and turns the horse around to go back to the gate, he suddenly starts backing up, and continues to back no matter what you do. He knows how to whoa and does so very well most of the time. If you pop him with a riding crop on his hind, he will stop backing. I have watched to make sure that my daughter is not somehow subtly giving him a cue to back and she's not. Any suggestions?


- F. P.


My initial reaction is that you may want to cut the riding sessions a little shorter for a while, so he doesn't get into the habit of that backing behavior. He's still just a youngster, and probably has a shorter endurance level than your daughter. Also, with some breeds the back hasn't fully firmed up until closer to age three, so that much riding may be bothering him.

To keep the backing from turning into a full-blown vice, try telling him that it's really your idea for him to back, and keep him backing even after he wants to stop. In effect, you turn his disobedience into obedience!

Happy Riding!

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