Can I ask what the huge deal is with Natural Horsemanship and backing up? To hear the clinicians and adherents talk about it, you’d think backing up was the holy grail.
Now, I know that this is an important behavior. We all need our horses to back up from time to time. In foxhunting, for example it is a matter of safety and protocol to be able to back instantly and safely in an instant. That’s the only discipline I know anything about, so it’s all I can speak to with a modicum of authority.
I also know that the muscle memory involved in learning to back is important for establishing softness from the poll, through the neck, withers, shoulders, back and all the way to the hindquarters. I know that it trains the hind legs to come under and engage. I understand all that.
What I don’t understand is the repeated practice of backing up on the ground every day as if a horse who doesn’t back at the speed of light is a failure as a horse. I also fail to comprehend why a horse has to give to a shaking rope in his face. Softer, more mindful cues to back certainly wouldn’t hurt, and may even contribute to the ease of communication between horse and rider.
Can someone please explain the benefits to me?
© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal