Rein back is the kind of skill I really feel like I should have mastered by now, but I really suck at it.
I’ve been working hard to strengthen Tristan’s stifles in particular and hind end in general, and rein back can be a great way to do that. In particular, a few steps uphill can be great.
We always fight about it, though. He tries to squirt out to either side, yank the bit away, or simply swing his hind end left or right instead of going straight back.
If I do get a few steps, it’s usually with a very tense jaw and he’ll do one or two dramatic strides back and then refuse to go further, and the whole process starts again.
I’m asking by: sitting deep, holding the bit steady (not pulling back just creating a barrier against going forward), keeping my thighs open/loose, and giving a light leg cue at the girth with both legs. I almost always also give the verbal cue “back!” which is a carryover from on the ground.
I could do this in hand – and I probably should – but it irks me that I can’t do a good job of it under saddle.
So, blogosphere, what am I doing wrong? How do you cue & train the reinback?