How to Teach A Mule to Back Up… Straight

Teaching a mule to back up can be incredibly frustrating – it’s so simple, yet they refuse to do as you ask. The truth is that you may not be asking in a way the mule understands. In this short video Steve Edwards demonstrates exactly what you must do as the herd leader to teach your mule to back up… and do it straight!

Steve Edwards: I want him to back up. Now, I’m going to be square-shouldered. See the difference? How it changed the mule’s attitude? And I’m going to shake the rope. Right-left. My hand’s going to be this way. Right-left.

Good. I got a little response, but I got also a head turned away. I don’t want her thinking about leaving me, and that’s what she was thinking about doing, so I give her a sharp reprimand. I ask, and then I had to tell with a little bit sharper.

So I’m going to ask. I’m going to ask. Good. I’m going to ask. Ask. Good for you. Look at you. That, “Good for you, look at you,” was just for you all, all right? So that you understand. Now, see the straightness?

Speaker 2: Very nice.

Steve Edwards: Do you see that?

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Steve Edwards: So you see, if we went ahead like you see a lot of training going on, they backed up but the head was turned to the right or left. They still had escape in their mind. You see? They were not paying attention with both sides of the brain. But once it’s straightness and going back, now I’m communicating to the right-left. That’s the downside. Me, as a trainer, I want you to see the details of why and what happens. Okay? Where a lot of folks, they’re just happy with a back up. Well, you got a back up, but you don’t have a crisp, clean, correct back up.

So I’m going to ask it again. Good for you. Look how nice. Pretty. Now, eventually we’re not even going to have the elevation of the head. The mule’s just going to respond nicely. We’re going to have some elevation. I don’t mind some elevation because that brings the front end up so the back end can move over.

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