2 Ways To Teach A Horse To Bow

Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Allison Price

One of the best aspects of being an equine friend is getting your horse to do tricks. It is easy to get your horse started with the bow. You can also do it without ropes.

Horse owners who are not familiar with trick training should teach the bow first. It is a great way to build trust and nurture your relationship with your horse, as well as boost your horse’s confidence.

This guide will show you how to teach your horse to bow. You will see that you don’t have to be an expert to teach your horse the bow. A little patience and understanding of your horse can go a long ways.

So, let us get started!

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What you will need:

  • A lead rope
  • A fitting halter
  • Lunge whip
  • Treats (optional)

Step-By-Step Guide To Teach A Horse To Bow

Here are two ways to teach your horse how to bow.

Method 1

Step 1: Get your horse to back up

Before you can teach your horse how to bow, it is important to train him to back up. Your horse must learn how to back up. This is a basic but crucial skill. This is the most important lesson you can teach your horse.

Because the horse must be able to move its hind legs in order to extend one of its front legs, the backup is vital. He will end up on his hind feet if he doesn’t.

If you are able to move quickly towards your horse, it will indicate that your horse is backing up properly. The horse will then respond by moving back.

Horse To Bow

First, face your horse with your body parallel to his shoulder blades and head. As you approach your horse, apply a slight pressure to the halter. To signal that the horse is doing the right things, release the pressure when the horse turns his back.

This training should be repeated until your horse is able to back up using only your body pressure. Your horse should be able to automatically back up when you ask him to bow.

Step 2: Make sure your horse is comfortable

To teach your horse to bow, you can touch his legs and lift his hooves. Your horse should be comfortable touching his legs and lifting his hooves in order for this method to work.

Start by standing by your horse’s side, and gently stroke his legs. This will calm his nerves and signal to him that you have something he needs.

Next, raise his hoof and fold the leg in half so that the hoof is facing outward and the knee touches his chest. Do not pull the leg outward. This can cause the horse to bow in pain. When handling your horse, be firm but gentle.

Step 3: Apply pressure to the horse’s leg

Once your horse has become comfortable with his leg being touched and lifted, you can now give him his first cue to bow. You want your horse to bend his leg by bringing one leg to the ground and stretching the other. This is the classic bowing position.

Keep your back a few inches from the horse’s legs. Stand on the right leg of the horse and use your left hand for support.

Use your right hand to hold the lead rope and apply backward pressure to the bent leg of the horse just below the shoulder blade. This will cause the horse to pull back and bend its right leg towards the ground, allowing the left side leg to extend. To cue your horse to move back, apply pressure to the lead rope.

Combining these actions will cause your horse to rock back. This is a sign that the horse is listening to you and understands your cues.

Step 4: Reward and Release

As soon as your horse starts to rock back, let go of the pressure. This will let the horse know that he is doing the right things, and he will continue to rock back whenever you tell him.

Reward your horse for correctly following cues is a great idea. For a job well done, give your horse his favorite treat and a pat. You can treat your horse by giving him a treat, but make sure he doesn’t take it from you.

People use treats to get horses to bow and bend. This method is generally effective, but I do not recommend it. The horse might refuse to bow if you don’t give him his favorite treat. It puts the horse in control, and not the other way around. Your horse should always be under your control! As a positive reinforcement for good work, I believe it is best to treat your horse.

Method 2

The back up ad tapping method is the second way to teach horses to bow. These steps will help you train your horse to bow using this method.

Step 1: Find the Right Position

Your body should be facing the horse. Place your body between the horse’s shoulder blade and head so you can pull him back.

Apply pressure with the lead rope. Next, gently tagging the rope towards the horse’s throat. You will then cue your horse to back up, and prepare for a bow.

Step 2: Tap and Back up

This will cause your horse to lean back while you tap his knee or any other part of his leg.

To apply pressure to the horse’s back, lightly tag the lead rope. Use the other hand to tap any part of the horse’s leg with a lunge whip. He should then bend his leg and bring it down to the ground, while simultaneously stretching the other.

Step 3: Let Go Of The Pressure and Stop Tapping

When the horse bows, let go of the pressure on his lead rope and stop tapping. This is the time to reward your horse with his favorite treat or a pat.

Tap on the leg gently while you apply pressure to the lead rope to get the horse to hold the bow for a longer time. To get the horse to rise from its bowing position, release the pressure.

This method is more difficult to teach and may require additional training to help your horse learn how to bow. This bow is easier to hold and is better defined.

That’s it! This is all you need to teach your horse how to bow. Before we end, I want to share some tips that you and your horse can use to make your experience better.

Additional Tips

  • Your cues are crucial in teaching a horse new tricks. Your pressure, release, reward sequence, and timing must be perfected to get your horse to follow your cues. The horse will believe you are punishing him for obeying your cues if you apply pressure when you should release it.
  • To build trust and obedience with your horse, you should do some groundwork and basic obedience training. To get to know the horse’s temperament, you may take a short walk or ride.
  • Relax your horse’s nerves. Horses are sensitive to their environment. Your horse will learn faster if he feels at ease. Calm him by walking around the training area, talking gently to him, and patting his back reassuringly.
  • Keep your training sessions brief. Horses are not as intelligent as we might think. They have a limited attention span. Keep your sessions short and keep your horse interested. Do not try to teach your son everything at once. He will rebel and stop learning, which can cause you to lose track of your progress.


The bow is one of most basic tricks a horse can learn. To train your horse successfully, you need to understand his personality. If he takes too long to master a new task, be patient. He will quickly bow when you ask.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!