Trick training to your horses helps you establish discipline and authority. It also demands patience, preparation, and knowledge of horses’ behaviors.
Some of the tricks seem pretty simple. But most horse owners do not know how to begin a training session. If you don’t have the time and patience to follow through, it will be then difficult. Training any type of animal will always take your time and needs repetition. Do not worry; at the end of the day, these tricks are all worth it.
To start your trick training, you need to have these essentials as it may come in handy.
Lunge Whip & Rope Halter
This helps you communicate much better, and to be in control. The Intrepid International Horse Training Lunge Whips is perfect for lunging your horse. It is perfect, especially when you’re using the body balance system. It is lightweight which makes it easy to handle.
Treats are an important part of behavior modification for all animals. Still, others believe that using treats may not work for everyone. It may depend on the individual horse and its personality. You can continue using treats effectively. For treats, you can give carrots, apple slices, or hay cubes. Also, you can try Manna Pro Bite-Size Nuggets Horse Treats for your horses. It comes in different flavors that your horses will surely love.
Clicker & Helmet
These two are necessary for teaching your horse how to lie down.
Different Tricks to Teach to your Horses
These are the different tricks you can administer to your horses.
How to Bow
During the training, your horse will bend one of its front legs. Stretch the other out in front of its body, and put its head to the ground.
Stand beside your horse and make sure he is facing upfront. Lift the hoof closest to you.
Take out your treats. It could be a fruit or your horse’s favorite biscuit. Slide your arm below his chest and put a treat between the horse’s front legs, near the ground.
Next, encourage your horse to bring his head down. As soon as it leans even a little, let go of its leg and give the treat.
Say a verbal command at the same moment you give the treat. Saying, “Bow down” or “Bow” at the perfect timing will help your horse remember this trick.
Repeat the following steps, take it easy, and enjoy. That’s it!
Teaching Horses to Touch Things
These may take a while but with constant practice, it’s worthwhile. This trick will help your horse to become braver in getting used to a lot of unfamiliar things.
Start by gathering the materials you needed. You can use a ball as an example in a color of red and blue. Place the balls on top of the table in front of your horse’s vision.
Let your horse focus his/her attention on the things in front by placing treats with it as you mention the color.
Allow your horse to familiarize himself with the colors first. As this trick may take a while to master, consider having it in tiny pieces. This is to avoid over feeding your horse with the treats. This may help you prolong the training without worrying about your horse’s weight.
Say, “Touch the Red” or “Red”. Guide your horse to the right object by letting him nuzzle his nose on it before giving the treats. Do this again until it recognizes the colors or shapes.
How to Kiss
This trick can be then learned if you already taught your horse how to touch things. With these, they won’t hesitate to try and touch a few objects.
Give your horse’s favorite treat in the palm of your hand. Let him take it from you.
Repeat Step 1 but take a few steps away from your horse. Hold your palm out with the treat in it and force your horse to walk forward to eat it. Be patient and wait if it doesn’t come right away.
Calling his name while showing the treats may help you a lot in the trick training.
To do the kiss trick, start by holding the treat to your cheek. Say “Kiss” as your verbal command and wait until your horse touches your face with its snout. Try this again after 5 minutes and after a while, do this without the treats and seek improvements.
Although the horse will try to eat the treat, don’t give it to them it until it touches your face. This, along with verbal praise, will improve your horse’s kissing behavior.
How to Lie Down
For safety purposes, you should wear the proper equipment so you don’t get hurt if the horse gets spooked.
Wet your horse with a garden hose or you can use a couple of buckets filled with water. When a horse is wet, it wants to lay down and roll around.
Stand back and watch your horse after you have wet him. Press the clicker when your horse lies down, and give him a treat. This emphasizes that lying down is the behavior that gets the treat.
If you click too long after your horse has laid down, he might not connect the right behavior with the reward.
Allow some time interval between lying down and standing up. The purpose of teaching your horse to lie down isn’t to make him get back up right away. Start with a short break and work your way to a longer break.
Repeat the steps a few times a day. Do this until your horse familiarizes himself with the clicker’s sound. You can add a cue or signal to the process like the combination of lie down-click-treat.
Note: If your horse lies down, without the cue or the signal, do not click or reward the behavior.
How to Shake a Hoof
Use the lunge whip to get your horse to raise his front leg. You can also use a Rope Halter if your horse doesn’t feel comfortable with the whip.
You should always be calm when using a whip. This is to avoid awakening the aggressive side of your horse as he may feel threatened.
Hold the halter and tug it carefully so he knows its training time. Next, stand beside the leg you want him to shake.
Tap below your horse’s knee for 3 seconds and say “Shake”. Run the whip up and down his leg then lift up his foot. Do this by gripping above his knee. Only give the verbal cue while you are tapping his leg.
Run the whip up and down his leg then lift up his foot. Do this by gripping above his knee. Place his foot back down. Stand back up straight. Make sure you are carrying a treat such as carrots or apples for the reward after the trick.
Repeat the steps until he can pick up his foot with your cue using the whip. It can take several tries or several lessons for your horse to get used to the cue of the whip and “Shake”. Be patient!
How to Wait and Stand
Stand at the end of the lead rope facing your horse. Allow some slack in the rope so the horse has the option to walk off or move around. You can do this trick while exercising with your horse.
When the horse chooses to take a step, either forward or away, shake the rope back and forth. This creates a wave movement from the rope, thus signaling your horse to back up and wait.
When the horse has backed up to the original spot, you have to repeat the exercise. Allow him/her to move again, and then shake the rope to stop him/her. Continue doing this until your horse stands still longer without taking a step. At the end of the day, it’s about being in control.
How to Spin
Ride your horse. Walk for about 5 minutes in a big circle. Allow your horse to walk in full drive. Control the movements from your horse’s shoulder and look back at the position of his/her hips.
After a while, drive your horse in smaller circles. Turn him, and then drive the move forward. Repeat the steps until your horse has the desire to move by himself in the same direction.
Make sure to get his butt to engage as well as the pivot foot on the right steps. Let it walk in big circles for a while if you still see the restraints on his movements.
During any turn, if the horse swings his rear end out of gear, drive forward immediately. Do this until your horse thinks you’re going somewhere. This will help you build the impulsion on his/her muscles.
Turn the horse using a series of rein and releases. Do not pull steady of the reins, give it a couple of push then steps to help your horse run in circles.
You need to have the horse’s body following the shape of the circle. This is then done while your outside leg is driving the horse forward. Also, your inside leg is maintaining the position on his ribs.
While you drive your horse forward, turn your upper body slightly toward the inside of the circle. It is as if you have eyes on your chest. This will help put your bodies in the correct position.
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!