How to Teach Your Horse Tricks

Horses may pick up new skills quite rapidly. When it comes to learning and reinforcing the behavior, horses respond to clear body language and consistency. Make sure to start with easy-to-learn tricks that are straightforward to perform before moving on to more difficult exercises if you want to start teaching your horse new tricks.

Horses can learn a lot of fascinating things, such as how to jump and come when called. They can even learn how to bow and cuddle. Every trick has a somewhat different methodology that calls for a lot of reinforcement, but the payoff is always worthwhile.

What is the simplest horse trick to teach?

One of the easiest tricks you can teach your horse is to lift its legs. Not only is this a cool trick, but once you can tell your horse to lift its legs, it will be much easier to clean its feet.

  1. Stand behind the shoulder of your horse with your back to its head. Stroke your horse down the neck, over the shoulder, and past the knee with the hand that is closest to it.
  2. If your horse is still comfortable, use this hand to gently squeeze their leg and lean into them to put pressure on their shoulder. Use a common word like “foot” to describe this action as you do it.
  3. As soon as your horse starts to lift their leg, stop leaning on them and lift its leg up. This will relieve the pressure on their shoulder.
  4. Once your horse’s leg is off the ground, lift it higher until the front of the hoof can rest in your hand.
  5. Do this a few times every day until your horse lifts its foot on its own when you say the word “action.”

How can I get my horse to come when I call him?

Horses, like many other domesticated animals, may be trained to come when called. The ideal way to begin encouraging this behavior is using treats, which should be repeated until no treats are required. The specific actions to take are as follows:

  1. Begin by putting a handful of treats in your pocket and out of reach of your horse.
  2. Choose a reward word, such as ‘yes,’ that you will use when your horse responds in the desired manner.
  3. Get your horse’s attention with your reward phrase while standing in front of them, and as soon as you have their entire attention, give them a treat. It is critical that you utilize your reward phrase and rest your horse in the same order. This is done so that your horse begins to identify your treat-giving with your reward word.
  4. Only encourage desired conduct. When your horse knows you have treats and can smell them, he or she may become rather pushy. Make certain that you do not reward this aggressive conduct. You want to encourage your horse to follow precise cues rather than rewarding them for being obstinate.
  5. If your horse does not know what its name is, now is the time to teach them. Use your horse’s name exclusively in positive settings when you are around them. You want your horse to associate their name with good memories.
  6. When training, use a range of your horse’s favorite goodies, especially ones they don’t get every day. This includes apples, carrots, and store-bought horse treats. Make sure to chop them into little pieces so your horse can consume them easily. Give your horse a treat every time you say its name. Your horse will gradually respond to hearing their name and will walk in your direction when called.

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How To Teach Your Horse To Hug

Make sure you have some of your horse’s favorite goodies on hand, just like with any other training. It’s crucial to have some foundational knowledge in place before attempting to teach this skill.

If your horse does not yet respect your personal space and knows how to engage with you, teaching him to hug you could be deadly.

How to begin going is as follows:

1. Introduce the treats to your horse and let them know you have them in your possession as a first step. Their interest is piqued, and they become involved.

2. Your horse needs to follow the reward in your hand with their head and mouth before you can get them in the “hugging” position. To make it easier for them to eat the reward, start by holding it at a typical height and distance.

3. Next, raise the threat to your horse’s eye level and allow them to reach up to grab it. Holding the reward low to the ground—about 3 inches—then allowing them to reach down and take it is the next step.

4. Get your horse stretching left and right at this point. It may take a while for stubborn horses to stretch in any direction if they anticipate receiving a treat right where they can see it. Make sure your horse is fully focused before beginning by holding the treat out just a few inches. Reward your horse with it when they follow your lead and the goodie. To the right, repeat the process.

5. It’s time to start teaching your horse the notion of hugging once they are confidently following your hand with goodies up, down, left, and right. When facing your horse’s chest, position yourself on their left side. Hug them by wrapping your left arm around their neck.

6. Treats in your right hand, get your horse’s attention by saying “hug” and putting your hand behind your back. Offer them the treat as they reach across your back for it and give them a hearty “yes” in return.

Repeat step 6 several times daily. If your horse takes some time to reach across your back and follow your lead, try not to get frustrated. The key is practice and consistency. Practice until your horse reacts by giving you a hug using only your default word, “hug.”

Good work! Your horse has just learned how to give you a hug.

How to teach a horse to bow

Here are a few different techniques for teaching your horse to bow. Some techniques involve the use of ropes, but I choose a softer strategy that uses no ropes at all.

It takes a lot of confidence as a horse handler to teach your horse this skill because it is not the simplest. The steps are as follows:

  1. Ask your horse to elevate its left leg while standing to the left of them. To muck out their feet, you would cup their hoof in your hand and hold their leg.
    Use your other hand to press backward on their chest while holding their left foot, encouraging them to remain upright but bend backward. You must move really carefully since your horse will find this to be an entirely unfamiliar position. When they begin to sag back into this position, release the pressure and reward them
  2. You can gradually increase how far back you ask your horse to lean once he stops trying to jump on three legs and begins to lessen his resistance to the strain. It can take anywhere from one or two days to as long as one week to get your horse to the stage where its knee hits the ground. No matter how long it takes your horse to advance through this training, be sure to encourage them along the way.
  3. The phrase “alright” should be introduced as your horse becomes accustomed to lowering down till its knee reaches the group. Apply pressure to keep your horse in this position. Your horse will learn to link this word with maintaining the same stance and “freezing” over time and with lots of practice. By doing this, you can start manipulating them as soon as they finish the trick.
  4. One of the last phases is to ask them to bow while softly tapping a whip against their cannon bone. This gradually shifts your horse’s signal to bow from being asked to lift their leg and feel pressure on their chest to responding to a little tap on the knee.
  5. The timing of your cue words and actions must be balanced. Once your horse recognizes the “cue” of light tapping on their cannon bone, you want them to eventually bow down and exit this position when you say “alright.” Timing is crucial.
  6. Make careful to use your cues, incentives, and words at the precise moment your horse is either completing the desired action or is about to exit an action you want them to. Don’t forget to praise your horse with words, pats, and an upbeat tone.

How to teach a horse to jump

It’s much simpler than it may appear to teach your horse to leap. Horses are naturally athletic and have the capacity to jump, thus this is the case. The main focus of teaching this technique is getting your horse accustomed to the idea of jumping, particularly if it involves having you on their back. My best suggestions for training your horse to jump are listed below.

1. Getting your horse accustomed to walking, trotting, and then cantering over trotting poles is the first stage in teaching them to leap. Get your horse used to estimate its distance and strides over the pole by starting with only one pole.

2. Afterward, trot your horse over the poles. By trotting your horse over two poles immediately after one another, you can increase the number of poles they cross in succession while they are on the trot.

Keep in mind that the trotting poles should be placed two of your even-spaced steps apart. Increase the number of poles you are using until your horse is comfortable with two, then three, and finally four.

3. Canter poles are now in order. Start with one pole as you develop your gait and keep in mind that trotting strides differ greatly from cantering steps. Your horse will become accustomed to altering their stride and their eye to move over the pole by cantering over one pole. Increase this to two, three, and finally four poles once they are comfortable.

Keep in mind that you should space your cantering poles apart by four of your regular-paced steps.

4. Set up a tiny cross jump now that your horse is accustomed to moving over poles. Only attempt one cross jump at a time, and make it as little as you can. You may gradually raise the height as your horse develops accustomed to this jump to help them get adjusted to the motion of jumping.

Make sure you sit in a “light” seat when crossing jumps. This indicates that you are lifted out of the saddle and lean slightly forward as you exit the saddle with your feet securely planted in the stirrups.

5. Change the jump to an upright after your horse is confident over a cross-jump. A single pole is on the floor for this leap and an elevated pole crosses it and rests on uprights. Since they will need to improve their depth perception and strides going up to a leap, keep your horse’s initial upright as small as possible.

Conclusion

All horses cannot master every trick. The horse is a major factor. But even if your horse doesn’t immediately grasp a trick, you shouldn’t give up on it. Be patient and try rewarding your horse with a goodie like a carrot to get him to do the desired behavior.