Horses possess remarkable intelligence and easily acquire new skills and tricks. Teaching your horse some of them can be a lot of fun and a great way to bond with your horse. It helps keep their minds active and engaged and can make handling them a breeze. To begin with, start with simple tricks that are easy to understand, and then work your way up to more challenging ones.
A rule of thumb worth remembering is that horses respond well to clear body language and consistent reinforcement. A few impressive tricks, such as teaching your horse to respond to their name when called, bow, hug, or even jump, are easily doable. Each trick will need a different approach and lots of practice, but it's absolutely worth it in the end. So, grab some treats, get ready to have some fun, and teach your horse some cool new tricks!
Teaching your horse to rear is a breeze! Not only is it an impressive trick, but it also makes mucking out their hooves a lot simpler.
Begin by positioning yourself beside your horse's shoulder, facing away from them. Gently stroke their neck downwards, down past their shoulder, and past their knee. Observe your horse's reactions; if they remain relaxed and receptive, continue with the next step.
With your horse still at ease, gently squeeze their leg with the same hand while simultaneously applying subtle pressure to their shoulder by leaning into them. As you do this, utter a clear and consistent cue word, such as "foot," to associate the action with the desired behavior.
As your horse responds to the pressure and begins to lift its leg, release the pressure on its shoulder and continue lifting its leg further. Once their leg is fully elevated, raise it higher until you can comfortably cup the front of their hoof in your hand.
Repeat this process consistently throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration of your horse's leg lift. Throughout the training sessions, maintain a positive and encouraging demeanor, rewarding your horse with treats and praise for their progress.
With consistent reinforcement and patience, your horse will eventually learn to associate the cue word "foot" with lifting their leg. Once this association is established, you can simply utter the cue word, and your horse will obediently lift its leg, making mucking out its hooves a breeze.
Calling To You
Teaching your horse to come when called is a super useful skill that makes handling them a breeze. Follow these simple steps to train your equine pal to come whenever you call their name:
- Treats Are Your Best Friend: Keep a stash of your horse's favorite treats handy and choose a fun reward word, like "good boy" or "yay!"
- Grab Their Attention: Stand in front of your horse and get their eyes on you. Once they're looking your way, say your reward word and give them a treat. This helps them connect the word with good things.
- Reward Good Manners: Don't give treats for pushing or demanding attention. Only reward them for actually coming to you when called.
- Teach Their Name: If they don't know their name, use it often in happy situations, like during grooming or playtime. This helps them associate their name with good times.
- Treat for Their Name: Whenever you say their name, give them a treat. This gradually teaches them to respond to their name and come towards you when called.
- Mix It Up: Use a variety of their favorite treats, especially ones they don't get every day. Apples, carrots, or store-bought horse treats are great options. Cut them into bite-sized pieces for easy munching.
With patience, consistency, and lots of treats, your horse will soon respond to their name and come to you whenever you call. Remember, the key is to make it fun and rewarding for both of you!
Before teaching your horse to hug, make sure they have a basic understanding of the groundwork and respect your personal space.
- Introduce the Treats: Let your horse know you have treats to pique their interest and engagement.
- Follow the Treat: Get your horse to follow the treat with their head and mouth by holding it at various heights and positions.
- Stretch Left and Right: Encourage your horse to stretch left and right by holding the treat just inches away from them and rewarding them when they follow.
- Initiate the Hug: Stand on your horse's left side and wrap your left arm around their neck in a hugging motion.
- Cue the Hug: With treats in your right hand, say "hug" and place your hand behind your back. As your horse reaches across to find the treat, say "yes" and give them the treat.
- Repeat and Practice: Repeat step 5 multiple times daily until your horse responds to the word "hug" and hugs you without the treat.
Congratulations! You've successfully taught your horse to hug you!