Advice needed about teaching my horse to bow and lay down.

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Advice needed about teaching my horse to bow and lay down.

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  • Teach my horse to bow
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    03-28-2011, 03:43 PM
Advice needed about teaching my horse to bow and lay down.

Lately I've been considering teaching my 20 year old gelding to bow and lay down. I've always wanted to teach a horse to lay down, sit on their back and tell them to get up. It just looks like fun. :P Besides that, I think it would simply be a good bonding experience for the two of us - something out of the saddle. My horse loves laying down to begin with, so I don't think it would be too much of a stretch for him. :)

I have a couple of concerns however. The first is that I am wondering if this would be harmful to him at his age - putting stress on his joints or anything like that. I definitely don't want to make him uncomfortable or cause any issues. He may have mild arthiritis in one of his hocks - he had some injections about a year ago and it hasn't really been a problem since.

The second concern I have is that he is just starting to be used as a lesson horse (for advanced riders because of his barrel-racing past - he's very forward). I am afraid that if I teach him to bow or lay down, he may unexpectedly do it for one of the lesson kids because of a cue that they unintentionally gave. I don't want these tricks to become a nuisance.

So, I was just wondering if anyone had any opinions, advice, or tips. Is there a certain way I can train it or certain cues that I could give that would decrease the likelihood of him doing either of these tricks when he's not supposed to? Or is that even something I should be worrying about in the first place?

Thanks in advance for any input!
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    03-28-2011, 05:14 PM
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My main concern would be with the commands you use. Be sure not to use anything that could be mistaken for a different command. For instance, your farrier will have a terrible time if the horse thinks he wants him to bow....
    03-28-2011, 06:31 PM
Some horses pick it up so easily, others never do. My 23-yr old Paso Fino never got it, but I taught my aunt's 12-yr old NSH to bow in 2 15-minute sessions! My foals both have caught on well; I've been teaching Latte since we bought him and Frappe since she was born, and Latte gets it mucchhh better. Frappe only bows when I ask, but Latte will now lay down completely when I snap my fingers under his stomach and cluck.

I try not to confuse cues with those that the farrier would use, so I started by tugging on the lead rope and pulling the foot down a little, bending their head to the outside. I held a treat also, so they had reason to give to the pressure. Latte figured out really quick that the faster he laid down, the faster he got the treat, so I started changing the cues to putting a treat under his stomach and snapping my fingers. Again, he picked it up super easy, and I don't use treats anymore, just a pat.

It all depends on the individual horse, again, my 23-yr old would never lay down when I tried.
    03-28-2011, 08:35 PM
My paint knows how to do both the lay down and the bow. He is 20 right now and still does both easily. I think with the older horses you have to consider that you shouldn't do the tie leg up method, but there are other ways to do it that take time. Which I suggest is to take it slow.

But my horse does have a laying down problem. Its quiet funny at times, but others it gets to be a real pain in the rear end. Sometimes when Jake gets frustrated he shuts down and lays down. And the farrier has a little trouble with him. I taught him with very different cues but one step leads to another and somehow they almost make the connection.

Now Jake is somewhat of an extremest, most horses don't go to the extent that he does when he is frustrated, but its a good thing to keep in mind. People say to not teach your horse to rear because after it will have a rearing problem, just know that teaching your horse to lay down can cause a laying down problem. =)

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