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!