Nope, It doesn't HAVE TO learn to lay down.....it depends on what the person is hoping to achieve....I'm not going to teach my horse this 'trick' but I will insist he stays laying down when I approach.....it's a trust issue for me and the horse......not a trick per say.
Probably couldn’t hurt; I’ve trained a few horses and never bothered, and I have seen plenty of people training horses but only ever seen one guy who did insist on teaching them to do it (gotta say though, he was pretty ****ed handy with a horse though too). I have done plenty of cattle work for a living and never even seen a situation where it was needed to make a horse to lay down. I guess I’d be asking is it essential for some reason: medical?, psychological?, If some Indians are trying to shoot you and you need to hide behind something and shoot back? (just joking for those who don’t get the joke). If it is needed, probably couldn’t hurt. Is it just for a trick, or just a gimmick? In that case, I wouldn’t bother, there are many more important things you could put that time into rather than teaching the horse tricks.
The only reason I could see for asking a horse to lay down is for disabled folks who can't mount properly or easily. Other than that I dunno... But I have met quite a few who were trained to lay down for this reason.
My boy is trained to lay down because it was the only way I could get on when pregnant so it came in handy. Mostly though it's because I ride alone constantly. If I'm bareback there is not always a place to get on and even with a saddle of I took a bad fall and couldn't mount properly I know he would lay down for me to get on and get me home. Posted via Mobile Device
Laying down can be done differently. It can be done with force - then it is a predator/prey thing and involves stress and fear; and it can be done with patience, with no forcing to the ground - then it is a trust thing. And sometimes very useful, too - to get on a bareback horse out in the trails, or recently it came to handy when I was able to lay him down for hoof care when he had abscessed that badly he refused to lift the leg. However, horses don't need to be taught this, it is just for people who have use for it and who really know how to do it. That being said - please, don't try it on your horse if you don't know how to do it and if you don't have a professional who can show you how it is taught.