I originally taught Gracie to bow by keeping the lead rope on the right side while I stood on her left, picked up her foot, and while pulling the lead and her head to the right and back, guiding her knee to the ground. She picked it up really quick, and is now able to do it on both sides.
However, I screwed up. =| Now when I pick up her foot to clean it [usually only her left] she drops down to bow. I can usually stop her by poking her girth with the end of the hoof pick. Today, she dropped way too fast and went down on her knee on the concrete barn floor. =\ She's fine, but I don't want it to happen again.
When I did ask for the bow, I would have my forearm on her "forearm" and guide it backwards and downwards while scratching her in between the legs. That was supposed to be the cue, scratching her chest. But it's not working.
Now I have stopped asking her to bow a while ago, but she still tries to bow. I saw in a magazine article that you could tap the foot/leg with a dressage whip to teach the bow. I worked on that a little today, tapping her fetlocks until she would pick up her feet. After a few minutes, she picked up EVERY foot with a tap.
The magazine said to continue with the tapping until the horse would go "down" and whatnot, so that's the plan. BUT, I also tap her fetlocks when I want to pick her hooves. Do you think tapping her fetlocks to pick up her feet, and then her "forearm" to bow is too advanced or complicated a cue? I'd like to be able to continue tapping for a foot to pick hooves or while in the saddle, but I don't want to fall into the same trap I did originally. Any ideas?
PS. Sorry this was so long. O_O