Teaching the bow
 
 

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Teaching the bow

This is a discussion on Teaching the bow within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Problems teaching hrose to bow
  • Why do farriers hate horses learning to bow

 
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    02-15-2013, 02:35 PM
  #1
Foal
Teaching the bow

I have been wanting to teach my horse to bow, but I can't seem to find any training methods that seem okay. Everyone says to tie his hoof up onto a saddle or hold the other end of the rope or something, and that seems just so EXTREMELY unsafe. I also saw another method where you pick up the leg and pull it back until he gives slightly, but my horse just jerks it backs. What do I do?
     
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    02-15-2013, 02:38 PM
  #2
Trained
Richard Winters had an excellent program that aired, and he showed how to teach it. He used a western saddle, and took advantage of using a rope to pull the horse down on the side that his horse preferred to lay on. Watch your horse for that.
He emphasized that the prep is to use a rope and play with your horse's feet until he is comfortable with it. First, he teaches hobbling, then laying down/bowing.
CA also teaches this on one of his DVD's.
     
    02-16-2013, 02:33 PM
  #3
Weanling
This is the method I was taught and another person in my barn is using on a pony. It def works.

Royal Grove Stables Blog: HOW TO TEACH A HORSES TO BOW
     
    02-16-2013, 04:02 PM
  #4
Showing
My friend taught Sky to bow.. and he bows all the time now lol.... hopefully she'll chime in! :)
     
    02-16-2013, 04:25 PM
  #5
Green Broke
I'm in the process of teaching Daisy how to bow. We have it down excepet for the part where she does it on command without me helping her. Lol.

I started off teaching her to lift her leg when touched with my foot, then I pick up her foot and pull it back a little with giving the "down" command. I have her head turned towards me and normally have a treat to entice her to shift her weight backwards. We progressed from just getting her to shift backwards to actually getting her knee on the ground.

Now she will bow as long as I hold her leg and pull it back.

I'm stuck here though. I can't figure out how to get her from relying on my help to doing it herself with just the leg cue and 'down' command.

Anyone have ideas?
     
    02-16-2013, 04:48 PM
  #6
Yearling
I did it with the use of a rope, but without a saddle. My back started to hurt holding my horse's leg up, and I wanted a way to hold onto it without having to have him lay on my hand when he kneeled on the ground. So I had a rope around his pasture but I personally held the rope. I didn't tie it.

First I made sure my horse was fine with ropes on his pasture (thick rope lead rope, never tied it. If I had to let go I want it to fall off) So I ended up getting a lead rope wrapping it around his pastern twice and then walking around with it like that.

He was fine so I practiced holding it up for long periods of time with the rope to make sure he was okay with that.

Then I made sure his back up cue was effortless and he knew exactly what was offered and did it immediately upon offering.

---------------

Then I would hold up one hoof and ask for the back up. Soon as he shifted his weight backwards I would release and pat. Repeated that several times.

Then I would keep asking for the back up more. He got a release if he backed up a hind leg. (Wanted him to stretch out anyways). Repeat until he understood that he needed to move backwards even if his leg was up.

Then expect more and more. At certain points he would become confused and refused to move. I would just wait, continue to ask for the back up and hold the leg. Sometimes this would take up to 5 minutes, then he would move slight backwards and I would reward. I found it important that if he got frustrated or confused to reward any backwards movement to let him know that anything backwards was still good. Small tries get a reward.

Eventually you get to the point where they will go down one one knee. Don't keep them down. Let your horse get straight back up. Remember holding them down becomes more predatory behavior, and causes stress. In this process let them get up right away and praise.

Then ask them to stay down longer and longer, paying attention to their stress level. You stress them out by keeping them down too long they won't like it and it becomes harder to do.

------

The most important thing with stuff like this is to not do it for too long. I made that mistake when I was training and ran into more problems with Jake telling me "No more". Do small sessions, (max 10 minutes). Then go and do something else that is relaxing. Walk around, let your horse graze, lunge...something that does not require a lot of pressure. Then after 10 minutes go back to it. But only do a few short sessions then call it a day. All horses learn differently. Jake took 3 days to master it, my friend's mare took 3 weeks.

Some very important things. Do this only on soft ground (arena), REWARD REWARD REWARD. This doesn't have to mean treats (though I did use this half the time) it means you let the foot down, verbal praise and a pat, what ever it takes to let the horse know that they did what you wanted. Make sure you release the leg. This is the biggest thing.

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    02-16-2013, 07:18 PM
  #7
Foal
This has been extremely helpful. I have been starting off with teaching my horse to hobble, or at least the method used for teaching them to hobble, because he has a bit of trouble with picking up his legs. I have been using the RG method of teaching him to hobble. It is similar to horsesdontlie's method I take a rope and string it around the back of his leg in a way so that if he ever panics I can simply drop it and he won't trip. I put and, as soon as he slightly lifts his leg, I release. I have been working up to him holding it up for longer periods of time. My horse is an incredibly fast learner, so he can hold it up fairly long now and only drops once I release the rope. I think once he can calmly hold up his legs for as long as I ask him to, I will do the thing that was mentioned in HorseQueen08's article, or what horsesdontlie said, which are actually opposites yet the same. The article said to put a whip behind the horse and ask it to back up, and tell it "no" whenever it took a step back, until it simply came down, but I think what may work better for my horse is what horsesdontlie said; just make them back into the bow. If he has trouble at this point I will use a treat to get him to come back and lower his neck, but my horse is recovering from a biting habit so I would like to make that a last resort. Any more methods are appreciated :)
     
    02-16-2013, 07:27 PM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBayArab    
This has been extremely helpful. I have been starting off with teaching my horse to hobble, or at least the method used for teaching them to hobble, because he has a bit of trouble with picking up his legs. I have been using the RG method of teaching him to hobble. It is similar to horsesdontlie's method I take a rope and string it around the back of his leg in a way so that if he ever panics I can simply drop it and he won't trip. I put and, as soon as he slightly lifts his leg, I release. I have been working up to him holding it up for longer periods of time. My horse is an incredibly fast learner, so he can hold it up fairly long now and only drops once I release the rope. I think once he can calmly hold up his legs for as long as I ask him to, I will do the thing that was mentioned in HorseQueen08's article, or what horsesdontlie said, which are actually opposites yet the same. The article said to put a whip behind the horse and ask it to back up, and tell it "no" whenever it took a step back, until it simply came down, but I think what may work better for my horse is what horsesdontlie said; just make them back into the bow. If he has trouble at this point I will use a treat to get him to come back and lower his neck, but my horse is recovering from a biting habit so I would like to make that a last resort. Any more methods are appreciated :)
I would suggest backing off from trick training until your horse is able to lift its leg up easily and without any hesitation. Horses aren't very fond of bowing. (Its hard and not natural) If picking up the leg is an issue now, I can see it becoming a larger problem later on. Until the horse is 100% comfortable with you picking up its hoof for picking and shoeing...ect I would not work on the bow.

On the stopping the horse from backing up with a crop, I would find that counter productive. Sounds like a great way to confuse the horse. Its hard to back up with a hoof in the air. If the hop backwards just wait and hold. They won't wan to keep doing it. Soon as they start to lean, release and reward. Otherwise you are going to have a horse that is just going to sit there and shut down.

Another thing I forgot to mention is crucial is how you approach this.

Farriers HATE horses that are taught to bow/lay down. Most people don't differentiate between the cue of lifting the leg and the cue to bow. For picking feet I always have my back to the horse, and any attempt to bow gets a slap to the stomach and a "NO!". Its not okay to bow when it's not asked for...ever.

Then for the actual bow cue I face the horses head and ask for a back up cue. (I typically place a hand on his chest and ask for the back up by pushing...or if its ridden I pull on the reins while tapping his shoulder).
     

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