Trick Training? For or Against? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Trick Training? For or Against?

I taught my horse to bow, and she loves it! She is doing great and is super happy with bowing! I want to teach her to lay down, but I have only seen 1 way of doing it, and that is with a lot of force and holding her foot up until she looses balance. I am not really comfortable with laying her down that way... Does anyone have any more natural methods? And also, are you for or against trick training? Have you had any bad experiences with teaching horses tricks?
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 11:35 AM
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IMHO, trick training is okay if done right. The problems that I see are when horses know tricks better than simple manners. A friend of mine has a horse who knows how to bow and to lay down. That horse will also lay down during a ride when she decides that she wants rewarded for something easy. That mare can be pushed out of it when she starts acting like she wants to lay down, but it adds a layer of difficulty to things. Tricks like rearing on cue and pawing to count can turn into outright vices or dangers if not handled with care.

I haven't taught any "dramatic" tricks to mine. My old Johnny could shake his head "no" on cue, and my sister's horse can "smile" on cue. They're simple tricks, kind of cute (the horses score big points when the city-dwelling relatives visit), but almost can't be turned against me farther down the line.

I'll let someone else tackle the practical issue of laying a horse down as for a trick. The "best" way I've seen is to pick up a foreleg and sort of guide it back, encouraging the horse to drop down, and rewarding the horse for relaxing down and back until he relaxes down to the ground. Looks pretty low-key and non-forceful.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 09:44 AM
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I taught my horse to lye down... And have never had any problems, never, not once. I don't know about training them to rear though... or paw the ground... Any way, I don't need to teach my horse that, he already knows how. Lying down a horse is fairly easy, IF they trust you. If not, then forget about it. My horse still stands when I pick his feet (he doesn't lye down) He stands for the farrier, never once tried to lye down while Im riding, and over all, it has been nothing but a great trick. Bowing I assume would be fine too. But rearing? And pawing? A little dangerous perhaps.
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 09:51 AM
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I personally love tricks, on my days off I sit outside and am either trying to teach my (ahem, rather dunce) dog how to do something new, or playing with Indie and getting her to pick up new things. It's a fun hobby, but you just gotta keep in mind horses are a LOT bigger than dogs. As long as you keep that in mind, and know what're doing then I don't see a problem.
Just be prepared for them to be doing it all the time. Teaching to rear would be awesome, and I'd personally love it... but I know Indie has a future with kids, so I won't teach it to her because it wouldn't be fair to expect children to handle that.

But for example:
Last year I taught Indie how to climb onto our porch and she nearly got how to open the screen door (usually the only thing separating the house from outside)... well, let's just say I've walked in to see a horse standing in the living room looking towards the kitchen

So I'm all for trick training, it's fun and potentially innocent; just be prepared for the repercussions.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 10:46 AM
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I think it's great as it gives something different for the horse to learn and a break from riding.
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 11:02 AM
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I'm aganist. I see no useful purpose in most of the tricks. What if you need to sell the horse?

Some signals can actually be confusing to the horse. We had a horse have to stay over in the clinic. Vitals are taken at a minimum twice a day. Horse's standing position had to be moved to take the heart rate. Tech touched the horse and the horse dropped to his knees.

It was a trick the horse had been taught that took 10 years off the life of the tech.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 11:20 AM
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I'm for it as long as there is no forced method of it. There ARE ways I just don't know of any at the moment. Except, I don't know if you've ever heard of Jessica Forsyth (RIP) but on Youtube she has a video of putting a treat under her horses front legs and he follows it until he is completely bowing.

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post #8 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondehorselover View Post
I'm for it as long as there is no forced method of it. There ARE ways I just don't know of any at the moment. Except, I don't know if you've ever heard of Jessica Forsyth (RIP) but on Youtube she has a video of putting a treat under her horses front legs and he follows it until he is completely bowing.

Boomer Bowing.. - YouTube
Awe, Jessica, I've read so much about her... So sad ): Wish I could have met her. She was totally awesome with horses (: I started training my horse to bow that way, and he completely understood what I meant. Only problem, he kept backing up, so its useful to have something behind them...
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post #9 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 03:11 PM
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I trained my horse to do a few tricks one winter, so I am rather nutral about the subject. I did have some trouble that resulted from teaching my horse to rear up. I don't suggest that trick. I still have him do it, since he knows how... And it is fun to do when cars pass me too fast. It also makes a neat picture. I won't teach it to any more of my horses though, if that means anything to y'all.
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondehorselover View Post
I'm for it as long as there is no forced method of it. There ARE ways I just don't know of any at the moment. Except, I don't know if you've ever heard of Jessica Forsyth (RIP) but on Youtube she has a video of putting a treat under her horses front legs and he follows it until he is completely bowing.

Boomer Bowing.. - YouTube

That's what I did!


Working on getting her to do it on voice command It was the easiest and clearest method I could find, and within one session she fully understood what I'm asking for when I hold a carrot under her tummy and pleasantly ask "Bow."

It isn't the *correct* bowing method, but for a backyard trick it's pretty cute and the neighbor kids think Indie is the most amazing "pony" ever.
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