I would like to teach my horse a trick that would impress my non horsey friends who always want to come and see my horse and what we are doing. They don't really understand working on circles or softness or leads :) I can't seem to get inspired. I don't really want to teach him to bow. For some reason that always looks uncomfortable to me. I taught him to follow me in the arena, but can't think of what to do next. I was banging loudly on the barrel racing barrel just to get him used to some noise in the arena. (thinking about the snow coming off the roof in the spring already) and he learned to come and put his nose on the barrel when I bang on it. That is what made me think a trick might be fun. He kicks the large soccer ball around. It is so cold here I am not super inspired to ride but doing some trick work would be fun. I am not especially creative so hope someone has some ideas.
I don't remember the name of the book, but there is a trick book you can buy (I'm sure there are probably lots), that tells you how to teach your horse to take things out of your pocket, to bow, to pray, to stand on a pedestal, ect. You should look into a book like that, and teach your horse some of those tricks.
My mare can lie down on command. I can get on her while she's lying down and make her get up. My cousin is DEFINITELY not a horse person - he's from the city - and I told Leia to lie down, had Matt (cousin) get on her and made her get up. It totally blew his mind. Lol I also taught her bridless and really cool free lunging stuff. My non-horsie cousin said it looked like she was dancing and I wasn't telling her to do anything. :)
I would love to know where you learned this from. I wanna teach my horse the same thing. There's something so unique about a horse that will lay down when asked.
But that was going to be my suggestion for a trick to teach. Getting your horse to lay down when asked. It always impresses me to see this on the youtube videos. Especially the part where one can get on or off while the horse is laying down.
I've taught a lot of foals to lie down (which is easier than full grown horsies) but its pretty simple to teach a horse to lie down. If you type "How to teach a horse to lie down" into google, you'll most likely find an answer..
How I did it:
1. Halter the horse and hang the lead over his back from the right side
2. Stand on the horse's left side, where the end of the lead rope is
3. Pick up the horse's hoof while you're FACING FORWARD (facing backward might make him think you're cleaning his hooves and the next time you go to pick them, he'll try to lie down) and loop the rope around his leg so you have a firm hold on it (and your hands aren't in between the legs and the ground)
4. Hold the part of the lead rope that's over the horse's back with your right hand and with your left hand, hold his leg up
5. Gently pull back with both hands, pulling his head back and bending away from you, and pulling his leg back
6. The second the horse's body starts to shift in the direction you want, release all pressure, let him have his leg, and reward.
Every time, ask for a little more, and every time he gives, you release. Soon, the horse will drop all the way to the ground.
While teaching Leia, I'd say "Down" in a low voice and poke her shoulder while I pulled her down. Now, If I'm on her, all I do is touch my toe to her shoulder and say "Down" and she'll start to go down.
Thanks everyone. I think I could fairly easily get Peppy to jump over something and not be on a line. He knows the point and go command pretty well. And he seems to like to jump. He is a small stout QH so I never send him over anything big, just logs and stuff. I like the suggestion of subtle direction so non horsey people won't even realize you are giving a command. I figure I will say something like "jump" and they will think the horse is understanding english :) Laying down is super impressive. Thanks for your detailed instruction. I may give that a try and see if we can pull it off.
Making a little progress. From ImagineAHorse.com I got the idea to have Peppy stand on something. I do not have a pedestal but I did find a scrap piece of plywood. I let him rest with his feet on it and now all I have to do is point toward it and over he goes. While I point I say "Peppy would you put your feet on that board?" Of course it sounds like he understands what I am saying but really he is just used to me pointing over to it. He will stand on that board it seems like forever now. Falls asleep on it. So now I also say "could you stay there for a minute" and so he does!! Very fun. The laying down is not going so well. I have only tried twice though and do not want to mess it up. I can't really tell when to let up on his foot. He is a very well mannered guy though and stands there waiting to find out what he is supposed to do. I am afraid he is going to hurt his knee when he goes down. I do it in the arena but it still makes me nervous.