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My trainer believes that my soon to be lease horse, Macintosh, would excell at liberty work and trick training. He's highly food motivated and enjoys working. Also is very intelligent.

Thing is that he's 29, coming 30 in March. He's a very low maintenance guy, and in my time riding him, he hasn't ever gone lame or had any issues. You'd think he's in his teens! So I'm not too worried about tricks ever taking a physical 'toll' on him.

But he's well passed his major learning years. And that's where I'm a little bit iffy. 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks' but can you teach an old horse? Thoughts, tips and experiences please! TIA
 

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Go for it, and you'll both have fun.

See where you two can go.

I often teach "older" horses new disciplines for their owners.
 

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Yes 100% with any animal. You first have to teach them how to be taught - the new way. It's just another language after all. Once he understands what it's about I'm sure he'll love it! For the record the beginning tricks I did with my mare was to lift each leg just by pointing at it. Now she will lift it and hold a cute pose. She will do it for all 4 legs and in random order. She now bows - does a small bow, deep bow and started laying down. Teaching her to touch any body part or any object when I tap it. Being acutely aware of my body language and tone she can verbally come/stand/backup/bow without me so much as moving an eyebrow. Teaching her to nod "yes" (though she doesn't understand yes ofc!) and soon hope to teach her shaking for "no". Even teaching her to take a pea sized chunk between her teeth gently was something.

You can do a lot more. Just open up your mind and you'll be amazed. gl and have fun! :)
 

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I have taught my new-to-me, 18 year old, very pacey Tennessee Walking Horse mare to gait this past year, relying very heavily on clicker training. Someone had asked me if I thought it was worth it, trying to teach a horse that old. The answer is emphatically yes. Clicker training actually taught her the difference between pacing and gaiting, it didn't just rely on a bunch of "props" to make her gait.
 

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I'm sure he can still learn, if you can be a good teacher. I hope you have a wonderful time there. I love the older horses! they are the best!
 
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