Last Updated on October 2, 2022
Training your horse to do something can be fun and rewarding for both of you. But what are the easiest tricks to teach your horse? And is teaching your horse tricks a good idea or a silly game? Let’s find out!
Should You Teach Your Horse Tricks?
There are many good reasons why you should teach your horse tricks, but there are also situations where it is not appropriate. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of teaching your horse tricks, and find out whether it’s a good idea for you in your equine best friend.
Choosing some good tricks to teach your horse can create a fun and rewarding training session for you both. You might think that teaching your horse to perform tricks is just for your own entertainment, but it also helps keep your training sessions interesting and varied. Teaching your horse tricks can also reinforce basic commands and groundwork, which are often overlooked.
However, for some horses at certain stages of their training, teaching tricks is not appropriate. For example, a young horse that has not yet covered the basics of groundwork should not be taught tricks. The horse needs to firmly understand the boundaries between horse and handler before you begin to perform tricks.
Horses that are prone to being slightly bolshy or pushy should not be encouraged to perform tricks such as kissing or pawing a foreleg. This can soon turn into boisterous and unwanted behavior.
Most horses are taught tricks using reward-based training, involving the use of treats to encourage the horse to move in different ways. Excessive feeding of treats can lead some horses to develop unwanted behavior, such as nipping or biting. Feeding treats is also not advisable for horses that are overweight, obese, or prone to weight gain.
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Easy And Fun Tricks To Teach Your Horse
Horses are intelligent creatures that are quick to learn and keen to please. They enjoy the stimulation of learning new things and can quickly pick up new tricks. Here are some fun and easy tricks to teach your horse:
- Lifting each individual leg in turn on command – is fun and also practical, as it makes picking out the feet much easier!
- Teaching your horse to come to you when called makes bringing your horse in from the field a doddle.
- Horses can be taught to ‘hug’ a person with their head and neck – adorable! Use treats to encourage your horse to bend his head around you.
- Teaching a horse to bow takes time and patience, but it is a very cool trick to show off to your friends!
- Horses can be taught to ‘stay’, in the same manner as a dog. This trick can be combined with teaching your horse to come to you when called.
- Some people like to teach their horse to paw a front leg, but this can be dangerous if the horse starts to do it without being commanded.
If you want to try something different with your horse, liberty training can be a fun and entertaining training exercise. This involves schooling the horse lose in an arena and teaching him to stop and turn on command. These types of training techniques are not only fun but also reinforce the bond and trust between you and your horse.
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Safety Tips When Teaching Your Horse Tricks
If you want to try and teach your horse tricks, it is important to keep safety in mind at all times. Make sure that your horse understands basic groundwork exercises, such as commands to halt and move over. Keep yourself safe by wearing protective equipment, including a hard hat and gloves.
When teaching your horse tricks, make sure you’re in a secure and enclosed area that is free from objects which may harm your horse. This should be an area that your horse is accustomed to and feels safe and secure in. As with any training exercise, begin with warming up your horse and reinforcing basic commands.
Take each training session slowly, and make sure your horse understands each stage before moving on to the next. It takes time and patience to teach a horse new tricks, so don’t try to rush things!
Summary – Tricks To Teach Your Horse
So, as we have learned, there are many different tricks to teach your horse, but they all rely on you having covered the basics of communication and trust first. Once you have built this bond with your horse, then you can start to develop it by teaching tricks and basic commands. Whilst teaching your horse tricks can be fun for you both, it is important to keep any training exercises safe and within your competence levels.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the best tricks to teach your horse! Have you managed to teach your horse some funny and clever tricks? Or maybe you’ve got some questions about the best training methods to use when teaching your horse tricks? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
What is the easiest trick to teach a horse?
A fun and easy trick to teach a horse is to come when it is called. This can be achieved by regular reward based training and calling your horse over even when you do not want to catch him.
How do I teach my horse to smile on command?
A fun way to teach your horse to smile on command is to encourage it to reach for treats. Hold a carrot stick slightly out of reach for your horse and he will curl his lips back into a 'smile' an attempt to eat it.
What is the first thing to teach a horse?
When you begin training with a horse, the first thing to teach it is to trust you. Horses are a prey animal and are naturally suspicious of unfamiliar situations and people. Creating a strong trust bond will reap rewards when it comes to future training.
How do you teach a horse to respect you?
Most horses naturally respect humans, and there are not many horses that are deliberately naughty. If you feel that a horse does not respect you, it is a good idea to look at any reasons why this might be. The horse may be fearful, uncomfortable, or in pain, and is misbehaving in an attempt to tell you this.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE