Has anyone ever trained their horse to do tricks?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chickerdoodle13, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'm just curious really. I taught my first horse a few very, very simple things. I had intentions to teach her a few other tricks, but never got around to it before we had to put her down.

    I saw Tommy Turvey at the world horse expo in PA and I thought he was absolutely amazing. He is really, really good with his animals, and he was just a gentle guy. You could tell his horses held great respect for him.

    I'm just wondering if any of you have taught your horses tricks, and what kinds. I would like to work on a few things with my new two year old over the summer. I would love to teach her to bow and "shake" her hoof or wave hello. My other horse would lift her hoof when I asked, but I usually did this to stretch her out before riding.

    Tommy Turvey made it look sooo easy when he was teaching a pony to lay down. That is an awesome trick, but there are a LOT of steps to get there. I would be happy if I could just get my mare to bow! [​IMG]

    There was an excellent book I picked up once that showed how to teach the tricks using natural movements for the horse. It showed how to teach each trick in little tiny steps, which eventually led up to the whole trick. I would love to find that book again, but can't for the life of me remember what is was called! I do know that my horse LOVES to please and she loves being praised, so I think she'll enjoy learning tricks!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Since this is a young horse and new to you to boot, I would STRONGLY ADVISE AGAINST teaching anything involving waving a foot around in any way whatsoever. Truly. No shaking, no waving hello, no spanish walk. Honest.

    If you want to teach her things, that is *good*, but I would really suggest that you teach her a bunch of mundane useful things first. Then, when you know her better and she know you better and all the rules are more firmly established, *then* you can get fancy with bowing or counting or whatever else.

    Things that it is valuable to teach a youngster:

    move any desired foot, on cue, to wherever you want. (This is more a matter of training you to get on the same wavelength with her and pay attention, and is thus a very valuable foundation for further training of all sorts)

    lower head

    back up to body-language cue; back up to verbal cue

    "heel" properly on leadrope (i.e. lead in educated, civilized fashion)

    walk with you at length of leadrope

    walk over (thick, safe) tarp, and plywood

    any sort of trail-class type obstacle, done on leadrope

    Believe me, all this sort of thing will WELL occupy you. They may not be cutesy showoff tricks, but right now there is a considerable chance of getting into trouble if you try to teach things like that. Cutesy showoff tricks can come in time; for now, show off by constructing a generally very well behaved horse with whom you communicate well [​IMG]

    If you want to do something 'different' there is also clicker training -- I am not keen on it as I think it distracts people from proper attention to body language and 'getting with' the horse and really communicating in better detail, but certainly you can get elaborate results with clicker training and some people enjoy it.

    Just my $0.02 worth from having seen a lot of this over the years,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  3. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Ive taught a few of my horses to shake hands. It pretty easy to do. [​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Yup, and it is also easy for young horses, especially young horses new to the owner, to decide that "oh, she LIKES it when I wave my foot at her, gee if she likes it so much when I do it *sometimes* won't she just LOVE it when I do it a whole lot, or when she's not expecting it", and pow! suddenly you've got ice packs and dentures and crutches and things like that.

    I'm just sayin',

    Pat
     
  5. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Quote:Im not even goin to argue, since everything you post is always right. [​IMG] You seem to think I have no clue what I am talking about so , as you say... "Have Fun" [​IMG]
     
  6. farmgirlie1031

    farmgirlie1031 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2008
    IA
    My old gelding and very first horse would take a bow on command. My mom trained him when she was ateenager and he still remembered it when I was 12-19. It was a fun trick. I taught one of ours to lay down when he was 3 but then we sold him so I didn't get to teach him anymore tricks. I would have him lay down for me to get on him bareback because I was having a lot of issues with my hip popping out of place and it was easier for me to get on him if he was laying down. My mare I taught to jump on command. I would tell her to jump when I wanted her to. She would then proceed to jump over something such as a log, barrel, or even the creek. She knew to walk through the water though unless I gave her the command to jump. She is now retired.
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Don't worry Pat, we are already in the process of teaching her all of those things. Anything else I teach her won't be until later in the summer. First I want to work on getting her to turn on her hind end, squaring up, and getting on/off trailer. She leads and halts on cue and is learning the meaning of Whoah. She backs up, but I still have to use a little pressure there. She is getting better though.

    My dad has been working diligently on desensitizing and she has been doing very well. She has her moments, but we've been able to get over the plastic bag, ribbons, tractors, etc. I have to work with her on tarps, bicycles, logs etc. I also have yet to introduce her to clippers. That will be an adventure, but I think she'll be ok. She is very willing and really just wants to please.

    She already responds to pressure with her feet, whether its for me to pick them up, or a tap from a crop to move them where I want. I think this will be valuable when I teach her to square up. She is very, very good with her feet.

    I would LOVE to teach her how to lay down eventually. Once I am able to communicate with her better, I may start on that. It just all depends on what direction I want to go with her and how prepared I feel to teach that.

    Honestly, anything I teach her is for me only, as there are not too many people I could show off "cute" tricks to. I honestly believe anything I teach my horse is to better improve my communication with them, rather than to show off.

    I'm really just interested to see if others have done this as it does not seem a common thing to do around here. Of course, there are not too many who have horses and/or work with them regularly. Most horses kept here are for casual trail riding or straight up show work.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    B. Saffles Farms :

    Im not even goin to argue, since everything you post is always right. [​IMG] You seem to think I have no clue what I am talking about so , as you say... "Have Fun" [​IMG]

    Brian, I am speaking to the original poster, not to you. It is HER thread not yours; and HER bone structure I am trying to help preserve.

    (e.t.a -- fwiw, Chickerdoodle, I've trained horses to bow, which is not too hard, and to do the thing from the movie "The Horse In The Grey Flannel Suit" where you stand on a table or fence with your legs apart and the horse steps forward sticking his head between your legs til you can sit back onto his back. The latter I do not necessarily recommend, I never felt particularly safe doing it [​IMG])

    Having seen serious injuries over the years in situations exactly like the o.p.'s, when new owner tries to teach young horse tricks involving waving legs around,

    Pat​
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  9. Appytaz

    Appytaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I worked alot of "Showmanship" with my gelding before he was 2, by the time he was 2 he was showing and placing with the "older boys" in showmanship. I really enjoy the Parelli Games. You can put a lot of variety to those type things. One fun thing to work on in the hot summer is a water sprinkler. I had the kind that rotated overhead not the kind that spun. The first time I showed up at the barn and set it up, everyone thought I was nuts. Within 15 mins there were 5 of us out there with the horses playing in the sprinkler!
     
  10. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2008
    I am in agreement with Pat on this one. And it is an issue very close to my heart.

    A friend of mine bought a horse that had been trained to do tricks. Of course the horses previous owner never gave a thought to the possibility that "someday" she may have to sell said horse. So the gelding was trained to bow, shake hands, lie down AND roll over.
    And best yet. Rear.
    Cause it was "cool and fun"

    Yeah. Horse grew to 16 hands and it wasnt so "cool or fun" anymore. Horse got sold to two other people before my friend got him. By then no one knew the cues. Wasnt just voice commands. Nope. I never had a doubt why the horse went to two others before she bought him for $200. Wasnt cause he was old, lame or hideous.
    That horse nearly went over backwards on the trainer she had to hire to break him of what he had been "trained" to do. All she had wanted was a trail partner. Good thing since a show horse he was FAR from. Oh he looked the part. But no one could guarantee he wasnt going to do a "trick" instead of trot

    Sorry, but horses should only be trained to do "tricks" if you are going to use the horse in movies, some how make $$ on the horses tricks(good luck there) Or can guarantee the horse will NEVER be sold.

    Friend's horse? Ended up on a trailer bound for a slaughter plant. Luckily this was before they had the heinous trips to Canada or Mexico to endure on top of what they faced when they arrived there.

    There are better ways to "bond" with a horse. Hanging out with them and grooming them. Riding them etc.
    I have trained my own horses and helped train others. Every minute I spend with Rhett is training. He does no tricks, but I can assure you that he and I are bonded better than most dogs and their people are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009

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