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Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by BobwhiteQuailLover, Nov 21, 2010.
How can I train my horse to sit?
Uh, why would you want to train your horse to sit?
Is this a joke?
There is a talent show at my farm.
It takes a long time and it's very very hard on the horse. They are not built to hold themselves in that position so you have to condition them to it slowly. It takes months if not a year or more so probably not a useful trick for some event coming up soon. Particularly if your horse is a bit chubby and not in really good shape. I'd look in to teaching them to nod, shake head, and bow since you can make a fair amount of progress on those in just a few weeks to a month. There are a variety of ways to do it.
Try a simpler trick first! The only two times I've ever seen a horse "sit" is when it slipped in the mud.
I taught my horse to "say please"
I stood at her left side and picked up her left front hoof so her knee was at a bend and offered a treat where I stood so she had to tuck her nose down and to the left while I said "Say please"
Repeat 3 or 4 times a day. Too much repetition can frustrate or sour a horse, so keep your trick sessions short.
Years later, Izzie still "says please" whenever she wants a treat. When I went to mount her today, she did that as I pulled down the stirrups.
Horses that are taught tricks can often learn to beg, so watch out!
A nod is pretty easy to teach too. Before you give a horse a treat, say "Do you want a treat?" and move your hand with the treat up and down. Make sure the horse is following the treat with their head--actually lifting it up and down. Before long, a horse will eagerly nod to get a treat and when you ask "Do you want a treat?" it will look like the horse is saying yes.
Don't even THINK about trying to do that.
If you really want to try this, pick something the horse already does on its own anyhow and learn to put it on cue and maybe shape/accentuate it.
And be sure to pick something that does NOT involve lifting any feet offa the ground, as there are waaaaay too many people who try to train 'shake' or 'paw' or things like that and end up with horses inclined to fling feet around dangerously when they are bored/hungry/confused. Also be wary of teaching the horse to nod his head vigorously, another thing that can backfire on ya.
Really, to learn how to do this, pick something the horse does anyhow and put it on cue. Does Toby flap his lips sometimes? Try that. Or to put his head down with his nose touching the ground. "Bow", as the previous poster described, is more difficult and time-consuming but still fairly straightforward.
I would really suggest not doing it though. If you want to practice training the horse, practice training him to do something USEFUL and constructive, like lower his head on cue or lead really really well. If you just want to show off, find something other than horse behavior to do it with :>
Good luck, have fun,
I've taught Blondie (one of my minis) to say "yes" and "no," and to "target" and do "head down" with clicker training. Targeting can be very useful for de-spooking; if they'll get a treat for touching something, it becomes much less scary! When she gets yes and no right, it looks really cute. Sometimes, though, she tries to do both at once, then she looks like a demented bobble-head! Betsy (my mini mule) tends to paw when nervous, I will not encourage that behavior by teaching her to "count." She is also very vocal, maybe I will try to teach her to sing (though I can think of ways that could backfire, too!) Before you teach an animal to do something, you also need to think of a way to teach them not to do it, or they will be volunteering to do their trick all the time, and become real nuisances!
I have to agree with Pat. Don't teach your horse to lift his feet up and/or make pawing motions. He WILL hurt some little kid or some non horsey person one day. Ditto on picking up a rag - some day it will be someone else's 4000 dollar saddle he picks up.
I will confess - I taught my pony to pick up a rag, and one day at a show, he picked up a custom made leather jacket, took it to the back of his stall and peed all over it. I rescued it, wiped it off, and hung it back up where it had been....totally reeking of pee. To my absolute amazement, the guy walked over, put it on, and sauntered smugly out of the barn. My guess was that when he got in his car with the windows rolled up and the heat on, he would realize that he reeked of horse pee.
I would say no to sitting - too hard on the hind legs, too easy to slip and slide and get hurt.
A friend of mine taught her horse a few things and gave an exhibit at a therapy riding place. He learned to back up around a circle or at any angle. He could also walk sideways, crossing his legs. He could put his head and neck down in a sort of bow. What else - I think she taught him to step over a longish stick she held in her hand.
Teaching them to pick up their feet can be useful and safe so long as you only teach them to bend it backward. Never forward unless you have the experience and the horse has the temperament for it. I taught a few horses to lift their feet to a tap or even to "right" and "left" which is extremely useful when the farrier shows up or they injure a leg/hoof.