Featured, Trick Training Tips, Useful Tricks

Teach Your Horse a Useful Trick

There are so many tricks you can teach your horse.  There are all the usual ones like kiss, hug, bow etc, but also have a think about teaching your horse some useful tricks.

These can make life a whole lot easier (and safer) around your horse.

Hoof work

Point at your horse’s foot and he will pick it up for you. No need to strain to lift his foot up.

pick up hoof

Keep his foot on a hoof stand. Your farrier will love this one!

farrier

Stand / Wait

Stand still and wait without needing to be tied up.  Useful if there is nowhere convenient to tie your horse or you just want to quickly pop out into his field and check him, pick out his feet or brush him.

wait

Also helps when mounting and dismounting.

Treatments and Procedures

Teach your horse to happily accept those inevitable treatments and procedures BEFORE you actually have to do them.

Spraying – accept being sprayed with an aerosol or pump spray bottle (for example fly spray).

spray

Bandaging – stand still while you bandage any part of his body.

Foot baths – stand still with foot in a bucket of water (useful in case of foot abscesses).

Clipping – stand still while you clip any part of your horse.

Stretching – neck and leg stretches before or after exercise.

De-worming – happily accept a de-worming tube in the mouth.

deworm

Go Forward and Touch Scary Objects

Make your horse braver.  If you teach your horse to ‘touch’ new and unusual items with their nose you will find that they will be more willing to go forward and investigate scary objects.

If you only teach your horse one trick… make sure it is ‘touch’. There are SO many things you can do with this simple trick.

Here is a video of me teaching Bella to touch a scary board…
(Ha Ha….Look for the cow audience in the background)

Food Manners

Be well behaved around food.  This includes waiting politely while feed is mixed and only moving forward to start eating when told it is “okay”.

For more information on ‘Food Training’ visit TEACH YOUR HORSE TREAT MANNERS

Move around 

Point at your horse’s hindquarter and he will move it away.  Point at his head and he will move his front end away.  Point at his chest and he backs.  The easy way to move your horse around!

Drop head

Just lightly touch your horse on the top of his head and he will lower it. This makes putting a bridle on easier.

There is also some scientific proof that lowering a horse’s head has a calming effect.

head_down

Pick up items

Pick up things you drop.  Especially useful when you are out riding. Imagine dropping your hat and your horse reaches down, picks it up and hands it to you. No need to get off!

pickup

Come when called

Come running when called and put his head in a halter, ready to be caught.  (No more running around the paddock trying to catch your horse).

Here’s a video of Bella (who was very hard to catch) coming when called:

Hug

Okay… this is not really a ‘useful trick’ but if you’ve had a bad day there is nothing like a horsey hug to make you feel better! 🙂

hug

All these ‘useful tricks’ are taught using the same principles as any other trick.  Consider adding a few to your horse’s education to make life around your horse easier and safer for you both.

 


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25 thoughts on “Teach Your Horse a Useful Trick”

  1. Hi out there. I’ve been doing several of these ‘tricks’ since I was a kid. I’ve always looked to my horse as my friend and companion, and I filled many a day teaching different things to my horses. Coming when called, backing with a signal were standard things. I’m going to teach the ‘picking up the hoof’ with a signal bc as I’m getting older, fighting to pick up a leg is something I don’t even want to get into. Cheers to all, this is a wonderful site. 🙂

    1. Hi Heather,

      It is wonderful that your horses are friends and that you teach them lots of different things. Your horses would be very happy 🙂

      I like to teach all my horses useful tricks. It makes life a lot easier. The ‘pick up hoof’ signal is especially useful. I can quickly check my horses feet even if they are out in their paddock – I just point and they pick them up 🙂 Easy!

      Keep up the good work with your horses.

      Jain.

    1. Hi Wyst,

      I show how to teach a simple trick in my eBook (with videos and step-by-step instructions). Once you teach Bosco a simple trick you can use the same method to teach him to do all sorts of things.

      Or I have an in-depth online training course that has lots of tutorials on how to teach oodles of useful tricks.

      You can find out more here:

      https://www.horsetricks101.com/products/

      Enjoy,

      Jain.

  2. I purchased my Moran as a 4 month old colt. Not a whole lot I could do with him, but he loved to explore things and was very treat motivated. He would give kisses and hugs, count with his hoof, bow and ‘park out’. He learned to do the showmanship pattern at liberty and pee on command which came in handy when we began showing.

    1. What an excellent education for a young horse! 🙂 Not only is he having fun but he is also learning how to learn. With this start you should be able to teach him just about anything. Well done you two! 🙂
      Jain.

  3. I’m getting my new mare soon, and would like to stay in touch with you! Your tricks are stunning and I think they would make my mare a good listener as well

    1. I hope you and your new mare really enjoy trick training Taylor. It can definitely help a horse to become more focused 🙂

      Jain.

  4. This site has opened my eyes to what I will be able to try with my miniature stallion, hes a super nervious horse and I always seem to be going one step forward and two steps back with training on him, I am hoping to find this will build a better bond with me and him, and hopefully aid his nervousness more then other training I have tried with him. catching him is the first issue, will be working on that, thank you for an awesome website!

    1. It is really good to hear that you want to work on building a better bond with him Amy. It can take a lot of time in the beginning, but it is really worth it 🙂 I would recommend spending as much time as you can with him and make a lot of that time very relaxed. With nervous horses, sometimes I will just spend time each day doing nothing – just being near them. It can help to take a book to read if you need something to do. That way he will get used to the idea that you being there is a good thing and that there is no pressure. If he will let you touch him, try and find places that he loves a scratch. This is a good bonding exercise. Or if he likes to be groomed, try brushing him gently. Anything that can build your friendship and trust will carry over to your training and make that so much easier for both of you. Jain.

  5. The best “trick” I ever taught my horses (and I now teach all of them) is voice-command Whoa! I discovered how well I’d taught it one day when a friend was riding my mare. He was galloping across a field and didn’t see an electric fence. He didn’t understand what I was yelling at him, so I yelled at my horse. And she did! She came to a sliding stop a few feet in front of the fence. My friend ended up sitting astride her ears, but neither one was hurt.

    1. So good that you had taught her this ‘trick’ Dawn! Super useful and can save horse and rider from a nasty accident.

    1. Glad you liked the video Lyndsey 🙂 I teach a method that is a bit different to Clicker training but it has very similar principles. They both encourage horses to really WANT to do what we ask 🙂

  6. The easiest but cutest trick is to teach your horse to bow. What i did is i put a treat under the legs of my horse and slowly moved the treat more under her stomatch and my horse will bow. Sometimes to help her move easier into the certain position she has i hold her leg and then pull the treat back so it is easier for her but now all i have to do is point and she will bow.

    1. I agree…. one of the QUICKEST ways to teach you horse to bow is to put a treat under their front legs. But the BEST way is to teach them without asking them to follow a treat. (They are just following the treat and not really thinking about what they are doing) The way I teach my horses takes longer but the results are wonderful ! 🙂 I teach my horses each part of the bow separately 1. pick up their legs 2. lower their heads 3. lean back. Then join them together to form a bow. By teaching them this way my horse has learnt lots of things and I have also taught them movements that can be used for lots of other tricks 🙂 Jain, Trigger & Bella.

    1. Hi Marta,

      Have you read the ebook on this website? It covers the principals of teaching your horse to do simple tricks, including picking things up.

      Basically you need to break the trick into lots of small parts and then teach each part. First teach your horse to touch an item – I like using a soft ball. Then you teach your horse to touch the ball while it is on the ground. Then you need to teach your horse to bite the ball, then pick it up. Some horses naturally like to pick things up in their mouth. Others take a bit more encouragement. I trained a thoroughbred once, who loved to fetch. I could throw a ball down the paddock and he would run off after it and bring it back – like a huge big dog! 🙂

      Have fun!

  7. This sounds awesome looking forward to the ebook!
    i’d like to teach my mini lots of things like rear on command. but i worry that if i teach him something like that then he might just go and do it when some little kid is on his back and totally freak it out! do i have to worry about that?
    I really want to teach him to stand (square) and STAY. then come when called like a dog and play with my dog with a ball or tug toy. they play as it is but its more like chaseys
    cool found you on face book

    1. Hi Sunrise, yes if little kids are going to be riding your mini then I wouldn’t teach him to rear – just to be safe. I always teach my horses that unless they are asked to do a trick they don’t get a reward and this discourages them doing unwanted tricks. But a kid may give them a trick cue by mistake and your horse will think he is being asked to do the trick. I also find that when I first start teaching a horse tricks he will sometimes try to do several unasked tricks when he/she sees me in the hope that they will get a reward. It’s usually funny but in this situation it could be dangerous.

      You can use the same method to teach a trick as you can to teach loads of other useful things, like standing square and staying. I had a huge 16.2hh thoroughbred that would chase a ball and bring it back to me. He loved this game! Some horses aren’t good fetchers, just like some dogs. Trigger, my current trick horse is very relaxed and a bit lazy and he thinks fetch is a bit too much like hard work. However he is brilliant at bowing, lying down and staying… all tricks that don’t take much energy 🙂

  8. I love this site! I’d love to have the ebook. I would like to teach my two horses to do things together. They already do some things, like circle while the other one is on a pedestal, etc., the little mustang mare picks up things, honks the bicycle horn, opens gates, they both push a big ball, but I’d like to teach them to “play ball” together, maybe one lead the other, etc., maybe hug and kiss each other…..? They are very bonded and it’s hard to work with one only as the other feels left out…especially the big 21 year old TWH…He learns more slowly, but you can count on him once he’s got it.

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