A common problem when you first start showing off your horse’s new tricks is ‘Stage Fright’.
It goes like this…..Your horse performs a trick perfectly and promptly when it’s just you and him (or her). But tell some friends what a wonderful trick horse you have, invite them around for a demo and it’s almost as if your horse never knew the trick!
Some horses don’t mind how many people are around or what is going on, but the majority of horses will see this as a new situation and at the very least will be a bit distracted. Your horse may also be nervous about having extra people around. To a horse, extra people can mean something is about to happen eg a visit from a vet or farrier; two very necessary professionals but people that your horse may not like or is worried about.
You could also be nervous or anxious about showing the new trick and your clever horse to your friends. We all know that horses pick up on nerves and your mood.
The simple solution to this problem is to just practice, practice, practice in different situations and places, with people around. Try and invite a friend / partner / husband / mother /sister to be there when you practice your tricks.
However, before you add a new ‘distraction’ make sure your horse is very good at the trick. They need to understand exactly what is required before you add this extra pressure.
Also remember that your horse doesn’t have to (and won’t) be perfect every time. Trick training is meant to be fun. Save the serious stuff for when you are competing or showing your horse.
You will find that as your horse gets used to performing in different situations and with spectators they will be less distracted. Your relationship with your horse will improve, trust will grow and no matter what is going on around you both, your horse will look to you for guidance. If you ask them to perform a trick they will.