Most tricks, even the complicated ones, start with a simple trick or are made up of several simple tricks joined together.
The same applies to anything you want to teach your horse. Start by teaching your horse some simple basics and then use them to help your horse learn many different things!
For example, to teach your horse to do a ‘Simple Bow,’ break the trick into small steps. First, teach your horse to put his head down, and then teach him to put his leg forward. Then ask your horse to do the two movements together.
And there you have a ‘Simple Bow’!
Below is a list of simple tricks that you can teach your horse in a reasonably short time.
Once your horse has mastered these tricks, they can be used as the beginnings of a whole range of tricks or activities that are fun and useful.
We like teaching this one first. It is an easy trick to teach your horse and will help your horse understand the principles of learning new things.
Ask your horse to ‘touch’ different items, such as a ball, a soft toy, or a traffic cone. ‘Touch’ is the beginning of several tricks, including fetch, kiss, hug… and many others.
Teaching your horse to ‘touch’ is also an excellent way to help them become braver around scary things, like plastic bags, tarps, rubbish bins, and bicycles. Just ask your horse to ‘touch’ the scary thing with his nose.
We get lots of emails from people who tell us that this simple trick has changed how confident their horses have become around new and different objects.
If you would like to learn more about how you can use ‘Touch’ to turn scary things into fun things trot over here:
2. Follow a target
Teach your horse to follow a ‘target.’ You can make a target or use something simple like a fly swatter.
This trick will help your horse learn other tricks such as ‘yes’ and perform liberty work.
You can also ask your horse to go somewhere they might be a bit nervous about, such as following the target onto a trailer.
3. Move sideways
By pointing at your horse’s neck and side. This trick will help you move your horse easily and get them into the correct position for many tricks. It is also how you teach your horse to ‘twirl’.
Here’s a video where Trigger is just starting to learn how to Twirl…
4. Back up
By pointing at your horse’s nose or chest. ‘Back Up’ also helps to get your horse into position for other tricks and makes it easier to move them around.
You can teach your horse fun tricks like backing by just tugging (gently) on his tail, or you can even stand behind him, and he will follow you back while you step backward.
5. Leg forward
This trick is used to teach the following tricks: counting, Spanish walk, and the Simple Bow.
It is also helpful to get your horse to easily put his foot up on a stand for a hoof trim (a favorite with the farriers!).
6. Leg up
By pointing at your horse’s foot. This trick is the beginning of the bow and laying down.
It is also beneficial when you want to check your horse’s feet. No more having to lift your horse’s feet – just point, and your horse lifts his feet for you. (Another favorite with the farriers!)
7. Look away
Useful for those horses that are food hogs and can get pushy around treats. This trick keeps their nose away from you and the goodies! 🙂
If you have a horse that is pushy around treats, trot over here for some helpful ideas on how to get them perfectly behaved around food…
8. Wait or Stand
One of our favorite tricks! Ask your horse to stand still without any restraints.
We use this to teach many tricks, including standing on a pedestal (or if you want your horse to wait while you do something else). It is so nice to have a horse that waits patiently! ❤️
9. Head Down
This is used to teach your horse the Bow or to lay down. It can also help to calm your horse.
This trick is used in fetch (once your horse picks up the ball or item) and is needed for liberty work. Plus, it is excellent to have a horse that comes running to you whenever you call. No more chasing your horse around!
If you teach your horse these 10 simple tricks, you will have developed a wonderful relationship with your horse, and you can use the same principles to teach your horse just about anything!
Do you want to teach your horse all these tricks, plus many more? You will discover everything you need to know in HORSE TRICKS CLUB.