Trick Training Tips

How To Fit Training Into a Busy Life

Are you super busy and not sure you have time to start trick training?

In this article I show you how it is easy to fit your training sessions around your day-to-day horse activities.

Plus horses learn much quicker if they are taught tricks in several, enjoyable, short sessions (about 5 minutes each) rather than one long one.

The perfect time to do a bit of trick training is when you are going out to your horse to feed them or to do your daily horse chores.  This also means that you are adding some fun into your routine rather than just making it all work for your horse (and you).

I recommend working on only one new trick each day but you can also practice tricks your horse already knows well.

Following is an example of the trick training that Trigger and I do each day and how I fit it around daily horse chores and riding.

8.00am – Mix up Trigger’s morning feed

  • Practice a trick that Trigger already knows such as giving me a kiss (1 minute).
  • Practice touching a handkerchief, which is the start of a new trick of teaching Trigger to take it from my pocket (2 minutes).

8.05am – Feed Trigger & take off his rug

10.00am – Clean out water trough

  • If Trigger comes up to me while I am in his paddock (which he does 99% of the time) then we will again practice touching the handkerchief (2 minutes).

1.00pm – Bring Trigger in for a ride

  •  Practice calling Trigger in.  He will usually come cantering over to me when I call him (1 minute).
  •  Again practice touching the handkerchief (2 minutes).

1.05pm – Saddle Trigger up

  •  While saddling, practice some tricks he already knows such as lifting his feet by just pointing at them and lowering his head for bridling (2 minutes).
Lower head for bridling
Trigger lowering his head for the bridle

1.10pm – Go for a ride

2.00pm – Return from ride.

  • Practice a trick Trigger already knows such as saying “Yes” (nodding his head) (1 minute).
  • Practice touching the handkerchief and encourage him to mouth the handkerchief (2 minutes).

5.00pm – Mix up Trigger’s evening feed

  •  Practice a trick he knows such as twirling (1 minute).
  •  Practice touching the handkerchief and encourage him to mouth the handkerchief (2 minutes).

5.05pm – Feed Trigger & put his rug on

  •  Ask Trigger to give me a goodnight hug (30 seconds).

 Total Trick Training time = 16 minutes

The schedule above shows that I have been able to fit 6 short trick training sessions into a day.  No special preparation was necessary (except I needed to take a handkerchief and some treats with me – or I could have used some of his feed).

The next day I would follow a similar schedule but ask Trigger to do more with the handkerchief, if he is ready.  For example I would encourage Trigger to actually take the handkerchief in his mouth.

You might not be able to spend as much time with your horse throughout the day but if you visit your horse even once a day, try to fit a short training session in several times during the visit – at the beginning and end of everything you do.

If you practice several times a day and make the session short and enjoyable you will find your horse will learn super fast!
 

16 thoughts on “How To Fit Training Into a Busy Life”

  1. Hi Jain,
    I am really happy to have found your program. I love my horse Trinity Warrior! He’s super friendly and handsome and we have been riding together since August. We have winter coming soon but now that doesn’t matter!
    Jane & Trin

    1. Hi Jane and Trin,

      So glad you joined us. You should find lots of things to do in the Academy over the winter months.

      Have fun you two! 🙂

      Jain, Trigger & Bella.

  2. Thank you – I am going to start this morning with my daughter’s OAP New Forest Pony. He will be 28 in the spring and I have had him since a yearling when I bought him from the meat market. Although he was small he was broken to ride and had a couple of young riders on and off until my daughter was born when he was 14. He then enjoyed close on 10 years of teaching her to ride (and how to stay on as he has always been quite cheeky and “naught”) but towards the end of her time riding him he started to suffer lots of health issues and weight loss problems and also some “depression”. We eventually tracked all that down to Cushings and he is now medicated and has recovered his health. As the Cushings came under control we realised that he also had some arthritis type pain and have him on a devils claw supplement which controls that. So now we are looking for things to entertain him. We take him out on rides with his younger stablemate and I am hoping to do some in-hand trec and hopefully some long-rein dressage with him. But we are looking to do tricks with him to keep him stimulated (and reading and watching the videos we may do some with his stable-mate as well). He already puts his head down for his headcollar and nods to say yes when he wants a sweet, oh yes and loves to use his nose to open doors and explore etc, so I guess those are starting points for him. His friend (who is 20) didn’t come to us till he was 14 and has lots of “habits”. Tries to nip a lot so I suppose anything that involves picking things up or carrying, and paws incessantly if he has to wait for anything so counting etc. Looking forward to having fun with the boys 🙂

    1. Well my little man is off to a great start. We started with just going back to the “saying yes” which we have done before. He remembered that almost instantly. And already he is showing me the way. He started to touch my arm so I found him a toy to use as a target and am teaching him “touch” which hopefully will be a base we can build on for further tricks. He’s bright eyed and bushy tailed and just loving it 🙂

    2. Hi Sarah,

      Good to hear about your horses 🙂 The older ones still love having something to do – that’s great that you finding things for him to learn. Sounds like you are off to a great start!

      I hope you have lots of fun together 🙂

      Jain.

  3. How and where do you get started? I would love to get to now my horse a little better . As I’m getting older and riding is slowing down. I wan to do something with him. Thank you for now.

    1. Hi Merlene,

      If you aren’t riding so much it is really good to give your horse something else to do… something that is fun and engaging for them 🙂

      You can start by signing up for my free training videos and tips. These will give you some ideas about the basics of trick training and show you ways to improve the bond with your horse:

      FREE TRAINING VIDEOS

      Or if you’d like to get started with a step-by-step guide (that includes more in-depth videos) then have a look at my ebook:

      HORSE TRICK TRAINING EBOOK

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Have fun 🙂

      Jain.

  4. Hello. Good to be back. I have two tiny Miniature Therapy Horses, Tex and Wally, they are so small they ride in the back of my car! I have trained a couple tricks but now am ready to progress. I also have a Peruvian that I hope to do a few tricks with just to shake things up a bit. Thank you for the valuable information and the progressive pattern you have put together.

    Kathy
    Tex, Wally and FAntasia.

    1. Hi Kathy, Tex, Wally and Fantasia,

      Good to hear that you are getting back into trick training again. I hope you all have lots of fun 🙂

      All the best,

      Jain.

  5. Hi, Jain! I am so glad that I discovered Horse Tricks Academy! This is going to be FUN!! I am looking forward to spending more quality time with my horse Rivers…a beautiful Palomino TWH and my best friend!! THANK YOU (and Trigger & Bella, too!!) for inspiring us…

    1. Hi Anne,

      So glad you and Rivers joined us 🙂 I really look forward to hearing about your progress and adventures.

      Have lots of fun!

      Jain, Trigger & Bella.

  6. Connie, it too is hard for me in the winter months I have learned to work from the ground so he is not too rusty the rest of the time! But Smokey and I are both very excited to learn new tricks.

    Smokey is a 9-year-old flea bitten gray registered APHA horse just an fyi

  7. Excited to get started with my new horse!
    It’s tough riding in our winter months here in northern NY, so this will give us some bonding time until spring!

    1. Hi Connie,

      Welcome 🙂

      Having some fun and teaching your horse some tricks is a great way to spend the winter! I’m a big believer that if you can improve the bond and trust with your horse then that will make riding a lot better and safer too.

      Have fun 🙂

      Jain.

  8. Wow, this was a great video, and I love the notes that I can print out and have with me at the barn. I can’t wait to get started with my mare Luna. I’m real excited to begin this program, thank you!

    —Cindy and Luna

    1. Hi Cindy & Luna,

      Great to hear that you are enjoying the Horse Tricks Academy. We have been having great fun making the videos 🙂

      Happy tricks!

      Jain, Trigger & Bella.

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