Would you like to teach your horse a trick quickly or slowly? I think you would probably say ‘quickly’. Who wouldn’t? But I’ve found that teaching horses tricks slowly actually speeds things up.
Let me explain…..
If you want to teach your horse to bow it’s easy – just grab a carrot, put a halter on your horse, and without letting your horse step backward, tease them between their front legs with the carrot until they lower their head.
There are loads of websites that show you how to do this.
Your horse hasn’t really learned anything (except how to bend into a funny position to try and get a carrot). If you want them to do something more complicated or a movement that can’t be taught by following a carrot then you won’t stand a chance with this method.
If you really want to do amazing things you need to slow down and get your horse really thinking about what they are doing. You need to break your tricks into lots of small parts and teach your horse each part separately. Then you will have a series of movements ( I call these Trick Foundations) that you can use to form lots of tricks and you won’t need to lure your horse with a carrot.
For example, if I want to teach Bella to do a ‘Simple Bow’ then I just teach her to lower her head and move her leg forward. And if I teach her to move her leg forward then I have also taught her part of ‘Counting’ and ‘Spanish Walk’.
Your horse will learn each trick quicker because they already know part of it and they understand the process of learning tricks. Most importantly you and your horse will have developed a form of communication that makes working together a lot easier.
So even though it may take longer in the beginning to teach your horse these ‘Trick Foundations’ you will find that later on, it will really speed up your trick training.