Horse Training

Building Trust and Communication

If you build a bond with your horse through trust and communication, they will do just about anything for you.

A few days ago I was training Bella (my new trick horse) in her new paddock. I’m always looking for opportunities and new things to do with Bella.  There were lots of flat rocks around. I thought it would fun to ask her to stand on one.  She’s never stepped UP onto something for me but we have been practising walking onto a mat.

So I asked her to step onto a very low rock a few times and then I asked her to hop up on this higher one. She didn’t hesitate as you will see in the video.

This is because we have trust and communication.

Firstly she understands what I am asking her to do.  We have good communication.  She’s learnt the cues that mean I want her to stand on something (and it doesn’t matter what that is).

And most importantly she trusts me.  She knows that I won’t ask her to do anything that will hurt her.

So here’s Bella standing on a rock. I also practiced a few other tricks she knows while she was up there (Kiss and Leg Forward).

Here’s Bella…

 


8 thoughts on “Building Trust and Communication”

  1. Hello,

    Since you feed so many treats, what kind do you use? Something that doesn’t add weight?
    When can you stop? So when they see you they are not diving for your clothes, etc.

    1. Hi Barb,

      I use mainly carrots – just very small pieces so they just get a taste. One carrot will last for one or two training sessions.

      If your horse is inclined to put on weight you can just take out some of their normal daily feed to use or try a low calorie horse feed or chaff (chopped up hay).

      In the beginning when training a new trick I give my horses lots of treats but then I gradually ask for more and more before they get a treat. Eventually when they know a trick really well I will only give them a treat once in a while.

      I also do ‘Treat Training’ with them to make sure that they don’t try to mug me or get pushy around treats. Here’s some more info on this:

      TREAT MANNERS

      I hope that helps.

      All the best,

      Jain.

  2. My shetland, Red, is my new trick pony. I am a horse trainer and my clients horses have sucsessfuly learned all the tricks i asked for.. Red on the other hand, cannot grasp the idea of laying down and bowing.. do you have any tips for me?

    1. Hi BU & Red,

      I usually teach my horses to bow first as many of the movements can be used to teach laying down.

      A horse (or pony) will happily do any trick if 3 things are in place: 1. The horse is physically able to do it. 2. The horse understands what you want them to do. 3. The horse believes there is a benefit in them doing it. So either Red is physically struggling to do the trick, or he doesn’t understand what you want him to do or he needs to be given a really good reason to do the trick 🙂

      For 1. Make sure that Bowing doesn’t cause him any pain. Are you doing it on very soft ground? Is he an older horse who might be a bit stiff?

      For 2. Break the trick into tiny little steps. Only move onto the next step when he really understands.

      For 3. Find a reward he REALLY likes to encourage him to try really hard.

      I hope this gives you some ideas.

      Have fun 🙂

      Jain, Trigger & Bella.

  3. Thank you for this information about doing fun things with our horses. So many times we just think ride! I love to walk my horses n people stop n say aren’t you supposed to be on them? LOL But my horses will follow me without a lead n we have great trust. It’s fun that so many miss out on.

    1. I agree Melody 🙂 It’s a shame more people don’t enjoy the benefits of taking their horse for a walk. I love taking my Bella for walks to explore the area (and she really enjoys it too).

      Jain.

  4. I love all your tricks and tips, but can’t figure out how to start. I work every day on trust and communication, but he doesn’t really know what I am trying to get him to do. Do you have videos for horses that are just beginning to learn any tricks? Thank you!

    1. Hi Janet,

      It is really good that you want to increase the trust and communication with your horse. Trick training is a great way to do this.

      With most horses you need to start with something very simple. Then it gets easier and easier to teach them each new thing because they now understand what you are asking. I like to teach my horses to touch an object first of all. I also look for things that they already do, that could be turned into a trick. For example, Bella, really likes to pick things up – so it should be easy to teach her to do tricks like fetch and to pass me things.

      Have you signed up for the free trick training tips?

      https://www.horsetricks101.com/start-horse-tricks

      Or if you’d like to get started with some simple tricks then have a look at the trick training ebook:

      https://www.horsetricks101.com/products

      This has step-by-step instructions for teaching some simple tricks for beginners and links to training videos.

      Have fun!

      Jain, Trigger & Bella.

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