Question: I have started teaching my gelding to smile, he’s doing pretty well considering neither of us have a clue… well, do I stay with just the one trick until he “gets it” or… will that make him too bored and should I introduce another trick and alternate during the training time? …OR would that confuse him? Heck, I’M confused just from my question :O)
Answer: it depends on the horse…
One of the first horses I started trick training was a thoroughbred who did get bored with doing the same things over and over again – he was a VERY smart horse. So I would try and teach him about 3 tricks at a time.
I made sure that they were very different tricks and used quite different cues. For example I might teach him to: #1 say “yes”, #2 back up by pulling his tail (gently) and #3 picking up his feet by pointing. All these tricks use completely different parts of the horse and different cues.
However Trigger (my current trick horse) isn’t quite so smart and takes a while to learn things. I find it’s best if I teach him one trick at a time and then when he is very good at it I might ask him to do it once or twice a week, just as a refresher.
Just watch your horse and see how he goes with one trick and then try adding another. Just make sure that the tricks use very different cues. If he seems to be getting confused or frustrated just teach the one trick until he is good at it before trying another.
Jain & Trigger