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 got 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 very different cues.
For example, I taught him to:
#1 say “yes.”
#2 back up by just pointing at him.
#3 put his foot up on a pedestal.
All these tricks use completely different parts of the horse and different cues.
However, another horse I train isn’t quite so smart and takes a while to learn new things 🙂 He can get confused if there are too many things happening at the same time.
I find it’s best if I teach him one trick, 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.
The best thing to do is 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, teach him one trick until he is good at it before trying another.
Your horse will tell you, by their behavior, if they are happy to learn more than one trick at a time 🙂