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Steps To Teach Your Horse to Stand Still and Wait

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Teaching your horse to stand still and ‘Wait’ without being tied up is a very handy trick!

With just a few minutes of daily practice, you can teach your horse to calmly wait for you.

‘Wait’ has many uses…

✅  You can use it to teach your horse to stand on a pedestal or stay in position for a trick, such as ‘Hug.’

✅  Teach your horse to ‘wait,’ and they will stand still for procedures such as de-worming or for the farrier. It also helps teach them patience.

✅  A bonus of teaching this trick is that if your horse ever gets a fright, they are more likely to stand still rather than run away.


1. Teach Your Horse To Stand ON Something

I like to train all my horses to stand on something – for example, a small mat on the ground. This gets them ready for many other tricks such as standing on a pedestal and also used to things under their feet.

Horses seem to understand the idea of standing still more easily if you ask them to stand ON something.

2. Equipment

Start by teaching your horse to stand still with their front feet on a very small mat. You could use a doormat. Or I use a large heavy-duty vinyl sheet that I fold up into a small square. I can then unfold it step by step and eventually teach my horse to stand on the mat with all four feet. This gets them ready for pedestal work.

3. Make Sure Your Horse Is Very Happy To Be On The Mat

Make sure your horse has thoroughly inspected the mat before you ask them to stand on it.

Let them have a good look at it and sniff it. They may even want to paw it. In the beginning, just let them get used to the mat.

4. Start By Asking For Just One Or Two Feet On The Mat

Then ask them to step on it. You may only get one foot on it but as soon as they touch it with their hoof, give them a Marker and then a reward.

5. The Marker

Using a Marker will help your horse to learn a lot faster!  The Marker is a sound that tells your horse the INSTANT they have done the right thing. 

6. Only Practice For A Maximum Of 10 Minutes Per Session

Keep practicing until they are happy to leave their foot on the mat. Then ask them to put two feet on the mat. This may take a day or several days. Only practice for a maximum of 10 minutes per session.  Horses have short attention spans and your horse may become bored and lose interest if you work on this for longer.

7. Increase The Time Your Horse Stands On The Mat

Once your horse is comfortable putting both feet on the mat, ask them to stand on the mat for longer and longer periods. Start by asking them to stand still for just a few seconds (or even one second if your horse is a real fidget). Gradually increase the time you ask them to stand on the mat.

8. Once Your Horse Is Happy To Wait On The Mat Start Stepping Away

When your horse is happy to stand on the mat for at least 10 seconds start moving away from them a little bit (just one step back). Then over several training sessions try to step further and further away.

Eventually, you should be able to ask your horse to “Wait” on a mat and you will be able to walk all around them.

If you would like instant access to step-by-step online training and videos on how to teach your horse to “Wait” then grab a copy of our HORSE TRICKS GUIDE. You can start today!

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