When you start teaching your horse a new trick, they may want to do it all the time (even when you don’t ask them to do it).
This means they are super keen! And they have discovered that by doing this new trick, they are ‘rewarded’.
A reward for a horse can be anything such as a treat or a scratch. Some horses even find it ‘rewarding’ when their human smiles or laughs.
And while this is cute, and you’ve got to love them for trying, your horse must learn that they should only do tricks when you ask them. Otherwise, it could become annoying or even dangerous.
Any behavior that isn’t rewarded will usually cease.
So your horse needs to clearly understand that they are ONLY rewarded if they do the trick when you ask them to do it.
So from now on, you can’t reward any trick you don’t ask for. That means no smiling or laughing either. I know that is hard to do! (I even do it in the video below).
Very importantly, if you want to build the bond with your horse, you must never punish them for trying. Punishment can cause all sorts of problems and sours your relationship.
We use a Marker to tell our horses the moment that they have done the right thing. So they know exactly what gets them a reward.
We also teach them that if we stand quietly beside THEM, they should stand quietly beside US. Teaching your horse to wait patiently is a very handy skill for them to learn.
Here’s a video showing how I handle Trigger doing ‘extra’ tricks (in a kind way so our relationship is still good).
PS Watch Bella trying to do some extra tricks too 🙂