A very simple bow is easy and quick to teach if your horse already knows how to target. ‘Targeting’ is to touch an object when asked. You can learn more about targeting (touch) HERE
I sped this video up a little but the times are in real-time. It took less than four minutes to teach my horse to perform a very simple bow on cue.
STEPS TO TEACH A VERY SIMPLE BOW
Present your target for your horse to touch, down as low as he is comfortable reaching. Starting just below nose level is a great starting point.
It is always best to start as simple as possible and make it harder from there. If we start asking too much from the beginning we will confuse and frustrate our horses.
Slowly lower your target until the horse’s nose is at ground level or behind a front leg. Let him know he did what you were asking. Either with a click and reward or with lots of petting and encouragement.
The important thing to remember is that it is the horse who gets to decide if they like what you are offering as a reward. We need to find something they like.
Once your horse is consistently dropping their nose to the target begin giving your cue just before you present the target.
I use a bow. I bow, then offer the target down low. Bow, offer target, repeat.
It only took a couple of repeats for him to start offering to bow without me presenting the target.
We can continue to shape this into a fancier simple bow by asking him to put his head farther back behind his legs or ask for a leg forward along with the head down.