Bonding Ideas

Help Your Horse To Learn New Tasks Easily

Most horses enjoy learning and working things out (just like us humans).

But if a task is too difficult, the horse can become frustrated or confused.

To avoid this, make learning easy and enjoyable for your horse by breaking the task down into super-simple steps.

The more things you can teach your horse, the stronger your communication, trust, and bond will become.

 

STEP-BY-STEP TRICK TRAINING

Here’s an example of some trick training I’ve been doing recently with my horse Bella…

First, I thought of my end goal, and then I broke the task down into smaller steps.

GOAL: Teach Bella to put her foot up on the hoof stand, out in her paddock, without restraint.

WHY: To make it easier to trim her hooves.

To start, I just wanted to teach her to put her foot ON something.

Then I slowly increased the height of the stand so she could learn to balance with one foot up and forward.

Then finally, I introduced the hoof stand.

STEPS:

1. Put hoof on a small mat on the ground.
2. Put hoof on a small block of wood.
3. Put hoof on two blocks of wood.
4. Put hoof on hoof stand.

I made sure she really understood what I wanted at each step before moving onto the following (and more complex) stage. This meant I needed to practice some steps for a few days.

I kept the sessions very short (just 5 minutes each time) and practiced a couple of times a day when I could. Horses only have short attention spans, and keeping the sessions short keeps them interested and motivated.

I rewarded her the instant she did the correct thing.

If she showed any sign of frustration or confusion, it meant I hadn’t made the next step easy enough for her to understand. So I thought about ways to make it even easier or go back to a previous step and practice that more.

Once she was happy to put her foot up on the stand, I then increased the time that she kept it there.

Within 2 weeks, she would put her foot up on the hoof stand while free out in her paddock. She then stood calmly while I gave her a quick trim.

Learning this new ‘trick’ was fun for her and me!

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