Horse Training, Horse Treats and Recipes, Solving Horse Problems, Trick Training Tips

How To Teach Your Horse Treat Manners

Some people worry that using treats during training will cause their horse to become pushy, nippy and turn them into a horrible food monster!

Unfortunately this is likely if your horse doesn’t learn how to behave around treats. For most horses food is their favorite thing and they just want some… NOW!

Thankfully it is easy to teach your horse to have perfect manners around treats.

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Horse Treats and Recipes, Trick Training Tips

Try 2 Types of Training Treats

To encourage your horse to try even harder consider training with 2 types of treats.  I use a general one and a ‘special’ treat for when they do something really well.

The general treat is usually something that isn’t high in sugar or fat.  You can use a lot of it! 🙂

Options for the general treat include:

  • Chaff (chopped up hay)
  • Some of your horse’s daily feed
  • Low GI horse pellets

Here’s a link to recipe for Trigger’s favorite special treat:



Horse Treats and Recipes

Super Simple Trick Training Treat

These are Trigger’s second favorite trick training treat. They are soft and just a little bit sweet. I make them out of human grade ingredients and snack on them when we are training 🙂

Oat & Apple Chews


  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180C).

Grease a 9 inch by 9 inch (22cm x 22cm) glass pan or baking tray.

Mix all the ingredients until the applesauce is evenly distributed, then spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the batter firms and browns.

Allow the mixture to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then cut it into squares.  Or wait till the mixture cools completely and you can cut it into tiny squares with kitchen scissors.

Put the squares in an airtight container for storage.

If you would like more healthy, yummy, trick training treat recipes and ideas then download our Horse Trick Treats ebook.  It is available from our PRODUCTS page.



(We only open the Academy to new members a few times a year)

The Horse Tricks Academy is an interactive online training program that will take you and your horse step-by-step from simple tricks to doing wonderful things together!

Plus you will have access to a community of like-minded people (400+) who provide lots of fun and support.



Horse Treats and Recipes, Trick Training Tips

Can you teach a horse tricks without treats?

I get asked a lot if it is possible to teach a horse tricks without treats.

Horse Trick Treats
Treats are a great way to keep your horse keen

Yes is it possible, but I find it takes a lot longer to teach them a trick.

Most horses would rather be out in their paddock with their mates eating grass.  So you need to find something that makes your horse really WANT to work for you.

A horse needs to be really motivated to learn new things and treats are a great way of doing this.

However, once a horse learns a trick really well I will usually slowly reduce the times they get a treat.  I may eventually only give them a food treat once every 5 to 10 times they perform the trick.  Instead I will give them a scratch or rub as a reward.  But I have found that by continuing to give them a food treat every now and again it keeps them super interested in their training.

Most people ask me this question for one of two reasons:

  1. Their horse becomes pushy or nippy around treats.
  2. They don’t like having to carry treats around with them all the time.

There are solutions to both these problems.

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Horse Treats and Recipes

Some Tips When Feeding Treats

It is very important that once you start teaching your horse tricks that you ONLY feed your horse from your hand if he does something that you have asked him to do.  You horse needs to learn that from now on the only time he gets a treat  is if he does something you ask AND he does it correctly.

If you feed your horse treats at other times he won’t make the connection between doing something right and getting a treat.  You may also find that several other things will happen – your horse may get confused during trick training or he won’t try very hard to learn a new trick or he will be constantly mugging you for treats.

Horse Trick Treats
Only use a small amount of each treat (carrots are about 2.5cm long)

Many people like to give their horses a treat just because it’s a nice thing to do and because we love them, but if you are serious about trick training you need to resist the temptation to feed them treats at any time other than trick training time.

You only need to feed your horse a very small amount of the treat that you have chosen to use.  It must be small enough so your horse finishes it very quickly (they should only be chewing on it for a second or two)…just a taste.  Otherwise you will be constantly waiting while he finishes his treat before you can move on to the next thing.

The treat must be something that your horse really likes.  This will encourage him to work harder to get the treat.   My horse, Trigger, loves some little trick biscuits I make (recipe in Part 1 of the Horse Trick Training ebook) or very small pieces of carrots.  Small amounts of your horse’s normal feed (especially ones with some molasses) works well too.  Try out a few different treats and see which ones really get your horse’s interest.

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