Trick Training Tips

Trust and Training

One of the most important things …  and this is something that you must teach your horse, is to TRUST you.

If your horse is worried that you will hurt him or make him do things that may put him in danger, you won’t have a willing partner.  Your horse needs to be relaxed and happy at all times, otherwise he just won’t learn very much (if anything) at all.

trust horse
Do you trust each other?

You can teach your horse to get used to just about anything… flapping bags, fluttering plastic sheeting, open umbrellas, water, loud noises, by introducing them slowly to each of these elements.  I highly recommend that you do this because it will benefit you both in the long run.

But there may come a time when your horse encounters something he has never seen or heard before.  If he trusts you and has become used to you introducing him to new things, he will deal more easily and calmly with new objects and situations.  If you show him that you believe it is okay and you are trustworthy, then your horse will believe it is okay.

Trust is something that is built over time.  However, before you start trick training you and your horse must have at least some basic level of trust in each other.  You should be able to do some basic things around your horse that doesn’t cause them to get frighten or worried.  These include catching them, putting a halter on, touching their legs, picking up their feet and leading them around.  If you can’t do some of these things, then I recommend working on them till you can, then start trick training.

Consistency is also very important. To earn trust you must be trustworthy. Part of this means you must be consistent in everything you do. You cannot do something a certain way one day and then a different way the next. Your horse must know what to expect from you. Horses are creatures of habit because that helps them to survive in the wild.  If something changes in their environment then they go on alert – because it could mean danger!

Trick training is a great way to build a better relationship with your horse.  As you introduce them to more new situations and objects, in a calm and fun manner, your horse will begin to trust you more and more.

Trick Training Tips

Who says you can't teach old horses new tricks?

Believe it or not….Trigger (the chestnut horse in the pictures) is 18 years old.  We have only been together for just over a year.  He used to be a barrel racer but is now retired from that line of work.

teach old horse new tricks
Trigger feeling young

I thought he might struggle to learn new things.  But although it took him a little longer to get the idea in the beginning, now he understands what I am asking him and he has been picking up new tricks as quick as a young horse.

Young horses tend to be a bit more curious, which can make learning easier.  An older horse may be a bit jaded or ‘switched-off’ (they have just learnt to do the what they are asked with the minimal amount of effort).  Teaching an older horse tricks can spark their interest in learning and trying new things again.