TRICKHORSE TRAINING Welcome to Trickhorse! The following pages will help you teach your horse a lot of different tricks. There are a lot of benefits in teaching tricks which you will read about in these next pages. TO BEGIN First your horse should have basic ground work and manners--leading, stopping, being groomed, tied, having his feet picked up, etc. Once he is obedient and respectful, you can have fun with tricks. A good method to use to teach tricks is called conditioning and positive reinforcement. You ask the horse for a behavior, say kissing you on the cheek, and if he gives you anything resembling a kiss, you reward him with a tasty treat, like a small piece of carrot. You usually won't be able to get the whole behavior at once, so you start with just a bit of the behavior. After you've reinforced (treated) that for a while, you ask for a little more. Gradually, you will get all of the behavior on cue. A WORD OF CAUTION HERE: While the reward system of training is the greatest in the world, it can be overdone or applied at the wrong time. In these initial training stages, be sure your horse has done EXACTLY what you asked of him, and IN A MANNERLY FASHION--not "mugging" you for a treat--before you reward him with a carrot. Unless you demand absolute manners and perfection in whatever you ask of him, it can not only confuse him, but can slow down the training process. I suggest children trying to teach tricks be supervised by parents who will make certain the horse does not get overeager and "grabby" or bite for the carrot. DO NOT REWARD POOR MANNERS! The first few tricks will be simple ones that require no elaborate equipment. They are taught with patience, companionship and reward. This recommended sequence of training described here has its merits. Your first concern should be for the safety of the handler and horse, and although perhaps more "showy," tricks such as bowing, lying down and rearing are not recommended to begin with, since the horse is put in vulnerable and dangerous positions, as well as the horse handler. Besides, they require more agility and elasticity on the part of the horse. Start with the simplier tricks to gain your horses trust. These tricks and tips are things I've found on the net, in books or have been told. I'm learning myself, but want to do it right and not end up with a dangerous animal. I will constantly be adding new tricks as I hear of them and whatever I learn will be put on these pages. I decided what better way to remember the do's and don'ts as well as the tricks themselves than to write them somewhere and this I can also share with others who are in the same predictiment I am.