More Tricks BOWING Teach this trick with your horse in a deeply bedded stall, sand arena, or somewhere with soft ground. Do not attempt to teach your horse to bow on a concrete floor or other hard surface. If the horse should lose his balance, you don't want him to scrape his knees on the ground. 1. Hold a carrot or your horse's favorite treat down between his front legs so that he will bend down to get it. Repeat this until he does it well. 2. Next, stand on your horse's side facing towards his front. Bend down and hold the carrot between his front legs. When the horse bends down to get the carrot, slowly move the carrot backwards until he bends his knee back to kneel. This step will take several tries to get it right, so be patient! When your horse is bowing properly, he will be completely down on one knee with the other leg out in front of him. Note: The very first time your horse puts his knee on the ground, he might lose his balance or become frightened and stand up right away. This is okay, give him praise and a carrot to tell him it is okay. He will soon learn that it isn't so hard! Be patient with him while he learns to control his body weight and balance properly on one knee. Once he has completed the bow, begin to alternate between praise and a food reward. The first time, give him a carrot for a reward. The second time, give him praise..."good boy" along with softly stroking his coat. The third time, give him a carrot again. He will begin to bow whether you have a treat for him or not. If you completely eliminate the treats, he may not perform as he once did, so it is important to reward him with food frequently. SHAKE HANDS(HOOVES!) Equipment needed: a long dressage whip and a bucket of your horse's favorite grain. The Shake is a fairly difficult trick to teach. You will need alot of patience. Take your time, and complete each lesson thoroughly. Be aware that teaching this trick inconsistently will cause a dangerous habit to form: pawing or striking. This bad habit is not learned from these lessons if taught correctly (on command only), but inconsistent cues and/or follow-up training will invite this bad behavior. Each session should be no longer than 15 minutes. However, it is best to do 2-3 short sessions a day, with a few hours between each one. The horse will remember these lessons better if they are short and often. Take your time and don't move to the next lesson until your horse has learned the previous one thoroughly. This will avoid confusion for your horse. When teaching this trick, it is easiest to have your horse tied (and away from distractions). This way you don't have to hold him while teaching him to raise his leg up to shake. Always end the lesson on a good note...if this means you must go back and practice the previous lesson at the end of each it. This will benefit your horse in many ways. Lesson One The first thing you need to teach your horse, is to raise his leg with the slight tap of a whip on his knee or cannon bone. 1. You'll start off by standing beside the leg you want him to shake with. 2. Tap his knee or cannon bone with the whip for 2-3 seconds (very lightly - the whip should never be used roughly - it is simply an extention of your arm). As you tap verbally say "Shake". Once you stop tapping, do not give any further verbal cues (only while you are tapping). 3. Right after you have tapped his leg with the whip, run your hand down his leg and lift his foot (as if to pick it out). Put the foot down gently. 4. Immediately give him a bite of his favorite treat - so he knows that he did something good, (have the bucket really close to you) and praise him. 5. As you progress with this lesson, begin to move to the front of the horse and tap his leg from in front of him. Repeat this lesson until he learns to pick his foot up with only the whip cue. This may take a few minutes, or even a few weeks - depending on how consistent you are with your cues. The very first time your horse picks his foot up on his own, off of your cue...praise him very generously! Lesson Two The second thing you need to teach your horse is to bring his foot forward when he raises it. 1. Start off by practicing a couple repetitions of lesson one. If he has forgotten how to do this, go back and teach lesson one over again (horses learn best through repetition). 2. Stand in front of your horse and ask him to raise his leg by tapping lightly on his knee or cannon bone, verbally say "Shake". 3. When he raises his leg, take a gentle hold on his pastern and stretch his leg slightly forward. (Be careful when doing this - to avoid over-stretching your horse's limb). 4. Gently set your horse's leg back on the ground, give him a handful of his favorite grain, and praise him. Repeat this lesson until he learns to pick his foot up and bring it forward on his own off your cue. The very first time your horse does this on his own, off of your cue...praise him very generously! Lesson Three The third thing you need to teach your horse is to bring his foot up and forward without the cue from the whip - with only the verbal cue. 1. Start off by practicing a couple repetitions of lesson two. If he has forgotten how to do this, go back and teach lesson two over again. 2. Stand in front of your horse and this time, verbally say "Shake" without cueing with the whip. 3. Wait about 2-3 seconds for his response. If there is no response, tap him with the whip and ask to "Shake" again. 4. When he raises his foot to shake, give him a handful of his favorite grain and praise him. Repeat this lesson until he learns to lift his leg and bring it forward off your verbal cue only. The very first time your horse does this on his own, off of your cue...praise him generously! REARING Teaching a horse to rear is very easy but VERY dangerous. The horse MUST understand that this is done ONLY when he is asked and you MUST be in control of him at all times. Insist that your horse stay quiet and mannerly when rearing and not get overly hyper and excited. You start by halting your horse, he should be able to stand quietly when you are a far distance from him before you start teaching this trick. Stand out in front of him, but well back, far enough back so flying hoofs cannot hit you. NOTE: Many horses when they rear will pull back away from you, run to the side or start to bolt and some will come towards you. Be prepared for anything. Once you know what your horse will do you can deal with it, which I will explain later in this section. ONLY adults should do this or youth should have ADULTS present. Step 2. You are now facing your horse. Take a lunge whip , tap it on the ground 2 or 3 times then raise your hands and the whip up in the air and say "UP". Keep waving your arms and the whip up and down saying "UP". Most horses will swing their heads and jump up in the front at this type of movement. If yours does not then swing the lunge whip and gently move it across the front of your horses legs. After repeating this a few times, one of the methods should cause your horse to jump up in the front. As soon as he does this BEFORE you praise him have him halt, stand still and let you walk to him. Then pet and praise him. This keeps the control in your ball park. Praise for any sign of rearing, Small rears at first are best anyway until you have your control factor in place. Should your horse come toward you run off sideways or any other movement other than halt, give him a jerk and scold him. Make him halt. Keep repeating this until he understands that this is a trick not wild horse time. NOTE: Keep in mind that one hit from his front hoofs especially if he is wearing shoes could be the end of you so do not be afraid to be harsh if he gets hyper. As he becomes calm with this proceedure you can get more aggressive and ask for bigger and higher rearing. Step 3. When you find the system that works best for you stay with it. use a verbal command each time you ask your horse to rear. Some say UP, but any word will work. Once you are sure he will NOT come toward you you can be a bit more wild waving your hands. Once he knows what you want him to do and does it quickly and quietly and in control you can slowly shift to using just a verbal command. Later you can use the verbal command to re-enforce a cue while you are riding to make him rear while you are mounted. AGAIN remember if you do NOT know how to sit a REAR and if the rearing trick is NOT completely under your control do NOT try this. As you did on the ground make him halt after the rear to re-establish your control. If you want him to move, rear and then move again that's fine but teach him stationary first to make sure your control factor is in place. Then trot off, halt, rear, halt and trot off. Eventually he will be able to do it almost in a single movement without the halts and still be in control. NOTE: Never forget how vunerable you are with a rearing horse in your face. And NEVER let your guard down even if you trust your horse 100%. Always look him in the eye and pay attention.