As you know, over the next several weeks, we will be focusing on some easy tricks we can teach our horses. Many people have asked, why spend time teaching your horses tricks, when there hardly is the time to ride your horses. Firstly, you will see positive changes taking place in your horse when you start teaching him tricks. He will get brighter and will be more interested in you and what you are doing. Secondly, you will learn to communicate with your horse on a different level rather than doing the same mundane training exercises and riding. Your horse will learn to listen to you and to communicate with you and will really enjoy his time with you! In order to have a really good dressage horse, my horse does more than just dressage! Every day is something different and challenging. I believe it keeps him sharp and interested in his job. Yesterday, we spent a hard day in dressage training and today we will be spending a fund day learning a new trick!
This next trick is one of the easiest to teach. He will love it from the beginning because right away he'll get his chance in "pushing you around." And this is exactly what you want him to do! The best time to start teaching this trick is just before feeding time.
Equipment Needed: Halter, lead rope, carrots or treats
- When holding a small piece of carrot in your hand (doesn't matter which one), tease your horse a little with it and then turn your back to him putting the hand you are holding the carrot in behind your back. Get your horse to lower his head even or lower than your shoulders by holding your carrot hand quite low. Lean against his face softly, at which time your horse will most likely nudge you a tiny bit to say "get off me". Reward him at this very first sign of resistance.
- Repeat above, but this time lean a little heavier against him and make him push you out of his way so he can get his reward. Tell him to "Push!"
- As soon as he has pushed you one step, make him push you two steps the next time. When he nudges you forward, back up immediately to lean on him again using the command "Push" each and every time you lean on him.
- Tip: don't give him the carrot each time, but have the reward be a little longer each time.
Now there is a caution to this trick: Even though this trick will bring delights of laughter to you and others, please be aware that by standing directly in front of your horse with your back towards him, you are giving him the cue to "Push" you forward, so please be aware of the implication of this trick. However, you can refine your cues by saying the word "PUSH", and immediately turn your back to him and by standing directly in front of him. Remember that your horse should continue to push you forward as long as your back is toward him and you keep staggering backwards towards him. His cue to stop pushing you around is when you turn to face him. It is at this time you tell him that playtime is over.
Now that's using your head...have fun with this one. Larissa