How to Train your Horse to Learn Tricks Quickly and in a Relaxed Manner

Jazz giving kisses
Jazz giving kisses

How to Train your Horse to Learn Tricks Quickly and in a Relaxed MannerTraining your horse to do tricks is a lot of fun for you and your horse. When I was a child my father sent one of our horses to a trick horse trainer. I was so excited. I remember our first visit to see what Flashlight had learned. Her first week at school she had learned how to say "yes" and "no" and how to stand on a pedestal. I was thrilled. I was so proud of her and I thought this trainer was a genius. I know that those of you who are trick training your horse must be experiencing this same amazement and how much fun you are having sharing with your friends the tricks you have trained your horse to do.

Here are some handy hints in how to speed up your horse’s ability to learn tricks.

The first lesson to teach a horse, so that everything goes smoothly, is that your horse stays relaxed and focused on you.

Jazz "Standing In a Box"
Jazz "Standing In a Box"

A very important trick to teach is the “Pause” Trick. This way the horse will stand still and will wait between his tricks to be directed to his next trick, because he gets a treat in the beginning for standing still. Many times a horse that does tricks gets in a hurry. When a horse offers a trick when you are not wanting him to perform, it is hard to get his attention back on you to be able to teach him a new trick or even listen to you in what trick you want him to do. The “pause” trick will make all the difference between a well schooled horse and a horse that gets frustrated from not getting the treat fast enough.


It is a myth that you need to reward a horse right away for a new trick learned. Reward your horse with your voice or the clicker immediately, but then take your time giving the treat. This way you will not develop a horse that gets upset with you from you not getting the treat to him fast enough. Never get into a position where your horse would cause you to speed up giving him treats because this will make an unhappy horse.

Jazz and Teddie
Jazz and Teddie

When handing a treat to your horse wait until your horse is standing and his ears are forward. Your horse will learn this quickly. After your horse’s ears are forward if your horse then puts them back again give the treat anyway. Once he gets the idea, you then can then choose to give him a treat only when the ears are forward.

How to train your horse to stand still:

Tie your horse up and give him a treat and when he is still give him another treat. He will begin to fuss because he will want another treat. Tell him to wait only once and then stand still and wait him out. When he is still give him another treat. In no time he will learn to stand still when you ask. Once he learns this then teach him to do this at liberty. This way any time you say “wait” he will stand still like a statue and he will be eager to wait for his treat.

Applying these hints to your program will bring about a deeper connection from the relaxation that they will provide. Your horse will be more focused on you and learn the tricks you want to teach him much faster.

Have a great weekend!  Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn



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