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Old 09-04-2011, 07:11 AM  
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Trick Training...Rearing, Spanish Walk & Bowing ?'s

So while trying to keep my Arabian stallion's attention during his "halter" lesson, my trainer put a plastic bag on the end of his whip. Backfire is terrified of bags. So when his eyes would drift, my trainer would shake the bag to get his attention back...well, while doing this my trainer made a move to touch the bag to Backfire's chest & he reared. So we did it a couple more times for pictures and whatnot and then put him away.

Now, I know a lot of people are against teaching a horse to rear on command, and I know why. I wouldn't be interested in it if I thought Backfire was some crazy horse who will rear when not asked. He is very intelligent, and has never reared since without me provoking him with something scary in a attempt to teach him a command (last night I tried to teach him..hence why I am here). My trainer was originally against it, and refused to teach him but I've always had a thing for trick-trained horses. As long as they do what they're told ONLY when asked.

Backfire is the type of horse I would teach. And so I am trying, but I can't get a trigger word for anything. Everything I think of is to long, or sounds to much like anything else. At the end of last nights lesson I think he started to get it, because he wasn't bolting around..just standing and giving me little rears, no striking or anything-which is an improvement bc earlier he would strike out, like he was trying to get away from the scary object.

Has anyone taught their horse to rear & have an idea for a trigger? I am hoping that eventually he'll get the idea and I won't have to use a bag or pop can (last night) to frighten him into rearing.

And also, I want to teach him to do the Spanish walk from the ground, and bowing but I have no idea on either. I think if I touched the pop can or bag to the back of his leg he'd he'd jump out of his skin. I'm completely lost with bowing bc he isn't treat oriented.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:26 AM  
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Why don't you look into training some "Airs Above the Ground" as the Lippizan Stallions do. There is your rear, along with the fancy "walk" you want and bow... there are books on it, and never have I heard (I've spoken with some of their trainers) that they used "fear" as a way to start any training of any animal...

Sorry, training a horse to rear based upon fear, even if it was by accident and now you are continuing to capitalize on that fear, scars the crap out of me. Retaliation from your "smart" horse is a "word" that comes to my mind!

Unfortunately, horses minds "connect" learned things together... so the next time you are out with your fabulous beautiful stallion enjoying an activity and he gets frightened...you better expect a rear whether on the ground or astride!! I can see it now... out riding and suddenly frightened = rear to him... That's just crazy dangerous... don't ever let anyone else handle him, let alone ride him unless you "clue" them in that "he has this trick"...

I think your trainer is right... this is not a smart way to "train" a horse. Trick horses don't learn their tricks based on fear...

I hope for your horses sake you never are forced to sell him...with this "trick". I can see he could be fast-tracked as "dangerous" to the killer pen, sorry.

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Old 09-04-2011, 10:48 AM  
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I would concentrate on getting a horse broke first, having him well mannered on both the ground and under saddle, before trying to trick train him, esp a stallion
While there is a place for movie and circus horses to rear on command, I see little application to teaching a horse to rear as part of a training program
Once he knows normal gaits, maybe teach him the Spanish Walk if you wish, but you have to start with 'a' before going to Z.
Basic manners are number one, esp for a stallion.
Black stallion movies and other old westerns have glorified the picture of a rearing horse, but that gives little practical application to a training program.
I guess it would give you photo opps .
I once taught a foal to shake his foot (I was 13 at the time ) Was very cute, and I would reward with a sugar cube.Well, cute foal grew into a 1600 lb percheron that still loved that suger cube,, so would offer to shake a massive front foot unasked. Not so cute any longer!
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:53 AM  
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I love trick horses and such but I only have one concern. If it's fear teaching him to rear, do you know if he will do that under saddle?
I agree with Smilie, train him before tricks.
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:47 PM  
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I also agree. Could be especially dangerous since plastic bags were used to encourage this. it's not like we never encounter those noisy little white monsters when riding.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:06 PM  
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Attack poodles on trails make my horse rear. Not that much fun to me..........
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:43 PM  
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You don't want a horse to rear - what you want is either a Levade or Courbette (if you are really brave ).

It's not that complicated, but you need a horse with strong hocks and the athleticism and the proper temperament and talent to do it and it also takes a fair amount of skill on the trainer's part.

Piaffe followed by a levade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ropAUGKn7XU

Courbette (essentially a levade with hopping): http://youtu.be/pQ3vpIzhafg

You teach them to do it in hand on long lines or short lines, then under saddle so the horse can learn the queues for doing it under saddle. Largely very impressive circus (as in manege) riding tricks with no real application beyond the esoteric.

Trivia: "Aires above the ground" - properly called "school jumps" - such as the Piaffe, Passage, Pessade, Levade, Croupade, Capriole, Ballotide, Courbette, Mezair, did not develop from the medieval knights, nor were they ever intended for combat riding, nor were they ever used except as esoteric actions or for the entertainment of renaissance nobility with more money and time on their hands than anyone should ever have.

However, military riding up until the early 1900's was based upon the evolutions and maneuvers of the High School mainly because the military likes rules and regulations and the only codified form of riding in the 1600's was the High School.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:08 PM  
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about 50 years ago I was at a horse sale which was run by a real nice family . Dad was the auctioneer ,mom ran the books and the two teen age boys rode the horses thru. these boys were good hands and not careless but thid one horse reared up and went over backwards in the sale ring and drove the saddle horn into his chest and killed him . to this day if a horse can`t keep his front on the geound he`s gone and I would never teach one to do so
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:51 PM  
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Airs above ground also allowed a horse to leap and strike an an enemy's head, or get his rider to safety-not much application to having a well trained 'using' horse today
I think teaching my un broke stallion to rear would be on the end of my list!
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:16 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Airs above ground also allowed a horse to leap and strike an an enemy's head, or get his rider to safety-not much application to having a well trained 'using' horse today
The rearing and striking with the front feet (mezair) defies all logic in combat against ground troops - it exposes the horse's underside to spear thrusts. Also, in order to do kicking maneuvers (capriole, croupade, ballotide, etc.,,,) first requires entering that maneuver from the pessade. Of course, this requires time, control, and refined riding which essentially goes right out the window in close combat.

Plus, prior to the 1700's, horses were loaded down with heavy armor and heavily armored riders. The riders were wedged into the saddles and even a relatively simple task such as getting leg on a horse in a way needed to execute these maneuvers was an utter impossibility. We're talking about 600 lbs of tack, armor and rider on a 1200-1400 lb horse. I defy anyone to do any of these maneuvers successfully with that kind of weight even on a horse bread for armored combat. Remember, all that shiny, heavy armor was in use up until the early 1700's for combat.

To wit:

"Moreover, it is obvious that to carry an armored knight, a heavy saddle and, often enough, armor of his own, a heavy horse was needed. It is also clear that once such a combined weight got rolling it would require strong measures to stop it in a hurry - hence the brutal bits. Again, to overcome the inertia of all this weight, very sharp incentives were needed - hence the vicious spurs. These were not means by which to obtain elegant or precise movements, even if the horse in question would have been able to perform them, loaded as he was." (Vladimir Littauer, The Development of Modern Riding; 1991, The McMillan Publishing Corporation; ppg 53-4)

Even when armor was dispensed with in the 1700's, the idea of refined riding in the melee phase of combat was an impossibility. To even try stuff like that in combat would have resulted in the instantaneous loss of horse and rider in close quarters fighting where such maneuvers would even remotely have any effect at all.

Now, that being said - the actual use of kicks and strikes involve one front foot at a time, and one back foot at a time, but that was the horse's instinct to defend itself and not directed by the rider and the refinement of riding technique would be impossible to obtain under those conditions.

Cavalry actions for close combat, even up until the end of the cavalry in the 1940's, consisted of charging the enemy hell bent for leather, slamming on the brakes and hitting them again from behind either in a frontal or flanking assault. The main concern of any cavalryman was simply staying alive which largely meant keeping your horse safe. Refined maneuvers were the last thing on their minds - and such maneuvers were utterly useless on the field of battle at any point in history.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:17 PM  
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I once met someone who trick trained horses for movies. There was no word or command for rearing, falling, striking, rather they were trained much as things like leg yeilding and shoulder in are trained; via a combination of aids and cues that are trained in a sensible manner and combined to get the desired effect.

They definately did not use treats or fear responses to get the desired response as that would pose the risk of the horse thinking that was the response that was correct when fearful, or when hungry.

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Old 09-06-2011, 07:26 PM  
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It sounds like a very bad and dangerous idea to me.
What if you are riding him and a plastic or paper bag blows under his feet?
Next thing you know he will be rearing just like you taught him. You are teaching him to rear when he is afraid. That is not the correct way to teach a horse to rear.

I had a friend who taught her arabian horse to rear and thought it was fun. This was a nice horse that I used to ride all the time on trail rides. Well that nice horse was not so nice to ride after that. I hate to say it, but she practically ruined him. I had some really crazy rides on him after that. Looking back I wonder how I am even alive as his behavior was getting more and more dangerous. He went right in front of a car once and I thought we were going to get hit. I don't blame the horse. He was a really nice horse at one point. His owner was a nut.

You do not want to teach a horse to rear when it is afraid of something. PERIOD. Do not do it! Now, you need to find a way to untrain whatever it is you have trained him.

If you really do want to teach him to rear, find a trainer that does trick training or advanced Dressage training. Rearing should be one of the last things you want to train a horse. Get him under saddle really well, get him showing, get him exposed to everything you think he might possibly run into in his life, then maybe consider advanced trick training.

I have taught my horse to Spanish walk, Bow, Paw the ground, beg, and say yes on command. I have considered teaching her to lay down, but haven't been motivated enough to do that yet. The Spanish Walk is also a dangerous thing to teach your horse, as once the horse learns something, they tend to take your "training" and apply it in unique and unpredictable situations. The Spanish Walk is very similar to striking out, you do not want to try and teach your stallion the spanish walk and have him "strike out" when you are not expecting it.

Most owners can teach their horses to bow, paw the ground, beg and say yes or no. Start there if you want to train your horse tricks. Leave the more advanced stuff to later when both you and your horse have more training (maybe a few or more years down the road).

I have not trained my horses to rear. I'm not sure I ever will. Not because I can't but because it is easy enough to get hurt around horses as it already is. The only horse I would even consider training to rear is my old old mare who has seen it and done it all. It is definitely not something I would want to train a young horse that hasn't had years of training.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:34 PM  
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Aren't you afraid that your horse will associate a plastic bag with a rear? What if you were riding, and a bag blew around you and your horse reared?
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:45 PM  
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I think some of you misunderstand-just a small part. I have no desire teach him to rear while I am in the saddle. Just on the ground, no saddle, just pretty halter & a camera.

I already addressed that I know the risks and the reasons why horses shouldn't be taught to rear. And my goal isn't to go out every day and have him rear on command because I think its pretty. I would prefer it take me a couple of tries to get him to, for him to be unsure if that is what I want before being all gun-ho. I seen a video of his grandsire, Padrons Psyche, in his new home in Europe and he was rearing all over the place when handled. I don't want that, I want to remain in control at all times.

I have only tried to teach him once, and I only used the bag bc its what worked at the time. Then I got home & posted here, because I wasn't sure how to continue.

I do like Smilies suggestion about finishing him first, although I think everyone who knows his story is underestimating how much he has learned thus far. Another topic though...

I have put bags in his stall, and he isn't afraid of them like that. I haven't completely desensitized him, and I won't until after his Halter training is complete. He is sooo quiet its hard to get something to catch his attention long, so keeping him slightly afraid of bags keeps him focused and curious enough to "pop" his neck the way we want.

See this? His first introduction to a tarp-just laying on the ground.




And today, I through (for the 1st time) a winter blanket on him, and he had a back foot resting & was 1/2 asleep. Nothing keeps his attention long..not even mares (I assume that will be short lived when he starts breeding next year lol).

ANYway...lets move on from bags and rearing (since I am not continuing just yet with that).

How about bowing? I won't teach him for a long time but I want to know if anyone has any non-treat strategies. When I read books and did research online, they all involved treats. He could care less about treats, as he isn't hand fed them (that way he doesn't develop the habit of biting).

And just to note, he has had no desire to rear since my little "lesson" with him, which makes me think he is a good candidate. I do love his brains...
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:51 PM  
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I don't know how to teach the rear from the ground but I do know how to teach it from the saddle. You hold the horse back with the reins and kick to go forward at the same time. The horse gets frustrated and eventually rears and is then rewarded. My horse does it. I hold the reins to prevent him moving forward, not pulling back and nudge his sides and tell him 'up' and he rears. Not very high, though, but still impressive.
I can tell you how to teach the bow, too, but I should probably take some pictures. Basically, stand facing the horse at his shoulder. Use a soft rope lead and put it loosely around his near pastern. He should have a halter on with the lead rope- different one- on the offside and across his back towards you. First you pick up the foot with the lead and hold it about a foot off the ground. Then you pull back with the lead attched to the helter so you're pulling him backwards and his head is tilting a bit away from you. If at first you just get him to lean back you should praise him. Eventually you can get him to go right down. Some horses do it the first time. If he struggles just don't ask for as much lean until he's used to it.
I'd avoid the Spanish Walk. My horse kind of knows it and if I'm trying to show him something new he does it in an attempt to figure out what I want. Once he did it when I was on the ground and he struck me- it hurt!
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:17 PM  
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I guess I don't get it. (the desire to trick train a horse not intended to entertain)
I spend about all the time I have on my horses to teach them to be soft, to learn upper degree of performance, thus teaching a young unbroke stallion tricks just does not make much sense, unless you are aiming at calendar photos
or a movie career
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:31 AM  
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I would like to teach my horse to not rear...........
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:35 AM  
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I do a lot of trick training with dogs, and have started with my horse...
You have already given rearing a cue...a plastic bag.
Cues can be based on any sight, sound, or smell.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:38 AM  
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Also, please look into clicker training. Karen Pryor has a nice story about getting that "pop" from an Arabian mare using clicker training.
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:11 PM  
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I have some comments and tips for training...But im short on time...so ill post in the AM!
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