While there are many ways you could introduce the subject of teaching a horse to bow, there is no way you could do so without sounding contrived and hokey. The introduction for this article was meant to be as clear and straightforward as possible; just like the presentation of the process itself. However, things didn’t quite go as planned, and it quickly became apparent that an inaccurate representation of the subject matter was being conveyed. Ok, who are we kidding? It’s not like anyone would actually attempt a project like this in the first place.
“Teaching a horse to bow” is a classic example used in behavioral science to demonstrate how certain stimuli (environmental factors) can influence habits. During your work week, you’ll probably need to write out a meeting report for yourself so you don’t forget any points. That’s not that hard. However, what happens when the same task seems overwhelming? Don’t act on impulse! Fight that feeling of getting overwhelmed. It’s much easier than you think with proper preparation.
Teaching a horse to bow is a great way to exercise your horse, teach them manners, and have fun working together.
To begin, you’ll need to find a quiet area where you can work and no one else will be around. You’ll also want to make sure that there are no distractions or potential hazards in the area.
The first step is getting your horse to lift his head up high enough so that he can see over his withers. This can be done by standing behind him and gently pulling up on his head. From here, have someone hold onto the horse’s halter with one hand while you hold onto their mane with the other hand. Make sure that the person holding their head does not pull too hard or else they may scare the horse. Then, walk them forward until they are facing away from each other.
Next, have the person holding onto their halter gently pull down on their nose while you gently press down on their chest while walking backwards until they bow forward at least three times before stopping again (you may need more than three times depending on how big your horse is). Then repeat this process until all of your horses are bowing properly
Teaching a horse to bow is a fun, easy process. It does take some time, though, so make sure you have plenty of patience before getting started.
The first step is to get your horse accustomed to wearing a bridle and saddle. The best way to do this is by creating a routine that’s easy for your horse to follow. Start by leading them around the yard with just their halter on. Once they are comfortable with that, add the bit and reins while still keeping them on a lead line. Once they are used to that, remove the lead line and start riding them around in circles at a walking pace until they get comfortable with being ridden in this position. Then, increase both speed and distance until they are able to trot and canter comfortably while wearing the bridle and saddle (without being led).
Once this has been accomplished, you can begin teaching your horse how to bow—which means bending its head down as far as possible while standing completely still. This can be done by tying one end of a length of string or rope around the top part of its head where it connects with its neck (make sure you don’t tie it too tight) and then holding onto the other end where you’ll
Teaching A Horse To Bow
Every little girl has a dream. To be swept off her feet by a charming knight in shining armour on a big white horse, and have him kneel down before her, take her hand, kiss her cheek, and whatever other secret, romantic fantasy her little heart desires. Unfortunately, for some little girls, the world can kind of a wad about the whole ‘charming knight’ thing, but hey, that’s what the horse is for. So if you haven’t managed to get your knight onto one knee just yet, then perhaps it’s time to turn to a somewhat fluffier substitute, and get that tall, dark and handsome fella of yours bowing to you like the princess every little girl once believed she was.
I used to think that getting a horse to bow was impossible; I thought it was something that only skilled horsemen and professional trainers could do. For that reason, I never really tried it, and when I did, I gave up quickly for fear of messing it up. Looking back now, I think that might have been my biggest mistake. As with any kind of training with any kind of animal (knights included) the key is confidence. Many owners complain of horses seeming panicky and nervous when they try to coax them into the bow, but more often than not, this is simply the fault of uncertain training. As a trainer, you must believe in what you’re doing, and stick to your method with the utmost consistency. Horses learn through repetition, so if you are religious in repeating the same set of instructions, your horse will eventually learn. But I digress, pointing at your horse and saying, “I am confident, now bow to me!” is certainly not going to be even a little bit helpful in your training, although if it helps your self confidence, then by all means, go right ahead. For now though, let’s take a look at how to get Mister Tall, Dark ‘n Handsome down on one knee.
Get your horse a HUGE collection of his favourite treats. Carrots are the easiest and safest to use, but if your horse has a special fondness for hamburgers or hotdogs, then you might get better results by bribing him with some delicious meaty goodness instead.
Put a headcollar on your horse, and take him to an enclosed space with nice, soft ground so he can’t hurt himself. (Like a lunge arena, or a room in an asylum.)
Make sure that your horse’s ground manners are up to scratch. He must respect you on the ground in order to learn. He should be obedient in picking up his legs, moving away when you push him, walking forward when you leave him, etc. If he is rude or disobedient on the ground, then I suggest that you take some time to fix this.
Carrot stretches. The point of this exercise is to teach your horse to follow the carrot. Get his attention, and then lower the carrot to between his front legs, and make him reach for it. Repeat this several times, moving the carrot further and further away each time until you see his knees starting to buckle. Only reward your horse.
Once your horse is comfortable with extreme carrot stretches, try lifting one of his front legs, then ask him to stretch. He may be confused and unbalanced at first, but you just need to persist until he’s comfortable doing carrot stretches with you holding his leg up.
Gradually start to pull your horse’s leg back, and ask him to stretch a little further for his carrot. He should rock his weight back and square his back legs, allowing him to bow on one knee. This step can take quite some time and patience, as it goes against a horse’s nature to put itself in such a vulnerable position. Try to help your horse along by encouraging him to shift his weight back, almost as if you were asking him to reverse. When he finally drops his weight onto the raised legs, get your hands out of the way and reward him while he is still in the ‘bow’ pose.
Practice step six until your horse bows comfortably every time you ask, then start teaching him to move his leg back on his own. Try tapping his leg to make him lift it, then ask him to reach for the carrot and move into the bow. You may have to help guide his leg back at first, either with a gentle push on his bent knee, or by supporting his fetlock. Try to gradually start helping him less and less until he can do it on his own. Every time you ask your horse to bow, make sure you give him a voice command, like “Bow”, to associate with the trick.
Practice, practice, practice! Once your horse understands the concept of the ‘bow’, it’s up to you to improve and develop the trick as you will.