Teaching your horse to lay down is one of the basic maneuvers that guarantees the communication and relationship between you and your equine. Using none non-restrained ways to train your horse emphasizes on it natural instant.
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The best way to learn how to teach your horse to lay down is to observe its natural lay-down activities. Train the horse to lower its head and attempt to sniff the ground. This way, all the horse’s four feet contract together before breaking down on two knees. Then, the horse rolls down onto its desired side.
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What to teach your horse before laying down commands
Before you teach your horse laying down commands, earn its trust. This makes the activity more fun and increases your chances of success.
You know your horse doesn’t trust you if it stands up each time you walk into its barn when it’s laying down.
There are several ways to gain your horse’s trust. Practice consistency whenever you’re working around it. You could also refrain from punishing it and establish boundaries to show it that you’re in charge.
How to Teach Your Horse to Lay Down (Step by Step)
Here are the five easy steps to follow when teaching your horse how to lay down:
Step 1. Teach the horse to lower its head, then reward
This is the first stage of getting your horse to lay down. Lowering its head to the ground triggers its mind to contemplate laying down. Fortunately, this step is pretty simple, and you only need a single session to do it.
For your horse to lower its head, apply a little pressure on the lead rope. You don’t have to try too hard; just hold the rope until the horse decides to drop its nose. Then, reward the animal each time you notice some progress.
The best way to reward your horse when it drops its nose is by releasing pressure. As it masters how to lower its head, teach it how to keep it low without resisting the pressure. This maximizes its responsiveness.
Step 2. Train the horse commands to pick all four feet
You must be in charge of what your horse does with its feet to teach it how to lay down. That’s why you need to train it how to pick up its four feet when you want it to. This enables it to comprehend what it does with its hooves and prepares it to lay down.
Get a carrot stick or lunge whip to teach your horse how to pick up its feet upon your command. Then, keep tapping the fetlock or pastern until it shifts its weight or starts to raise its foot. After it does this, don’t tap it anymore to let it know that it’s done what you wanted.
Repeat this process for all the horse’s feet.
If the horse doesn’t pick up its foot on your command, use the lead rope to apply some pressure. Make sure to release it when the animal steps its hoof forward. Note that you have to stand at the horse’s shoulder to tap the hind legs for it to lift them.
Step 3. Command the horse to step the hind legs under itself
This is the next thing to do after you have power over the movement of your horse’s legs. Use a lunge whip to tap its belly gently to make it step its hind-end under itself. To be more precise, do this at its stifle’s front because it’s more sensitive.
When the horse takes a step forward, no matter how small it is, reduce the pressure. This tells it that you like its reaction and motivates it to be more responsive. Tapping the horse’s girth region enables it to step its two hind legs forward.
To know when you have successfully asked the horse to step its hind legs under itself, check if it looks compressed. Its hind feet should also be located directly behind the front ones.
Step 4. Now, teach the horse to lift the front legs
Teaching your horse how to lift its front legs is critical. It prompts it to lay down by pushing it to move its front end towards the ground. To do this, simply tap the front legs to ask it to lift them.
When the horse begins to lift the legs by moving its weight, grab them and hold them for a while. Repeat this several times. This teaches your horse exactly how you want it to lift its front end.
Step 5. Now, command the horse with all these commands till it lays down
Have you mastered the four steps we’ve discussed above? It’s time to combine all the commands so that your horse can lay down eventually. How you combine the cues depends on what you consider easier for you or your horse.
For instance, you can make the horse lower its head while it pushes its hind feet under itself. Sometimes, the cue combinations might not work for your horse. In such scenarios, review each step to confirm that you’re doing it right.
If your horse doesn’t understand some of the steps, make it easier for it by simplifying them. Also, give it some time because it may not lay down the first time you train it. With practice, this process will become more straightforward.
Tips: How to Teach Your Horse to Lay Down Successfully
Training horses how to lay down can be a bit challenging, especially for first-timers. Even so, these strategies could make it simpler and guarantee success.
Give all commands from the same side
Teaching your horse how to lay down while standing on the same side is better than moving from one side to another. This prevents dividing its attention. It’s best to do this while at the animal’s shoulder because it’s more responsive that way.
Reinforce every successful step with rewards
Among the most motivating things you can do for your horse while training it to lay down is rewarding it. If the animal behaves as you want it to, always minimize the pressure. It enables the horse to comprehend the concepts you’re trying to teach it.
If you don’t reward your horse, it’s likely to feel overburdened. This makes it impossible for it to focus on the task at hand, rendering you unsuccessful.
Be patient: Horse training takes time
Learn how to be patient when teaching your horse how to lay down. Remember that these animals are naturally hardwired for two things; flight or fight. So when you’re gently asking it to lay down, you’re introducing it to a new concept.
Consistency is key here. It might require several days or even months, depending on how well you do it. Besides, don’t forget horses are not the same. This means that the rate at which one horse understands something is different from another’s.
Try to grasp your horse’s learning speed. This prevents you from giving up on the animal if it doesn’t lay down as soon as you anticipate. If your horse takes too long to master the commands, consider changing your cue combination.
Get the horse a soft area to lay down
Your horse requires a soft place to lay down. Uncomfortable areas might discourage it from doing so. You can try a sanded surface since it can also roll on it if it wants to.
Encourage the horse to lay down using water
Water could be handy when you’re teaching your horse how to lay down on cue. Spray its coat with it when you notice that it understands the commands, but not exactly the fact that you want to lay down.
Suppose the ground you want to lay on is soft; it will feel motivated to roll.
Training Your Horse to Lay Down On Cue, and the Benefits
Some handlers don’t understand why it’s essential to teach a horse to lay down on cue. The thing is, this method is positive and less aggressive. It helps you to build trust with the animal you love and strengthens your relationship.
One of the perks of teaching your horse to lay down on cue is entertainment. It’s fun to spend quality time with your mare or stallion. While you enjoy yourselves, you also create a lasting bond, making it easier for you to ride the horse.
In addition, training your horse how to lay down through gentle methods makes mounting it effortless. The horse can lift you as it stands if you’re unable to do it from the ground. This could be because of inadequate experience or various physical issues such as injuries.
What to Avoid When Training Your Horse to Lay Down
If you wish to succeed at training your horse to lay down, you must know the top things to avoid during this process. For starters, don’t start teaching this fun and essential activity before you establish trust. This prevents the horse from becoming aggressive and hurting you or those near you at that moment.
Then, never force the horse to lay down. This procedure requires time and a lot of patience. If you coerce the animal to submit, chances are, it will retaliate, making things difficult for you.
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When teaching a horse to lay down, you should also keep a small distance between you and the equine. This is more necessary if you’re training it to lay down on cue for the first time. It’s impossible to predict a horse’s behavior accurately, and you may get hurt if you stand too close to it.