Let’s begin with a simple trick of acting “ashamed.” These first few tricks will center around using the horse’s head and neck.
Teaching Your Horse to Act Ashamed Step by Step
Have a halter and lead rope on your horse, standing him in an aisle, stall or next to a fence. Stand in front of him, and with a small piece of carrot in your left hand, reach behind your back and under your right arm, turning your body slightly so he can see it. At the same time, raise your right arm level with your shoulder, and in a scolding tone of voice, say, “Shame on you!”
Make him lower his head, reaching under your right arm for the carrot. You can encourage him by gently pushing his head down with your right hand on his poll, if necessary. Let him eat the carrot, and while doing so, drop your right arm around his head, pet him and reassure him he is good, in a soothing tome of voice. Repeat this several times in one session, say, over a five to ten minute period, but no longer, so that he doesn’t tire of it.
Repeat Steps 1 and 2, until your horse immediately drops his head under your right arm, upon hearing the words, “Shame on you!” and the raising of your right arm. Remember–your tone of voice in important here, so be sure to sound like you are scolding him.
Your horse is learning that the cues he should respond to are body position, your tone of voice and voice command. Be consistent in those cues, and reward him when he gives you a “right” answer. With his head “hiding” under your arm, it will appear as if your horse is ashamed. I like to use this trick when he hasn’t gotten something right.
The above procedures may be used several times a day for short periods. In the beginning of all trick-training, the horse’s attention span is very short, so several brief sessions are recommended, and only when the horse is attentive and quietly standing still and relaxed.