Teaching a horse to paw on cue

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All you will need for teaching this trick are:

  • A few treats
  • A halter and lead rope

Firstly walk your horse out into an open space which isn’t too muddy or slippery. Please also make sure your horse is calm and relaxed, and I would also advise you wear a riding hat and appropriate footwear.

Now you need to decide a cue, this is a signal you give your horse when you want them to do something, in this instance, paw the ground.  I decided to choose tapping the horses leg with my hand so start with, as you can change this later on.

Tap the top of horses leg with your hand, at first it’s most likely nothing will happen, so reach your hand behind their knee and pull the leg forwards, saying “paw” at the same time, then give them a small treat.

Repeat this a few times and they should start to anticipate you lifting their leg after tapping it, and begin lifting it before you do. Once they do this, reward and praise them.  They should then paw the ground whenever you tap their leg and say “paw”.

Never praise the horse for pawing the ground without you giving the cue first, as this could lead to them pawing every time they’d like a treat (which is all the time!)

Be careful & good luck!:)