This was sent in by our friend Megan explaining how she taught her horse Toby to smile (click read more to learn her technique):
He had already learned to shake, so teaching tricks to him was/is quick and easy.
- First I would tap his nose with a whip, grab and lift his lip up, then give him a treat.
- Every so often I would throw in a cue without me actually lifting his lip to see if he was understanding, which he was.
- He got it pretty quick, and we eventually graduated from the whip tapping his nose to me cueing him with my hand so I could cue him at a distance.
- To teach him how to cue with the hand instead of the whip, I used both simultaneously, and eventually just my hand until he understood. Of course, not every horse is the same, I found treats is the best way for him to learn.
- Once he understands, I no longer have to use treats. He’ll work for laughs, and loves the attention.
He sometimes throws in his own additions, like flapping his upper lip or moving the bottom lip (as the picture somewhat illustrates); whatever gets him the most attention at the moment.
Thanks to Megan and Toby!
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