To train a horse, start by breaking the skill you want the horse to learn into smaller steps. As the horse accomplishes each small goal, reward it to reinforce the training.
- Choose a task, and break it down
Decide what skill the horse needs to learn, and break it down into stages consisting of minor goals. For example, the first step to teach a horse to bow is teaching it to point its head where directed. Once the horse learns to follow a target, then it can be directed to bow its head on command.
- Begin the training
Start with the smallest task. As the horse accomplishes each goal, add a new goal. Each task should build on the last skill and ultimately should result in the horse being trained.
- Use reinforcement
As the horse learns each goal, use positive and negative reinforcement to guide it. Choose positive reinforcement when the horse does something correctly, giving the horse something it didn't have before, such as treats and petting. Use negative reinforcement to show the horse it has done something wrong, and continue until the horse does it right. An example of negative reinforcement is putting pressure on the horse's lead and releasing it once the horse does the correct behavior.