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Secerets To Laying Your Horse Down

Not only is this trick fun to impress friends with, it is also a great lesson to build trust with your horse and even reduce their fear.  I do not use treats and do not force the horse down. I use a full check snaffle and a soft lay rope (I like to use the leads made for rope halters with no clasps or hardware) to help hold up the leg on the side I am standing. Due to the repeated contact with the ground, find a place where the ground is soft.
Please keep in mind it is not something you teach all horses in one day. It takes a lot of trust from your horse and as I learned from my horse, it can also take time for them to understand that you will not get hurt by them. He was afraid he was going to lay on me.
I will only teach this to a horse that understands how to pick up its feet and that also knows how to release to pressure on the bit. I begin by placing leg protection on the horse and placing the rope on the pastern of the leg next to me. I then ask the horse to give his foot, hold it up with the rope and ask the horse to lean back. As soon as he leans back I release, praise and let him put his foot down. 

You ask the horse to continue rocking back farther and farther until the knee touches the ground, always allowing the horse to come right back up.  You will want to keep the nose pointed toward the shoulder away from you, not toward you as he will lay down the wrong direction.  Do not let him put his head between the front legs either as he will not be able to lay down as easily. When he is comfortable with touching the knee to the ground, start asking him to keep the knee on the ground a little longer before asking him to get up.  It is here you start teaching the cue to get up and apply it before letting the horse get up.  This  teaches him to stay down until you give the cue to get up.

When the horse is leaving the knee on the ground I will change the rope that is on the leg.  I will run it under the belly to the opposite side, over the back and back to my hand.  This will help keep the foot up if the horse resists the next steps.  With the horses knee on the ground you will take his nose to the opposite side that you are standing on and ask the horse to rock back more.  He should slowly come down on his shoulder and then lay down.  Let him up as soon as he wants.

If you have not already, start using your cue to lay down. Lay him down a couple times letting him get up, then you will ask him to stay down by keeping his head bent to his side. Increase the amount of time he stays down and be sure you are giving a cue to get up.

When your horse learns the cue to lay down he will do it in a natural way, so start asking with the cue first and if he does not lay down, do it manually. Rub him and get him comfortable with you being around him while he is down. Don't scare him. As soon as he learns he won't get hurt, he will lay down with ease.
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