Help Me Teach My Andalusian Stallion to Stand Still

by Donna DeYoung

The following email came to me from an Andalusian horse owner...

Question: ...He's very photogenic, and the clicker helps so much with poses--but as you say, the enthusiasm for work is almost too much! Teaching an action is easy, but teaching immobility is quite a challenge. I have tried to teach him to go to and stand on a "mark" like the dog trainers for try do. I used a piece of plywood, and he had so much fun walking and pawing on it to make fun noises, that standing still was impossible!

Answer: Well, for standing still I have a little trick. Its like teaching a dog to stay. Place the horse in a balanced, straight stance with all four feet square. Have a halter on him and lay the lead rope over his shoulder. Face him perpendicular between the tip of his head and his shoulder. Use a flat hand and give him the sign against his nose and say "stay". Take a quick step backwards and then forwards again. Praise generously. Do it again but take two quick steps back and forwards. Praise him again. Add variations to your movement (towards his rear, out towards the front) but always return before he can move and stay facing him. You might have to move pretty fast!

If he moves any hoof, back him half a step immediately and say stay. If you find your horse's attention wandering, be sure to keep his head straight forward. Position it gently. If he pushes forward alot, he may need a "loud popping" smack to his shoulder to teach him there is an "invisible fence" there. If he lowers his head, bring it back up again. Get him used to you leaving for longer periods of time. In dog training I used this to teach my lab to stay indefinitely, even if I was out of sight. The trick was to come back before the dog "failed" at staying and reward him for the effort it took to stay successfully, even if its for a second or two at first.

If your horse won't stand still even then, make him run run run around the round pen with many changes of directions. Then bring him to the center and ask for stay again and go through the routine. If he breaks, repeat running him. He'll soon learn its easier to stand still than run around the pen. If you skip this step in training your horse isn't really "broke" yet.

Skyhorse Ranch - Andalusian horse breeder in Texas with Andalusian horses for sale. Breeders of PRE Pura Raza Espanola horses with cartas from Spain. Selling black, grey, and bay Andalusians. Recommend Andalusian stallions at stud. Pictures, history, facts, and info. Spanish Andalusian horse farm. Bloodlines from Spain in the USA.

Templates in Time