How are dancing horses trained?

During horse parties and events, it is inevitable to stop to watch the dancing horses. The trust that animals have in their tamers, the respect that both often show. It is a true spectacle that everyone should see at least once in life.

But how do you train a horse to dance? What does it take to get him to dance? If you would like to teach your friend to move to the rhythm of the music, do not stop reading.

What is the piaffe?

To teach a horse to dance the first thing to do is find out what the piaffe is. As well. This is a movement similar to the trot of a horse that performs on a point . Based on years of training, the horse gets to lower its hips, change the weight on its hindquarters and raise its right part following the music, in a natural way. Thus, they can participate in the best piaffe competitions in the world.

But that does not mean that only some horses know how to dance. In fact, anyone can learn the footsteps of piaffe through the formation of a trick that must always end with a prize for the animal . Likewise, respect and patience are key for the horse to feel like learning, and not to do so for fear of possible retaliation. We must never forget that they are animals, that they have feelings and that, therefore, they deserve our respect.

How are dancing horses formed?

Once this is known, it will be time to get down to work, or rather, to the mount of our horse 🙂. Therefore, we will follow this step by step:

  1. The first thing we will do is take him for a walk . A short walk. It is not about tiring him, but relaxing him a little. It is known that working with a calm animal is much easier than with a nervous one. The first will pay attention to us; the other will prefer not to.
  2. Then we will jog him and pull him up . We will move his shoulders and hips and ask him to put his head up and down. We will do it several times, letting you rest for a few seconds between exercise and exercise.
    In the event that he does not do so, or that it is difficult for him to do so, instead of asking him so much, what we can do is ask him to get up and simply move his head; then we bring him down and then we ask him again to get up and move his hips. Thus, asking him for one thing each time will probably make it much easier for him to learn what we are teaching him.
  3. Now we will put a halter on the horse and fasten a rope . As we are starting, a simple halter and a lead will serve us; Later we can use a bridle and a saddle to connect one side of the rein on the right side of the horse. To make it easier for us, we can use both side reins that we will connect from the fillet ring to the circumference of the same side about 23cm below the animal’s back. We will tie its tail up with an elastic band so that it does not bother us.
  4. Afterwards, we will stop the horse so that the wall or fence is on your right. We will stand it on its left side . With the dressage riding crop, we have to reach its hind legs. We will touch the left rear leg until it rises and then we offer you a prize. We will repeat the same with the right rear leg.
  5. Next, we put the bridle or saddle, and the side reins. We will ask you to raise left, right, left, and we will reward you . The response should be quick, but the same, if we see that it costs you, we will go back and go slower. It is not about making the horse perfect: perfection does not exist. It is about teaching him something while trying to make him have fun, and he won’t do it if we ask him for more than he is capable of doing at the moment.
  6. Finally, what we will do is touch its front legs . If you are nervous, we will let you lower your head or we will lower it; so it will calm down. On the contrary, if we see it lively we will lift it to make you feel proud. If he behaves well and, above all, if he takes a step that looks like a dance, we will give him a well-deserved prize and let him rest.

The sessions have to last about ten minutes , not more. It is necessary to avoid that the horse feels frustrated, since doing so will lose interest in learning to dance. Also, I insist, we have to be very patient. It can be weeks until we see that the animal is learning it.

The dancing horses of Spain

In Spain we are extremely lucky to be able to enjoy the show that the dancing horses give. Especially in Andalusia, these animals are the true protagonists of many of the festivals and events , such as the Horse Festival that takes place in Jérez, or in my town Ses Salines (Mallorca) for the Sant Bartomeu festivities (late August) .

With Spanish music and costumes from the 18th century, the dancing horses and their riders dance their wonderful equestrian ballet using the dressage and cowgirl technique, hitches, handwork and carousel.

Did you know how dancing horses were trained? Do you dare to teach your friend to move to the rhythm of the music? 🙂

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