View Full Version : Teaching horse to lay down

Mar. 14, 2008, 01:09 PM
Has anyone taught their endurance/CTR horse to lay down?

I have a 5 year old Mustang that loves to sleep anyways, and will lay down even at night in the snow, and I was thinking about teaching him to lay down with a specific cues, so that he can get his rest and beauty sleep at rides, say during lunch break (I mostly do CTRs).

Any reason why I shouldn't?
Would it be detrimental in any way to my horse's recovery for vet checks, or would it help?
Is it just a plain silly idea? ;)

Mar. 16, 2008, 10:58 PM
Check out Dr. Deb Bennett's website. I think that this is something that she does w/ her horses. Just know that if you post questions on her forum to word them carefully. Sometimes she bites a little...;) Good-luck.


Mar. 17, 2008, 11:56 AM
Check out Dr. Deb Bennett's website. I think that this is something that she does w/ her horses. Just know that if you post questions on her forum to word them carefully. Sometimes she bites a little...;) Good-luck.

Good luck indeed! Dr. Deb is awesome in her knowledge of horses. BUT, huge but here, she doesn't suffer what she perceives as "fools" gladly. That said, I'm on her website. I'll look forward to your question and her answer.

Mar. 17, 2008, 02:24 PM
Thanks! I am surprised it's not a more popular idea though... Interesting...

My other horse does not like to lay down, but since this one does, I though it would be kinda neat to tell him it's okay to do...

Mar. 17, 2008, 02:31 PM
Let me know if you find out more about this - it sounds intriguing. My concern would be that lying down is not necessarily restful during hard work. If I go for a ten mile jog, it is more useful to rest at the halfway mark by walking slowly for a while than to sit or lie down, as that latter slows the circulation in my legs, which might then stiffen and cramp when I get up to start jogging again. On the other hand if you were resting mid-work for several hours, then there would be time for the body to come down to a slow resting state, then take a nap, then get up, warm up again, and go back to work. Just a thought...

Apr. 23, 2008, 10:38 PM
Allen Pogue www.imagineahorse.com is excellent, and he has a video on how to do it.

And he is very nice and has a yahoo e-mail list if you need specific help.

Apr. 23, 2008, 10:58 PM
What is the point of teaching a horse to lay down? Only your horse can determine if she/he needs to lay down. At the Mustang Challenge, I was turned off to see trainers making their horses lay down.

I like to see "tricks" that is very practical and critical for endurance. For example, I'd love to have my mare learn how to "buck" at predators upon my command. I do not know how to get her to do that. Other trick would be to get her to follow exactly where I want her to go up to such a place. If she missteps, there will be problem. Thus, I value this kind of tricks. Otherwise, other tricks turn me off.

Apr. 24, 2008, 12:31 PM
I have one horse who loves to lay down - the other not so much.
I am not talking about "making" the horse lay down, but rather letting him know it is okay to lay down .
He might not realize it's okay to lay down while tied up to the trailer...

There are ways to teach a horse to lay down without using any force, ropes, etc... You are not forcing the horse down - they lay down on their own. Very different from throwing a horse down.

Teach a horse to buck?? Yikes, no thanks!!

Apr. 24, 2008, 03:31 PM
There is laying down and there is laying down. I have seem people lay their horse down gently, using a cue. The horse is obviously comfortable doing so and goes down easy. This I have no problem with.

Others almost throw the horse down. It almost looks like the horse is falling, and you often hear a thud. I am personally not comfortable with this.

Either way, a horse laying down is in a very vulnerable position. One that willingly lays down and is comfortable with it has built a bond of trust with the trainer.

From a practical standpoint, having a horse that lays down on cue can be very useful. Especially on trail or endurance rides. In the event of an injury, it could be helpful and beneficial to the horse to lay down until help arrives.

At the Midwest Horse Fair, the driving team demo had a horse get caught up in the rig. As I recall, the horse next to it was cued to lay down, where it stayed until the situation was remedied. Another practical use for laying down, if not endurance related.

Then there is the situation where hostiles are over the ridge and a standing horse will give away your position. You lay him down while you crawl on your belly ot the ridge line and scout the situation. Ok, maybe this one is 100 years past its usefulness. :)

Remember, everything we teach a horse is a "trick." Move forward, back up, lead change, sidepass, lay down - it is all the same to the horse. We give a cue to ask for a specific behavior.

Virtually any cued behavior we teach a horse can have some usefulness in the right situation. Heck, look at dressage. Outside of the ring, these moves are arguable not practical. Still, they are just descendent from medieval calvary manuvers. If you want to teach your horse to attack at predators on trail, there is a dressage move designed for that. I forget what it is called, but it involved a type of rear with striking of the front hooves. This might be safer and more practical to teach than a bucking strike.

Apr. 24, 2008, 03:36 PM
My concern would be that lying down is not necessarily restful during hard work.

I would have to agree there. Laying down has is usefulness and can be calming for a horse. I don't think it is very useful for cooling down a horse after hard work - might actually be a bad idea for such.

Apr. 24, 2008, 08:10 PM
I've heard, but can't substantiate, that lying down is slightly stressful for the horse's abdomen. A horse isn't designed to have all the weight of its internal organs tipped sideways for extended periods. If so, making the horse lie down would be the wrong thing if you were interested in a good recovery at a vet check. As I said I don't know whether the information is true; it could very well be an old wives tale. I'm no anatomist!

Apr. 24, 2008, 08:47 PM
My horse is taught to pee on command.. That is a sure way to lower the heart rate.
I can't see a horse laying down at a ride to recover. He should be spending his time drinking and eating, not laying around.
Again I have never seen a horse laying down to recover unless it is rolling.