In-hand experts: Something in your hand at show to keep horse's attention?
Silly sounding but real question: Do handlers put something in or one their hand to keep their horses attention while posing during a show? Or is the horse just smelling their hand and hoping something is there?
It kind of LOOKS that way in some pictures. What's the reality here?
(asks the lady who is taking a 5 or more homebreds to a show next weekend, and doesn't want to look like a fool with cookies flying everywhere, if that is not how it's done)
I have shown in hand with a wrapped peppermint in my hand to get a pretty expression on my horse for the judge. Judge didn't seam to mind the crinkling sound and my horse got his favorite treat after the class.
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I have trained a horse I used to show in hand with a Clicker trainer(the one for dogs).
It first started by accident when I was working with one of my digs and my horse was showing interest. So I would click it and once he stretched his neck out he was immediately rewarded with a treat. You would be surprised how fast they learn it. alot of horses will give you a beautiful expression just from hearing the sound.
It always worked great. I use to have the problem of him taking a step forward for the wrapper. Good luck
Now, why didn't I think of that? I love clicker training! I've used the basics in training in the past with great success (I got away from using the hand clicker and just started using my mouth to may the "click" sound). Duh! Guess my brain is slow these days, but I'm still capable of having funny/weird conversations (see my other post).
I have been told that the Indians used to tear off a piece of a horse's chestnut (possibly any horse's not necessarily it's own) and hold it by their nose to calm them - why the Indians could steal the Army horses so quietly. If it indeed does work it would be a keen handler's ploy, esp with a youngster.
The truth is what you can get other people to believe.
an empty lighter works great, it clicks, if your horse moves forward when you click, practice with one that is not empty, they will poke their nose but learn not to go forward to it as the moving flame backs them up just enough.
I've heard of the TicTac trick at inspections too. If you have one that needs to be "fired up" a bit, keep a plastic bag in your pocket - you can crinkle it too (learned from inspections, not in-hand shows, but all the same idea, right?).
Tic Tacs are clever, I'll need to try that. I like the "noise" aspect, normally a peppermint or something works fine. Be careful with the treats, as some horses will stretch their neck out crooked trying to get the treat and it really looks silly, and sometimes causes them to lean forward. Good luck!
All good ideas ... I need to start working on this.. I like tic tacs myself...this could be a good alternative to the clicker...
Just make sure the tic tac box is almost full so it doesn't make too much noise. As a judge, I don't think there is anything more annoying than a handler using some kind of a noise device that is loud and inappropriate in the ring.
On another note, how did this thread get dug up after almost 5 years?
I've used both tic tacs and peppermints with success. I've also just kept the tic tacs in my jacket and tapped the pocket (farthes side away from them) which caught their attention and perked theirs ears forward without them stepping forward (which they sometimes do with the crinkly mint in my hand).