So close to teaching your horse to bow; tips for progressing.

“Stacy, here is a video of my horse Raeyon as I am teaching her to bow. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to progress.” -Katherine K.

Thank you for sending me this video! There were a couple of things I noticed…so I made a video for you. You really are very close. When you are watching my video with Popcorn one thing you should notice is that both of our horses look sleepy, lol. I think this is great because they do not look stressed.

Keep in mind that when I put the rope on Popcorns leg for this video it had been over two months from the last time I had asked him to bow AND the last time I used a rope on him was well before that. I am telling you this so you can keep in mind that Popcorns response time was slow…but the good news is he was thinking. If I had repeated this rope test with him 5 minutes later, or if I had been bowing him more frequently I would have expected him to be a little quicker. Like most things, if you practice this often then it will become the answer your horse is looking for.

The main point here is that you can see that Popcorn knows that I am not going to release his leg from the rope until his knee touches the ground. Once he understands that with the rope we have crossed one hurdle.

The other hurdle is getting him to hold his leg up on his own without the rope. Once we have achieve that; the horse holding the leg up without the hoof touching the ground for an extended amount of time (1-2 minutes), then the bow with a tap alone is right there.

Stacy Westfall: Teaching your horse to bow

Full length training DVD on teaching the horse to bow.


Because the horse has already figured out that the ‘answer’ when the rope is used is to touch the knee down. He will eventually apply this idea to the leg being held up by the tap and….ta-da!

Your horse will bow from a simple tap.



  1. Sonja on August 25, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Stacy, I can stand there for hours and my horse wouldn’t get down to bow. My hands and arms are falling off by holding up his leg. Any ideas?

    • Stacy on August 25, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      That typically means that he hasn’t made the connection. Hold his leg up for a couple of minutes and then ask him to bow with another cue like asking him to back up with the halter or bridle. When he touches his knee down release and let him up. If he stays down that is fine, but don’t make him stay down. Do this three times in a row; hold the leg for 2 mins, then ask him to go down, repeat.
      See how many days it is until he goes down before you have to ask. He should when he sees the pattern.
      Give it a 7-10 days in a row of doing this three bow a day routine and then let me know if he tries it on his own.

  2. Mollie Himes on August 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Hey Stacy! I have a question! I taught my horse to lay down with a scratch on the withers (or by picking up his left leg like I’m going to clean his feet & turning to face towards him if he’s being stubborn!)

    I did first teach him to bow, but now anytime I do anything with his leg he instantly lays down.

    Any suggestions?? 🙂

    • Stacy on August 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Did you see that I made your question a blog? Click here to read the answer.

      • Mollie Himes on August 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        Thanks!!! I just read it!!! I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

  3. Myrth' s Garden on August 21, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I could not see the videos until I signed in on my WordPress account. So readers who have WordPress accounts may need to log in to see the videos.

  4. Myrth' s Garden on August 21, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I can’t view it either. I suspect it is a browser issue. Probably not all browsers support it. I am currently using a mobile version of Firefox. I will try to come back with a different browser and see if that helps identify the problem.

  5. Gloria on August 21, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I can’t see it either. I suspect it is a browse issue. Possibly not all browsers are supported.

  6. Sharlet Kurtz on August 19, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I have started my shire mare, 16.3 she will not go down on her knee, she does hold her leg up well. Is it harder for draft horses?

    • Stacy on August 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Have you ever seen the horses use there front leg to ‘kick’ flies of their belly? I’m guessing she could do that, and if she can then she can also hold her leg up. It is something they have to practice which is why I like to only do about 5 mins a day.
      The other good news is that once they connect the dots and know how to bow they really don’t have to lift it that high…which is why Popcorn was lazy in the video, lol

  7. Judy Shockey on August 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Odd, I can’t view it either, says undefined……….I will try again later also. But do let me ask you this. Do you hobble train a horse before teaching them to lay down and/or bow? Just curious, for I received a kit for my birthday, and it is from a prominent trainer who does teach that first. No ma’am I haven’t looked at it yet, just saw that was the first thing he taught. Curios me, just seeking your input if you will,
    that’s all. Thanks Stacy!

  8. Robyn Hunter on August 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I have two girls always looking for the next thing to try on their horses. This may be the next thing.

  9. stardavis on August 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I’m unable to see the short video you posted. I can see the client who sent you hers though?

    • Stacy on August 19, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      That is strange…I can see them both. Just checked and several hundred have viewed mine…maybe come back later and try again? I’m not great tech support, lol.

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