I consider teaching a horse to bow, lay down or other ‘tricks’ to be teaching advanced groundwork. I began to teach Jac to lay down because I wanted something that I could do in small areas where Jac might be distracted. The theory here is that instead of punishing Jac when he is distracted, I could instead ask him to go into the ‘end of the trail’ pose or lay down.
Using Newt and Jac in this video I show the basic idea of how I teach my horses to lay down. I doesn’t use any ropes during this process. First, I teach the horses to drop their heads when I cues them to. Then I teach the lay down by asking the horse to step forward with the hind legs while NOT stepping forward with the front legs. Eventually this puts the horse in the ‘end of the trail’ position. I prefer to put the horse into this position and then I will wait for the horse to find the easier way out…which is laying down.
I explain that I has chosen not to finish teaching the lay down to Jac at this time. My reason is that I want to keep things a bit more simple for Jac. If Jac made the mistake of laying down at a reining show he would be disqualified. Jac is already learning so many other cues that I changed my mind and decided to not teach this ‘trick’ so that Jac is less likely to make this mistake at a show.