During the festivities and horse events it is inevitable to stop and look at the dancing horses. The trust that animals have in their trainers, the respect that both of them often show. It is a true spectacle that everyone should see at least once in their life.
But how do you train a horse to dance? What does it take to get her 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 his hips, shift the weight on his hindquarters and raise his right side 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 training of a trick that must always end with a prize for the animal. Likewise, respect and patience are key so that the horse feels like learning, and does not do so for fear of possible reprisals. 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 mount our horse 🙂. Therefore, we will follow this step by step:
- The first thing we will do is take him for a walk. A short walk. It is not about tiring him, but to relax 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.
- Then, We'll trot him up 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 it, or if it costs him to do so, instead of asking him so much, what we can do is ask him to get up and simply shake his head; then we lower him and then we ask him again to get up and move his hips. Thus, asking him one thing at a time will probably make it much easier for him to learn what we are teaching him.
- Now we will put a halter on the horse and fasten a rope. As we are starting, a simple halter and a lead will do; later we can use a bridle and saddle to connect one side of the rein to 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 his tail up with an elastic band so that it does not bother us.
- Afterwards, we will stop the horse so that the wall or fence is on its right. We will stand it on its left side. With the dressage whip, we have to reach its hind legs. We will touch the left hind leg until it rises and then we offer it a prize. We will repeat the same with the right rear leg.
- Next, we put the bridle or saddle, and the side reins. We will ask you to lift left, right, left, and we will reward you. The response must be quick, but the same, if we see that it costs you, we will go back and slow down. It is not about making the horse perfect: perfection does not exist. It is about teaching him something trying to have fun, and he will not do it if we ask him for more than he is capable of doing at that moment.
- 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 ourselves; so it will calm down. On the contrary, if we see it animated, we will raise it up so that it feels proud. If he behaves well and, above all, if he does a step that looks like a dance, we will give him a well-deserved reward and let him rest.
The sessions have to last about ten minutes, no more. The horse must be prevented from feeling frustrated, since doing so will lose interest in learning to dance. Also, I insist, we have to be very patient. It may take 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 real stars of many of the festivals and events, such as the Horse Festival that is celebrated in Jérez, or in my town Ses Salines (Mallorca) for the Sant Bartomeu festivities (late August).
With Spanish music and costumes typical of the XNUMXth century, the dancing horses and their riders dance their wonderful equestrian ballet using the technique of classical dressage and cowgirl, hooking, 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? 🙂