Train Your Horse to Shake Hands

ArticleHow to - horse trainingThursday 14 January 2010
How to Train Your Horse to Shake Hands

It is possible to train a horse to shake hands just like dogs do. It is a simple trick to incorporate into your horse training sessions, and is a good way of forging a stronger bond with your horse. If you already have a dog that you trained to do this then you will most definitely be able to train a horse to shake hands. For tips on training your horse to shake hands, see the advice outlined below.


Tie your haltered horse to a post first. Where possible you should use a clicker for your horse training. Training a horse to understand the clicker is simple: click and then treat. Do this repeatedly until your horse is conditioned to the clicker.

Knee Tap

Next, tap your horse's knee, asking for the foot. If he looks as though he is going to offer you his foot then use the clicker and encourage him with a treat. If the horse refuses to lift his foot, or even move his toe, try tapping the knee again, but this time lean onto the horse's shoulder at the same time. The weight will be less on his foot which will show him you want it lifted. Click and then treat straight away. Repeat this around ten times. Give the horse a walk before trying again.


If you are still unsuccessful, only click until he raises his foot slightly. This should prompt him to lift it so he can hear the click and ultimately get a treat. Once you get the foot a few centimetres off the ground, you should then use your hands to bring it the rest of the way up (whilst constantly treating). Then say "shake hands" whilst giving him treats and clicking.

Shake Hands

When you have done this a few times you need to let him know that you want his foot raised without your hands. To do this, start saying "shake hands" when you tap the knee. Repeat this until you get movement, and treat him.

By doing this a few times a day during your horse training sessions you will eventually get the result you are after, and he will shake your hand. Just make sure you are patient and persistent.

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