>I once read an article in Horse&Rider about a guy who had been able to
>train his horse to do several tricks. He could get the horse to lay
>down by himself on command.
Teaching a horse to lay down is standard circus/vaudville stuff. Chuck
Grant's book Training the Haute Ecole or High School Horse contains
instructions on how to teach you horse to lay down, and many other
tricks. Its published by Walsworth Publishing Company, 306 North Kansas
Avenue, Marceline, Missouri 64658. The book is a bit old, 1982, but I
was able to get a copy from Robin Bledsoe, the equestrian bookseller.
Grant's protege, Mari Zdunic, also has a videotape out explaining how to
train various Haute Ecole movements, including laying down.
Before you buy the book, be warned that training the horse for the
Haute Ecole takes an enormous amount of patience and lots of time.
(And if your horse is as slow to catch on as mine, it takes even
more time...) Training the horse to lay down requires several stages,
such as first teaching the horse to bow on one knee, and then kneel on
both knees. There's a picture in Grant's book of four horses laying on
the ground at the same time.
As for the relevance of this to modern riding, there isn't any practical
reason you'd want your horse to lay down. However, I find that in my
attempts to train various tricks from the ground I learn more about how
to interact with horses to get them to do what I want, and in doing so
hope to be a better rider.
Michael Czeiszperger | "Those riders who seek exactitude and absolute accuracy
Imonics 919-461-6366 | destroy the courage of a brave horse and ruin the gen-
Raleign, NC | tility which nature has given him" -- La Gueriniere