How To Teach Your Horse To Smile

There are many tricks which you can teach your horse, but one of the most fun is teaching them to put on their best cheesy grin for the camera and smile!

This a great one to show off to your friends and is sure to bring a smile to their own faces!

So how can you get a horse to smile? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think, as horses will often smile all on their own anyway.

The mouth of a horse is very versatile, as it is used for a number of things, such as picking up and holding, pushing and rolling, untying knots and more, so it can easily be trained to give a smile.

Just remember that all horses are different and will learn at different paces. We can’t accurately say how long it’s going to take, but just make sure to stick at it and keep training regularly.

What you’ll need:

  • Halter
  • Leadrope
  • Treats such as carrots or chopped apples

First things first, you’ll need to come up with a cue word which you’re going to use to train your horse, such as “Smile” or “Cheese!” or whatever you want.

Method One

There are a couple of ways which you can go about the actual training and the first is by tickling the horse’s nose while saying your cue word.

Doing so should cause your horse to start to move their lips, at which point you should reward them with a treat so that they understand that moving their lips when they hear the cue word means that they’ll be rewarded!

When you do this, over time the horse will gradually start to lift their lip and higher and higher and will hold the smile for longer each time.

Method Two

The second method will require you to use a strange smelling odour such as ammonia, as horses naturally curl up their upper lip as a reflex action when they smell something unfamiliar.

Simply take something such as ammonia or a cut onion, and place it directly under the horse’s nostrils while saying your desired cue word, which should have the desired effect!

As with the other method, be sure to treat your horse to a reward when they ‘smile’, increasing the reward as they get better at it.

Then, it’s just a case of repeating until the horse is conditioned to simply roll back their lip upon hearing the cue word!

Bear in mind that as time goes by, you’ll have to become stricter when giving out the treats, so that you’re only rewarding when the trick is being performed properly, not just for small mouth movements.

As a precaution, we’d recommend only training for around 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as otherwise, the horse might begin to get bored and lose focus, meaning they won’t be as disciplined with the trick, but remember to keep training regularly.

For a more general guide on how best to trick train your horse, check out this post from


Now that you and your equine friend have got your best smiles down, it’s time to get out there and take some selfies!

And if you require any treats with which to reward your horse for their hard work, you can see our full range of treats at Ride-away here.

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