Some tricks are inherently easy to teach an animal because they are based on their core instincts and behaviors. Teaching a horse to play catch is definitely not one of those kinds of tricks.
Horses don’t naturally like to catch objects in their mouths like dogs. They aren’t hunters. They don’t have the instinct to follow an object in flight and try and grasp it with their teeth. Add to this that a horse has a bit of a blind spot directly in front of them, and you can see how this trick can be a bit difficult for a horse to learn. Most horses can learn to “catch” objects by just opening their mouths wide and having the handler toss the object into their mouths. When they feel the object, they close their mouth. Dino, however, has learned to have pretty good eye – mouth coordination, and plays some real catch by grasping the object with his teeth. Check him out in the video below.
If you are wondering why I would teach a horse to play catch….let’s just say that I sometimes have some extra time on my hands while I wait for my daughter to finish with Pony!