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how and why of pedestal training - part 2 of 2 imagine a horse By Sue De Laurentis & Allen Pogue, © Imagine A Horse 2010


tivities, caution is important. Horses do not usually slip on the pedestal but precautions are still advised. Above all, know your horse and begin pedestal training with good ground manners. The construction of the pedestal is important. The sloped sides, rubber mat cushioned top and heavy duty design are all safety features. Square box shaped pedestals are NOT safe for horses beyond two months of age!


step up on a pedestal with the front feet first. We’ll cover mounting with all four feet and other variations (including the revolving pedestal) in later segments.


to walk next to the horse as you approach the pedestal and later when lungeing him, you can position yourself on the opposite side of the pedestal. During the first session (or two) it may be enough for a shy horse to just approach the ped- estal and lift his foot as cued. Approach the pedes-


At first you may want


Here’s how to teach it Teach the horse to


Pedestal Safety As in all equine ac-


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tal with the horse in hand and cue him to lift his front leg. It may be necessary at first to actually lift his foot forward and up to help him to place it on the pedestal. A horse must willingly give his foot when asked to facilitate this. If he does not lift his leg, tap him on the fetlock with the end of a whip. Offering the foot will- ingly should be a behavior that is instilled in the horse before beginning Pedestal Training. You may experiment with the handle of a dressage length whip or the snap to see which works best. As with all good horsemanship, strive to use the mildest effective cue for the individual horse. A harder cue does not mean increased or quicker results and can scare the horse.


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When he allows you to place his foot on the pedestal, be sure to praise him and stroke his leg while encouraging him to keep it there. Repeat this step until the horse is comfortable with putting his foot “Up” and will do it freely when asked. When he will reliably put one foot on the pedestal, begin to encourage him to step up with the other foot by helping him to shift his balance off of the foot on the ground so it is easily


derstands how to Step Up with both front feet, lungeing him to it adds a sense of urgency (on his part) to go to the pedestal. This is the applied pressure por- tion of the lesson and the point at which stepping up on the pedestal will offer the release or reward. Use a long working line (approx 15 feet) to lunge the horse around the pedestal. Lunge him around the pedestal at a trot. As he approaches the wide side of the pedestal, draw his head toward it by shortening the line and slipping it through your hands. As you do this, give him a preparatory cue such as “ready” then ask him to “Step Up”. The preparatory cue lets the horse know that a request is coming. Most horses understand in short order that stepping up and standing still is much easier than trotting circles. It is at this point that a horse usually comes to under- stand that he has some control over his work routine-he can STEP UP and rest. When he mounts the pedestal, praise him and a food treat may be used also. Let him know that he did just what you wanted. Now the trick will have become the reward.


ered because he can make the choice for release of pressure by stepping up which lets him willingly make the right choice. When he is on the pedestal, he will focus on the handler because it is easier than going back to trotting circles, which is exactly what we want. When he looks away or loses his focus or steps down before released, put him immediately back to trotting circles. Do this as a di- rective with absolutely no emo- tion attached. In other words, we school with no emotion but praise with all our heart!


The horse is empow-


lifted. Use the lead rope (short hold) to guide him as you ask him to “Step Up” by gently pulling his nose over the leg already on the pedestal. After he will willingly step up with both front feet, encourage him to stay for incrementally longer periods of time and until he is released. You may also condi- tion him to stay on the pedestal as you step back from him and also walk around. This is similar to the stay command in dog training and the beginning step of ground tying. The com- plimentary and opposite part of this lesson is to teach him to “Step Down” on cue. When a horse un-


Opposite and Complimen- tary Lesson Teach the horse a cue


for dismounting the pedestal such as “Step Down”. He is to dismount the pedestal only when cued to do so. If he does dismount before he is released, send him back to work trotting circles for a few laps and try again.


mounted on the square top pedestal with his front feet, ask him to yield the hindquarters or Step Around as his front feet remain anchored. Gradually increase the number of lateral steps until he can completely circle the hindquarters around the pedestal. With his front feet anchored on the pedestal, the request will be easy for him to understand. He can be taught to step the front feet down and walk them around the hind end that is on the pedestal. Re- volving pedestals, multi-tiered pedestals and agility platforms present lots of fun challenges. As the pedestal train-


ing progresses, it can serve as a horse’s mark for executing other moves such as the Jam- bette or Salute, Retrieving an Object, and even a slow Spin. If two horses are worked together, they can be taught to Change Places in a musical chair fash- ion or to line up side by side on pedestals.


training, horsemanship prin- ciples, tact, good judgment, and a systematic approach are required with reasonable ex- pectations in mind. Taking time to plan will make your sessions fun and fruitful for both horse and human.


tions contained herein are well researched and have been prac- tically applied to many horses but they are not intended to be absolutes. Be ready, willing and able to practice what we call RIF, Rapid Intelligent Failure. Simply put this means, if some- thing isn’t working be quick to recognize it and change the approach.


For help with Pedestal


Training or any other aspects of Equine Agility and Enlightened Trick Training, feel free to con- tact us atwww.redhorseranch.net or www.imagineahorse.com. * If you will email


the authors they will email con- struction directions for pedestals complete with picture.


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Page 10


iously poised by their comput- ers waiting for tickets to go on sale to the 2011 Road to the Horse World Champion- ship of Colt Starting got the shock of the year this morning when they logged on. Event owner/producer Tootie Bland announced an hour before the public sale of tickets began that legendary natural horse- man Pat Parelli would be step- ping into the round pens for the first time in the history of the event. Parel- li will be joined in competition by Champions Chris Cox and Clinton Ander- son.


ends”, the February 25-27, 2011 in Murfreesboro, TN will mark the first time that the three largest natural horsemanship clinicians in the world have faced off again one another to prove their horse training met- tle. While Anderson and Cox faced off against one another in the 2007 competition, 2011 will be the first time either has stepped into the arena against Parelli.


“There is an old Dubbed “The Leg- Ticket buyers anx-


saying that is thrown around Road to the Horse camp all the time – “Go Big or Go Home.” Well I decided to shoot for the moon and the only thing that I thought could be gibber than Chris Cox and Clinton Ander- son at the event was to add a wild card Legend by the name of Pat Parelli. The stars began


enjoy a full day of education and entertainment on Friday, February 25, 2011. The Friday event, which will be included as part of the three-day event ticket will include extended clinics by each competitor, as well as a dramatic evening performance which will include a variety of inspiring presenta- tions by previ- ous Road to the Horse competi- tors like Stacy Westfall, who will showcase her well-known and much appre- ciated bridleless riding talent. Tickets to


to line up and the opportunity of a once-in-a-lifetime event for the fans became a reality. It’s hard for even me to believe that I will see this kind of horse- manship under one roof in my life – simply incredible!”, says Bland.


for the three clinicians’ star power and with plans to add some flair of her own, Bland has expanded the event from two to three days. Event at- tendees at the 2011 event will


Providing a runway


publicity available seats, a special prime seating block has been set aside for members of the Road to the Horse Nation. The Nation, a membership club that fans can join for $39.95 a year include a host of benefits in addition to prime seating, including a members-only website, advance access and line privileges, merchandise discounts and more.


Visit us at: www.HorseGazette.com


from $80 to $150. In addition to the


the event are on sale now by visiting www. roadtothehorse. com. Three-day event tickets range in price


Training Instructions The training instruc-


As with all good


Creative Challenges When a horse is


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