July16collage.jpgBill stabilized the 16 inch high rotating top pedestal yesterday. He added about ten horizontal feet at the bottom, protruding outwards, lying on the ground. Now when the horse places his foot on top of the pedestal the top does swivel, but the rest of the pedestal is stationary.

I was “all a twitter” just thinking about teaching this new “trick” to the boys! The TRICK is: both front feet are on the pedestal and the horse moves around the pedestal, usually crossing his back legs and, of course, going first in one direction, then the other.

I started with Zelador. The pedestal was in the centre of the arena, all alone. I brought him up to it and asked him to place his foot on it. I started by giving myself the command, “Hup!” and I placed my foot on the top. Then, “Whoa!” and I held it there for several seconds. Zelador was extremely polite and watched me. However, after several attempts to get HIS foot on the pedestal I abandoned that approach. We took a nice walk around the arena while I regrouped.

Ah… I’ll have him practice placing his front feet on the tall pedestal (18 inches high). We walked over to it and he had no problem. “Hup” and both front feet were on the three foot square top. “Whoa.” And he stood there.

I backed him off the pedestal and brought the rotator over. I placed it flush with the big one. The stabilizing feet fit under the big pedestal. Bill created it with an inch or two of clearance at the bottom.

I said, “Hup!” Zelador sidestepped the rotating top and placed both front feet on the big pedestal.

We took another walk.

Ah, HA! I’ll place the rotator next to the low platform (ten inches high). Before the rotator was stabilized I’d placed it in that position and both boys put a foot on it, but didn’t place any weight there. Now, I’d learn whether or not each horse would go that one step further and either place both feet on the top or place one foot and stand up on that foot.

I led Zelador to the platform, up he went. I turned him so he was perfectly aligned with the rotator. Within a few minutes he had one foot on the top and he offered up the other foot into a Jambette! (Wow! I hadn’t expected that! Not only did he place weight on the rotator, he added something of interest.)

We’d been working at liberty on the Jambette. In this movement the horse is standing still and holds one foreleg in the air. Allen Pogue has the horse say, “Hello” when it’s on a pedestal. He commands, “Salute” or “Say Hello” and the horse raises one foreleg into the Jambette. With the horse up there on the pedestal, the Jambette is a very impressive movement!

Well, Zelador hasn’t seen any of the Allen Pogue videos or read his instruction manual…

Allen talks about horses offering up movements or behaviors, things the trainers hadn’t thought of and certainly wouldn’t have asked for at that stage of the “trick”. Allen also says that when the horse does these things he gladly accepts them. Often the horse comes up with tricks that are much harder than the one he’s trying to teach. One example happened when Gator was pushing the big horse ball around the large stall. As he pushed it past a peg board that had several trick items on it he paused. You could almost see the wheels turning in his brain. He dismissed the idea and continued pushing the ball to Allen. He received his treat and was sent out around the large stall again. This time when he came to the peg board he couldn’t restrain himself. He’d been taught to pick up the small Texas flag and carry it in his mouth…never dropping it. Gator proudly carried the flag AND pushed the ball to Allen.

Although Zelador hadn’t done anything quite THAT brilliant I told the young horse that he was wonderful and ended our training session.

Now for Zeloso…a horse of a slightly different nature…

I started his rotating top pedestal work where Zelador and I had ended: with the rotator positioned next to the low platform. After MANY attempts to have Zeloso place his foot on the top I bent over, picked up his foot and placed it there for him. I told him he was very clever and we went for a walk around the arena.

Back to the platform. I asked again, but he was more interested in trying to play with the guider whip. I ended up picking up a hoof and placing it on the top. I did this several times (both feet had their turns) and much to my surprise, Zeloso actually put his weight on the pedestal. That was IT. The session was over.

Now I’ll “all a twitter” about what the boys will come up with tomorrow!!!