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Don't forget that horse training must start with the first steps

Here's Nater with Steve showing off on the pedestal
Here's Nater with Steve showing off on the pedestal
Photo by K. Kettenbeil

Here's Nater with all four feet on the pedestal.  This is one of his earliest successful mounts on the pedestal on a lead line.  His training has currently progressed to the point where he oftentimes mounts the pedestal at liberty, gets very comfortable there and has to be coaxed off. 

If you want to trick train your horse like this, do not start off with thinking that your horse is going to just put all four of his feet on the pedestal and stand there like Nater is doing.  Yes, you may be lucky and have a horse that may be an exception to the rule. However, in training Nater, many small steps were taken, individual exercises practiced and checkpoints were made before Nater accomplished this pose.  In fact, Nater was literally trained one foot at a time when he was being pedestal trained.  He learned to put his first two feet on without too much trouble, the third foot seemed to be the hardest for him, and his fourth foot followed after some patient coaching. 

The point of this article is broader than just training your horse to mount a pedestal.  In any type of training for complex behaviors, small discrete tasks must be identified, taught and performed successfully long before expecting the end result.  Use caution and common sense when training your horse and do not attempt too much too soon.  Pay attention to your horse's body language and if your horse is not relaxed and receptive, then retreat to a prior task or level where your horse still feels good about himself and retains his confidence..


  • Pennie 5 years ago

    Kathy's right! Take it from me, start with baby steps and start at the beginning. Don't have gaps in your training and don't rush anything. I was the rider who tried to mold Nater into a Western Pleasure show horse through some very poor training methods and he had enough in the end, which put me in the hospital. It wasn't entirely his fault, you see. It was my fault. I wasn't patient and I was sucked into the "norm" of training methods. If it hadn't been for Kathy, he'd probably be far far away by now, if even still alive. He was deemed as a horse that would kill me or someone else by many. It broke my heart. Through my husband's hard work, who had never worked with horses before, and Kathy's unwavering belief and commitment, Nater is now a very happy willing partner. We've discovered so much amount Nater and what an amazing athelete he is. I will show Nater again, but not the same way I tried to do before, and this time we will all have fun! He's already a success. Thank you Kathy!

  • Pat 5 years ago

    What a cool, beautiful horse! I wish he was my horse!!!

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