Everybody loves a Trick Horse. The growing enthusiasm over Trick Training
is showing up more frequently than ever on the pages of the world’s most
popular equestrian magazines. Imagine A Horse at Red Horse Ranch just outside
of Dripping Springs, Texas hosts an increasing number of visitors and students
on a steady basis—folks that come to study and learn the secrets of modern
Trick Training from Allen Pogue and his troupe of ten uniquely talented horses.
No longer just a curiosity, a genuine appreciation for Trick Training by
the public is one of the major reasons that Texas Horse Expo booked Imagine
A Horse this year.
In the past, Trick Horses were most often relegated to providing comic relief
in the days of the B-Westerns and rodeo acts. Allen’s Imagine A Horse training
method has brought Trick Training into the 21st century. Enthusiasts recognize
that Trick Training can be used to preserve the horse’s inherent nobility
while developing adaptability, reliability and trainability. These important
traits usually manifest as a genuine work ethic. Young horses that have learned
how to learn generally adapt well and show a strong desire to work and perform.
This rare aspect of equine potential is easily observed during the IAH Liberty
The IAH performers that will appear at this year’s Equine Expo of Texas are
Hasana, a six-year-old Arabian mare and Navegador, a four-year-old Lusitano/Arabian
These two horses are excellent examples of the benefits of Enhanced Foal
Training and Enlightened Trick Training for which Allen has become so well
respected. Allen and the IAH horses will give a series of demonstrations
and clinics throughout the weekend.
The Imagine A Horse methodology ideally begins shortly after birth and in
conjunction with imprinting. See Imprint Training the Newborn Foal and The
Revolution in Horsemanship both by Dr. Robert M Miller. Early training of
a foal shapes and enhances a horse’s instinctual attitudes and abilities.
Horses that are trained to be companions as well as performance horses are
more likely to enjoy a productive life after their career in the show ring
Each new foal at Red Horse Ranch brings another opportunity for exploring
the horizons of equine learning ability. Every year Allen takes one of the
new foals to Texas A&M University and gives a lecture/demo for the undergraduate
students studying Animal Behavior Science.
It is common here at the ranch to see a two-week-old foal marching instep
with a handler around the training stall and conquering carpet covered pedestals
with boldness and obvious delight. By the time a foal first wears a halter,
it is already quite comfortable to walk beside the handler in a mannerly
way through turns and halts. Enhanced Foal Training usually removes the “breaking”
process from a horse’s grown up training. Young horses grow up at ease with
the entire process of becoming a respectful and obedient partner.
IAH methods foster communication, understanding, respect, clarity of intention
and boldness in both horse and human. As a horse matures, Trick Training
can become fun for both partners and the link that bonds the horse and human
mentally and emotionally. The handler and the young horse can enjoy many
aspects of working in unison with Trick Training long before the horse has
physically matured and is capable of bearing a load. Respect for the horse’s
future and the creation of a genuine work ethic forges mutual understanding
that easily carries over to mounted training and with many shared adventures.
Hasana made her public debut at the Will Rogers Center as a very exuberant
13 month-old filly. She livened up the performance by adding high speed to
her pattern in the Liberty Act and mixed in a few unsolicited but well-executed
tricks. Now Hasana is a six-year-old seasoned Exhibition horse. While she
takes her performances very seriously, she can always be counted on to add
a few spicy variations to each show.
Hasana’s early education began with Enhanced Foal Training. As a foal she
learned to negotiate a variety of pedestals on a lead line and then at Liberty.
She learned to distinguish different objects and to retrieve hats and Frisbees.
She was a reliable Trick Horse by the time she was weaned. Before she was
a year old she schooled alongside her older sister, Alyah and her sire Hasan
learning basic Liberty routines. As the fillies matured, Allen began to use
them to help with the schooling of the younger foals. Hasana took the opportunity
seriously and would reliably perform her tricks with the foals watching and
they would mimic her behavior. The foals learned new lessons very quickly
with their mentor and Hasana seemed to enjoy the work tremendously. When
it was time for young horses to be introduced to Liberty training, Hasana
would be put in the ring with them and she would help keep them in their
assigned places in line much better than any human handler could possibly
do. If one got out of his place, as Gater would often do, she would trot
right up alongside of him and promptly push him back into the lineup. If
he resisted, she would become more insistent and give him the bossy mare
look or a nip until he would resign himself to his job. The precision and
understanding that she displayed in this responsibility was amazing and her
ability to teach other horses was a considerable help to Allen.
As a foal, Gater grew quite comfortable sitting on the beanbag next to one
of his humans and would then relax and fall asleep. As he matured he would
make a game of sitting down at Liberty and would accurately back across the
width of the round pen to sit down precisely on the bean bag. By the time
he was a year old, the salute he had learned even before he was weaned turned
into a respectable Spanish Walk. Gater has an aptitude for performing
difficult athletic feats with an audacity that is easily apparent.
Trick Training is about helping a horse to become adaptable, dependable,
bold and yet respectful and to enjoy camaraderie with humans. The goal of
IAH is to bring forward full potential in every horse including the potential
to be an engaging partner.
Join Allen and Sue, Hasana and Navegador at the Equine Expo of Texas. You’ll
see for yourself that with a little imagination and a willing horse or two,
you can have a circus in your own back yard.
For more information about IAH and Trick Training, visit www.imagineahorse.com