Horse Training Voice Commands
Horse training voice commands should be looked upon as “sounds” opposed to “words”. Since there are many different languages and many words that sound very different within those languages we need to clarify the understanding from what a horse would perceive since they utilize a different kind of language than humans ever could. Mainly horses utilize body language first then sound.
How do I know this? Because they are not vocal creatures to begin with. Dogs are though. Just drive by a dog kennel and listen for the sounds, then drive by a herd of horses and listen. You will notice quite a difference in the noise level!
Yet their ability to “hear” far out weighs ours in such a way that clicker training has become a very valuable tool to use first and then add a sound or word to the training, creating unbelievable results.
See our Clicker Training page for more information.
Horse Training Tips for Beginners
Here is the most common mistake even seasoned horse trainers make. They use a sound for more than one purpose. The most frequent one is the sound “Whoa” for the command to “stop” as well as being used for “slow down”. This is how horses can get confused.
The best advice I can offer anyone is to start by not using words or sounds at all (unless using Clicker Training Methods) and instead become fully aware of your body language and how powerful it can be to communicate. In Clicker Training we work on the behaviour first then add a word that becomes the “cue” for the behaviour. It is referred to as the preparatory command. We all need to know what is coming.
For example: If someone wants to shake your hand in a greeting, they would extent the arm out first. You would immediately know Oh, I should extent my arm too so our hands could meet. Did you know that 85% of what we say comes from our body language first and only 15% from the actual words?
A very strong message to keep in mind.
Horse Training Voice Commands In Action
A person applying progressive horsemanship would be someone who does more listening and observing that talking. We tend to dribble long sentences to our horses thinking they understand every word! It’s rather amusing if you stop for a moment and listened to yourself. Here’s what we might say, “Cash…, now stand still, don’t lean, you know better than that, whoa there, are you having a bad day? Quit that, stop that, hey, HEY! HEY!”
You get the idea. Now here is what the horse might hear if they even grasp a few of these words we use often.
Blah, blah, blah, "Stand", blah, blah, blah, "Whoa", blah, blah, blah, "HEY!" "HEY!"
Funny isn’t it?!
Here is a horsemanship training tip; keep sounds separate and enunciate clearly. Use one word or sound for only one behaviour at a time.
Here are a few horse training voice commands I use most often:
* “Whoa” means STOP.
* “Walk” means walk
* “Trot” means trot
* “Canter” means canter
* “Easy” means Slow down
* “Foot” means pick up the foot I am pointing at
* “Target” means to touch what I am pointing at with your nose
I can never assume these words are understood, they need to be applied and trained plus I always put in place a body gesture first. It does not matter what word you use as long as you use it consistently and for only one thing.
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