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If you use commands that sound threatening (by yelling a command), you can actually increase your horse's heart rate, frighten and confuse him, and he may take longer to learn.
For instance, a popular command to teach a horse is word "step". When driving a horse, using this command means for horse to move forward...take a step. When teaching it, be careful not to yell command because it may be perceived by horse as a punishment.
But if you calmly say "step" you will get better results than if you yell it. Often times, when a horse isn't "getting what you want", there's a tendency to get frustrated and thus, mad - and your voice volume can escalate. Then you're back to sounding threatening and perhaps your horse will take even longer to understand what you want.
I've seen where horses were being taught to drive where owner taught word "step". When teaching it, he would loudly say "STEP!". It wasn't long before horse was actually balking. Then owner was getting frustrated and kept repeating his command even louder...as if horse couldn't hear him.
It reminds me of a show I once saw on television. One english speaking man was talking with a spanish speaking man. The spanish speaking man knew no english. The english speaking man was trying to communicate with spanish speaking man. After a minute of obvious noncommunication, english speaking man spoke slower and louder. Unfortuantely, spanish speaking man didn't understand english whether or not it was spoke loud, soft, fast, or slow.
In summary, use short words. Use word when you want a certain action - only say word when you want that particular action. If you want your horse to slow down then say something like "easy". (Don't say "slow" because he may take it for "whoa".)
Next, associate actions with commands and calmly talk to your horse. Horses can hear very well and yelling command will not make command any more clear - if anything, it will frighten and confuse him.
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm