© 2004 Andy Curry All Rights Reserved
To uninitiated, voice commands for horse are nothing more than words. But to horse they are only sounds.
Obviously, horses cannot speak our language. Since they cannot speak our language we should think through what we say to them when we want certain responses from them.
Take word "whoa" for instance. I have no doubt this is most abused word in human/horse language. When rider says "whoa" then horse should know to stop.
But problem is this. Often word "whoa" is said when rider wants horse to slow down...not stop. Before you know it, rider has conditioned horse to slow down at word "whoa" instead of stopping. Then rider can't understand why "stupid" horse won't stop when he says "whoa!".
Telling your horse a command when you mean for it to do something else is lying to your horse. You never lie to your horse because results you get will not be what you want. Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from 1800's, knew this well and was first to say "don't lie to your horse".
Thus, when you say "whoa" to your horse, you must only say it because you want to stop...not slow down.
Also, when using voice commands be sure to use simple words with as few syllables as possible.
Thus, if you want a horse to back up then say "back". If you want him to walk then say "walk". If you want him to trot then say "trot".
Next, when using voice commands be sure to associate an action with command. For instance, let's say you're teaching your horse to gallop at command "gallop". So while in round pen you use one of your aids to teach him to gallop. So first you say "gallop" then bring in aid to motivate his movement to a higher speed.
If you want to teach your horse to walk then start your horse around pen in opposite direction from which you taught him to gallop. When he's gone around several times, stop him, and pet him. If he goes too fast use word "walk" and have him go slower by making a slight move to front of him.
Lastly, I'm a big advocate of being careful how you talk to your horse.