Friday, February 11, 2011

Verbal Commands

I find that when drivers use specific words and know those words, it makes driving and training much easier to perform. These are the words that I use routinely when driving and are words that are often used by drivers. Having a "universal" language helps horses to understand what is being asked of them.

My List of Verbal Commands for the Driving Horse

"Walk" - Start walking or Come down into a walk

"Walk on" - Don't even THINK about it! Walk only!

"Gee" - Turn right

"Haw" - Turn left

"Whoa ... Gee" - Fan to the right

"Whoa ... Haw" - Fan to the left

“Gee (or) Haw Over" - To continue fanning

"Steady on" or "easy"- Ignore that distraction and keep doing what you're doing

(used to reassure)

"Trot" -Start trotting

"Trot on" - I see you thinking about slowing down... keep trotting!

"Back" - Go backward

"Step up" - Take one step forward

"Step up" - Step up in the traces (for the horse in a pair, that is being a slacker)

"Step back" - Take one step back

"Whoa" - Stop right there and don't move

"Stand" (often combined with whoa) - Stand still - but we'll be here a while, so relax

“Canter” – Start cantering (I always use a high voice with this word and pair this word with a specific flick of the whip to the shoulder -I want them to be very sure I mean to canter when I ask for it). I give them no excuses for breaking from a trot to a canter.

"Cluck, cluck" - Move a little faster without breaking gait. I will often combine this with the word of the gait they are in. For instance "cluck, cluck trot"

"Quit!" - "Stop messing around!"

Other thoughts about verbal commands:

Most of my horses know their names and their partner's names.

That means...if I am driving a pair -I use the command when I want both horses to do something. When I just want one horse to do a command, I pair it with their name (name first). I might say "Soleil step-up," and generally her partner will ignore the command.

Be consistent with your words and your commands. If you do this, they will learn very rapidly.

I use the same words for all my horses, if I get a trained horse -they have to learn my words (which they do very rapidly) because I am too stupid to learn different commands for the same driving commands for multiple horses. It confuses me too much.

1 comment:

  1. VERY helpful and at just the right time. Thank you!