Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
Two words: Body Language!
Remember that your body and eyes point at the area you want to influence, just as if you were in the saddle. Make sure that when you're driving the horse forward, you should have your eyes and body pointed towards the horse's barrel, where your legs would lie. If you want the horse to move off its hindquarters, you focus on the hindquarters. If you want the horse to slow down or stop, I find that turning around and walking backwards in front of the horse's path works wonders. Reinforce each action with strong verbal commands.
On that note, make sure your verbal commands are different in pitch and tempo. Horses don't really understand individual words, instead they listen to pitch, tone and tempo. For walk, I have two different methods - if you want the horse to walk on from a halt, or walk faster, say "walk on" in a fairly low and flat tone, but with a little energy. If you want the horse to slow to a walk from a trot or canter, say, in a low and slow voice "waaaaaaalllllllkkkk," dropping pitch through the middle of the word. For trot, make your voice energetic and chipper, with a nice pleasant tone, "terr-ot!" For the canter, I keep my voice energetic and say "up, up!"
Hope this helps!
The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com