We all talk to our horses, sometimes in a soothing way, sometimes to dump our problems on and we've all yelled at a horse at least once. The challenge is to not speak to your horse for the next 7 times you are with it. Not one word. Our words mean nothing to a horse so a louder voice often has the opposite effect. I don't mean necessarily loud, just louder than what we normally speak. Our body and what the horse senses about us has nothing to do with speaking so let your body do the talking. Eg. A sudden loud bang startles both of you. You speak soothingly to the horse trying to pretend you're cool. He is aware of your heart pounding and may remain tense not because of the sudden sound but because of what he is sensing from your body. If his leader is scared, then he too will be scared. I often just babble to them and tho't I'd have to resort to duct tape. It's a great exercise to gain better understanding of how to make/keep the connection.
Oddly, I talk to my horse more when people are around than when they're not. When its just us, I don't use verbal cues or my voice very much at all, and when I do he knows I MEAN IT! I use my voice when people are around to help keep him engaged with me. I personally dislike verbal cues, especially when riding with other people - I very often see horses get confused. Posted via Mobile Device
Some times I give my horse that" look" which means stop doing what you are doing and he dose stop if some thing scares him in the field he and the others will run to me I stand like superman and they know that I am the leader and they are safe
Today I needed duct tape. A pipe goes to the water tub but it just rests on the top edge. One horse kept knocking it away while the pipe was full of water, which forms ice. When he did it a third time an expletive came out of my mouth. Did it work for him? No, but it did me, momentarily and then I thought about the tape.
Horses nearly always sense our energy and intentions long before we open our mouths LOL. Some horses like to be talked to a bit, sung to, enjoy your humming etc. and enjoy soothing happy voices and laughter, but I hardly speak around them because horses are instinctively silent creatures and it rubs off if you merge with their ways. Body language (if one actually knows how and sets a goal to speak fluent horse with their body as well as intentions) is crucial to any relationship with any horse, absolutely.
If you want to get a horse's attention, this works for a number of things - I've done it mainly with horses who need confidence: keep your eyes (soft) on theirs while you turn your head to one side, then turn your head to the other side, all the while keeping your eyes on them, just do that once or twice. They will nearly always give you a curious and interested look and come to you. Your intention behind the look they also intuit beforehand :)
I believe horses have different abilities to cope with human ups and downs, they are individuals just as we are, and I tend to steer clear of them if I'm upset. Not that I'm some Polyanna around them constantly, because they can see through that bs too LOL.
I will always talk to a horse is I am approaching it from behind, I will tell a horse to move oner when I am mucking out in a stable, I will tell it to stand, to trot/canter/walk/halt on the lunge or if a green horse, when I am riding it.
A horse cannot see your body language when you are on top of it!
F something startles a horse I will not talk to it sympathetically, I will issue it a command and, as its leader it will obey that command.
I will correct a young horse's misbehaviour with the word "EH!" even of I am 20 yards away.
Voice might not be part of a horse's understanding but they can sure learn a variety of words.
I do agree that body language is very important but when you are amongst horses so is the voice.
Yeah, I agree with Foxhunter. I talk to my horses all the time. I never shout, sometimes just a whisper. I sing or listen to music when I ride young colts. It keeps us both calmer. I have a bell tied under my cinch of ever saddle. The horses love it, they listen for a jingle in my spurs or a soft click. Your voice has a lot to do with how a horse responds. Body language and voice go hand in hand. You can't use one and not the other.. It doesn't work.
I have a personality and my horses have personalities. We get to know each other over time. They partially know who I am by my verbalizations. They verbalize too; squeals, snorts, loud whinnies, nickers. They know I am a talker, and they know my voice. If I were a quieter person, they would learn that about me. This is like saying to not talk to your human friends or your husband. What would that accomplish? They would think something was wrong with you, just as your horses would if you were suddenly to stop talking to them when they are used to it.
What you are reading isn't what I wrote. It's just an exercise which helps make us more aware, more attuned to our horses, more aware of what they are sensing from us. It's an opportunity to advance from vocal commands to silent communication. You might find that both the two legged and four legged enjoy the silence.