I expect my horses to respond to all aids, individually or in combo. That's what makes a good, kid/beginner friendly, broke horse. Mine all stop with seat alone but they also know what whoa means and if I say it, it means now. I work with a lot of children and having those vocal "magic words" can save them in a pinch.
Good example, lesson a few nights ago it came into play. Student is young (8) and was on a younger mare of his grandmother's, great mare but younger. I've put a few tune up rides on the mare and establishing a strong verbal whoa response was one of the first things I asked of the mare. Anyway, they were riding along and the proverbial horse eating plastic bag came into the picture and the mare spooked, had I not yelled whoa across the arena it would have been a bolt & book situation instead of stopping and getting over it. That verbal whoa saved a kid from eating dirt. For beginner riders especially, I think those cues are super important. It takes time to develop a cool confidence in a sticky situation and sometimes what one knows goes out the window under pressure. Having that "magic word" can make a big difference.
Another example, a situation of my own when younger. Coming home from the 3rd barrel, standing in my stirrups and one broke. I was hanging off my mare's side ala superman to get past the timer. My mom was on the other side of the fence and yelled "Jana (my horse) WHOA!" and she stopped, had she not respected that word there was a good chance I'd have eaten the exit gate head first because seat and reins were out of the picture for use at that point.
Aside from whoa, I expect them to trot with a cluck, lope with a smooch. Again, for kiddo benefit. My daughter prefers to ride my 16.3hh Hanoverian mare, there is no way Missy will feel 45 lb Morgan's short little legs. She will however respond to a cluck or smooch or a Teeeeerot & CANter! Do I use verbals with her, not often at all but my legs and seat she feels and understands clearly. A light child rider likely doesn't have the timing, coordination nor the weight & length for quiet aids alone to do the trick.
Forgot to add, I also growl..at my horses and dog. Low and quick grrr gets attention quickly and they all know if I do that they need to straighten up. They also hear "GIT" a lot, especially in pasture when hanging out at a gate especially when I need to get through with equipment. They respect my GIT more than me honking the truck horn at them lol!
Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
Last edited by MHFoundation Quarters; 09-26-2012 at 08:11 AM.