Free - I use voice commands from the ground... Like when leading before we actually go forward, I say "Walk" Its amazing how easily that transfers to the saddle when they have it down really well on a lead rope.
( I wanted to add that when teaching a horse to walk on from the ground a whip may be necessary to reinforce the verbal command. Tap on the butt when they don't go. I'll walk with the lead in my right hand, whip in my left, I'm on the left side of the horse and I say walk and take a step, if the horse doesn't move, I'll use the whip behind me with my Left hand to tap the horse on the left hip Make sense? I never turn to tap, just swing the whip behind me)
Western riding for the most part is do what I told you to do until I tell you to do something else. That, can be taught from the ground. I will hand walk the horse until I want to stop. Then I say "whoa" and plant my feet. The horse SHOULD stop. If not we practice Walk, and Whoa until the horse is starting to read my body language and getting the voice commands down.
If I can't get something across in the saddle I get back on the ground and practice it until I have communicated what I want to the horse and the horse understands. It takes longer than a whip and is more labor intensive but I find it makes for a better bond and a happier horse that understands what I'm asking of him.
( That and I'm not a professional cowboy and have long ago lost my taste for dirt!!! )
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
1 Chronicles 28:20
Last edited by Dumas'_Grrrl; 01-23-2009 at 05:50 PM.