When my horse is on the verge of being naughty ( she starts to look shifty when she knows she is going to do something wrong - usually to do with food LOL!) I just have to say HEY! In that special voice, you all know the one. She knows exactly what I am talking about.
Haha, that made me laugh. For some reason, whenever my horses are in DEEP trouble I always snarl "HERE" extremely loud, deep and gutteral. Like, if they're offering to kick or bite someone and I'm not within beating distance. I have NO idea when or why I started saying it, only that it works fast for getting their attention on me and they all seem to know exactly what I mean. I know it's from HOW I say it, but I have no idea why I say "HERE".
Somewhere along the line I picked up the snarling "here" too. I have no idea where it came from, I didn't even know I did it until someone at the barn pointed it out to me one day...
Voice commands my horse knows:
Ho/woah: slow down
Ch: stop that
Click: move over/move on
Walk: walk, downward transition
Walk on: walk from a halt
And...(w/t/c):prepare for transition
Good boy/CÚzar (his name): reward
HEY!: stop that NOW
I mostly use these for ground work and lunging, but I think it's good to know them in case of an emergency under saddle as well. However, it is important to know that voice tone is just as important, if not more so, than the actual word.
I don't necessarily agree with some verbal commands I think some of them are just outright silly. It can be impressive when riding with someone and they will just say the word and the horse will respond. But I would rather communicate with my horse in other ways. I look at my verbal cues more as reinforcement, it starts in my seat then moves up into my hands and the reins then is reinforced with a verbal cue. This way it is not necessary for me to talk to my horse but it can be beneficial. For instance when I am out riding I will often say "back up, back up" after using my seat and hands to signal it. Then when I am on the ground and I need him to back up I don't have my seat or the hands that I would like so I say the word and he responds. However when it comes to changing gaits I agree with Rios that they are not to change without my signal. The signals I use are squeezing with my legs, and clicking. Some horse trainers refer to it as "building up your energy" The faster I click the faster the horse goes, when I am looking for an all out sprint I use the old buckaroo "hitchya!" The only other word or command I use is "Whoa" this came in handy last year when I let a neighbor ride one of my horses. We went up the hill on our property and she got a little nervous, tightened up on the reins and the horse started to back up, this mare backed downhill off of the trail (a two foot drop) I was coming through the clearing about 30 feet back with another horse when I saw what happened. The girl spooked and was ready to jump off when I yelled "Whoa" this mare responded to my command and stood still. I am glad in this situation that this horse was able to respect the verbal cue and stop a hairy situation. However I think it should be looked at as one way to communicate and should never be boasted about or relied upon.