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RiosDad 03-01-2010 09:45 AM

Verbal commands?
My holiday for one month is over and I am back, for how long?? We will see. My manners haven't improved much but from now on instead of say "BS" I will say " that is nice":D

As for being grumpier as you get older?? If you see someone burning themselves with a glowing cigarette and say " OW that hurts". You tell them to stop touching themselves. If it continues eventually you want to shout of at them for their stupidity.

There are alot of burning cigarettes on any forum.

Back to verbal commands. I am a quiet rider. I don't like to talk much, don't move around alot, sit quietly , don't sing, don't make idle chit chat.
I prefer it alone, just Rio and myself.

I do speak to him and expect him to understand and respond instantly.
When I mount I don't say anything but I expect him to stand perfectly rooted to the ground, and this is not just as you mount but also while you get set in the seat, coat pulled down over the butt, feet properly in the stirrups even with heavy winter boots. Only when I am totally ready do I bend forward , pat his neck and light squeeze and off we go.

To stop anytime I just shift slightly back, legs slightly forward and say HO. He must instantly stop and if he doesn't I would bump him.

To back I just slight pick up the reins but stay square in the saddle with my legs shifting back slight to stear and say BACK. He flows backwards, quickly a few length and then I say HO which brings him to an instant relaxed halt.
Again a pat on the neck and a slight squeeze moves him off.

I don't beleive in working a trail horse in transitions.. If I am walking breaking into a trot is not allowed ever and if trotting he may not canter ever, uphill, down, the trot must be maintained with no input from me. I can speed up the trot from the normal 7 or 8 mph to 12 maximum but again the trot inself may never be broken until I once again say WALK.
At the verbal command to WALK he drops instantly from either the lope or trot to a flat footed walk, no real trotting inbetween, jus a nice walk.

If the pace is too slow in the trot I squeeze him on but if the pace is too fast, too hard on him and myself I say EASY. He immediatley backs the pace off, slowing down to an easy jog but never drops to a walk.

If we are loping we go from a walk or halt to a lope, agian in the 8 mph range and he maintains this pace uphill and down but if I ask for more speed or he is loping towards home and I want to slow him down agian the word EASY is used and he will drop to almost a stand still if I use the reins also to negotiate a tricky ditch or road crossiing the but actual lope is never dropped until I say the word WALK

If I get off the horse on trail I drop the reins and say STAND and STAY and walk away. If he moves in anyway I yell STAND UP, don't know why the up but that is what I say.

So I ingrain the words, the verbal commands HO, WALK, STAND, EASY, BACK. He has these down pat.
I neck rein along with a leg cue for turning, legs for side passing so the bit is actually used very little and then only to reinforce the verbal commands or the leg commands.

I believe that using a soft bit, using it softly all the time leads to a dead heavy horse. The constant saying PLEASE is not in my vocabulary. I tell him and he must respond, no thinking involved just blind obedience.
This gets you a light responsive horse that is extremely light in the mouth, can be relied on to hold in any unexpected situation and will go anywhere because he trusts.

I know " that is nice":D

Forgot the most important verbal command GOOD BOY. I use that alot.

farmpony84 03-01-2010 10:14 AM

I like the cigerette analogy.

I'm with you on a lot of the above. I don't talk a bunch to my horse and I don't use the most mildest bit, however, I don't have to tug on his mouth either. I don't use the bit much at all. I mostly use my seat and if he gets naughty and will use my voice and I geuss because I'm so quiet most of the time, it gets his attention.

On the ground i'm different. I need tons of work on the ground and am tempted to take several ground lessons. I tell him to stand and he walks, I tell him to walk and he stares at me. I am much more timid on the ground then I would like to be, actually I get very, very angry with myself for getting nervous on the ground, it's a new found weakness of mine. I never had issues controlling and animal from the ground, I've never backed off or been intimidated and I have had some pretty unruley animals in my time (I still own them actually). So why... with this one, a fairly well behaved, quiet boy, do I get nervous and even a bit scared on the rare occasion that he does act up?

Scoutrider 03-01-2010 10:22 AM

Good post, and glad to see you back, Rio! :D

It's been drilled into me from an early age that the voice can be a powerful aid, and that verbal cues are not at all a bad thing. My guys can function off of physical pressure alone, but reactions are certainly more powerful when my leg or seat cue is paired with a vocal cue. I talk a lot for a dressage rider. :lol:

I also agree with your point on obedience. Some things are not up for discussion, and stopping or moving as I ask are definitely in that family. However, I do follow an ask, suggest, tell progression in my aids. I NEVER ask and take no for an answer, but I do give the horse an opportunity to respond well to something very light before I remind him that I only asked out of politeness. Along with the power of the voice as an aid, I was also taught that the lighter you asked, the lighter the horse will get if you follow through correctly. Within minutes of that progression I always have a lighter horse than when I started riding.

Asking politely and then letting the horse continue on with what he wants when he says no, as well as always "asking big", seem to get horses to very similar places as far as handleability. The first route gets a spoiled horse who needs to be reminded who the brains of the outfit is, and the second route just makes a dull horse who needs hauled on or kicked every time. A little touch means nothing to either horse, the rider needs to "shout" every time to get respect or reaction. Lightness makes lightness.

Whoa is definitely the most powerful word in Scout's vocabulary, in hand or under saddle. He knows that when I say that word, all 4 feet better cease to move PDQ. I start taking it for granted sometimes, especially when I'm dealing with other people's horses who aren't that well educated on such things.

Pidge 03-01-2010 10:32 AM

I think verbal commands are a very good thing! Ive taught a few to my gelding and my mare knows a few odd ones from before i got her...i also taught her one recently lol

For backing out of the trailer Romeo knows BACK and STEP. The back is for getting him started the step is for telling him where the step down is.

While riding he knows EASY and WHOA...he knows there is a difference too. Easy means slow down and gather yourself up (I interchange 'easy' and 'control' when loping and get the same responce) whoa means stop unless you want to get jerked on.

In the round pen he knows WHOA, IN, and SWITCH. Whoa to stop, In to walk to me, and switch to change directions.

He is also gaining the grasp of what WALK means under saddle and in the roundpen.

Bause came knowing what TROT, WALK, CANTER, and WHOA meant in the roundpen though sometimes she chooses not to listen to canter(and doesnt get away with it)...i prefer the word lope anyway so she is learning that lope an canter are the same.

She also came knowing what PRETTY meant. It triggers her to take smooth prancing steps.

Recently I Taught her what CALM, and EASY mean. Calm for when she gets to excited when leading...I can tell her calm or calm down and when she does she gets a reward, thus she picked it up nicely. Easy means to things. When bridling it means to take the bit nicely without a fuss and there will be a reward (she is still heavy in the re-training stage) and undersaddle easy means slow down but dont stop. WHOA means stop undersaddle.

So as you can see I like voice cues lol and i agree the most important one is 'Good boy/girl'. lol :)

Rule of Reason 03-01-2010 11:01 AM

My horse knows "Hay!" She puts her ears up and looks around for the food. Does that count?

justsambam08 03-01-2010 11:11 AM

I'm a big talker on the ground. Ice in general knows a variety of phrases. "LEG UP" when we're picking his feet, "OVER" for moving from side to side, "WALK UP" when I want him closer (for tying) and also for the trailer "STEP" to move a single leg forward or back, and I tap the leg in question, which also works on a trailer.

In the round pen, he knows "TROT" "WALK" "REVERSE" "WHOA", and if he picks up a canter, he knows "EASY". He also knows "WALK OUT" when he's in the center and I want him on the rail.

In the saddle, he knows "WALK" "TROT", cued also by picking my weight up out of the saddle and squeezing, "BACK" and "STAND". For some reason I use that, and its always worked much better than "WHOA" does. ("WHOA" is gradual, "STAND" is immediate, and he stays stopped, versus being antsy)

kitten_Val 03-01-2010 11:15 AM

RD, you can say "what a nice BS" instead of just "BS". :mrgreen:

My horses know whoa, walk, trot, back, stop it, and up (for the hoofs) commands. I must confess I talk to Kiara A LOT on trail. Almost non-stop. She's very alert and forward and it seems to calm her down. I also talk to her a lot in field, and somewhat in ring, but not that much. She always keep ears on me when I ride and looks like she's trying to understand what I say. My other horse Jemma doesn't care about me talking (so I don't :) ). As long as it's not a command she doesn't show too much interest in what I say unlike Kiara.

sillybunny11486 03-01-2010 11:35 AM

I do talk to my horses alot, if they are uneasy. In the ring I will give a few verbal commans. Whoa so I can get on and halt when I am done. You cant really be giving commands to your horse in the show ring, so I try not to do it when I am riding. My mare actually hates if you "click" her into a trot. She knows to stop when I stop if I am leading and turn with me. I give lots of commands on the ground and while lunging, but not while riding, because then I can give physical cues. I think its all personal preferance. But IMO every horse should know whoa and halt, for safety, at the least.

RiosDad 03-01-2010 12:01 PM


Originally Posted by sillybunny11486 (Post 566382)
I do talk to my horses alot, if they are uneasy. .

Maybe it is me, maybe it is the horses I pick but I don't own, never have owned a nervous horse. They remain calm most of the time and if they see something that raises the heart rate I just sit calmly until the scarey thing passes. I don't talk alot, I might drop a hand to the neck but since I am not nervous the horses figure out that it must be ok.
There is never a doubt who is in charge.

kitten_Val 03-01-2010 12:04 PM


Originally Posted by RiosDad (Post 566402)
Maybe it is me, maybe it is the horses I pick but I don't own, never have owned a nervous horse. They remain calm most of the time and if they see something that raises the heart rate I just sit calmly until the scarey thing passes. I don't talk alot, I might drop a hand to the neck but since I am not nervous the horses figure out that it must be ok.
There is never a doubt who is in charge.

RD, I believe you or Kevin said once you don't pick just any horse, but look for temperament and such before you buy.

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