Training the Horse to Know Voice Commands

If you are inexperienced in horse training, using voice commands are just simple words and to the horse they are only sounds because horses cannot speak english… Think about what you will say to your horse when you want your horse to perform a specific task.

As an example, think about the word “whoa”.  This is possibly the most abused and misunderstood word in “horse language”.  When you say “whoa”, the command is supposed to tell the horse to stop.  Unfortunately, many a rider use the word when they want the horse to slow down, and not to stop.  If you do this, your horse will then become conditioned to slow down instead of stop.  Riders then blame the horse and think the horse is stupid, when actually it is the riders or trainers fault.  Don’t make this mistake!

If you give a horse a command that means one thing and you want the horse to do something else, you are basically confusing the horse.  If you constantly confuse your horse, you will not get the horse to do what you want him to do.  The best policy is never to confuse your horse by using the incorrect words.  When you say “whoa” you should intend for your horse to stop and not to slow down.

When using voice commands use simple words with as few syllables as possible.  If you want your horse to back up, say “back”, to take a step forward say “step”.  If you want your horse to walk, say  “walk” and to gallop say “gallop”.  Get the idea?

Associate an action with a voice command and stick to the meaning you initially meant the word for.

Be careful when you talk to your horse.  Don’t use voice commands in a threatening tone or by yelling a command.  This will scare and confuse your horse.  Yelling commands may make your horse feel like it is being punished, and your horse may also take longer to train.

Ready for Action?

We would like to know how we can help equestrian sport and activities in South Africa, if you have any questions or suggestions, let us know.