> I have a 19yr old horse and would like to teach him voice commands.
> Does anyone have any tips on teaching. I was thinking of Walk, Trot,
> Canter, and I guess hall but and then stand. Should I start on the
> ground first in luenging. Or should I try it in the saddle first. Any
> suggestions would be great!!!!!!!
I like to teach my horses voice commands, particularly for free
longeing. I use, walk, trot, trot-trot-trot (to speed up pace in rhythm
to the verbal trot-trot-trot), eeeeasy trot (said softly to slow the
pace down), canter, halt/whoa, and "git-around" (to change direction).
To teach the commands:
1) Be consistant with the words used and choose words with different
sounds. Such as "halt" or "whoa". Pick one & always use it. I had a
western horse that sometimes got confused between whoa & lope, I suppose
because of the distinct "oh" sound in both, so I changed "lope" to
2) Be consistant with using the words. Get in the habit of always
saying "walk" & "halt/whoa" when leading the horse & using the
applicable words when longeing. Once learned, the horse will respond to
the words under saddle as well (although this may not be a good thing
for show horses but it handy on the trails in some situations).
3) Keep other dialogue with the horse to a minimum. If you're
constantly chatting with your horse, saying "good boy/girl" or whatever,
the horse will learn to ignore it as so much background noise.
I like to use a longe whip as a pointer mostly (tho will use it to swat
any horse across the chest who charges at me or across the ***if he
whirls away kicking). I use it like a "gate" behind the horse, just
holding it horizontally pointing behind the horse as he goes. For
halt/whoa, I hold the whip at my side vertically. Then to change
direction, point the horizontally held whip in front of the horse while
saying "get around" or whatever verbal cue you choose for that. I will
also use "get over" & point the whip at their middle/ribs, to ask them
to make a wider circle or move back to the rail when they try to come in
closer to me without being asked.
The first time or two at free longeing they will often take off racing
around. I usually just stand quietly until they realize I'm not chasing
them. Then start out quietly ask the horse to walk forward. They start
out meandering but soon follow the fence line & "work the rail". After
they figure out walk & halt/whoa, move on to a quiet trot, then the
canter. There will always be those days the horse wants to play &
ignore you're commands. If he's fresh, I'll just let him run around
until he's settled down, then start work. If he's in the middle of a
work session & decides he'd rather do his own thing & take off, I'll pop
the whip after him & give the command for trot/canter in order to make
it *my* idea instead of *his* and keep him going until he's tired & will
be *really* happy to hear the halt/whoa or walk commands!
Most learn the basics quickly in the first session. Soon they will
respond to only the verbal commands & even work around you when loose in
a large field. Any horse at any age can learn this (just did it with a
20 y/o recently).
Good luck & have fun. :)