Voice Commands

Voice Commands

Post by Kathryn Robins » Fri, 17 Jun 1994 00:38:39


Followed the thread that started with "How do you ride in a halter?" and turned
into a discussion of voice commands.  Definitly thought voice commands were a
good idea and decided to try teaching Chubby (13 yr., 16H QH who is a
children's/*** jumper).  Couple of days ago it rained, so our ride turned
into a lunging session.  Started off to the left, and he was really pretty good
about all of the commands.  Canter needed a little reinforcement, but overall,
very decent for a first attempt.  The problems started when we switched
directions.  The right side is his stiff side to begin with, and he has always
been harder to lunge to the right (i.e., stopping and wheeling so he's again
going left).  However, using voice commands was a disaster!  Every word out of
my mouth caused him to change directions.  I would get him to stop, bring him
in to the center and he would take off to the right at a fast trot until I
asked him to walk.  Then the whole sequence started over again.  I eventually
got a couple of circles to the right at a trot from him, but not using voice at
all.  
Any advice out there in netland?  At this point, I'm praying for a hot,dry
summer so I don't get this crazy idea again.
Thanks in advance, and happy riding.

Kathy in Pittsburgh,
kids at the swimming pool,
Chubby in Mars thinking up new ways to frustrate me (BTW I did not name him!)

 
 
 

Voice Commands

Post by Sue Littlefie » Fri, 17 Jun 1994 05:06:36


Quote:

> I would get him to stop, bring him
> in to the center and he would take off to the right at a fast trot until I
> asked him to walk.  Then the whole sequence started over again.
> Kathy in Pittsburgh,
> kids at the swimming pool,
> Chubby in Mars thinking up new ways to frustrate me (BTW I did not name him!)

***********
This is kind of off the subject, but why do you bring him to the center
after a stop? I make it a habit never to do that unless I need to check
something out. Am I missing something? My horses have to stop, stop and
reverse, walk and reverse and all those combinations all on the rail. They
aren't allowed to come in. Of course I use a round pen not a longe line,
but I can't see that that would make any difference. I think the stopping
and then coming to you is a problem. I think it can lead to some pretty
unsafe habits and behavior. I think you should ask for a stop, then let the
horse take a break for a moment to reflect on how easy it is if he does the
correct thing. If you can't get a good stop, or a nice smooth transition of
any kind, then you need to make the horse work very *hard* till he gets it.
Make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing hard. Works every time.
Also, step slightly to the front of their vision when saying whoa so that
you appear to be stepping out in front of them. That helps to reinforce the
whoa command. It also helps to step towards their hindquarters a bit when
asking for a speed up, like from walk to trot so that it appears to the
horse that you are getting behind it. If you do get your horse to stop
nicely on the rail, I believe that you should go to the horse (not
vice-versa), pet it, and let it take a break. Then resume your place in the
center, ask the horse to walk out and ask for another stop with a rest.
This teaches the horse that it can relax, and that it doesn't need to be
fretful or panicky. Body positioning is crucial if your horse is
uncooperative in the round pen or on the longe. If you can't get the horse
to reverse with the word "reverse" and you have to pull on it's head, then
chances are that the horse will feel the pressure on the longe line and
then try to come to you in the center. Then, anytime they start to feel
pressure on the line, they'll try to come to you in the center and stop. It
becomes an evasive technique on their part to avoid doing what you ask.
It's better (IMHO) to keep them out on the line or out on the rail. Ask the
horse for a stop let it stand for a minute, then ask it to reverse. If it
won't reverse, walk toward it's head with your hand out or the whip out, to
encourage the horse to turn away from it. If you have to, tickle the horse
with the whip on the outside shoulder, or use the whip and push it on the
nose. What works for me is to start going to the head, banging the whip on
the ground while I'm saying "reverse, reverse". I keep banging harder and
louder till the horse starts to move away. Then I position myself to keep
the horse moving till the reverse is completed. I walk them a few steps and
whoa, and pet, and repeat. My horses have always learned it in one or two
tries. This should help the horse to stay calm, and learn to associate
voice commands in a non threatening manner. Works for me anyway, YMMV.

Sue in Colorado.

******************************************************************************
        No matter who says what, don't believe it if it don't make sense

                   taken from "Don't Squat With Yer Spurs On"

 
 
 

Voice Commands

Post by Tami Kram » Fri, 17 Jun 1994 18:29:42

  There are lots of subtle things to the knack of lunging that many people
  don't know.  First, you have to "stay behind" the horse (or give the
  horse the impression that you're behind him... using a long whip) to
  insure that he goes forward in the direction desired.  The lunge whip,
  the lunge line and the horse should make a triangle (always) and at
  least one of your feet should stay in the same place (always) - otherwise
  it's not a true circle.  You shouldn't be running around behind the horse
  making him go forward.  When he tries to change direction on his own, you
  have to be faster than him and get behind him with the whip (being harsh
  at first, if necessary) and push him on in the initial direction.  I'd
  agree with the previous poster to leave him on the track when you WANT
  him to change direction and to walk out to him and turn him yourself
  when you want him to change, and don't let him do it otherwise.  Make
  him go forward, forward, forward everytime he tries... he'll get the
  picture after a while.

  I take it from your posting that you don't lunge often... Maybe get
  someone with more experience to help you correct this if necessary.

                                                       Tami

  Living and riding in France near Geneva, Switzerland.

 
 
 

Voice Commands

Post by JM » Mon, 20 Jun 1994 08:47:42

Quote:

>  the lunge line and the horse should make a triangle (always) and at
>  least one of your feet should stay in the same place (always) - otherwise
>  it's not a true circle.  You shouldn't be running around behind the horse

I don`t agree that you should have to make it a true circle.  In fact, if
you can move the horse around the arena and not stay in the same circle,
you avoid the risk of the horse leaning on the line, thus encouraging self-
balance.  When I longe my two horses, we go all over the arena, at *my*
direction, not theirs.  Sometimes I send them over ground poles, sometimes
not; sometimes large circles, sometimes smaller, and sometimes straight
lines for a few strides.  

Transitions are important, too, since they help the horse to learn on
the ground what you'll want him to do once you're on his back, and in
addition, making changes of any type (direction, speed, place in the
arena) makes it more interesting for the horse.

*******************************************************************************
        Joy Metcalf
                And Letzte and Angel: the horses
                Juneau and Sammi: the dogs
                Oliver, Sunny, Sassy, and Jasmine : the cats
*******************************************************************************

 
 
 

Voice Commands

Post by Ann & Paul Dupu » Wed, 22 Jun 1994 21:53:57


Quote:

> Followed the thread that started with "How do you ride in a halter?" and turned
> into a discussion of voice commands.  Definitly thought voice commands were a
> good idea and decided to try teaching Chubby (13 yr., 16H QH who is a
> children's/*** jumper).  Couple of days ago it rained, so our ride turned
> into a lunging session.  Started off to the left, and he was really pretty good
> about all of the commands.  Canter needed a little reinforcement, but overall,
> very decent for a first attempt.  

The way I was taught to lunge a horse involves both voice commands and
whip/line reinforcements (i.e., whip to reinforce commands involving
impulsion, line attached to bit to reinforce commands involving downward
transitions or slowing of pace). I can't imagine trying to lunge *without*
voice commands.

Quote:
>The problems started when we switched
> directions.  The right side is his stiff side to begin with, and he has always
> been harder to lunge to the right (i.e., stopping and wheeling so he's again
> going left).  However, using voice commands was a disaster!  Every word out of
> my mouth caused him to change directions.  I would get him to stop, bring him
> in to the center and he would take off to the right at a fast trot until I
> asked him to walk.  Then the whole sequence started over again.  I eventually
> got a couple of circles to the right at a trot from him, but not using voice at
> all.  

Perhaps the problem here is not so much one of voice/not voice, but simply
comes out of the horse's obvious discomfort at travelling to the right. You
say he's stiff to the right to begin with. If you have him on a fairly
small circle, any pain he experiences when bending to the right will be
intensified. His behavior may be a simple avoidance response to this pain.
You may want to try making him stay on a larger circle (a 20-meter circle
is just about the ideal size for lunging--at least that's what I've been
taught).

If he's that stiff and sore going to the right, you may also want to have a
good equine massage therapist look at him. The problem may be easily
correctable, making both you and your horse much happier.

Ann

of
Ann & Paul
(Massachusetts)

 
 
 

Voice Commands

Post by Jennifer Sulliv » Thu, 23 Jun 1994 01:44:35

Quote:


>> Followed the thread that started with "How do you ride in a halter?" and turned
>> into a discussion of voice commands.  Definitly thought voice commands were a
>> good idea and decided to try teaching Chubby (13 yr., 16H QH who is a
>> children's/*** jumper).  Couple of days ago it rained, so our ride turned
>> into a lunging session.  Started off to the left, and he was really pretty good
>> about all of the commands.  Canter needed a little reinforcement, but overall,
>> very decent for a first attempt.  

This thread reminds me of a funny story.  My (new) farrier's wife
was Mel Gibson's riding instructor for _Man Without a Face_.  Mel,
having been run away with but good while filming a previous movie
(don't remember which, but he didn't really know how to ride then), was
not anxious to repeat the experience, and Mrs. Trafton assured him that
the horse (Commander, I think?) was trained to voice commands, and to stop
him all he had to do was say Whoa.  .  So after a while, Mel was
cantering along and wanted to slow ol' Commander down, and he said Whoa,
and Commander STOPPED.  And Mel went tumbling head over heels.
And everybody on the set is staring in horror, thinking, "Oh my God, we just
somersaulted MEL GIBSON!"
        Mel took it in good humor though...at least he knew he wasn't gping
to be run off with!

--

Unicorns don't exist, and roses have thorns.
"Never tell me the odds!" --Han Solo