7.25.2013

Voice

Electra learning directional language and Voice Communication
There is a lot of debate about using your voice when training. Some are for it and some are against. I don't mind either way. I sometimes use my voice when I feel it's useful and sometimes I prefer my body language. Sometimes I use both.

If you were a fly on the wall during my training sessions, you would hear me babbling conversationally to my long time friends and trainees. It is how I personally set intention for myself. I feel in turn the horses read that intention and my patterns and inflection. I don't always talk though. I know that there will be times when I cannot use my voice for a variety of reasons so it is good to be able to ask your horse things both with and without verbal communication.

For young Electra, I am teaching her words like Walk, Trot, and Canter. Also, most importantly, the word "Good" you've done well. We've done well. It is important in her development that she learn the word and the body language so she has what I call an association cue when I am mounted on her. By combining Liberty FUN!damentals with Voice, Line and In Hand exercises, Electra will be well prepared to understand direction and the progression to Mounted by the time I feel she is ready for me to get on her. She will mainly have to get used to my weight and the communication coming from her back.

It's important to discipline ourselves to say a word only once. Also to cluck no more than twice. Alright, all you readers out there, who is a unconscious violator of this rule? I know I see plenty of repeating of words and clucking in my travels! That is my only suggestion when using voice communication. It is a fine way to communicate but always have a body language to make it clear what that word means. Horses are VERY fast learners and literally Electra learned those words in one session.

I tend to do things with balance in mind. Never too much of any one thing. So use your voice or not by your own decision and train in a way that works for you and your horse. It really comes down to learning to be a clear, effective, Communicator. Oats for thought.
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