Driving cues

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whitney

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Is it ok to use the actual word....walk, trot, trot on, easy now, instead of a kiss, cluck etc.? I've always taught my horses on the longeline the words so that in the ring when they call gait changes the horse knows what's coming. In fact I had a gelding that after awhile I didn't have to cue at all. Thanks for your help.
 

Magic

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Yes!! That's what I do.
I've always wondered how horses are supposed to know if they are to "walk" or "trot" or just what, with just a kiss or cluck sound, especially in a class with everyone else kissing and clucking-- one person sounds much like another that way. Confusing. I recently watched some horses just trained to drive and their cues were only kisses and clucks (a friend says that some people "sound like deranged chickens in the ring" LOL!) and those horses were anxious and jumpy, and seemed not quite sure what was wanted. My recently trained gelding, on the other hand, will come down from an extended trot to a walk, without any extra rein pressure, and is much calmer as he knows what gait I'm asking for, whether to walk or trot.
 

hobbyhorse23

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I use both, and a lot of ADS folk use a good strong "W-AA-LK" or "T-ROT!" to get their horses going somewhere. Of course, they're coming from the perspective of people who would be handling a large team and you ain't gonna expect four horses to go perfectly with each other for just some chicken-kissing!
Seriously, it is fine.

I'm not sure how much more "nervous" a horse might get from not having verbals, I mean Kody knows perfectly well what a double cluck or a kiss means, but I trained him for those to be interchangeable with the verbal cues. Those horses you saw are probably nervous because of the overall feeling of their training, i.e. high pressure and focused on turning it on in the showring.

As for them knowing what to do to the point of doing it themselves, I'm afraid I would be a bit alarmed if my horse is responding to the overhead announcements and not me! I know old show horses get that way, but to my way of thinking that's a bad thing. They should ALWAYS be paying attention to the one in the driver's seat and not to anyone else. The voice is a substitute for the LEGS, not the REINS, and I don't want my horse downshifting without any need for those reins. No, I shouldn't have to haul him back to get him to slow down or transition. But those reins are the means by which I tell him where and how fast I want him to downshift, something that is very important in obstacle or dressage. I use the voice cues, but I half-halt with the reins first to warn them and then add the voice on top of and just after the gentle rein cues. It's more a reinforcement and clarification of my request than functioning as the command itself.

Example of why this might be important: what if your harness broke and you brought your horse back to a walk, but the announcer asks for an extended trot at that moment (not seeing the problem yet) and your horse does it?? Your horse needs to do what YOU want it to and not worry about anyone else. Your reins are the only thing your competitors can't interfer with.
Use them!

Sorry to have gone on here.

Leia
 

cjacobucci

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I've always talked to my horses. I use the "and"in front of each comand: "and walk", "and trot" and so on. the "and" seems to prepare tham that something is coming or is going to change.
 

Fred

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My horses are trained to work when you cluck to them. But they also know verbal

cues. If your horse is focused on you whatever anyone else does in the ring is not

going to matter. I have had people [on purpose] try to spook my horse in a class.

{However that backfired and their horse broke instead.} They can get smart and

listen to the announcer, but like I said if they are focused on you it's not going to

matter. Linda B
 

Sanny

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After this past weekends show (See my post about "driving etiquette") I was VERY glad that our horses are used to both voice commands and the cluck/kiss and that I usually use the horses name with it ...."Phantom trot..." to keep him focused on me and not on other distractions in the ring.

I've always taught my horses on the longeline the words so that in the ring when they call gait changes the horse knows what's coming. In fact I had a gelding that after awhile I didn't have to cue at all.
I am still new to driving so I shouldn't really be the one to give advice but this one goes back to when I was showing horses under saddle. The danger of driving a horse that becomes "push button" is when a good judge catches the fact that you really are not cueing the horse, that he just knows what comes next and is doing it and you appear to be "along for the ride". I had an awesome Arab gelding that many times I got 2nd place instead of 1st for that reason. (specific feedback from several judges) so even though the horse may KNOW what is next, he still should be trained to wait for YOU to tell him to do it.

I will say the voice cues for our family have become VERY important and I work very hard on enforcing obedience to the voice also because I have a 50 lb. 7 year old and a 65 lb. 10 year old that are driving as well. They don't have much weight or strength in the cart and don't always keep the contact on the reins that they should and the 7 year old can barely make the cluck or kiss noise because he has so many teeth missing right now and I need to know the horse will stay tuned in to them and their voice. We just came in a little bit ago from working the horses and were discussing this with them.

Don't know if I was any help or even made sense, but I try
 

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