Monday, February 2, 2009

What Do You Say?

What are the first words that come out of your mouth when asking a horse to settle? For me they are "ho, son" for a gelding or "ho, mum" for a mare. These are the words my coach always used and they have stuck with me over the years. Does everyone say the same thing? If not, does it vary by geographic location? Discipline? Training barn?

When I went out to feed the horses tonight they were standing on the front lawn and I practically ran into Raven as I rounded the corner of the house. Pepper was hot on my heels and understandably startled by this irregularity, so he started to bark. This was not the wild jail break we had last month -- David admits to having left the gate unlatched, and the horses obviously wandered out when it blew open. Not wanting them to panic I issued a general "ho son" while ushering Pep back into the house, then stopped to consider where those words come from. In the meantime David lured Tonka and Raven back into the paddock with the promise of alfalfa cubes. And I definitely latched the gate after my chores were finished. Definitely.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Whoa is usually followed by their name. I've never used son or mum, glad you had no trouble catching them.

EvenSong said...

Wild cavorting is bad--munching peacefully in the yard, I can live with!

Keeping with a more western (specifically, reining) approach, I generally reserve "whoa" to indicate a complete stop. To just soothe, calm, ar even for a half-halt, I tend to use "eeeasy."
My additional personalization is usually "whoa, girl" or "whoa boy", used in the same tone of voice as "goood girl" or "goood boy."

imphie = the cute, yet somewhat timid, little counterpart to the "alpha" mare.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My friend always says, "Ho, Babe" even if it is a 25 year old horse. I'm trying to train myself to say "Easy", but I keep saying, "Whoa" or "It's okay". I want to differentiate so that I only say "Whoa" when I want the horse to stop and "Easy" when I want it to settle down. Right now if I say any word at all that has an "o" in it, the horses stop. I can be cantering along and say to someone, "The wind is really blowing hard" and suddenly the horse will come to a screeching stop. I have something for you at my blog.

Funder said...

Hmm. My "stop doing that right now!" noise is hard to type - it's NNNNGH!, sort of like a game-show buzzer with an N sounds instead of a B sound. Used for things like breaking gait, threatening to bite another horse, bucking.

My "please settle down" cue is "Easy." Like Nuzzling Muzzles' friend, I tend to call horses "little one" regardless of how old or big they really are.

allhorsestuff said...

My sister taught me to use "Easy" and I do mostly, in a lully tone. I have found myself lately, in thatsame lully tone, just using my voice with out words..kinda cooing.
My sister also taught me to never click to a horse, as it can be rude in the presseance of others is soo universal that all respond...but, for those horses I know and know me well, I click once for a treat being handed out. This also works for when I want Wa NOW..she is sooo food/treat oriented!

unsub when the REAL teacher shows up

Anonymous said...

Like Evensong, I've always said "eeasy" to settle a horse. A correction for naughty behavior would be a sharp "ehhh!" like a game show buzzer with a definite "eh" sound. Or, "QUIT!" I've stopped using that since my teen years. I've just gotten out of the habit as I have always used "eh" for the dogs. Then again, my dog and horse commands have blended. I actually use "stay" and "stand" with Casey.

inglyph- modern version of hieroglyphic writing

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wanna go check again to be sure? lol!
I always seem to be doing that. Check once and check twice...everything is latched up nice! :D

For a stop, I say Whoa!
And just to slow or calm my horse I say, Eeeasy Girl.

If my mare is nervous about something spooky, I tell her, It's ok, baby girl. She instantly calms down.


word verif: 'endinsh'

This is the 'endinsh' of my comment.

Serena said...

I am "Ho, son" all the way. Regardless of the horse's gender. And i southern-ize it too; it's "Ho, suuuuuuuuuuun." Real low. That's only for catching Houdinis though; i try not to use a verbal stop command from the saddle.

dp said...

Funder: I call Raven "little one" but not Tonka.

Serena: I am glad to hear that I'm not the only one. This "son" thing must have come from somewhere.

This is something I say on the ground only -- if a horse startles when I am picking hooves, for instance. In the saddle I definitively use "eeeeaseeeeyy". For misbehavior I go through pretty much the same steps I go through with the dogs. An "ahah" followed by a "hey!" followed by a "knock it off" with some kind of physical correction.

Unknown said...

I usually use 'eeeeeasy' or 'eeeasy there,' or some variation of that if they're just fidgeting a bit, but not really doing anything naughty. 'Con calma!' is reserved for when they're trying to bite/kick/avoid something/eat the entire grooming bucket (in the case of Dukey the Vacuum Horse).

I'm not sure where 'easy' came from, but 'con calma' is the Spanish phrase for 'calm down' (literally it translates to 'with calmness') that my family uses on occasion.