Of course we all know how valuable a training journal is, I wrote several blogs about the subject. There is another powerful tool that gives you insight into your own training method.
Have you ever made a ‘cue list’ of all the commands you use for your horse? It can be very insightful to see.
The first time I made one I discovered I had two different voice commands for trot. My walk-trot transition had the voice cue ‘Trot!’, while I used ‘Whoa-trot’ or ‘Whoa’for the canter-trot transition. So ‘trot’ had already two different commands.
I know exactly how this happened, it was initiated by my pony. I started with using a ‘slow down’ sound before I cued for trot from canter. He started to anticipate on that sound and I anticipated over time to drop the ‘trot’ cue altogether in the down transitions.
How many cues do you use?
Another insight I got from this exercise was that I was amazed that my pony knew over 30 cues in total. My current horse Kyra knows even more than 30.
If you make a list (or use the download I made for you) don’t forget to write down where you are positioned in relation to your horse. Are you standing next to the left shoulder or right in front of your horse when you give the cue, do you use your hands, are you standing up? Your body language supports your voice commands.
If you think of your cues you can also see what voice commands sound similar or where your body cues might be the same. It is also helpful in coming up with new voice cues.
If you are running out of voice cues, start using cues in a different language. French, Japanese or Dutch.
Use multiple languages if you’re running out of ideas
When I got Kyra I started all her trick training cues in English. All the common cues were Dutch. I figured since we live in The Netherlands I wanted her to know the common cues like stand, walk, trot. I didn’t want to use Dutch words for her trick training so I used another language. My voice cues play an important role in Kyra’s training. I used to ride with horse and carriage and in driving the voice commands play a crucial role in communication.
Now we live in Canada and the standard voice cues are in Dutch, while the trick training cues are all in English. At liberty I use French voice commands.
How many cues have you taught your horse?
Download your FREE cue list (Riding-Groundwork_Trick Training).
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