Have you communicated with your horse today? Unfortunately, texting them is not an option, although we wish it was. Communication with your horse is vital for bonding, respect, and understanding. Here’s how to use touch and pressure, talk, and tone of voice to communicate with your horse and why it is so important.
Here's how to use them to strengthen your communication with your horse...
If you have a half-hour-long conversation with your horse, you are not crazy. How else is your horse going to know your voice if you don’t talk to them? Let your horse know you are approaching them in the field by using talk. Otherwise, you may spook them if they don’t know you are there.
Talking to your horse to teach voice commands such as walk, trot, and canter is great. Clucking at a horse is often a command to trot and making a kissing sound is commonly used to push into a canter. The number one word for them to know should be “WHOA” in case of emergencies. When using talk to communicate commands such as “WHOA” once should be efficient to grab their attention versus repeating the command multiple times.
Touch & Pressure
Using touch to communicate with your horse is how you let them know you are there, whether it is during a ride or a nice groom session. Horses are prey animals in the wild and have more of a sense of flight rather than fight. Having a soft-touch lets them know they are not in danger. When riding, don’t forget to give your horse a nice pat on the neck when they’ve done well!
When asking something of your horse, ideally you should be able to apply a light pressure to achieve the desired outcome. Let’s look at asking your horse to yield their hindquarters for example. When you first start asking your horse to yield their hindquarters, you start by applying light pressure and increasing it until the horse accepts the pressure and yields as desired. The more you practice this, the less pressure you should have to apply.
Tone of Voice
Horses are sensitive to voice tones and you should be able to change your tone of voice based on the situation. If you go to your barn after a stressful day and portray that in your tone towards your horse, it is more likely that your horse will respond to those words differently than what they normally would.
If your horse is in a stressful situation and is scared, you should talk to them in a soothing tone so they can understand that they are not in danger. On the flip side, if you are working on the ground with your horse and they are not responding to a command, you may need to change your tone of voice to be more stern to get the point across.
Communicating with your horse is a necessity for understanding, bonding, and respect. Without it, there is no foundation. Your horse is not going to know what you are asking of them without communication, mind-reading is not one of their superpowers. Your horse looks to you for guidance and direction, so don’t forget that touch and pressure, talk, and tone of voice are ways to help guide them.
Did you learn anything new and interesting about our equine friends? Share this article with other horse lovers that you know so that they can learn something, too.
Want to learn more about horse behavior so that you can understand and communicate better with them? Read about how their senses strongly influence their behavior here on iHeartHorses.com.