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Talking to Your Driving Pony

Updated: May 10, 2022


The look on Zorro's face when I was belting out a song and singing "ooooohohohooooooh" and he thought I was saying "whoooooaoaoaoaooa"! LOL!

I get questions all the time about exactly what to say to your driving pony. It can be confusing to know what exactly to say.


First, most natural horsemanship instructors will tell you not to talk to your pony. They can't understand human words/language and only listen to the tone of voice. So therefor one should not use voice commands. Through my own horsemanship studies, I understand that they want us to focus more on our body language than on voice commands, this is far more for the human than the horse. There certainly is a time and a place for this!


On the other hand, I have also been around people who never STOP talking to their horse, "oh sweetie, you're so cute! goooood boy, so handsome and smart and wonderful. Mommy thinks you are the cutest...." and on and on. This is NOT what I'm talking about when I say Talking to Your Driving Pony. And if you do this, please stop doing it. LOL! There is such as a thing as too much talking to your pony. Too much talk will take the power away from the words they can learn and respond to. Watering down the commands that we actually need!


I rarely talk to Zorro when we are driving. Sometimes if he is nervous then I will quietly talk a stream of pretty much nonsense, mostly for my own benefit! But mostly I rarely say anything to him unless I am asking him to change gait. "Zorro, trot! Zorro, walk. Zorro, canter! Zorro, whoa." And yes I always say his name before I tell him what I need him to do. I, personally, don't use directional words, but understand why people do.


If you want to teach your driving pony directional cues then I suggest using Gee (right) and Haw (left). These are the universal words for these directions. If you ever have to sell your driving pony he has a better chance of succeeding if he is using universal language. As for the idea that horses can't learn words, I say nonsense! Zorro knows quite a few words and he knows what to do when he hears them. Sky definitely knows the word "NO!" LOL! So no one would ever convince me that they understand any less than dogs do!

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Mindy Schroder
Mindy Schroder
17 de fev. de 2020

Thank you for your comment Magpiewolf! I agree with you 100% that horses completely understand our language, both body language and our verbal language. They are so much smarter than we give them credit for!

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magpiewolf
magpiewolf
17 de fev. de 2020

All mine know their names and are taught 'left' and 'right' as well as 'back', 'stand', 'hoof, please', 'head down', 'walk on', 'whoa', 'trot on', and one also knows 'head away' (he bites, so teaching him to turn his head away allows me to hang his hay net without pain). That one also knows 'turn around' as I need to apply sweet itch medications to his rump and mane and, being short and him very tall, I appreciate him presenting himself properly next to a gate or fence I can climb up! I also always tell them 'thank you' when they've had a good training session - whether they appreciate the words I don't know but they definitely appreciate the…

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