Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What the Whoa?!

I was reading BEC's recent post ("On the Bubble"), she was talking about fine tuning her barrel horse (Moon) and smoothing out his rate and turn.  When she mentioned adding a verbal cue it reminded me of a story...
Now there isn't a hard and fast rule about what to use as a verbal cue, however the most common (that I know of) are whoa, hup and easy.  Whoa seems to be the most popular, at least among the people I know.
I personally use 'easy' for the simple reason that when I say whoa I want my horse to know it means W.H.O.A.  As in STOP. Now.
Well back when I was still running Cessa I screwed up.  Of course I did, when something goes wrong when we're riding it is most likely OUR fault after all ;)
Back to my story... It was an early spring jackpot.  The first one I'd been at in ages.  I was deep in the order of go and being that there was still snow on the ground the 'waiting area' was inside the arena.  So there I am watching girl after girl run until it was my turn.
Cessa started off so nice, running free and easy to first.  And then I did it.  I said 'whoa'.
And she did.
If I could read her mind I'm pretty sure she would have been thinking "WTH!?" because after that split second of a stop (and yes it was a complete stop) she picked back up, went around first and headed for second.
Needless to say we didn't place lol

Today is the first go for finals and I WON'T say 'whoa' to either or the boys until I want them to actually stop ;)


  1. I have used the "WHOA", and "EASY" cues, and like you, I forgot for one split moment! I was knocking on down a forest track and a deer caught my eye. We were coming into a left bend and I used WHOA instead of EASY! I knew it straight after the words were out of my mouth! The left hand turn became a slither!!!!!!No one hurt!Lol

  2. I've done the same thing — said "whoa" when what I meant was "easy" or "oh sh*t". Hard habit to break and I admid I still haven't yet.

  3. It sucks when they do what you ask and not what you want. lol.

  4. Hope your runs are all go and no whoa- till after the finish line!

  5. I've always used Whoa to mean stop moving forward. Stand means "freeze" and don't move a foot at ALL, and "easy" means reduce the tempo. "Think" and "wait" means that a new command is coming (I have slightly different nuances between those). Wait means not to change until a command is coming, and think means to listen to a body command (like a seat aid).

    I've trained myself to use these words consistantly, and now I rarely use whoa at all. Whoa sounds like "no" and one of my last instructors got me using the word "halt" which means whoa and stand" together. The beauty of that is when my mouth works before my brain kicks in, and I say "whoa" or "ho" the horse listens to the body language and not the words coming out of my mouth. =)

    Granted, I've also never run around a barrel in my life.

  6. LOL! Darn it anyways! Good lesson learned. I don't use many verbal cues at all with my ponies other than WHOA and as a consequence whenever speak, the brakes come on. For Stretch I had to ride around talking to myself to get him past wanting to brake at any noise I made...

  7. hahahaha-I could just see doing that on Spooks or Frosty and going butt over teakettle over their heads. Those two do love the Whoa word. LOL

  8. I got a great visual on that one. Made me laugh. The best of luck to ya!

  9. I can sure picture that - LOL - mainly because I saw it happen from the ground with my own horse. I was selling him and a potential buyer was trying him. He got a little hot with her, she had very little control. So, from the ground I told him, "Whoa". He did! The rider almost went off over his neck. And... I guess I don't need to tell you that she didn't buy him! Ah, it wouldn't have been a healthy thing anyway... for either the horse or rider!

  10. Hehe I can see how that would be a bad thing to whoa when going so fast. I too agree whoa should be stop right nw or you will die kind of word, I use easy alot, not on barrles mind you, mostly when a horse wants to jog when I want to walk.


Wordless Wednesday ~ new trailer!