Have you ever heard someone say “it’s not what you say, but how you say it?” The tone in which we speak to each other says a lot about us as a people. Have you ever known someone who really seemed nice until you hear them speak? They never really say anything wrong; however, they cut you right in two with the tone of their voice. Have you ever read an email or text message that you were sure someone was being ugly or snippy in because of the tone of the message? As a respectable human beings we must guard ourselves against having unwanted tones in our voices when we speak. It is impossible to convey an idea or desire if when we speak it is delivered with an unwanted tone. You certainly would not attempt to tell your significant other that you love them dearly with a hateful tone of voice. Why would talking to horses be any different?
I have found that while my horses are in their stalls eating that this serves as a great time to further study horse behavior. On occasion I have raised my voice to correct unwanted behavior with one of the horses. When I did I would observe how my tone of voice affected the other horses. As I became loud and spoke in a firm tone I noticed how this seemed to distress some of the other horses. Do horses care what tone we talk to them in? I believe they do, but let me explain why.
We have already learned that when working with and training our horses that they learn from the release of pressure. We know that the timing of that release is crucial to their understanding of what we are asking. We also learned that we start with the very slightest of pressure. I feel that our voice and it’s tone must always follow this same path. We should always try to speak to a horse in a calm manner. Come to think of it we should always try to speak to people this way also.
In most cases if we think of horses as humans we surely can not go wrong. As a human would you want to constantly be yelled at by someone else? Would that motivate you to follow that person? I don’t believe so. So why would we treat horses any different and think that they would be willing to follow us? Just like people we want to earn their respect. A horse relationship built only on submission and not trust and respect is a relationship of false security and one bound for failure. The horse that is only submissive to you will let you down. Treat horses better! Treat people better! Make the world a better place.