Whoa. A universal word horses (most of them) understand. Well, I should say, most properly trained horses understand the general meaning. They may choose to ignore it, but they understand it. “Whoa” is an important word. Whoa is the backbone of the equine or parenting vocabulary. It means “stop”.
I’ve noticed in my years around horses and horse people in general, that horses react to thier owners quite similar to the horse owners interaction with thier own children or spouses. Take for example T.T. of a neighboring round-up club, she has 2 wild natured sons. These 2 boys are always running around wild, climbing fences, jumping around in the cattle chute, popping up unexpectedly out of truck beds-you name it. They think whoa’ means get louder and more unruly T.T. is constantly reprimanding them in her screeching loud voice, usually from the back of her poor roan gelding. She also does the same thing with him. Her horse also thinks ‘whoa’ has a new meaning of keep on going. People in the next county can hear this woman, but her 2 maniacs and her gelding just turn her a deaf ear. She once approached me about helping her to teach her roan to ground tie like my old horse. “A cold day in hell your horse would ever willingly ground tie for you, and I dont blame him one bit” those were the first words that popped into my mind, not nice of me at all, but honest. I just mumbled something about being real busy and made a quick getaway. No way, no how! I dislike chaos, so I avoid this woman at all costs.
Another family I sometimes encounter are the B.’s. This family is the quietest family I have ever witnessed. They do not talk hardly at all. Even my hubby is starting to buy into my theory that they converse among each other with ‘mental telepathy’. They have 5 kids, all close together in age. But, they all get along and are well-behaved, these kids put my 2 boys to shame (my 2 are 50%good kids 50% brats!). With 5 children, a normal person would think there would be a disagreement or 2, especially when this family is ‘horse challenged’. I have yet to witness any kind of chaotic misbehavior from any of these children. When one of the B. kids starts to get out of line, all it takes is one look from mama B. and they are back in thier place. Thier 2 young horses are well behaved as well. Ive watched them go from barely broke 3 year olds all over the place to when asked to ‘whoa’ they are nearly sitting down. The B.’s dog is even well -behaved!
I know I would certainly benefit from a parenting class from mama and papa B. My horse is well- behaved most of the time, he is spoiled tho. My kids are probably the same way. But, the most important thing is they know what ‘whoa’ means!