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The cues we give our horses play a big role in how they behave, but what exactly is a cue and how do cues work? Simply put, a cue is a signal to do something, and we train our horses to respond to signals from our legs, reins, voice, and body. Cues can be intentional or unintentional, some are trained and some our horses just pick up on.

Cues determine how we behave too, and while some cues we recognize, such as the seat belt buzzer in our cars reminding us to buckle up, other cues we respond to unconciously, like stepping inside our front door cues us to start taking off our shoes and coat.

In today’s video, I talk a bit more about what a cue really is and how cues become more subtle, plus we also discuss how something called “micro-rythyms” could be involved in our interactions with our own horses.

Click play below to watch the video and I wil see you in the comments! Callie


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20 Responses

  1. Really good reminder video! Be mindful of your body language, movements..they can become cues, wanted or not, lol!

  2. What a lovely looking horse , sorry had to mention that first .
    I think your right that we can give our horses very subtle cues sometimes without realizing it , and the more we get to know the horse we’re riding you do tend to tune into each other.
    I have been trying to be a passenger rider on my pony and just slightly move my eyes body and s o on to cue him ,as I find he tenses up if I’m too rush rush and nudging him all the time and it helps if I take things slowly and don’t push either of us .
    Thanks for another great blog

  3. I have really enjoyed your training videos! I am a 1st time horse owner who has spent a lot of time over the years riding (I’m 44) but it was always on rental horses or my friends very well trained horses. In Oct 2014 I adopted a rescued retired Thoroughbred that was starting her re-training. At the time I considered myself an advanced beginner. After my 1st lesson I realized I really didn’t know how to ride at all! Lake and I have been training with our Trainer Chloe for 4 months now and it has been an amazing experience! It’s taking longer since we are both green but what I am learning I never would have learned on a well trained horse. I train with Chloe 2 days a week and then on the weekend we practice what we worked on during the week. Your videos seem to coincide with our training so you either reinforce what Chloe says or she reinforces what you say. It really helps to instill it in my head! You can’t hear it enough;-). The website I put is my blog I started a few months starting from what led me to adopt a rescue going through our journey together. I am almost caught up to today. I look forward to your future videos! Please don’t feel obligated to read it but if you are interested it’s not too long to catch up:-)
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Gayanne,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I am so glad you are enjoying the blog and the videos here! What is the address of your blog? For whatever reason it didn’t show up with your comment.

  4. Hi Callie,
    I am in the process of writing a book pretty much on this subject. Once I started looking into cues, aides, signals, it has become rather fascinating. As you say, so much of it happens unconsciously.

  5. Hi Callie – I am trying to become aware of my body posture as my horse is much more aware of it than I am. Last week my friend (who owns the horse I work with) merely looked at a hind limb and the horse moved over a step – I thought it would be impossible for me, but yesterday she responded in exactly the same way to me. It is so exciting. Thanks for all your information. Betty

  6. Hi Callie, Hi Bandit !! This video came exactly when I needed it–before our ride today!! I realized I “over-cue” Grace. I gentled my cues & realized she did what I asked without me bumping, pushing, and being too loud on the reins. I also learned not to talk to her as much while riding, and only use voice cues as needed. I always had a “running dialogue” with her and I think she totally turned me into “white noise”. So, softer cues, less talk & more kisses !! (But I’ll still sing on trail rides – much to her chagrin!! ) Thank you Callie for all you do !!

    1. Thats brilliant i find I’m saying good boy all the time or whatever! Think its me trying to make me feel better! So next time on riding ill shut up and just speak when needed, im a first time owner of a young horse aged four, he seems really keen on our rides out ill watch out for the things im asking (as well as sitting correct and breathing right lol) ill watch this space lol ……

  7. Bandit is a big boy! His demeanor reminds me of Pal. So sweet, a little nosey, looking at you for what’s next… lol Great video. Thanks, Callie!

  8. Hi Callie,
    As someone else commented already, Bandit was looking right at the camera for a while ~ he looks good in video (as well as in person!). I so agree with you the points in this post. I think at some point, our animals (including horses) start to know us better (and recognize our behavior and cues) more than we recognize our cues and our behavior. They pick up on all of it. Thanks again for another great post. Nancy

  9. After many years without horses I find myself with two. One is a seven year old Selle Français mare I have recently broken – your videos are really helping me with her training. I am hoping to keep her light and sensitive so that I can do some more advanced dressage with her later on. Thanks – your videos are much appreciated 🙂

    1. Hi Elizabeth, So glad to hear the videos here helped with your mare and best of luck with all her training!

  10. Hi Callie!
    I love your videos! Please keep them coming!!
    I have a question about cues. It seems that each trainer or riding instructor has his or her own set of cues that they use. Is there a set of “standard” cues for English riding? Is there a source like a book or manual that you would recommend that covers the basic as well as more advanced cues? There are so many variables it seems when talking about cues. If our horse does not respond to our cue it can be for many reasons. Maybe we are not executing the cue properly, the horse might have been taught a different cue altogether, our timing is off when giving the cue, etc. Cues can be very frustrating! Obviously practice and patience will pay off in the end but it would be nice to have a good source to review too! Thanks for your help. Diane

  11. Hi Callie ! Diane has the same questions as I do. I will be riding other horses at my barn for their owners. I will continue to use the basic cues, but have to remember I am not traing them, just riding….thanks for all you do.

  12. I so appreciate the video and mindset of thinking like a trainer. Sharpening one’s awareness of the kinds of cues we are subtly giving is an excellent point. Thank you so much Callie.

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