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Pick up the RPMs: The ancient art of clucking

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - March 5th, 2015 - More with Les

LesVogt_170pxTenth in a series
Now that Les has covered the importance of our hands in the last two issues, let’s learn another communication device.

Clucking is a conditioned response. I read somewhere that clucking goes back to Xenophon*, who lived in something like 400 B.C. Anyway, horsemen have been doing it a long time. And it is interesting how clucking makes a difference, as far as bringing up the adrenaline in a horse.

Clucking doesn’t mean for a horse to move forward or to gain speed. Instead, I liken it to influencing the RPMs within a motor. It brings the RPMs up, makes his heart beat a little faster, brings his adrenaline and energy up—he becomes aware. Then we decide in which direction he is to go—could be forward, back, lateral or a spin—and we direct that energy into that activity. But typically we should be able to sit on a horse with slack reins and cluck to him and he should just wake up and wait for our direction.

A Greek named Xenophon (430-ca 335 B.C.) wrote the first fully preserved manual on the riding horse. It is entitled The Art of Horsemanship. Xenophon differs from other ancient writers on the horse in that he urges his reader to know the horse’s “psyche,” its mentality. He knew that an animal which had confidence in the understanding and good will of its rider would more effectively respond to the commands of the rider. Xenophon encouraged a mutual respect between man and horse.

More with Les is a regular California Horsetrader column. Les Vogt has won more than 15 World Championships, including two wins at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Although Les still rides and occasionally shows, his focus is giving clinics around the world and developing products for the performance horseman. To learn more about Les and to see his clinic schedule, visit the Web site: www.lesvogt.com. You can also read previous More with Les columns at: news.horsetrader.com/category/more-with-les.

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