“[The voice,] which soundeth sharply and cheerfully, crying via, how, hey, and such like, adding a spirit and liveliness to the horse and lending a great help to all his motions.” Markham, p. 20
“... which being delivered smoothly and lovingly, as crying holla, so boy, there boy there, and such like, gives the Horse both cheerfulness of Spirit and a knowledge that he hath done well.” Markham p. 22
“[or which] being delivered sharply and roughly, as ha villain, carridro, diablo, and such like threatenings, terrifieth the Horse and maketh him afraid to disobey.” Markham p. 21Note to self: I shall be calling Taran "diablo" from here on out when he does something naughty, instead of "you little sh!t" or some other colorful modern term.
Also if you're like me, you find it difficult not to talk to your horse during tests. I often tell Taran "good boy!" under my breath down by A, where I'm sure I can't be heard by the judge - because I've gotten that awful -2 for "use of voice" on my test. Grrr.
“… and cherish him, laieng your hand upon his necke, and uttering some courteous voice.” Bedingfield p. 71But why can't we use our voice in the test? I think that the reason may have actually originated as far back as the mid 1500s, or even earlier. Consider this little gem from Bedingfield's 1584 English translation of an Italian book written in 1560:
“And albeit the helps of the voice and spurre ought to be used at the beginning, when the horse learneth… both the one and the other may afterwards be discontinued. For… it is not seemelie thing in the presence of lookers on, to use so manie artificiall motions and affectatations…” Bedingfield p. 50
Cesare Fiaschi riding before an audience, 1564.
“…this help of the voice may not be used much, if you ride in presence of the Prince, or other great persons; chieflie when the horse is redie: for at such times and in such places it were unseemelie to open your mouth, and utter voices of diverse sounds and meaning.” Bedingfield p. 61
Obviously a dressage judge is not a prince, but the purpose of riding before each is the same - to show off your horse to the best of his ability. So if riders were not supposed to use their voice while riding for an audience almost 500 years ago, it is not surprising that we have this tradition in modern sport dressage.
Kinda cool, huh?
Bedingfield, Thomas. The Art of Riding. London, 1584.
Markham, Gervase. The Compleat Horseman. London, 1593.