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Use of "gee" and "haw"

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  • Use of "gee" and "haw"

    Is it considered correct to use the cues gee and haw (left and right) when carriage driving or are they used exclusively with horses doing farm work ?

  • #2
    I use Gee and haw with my Clydesdales, even in the show ring, if it is appropriate. Of course, I am certain some others will be along to tell me I am not "correct." It works for me, my guys know what I am asking for and comply. I have also seen people doing cones with light horses yelling "left" and "right" at the horse. It works for them. Depends on how your horses are trained.

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    • #3
      I am the same as JoanR...with my team, whom we work and show, I use the commands Gee, Haw, walk on, on by, get up, and stand firm. That is just what I can think of. I know I was told that some have their own cue's for their animals so when you are showing, the horse doesn't hear a command, thinking it is you, and does it when you never gave it to them. Not sure how much I believe that, as if I let someone strange attempt to drive my mares, they won't move till they hear my voice....

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      • #4
        Gee and har are for agricultural heavy horses here and as such considered to be absolutely NOT the done thing for a light harness horses.

        Indeed considered to be "common and lazy" by some in the UK.

        Of course dependent on what you're doing you can use whatever you like, though personally I think it's hard enough remembering right and left when you're driving and need fast response, so why bother adding complexity.
        Last edited by Thomas_1; Oct. 19, 2010, 04:07 AM.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
          Of course dependent on what you're doing you can use whatever you like, though personally I think it's hard enough remembering right and left when you're driving and need fast response, so why bother adding complexity.
          So its considered alright to say "right" or "left" but not "gee" and "haw" ?

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          • #6
            As I said, dependent on what sort of driving you're doing then Right and Left are indeed considered correct voice commands.

            You might want to give this a read:

            http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...ds#post4882122

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            • #7
              xome people i know that drive say

              come right get left

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              • #8
                Red Squirrel Ridge....I started learning to drive when I was a groom/handler for a livery service who did weddings, family gatherings, anything public. They used Draft horses, something that I think some people on this list think are beneath them, as well as a retired endurance Appaloosa and a TWH. Now, being on my own, many of us still use the terms you were describing when doing weddings or any other public event. There is nothing wrong with using those terms when driving in public.

                Perhaps someone who is more versed with the ADS driving rules and regs will come in and shed more light on the proper terms and usage on terminology. I am with a group who does a lot of fine driving with their animals, they know I drive *gasp* draft horses, specifically Percherons and all of them are very nice and very welcoming and have said NOTHING about what commands I give. So you may want to take what your being told from the source it is coming from.

                What will you be using to do the weddings with? Good luck as it can be a lot of work, but very rewarding.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by SmokenMirrors View Post
                  What will you be using to do the weddings with? Good luck as it can be a lot of work, but very rewarding.
                  Er... no weddings or anything like that. Just pleasure driving, and someday in the distant future maybe lower level CDE (if they exist withing a 200 mile radius of here).

                  I just wanted to know what is considered correct, specifically if you where at a show or clinic.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                    xome people i know that drive say

                    come right get left
                    Just "Come" and "Get" are also commonly used with heavy horses and that's what my uncle and father always used to say when working farm horses.

                    The last Suffolk Punches I put to harness were done with Come and Get as their voice commands and at the request of their owners who show in heavy harness horse classes.

                    I've heard that quite a bit recently though and particularly with horses that have come from France and Belgium.

                    I was told that its to help with the transition from Droit and Gauche though personally I'm not convinced. I'm more likely to think it's come from the old farm horse days only it's added on right and left for assurance or something?

                    I'm hoping the OP will come back to let us know what sort of driving horses and what sort of driving he/she had in mind when asking the question.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Tomas-
                      I have a donkey who was started last summer to the point of skidding logs around the arena. Unfortunately I was sick most of this summer and didn't get a chance to work with her until recently. We are now long lining etc. working back to where we left off. I would ideally like to use her around our farm for some light draft work and pleasure driving.

                      I also have a shetland, just turned two, who is learning whoa, getting used to carrying a bit, long lining with a halter and growing up. I would in my wildest dreams like to do CDEs with him someday.

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                      • #12
                        Considering what you do and if that's what your ultimate ambition is then using right and left now will stand you in good stead throughout and will mean you won't ever have to relearn and change to something different once you've got to the World Equestrian Games with your fancy team of 4.

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                        • #13
                          Sigh, more pontificating and misinformation. One person's bias and "but my uncle and father said it so it must be so"

                          Here's an interesting etymological answer to a question .

                          My father and I would like to know the origins of the terms haw and gee. Dad used these terms as a young man on the farm when driving a team of horses or oxen. Haw, to go to the left; gee, to go to the right.

                          Your question is timely, because we recently did some research on this topic for an individual (see our Rush Queries page for more information on individual research projects). The answer to your query goes back to early Modern English. As early as 1548 we have record of the term ree, which was a call to a horse to turn right. Ree is, in fact, simply a corruption of right. In 1599 we find this quotation: "Whipstaff in his hand, Who with a hey and ree the beasts command." Hey or hayte was the word for "left" at the time, and it was eventually transformed into haw (mostly in the U.S., 19th century) or heck, so that the phrase neither heck nor ree arose, meaning "to go neither left nor right" or, metaphorically, "to be intractable or obstinate". Hey was probably simply our word hey, an interjection used to get one's (or in this case one's horse's) attention. You may be surprised to learn that the interjection hey dates in writing from about 1225 (when it was hei)!

                          Well, that is all well and good, but what about gee? We first find it in the written record about 1628: "He expostulates with his Oxen very vnderstandingly, and speaks Gee and Ree better then English" (from A Country Fellow, by Earle). Gee had arisen, with influence from ree, as a corrupted form of "go". It eventually came to replace ree to mean "right", but it also continued to retain its "go" meaning, as well.

                          We hear the term gee used in the city as well as the country today, in the form gee-gee, a hypochoristic (baby talk) term for a horse. Now that we have discussed the word gee, it is probably not difficult to see whence gee-gee came. The word used to direct a horse simply came to apply to the horse. Children in the early 19th century saw horses on a daily basis, in many cases. The youngest children, just learning to speak, would hear men shouting "Gee!" to their horses, and so they, very logically for children, applied that word to the animal. It became gee-gee after the pattern of other children's words for animals, such as bow-wow for dog and kitty cat for cat, though it was still found as gee alone, as well. The earliest record of the gee-gee usage is 1869, and this one is from 1886: "To carry two heavy boys... on his back, pretending that he was a gee-gee." It was certainly being used as early as the first part of the 19th century, however; it usually takes some time for slang or children's words to find their way into written form.

                          So when a farmer calls haw and gee to his horses, he is etymologically saying hey and go!


                          you can use whatever commands you so desire when you drive. Bill Long had a lovely pair of German warmbloods...he'd drive them using German commands. He said, "German sounds so much better when I'm yelling commands to my horses". My Gelderlander was bred and trained in Quebec, his driving commands were in French.

                          It's kind've like the truly ignorant small minded drivers who insult anyone who doesn't drive Achenbach style as somehow a hick and ill educated in driving. Little provincial minds....look at the WEG in driving, especially in x-country/obstacle driving...not a bit of Achenbach to be seen...all direct reins, it's simpler and more natural.

                          Use whatever commands or language you like...there is no "correct" verbage, no matter what the "self-proclaimed experts" may want to demand. There is nothing in the ADS rules as to what your driving command must be used.
                          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SmokenMirrors View Post
                            <xnip>They used Draft horses, something that I think some people on this list think are beneath them, <snip>
                            Not quite sure how you came to this conclusion. I've never heard anything of the kind.

                            Trakehner, your text is quite interesting, and I would like to explore more. Can you cite the source? Thanks!
                            "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." ~ Jack Layton

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hitchinmygetalong View Post
                              Trakehner, your text is quite interesting, and I would like to explore more. Can you cite the source? Thanks!
                              Here ya' go, they do some interesting "where did these words come from" responses:

                              http://www.takeourword.com/TOW144/page2.html
                              "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by hitchinmygetalong View Post
                                Not quite sure how you came to this conclusion. I've never heard anything of the kind.
                                I rarely post about my draft on here mainly because I am 1) still learning and don't feel like being roasted and 2) I have never got the warm fuzzy feeling on here about drafts. Maybe I am wrong but it is how it has always come across to me.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by hitchinmygetalong View Post
                                  Not quite sure how you came to this conclusion. I've never heard anything of the kind.

                                  Trakehner, your text is quite interesting, and I would like to explore more. Can you cite the source? Thanks!
                                  What did I mean? Go back and read whenever one of us comments or posts about our drafts. I say team, as that is what I have and drive, I am corrected and told no, you have a pair. I say I do this, I am told I do that. I say I have Percheron drafts, I am told no you have "agricultural heavy horses". Its almost like the mere saying draft or the breed one would wrinkle up their nose as if a bad taste in their mouth.

                                  So Rudy is not the only one who doesn't feel too welcome when they do speak about their drafts. And I have already done several events too but chose not to share them on here for the same reason he mentioned. Why speak about something that we may love and enjoy, and are often times good at it, only to have someone sneer, look down their nose, make snide or condescending comments about it?

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Trakehner View Post


                                    There is nothing in the ADS rules as to what your driving command must be used.
                                    Thank you this is basically what I was looking for.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You can read the ADS rule book on-line...you don't have to be a member. They also have a handy forum where you can ask questions.
                                      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                                        You can read the ADS rule book on-line...you don't have to be a member. They also have a handy forum where you can ask questions.
                                        Actually I just joined at WEG last week, I will definitely check out their website, thanks

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