I can not whistle. I wish I could, because it would come in very handy as a professional horseman, especially at the ingate after one of my riders has a great round.
Because I can’t whistle, I have to whoop, and whooping taken out of context is a very ridiculous act indeed. How many times does the average person whoop in their lives? I guarantee normal people whoop maybe once or twice a year if they are lucky, maybe at a football game, or at the end of a school play perhaps? As professional trainers and riders we whoop on the average of three to four times a day!
There are many different sounding whoops. Some are high pitched and last quite some time, whooooooooooo, whoo,whooo, some are deeper sounding, and some are hardly audible. If you stand at the ingate long enough you can come to recognize the different trainers by the sound of their whoops. I could close my eyes at this point and tell you exactly what trainer was at the ingate, and probably what kind of trip their rider just had. Some trainers don’t whoop, they whistle, how I wish I were among those lucky few.
With whooping and whistling also comes clapping. Though not as identifiable as the “signature whoops,” types of trainer clapping are discernible. For example, polite clapping occurs after an unfortunate round, with such mistakes on course as chipping, adding strides, or trotting in a corner. Huge mistakes, such as stopping, missing a lead change, or the dreaded circle usually receive no applause at all (unless of course your trainer feels some extenuating circumstances led to the mishap). Big applause with loud clapping , whistling and whooping usually mean a trainer thinks, ” my student deserves a ribbon.”
Students cam also tell what their trainers think about their trips, from the way we whoop, whistle and applaud. I usually develop a rapport with my students that they have come to recognize. A great trip ends with whoop and applause, the less than perfect rounds that conclude with the polite clapping are the ones they would rather do again, the day they hear a whistle after a trip is the day that will unfortunately never come.
- If you can’t whistle in this sport, you will have to whoop.