Page:Black Beauty (1877).djvu/136

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it: but, for a horse who can depend upon his own legs, and who has a tender mouth, and is easily guided, it is not only tormenting, but it is stupid.

Then there are the loose-rein drivers, who let the reins lie easily on our backs, and their own hand rest lazily on their knees. Of course, such gentlemen have no control over a horse, if anything happens suddenly. If a horse shys, or starts, or stumbles, they are nowhere, and cannot help the horse or themselves, till the mischief is done. Of course, for myself, I had no objection to it, as I was not in the habit either of starting or stumbling, and had only been used to depend on my driver for guidance and encouragement; still, one likes to feel the rein a little in going down-hill, and likes to know, that one's driver is not gone to sleep.

Besides, a slovenly way of driving gets a horse into bad, and often lazy habits; and when he changes hands, he has to be whipped out of them with more or less pain and trouble. Squire Gordon always kept us to our best paces, and our best manners. He said that spoiling a horse, and letting him get into bad habits, was just as cruel as spoiling a child, and both had to suffer for it afterwards.

Besides, these drivers are often careless altogether, and will attend to anything else more than their horses. I went out in the phaeton one day with one of them; he had a lady, and two children behind. He flopped the reins about as we started, and of course, gave me several unmeaning cuts with the whip, though I was fairly off. There had been a