Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/21

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II
HORSE TRAINING.

Definition and object of horse training.—By horse training is meant a series of exercises that render the horse obedient, while preserving and developing his inherent qualities. Its object is not, therefore, to simply master and control the instincts of the animal; it must also subject him to a muscular training that, by suppling, will strengthen all parts of the body. As a result his gaits will be perceptibly developed by the very harmony of his movements and by the exact distribution of his weight produced under the influence of the aids.

Circumstances affecting duration of training.— The length and value of the service that a horse can render depend in great nieasure upon the manner in which he has been trained. A colt should be called upon for only such exercise or work as is reasonable, considering his age, strength, and ability. To exact anything beyond his capabilities is to set up resistance and to inevitably bring on injuries and early condemnation.

The breeding of a horse (thoroughbred or underbred), the nature of his feed, and the amount of work he has been equal to in the hands of his breeder are considerations that will allow us to fix upon the date, more or less distant, when he should be fit for service. Training when once begun must be regulated by these same considerations. It is self-evident that a horse kept on grass until he is 4 years old needs more nursing than the pure-bred horse that is raised almost from birth on oats.

It is also obvious that conditions of training will differ widely according to the skill of the person in charge. An