Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/29

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V.

Arrangement of the squad for the first lesson (in mounted work).—If a riding hall is available, horses should be worked from the beginning without regard to distances. The troopers are more at ease when they need not concern themselves about distances—often hard to keep with horses of very uneven gaits. Moreover, it is a bad plan to always group young horses, as they thus acquire the habit of "sticking in ranks." If, from the start, it is necessary to work on the road, a couple of perfectly sure old horses must be placed at the head of the young ones in order to set them an example in quiet behavior and free movement.

Necessity of using the trot at the beginning of a lesson.—There are several advantages in using the trot to begin work:

(1) It starts the horses going straight ahead and brings them in hand; busy at the trot, they have less idea of resisting.

(2) It expends the surplus vigor (takes the edge off) of young horses, and they become more quiet and attentive.

(3) This gait must be considered as the best of supplying exercises. In his book on equitation, La Guérinière has a chapter entitled "The necessity of the trot and the utility of the walk." In this chapter he says:

By the trot, the most natural of the gaits, a horse is made light on the hand without spoiling his mouth, and his legs are stretched without straining them, because in this action, which is the highest of all natural gaits, the weight of the horse is borne equally by two legs, one front and one hind; as a result the two others are easily raised, sustained in the air, and stretched to the front, thus giving a first stage