Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/32

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the degree of lightness corresponds to the more or less finished balance.

Therefore in the first lesson there should be no anxiety about lightness, for, as we have just remarked, it will be a natural result of training. If a horse is not easily controlled by the legs, is not well suppled in the shoulders, and does not know how to properly employ his haunches he can not be really light.

Not until later can perfect balance (or lightness, if you please) be obtained and then only by coordinating the different results of training.

The principle of constant tension on the reins.—Although the instructor during the first weeks of training need not concern himself with the lightness of the horse, he must urge the troopers to keep a constant light tension (feel) on the reins. At first the trooper must do the work—that is, must tighten the reins—but later the horse itself, having become accustomed to the pressure of the bit and having always present the idea of going straight ahead, will, of its own accord, keep the reins taut.

It is important to distinguish between pulling on the reins and the principle of keeping a constant tension on the reins. A hand too rigidly fixed, with fingers too firmly clasped, will oppose the free play of the neck and will be contrary to the principle just stated. Therefore in the leg lesson, when forcing the horse straight ahead, the hand must not oppose the stretching of the neck; on the contrary, the fingers should be slightly opened up so that nothing can clash with the animal's intention to obey the aids.