Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/36

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decision as to schedule upon the deportment, conformation, and general condition of his horses. Horses in poor condition, those that fret and that throw too much weight upon the hind quarters should be taken out frequently. Clumsy horses and those that throw the weight on the forehand should receive most of their work in the hall.

Choice of ground.—If possible, soft ground should be selected. On hard ground the fetlock joints become fatigued and the lower legs are liable to injury; the horse develops windpuffs and splints. But it would be wrong to work over heavy ground; the hocks would suffer and eventually spavins would appear.

When training has been completed, good results may be obtained by riding a horse with loose reins over bad roads. This forces the horse to take the initiative and as he is allowed complete freedom of the head, he easily gets out of difficulties even on very bad ground.

Gaits.—In outdoor rides there should be alternation of the walk and trot, gradually increasing at each outing the amount of time devoted to the trot. Toward the end of the period of training the distances at a trot should be lengthened; but there should always be intervals of at least ten minutes at a walk to allow the horse to resume his normal breathing.

The gallop should not be used in outdoor work except upon very good ground. If you have available only bad or fair footing, do not gallop. By rigidly enforcing a schedule, regardless of conditions, the result will inevitably be injury to the animals. In any case, galloping should not begin outside until the rider is sure of his ability to make his horse lead off freely with either foot. He can then work his mount equally on both sides and can avoid those struggles that put a horse in the air during the whole ride.

Sweats.—A horse should not be sweated at the beginning of training, at least not until his disposition has been