Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/49

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XII.

Is it advantageous to prolong the first part of training?—There is a distinct advantage in prolonging the part of training that is done on the snaffle bit. So long as the young horse is unsteady and wabbly, so long as there is danger of encountering resistance, it would be better to leave him on the snaffle. With this bit struggles are less frequent, those that are unavoidable are less harmful, and on the days of bad humor on the part of horse or rider there is less chance of ruining the work accomplished in preceding lessons.

Moreover, the young horse nearly always needs to have his neck raised, strengthened, and set. If he has no breeding and the curb bit is used too soon, he has a tendency to bring the muzzle down against the chest or to bear heavily on the hand. If, on the contrary, he has class and energy, and is put on the curb bit before he thoroughly understands the leg aids, he will struggle against the hand, use his strength in fighting the bit, and subsequently much time will be required to quiet him and smooth out his gaits.

Bending lessons on the snaffle—When and how to be exacted.—It is better to take up bending lessons on the snaffle too late rather than too soon. As long as the horse is not well up in the reins, there is no opportunity to begin. When he bears properly on the bit, and not before, he should be taught to yield the jaw and to place the head to the right or left.

In preliminary bending lessons, to draw the head to the right the rider pulls gently and slowly upon the right rein and holds the left rein steady to regulate the amount of

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