Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/51

This page has been validated.


When and how should the gallop be exacted in the first part of horse training?—Almost invariably the gallop lesson should be begun early. There is then available an additional means of suppling the horse, of strengthening him, extending him, and pushing him straight ahead. But a fixed rule can not be laid down with horses and especially in this matter; the time to take up first work at a gallop depends upon the conformation of the horse, his condition, his leg development, and the kind of ground available. It would be stupidity to gallop frequently on a colt that drags his legs and is disunited at a trot and that has difficulty in holding up the part essential to training. On the other hand it is proper to gallop repeatedly on a vigorous horse that has been worked before purchase, on the horse with good strong legs, and particularly after he has been thoroughly confirmed in the correct trot.

This is a matter of common sense and experience; a horseman will promptly decide at what moment he can profitably begin gallop work with the horse he is riding or with the squad he is instructing.

The gallop by increase of gait—Utility of work on a circle.—Passing from the walk to the gallop may be considered as a test of advanced training; it will therefore be entirely out of place at this stage, and we must take up the gallop only by increasing the gait from the trot. Moreover, it is essential that the horse shall work equally well on both sides, and since, on the circle, the horse is set to lead on the inside leg we have an opportunity to insure the gallop lead on either foot.