Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/53

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Backing—Method of execution.—The first lesson in backing may be given dismounted and in the following manner:

Being on the left side, With the reins in the left hand and the whip in the right, stimulate the hind quarters by a touch with the whip and take advantage of this mobility to exact one or two steps backward.

The horse should be made to move to the front again immediately by leading him forward with the left hand, and, if necessary, by touching him lightly with the whip.

To give this same lesson mounted, begin by closing the legs as in moving to the front and then move the horse backward by leaning back slightly and by pulling on the reins with gradually increasing force.

Here we see a striking example of the principle of starting everything with the movement to the front. The action of the legs before the action of the hands is a fundamental idea to be inculcated in the mind of every trooper. In backing, the legs are used first to produce the movement to the front and the hand is used next to transform the forward impulse into a backward movement.

After a few steps backward, start the horse forward again, halt him and caress him.

If a horse refuses to obey, the instructor takes him by the reins and causes him to execute the movement as in dismounted work.

If the horse braces himself on his hind legs at the moment that the hand acts to make him move backward, the instructor moves him forward a step or two or makes him swing his haunches slightly and takes advantage of this mobility to force him backward.