Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/54

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This movement is well executed when the horse moves backward step by step and voluntarily moves to the front again as soon as the trooper releases the hand.

If, instead of backing slowly and step by step, the horse hurries the movement and is about to come down upon the haunches, the trooper promptly stops all action of the hand [1] and corrects the horse by attacking him vigorously with the legs or with the spurs to push him forward again.

This exercise to be insisted upon in what cases?—Backing is a suppling exercise for the back as well as the haunches, and it is an indispensable movement for the saddle horse. Yet it should not be abused, particularly in the early stages of training, as resistance will eventually be developed. Moreover, it is not suitable for all horses indiscriminately but should be used especially for those that have difficulty in bringing the hind legs under or that have too much weight on the forehand.

Individual work (at will).—Nearly all instructors have the bad habit of grouping young horses too much. The greater part of a drill is devoted to work with fixed distances, which gives the horses the idea of sticking in ranks. We have already said that it is better to work without regard to distances. And from the very beginning it is also essential to execute all movements in both directions and at will. If, in addition, we give a few outdoor rides in pairs, the young horses will become quiet, free movers and the remainder of the training exercises will be that much easier.

Condition of the horse at the end of the work in the snaffle bridle.—At the end of instruction in the snaffle bridle, the horse should be willing on the road and tranquil in the riding hall. He executes correctly the movement

  1. As a matter of fact the trooper has probably lost all action of the hand because in this faulty movement the horse is invariably behind the bit.