Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/56

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Instruction in the double bridle.—The instructor's first care must be as to the manner in which the horses are bitted. A mild curb bit should be selected; that is to say, a bit with large cannons, a low port (only slightly restricting the freedom of the tongue) and short branches. The bit should be placed in the mouth high rather than low and the curb chain should be left long so as to facilitate at first a swinging motion of the bit. When the horses bear freely on the curb bit and when they submit to this new mouthpiece just as they formerly received the effects of the snaffle, the curb bit may be lowered to its proper place and the chain tightened to customary tension.

If the horse has a sensitive mouth, it is well to replace, for a time, the ordinary curb by a broken curb.[1]. The latter gives a mouthpiece more severe than the snaffe, but milder than the curb and the horse also becomes accustomed to the chain. The broken curb should be kept on for a certain length of time and may be resumed later if, during the course of training, it is noticed that the horse has a tendency to get behind the bit.

Successive steps to accustom the young horse to the curb bit.—In the first lessons in the double bridle, work should be begun on the snaffle bit. When the horse has settled down and is well in hand he can be ridden on the curb. It is to be remarked, and the remark is important, that bending lessons are never to be given in the early stages of work on the curb. For these lessons you must wait until the horse fearlessly accepts contact with the bit and tightens the curb reins as he formerly did the snaffle reins. If this method of procedure sometimes

  1. A curb bit with snaffle mouthpiece.