Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/60

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XVI.

Easing the hand on the curb bit.—We have previously discussed the easing of the hand on the snaffle bit. The suppling exercise is the same when made on the curb bit, but in this case it should be followed by raising the head again.

The horse having yielded the jaw, loosen the fingers and continue the action of the legs in order to push the horse gently in pursuit of his bit. From the very beginning of training he has grown accustomed to lean lightly on the bit, and he therefore extends his neck and lowers his head to recover this customary support.

The extension of the neck will be sufficient and will be well executed whenever the horse, without increasing or decreasing the gait, extends his nose downward and forward to the level of the knees and keeps his jaw flexible.

The raising of the head is effected by carrying the hands forward and pulling upward on the reins, the legs still preventing any slowing up.

These suppling exercises should be repeated at a walk, trot, and gallop, and on the three lines.

Easing the hand is an exercise suitable for horses too high in front, with a high neck—that is, either upside down or ewe-necked—and for those with weak hind quarters, predisposed to injuries. It should be used very sparingly with horses that are high behind, especially if the withers are low and sunken, the shoulders straight, the neck thin, and the head large.

What should be understood by give and take—Action of the fingers on the reins.—As the horse should always be in close touch with the hand of the rider, the expression