Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/61

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give and take has a certain significance which should be clearly stated.

Take does not consist in drawing the hand back and give does not mean carrying the hand forward and releasing the reins.

Assuming the permanent contact which should exist between the horse's mouth and the rider's hand, take means to fix the wrist and tighten the fingers at the moment of halting or of half halting; give means to relax the wrist and loosen the fingers without losing touch with the horse's mouth; if the horse has been well trained, touch will not be lost, because the horse will himself feel for his rider's hand.

Any slowing of gait should therefore be the result of the action of the fingers on the reins. If this action is insufficient, it must be reinforced by carrying the upper part of the body backward; but any movement of the elbows should be avoided, as this is the unfailing symptom of the unskilled horseman.

Necessity of frequently returning to the lesson of going straight ahead.—All these bending lessons made on the curb bit, these halts and half halts, only too often result in slowing the horse and in diminishing any desire to go ahead that he may have acquired.

(This is commonly called "steam," and is manifested by a proper voluntary tightening of the reins. The horse with "no steam" is voluntarily behind the bit.—The Board.)

It is therefore necessary to resume frequently the first lesson of the legs—the lesson of moving straight ahead. The horse should be attacked vigorously with the calves, being careful to fully loosen the fingers, so that he shall have complete liberty to escape to the front.

Lesson with the spurs.—With horses that hold back, that are too cold (phlegmatic), or that do not respond to the legs the spurs should be used. The lesson with the