Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/66

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XVIII.

Work at the slow trot.—In one of the first answers we mentioned the utility of the trot and explained the advantages in training resulting from the use of this gait. We can only repeat here what we have said before—the slow trot especially gives excellent results in the last stages of training. Suppling exercises for the haunches, shoulders, and jaw, when executed at this gait produce rapid progress in the horse; they increase his strength and suppleness by forcing him to acquire and preserve his balance.

Small circles.—Small circles lower the horse's croup; the inside hock is necessarily brought under and the outside shoulder is developed because it has a greater distance to travel. Moreover, this work on a restricted circle enables the rider to set a horse that experiences difficulty in bending the body and it aids in breaking up the contraction of the horse that pulls too hard on the hand.

Small circles should be rarely used with horses that hang back, for it is to be noted that on the circle they are especially prone to get behind the bit. Nor should turns be used too much with young horses with blemished or worn-out hocks. As for the aids to be used, it depends upon whether the horse has a tendency to let the haunches swing out or the reverse—to let them drag inside. In the first case the inside rein and the outside leg should predominate; in the second case the important aids will be the inside rein and leg.

Serpentines.—Serpentines produce about the same results as small circles, but in addition they accustom the 64