Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/76

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XXII.

To accustom young horses to the saber.—For the first few days the saber should be worn on the belt and not slung to the saddle. In this manner the saber may more easily be held away from the horse, in case he becomes too excited, and any dangerous struggles resulting from prolonged contact may be avoided. With very nervous horses, the saber, instead of being attached to the belt, may be held in the hand and the lesson can then be easily continued or stopped at will.

The first lesson should be given in the middle of the period of work when the horse's nervousness has already been worn off.

The saber is next slung to the saddle; as soon as the horse has become accustomed to it, the different movements of the saber exercise should be executed until absolute indifference is obtained.

To accustom horses to firearms and noises.—Several methods are used. One of the best is to place the mounted troopers on a large circle; dismounted men are placed in the center, some with revolvers, flags, and trumpets, others with boxes or sieves of oats. At a given signal the noises cease and the horses are turned to the center of the circle where the oats are offered to them.

This same exercise is repeated on circles of smaller radius and when the horses show no further anxiety, they are turned into the center and fed oats while the noises continue.

Another plan is to place in line the dismounted men with the revolvers, flags, and trumpets and have them march around the drill ground. The young horses, also