Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/80

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The horse that lowers his head against his chest.—It is hard work to correct this fault and much more difficult to raise the head than to lower it. To raise the head, begin by extending the neck in order to open the angle it makes with the head. When the neck is well extended use the snaffle reins to gradually raise the head, watching carefully that the horse keeps his muzzle to the front. The upward pull of the snaffle reins must be felt at the corners of the lips; the legs must act vigorously to prevent any slowing of the gait. Exact little at first and ease the hand as soon as the horse raises his head slightly and yields his jaw. Give this lesson several times each ride and at all gaits until the horse holds his head at a proper height whenever the snaffle reins are tightened and the legs closed.

Dismounted bending lessons also give good results. The trooper stands facing the horse, and taking one snaffle rein in each hand steadily raises his hands until the horse lifts the head without backing.

The horse that rears.—This fault begins with halting and squatting. Hence the first thing to do is to prevent this backward movement by a counter attack—that is, by an attack that will produce a movement to the front and that will throw weight on the forehand.

If the horse resists the forward movement, turn him on the spot so as to disorganize the forces necessary in rearing. When the haunches move laterally no part of the horse can be contracted and he is therefore prevented from throwing the weight on his hind quarters.

The kicker.—If a horse has the bad habit of kicking, use the snaffle bit to prevent his lowering the head and at the same time push him vigorously with the legs.

It is a mistake to always hold up a kicker's head; it frequently happens that kicking is caused by some pain in the back or hocks, and, if so, raising the animal's head will merely increase his irritability and incite resistance.