Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/83

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Handling the reins.—It is absolutely necessary to accustom riders to handle the reins skillfully.

All work on the reins must be varied, smooth, and progressive. These results can not be obtained unless the rider is thoroughly supple in the shoulders, arms, and wrists and has clever fingers. The reins must be changed from hand to hand, must be separated and reunited not only without jerks, but also without failing to maintain the proper tension.

It should also be added that handling the reins understandingly and skillfully is an indirect method of making a horse's mouth perfectly straight. Changing hands frequently will prevent the prolonged action that worries the horse and causes faulty bends of the neck. Riders who hold the reins constantly in the same hand and in the same manner always have horses with stiff necks set to one side.