Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/90

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supplings must be confined to the upper part of the neck. The neck must always offer an elastic resistance, suitable to its functions. If it were too flexible and too easily moved it could neither react on the hind quarters nor control the movements of the forehand.

The kind of neck to select.—The importance of the part played by the neck shows the importance that should be attached to its good conformation. A rider should always select a long and powerful neck, with the head well set on. And it should be remembered that we said that in training it is more difficult to raise than to lower the head; a high neck branching firmly from a sloping shoulder will diminish the difficulties of training and will permit the rider to produce more easily a brilliant, well set up horse.

Different positions of the neck.—The neck should always preserve its muscled pose and even have a certain amount of rigidity. Its position should be the same as that assumed naturally when the horse at liberty, is in high spirits, and standing still.

If, contrary to this principle, the experiment is made of raising the head and neck too high, the play of the shoulders may be freer, but, at the same time, the loins and all parts of the hind quarters will be weighted down and the haunches and hocks will be hampered in their action. As a result, movements of the hind quarters will be constrained, unequal, and jerky, and the gait will lose both speed and regularity.

If the neck is too low, the hind quarters will be more at liberty but will not (for that reason) fulfill their functions any better; for, since they can not be brought up toward the center of gravity except by a special, momentary, and forcible application of the lower aids, they will promptly go back again and will be relieved of the weight which is their proper share in an equal distribution of forces; weight, we repeat, that tends to set the hind quarters; weight that, when the neck is held at a suitable height, naturally and properly falls back from the shoulders upon the haunches. If the hind quarters are too free and do not carry their proper share of weight their action is not favorable to smooth gaits.

Therefore the position of the neck should be neither too high nor too low. The neck must be able to shorten or lengthen itself according as the face approaches or departs from the vertical.