Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/91

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The head when drawn back should bend the neck without breaking [1] it; when extended forward, it should stretch the neck without raising it. When the horse is posed in this manner, the reins will retain full power and both the front and hind legs will cooperate in any movements, either lengthened or shortened, that the rider may exact.—Count D'Aure.

Different positions of the head.—In order that he may feel with uniformity the touch of his rider's hand and in order not to impede his breathing, the horse's face should be set a little forward of the vertical. This position should be taken for ordinary gaits and for simple and regular movements.

The more we wish to shorten the gait the more the face should approach the vertical plane; on the other hand, the more we wish to increase the speed the more the face should depart from this plane.

In these last two cases the position of the head may also be considered as normal since the gaits depend thereon.

The head may assume a faulty position; that is to say, one too near or too far from the vertical; this may be due to defective conformation of the forehand, faulty fitting of the bit, undue sensitiveness of the chin groove or bars, or finally, and this is most frequently the case when horses throw the nose into the air, to a defect in the conformation of some part of the hind quarters.

These faulty positions can be combatted by the rider not only by a judicious use of the aids, but by a careful selection of the bit, an attentive fitting in the mouth, and a studied adjustment of the curb chain.—Count D'Aure.

Influence of conformation.—All horses can not be ridden in the same manner. General principles of conduct and training remain the same, but supplings vary according to the defects of conformation that must be overcome.

A horse of good conformation is easy to train; all that is necessary is to teach him the language of the aids, and when he understands everything becomes simple to him. When, on the contrary, proper balance is wanting, it is necessary not only to instruct him, but also, by means of protracted and well understood exercises, to establish an artificial equilibrium that will correct natural defects.

  1. The bend should be near the poll; the rest of the neck remains practically the same in all positions, or, as it is called, "unbroken."