Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/99

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Now, your horse is almost in condition, and may hunt. In the interval between hunts, exercise your horse or have him exercised a little every other day, taking care to take him out for a short time the day after each hunt to observe his condition and the freedom of his movements. If for any reason you do not hunt for a time, you should put your horse through the same work that you did in the month of August, giving him short gallops and work at a walk over plowed ground.

In this manner you keep him fit all winter, giving him good feed and varying it according to his condition and appetite. If he always eats well, continue the oats without overdoing the mashes; the latter should be given only in the evening on coming in from the hunt, and on the next morning feed a cold mash of barley meal. If your horse shows a failing appetite or runs down in condition, give him cooked grain or cooked vegetables.

Thus you reach the month of April and the end of the hunting season. As soon as hunting stops, let your horse rest. Exercise him only at a walk and for his health. Take particular care of the legs and lower his condition by cooling mashes, for a horse can not be kept with impunity on such substantial and heating feed the year around. You might then turn him out in a paddock without grass or with grass that you have had cut short. Give him a mash, a full feed of carrots, and only 6 quarts of oats. Continue this until the 15th of May at least, then stop the carrots and little by little the mashes. Then begin to increase the oats, in order to take up the same work as the preceding year and with the same gradual progress.

During this period of rest, the horse can be given such treatment as the condition of his legs may require.

These are the general instructions for putting a hunter in fit condition for his work."—Count Le Coulteux.

Conditioning for endurance races.—For this training, refer to what has just been said concerning hunters, and to the twenty-ninth question, on training for military races.

The work varies with the length of time available, with the age and condition of the horse and the nature of the race. The only general rules to be repeated here are:

Gradually increase the horse's ration with the work.

Exercise a great deal at a walk in order to develop the muscles.