Page:Equitation.djvu/118

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trainer will correct the fault by carrying forward the reins. But if the horse merely lifts the right hind leg, showing neither fear nor impatience, then the trainer is satisfied and rewards the action with caresses. After a brief relaxation, the action is repeated from the beginning.

Sooner or later, however, the animal, instead of merely lifting the right foot, will, in addition, carry it to the left, under the body, and set it down more or less in front of the left foot. In that position, before the right hind foot can be lifted again, the left hind foot must also gain ground leftward. (Figure 15.)

This is the first step of the reversed pirouette, the beginning of the mobilization of the hind hand. In a short while, the horse comes to understand that when its right flank is touched with the whip, it is to lift the right foot and step toward the left. After the first step, the second, third, and fourth are readily obtained in the same way. Four such steps, done in proper cadence, are enough. More will disturb the support of the front legs, and will distress the horse, since they are against its natural conformation.

Meanwhile, of course, the horse will have lost the "in hand" position. The only remedy is patience, perseverance, and quality of work. You, Master, are the instructor. You are teaching to your pupil the alphabet of locomotion. On this foundation, your pupil may, in time, become a most