Page:Equitation.djvu/123

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holds the two snaffle reins close behind the chin. The whip is in his left hand, lash near the horse's flank.

The horse being held straight and "in hand," the trainer, with his right hand, pushes the animal's head straight to the left, while, at the same time, by means of the whip, he checks the natural movement of the haunches toward the right. Thus, by pushing the fore hand round in one direction, and at the same time preventing the hind hand from circling after it, the trainer soon obtains the first step of the pirouette. Then follows the usual pause and caressing; and shortly, the animal learns to complete the action. After this, the direction is reversed.

BACKING

THE pirouette has now taught the horse to mobilize the fore hand. The reversed pirouette or revolution has taken care of the hind hand. There still remains the mobilization of the entire length of the spine, from the atlas region to the last of the sacral vertebrae. While this remains straight and rigid, correct locomotion is not possible.

Flexion of the spine hinges on the " coupling" between the last dorsal vertebra and the first sacral, which has to bend with each step forward, sidewise, or backward. Unfortunately, this articulation tends to become ankylosed with advancing age, and even in a young animal the unnatural load of