Page:Equitation.djvu/126

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CHAPTER XIV
THE HANDLING OF THE REINS

BEFORE proceeding to the further training of the horse with the rider mounted, it is necessary to consider more fully than under the instinctive equitation, the position of the rider's hands and the manipulation of the reins.

No fixed position of the hands is correct for all occasions. What it should be in each special case depends on the degree of education of the horse, on its action, sensitiveness, temper, conduct. It varies with the surroundings, the gait at which the animal is traveling, the character of the road, the state of submission or disobedience. It is modified also by the ability of the rider. It alters from moment to moment with the change of circumstances. All that one can do, therefore, is to give the general principles involved, and the standard position from which variants are taken as conditions change.

Let us, then, suppose a horse, well conformed, properly trained, and quiet, ridden at the promenade trot, by a good ordinary rider with a good seat, in street, road, bridle path, or manege, but without all the paraphernalia and impedimenta generally met with in such conditions. In such a case, the hand will be carried six inches above the pommel, the little finger down and slightly nearer the body