Page:Equitation.djvu/211

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abiding citizen on a continent by himself. Very possibly the same man would be a criminal if he were living in the society of others. Likewise, a horse which refuses contact with the bit cannot be directed. Nobody knows in advance what it will do, acting by itself and without means of control. The horse which is light in hand accepts the contact of the bit, without altering its speed or gait, its head slightly out of the perpendicular, its neck directed upward from the withers to the atlas region, and opens its mouth if the rider's hand insists on the contact, but without changing the cadence of its step. But if this lightness in hand is a test of the quality of the horse's education, it is also a test of the rider's skill. Only with accuracy of seat will the rider's legs act with precision to obtain the propulsion forward. Only with accuracy of seat will the hand judge correctly its own effect upon the mouth. If hands and legs are used to correct faults of seat, the horse cannot be light in hand. Bad seat, bad hand, bad legs; good seat, good hands, good legs; accurate seat, accurate hand, accurate legs — it all sums up in the words, "equestrian tact." Any horse, well conformed and well ridden, is always light in hand.

TO LIGHTEN A HORSE

SO Newcastle translated alléger son cheval. Since the horse, at the beginning of its education, does not understand the effects of hands and legs, and is