Horsemanship for Women/Part 1/Lesson 7

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It is unfortunate that we have not in English a vocabulary of definite terms relating to the training and riding of horses. We will for convenience call all that part of the horse in front of the saddle the forehand, and all that part back of the saddle the croup.

Take both snaffle-reins in the left hand at a few inches from the bit, and standing near the horse's left shoulder, get him "light in hand" with the bit; and if his hind-legs are not well under him, make him bring them forward by tapping him gently on the rump with your extended whip, keeping the forehand motionless by your hold on the bit.

Now, holding his head so that he will not move his left fore-foot, tap him lightly on the left flank near the hip until he moves the croup one step to the right.

Then pat and praise him, and if he has not moved his right fore-foot, tap his right leg with the whip to make him bring it forward even with the left. After a little rest begin again, asking and allowing only one step at a time, and persevering until he will move the croup one step over to each tap of the whip, pivoting on the left fore-foot and walking the right foot by little steps around it.

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When he is perfect with the snaffle, repeat the process with the curb, keeping his hind-legs well under him, and holding him "light in hand," while maintaining his left fore-foot immovable, with a delicate touch, to resemble as much as possible the action of the rein when drawn from the saddle.

Now repeat the process to the left, taking your stand near the right shoulder, and, with both snaffle-reins in your right hand and the whip in your left, proceed as before until the horse will walk one step at each tap of the whip around the right fore-foot, which should in its turn be kept so firmly in place as to bore a hole in the ground. Repeat with the curb.

This lesson, which will last, very likely, two or three days, may appear to some of no practical utility, but it is indispensable alike to your comfort when mounted, to the safety of those who accompany or meet you, and to the continued education of your horse. Who has not seen an untrained animal force his rider to dismount to lift some gate-latch which was really within easy reach, or prancing about in a crowd, to the terror and vexation of his neighbors, or in momentary danger of hooking his legs into the wheels of passing vehicles?

Now, if you trample on any one, or upset a light vehicle, though you risk, and perhaps break, your own bones, yet you are liable for damages; and this fact is so well known that a suit will be promptly begun against you. Besides, for your own sake you must have it in your power to get your horse's haunches, and with them your own person, out of danger from careless or mischievous drivers—just as a cavalryman has to save his horse from a slash or thrust.