Horsemanship for Women/Part 1/Lesson 8

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To Advance at Touch of Heel and Stop at Touch of Whip on Back.—Your horse's education must now be carried on from the saddle, and should he never have been ridden, it will be prudent to have a man mount him first upon a man's saddle, and afterwards upon your side-saddle, with a blanket wrapped around the legs to simulate a skirt. If the previous lessons have been carefully given, you will have no trouble in making him stand wherever you please while you mount, nor in getting him "light in hand" afterwards. First, however, see that the saddle fits snugly in its place, and that the girths are good and in order. If there are more than two, let the third be loose while the others are tight. The writer once saw a powerful horse burst two good English girths by a sudden bound and throw off his rider, saddle and all. If the girths and saddle are not very strong, put a broad, thin strap—a surcingle will do—over all.

Being mounted, gather the reins all into the left hand in the following manner: Draw the right snaffle-rein between the fore and middle fingers, and the left snaffle rein under the little finger into the palm, throwing the ends forward together over the first finger, to be held by the thumb; in like manner draw the curb-reins into the palm on each side of the ring-finger, the left

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(An example of the "flying trot.")

rein, of course, below, and the right above it, throwing the ends, like those of the snaffle, forward over the forefinger and under the thumb. Now taking the curb-rein by the seam, draw it through your fingers till both reins fall equally on the bit; then do the same by the snaffle, but draw it so much tighter than the curb that the latter will hang loose, and any movement of your hand will be felt through the snaffle. Grasp all the reins firmly, your hand back upward, with wrist a little bent and elbow near your side, so that if the horse, stumbling, thrust his nose suddenly out, you will not be jerked from the saddle.

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All this you will quickly get the knack of, and do as easily as you would thread a needle. You will observe that, having the width of three fingers between the two snaffle-reins, you can, by bending your wrist to right or left, guide the horse as easily as with the reins in both hands. Get the horse "light in hand" by the usual play of the bit, first the curb, then the snaffle, tapping him on the right side, just forward of the girth, if he fails to respond or offers to back.

Now press him just back of the girth with your left heel, at the same time relaxing the rein a little. If he steps forward, pat and praise him, but if not, press him more firmly, at the same time touching him as before with the whip. When he moves forward praise him, and after a few seconds stop him, leaning back a little and laying your whip by a turn of the wrist on his back just behind the saddle. Then recommence, and persevere until he will start promptly forward at the touch of the heel, and stop at the touch of the whip on his back, keeping "light in hand" the while. If he is very

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sluggish you may have to strike him smartly for not answering instantly to the heel, but he will soon learn not to wait for the blow. Let the heel act close to the girth, as you will soon wish to move the croup over by the same means applied farther back. It is well not to start with the whip, nor by chirping or clucking, which
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is as likely to excite your companion's horse as your own, and is annoying to most people.

Accustom your horse to stop short, whether at the pull on the reins, the touch of the whip, or the word " Whoa."

After riding have the saddle removed, and should a puffy spot appear on the back where it has pressed, take the hint at once and have the padding eased over the place, or a tedious and vexatious "saddle-gall" may result. There is no better treatment for such a spot than bathing with very hot water. As a preventive, however, it is an excellent plan to bathe the back with cold water, afterwards carefully rubbing dry.

The several instruments of torture represented in the

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above cut are the dumb-jockey upon the horse's back, the cavesson around his nose, and the lunging-cord in the hands of the groom—to whom the artist has very properly given the countenance of one who, had he lived in old times, would have lent a hand at the rack or the iron boot without wincing. The dumb-jockey has elastic reins, which are adjusted so as to hold the head in the proper position. The cavesson is a broad leather band, stiffened with iron, which is fastened around the nose just where the cartilage joins the bone, so that a tug upon it causes great pain, and will bring anything but determined vice to submission. These appliances are usually only the resort of laziness or ignorance, for none of them can for a moment compare with the human hand; and in fact they effect no saving in time, for it is not safe to leave a horse a minute alone with a dumb-jockey on his back, as he may rear and fall over backward at the risk of his life. The writer knew of an accident of this kind which ended the victim's usefulness in the saddle, and he has seen a strong and proud horse sweat profusely, with the thermometer at ten degrees below the freezing point, while being lunged, i.e., driven in a ring, with a dumb-jockey on.