Page:Equitation.djvu/334

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CHAPTER XXIX
THE PASSAGE

OF all the low airs which a horse can execute, the passage is the most rhythmic, the most artistic, and the most scientific. It is not an artificial gait, but an entirely regular and natural movement. Let a horse of any conformation, trained to any kind of service, be out of the stable and free. He trots at the passage. His head is up, his neck well placed, his tail in the air. Hocks, haunches, knees, and shoulders flex on their centers of motion, high, with energy, cadence, and balance. The back and loins are supple, the nostrils are well opened, and the breathing is deep even to snorting. Every joint is loose. Every limb functions with suppleness, rhythm, elegance. The horse is like a hunting-dog bounding around his master as he holds a shot-gun. He is in the air as if he would fly. (Figures 36, 37.) But, alas, as soon as the harness is on, and the driver is on the box or the rider in the saddle, all this cadence, tempo, rhythm, elegance, departs. The horse becomes heavy, stupid, brutish, without energy, a slave without initiative, a submissive victim when he understands what is wanted and a restive victim when he does not. To raise the harnessed animal to the standard of its natural beauty