Page:Horsemanship for Women.djvu/106

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pared for a ride, take time to look your horse over swiftly, but keenly, noting first that his eye and general appearance indicate good health and spirits; secondly, that he has been thoroughly groomed, his mane freed from dandruff, his hoofs washed, but not blacked; thirdly, that the saddle and bridle are perfectly clean and properly put on. Every buckle should have been undone and cleansed, the leather suppled, and the bright metal polished; the girths, three in number—never fewer than two—should be snug, but not tight enough to impede free breathing; the bits in their proper place, that is to say, the snaffle just high enough up not to wrinkle the corners of the mouth, and the curb considerably lower, with its chain, which should pass below the snaffle, lying flat and smooth against the skin in the chin groove; finally, the throat-latch loose. While it is not always wise to reprimand carelessness on the part of your groom on the spot, it is well never to let it pass unnoticed, while, on the other hand, it is a good plan always to show appreciation of especial attention to your wishes by a kind word or a smile.


It is rather a trying ordeal for an inexperienced rider to mount a tall horse from the ground, even when there are no lookers-on, and many a one remains in bondage to chairs and horse-blocks all her life long rather than undertake it. The feat, however, is really so much ea-