Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/74

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High jumps.—Place a bar on the ground. Holding the longe in one hand and the snaffle reins in the other, lead the horse and step over the bar with him several times in succession in both directions. When the horse no longer shows hesitation, move away from him a little, put him on a circle and make him cross the bar on the longe. Later the bar is gradually raised.

To give the lesson properly, it is necessary:

(1) To let the horse assume, at a short distance from the bar, whatever gait suits him, and immediately after he jumps to make him resume the original gait of the circle.

(2) To advance a step or two toward the obstacle and to open the fingers, so that the longe may slip through the hand while the horse is approaching his jump and will not be too taut when he leaps; he must never be hampered, but must have complete liberty.

(3) To take up the horse on the longe again gently, return him to the circle and to the original gait.

It is a good plan to practice the horse in jumping on the longe at a walk before trying him at the trot and gallop. At the walk the horse can best estimate the jump and the amount of effort necessary to clear it; at the walk he also learns how best to assist himself with his head and neck. Jumping at the other gaits then becomes less difficult.

Broad jumps.—The method of procedure and the precautions to be taken are the same as for high jumps. Begin with very easy ditches and progress to broader and more difficult ones. The first time do not prevent the horse from stopping to examine the ditch. He will feel the ground, bring up his hind legs little by little, and after much hesitation will finally clear the ditch. This feeling for firm ground is allowed on the first trials only, and as soon as the first apprehension has disappeared, any halting in front of the obstacle must be energetically corrected. Young horses are much more disposed to hesitate at breadth than height.