Page:The Modern Art of Taming Wild Horses.djvu/13

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INTRODUCTION.

conduct. "O thou father of a jackass !" they cried, "thou hast enabled the thief to rob thee of thy jewel." But he silenced their upbraidings by saying : "I would rather lose her than sully her reputation. Would you have me suffer it to be said among the tribes that another mare had proved fleeter than mine? I have at least this comfort left me, that I can say she never met with her match."

Different countries have their different modes of horsemanship, but amongst all of them its first practice was carried on in but a rude and indifferent way, being hardly a stepping-stone to the comfort and delight gained from the use of the horse at the present day. The polished Greeks, as well as the ruder nations of Northern Africa, for a long while rode without either saddle or bridle, guiding their horses with the voice or the hand, or with a light switch with which they touched the animal on the side of the face to make him turn in the opposite direction. They urged him forward by a touch of the heel, and stopped him by catching him by the muzzle. Bridles and bits were at length introduced, but many centuries elapsed before anything that could be called a saddle was used. Instead of these, cloths, single or padded, and skins of wild beasts, often richly adorned, were placed beneath the rider, but always without stirrups; and it is given as an extraordinary fact that the Romans, even in the times when luxury was carried to excess amongst