Page:The Modern Art of Taming Wild Horses.djvu/59

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55
ON BALKING.

and are afraid of what is behind them. This is an invariable rule with balked horses, just as much as it is for them to look around at their sides when they have the bots; in either case they are deserving of the same sympathy and the same kind, rational treatment.

When your horse balks or is a little excited, if he wants to start quickly, or looks around and doesn't want to go there is something wrong, and he needs kind treatment immediately. Caress him kindly, and if he doesn't understand at once what you want him to do, he will not be so much excited as to jump and break things, and do everything wrong through fear. As long as you are calm, and keep down the excitement of the horse, there are ten chances to have him understand you, where there would not be one under harsh treatment, and then the little flare up would not carry with it any unfavourable recollections, and he would soon forget all about it, and learn to pull true. Almost every wrong act the horse commits is from mismanagement, fear, or excitement; one harsh word will so excite a nervous horse as to increase his pulse ten beats in a minute.

When we remember that we are dealing with dumb brutes, and reflect how difficult it must be for them to understand our motions, signs, and language, we should never get out of patience with them because they don't understand us, or wonder at their doing things wrong. With all our intellect, if