Second Lesson on the Bit.

(Seven Days.)


THE rides are formed as before, a few minutes only devoted to the Dismounted Bending Lessons; then mount and begin by bending the horses to the right and left, reining in, and circling to the right and left on the forehand; this being done once or twice, proceed to the "Circling on the Haunches."

By circling the horse on the forehand, we have taught him on applying the leg to move his haunches to either hand, and as he has thus learnt to obey the leg, we can by making use of it prevent him from moving his hind legs to the right or left; therefore we shall now teach him to circle on them, which in a few lessons will lead the horse to go completely round on his haunches, and thus in time perform the "Pirouette," the most useful "Air of the Manége" for a cavalry soldier; for, when engaged sword in hand with an enemy, he can turn his horse right, and left, and about, in an instant, and thus gain the advantage over his antagonist.

A dragoon must always bear in mind, that in a contest on horseback, it is not the strongest but the most accomplished horseman who is likely to be victorious; and a skilful rider will generally carry the day against a man, however powerful and strong, who cannot handle his horse.

On the word of command, "On the Haunches Right About," bend the horse's head a little to the right with the bit; pass the right hand over to the near Snaffle rein;* apply the left leg behind the girth, to keep the haunches steady; on the word "March," make the horse step to the right with his off fore, by feeling the outward (left) snaffle rein, bringing both hands a little to the right at the same time, and applying the outward (left) leg, while keeping the horse up to the hand with the inward leg; the horse turning on his off hind when to the right, and his near hind leg when to the left. (Vide Plate 10.)

At first the horse must be halted and made much of, three or four times during each turn, and if his haunches are thrown out, they must be brought back again by applying the outward leg; and thus gradually led on, the horse will learn to go about to both hands on his haunches, without touching the ground with his fore-feet.

Go through the Trotting Lesson as laid down before, then form up, repeat the Bending Lessons on foot, and mounted, as at the commencement of the Lesson.

* The right hand is passed over not only as an asssistance to the horse, but to make the men sensible of the necessity of using the outward rein in these movements: when the horse is broken in, it will be sufficient to carry the bridle hand to the side you wish to turn to.

"Pirouettes can be made on the fore as well as the hind legs. The first is called Pirouette renversée. It is the fore leg on the side opposed to that to which the haunches circle that is the pivot round which the other three legs turn. It is the reverse with the common Pirouette, when the hind leg on the side to which you circle the forehand, becomes the pivot. This is easily understood, because in both cases it is the two legs that describe the smaller circle.
"And the Pirouette renversée (circling on the forehand) comes first, being much the easier of the two, and so on." - Baucher, Dictionnaire Raisonné d'Equitation.