Circling on the Forehand and
Haunches - Reining Back and getting the Horses in Hand with the use
of the Spur.
Perfecting them at their Trotting and Bending Lessons, Working "Shoulder in," ~Half Passage," and "Passage" - Cantering.
AT this stage of the proceedings, when circling on the forehand, stop the horse with the inward leg, and outward rein, at each step; make a pause: feel both reins, close both legs, and press him up to the hand; ease the rein and leg, take another step with the haunches, stop him again, "Rein him In," and close your legs. This is very useful, it prevents the horse from getting into a habit of running round with his haunches, it makes him obedient, as it teaches him not to yield to habit, but to trust to the rider's hand and leg alone for guidance; and it accustoms him to collect himself at all times, and thus he is always ready.
To this I particularly wish to draw attention, as it is attended with many good results: for hereafter every position the horse is placed in, and every impulse communicated by the rider, wil1 be followed by a voluntary attempt on the horse's part to collect himself, in which he can be maintained and confirmed by the least possible assistance from the rider.
I need not therefore enlarge on the great advantages thus derived from this simple Lesson.
Before moving off your ground, give the word, "Rein in your Horses;~ caution the men to close their legs to the horses' sides, and to bring the spurs as close as possible without touching them. Give the word "Spur;" the left hand is held steadily down and the spur applied very gently at first; the horse should not move from his ground, but merely arch his neck. This must be repeated two or three times, always quieting the horse after the spur has been given.
Repeat this at intervals during the Lesson.
The "Reining Back" is to be practised often, turning the rides towards each other and halting them. Be careful that the men apply the legs first, and then feel the reins, to make the horse step back. See that they sit upright in their saddles, do not hurry, and be satisfied with one step at a time.
Then form the "Left Files" up at "Close Files." Take the right files on the circle and canter them to the right, a couple of turns only: the same with the left files, form up as before and finish the same as the Lesson began; and when you have time to spare, before sending the men to the stables, dismount them and let them go through the Bending Lessons on foot..
*I think it necessary to explain
why I have directed that the horses in this their first Lesson in
Cantering should be worked only to the right.
It is, generally speaking, more difficult to teach a horse to strike off to the right than to the left; because a horse in a state of freedom almost always leads with the left leg, and only changes to the right to turn to that hand; and for this reason, before beginning with the left, I have given the horse a few days' work to the right.
As the soldier engages his enemy to the sword hand, it is of the greatest consequence, that he should be able to strike off his horse as freely to that side as to the other.