To get the Horse to move forward.
"The Instructor should insist on the men using their horses gently; he will thus save much time, and gain his object."
DURING these first lessons, old horses should lead the rides, and a few dismounted men be with each, to take the horses into their places when required.
The first point to gain is to get the young horses to go forward, and to go willingly; they should therefore be allowed to walk once, or twice, quietly round the school, be patted and made much of; the men must be cautioned not to use their spurs, but the whip only. The word "Trot" is then given, and the horses are urged to trot their best, and though some confusion is likely to ensue at first, the instructor is cautioned not to bring them to a walk immediately, which is likely to increase it; but to keep the nags going for a short time, then bring them to a walk and halt them. (The dismounted men are here found useful.) Let the men sit at ease, speak to, and make much of their horses.
During this lesson, the men must be careful not to go into the corners of the school; they must give the horses their heads, and only use the snaffle to keep them in their places.
Repeat the trotting to the left, and remember that the "object" at this time is to get the horses to go: the pace must not be confined in any way, but the horse should have the greatest freedom, and be made to step out to his utmost at the trot, without any regard to distances being kept. After they have been at work for half an hour, form them up.
This lesson altogether not to last more than half an hour, and to be repeated every day, until all the horses trot well out; eight or ten lessons will generally bring them to it.*
*This Lesson, on the Snaffle is no part of M. Baucher's System, who begins his work at once on the bit, but by experience I found that the horses were brought on quicker in the end, and better, by being put through this Prepatory Lesson on the Snaffle. Indeed, with troops I consider it absolutely necessary, though a single horseman can do without it.
A light Bit - Description and Advantages - Horses' mouths equally sensitive to the power of the Bit - Severe Bits - Reasons for not using them.
THE best Bit for all purposes is a light one, the cheeks of an average length, and the mouth-piece merely sufficiently arched (c) to admit of the horse's tongue passing freely underneath it, points, a a, made straight to rest equally on the horse's jaw, and not too thin.
In choosing a Bit for a horse, the point to look to is the distance between b b, which should vary according to the breadth of the horse's mouth.
A Bit of this sort is quite sufficient to bring most horses under control, for it is a mistake to fancy that the opposition a horse offers to the rider's hand, is caused by the peculiar shape of his mouth, or that one horse's mouth is by nature much more sensitive than another.
The jaw-bone of every horse is covered in the same way; whether a horse be light or heavy in hand cannot therefore depend upon the quantity of flesh between the Bit and the jaw-bone, though many suppose this to be the case; but the fact is, it is not the horse's mouth that is hard, but the rider's hand that is in fault.
Many and various are the Bits in use, originating chiefly with the trade, and partly the inventions of those, who unable to control their horses, sought assistance in bits of different sorts. For instance, when a horse carried his nose up, a bit with long cheeks was recommended, which, by adding to the power of the lever, should assist the hand to pull in the horse's nose by sheer strength. In this case, if the horse has never been taught to yield to the pressure of the bit, and to bring his head in, he will set his jaw against the bit to alleviate the pain he suffers, and thus adopts a way of his own, which he will ever after recur to in similar circumstances.
Other Bits again are such instruments of torture, that they either deaden all sensation in the horse's mouth, which becomes numbed from the excessive pressure, stopping the circulation of the blood, or they drive a horse frantic with pain, and no power the rider can exert with his legs, can bring the animal to face such a Bit; the horse therefore remains behind the hand, and "hand and leg" cannot work together.
I therefore recommend a light Bit; and in the following Lessons I shall proceed to shew how to use it so as to ensure obedience.
"Les Etudes premières bien comprises conduisent a l'érudition."
TO MAKE A HORSE TRACTABLE AND STEADY AT MOUNTING.
BEFORE commencing the Bending Lessons, it is well to give the horse a preparatory one of obedience, and to make him sensible of the power that man has over him. This first act of submission, which may appear of but slight importance, will prove of great service; it makes the horse quiet, and gives him confidence and gives the man such ascendancy as to prevent the horse at the outset from resisting the means employed to bring him under control.
Two lessons of half-an-hour each will suffice to obtain this first act of obedience from the horse.
Go up to him, pat him on the neck, and speak to him; then taking the near bit rein at a few inches from the ring with the left hand nails down, place yourself on a line with the horse's head at arm's length, so as to offer as much resistance as possible to the horse when he tries to break away; should he attempt to rear or strike, hold his head down; if you cannot manage him with the bridle the cavesson may here be used with good effect, take the whip in the full of the right hand, with the point down, raise it quietly and tap the horse on the chest, on which he will naturally try to escape from the punishment, and rein back to avoid the whip, follow the horse whilst backing, pulling at the same time against him, but without discontinuing the application of the whip in the same quiet way, shewing no signs of anger nor any symptoms of giving in.
The horse, soon tired of trying back, wil1 endeavour to avoid the infliction in another way, by rushing forward, and this time successfully, for you must then stop and make much of him. This Lesson repeated once or twice will prove wonderfully successful. The horse, having found out how to avoid the punishment, will not wait for the application of the whip, but anticipate it, by moving up at the slightest gesture; this will be of the greatest assistance in the subsequent Bending Lessons, as also of great use in mounting and dismounting, and in every way accelerate the training of the horse.
It is a great advantage to a soldier to have a horse that will come up to him, and follow him, and that will at all times allow himself to be led.