Cantering Lesson to Finish with


Attack and Defence by Fours - Spiral Figure - Picking up Heads off the Ground - Riding at Rings and Heads at Full Speed.


"Leading Files Circle Right and Left."

"Leading Files Change."

"Forward." When the leading files are at the board so as to lead up the sides of the school.

"Down the Centre, Sword Exercise." (Attack and Defence.) The files come to the engage in turning towards each other at the end of the school: the files working to the left, attack; and those working to the right, defend.

"On the Haunches About." When at the sides of the school and near the end.

"Right and Left Turn."

"Rein Back." Till quite close to the boards.

"On the Forehand About." Those working to the right, circle to the right about on the forehand; those working to the left, circle left about, and looking to the leading files strike off together.

"Take Four Yards Distance."

"Turn at the Corners."

"Right (or Left) Files About." Files on the left rein, come about on the haunches

"Circle Right." Advancing with right front guard.

"Attack." Right files cut one and two, left files first and second guard returning with right rear guard.

"Form Divisions." (The divisions having been previously told off,) 1eading divisions increase their pace a few strides, and the leaders of the rear divisions keep at two horses' lengths from the rearmost files of the leading divisions. (See Plate 15, Fig. 2.)

"Divisions Circle Right." (Vide Plate 15, Fig. 2.)

"Go Large."

"By Divisions down the Centre." (Vide Plate 15, Fig. 3.) The leading file of the divisions (the files of which were put about after turning at the corners,) dresses by the leader of those divisions which are right in front, who is answerable for the pace. The divisions must turn at the same moment from the ends of the school, bringing the swords to the engage; each division dressing by its right file when turned, and keeping the intervals from the right.

"Right (or Left) Files Attack." The Instructor names any cuts or points for the attacking files, the others defend by the corresponding guards.

"Right Turn." As the four divisions meet. (Vide Plate 15, Fig. 4.)

"By Divisions Down the Centre." This is to get the right division in front.

"Close your Divisions." Rear divisions close up.

"Right (or Left) Files About."

"Take Four Yards Distance."

"Right (or Left) Files Dress on the Intervals."

"Down the Centre."

"Change and Circle Right and Left."

"Go Large."

"Right and Left Turn." Files working on the left rein, "About."

"Leading File Circle."

"Sword Exercise."

"First Division." Whilst doing it, "Go Large," taking a "Horse's Length Distance."

"Left File Spiral." (Vide Plate 16, Fig. 1.) The markers, A B, are rough riders standing three yards apart and facing each other; at C change the horse's leg. The Instructor should place himself at the head of the ride, and in leading in leave three yards between each circle, for within that space, he must lead out again and uncoil the ride. Each man follows exactly in the track of the file in front of him. The leader must collect the pace whilst riding in, and increase it gradually as he rides out, to prevent a check.
Repeat the spiral at the opposite end of the school, to bring the ride to the "Right Rein," and as the leading file comes out the second time.


"At Close Files Right About Form."

After the post practice to both hands, put the posts all on the same side, and place three heads on the ground on the opposite side. (H, H, H, vide Plate 16, Fig. 2.) At A, bring the sword to the engage, strike off at a canter; at B, let the horse out to full speed, place the bridle hand on the horse's mane, do not in any way interfere with his mouth; close both legs firmly, (keeping the heels down,) bend well down to the right with the edge of the sword outwards, the thumb along the hilt, and keep the point in a line with the head on the ground, and let the horse carry the point home; (vide Plate 17, Fig. 1,) (do not attempt to deliver point, or you are sure to miss the object,) throw up the head and lower the point immediately for the second and third. After the third, throw the body back, slope the sword, and bring the horse to a canter (vide Plate 17, Fig. 2,) (from C to C); at E, let him out again, delivering first, second, and third points at the rings, and cuts five, six, and three at the heads; (vide Plates 18, 19, 20,) at F, canter and form up at G.

These exercises are of great advantage to a cavalry soldier.



 The Riding School is a bad place to teach a young horse to leap. The bar, with its posts is very apt to frighten the animal, and the use of the whip, often administered to make him go up to the bar, gives the horse a thorough aversion to it.

Horses should first be turned over a bar with a leading line, without any one on their backs, to teach them to rise and measure distance, then let them be mounted; take them into a field and over a low fence first, or a small ditch, not backward and forward over one and the same thing to disgust them, but over what obstacles are in their way, and then to their stables.

Few horses refuse if led on by a steady horse, and in this as in every other lesson, let the increase be made by degrees.

Always leap the horse on the snaffle, and do not let him hurry.

Few of our cavalry officers would be stopped by a fence; but for this they are not indebted to what they learn in the riding school, but to their being accustomed to ride across country.

All foreign cavalry practise at the leaping bar, yet their officers, when they meet with a wall or a gate, are pounded. I remember a very amusing instance of this. During some manœuvres in Italy, an Austrian General with his Staff got amongst some enclosures, and not wishing to ride back, sent some of his aid-de-camps to look for an outlet. They peered over the stone wall, rode about, but could find no opening. An Englishman in the Imperial Service, mounted on a good English horse, formed part of the Staff, and the General turning to him, said, "Mr. W_____k, kindly see if you can find the way out of this place." Mr. W_____k, a Yorkshireman and a good rider, went straight at the wall, cleared it, and whilst doing so turned in his saddle, and touching his cap, said, "This way, sir." I need not add, that his way did not quite suit the remainder of the party. (Vide Frontispiece).



 First break in the horse, and when obedient to hand and leg you can bring him to face most things with but little trouble.

When ridden for the first time with swords, shorten the short carriage and pass the sword-knot round the scabbard, to prevent it rattling and flying about, and thus most horses take to it in a few days.

To make them stand fire, noise of drums, &c., &c., use them to it in the school by degrees.

In firing off a horse's back, turn his head towards the object you fire at, and instead of lengthening the reins, stretch the bridle hand to the front, (thus obviating the necessity of doing so,) and then raise it sufficiently for the carbine to rest in it; the muzzle well to the front, clear of the horse's head, and a little to one side, lean the body forward without rising in the stirrups, but keep the legs close and the heels down.

Avoid interfering with the horse's mouth, or exciting his fears by suddenly closing your legs either before, or after firing; be quite quiet yourself, and the horse will soon follow your example.

In irregular warfare it is useful for the single horseman that his horse should be trained to stand still whilst he dismounts to fire.

To do this, first select a spot for practice, and drive a peg with a ring or loop to it into the ground, but so, that the horse cannot see the peg: ride up to the spot, dismount, draw the reins over the horse's head, and with a swivel or a piece of wood at the end of the reins fasten them to the ring.

Walk off to the front, fire, returning to the horse with something in your hand, bread or salt, &c., &c. Pass the reins back over the horse's head, mount and ride off; then come back again to the spot and repeat this.

In a short time you will not require to fasten him, but merely draw the reins over his head; the horse fancies himself fast and will not move. (Vide Title-page). Change the picket daily.