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Title: Patroclus and Penelope - A Chat in the Saddle
Author: Dodge, Theodore Ayrault, 1842-1909
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By the same Author.


_THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLORSVILLE._

It is not easy to say which part of this book is best, for it is all
good.--_The Nation._

We do not hesitate to pronounce it one of the ablest, fairest, and
most valuable books that we have seen.--_Southern Historical Papers._


_A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF OUR CIVIL WAR_

Is all that could be desired: gives perhaps a clearer, more
vivid view, a more accurate outline than any other available
record.--_London Saturday Review._

The material of the work well serves to consolidate and orient the
knowledge of what was done in the Great Rebellion and of those who did
it.--_Journal Military Service Institution._

We do not hesitate to commend the book most warmly as the work of an
able, painstaking soldier, who has honestly endeavored to ascertain
and frankly to tell the truth about the war.--_Southern Historical
Papers._

The book is written in a spirit of impartiality and of just
discrimination concerning the merits and defects of the generals who
led the armies of the North and South.--_Army and Navy Journal._


  [Illustration: PLATE I.
   PATROCLUS.]



PATROCLUS AND PENELOPE

_A Chat in the Saddle_


BY

THEODORE AYRAULT DODGE

BREVET LIEUTENANT-COLONEL UNITED STATES ARMY, RETIRED LIST; AUTHOR OF
"THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLORSVILLE," "A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF OUR CIVIL
WAR," ETC., ETC.


BOSTON
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street
The Riverside Press, Cambridge
1885

Copyright, 1885,
BY THEODORE AYRAULT DODGE.

_All rights reserved._

_The Riverside Press, Cambridge_:
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton and Company.


To

THE COUNTRY CLUB OF BOSTON,

WHICH HAS FOSTERED A TRUE APPRECIATION OF GOOD HORSEMANSHIP IN OUR
CITY OF BEAUTIFUL ENVIRONMENTS, AND WHOSE GENEROUS AND ABLE
ADMINISTRATION HAS AFFORDED THE LOVERS OF THE SADDLE SO MANY
OCCASIONS OF RARE ENTERTAINMENT,

These Pages are Inscribed

BY

A MEMBER.


_Since--as it has been our fortune to be long engaged about horses--we
consider that we have acquired some knowledge of horsemanship, we
desire also to intimate to the younger part of our friends how we
think that they may bestow their attention on horses to the best
advantage._

XENOPHON on Horsemanship, I. I.



Transcriber's Note: The Table of Contents have been moved from the back of
the book to the front.



CONTENTS.


                                                    PAGE

     I. Patroclus and I                               19

    II. Saddles and Seats                             22

   III. Patroclus on a Rack                           28

    IV. The Rack and Single-Foot                      29

     V. Patroclus Trotting                            32

    VI. Thoroughbred or Half-Bred                     33

   VII. The Saddle Mania                              35

  VIII. Park-Riding                                   37

    IX. A Fine Horse not necessarily a Good Hack      39

     X. Soldiers have Stout Seats                     41

    XI. A Gate and a Brook                            44

   XII. The Old Trooper                               48

  XIII. Instruction in Riding                         49

   XIV. Chilly Fox-Hunting                            51

    XV. Is Soldier or Fox-Hunter the Better Rider?    55

   XVI. The School-Rider                              56

  XVII. Patroclus happy                               59

 XVIII. Photography versus Art                        61

   XIX. A One-Man Horse                               69

    XX. Baucher's Favorite Saddle Horse               70

   XXI. Patroclus sniffs a Friend                     73

  XXII. Riding-Schools and School-Riding              74

 XXIII. Is Schooling of Value?                        76

  XXIV. Manuals of Training                           82

   XXV. Result of Training                            83

  XXVI. Qualities of the Horse                        86

  XXVII. Dress, Saddles, and Bridles                  87

 XXVIII. Mounting                                     89

   XXIX. How to hold the Reins                        92

    XXX. How to begin Training                        94

   XXXI. Penelope's Unrestrained Courage              97

  XXXII. Hints before beginning to train a Horse      98

 XXXIII. Guiding by the Neck                         104

  XXXIV. What an Arched Neck means                   109

   XXXV. Flexions of the Neck                        113

  XXXVI. Flexions of the Croup                       116

 XXXVII. The Canter                                  121

XXXVIII. Leading with either Shoulder                125

  XXXIX. The Horse's Natural Lead                    131

     XL. The Best Way to teach the Lead              135

    XLI. Change of Lead in Motion                    138

   XLII. Suggestions                                 141

  XLIII. How to begin Jumping                        143

   XLIV. The Reins in the Jump                       148

    XLV. Odds and Ends of Leaping                    152

   XLVI. Hunting and Road-Riding                     155

  XLVII. Advantages of True Rack                     157

 XLVIII. Who is the Best Rider?                      160

   XLIX. Vale!                                       166



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


 1. PATROCLUS                             _Frontispiece._

 2. A QUIET AMBLE                                     12

 3. THE RACK OR RUNNING WALK                          24

 4. A SHARP SINGLE-FOOT                               36

 5. AN EASY CANTER                                    48

 6. A TEN-MILE TROT                                   60

 7. RISING TO A HURDLE                                72

 8. FLYING A HURDLE                                   84

 9. CLEAN ABOVE IT                                    96

10. TAKING OFF AT WATER                              108

11. DOING IT HANDILY                                 120

12. A TWENTY-FOOT JUMP                               132

13. ABOUT TO LAND                                    144

14. LANDING                                          156



BEFORE MOUNTING.


But a few months since, the author, whose thirty odd years in the
saddle in many parts of the world have, he trusts, taught him that
modesty which should always be bred of usage, was showing some of
the instantaneous photographs of his horse Patroclus to a group of
Club men. Most of the gentlemen were old friends, but one of the
photographs having been passed to a by-stander, whose attire marked
him as belonging to the most recently developed Boston type of
horsemen, elicited, much to his listeners' entertainment, the remark
that "naw man can wide in a saddle like that, ye know, not weally
wide, ye know! naw _fawm_, ye know! wouldn't be tolewated in our
school, ye know!" The author was informed by a mutual acquaintance
that the gentleman was taking a course of lessons at the swellest
riding academy of the city, and had recently imported an English
gelding. In deference to such excellent authority, whose not unkindly
meant, if somewhat brusquely uttered, criticism may be said to have
inspired these pages, otherwise perhaps without a suitable _motif_,
an explanation appears to be called for, lest by some other youthful
equestrian critics the physician be advised to heal himself.

The exclusive use of the English hunting-rig and crop for all kinds
and conditions of men at all times and in all places is well
understood by old horsemen to be but a matter of fashion which time
may displace in favor of some other novelty. For their proper purpose
they are undeniably the best. But to the newly fledged equestrian who
makes them his shibboleth, and who discards as "bad form" any
variation upon the road from what is eminently in place after hounds,
the author, with an admiration for the excellencies of the English
seat derived from half a dozen years' residence in the Old Country and
many a sharp run in the flying-counties, and with the consciousness
that, if tried in the balance of to-day's Anglomania, his own seat, as
shown in some of the illustrations, may chance to be found wanting,
desires to explain that, during the Civil War, outrageous fortune,
among other slings and arrows, sent him to the rear with the loss of a
leg; but that far from giving up a habit thus become all the more
essential because he could no longer safely sit a flat saddle, he
concluded to supplement his lack of grip (as the Marquis of Anglesea
for a similar reason had done before him) by the artificial support
which is afforded in the rolls and pads of a somerset or demi-pique,
as well as to adopt the seat best suited to his disability. And it was
such a saddle, of a pattern perhaps too pronounced to suit even the
author's eye, however comfortable and safe,--particularly so in
leaping, which provoked the censure, perhaps quite justifiable
according to the light of the critic, which has been quoted above.
This variation, however, by no means conflicts with the author's
belief in, and constant advocacy of, the flat English saddle _in its
place_. But he has seen so many accomplished riders in quite different
saddles, that he became long ago convinced that the English tree by no
means affords the only perfect seat. In fact, the saddle best suited
to universal use, that is, the one which might best serve a man under
any conditions, approaches, in his opinion, more nearly the modified
military saddle of to-day than the hunting type.

Nor because a local fashion, set but yesterday, prescribes strict
adherence to a style he cannot follow, is the author less ready to
venture upon giving a friendly word of advice to many of our young and
aspiring riders. There are not a few gentlemen in Boston, whose months
in the saddle number far less than the author's years, to whose
courage and discretion as horsemen he yields his very honest
admiration, and whose stanch hunters he is happy to follow across
country, nor ashamed if he finds he has lost them from sight. He
regrets to say that he has also seen not a few who affect to sneer at
a padded saddle or a horse with a long tail, who seem incapable of
throwing their heart across a thirty inch stone wall in a burst after
hounds, although upon the road they seek to impress one as constantly
riding to cover.

It is unnecessary, however, to say that the author has too long been a
lover of equestrianism _per se_ not to admire the good and be tolerant
of the bad for the total sum of gain which the horseback mania of
to-day affords. He is old enough to remember that human nature remains
the same, however fast the world may move, and is firm in the belief
that we shall soon grow to be a nation of excellent horsemen.

  [Illustration: PLATE II.
   A QUIET AMBLE.]

There is no pretense to make these pages a new manual for horse-training
or for riding. There are plenty of good books on horsemanship now in
print; but unfortunately there are few riders who care for anything
beyond a superficial education of either their horses or themselves.
More than rudimentary--if viewed in the light of the High School--the
hints in this volume can scarcely be considered. If any incentive to
the study of the real art and to the better training of saddle beasts
is given, all that these pages deserve will have been gained.

The plates are phototype reproductions from photographs of Patroclus,
taken in action by Baldwin Coolidge. Their origin lay in the belief
that a fine-gaited horse could be instantaneously photographed, and
still show the agreeable action which all horse-lovers admire, and
have been habituated to see drawn by artists, instead of the ungainly
positions usually resulting from the instantaneous process. The object
aimed at--to show an anatomically correct and artistically acceptable
horse in each case--has, it is thought, been gained, so far, at least,
as motion arrested can ever give the idea of motion.

Out of thirty photographs taken, the fourteen herein given, and one or
two others, much resembling some of these, showed an agreeable action.
The best positions of the horse were often the poorest photographs. In
enlarging them by solar prints for the phototype process, the shadows
of the horse have been darkened, or in some instances, where a
negative has been blurred or injured, an indistinct line has been
strengthened. In some plates the photograph was so clear (as Plates
IV. and V.) that no darkening of the shadows was necessary. In others
(as Plates VII. and VIII.) the negative, though showing excellent
position, was so weak as to require a good deal of treatment. But in
even the most indistinct ones the outline and crude shadows were
clearly shown by the negatives, and followed absolutely in treating
the solar prints. The plates are thus obtained intact from the
original instantaneous negatives, and faithfully represent the action
and spirit of the horse. The jumping pictures were taken against the
natural background, the others against a screen or building. In the
latter, the entire background has been made white, for greater
distinctness. The water-jump was in reality a dry ditch of eleven feet
wide from bar to bank. But being hidden in the original negatives by
the heaps of earth thrown up in digging it, and several of the
negatives being blurred in the foreground, the water was added in the
solar prints. To preserve anatomical accuracy, the finer results of
both photography and of the phototype process have had to be
sacrificed.

To state that the author has often witnessed the prize leaping at the
Agricultural Hall Horse Show in London, as well as watched the contest
of many a noted English steeple-chase, will absolve him from any
suspicion of parading these photographs as examples of excellent
performance. They were all taken in cold blood on one occasion, and
Patroclus was ridden alone over the obstacles at least a dozen times
for each good picture secured. Every horseman knows that this is a
pretty sound test of a willing jumper, if not a crack one. Moreover,
the author has been acquainted with too many masters of equitation, at
home as well as abroad, to harbor any but a very modest opinion of his
own equestrian ability. He would be much more sensitive to criticism
of Patroclus than of himself, for he knows the horse to be an
exceptionally good one within his limitations, while always conscious
that his own seat lacks the firmness of ante-bellum days. It used to
be said in the Old Country that an Englishman keeps his seat to manage
his horse, and that a Frenchman manages his horse to keep his seat.
The author is obliged to confess that to-day he is often reduced to
the latter practice.

The hurdles were somewhat over four feet high; behind each was a bar
just four feet from the ground. The water-jumps were from fifteen to
eighteen feet from taking-off to landing. On a number of occasions (as
in Plate XII.) Patroclus covered over twenty measured feet in this
jump.

As is manifest from a few of the plates, it was the action of the
horse, and not the "form" of the rider, which it was aimed to secure.
It is easy to make engravings in which the seat of the rider shall be
perfect; but in all the wood-cut illustrations of books on equitation
the horse is usually anatomically incorrect, however artistically
suggestive. One never sees the photograph of a horse clearing an
obstacle in which the rider's form is as perfect as it is apt to
be depicted in engravings or paintings. And in some of the within
illustrations of road gaits there is apparent a carelessness in both
seat and reins which would scarcely do in the accomplishment of the
high airs of the _manège_, but into which a rider is sometimes apt
unconsciously to lapse. No one is probably better aware of what is
good and bad alike in these plates than the author himself. He
appreciates "form" at its exact value, but is constrained to believe
that the true article comes from sources far removed from, and of
vastly more solid worth than the pigskin which covers a rider's
saddle, or the shears which bang his horse's tail. The searching power
of photography, however, is no respecter of form or person.

A word of thanks should not be omitted to Mr. Coolidge, whose
excellent judgment and keen eye in taking these pictures, without
other apparatus than his lens, is well shown by the result, nor to the
Lewis Engraving Company for their careful reproductions from material
by no means perfect.

Perhaps it should be said that Master Tom and Penelope, who figure in
these pages, are as really in the flesh as Patroclus, and by no means
mere fictions of the imagination.

There is no instruction pretended to be conveyed by these plates, as
there is in the similarly obtained illustrations of Anderson's
excellent "Modern Horsemanship." Their purpose is less to point a
moral than to adorn a tale. But an apology to all is perhaps due for
the very chatty manner in which the author has taken his friend, the
reader, into his confidence, and to experienced horsemen for the very
elementary hints sometimes given. The pages devoted to Penelope are
meant for young riders who, like Master Tom, really want to learn.

THEODORE AYRAULT DODGE.

BROOKLINE, MASS., _April, 1885_.



PATROCLUS AND PENELOPE.

A CHAT IN THE SADDLE.



I.


We are fast friends, Patroclus, and many's the hour since, five years
ago, I bought you, an impetuous but good-tempered and intelligent
three-year-old colt, whom every one thought too flighty to be of much
account, that you and I have spent in each other's company upon the
pretty suburban roads of Boston. And many's the scamper and frolic
that we've had across the fields, and many's the quiet stroll through
the shady woods! For you and I, Patroclus, can go where it takes a
goodish horse to follow in our wake. I wonder, as I look into your
broad and handsome face, whether you know and love me as well as I do
you. Indeed, when you whinny at my distant step, or rub your
inquisitive old nose against my hands or towards my pocket, begging
for another handful of oats or for a taste of salt or sugar; or when
you confidingly lower your head to have me rub your ears, with so much
restful intelligence beaming from your soft, brown eyes, and such
evident liking for my company, I think you know how warm my heart
beats for you. And how generous the blood which courses through your
own tense veins your master knows full well. If I had to flee for my
life, Patroclus, I should wish that your mighty back, tough thews, and
noble courage could bear me through the struggle. For I never called
upon you yet, but what there came the response which only the truest
of your race can give.

No, Pat! you've got all the sugar you can have to-day. My pockets are
not a grocer's shop. Stand quiet while I mount, and you and I will
take our usual stroll.

                 *       *       *       *       *

Patroclus is said to have been sired in the Old Country out of a
cavalry mare brought over by an English officer to Quebec, and there
foaled in Her Majesty's service. Even this much I had on hearsay. But
he has the instincts of the charger in every fibre,--and perhaps the
most intelligent and best saddle beasts among civilized nations belong
to mounted troops. As old Hiram Woodruff used to say, Patroclus makes
his own pedigree. I know what he is; I care not whence he came.

No need to extol your points. Though there be those of higher lineage,
and many a speedier horse upon the turf, or perchance a grander
performer after hounds, thrice your value to whoso will find fault or
blemish upon you, my Patroclus! You are blood-bay and glossy as a
satin kerchief. You are near sixteen hands; short coupled enough to
carry weight, and long enough below to take an ample stride. You tread
as light as a steel watch-spring quivers. A woman's face has rarely a
sweeter or more trusting look than yours in repose; a falcon's eye is
no keener when aroused. You will follow me like a dog, and your little
mistresses can fondle you in stall or paddock. You have all the life
and endurance of the thoroughbred, the intelligence of the Arab, the
perfect manners of the park, and the power and discretion of a Midland
Counties hunter. Like the old song, you have

    "A head like a snake, and a skin like a mouse,
      An eye like a woman, bright, gentle, and brown;
    With loins and a back that would carry a house,
      And quarters to lift you smack over a town."

May it be many a year yet, Patroclus, before I must pension you off
for good!

                 *       *       *       *       *

You stand for me to mount as steady as a rock. And you know your
crippled master's needs so well that you would do it in the whirl of a
stampede. I will leave the reins upon your neck and let you walk
whither your own fancy dictates, for I am lazily inclined; though
indeed I know from your tossing head that you fain would go a livelier
gait. So long as you can walk your four full miles an hour, you will
have to curb your ardor for many a long stretch, while your master
chews the cud of sweet and bitter fancies.

                 *       *       *       *       *

As we saunter along, the reflections bred of thirty odd years in the
saddle come crowding up. From a Shelty with a scratch-pack in Surrey a
generation since, to many a cavalry charge with bugle-clash and
thundering tread on Old Dominion soil now twenty years ago, the daily
life with that best of friends,--save always one,--the perfect saddle
horse, brings many thoughts to mind. What if we jot them down?



II.


The most common delusion under which the average equestrian is apt to
labor in every part of the world is that his own style of riding
is the one _par excellence_. Whether the steeple-chaser on his
thoroughbred, or the Indian on his mustang is the better rider, cannot
well be decided. The peculiar horsemanship of every country has its
manifest advantages, and is the natural outgrowth of, as well as
peculiarly adapted to, the climate, roads, and uses to which the horse
is put. The cowboy who can defy the bucking broncho will be unseated
by a two-year-old which any racing-stable boy can stick to, while this
same boy would hardly sit the third stiff boost of the ragged,
grass-fed pony. The best horseman of the desert would be nowhere in
the hunting-field. The cavalry-man who, with a few of his fellows, can
carve his way through a column of infantry, may not be able to compete
at polo with a Newport swell. The jockey who will ride over five and a
half feet of timber or twenty feet of water would make sorry work in
pulling down a lassoed steer. Each one in his element is by far the
superior of the other, but none of these is just the type of horseman
whom the denizen of our busy cities, for his daily enjoyment, cares to
make his pattern.

The original barbarian, no doubt, clasped his undersized mount with
all the legs he had, as every natural rider does to-day. When saddle
and stirrups came into use, followed anon by spurs, discretion soon
taught the grip with knee and thigh alone, the heels being kept for
other purposes than support. It must, however, be set down to the
credit of the original barbarian that he probably did not ride in the
style known as "tongs on a wall." This certainly not admirable seat
originated with the knight in heavy armor, and has since been adhered
to by many nations, and, through the Spaniards, has found its way to
every part of the Americas. But as a rule, wild riders have the bent
knee which gives the firmest bareback seat. The long stirrup and high
cantle must not be condemned for certain purposes. When not carried to
the furthest extreme they have decided advantages. It is by no means
sure that any other seat would be equally easy on the cantering
mustang for so many scores of miles a day as many men on the plains
customarily cover. And though for our city purposes and mounts it is
distinctly unavailable, one must be cautious in depreciating a seat
which is clung to so tenaciously by so many splendid riders. It is a
mistake to suppose that the Southerners and Mexicans, as well as
soldiers, all ride with straight leg. While you often see this fault
carried to an extreme among all these, the best horsemen I have
generally observed riding with a naturally bent knee. And it takes a
great deal to convince a good rider of any of these classes that a man
who will lean and rise to a trot knows the A B C of equestrianism.

  [Illustration: PLATE III.
   THE RACK OR RUNNING WALK.]

Whether the first saddle had a short seat and long stirrups, _à la
militaire_, or a long seat with short ones, _à l'Anglaise_, matters
little. Though the original home of the horse boasts to-day the
shortest of stirrups (and even in Xenophon's time this appears to have
been the Asiatic habit), a reasonably long one would seem to have been
the most natural first step from the bareback seat. If so, what is it
that has gradually lengthened the seat of the Englishman, who
represents for us to-day the favorite type of civilized horsemanship,
and if not the best, perhaps nearest that which is best suited to our
Eastern wants?

No doubt, in early days, horses were mainly ridden on a canter or a
gallop. If perchance a trot, it was a mere shog, comfortable enough
with a short seat and high cantle. The early horse was a short-gaited
creature. But two things came gradually about. Dirt roads grew into
turnpikes; and the pony-gaited nag began, about the days of the Byerly
Turk, nearly two hundred years ago, to develop into the long-striding
thoroughbred. The paved pike speedily proved that a canter sooner
injures the fetlock joints of the forelegs and strains the sinews of
the hind than a trot, and men merciful unto their beasts or careful of
their pockets began to ride the latter gait. But when the step in the
trot became longer and speedier as the saddle horse became better
bred, riders were not long in finding out that to rise in the stirrups
was easier for both man and beast, and as shorter stirrups materially
aid the rise, the seat began to grow in length. It has been proved
satisfactorily to the French, who have always been "close" riders,
that to rise in the trot saves the horse to a very great percentage,
put by some good authorities at as high a figure as one sixth.
Moreover, it was not a strange step forward. That it is natural to
rise in the trot is shown by there being to-day many savage or
semi-civilized tribes which practice the habit in entire
unconsciousness of its utility being a disputed point anywhere.

Another reason for shortening the leathers no doubt prevailed. The
English found the most secure seat for vigorous leaping to be the long
one. Of course a little obstacle can be cleared in any saddle; but
with the long seat, the violent exertion of the horse in a high jump
does not loosen the grip with knees and calves, but at most only
throws one's buckskin from the saddle, as indeed it should not even do
that. For the knees being well in front of, instead of hanging below,
the seat of honor, enables a man to lean back and sustain the jar of
landing without parting company with his mount, while a big jump with
stirrups too long, if it unseats you at all, loosens your entire grip,
or may throw you against the pommel in a highly dangerous manner.

Moreover, with short stirrups, the horse is able on occasion to run
and jump "well away from under you," while, except during the leap
itself, the weight for considerable distances may be sustained by the
stirrups alone, and thus be better distributed for the horse over
ground where the footing is unsteady, as it is in ridge and furrow.

No better illustration of the uses of these several seats than an
English cavalry officer. On parade he will ride with the longest of
stirrups compatible with not sitting on his crotch. To rise in the
saddle is a forbidden luxury to the soldier. Despite some recent
experiments in foreign service, and the fact that on the march the
cavalry-man may be permitted to rise, nay, encouraged to do so, what
more ridiculous than a troop of cavalry on parade, each man bobbing up
and down at his own sweet will? The horse suitable for a trooper is a
short, quick-gaited, handy animal, chosen largely for this quality,
and made still more so by being taught to work in a collected manner
by the _manège_. You can very comfortably sit him with a military
saddle at a pretty sharp parade trot. Now, suppose our cavalry officer
is going for a canter in Rotten Row,--he will at once shorten his
stirrup-leathers a couple of holes; and if he were going to ride
cross-country, he would shorten them still a couple more. Experience
has taught him the peculiar uses of each position.

Some writers claim that one seat ought to suffice for all occasions.
And so it can be made to do. This one seat may, however, not always be
the best adapted to the work immediately in hand, or to the animal
ridden. A slight change is often a gain. Every one has noticed that
different horses, as well as different ground ridden over, vary the
rider's seat in the same saddle.

But excellent as is the long hunting-seat in its place, one can
conceive no more ridiculous sight than the English swell I once saw in
Colorado, who had brought his own pigskin with him, and started out
for a ten days' ride across the prairie on an Indian pony, the only
available mount. The pony's short gait was admirable for a long day's
jaunt in a peaked saddle, but so little suited to a cross-country rig,
that the swell's condition at the end of the first fifty miles must
have been pitiable. This unusual "tenderfoot" exhibition elicited a
deal of very natural laughter, and its butt, who was an excellent but
narrow-minded horseman, though he stuck with square-toed British pluck
to his rig for a few days, came back to Denver equipped _à la_ cowboy.
His Piccadilly saddle had been abandoned to the prairie-dogs.



III.


Patroclus watches his rider's mood. He has become contemplative too,
and has taken kindly to our sober pace. But you shall have your turn,
my glossy pet. Let us get off this macadamized road where we can find
some cantering ground.

As I shorten the reins, 'tis indeed a pleasure to see your head come
up, neck arched, eye brightening, alternate ears moving back to catch
your master's word, feet at once gathered under you, and nerves and
muscles on keenest tension. Every motion is springy, elastic, bold,
and free, as full of power as it is of ease. No wonder, Patroclus,
that eyes so often turn to watch you. No wonder that you seem
conscious that they do. For though we both know that the first test of
the horse is performance, yet having that, there is pleasure to us
both in your graceful gaits.

To give the reins the least possible shake will send you into the most
ecstatic of running walks, as fast as one needs to go, and so easy
that it is a constant wonder how you do it. This is no common amble or
bumping pace, but the true four beat rack. And as you toss your head
and champ your bit, Patroclus, with the pleasure of your accelerated
motion, how well you seem to know the comfort of your rider.



IV.


This running walk or rack, by the way, is one of the most delightful
of gaits. Its universal adoption in the South by every one who can buy
a racker is due to the roads, which, for many months of the year, are
so utterly impassable that you have to pick your way in and out of the
woods and fields on either side, and rarely meet a stretch where you
can start into a swinging trot. But a horse will fall from a walk into
a rack, or _vice versa_, with the greatest of ease to himself and
rider, and if the stretch is but a hundred yards will gain some
distance in that short bit of ground. If you have a fifty mile ride
over good roads in comfortable weather, perhaps a smart trot, if easy,
of course alternating with the walk, is as good a single gait as you
can ride. But you need to trot or canter a goodly stretch, not to
shorten rein at every dozen rods, for the transition from a walk to
either of these gaits or back again, though slight, is still an
exertion; while from the walk to the rack and back the change is so
imperceptible that one is made conscious of it only by the patter of
the horse's feet. Here again, the country's need, roads, and climate
have bred a most acceptable gait. But it has made the Southerner
forget what an inspiriting thing a swinging twelve-mile trot can be
along a smooth and pretty road; and you cannot give away a trotting
horse for use in the saddle south of Mason and Dixon. The rack soon
grows into the single-foot, which only differs from it in being
faster, and the latter is substituted for the trot. To go a six or
eight mile gait, holding a full glass of water in the hand, and not to
spill a drop, is the test of perfection in the racker. And for a lazy
feeling day, or for hot weather, anywhere, it is the acme of comfort.
Or it is, indeed, a useful gait in winter, when it is too cold for a
clipped horse to walk and your nag has yet not stretched his legs
enough to want to go at sharper speed. It must, however, be
acknowledged that it is very rare that a horse will rack perfectly as
well as trot. He is apt to get the gaits mixed.

A rack is half way between a pace and a trot. In the pace, the two
feet of each side move and come down together; in the trot, the two
alternate feet do so. In the running walk, or in the single-foot, each
hind foot follows its leader at the half interval, no two feet coming
to the ground together, but in regular succession, so as to produce
just twice as many foot-falls as a trot or a pace. Hence the _one_,
_two_, _three_, _four_, patter of the horse gives to the ear the
impression of very great rapidity, when really moving at only half the
apparent speed. The result of the step is a swaying, easy back, which
you can sit with as much ease as a walk. Rackers will go a six-mile
gait, single-footers much faster. I once owned a single-footing mare,
who came from Alexander's farm and was sired by Norman, who could
single-foot a full mile in three minutes. As a rule, the speed is not
much more than half that rate. And either a rack or single-foot is apt
to spoil the square trot; or if you break a horse to trot, you will
lose the other gaits. A perfect all-day racker or a speedy
single-footer can scarcely be aught else.



V.


I did not mean to apply that rule to you, Patroclus! We both of us
know better. For the exceptional horse can learn to rack or
single-foot without detriment to his other paces, if he be not kept
upon these gaits too long at any time.

Half a mile ahead of us is the little grass-grown lane, where we can
indulge in a canter or a frolicsome gallop. Shall we quicken our speed
a trifle? Simply a "Trot, Pat!" and on the second step you fall into
as square and level a trot as ever horse could boast. I know how
quickly you obey my voice, old boy, and but one step from my word I am
ready to catch the first rise, and without the semblance of a jar we
are in a full sharp trot. How I love to look over your shoulder,
Patroclus, and see your broad, flat knee come swinging up, and showing
at every step its bony angles beyond the point of your shoulder;
though, indeed, your shoulder is so slanting that the saddle sits well
back, and your rider is too old a soldier to lean much to his trot.
And you will go six to--I had almost said sixteen--miles an hour at
this gait, nor vary an ounce of pressure on your velvety mouth. How is
it, Patroclus, that you catch the meaning of my hands so readily?



VI.


The fancy of to-day is for the daisy-clipping thoroughbred. And when
they do not run to the knife-blade pattern, they may be the finest
mounts a man can throw his leg across. But my fancy for the road has
always been for the higher stepping half-bred. Granted that on the
turf or across a flying country blood will tell. Granted that
brilliant knee action is mainly ornamental. Still, in America, the
half-bred will average much better in looks, and vastly more
satisfactory in hardy service. Where shall we again find the
equivalent of the Morgan breed, now all but lost in the desire to get
the typical running horse? For saddle work, and the very best of its
kind, there was never a finer pattern than the Morgan. Alas, that we
have allowed him to disappear! His worth would soon come to the fore
in these days of saddle pleasures. The thoroughbred's characteristic
is ability to perform prodigies of speed and endurance at exceptional
times. But the strong, every-day-in-the-year good performer is usually
no more than half-bred, if even that. Moreover, you can find a hundred
daisy-clippers for one proud stepper, be he thoroughbred or galloway.
There is such a thing as waste of action. No one wants to straddle a
black Hanoverian out of a hearse. But the horse who steps high may be
as good a stayer as the one who does not, and high action is a beauty
which delights men's eyes and opens their purses. Because the long
stride of the turf is better for being low, it is not safe to apply
this rule to the road.

There are many more worthless brutes among thoroughbreds than among
the common herd. While it is easy to acknowledge that the perfect
thoroughbred excels all other horses, the fact must also be noted that
he is of extremest rarity, and even when found is infrequently up to
weight. If we use the word advisedly, only the horse registered in the
Stud Book is a thoroughbred. These have no early training whatever,
except to allow themselves to be mounted, and to run their best. If
they stand the initial test of speed, they are reserved for the turf,
and there wholly spoiled for the saddle or for any other purpose of
pleasure. If they do not, they are turned adrift, half spoiled in
mouth and manners by tricky stable-boys, and may or may not fall into
good hands. For one thoroughbred with perfect manners, sound, and up
to weight, there are a score of really good half-breds, as near
perfection as their owners choose or are able to make them.

What we in America are apt colloquially to call a thoroughbred is only
a horse which, in his looks, shows some decided infusion of good
blood, or is sired by a well-bred horse. But it is to be remembered
that of two horses with an equal strain of pure blood, one may have
reverted to a coarse physical type, and the other to the finer. And
the one who has inherited the undeniable stamp of the common-bred
ancestor may also have inherited from the other side those qualities
of constitution, courage, intelligence, and speed, which sum up the
value of high English blood. Not one fine-bred horse in one hundred--I
speak from the ownership of, and daily personal intimacy for
considerable periods with, over fifty good saddle beasts,--has as many
of the admirable qualities of pure blood as Patroclus. And yet (_absit
omen_), he has a wave in his tail, and though his feet and legs are
perfect in shape, and as clean as a colt's, they are far beyond the
thoroughbred's in size. He shows that his ancestry runs back both to
the desert and the plough. In America, surely, handsome is that
handsome does. Let us value good blood for its qualities, not looks,
and ride serviceable half-breds, instead of sporting worthless weeds
because they approach to the clothes-horse pattern, or have necks like
camels.



VII.


One of the most distinctly promising features of the athletic
tendencies of to-day is the mania for the saddle. Fifteen years ago,
the boys along the Boston streets used to hoot at your master,
Patroclus. Not, indeed, that he had a poor seat or needed to "get
inside and pull down the blinds," as the London cad might phrase it,
for a good or bad seat was all alike to them; rather at the wholly
unusual sight of a man on horseback--outside of politics.

But the number of good horsemen, and horsewomen too, is growing every
day. Here comes a couple at a brisk round trot. How can we notice the
lad, Patroclus, when the lassie looks so sweetly? In her neat habit,
with dainty protruding foot and ankle, sitting her trappy-gaited mount
with ease and grace, the bloom of health fairly dazzling you as she
rushes by, so that you doubt whether it be her pretty eye and white
teeth or her ruddy skin and happy face which has set even your ancient
heart a-throbbing, how can a woman look more attractive?

  [Illustration: PLATE IV.
   A SHARP SINGLE-FOOT.]

But the alluring sight is not long-lived. Following hard upon them
comes, not the first rider who has chased a petticoat, a young
Anglomaniac. He fancies that his hunting-crop, his immaculate rig, and
his elbows out-Britishing the worst of British snobs, as he leans far
over his pommel, make him a pattern rider. You can see the daylight
under his knees. A sudden plunge would send him, Lord knows where!
Haply his dock-tailed plug remembers the shafts full well and steadily
plods ahead. But bless his little dudish heart! he will learn better.
As his months in the saddle increase, he will find his seat as well as
his place. We Americans are the making of an excellent race of
horsemen. It is a pleasure to see the increase in the number of
promising riders who seek the western suburbs every day. We shall all
ride, as we manage to do everything, well,--after a while. There is of
course a lot of rubbish and imported--rot, shall we call it? But what
odds? so there is in art, music, politics, religion.



VIII.


You see the corner of the lane, Patroclus, while I have been thus
musing, and your lively ear and instinctively quickened gait rouse my
half-dazed thoughts. Here we are. Shall we take our accustomed canter?
You always wait the word, though you are eagerness itself, for you do
not yet know when I want you to start, or which foot I may ask you to
lead with. Though, indeed, you will sometimes prance a bit, and change
step in the alternate graceful bounds of the passage, to invite and
urge my choice. The least pressure of one leg, and off you go, leading
with the opposite shoulder. And you will keep this foot by the mile,
Patroclus, or change at every second step, should I ask you so to do.
You need but the slightest monition of my leg, and instantly your
other shoulder takes the lead. I see you want to gallop, boy! But not
quite yet. You must not forget that you have been taught, as they say
in Kentucky, to canter all day long in the shade of an apple tree, if
so be it your master wishes. You shall have your gallop anon. But you
must never forget that a horse who can only walk or go a twelve-mile
trot or hand-gallop, though he may lead the hunt cross-country, is an
unmitigated nuisance on the road. Slow and easy gaits are as valuable
to the park-hack as long wind and speed to the racer. And although
Boston, as yet, boasts no Rotten Row, are not the daily rides through
its exquisite environments the equivalent of the canter in that justly
celebrated resort, rather than the mere country tramp upon a handy
roadster or the ride to cover on a rapid covert-hack? And yet our
imitation of our British cousins has approximated less to the pleasure
ride than to the cross-country style. Perhaps, in our eagerness to
convince ourselves that we have learned all there is worth knowing in
the art, we have aped what is confessedly the finest of horseback
sports, and forgotten the more moderate fashion of Hyde Park. Let us
remember that we can saunter on the road every day, while riding to
hounds is for most of us a rarish luxury.



IX.


Because a horse can go well to hounds, it does not follow that he is
fit for park or road work any more than the three-year-old who wins
the Derby or St. Leger is fitted for a palfrey. A horse whose business
it is to run and jump must have his head; while a horse, to be a
clever and agreeable hack, should learn that the bit is a limitation
of his action, and that the slightest movement of the hand or leg of
the rider has its meaning. What is impossible in galloping over
ploughed fields is essential to comfort on the road. In the field,
everything must be subservient to saving the horse; the rider's
comfort is the rule of the park. It is every day that we may see a
rider who deems his excellent hunter a good saddle beast, when,
however clever cross-country, he is absolutely ignorant of the first
elements of the _manège_. He forgets that each is perfect in his
own place and may be useless in the other's.

I am the owner of a fine-bred mare, whom I have as yet had no
opportunity to school. She is the perfect type of a twelve-stone
hunter. After hounds she will attract the eye of the whole field for
distinguished beauty, and ridden up to her capacity, can always be in
the first flight. She has speed, endurance, and fine disposition, is
as sound and hardy as a hickory stick, and in her place unsurpassed.
Almost any of the horsemen of to-day's Modern Athens would select this
mare in preference to Patroclus. And yet, a four-in-hand of her type,
as she now is, Tantivy coach thrown in for make-weight, are not worth
one Patroclus for real saddle work, because she has no conception of
moderate gaits. She is bound to go twelve miles an hour if you let her
out of a walk, or fret at the restraint. I can ride Patroclus
twenty-five miles without fatigue. If I ride the mare ten miles, I
come in tired, drenched with heat, and probably with my temper
somewhat ruffled, while she has fretted to a lather more than once,
and we have both been so hot during the entire ride that, if the day
is raw, it has been dangerous to ease into a walk. If I ride Patroclus
over the same ground in the same time, we shall both come in fresh as
a daisy, dry, and each well-pleased with the other. While this mare
can gallop fast and is easy and kind, a man must work his passage to
make her canter a six-mile gait. She has no more ambition than
Patroclus, but she does not curb it to the will of her rider. With a
knowledge of all which, however, most of our young swells would select
the mare for simple road-riding, because she looks so like a
thoroughbred hunter, and rather suggests the impression that they
habitually ride to hounds. As well saunter in the park in a pink coat
and with "tops carefully dressed to the color of Old Cheddar."



X.


The _manège_ need not mean all the little refinements of training
which, however delightful to the initiated, are unnecessary to comfort
or safety. But no horse can be called a good saddle beast whose
forehand and croup will not yield at once to the lightest pressure
of rein or leg. Most horses will swing their forehands with some
readiness, if not in a well-balanced manner. But not many are taught
to swing the croup at all; very few can do so handily. The perfect
saddle horse should be able to swing his croup about in a complete
circle, of which one fore foot is the immovable centre, or his
forehand about the proper hind foot, in either direction at will. He
should come "in hand," that is, gather his legs well under him, so as
to be on a perfect balance the moment you take up the reins and close
your legs upon him. He should in the canter or gallop start with
either foot leading, or instantly change foot in motion at the will of
his rider. He should have easy, handy gaits, the more the better, if
he can keep them distinct and true. These accomplishments, added to
a light mouth and a temper of equal courage and moderation, or, in
short, "manners," make that rare creature,--the perfect saddle horse.

It is in this that the English err. In their perfect development of
the hunter and the racer they neglect the training of the hack. Though
it be heresy to the mania of the day to say so, it is none the less
true that while you seek your bold as well as discreet and experienced
cross-country rider in England, you must go to the Continent, or among
the British cavalry, to find your accomplished horseman.

It is the general impression among men who ride to hounds, and still
more among men who pretend to do so, that leaping is the _ultima
thule_ of equestrianism; and that a man who can sit a horse over a
four-foot hurdle has graduated in the art of horsemanship. The
corollary to this error is also an article of faith among men who
hunt, that is, that no other class of riders can leap their horses
boldly and well. But both ideas are as strange as they are mistaken.

The cavalry of Prussia, Austria, and Italy show the finest of
horsemanship. More than a quarter century ago, the author spent three
years in Berlin under the tuition of a retired major-general of the
Prussian army, and saw a great deal of the daily inside life, as well
as the exceptional parade life, of the army. He has often seen a
column of cavalry, with sabres drawn, ride across water which would
bring half the Myopia Hunt to a stand-still on an ordinary run after
hounds. Why should not men whose business it is to ride, do so well?

Think you there was not good horsemanship at Vionville, when von
Bredow (one of the author's old school friends, by the way) with his
six squadrons, to enable Bruddenbrock to hold his position till the
reinforcements of the Tenth Corps could reach him, rode into the
centre of the Sixth French Corps d'Armée? In slender line, he and his
men, three squadrons of the Seventh Cuirassiers, and three of the
Sixteenth Uhlans, charged over the French artillery in the first line,
the French infantry in line of battle, and reached the mitrailleuses
and reserves in the rear, where they sabred the gunners at their guns.
What though but thirteen officers and one hundred and fifty men out of
near a thousand returned from that gallant ride? Though no Tennyson
has sung their glorious deed, though we forget the willing courage
with which they faced a certain sacrifice for the sake of duty to the
Fatherland, think you those men rode not well, as a mere act of
horsemanship?

Think you that the handful of men of the Eighth Pennsylvania, at
Chancellorsville, when they charged down upon Stonewall Jackson's
victorious and elated legions, riding in column through the chapparal
and over the fallen timber of the Wilderness, carving their path
through thousands of the best troops who ever followed gallant leader,
sat not firmly in their saddles? Think you that the men who followed
Sheridan in many a gallant charge, or Fitz Hugh Lee, forsooth, could
not ride as well as the best of us across a bit of turf, with a modest
wall now and then to lend its zest to the pleasure? Neither we nor our
British cousins can monopolize all the virtue of the world, even in
the art equestrian.

As there is no doubt that fox-hunting is one of the most inspiriting
and manly of occupations, or that the English are preëminent in their
knowledge of the art, so there is likewise no doubt that equally stout
riders sit in foreign saddles. And though each would have to learn the
other's trade, I fancy you could sooner teach a score or a hundred
average cavalry officers of any nation to ride well across country,
than an equal number of clever, fox-hunting Englishmen to do the mere
saddle work of any well-drilled troops. Leaping is uniformly practiced
and well-taught, in all regular cavalry regiments of every army with
which I have been familiar in all parts of the world.



XI.


Well, Patroclus, you have earned your gallop. I loosen in the least my
hold upon the reins, and shaking your head from very delight, off you
go like the wind. Never could charger plunge into a mad gallop more
quickly than you, Patroclus. Your stride is long, your gather quick,
and the reserve power in your well-balanced movements so inspiring,
that I would almost ride you at the Charles River, in the expectation
that you would clear it. But the lane is all too short. Steady, sir,
steady! and down you come in a dozen bounds to a gait from which you
can fall into a walk at word.

But what is that? A rustling in the woods beside us! That sounds
indeed frightsome enough to make you start and falter. You are not
devoid of fear, Patroclus. No high-couraged horse can ever be. But
though you may tremble in every limb, if I speak to you, I may safely
throw the reins upon your neck. So, boy! To face danger oftener
insures safety than to run from it. To the right about, and let us see
what it means. Steady, again! Now stand, and let it come. There,
Patroclus, despite your snort of fear, it is only a couple of stray
calves cutting their ungainly capers as they make their way towards
home. Their bustle, like that of so many of the rest of us, far
exceeds their importance. Was not this much better seen than avoided?
You would have hardly liked this pleasant lane again had we not seen
the matter through.

I have never kept you in condition, Patroclus, to stand heavy bursts
after hounds, or indeed any exceptionally long or sharp run. That
means too much deprivation of your daily company. Nor indeed, be it
confessed, is your master himself often in the condition requisite to
do the sharpest work. It will generally be noticed that the clear eye
and firm muscle of the rider is a factor in the problem of how to be
in at the death, as well as the lungs and courage of the hunter. And
yet, Patroclus, you are, within your limits, a model jumper, and
always seem to have a spare leg. No horse delights more in being
headed at a wall or ditch than you, even in cold blood. For any horse
worthy the name will jump after a fashion in company. At the end of
our lane we can take the short cut towards the great highway, over the
gate and the little brook and hedge. As I talk to you, I can see that
you catch my purpose, for as we draw near the place, the might of
conscious strength seems to course through all your veins. Perhaps I
have unwittingly settled into my seat as I thought of the four-foot
gate. Here we are, and there is just enough bend in the road to ride
at the gate with comfort. Head up, ears erect, eyes starting from out
their sockets, no need to guide you towards it, my Patroclus! No
excitement, no uncertainty, no flurry. You and I know how surely we
are going over. A quiet canter, but full of elastic power, to within
about fifty feet of the jump, and then a short burst, measuring every
stride, till with a "Now boy!" as you approach the proper gather, I
give you your head, and you go into the air like a swallow. Just a
fraction of a second--how much longer it seems!--and we land cleverly,
well together, and in three strides more you have fallen into a jog
again. And now you look back, lest, perchance, the lump of sugar or
Seckel pear which used to reward you when you were learning your
lesson should be forthcoming now. But no, Patroclus, my good word and
a kindly pat for your docility and strength must be your meed to-day.
Canter along on the soft turf till we come to the little brook. We
will call it a brook, and think of it as a big one, though it is
barely eight feet wide. But never mind. We can jump thrice its width
just as well as across it. Remember, Patroclus, water requires speed
and well-set purpose, as height does clean discretion. At it, my boy!
Take your own stride. There's lots of room this side and more on the
other bank.

    "Harden your heart, and catch hold of the bridle,
    Steady him! Rouse him! Over he goes!"

In the air again; this time it seems like a minute almost. There,
Patroclus, if it had been twenty feet of water, you would not have
known the odds. Now for the road and company.



XII.


The same reasoning may be applied to saddles as to gaits. To pull down
a bull, the Texan must be furnished with a horn-pommel, which would
have been highly dangerous to his rider if Patroclus had happened to
come down over the gate just leaped. Indeed, nothing but the flattest
of saddles is safe to the steeple-chaser. On the contrary, the soldier
rides a trot, or uses his sabre to much better advantage with a cantle
sufficiently high to lean against. And any man is liable to have some
physical conformation requiring a peculiar saddle.

  [Illustration: PLATE V.
   AN EASY CANTER.]

The present generation of new-fledged riders would fain tie us down to
the English hunting-seat by laws like the Medes and Persians. This is
a good pattern for our Eastern needs, but let us not call it the only
one. It is, of course, well when in Rome to do as the Romans do, or at
least so nearly like them as not to provoke remark. But every one
cannot do this, and the old trooper is not apt to ride this way. And
yet, there are thousands of ancient cavalry soldiers all over this
country, North and South, who, naked weapon in hand, have done such
feats of horsemanship as would shame most of the stoutest of to-day's
fox-hunting, polo-playing riders. I do not refer to the obstacles they
used to ride at,--which meant a vast deal more than merely an ugly
tumble over a three-foot stone wall; I refer to their stout seats in
the saddle, and the rough ground they were wont to cover when they
rode down upon and over a belching wall of fire. For all which,
whenever we see one of these old troopers out for a ride, modestly
(for he is always modest) airing his army saddle, strong curb, and
long and hooded stirrups, we may, perchance, notice the jeer of the
stripling, whose faultless dress and bang-tailed screw are but a sham
which hides his lack of heart. It always gives one's soul a glow of
pride to see the well-known seat, and one is fain tempted to ride up
to the old comrade and grasp him by the hand. A thorough rider will
recognize his equal under any garb. It is pretense alone which merits
a rebuke. You cannot make a poor rider a good one by mounting him in a
fashionable saddle, any more than you can make a worthless brute a
good horse by giving his tail the latest dock.



XIII.


Until within no great time the modified military seat has been the one
which formed the basis of instruction. The riding-master, I presume,
still insists, with civilian and recruit alike, on feet parallel with
the horse, heels down, toes in, knee grip, and a hold of reins utterly
unknown in the hunting-field. And with a certain reason, though indeed
the old whip's rule of "'eels and 'ands down, 'ead and 'eart 'igh," is
the whole of the story, after all. For the man who begins with a knee
grip will never forget what his knees are for, and will not, like the
good little dude we passed a while ago, show daylight between them and
the saddle-flap at every rise. But the knee grip alone will not
suffice for all occasions, despite our military or riding-school
friends. A madly plunging horse or a big leap will instinctively call
out a grip with all the legs a man can spare. Moreover, the closer you
keep your legs to the horse without clasping him, the better. Go into
the hunting-field or over a steeple-chase course, and you will find
that the inside of your boot-tops--and not only yours, but every other
jockey's as well--have been rubbed hard and constantly against the
saddle. There lies the proof. At West Point, and in fact at every
military school, the cadets are sometimes practiced to ride with a
scrap of paper held to the saddle by the knee while they leap a bar,
and at the same time thrust or cut with the sabre at a convenient
dummy foe. I have seen a silver dollar so held between the knee and
saddle. But the bar is not a succession of high stone walls, nor is
the cadet riding a burst of several miles. And with a longer stirrup
it is more natural to keep the foot parallel with the horse's side.
To-day, the best riders do not so hold their feet. Cross-country a man
certainly does not. The proof is forthcoming at the Country Club on
any race-day, or at every meet here or in England, that a man riding
over an obstacle of any size will use all the legs he can without
digging his spurs into his horse's flanks, in a way he could not do
with the feet parallel to the horse's sides.

The modern dispensation differs from the old one in not being tied to
the military seat. The Rev. Sydney Smith objected to clergymen riding,
but modified his disapproval in those cases when they "rode very badly
and turned out their toes." A generation ago, a man was always
thinking of the position of his feet, as he cares not to do to-day, if
he sits firmly in the saddle, and boasts light hands.



XIV.


While on this subject, one cannot refrain from indulging in a friendly
laugh at the attempt to bend our unreasonable Eastern weather to the
conditions of a fox-hunting climate. The hunting season is that time
of the year when the crops are out of the ground. In England, during
the winter months, the weather is open and moist, and the soft ground
makes falling "delightfully easy," as dear old John Leech has it. And
the little hedges and ditches of some of the good hunting counties, or
indeed the ox-fences and grassy fields of Leicestershire, are such as
to make a day out a positive pound of pleasure, with scarce an ounce
of danger to spice it, if you choose to ride with moderation. For the
best rider in the Old Country is not the hare-brained cockney who
risks both his horse's and his own less valuable neck in the field; it
is he who chooses discreetly his course, and makes headway with the
least exertion to his hunter compatible with his keeping a good place
in the field. The man who appreciates how jumping takes strength out
of a horse, or who is any judge of pace, is apt to save, not risk him.
Few men willingly jump an obstacle which they can readily avoid
without too much delay. Read the legends of the famous hunting-men of
England, and you will find discretion always outranking valor. Any
fool can ride at a dangerous obstacle. Courage of that kind is a
common virtue. But it takes a make-up of quite a different nature to
be in, as a rule, at the death. How many five-barred gates will a man
jump when he can open them? How much water will he face when there is
a bridge near by? Does not every one dismount in hilly countries to
ease his horse? A good rider must be ready to throw his heart over any
obstacle possible to himself and his horse, when he cannot get round
it. But a discreet horseman puts his horse only at such leaps as he
must take, or which will win him a distinct advantage.

England is naturally a hunting country. But here, Lord save the mark!
there are no foxes to speak of. Scent won't lie, as a general thing,
with the thermometer below thirty (though scent is one of those
mysterious things which only averages according to rules, and every
now and then shows an unaccountable exception), and the obstacles are
snake fences or stone walls with lumpy, frozen ground to land on, or,
belike, a pile of bowlders or a sheet of ice. A bad fall means
potentially broken bones or a ruined horse, and while you are beating
cover for the fox who won't be found, you are shaking with the cold,
and your clipped or over-heated beast is sowing the seeds of
lung-fever.

You, Patroclus, were once laid up five months by landing on a snag the
further side of a most harmless-looking stone wall, and tearing out
some of the coronal arteries.

There are plenty of good horseback sports without a resort to what is
clearly out of the latitude. If you wait for good hunting weather, the
crops interfere with your sport, and our farmers have not the English
inducement to welcome the hunt across the fields, tilled at the sweat
of their brow. In the South, both weather and much waste land make
fox-hunting more easy to carry on. But even there it does not thrive.
Here in the East it will not be made indigenous.

Not but what, on a bright sunny day, a meet at which equine admirers
can show their neat turn-outs and glossy steeds and discuss horseflesh
in the general and the particular is a delightful experience. And
indeed, wherever crops and covers do not monopolize the country, a
good drag-hunt may often be had before cold weather mars the sport.
Perchance, in time, Reynard may take up his abode with us, when
vulpicide shall be punished by real ostracism. For has not the Ettrick
Shepherd proven conclusively that Reynard loves the chase? But far
from underrating the caged fox or anise-seed bag, hare and hounds
would seem to afford the better sport. For the hares, an they will,
can carry you across a country where each one can choose his own
course, instead of being obliged to follow a leader through
wood-paths, and through second growth which is all but jungle, where,
if one happens to blunder at an obstacle, your follower will come
riding down atop of you, and where you are bound to be "nowhere"
unless you get away with the first half-dozen men.

But spite of all its drawbacks, Patroclus, you and I enjoy in equal
measure a run under fair conditions as much as the best of them. And
let us hope the hunting fever will be kept up in healthy fashion, for
we two can select our weather, and we are not afraid of our reputation
if we drop out before the finish. This kind of work soon shakes our
novices into the saddle, and its many excellencies far outweigh its
few absurdities. Let him who runs it down try rather a run with the
pack some sunny day. If he does not find it manly sport, and stout
hearts in the van of the field, he can tell us why thereafter. The
outcome of to-day's riding mania is well ahead of the young men's
billiard-playing and bar-drinking of twenty years ago.



XV.


There are good riders in every land and in every species of saddle.
Facts are the best arguments. The North American Indian and the
follower of the Prophet each performs his prodigies of horsemanship,
the one bareback with hanging leg, the other in a peaked saddle with
knee all but rubbing his nose. Whoso has laughed over Leech's sketches
of Mossoo, who makes a _promenade à cheval_, or indeed has watched him
in the Bois, is fain to doubt that a Frenchman can ride well. And yet
he does. Was not Baucher the father of fine horsemanship? A rough and
tumble, plucky rider, or one who is experienced and discreet after
hounds as well, is more frequently found in Great Britain; a highly
skilled equestrian (is the author nearing a hornet's nest?) in France,
or elsewhere across the Channel. But we naturally must seek the
Continental rider in the camp, for is not the Continent itself one
vast camp? It is perhaps hard to decide whether the cavalry officer
who is master of the intricacies of the _manège_ or the country
gentleman who has won a reputation with the Pytchley or the Belvoir
may be properly called the more accomplished horseman. Each in his
place is unequaled. But is it not true, that the former can more
quickly adapt himself to the habits of hunting than the latter to
those of the Haute Ecole? And do not the methods of the School give us
more capacity for enjoying our daily horseback exercise, than any
amount of experience with hounds?



XVI.


It is sometimes said in England that a School-rider reining in his
steed never looks as if he were having a thoroughly good time, as does
the man who lets his horse go his own inspiriting gait along the road.
But why not? Is inspiration only found in excess of physical motion? If
so, to use an exaggerated comparison, why does not Paddy at Donnybrook
Fair, trailing his coat and daring some one to tread on the tail of it,
enjoy himself more thoroughly than the man who quietly plays a game of
chess or whist? Or to use a more nearly equal simile, may not a man
find as great enjoyment in a skilled game of tennis, as in the violent
rushes of foot-ball, where two hundred and twenty pounds of mere
blubber will assuredly bear down all the prowess and aptness of his own
say one hundred and forty? It is as certain that the pleasure of riding
a trained horse is greater than that of merely sitting a vigorously
moving untrained one, as that the delight of intellectual study exceeds
the excitement of trashy reading. _Omne ignotum pro magnifico_ seems
not to be uniformly true, for riders unfamiliar with the training of
the High School almost as invariably run down its methods, as self-made
business men are apt to discountenance a college education as a
preliminary discipline for the struggles of life.

It is a fact that no man who has once been a School-rider ever
abandons either the knowledge he has gained or its constant practice.
No one can underrate the pleasure of simple motion upon a vigorous
horse. But the School-rider has this in equal degree with the
uneducated horseman, coupled with a feeling of control and power and
ability to perform which the mere man on horseback never attains.
Moreover, all the powers of the School-rider's horse are within the
grasp of his hand; and that the powers of the high-strung steed of the
average equestrian are all too often resident mainly in the animal
itself is shown by the chapter of accidents daily reiterated in the
news-columns. The School-man is apt to ride more moderately, and to
indulge in a bracing gallop less frequently, because to him the
pleasure of slow and rhythmic movement on a fleet and able horse is
far greater than mere rapidity can ever be; the untrained rider
resorts to speed because this is the one exhilaration within the
bounds of his own or his horse's knowledge.

I do not wish to be understood as advocating the School habit of
_always_ keeping a horse collected. However much for some purposes I
admire it, I do not practice it. I often saunter off a half-dozen
miles without lifting the rein, while Patroclus wanders at his own
sweet will. I often trot or gallop at my nag's quite unrestrained
gait. But if I want to collect him, if I want that obedience which the
School teaches him to yield, he must, to be to me a perfect horse, at
my slightest intimation give himself absolutely to my control, and
take all his art from me. I feel that I am a good judge of either
habit of riding, as I have well tried both, and absolutely adhere to
neither. I pretend by no means, in School-riding, to have carried my
art so far as to be even within hail of the great masters of
equitation; but I have not for many years been without one or more
horses educated in all the School airs which are applicable to
road-riding, and I know their value and appreciate it.

Because, then, the cowboy is nowhere in the hunting-field; or because
the hard-riding squire and M. F. H. cannot drop to the further side of
his horse while he shoots at his galloping enemy, or pick up a
kerchief from the ground at a smart gallop; or because the Frenchman
has to learn his racing trade from an English jockey, it will not do
to say that each is not among the best of horsemen, or that either is
better than the other. The style of riding is always the outgrowth of
certain conditions of necessity or pleasure, and invariably fits those
conditions well. With us in the East the English habit is no doubt the
most available; but it can only be made the test of our own needs or
fashions, not of general equestrianism.



XVII.


While all this has been buzzing through your master's brain, you,
Patroclus, knowing full well that the loosely hanging rein has meant
liberty within reason to yourself, have wandered away to the nearest
thicket, and begun to crop the tender leaves and shoots as peacefully
as you please. To look at your quiet demeanor at this moment one would
scarcely think that you were such a bundle of nerves. You can be as
sedate as Rosinante till called upon. But when the bit plays in your
mouth, you are as full of life and action as the steeds of Diomed with
flowing manes. Your eye and ear are an index to your mood, and you
reflect your rider's wish in every step. No man ever bestrode a more
generous beast than you. Do you remember, Patroclus, the days when you
carried your little twelve-year-old mistress, and how her first
lessons in fine equitation were taken in your company? And cleverly
did she learn indeed. Do you remember how we used to put you on your
honor, though you were only a five-year-old and dearly loved to romp
and play? Ay, Patroclus, and fairly did you answer the appeal! With
the gentle burden on your broad, strong back, her golden-red hair
streaming behind her in the breeze from under her jaunty hat, you
would have ridden through fire, my beauty, rather than betray your
trust. However tempted to a bound, or however startled at some
fearsome thing, one word--a "Quiet, Pat!"--from that soft girlish
voice, now hushed for both of us, would never fail to keep you kind
and steady. And you were ever willing, with even more than your
accustomed alacrity, to perform your airs at the slightest
encouragement of the soft hands and gentle voice; and having done so
would lay back your ears and shake your head with very pleasure at the
rippling laughter in which your pretty rider's thanks were wont to be
expressed. I knew, Patroclus, that in your care the little maid was
quite as safe as with her doll at home.

  [Illustration: PLATE VI.
   A TEN-MILE TROT.]



XVIII.


And now a word about the horse in action, as shown by instantaneous
photography, and about the war waged between artists and
photographers. Some disciples of Muybridge would fain have the artist
depict an animal in an ungainly attitude, because the lens is apt to
catch him at a point in his stride which looks ungainly, there being
many more such points than handsome ones. It is the moving creature
which we admire. The poetry of motion is rarely better seen than in a
proudly stepping horse. But arrest that motion and you are apt to have
that which the human eye can neither recognize nor delight itself
withal. Arrested motion rarely suggests the actual motion we aim to
depict. The lens will show you every spoke of a rapidly revolving
wheel, as if at rest. The eye, or the artist, shows you a blur of
motion. And so with other objects. The lens works in the hundredth
part of a second; the eye is slower far.

To a certain extent photography, _quoad_ art, is wrong and the limner
is right. There are some horses which possess a very elegant carriage.
In their action there are certain periods--generally those at which
one fore and one hind leg are slowing up at the limit of their forward
stride--when the eye catches an agreeable impression which is capable
of being reduced to canvas,--though it is after all the proud motion
itself which pleases, and this can only be suggested. Now, photography
robs you of almost all the suggestiveness of the horse's action,
unless you select only those photographs which approach the action
caught by the human eye. Even after long study of the Muybridge
silhouettes, the artistic lover of the horse feels that he must reject
all but a small percentage of these wonderful anatomical studies. If
there are periods in the horse's stride which are agreeable to the
eye, why should the artist not select these for delineation? Why
indeed does his art not bind him to do so?

                 *       *       *       *       *

You, Patroclus, are peculiarly elegant in motion. It is difficult to
pick a flaw in the symmetry of your gaits. Slow or fast, fresh or
tired, your motion is always proud and graceful. And yet out of many
photographs, few suggest your action at all, fewer still even
passably; none convey to its full extent what all your intimates well
know.

                 *       *       *       *       *

To photograph well, a horse must have a good deal, but not an
excessive amount of action, and with unquestioned grace of curves. The
reason why horses in very rapid motion photograph illy is to be found
in the too extreme curves described by their legs in the powerful
strides of great speed, any position in which, arrested by the lens,
looks exaggerated,--sprawling. The reason why, on the other hand, the
photograph of a daisy-clipper moving slowly looks tame is the lack of
action to suggest the motion which the eye follows in real life. Many
of the best performers are plain in action. Some of the most faultless
movers, so far as results or form are concerned, even when agreeable
to the eye, will show unsightly photographs. Let any one who desires
to test this matter have a half-dozen instantaneous photographs of his
pet saddle beast taken. He will surely be convinced that a horse must
be extremely handsome in motion to give even a passable portrait. If
he gets one picture in four which shows acceptably, he may be sure
that he owns a good-looking nag. Among the silhouettes in the Stanford
Book, scarcely one in twenty shows a handsome outline. This seems to
be owing, as above explained, to the speed exhibited in almost all the
performances; and in the slow gaits, to the want of action in the
subjects. Still, if the pictures had shown the light and shade which
instantaneous photography is now able to give, many of the plates
would have made artistic pictures.

There are certainly many minutiæ in which the artist can learn from
the photograph. To give an instance: before reaching the ground, the
leg in every gait must be stiffened, and the bottom of the foot
brought parallel to the surface traveled over, or a stumble will
ensue. This, at first blush, may look awkward; but it is not really
so. The artist often forgets that a horse must sustain his weight on
stiff legs, and that these straighten from their graceful curves to
the supporting position in regular gradation, and reach this position
just before the foot comes down. Some in other respects most
attractive sketches fail in this. Often one sees the picture of an
otherwise handsomely moving horse whose fetlock joint of the foot just
being planted is so bent forward as to make a drop inevitable. This is
certainly without the domain of true art.

The origin of such drawing lies probably in the fact that the eye
catches the bent rather than the straight position of the fetlock,
because the former occurs when the foot is higher above the ground,
while the latter position is not so noticeable as being more out of
the line of sight. But such stumbling pictures are as much a worry to
the horseman's eye as the ugliest of the Muybridge gallopers is to the
artist's; and they are wholly unnecessary.

There are many such minor points of criticism of the usual artistic
work, which the artists should not deem beyond consideration. It is
quite possible to make the truthful and the artistic go hand in hand.

Except, perhaps, in the gallop. This most disheartening gait
_will_ not be reduced to what we have been taught to like. There
is but one of the five "times" of the gallop which suggests even
tolerable speed,--the one when all four feet are in the air and
gathered well under the horse. At the instant when one of the hind
legs is reaching forward to land, there is sometimes a suggestion of
great speed and vigor. But the successive stilted strides when the
straightened legs in turn assume the body's weight oppress the very
soul of the lover of the Racing Plates. It must fain be left to the
wisest heads, and perhaps better to time, to bring daylight from this
darkness.

The late John Leech, as far back as the forties, essayed to draw
running horses as his very keen eye showed him that they really
looked; but he was laughed out of the idea, and thenceforth stuck to
the artist's quadruped, though he had been, in his new departure, much
more nearly approaching anatomy than any one was then aware. And
thirty years ago, on Epsom Downs, it was revealed to the author, as it
has no doubt been to thousands of others, that it is the gathered and
not the spread position of the racer which is impressed upon the eye.
This is most clearly shown by watching the distant horses through a
glass. But still we stick to the anatomically impossible spread-eagle
stride of the turf, and feel that it conveys the idea of speed which
is not compassed by the set _fac-similes_ of photography.

It has been alleged that a horse never does, nor can take the spread
position of the typical racer of the artist. This is true enough, for
he never does extend himself to so great a degree. But at one part of
the leap he may do this very thing, though by no means to the extent
usually depicted (see Plate XI.). It is, however, certain that he
cannot do so at all in the gallop. At the only time when all his feet
are off the ground in this gait, they are all close together under his
girths. At all other times there are one or more feet on the ground,
with legs straight, and at greater or less inclination to the body.
From front to rear the legs move almost like the spokes of a wheel.
What the pictures of the turf in the future may be it is hard indeed
to say.

And yet, the longer one examines the many hundred silhouettes of
running horses, so well grouped for anatomical study in the Stanford
Book, the more reconciled to what there is of truth in them one may
become. Many years ago, I sat during the forenoon in the Turner Room
of the National Gallery in London, in the company of a friend, herself
no mean artist, and of decidedly strong artistic taste and correct
judgment, whose ideas of Turner had been founded solely on what she
had read, or seen and heard in America, and whose prejudice against
his apparently overwrought work was excessive. For a full hour few
words were passed. Then, rising to go: "If I sit here any longer, I
shall end by liking the man!" quoth she.

It seems to me that the power in these Muybridge photographs grows
upon you. It is universally acknowledged that one does not see the
running horse as he is usually drawn; in other words, that the
artist's run is incorrect. Now, if the retina has anything impressed
upon it, it must assuredly be either one of the positions actually
taken by the galloping animal, or else a mere blur of motion. The
artist draws a blurred wheel because he sees it blurred, and it
suggests rapid motion. But he will not draw blurred legs, because such
drawing will not suggest what he desires to convey in his picture. And
yet, if he is true to what his eye has seen, he must draw some of the
positions the horse has been in, and not positions which he cannot by
any possibility have passed through in this gait. I take it for
granted that the eye catches the gathered positions, and these are the
ones in which the horse is entirely in the air, with his legs under
his girths, and with hind feet reaching forward to land. Why should
not the artist draw these positions, in their thousand variations, in
lieu of the one single impossible position now universally in vogue?
Without alleging that he should do so, will the artist tell me why he
should not? For unless it be assumed that the usually drawn position
is a sort of geometrical resultant of the rapid series of positions
passed through, and is hence adopted because the eye mathematically
and unconsciously reduces these positions to the resultant, where is
the truth which the artist aims to produce? For I understand art to be
the reproduction of what the eye can see, or at least its close
suggestion. And though there may be room to doubt what the eye may
see, there is no room to doubt what the horse actually does in the
gallop.

It is probable that the spread-eagle position is a mere outgrowth of
the canter, which in a slight degree approximates to the action of the
artist's run, and that the latter has been exaggerated as a means of
conveying the idea of increased speed. I have yet heard no allegation
that the eye catches any but the gathering positions of the horse's
gallop. Now, given this, given an artist equal to and interested in
the task, and the anatomical results of photography, and it would seem
as if a sincere desire to reconcile the eye with positions which the
retina must certainly catch as the horse bounds by might evoke more
satisfactory results. Here is a life-work worthy of the best of animal
painters. Who will take it up? I plead for "more light."



XIX.


To return to our muttons, it is not too much to aver that any
well-trained horse knows much more than the average good equestrian.
It requires a light and practiced hand to evoke Patroclus' highest
powers. He has never refused an obstacle with his master, or failed to
clear what he fairly went at. But the least uncertainty betrayed in
the hand, and Patroclus knows something is wrong, and acts
accordingly.

I learned a good lesson about spoiling him for my own comfort not long
ago, when asked the privilege of riding him over a few hurdles on my
lawn by a friend who had an excellent seat in the saddle, but liked,
and had been used to a horse who seized hold of the bridle. Patroclus
took the first, but to my own and my friend's surprise quite refused
the second, and could by no means be persuaded to face it. On my
friend's yielding me the saddle, I mounted, and walked Patroclus up to
the hurdle with a firm word of encouragement; and though he wavered,
he took it on a standing jump. The slight reward of a tuft of grass
and a pat made him do better on the second trial, but for weeks
afterwards he was nervous at that particular hurdle, though at
anything else he went with his accustomed nerve. My friend and I were
both unaware of how his hands had erred, but the horse's fine mouth
had felt it.

Patroclus is essentially a one-man horse. He will always serve well
for the wage of kindness, but it would take a hard taskmaster but a
short week to transform him into the semblance of the Biblical wild
ass's colt. He will change his gaits at will from any one to any
other. But his rider's hands must be steady and as skilled as his own
soft mouth, or how can the lesser mind comprehend? He may, at the
bidding of uncertain reins, change from gait to gait and foot to foot,
seeking to satisfy his ignorant rider, who, meanwhile, unable to catch
his meaning, will dub him a stupid, restless brute. A well-trained
horse needs an equally well-trained rider.



XX.


There are two kinds of "perfectly trained" saddle horses. One is the
well-drilled cow of the riding-schools, fit only to give instruction
to class after class of beginners, and who is safe because worked
beyond his courage and endurance. The other is the School-horse, of
perfect vigor and fine manners, who is obedient to the slightest whim
of the clever rider, but who is so entire an enigma to the untrained
one, that he is unable to ride him at even his quiet gaits.

One of my friends in Touraine used in his youth to be a pupil of the
famous Baucher. He once told me how, at the instigation of his
classmates, he begged hard for many days to be allowed to ride the
master's favorite horse, with whom he was apt to join his higher
classes. My friend flattered himself that he could manage any horse,
as he had long ridden under Baucher's instruction. As an example to
the class, the master finally gave way. But the experiment was short.
My friend soon found that he was so much less accomplished than the
high-strung beast that he was utterly unable to manage or control him,
much less to perform any of the School airs, and he was by no means
sorry when his feat of equitation was terminated by so dangerous a
rear that Baucher deemed it wise to come to the rescue. My friend's
hands, though well-drilled, were so much less delicate than the
horse's mouth, that the latter had at first mistaken some peculiar
unsteadiness as the indication for a _pirouette_, to which he had
obediently risen; but then, on feeling some additional unsteadiness of
the reins, he had, in his uncertainty and confusion, reared quite
beyond control. Yet under the master this horse's habit of obedience
was so confirmed that he was apparently as moderate as any courageous
horse should be, though actually of a hyper-nervous character.

Nothing but time will make a thorough horseman; but a few months will
make a tolerable horseman of any man who has strength, courage,
intelligence, and good temper. If a man confines his ambition to a
horse whom he can walk, trot, and canter on the road in an unbalanced
manner, and who will jump an ordinary obstacle, so as to follow the
hounds over easy country, it needs but little time and patience to
break in both man and beast to this simple work. If a man wants what
the High School calls a saddle beast, a full half year's daily
training is essential for the horse, and to give this the man must
have had quite thrice as much himself. Fix the standard at an 'alf and
'alf 'unter and your requirements are soon met. Raise the standard of
education to a horse well-balanced, who is always ready to be
collected and always alert to his rider's wants and moods, and who can
do any work well, and you need much more in both teacher, pupil, and
rider. No horse can be alike perfect in the field and in the park. But
the well-trained road horse can always hunt within the bounds
prescribed by his condition, speed, and jumping ability; the finest
hunter is apt to be either a nuisance on the road or too valuable for
such daily work. It will not do to quote this as an invariable rule.
But it certainly has few exceptions.

  [Illustration: PLATE VII.
   RISING AT A HURDLE.]

Moreover, a hunter requires many weeks to be got into fine condition,
and can then perform well not exceeding half a dozen days a month, and
needs a long rest after the season. And it is not the average man who
is happy enough to own a stable so full or to boast such ample leisure
as to tax his horseflesh to so very slight an extent.



XXI.


But what is that, Patroclus? Up goes your head, your lively ears
pricked out, with an inquisitive low-voiced whinny. What is it you
sniff upon the softly-moving air? Well, well, I know. That neigh and
again a neigh betrays you. As sure as fate it is one of your
stable-mates coming along the road. Perhaps our young friend Tom, upon
his new purchase, Penelope. We will go and see, at all events. I never
found you wrong, and I never knew your delicate nose to fail to sniff
a friend before the eye could catch him, or your pleasant whinny fail
to speak what you had guessed as well. Sure enough, there he comes and
Nell has heard you too. Both Tom and she are out for the lesson which
either gives the other. Now for a sociable tramp and chat in the
company you like so well. And you and I will try to give Penelope and
Master Tom a few hints which he has often asked, and of which all
young horses and riders are apt to stand in need.



XXII.


Good-morrow, Tom, and how are you, sleek Nelly? A fine day this for a
tramp. Patroclus sniffed you a long way off, and now is happy to rub
his nose on Nelly's neck, while she, forsooth, much as she likes the
delicate attention, lays back her ears with a touch-me-not expression
characteristic of the high-bred of her sex. A lucky dog are you to
throw your leg across such a dainty bit of blood!

You, Tom, are one of numberless young men who want to learn that which
they have not the patience to study out of technical books and will
hardly acquire in a riding-school; who, in other words, rather than
learn on tan-bark, have preferred to purchase a horse and teach
themselves. A man may do well in a school or on a horse hired in a
school, and yet not know how to begin the training of a horse which
has been only broken in to drive, as most of our American colts are,
however eager to improve him for the saddle. Let us compare notes as
we saunter along the road.

Do not understand me to depreciate the value of riding-schools, nor
the training which they inculcate. On the contrary, School-training
carried far enough and properly given is just what I do advocate. But
between the riding-school and School-riding, there is a great gulf
fixed. The capital letter is advisedly used. A horse which has been
given a good mouth, and has been taught as far as the volte and
demi-volte, simple and reversed (though indeed the riding-school volte
and the volte of the Haute Ecole are different things), certainly
knows a fairish amount, and may be able to teach his rider much of
what he knows. But riding in a school is not road-riding, although a
school-horse may have profited well by his education. Leaping a school
hurdle is not riding to hounds. A thoroughly good riding-school horse
may be a very brute when in the park. Perfect manners within four
walls may disappear so soon as the horse gets a clear mile ahead of
him. Assuredly, it is well enough to learn the rudiments at a good
riding-school. But if you ever want to become a thorough horseman and
have equally good horses, study the art for yourself,--there is no
mystery about it,--and learn what a horse should know and how to teach
him. When you have done this, you will have a satisfactory saddle
beast. If you expect a groom or a riding-school master to train your
horses for you, you will not have a perfect mouth or good manners once
in a hundred times. If the master is expert, he will be too busy to do
your horses full justice short of an exorbitant honorarium. The groom
is, as a rule, both ignorant and impatient, if not brutal.



XXIII.


I know of no better foundation for a man to begin upon than the
breaking-in to harness, which an American horse has usually received
at the hands of an intelligent farmer, before he is brought to the
city for sale. Starting with the horse, then, say at five years old,
if you will learn how to give him his saddle education, and do it
yourself, you will have, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, a
better saddle beast in six months than any groom can, or any
riding-master is apt to make.

There is somewhat of a tendency among the English, and much more among
their American imitators, to decry as unnecessary the training of
horses beyond a mouth somewhat short of leather and two or three easy
road gaits; or, in hunters, the capacity to do well cross-country. But
there is vastly more to be said on the side of High School training.
By a three months' School course stubborn horses may be made
tractable, dangerous horses rendered comparatively safe, uncomfortable
brutes easy and reliable. Vices may be cured, stumbling may be made
far less dangerous, if the habit cannot be eradicated, physical
defects, unfitting a horse for saddle work, may often be overcome, and
the general utility of the average horse vastly increased. All this,
and much more, may be done, without touching upon the gain in ease to
the rider, the pleasure to be derived when both man and beast are
enabled to work in unison, the ability schooling gives to the weakest
hand to hold the most high-strung horse, and the great variety of
motions, speeds, and paces which may be taught to subserve the comfort
and delight of the rider. Whoso will claim that the reader of the last
French play enjoys as great a privilege and pleasure as the student of
Hamlet, or that the day laborer is the equal of the skilled artisan,
may deny the utility of schooling the horse for saddle work. No
reference is here intended to be made to racing-stock, or to hunters
kept as such. These stand in a class by themselves, requiring
different aptitudes and treatment.

An interesting proof of the general value of training has been
recently developed in the Sixth U.S. Cavalry, stationed in New
Mexico. In some of the troops the horses have been drilled to lie down
and allow the men to fire over them,--a most valuable bit of
discipline, peculiarly suited to Indian warfare. From the course of
training necessary to bring about this end has resulted an unexpected
but very natural docility in the horses, which are Californian
bronchos, and a poor class of animal. Horses formerly considered
dangerous have become quite gentle, and the entire condition of the
command has been changed.

So far as the belief goes that what are called the High School airs
are unessential, it is easy to agree with the English opinion; but it
is clear that the saddle horse should have far more training than he
generally receives in England, and certainly than he receives here. It
would seem that the better position lies midway between the Haute
Ecole of the Continent and the half and half training of Great
Britain.

I do not mean to imply that there are not many beautifully trained
saddle beasts in England. You see in Rotten Row, among a vast lot of
brutes, probably more fine mounts than you will find in any other
known resort of fashion, more than anywhere in the world outside of
cavalry barracks. But the ordinary run of English hacks are taught to
trot and canter, and there their training ceases. And so entirely is
the education of horses left to grooms and riding-masters, that even
the most elaborate English works on equitation, while they say that a
horse should be taught to do thus and so, and give excellent
instructions for riding a trained horse, afford no clue to the means
of training. On the other hand, the High School manuals go far beyond
what most men have patience to follow or a desire to learn, excellent
as such an education may be for both horse and rider.

I should be sorry indeed to be understood to underrate the
horsemanship of England. I do not suppose that the excellence and
universality of the equestrianism of Englishmen has any more sincere
admirer than myself. But it is true that equitation as an art exists
only among the military experts of the Old Country, and that the
training of English horses is not carried beyond bare mediocrity among
civilians for road work. For racing or hunting, the English system is
perfect. The burden of my song is that we Americans shall not too
closely imitate one single English style for all purposes. If we will
truly imitate the best English methods, each in its appropriate place,
and not pattern ourselves solely on the fox-hunting type, we shall do
well enough; though in riding, as in all the arts, it is wisest, as
well as most American, to look for models in every direction, and
select the best to follow. What I wish to protest against is the
dragging of the hunting-field into the park, and what I wish to urge
is the higher education of--horses.

One has only to go back to the thirties in England to find all the
niceties of the Haute Ecole in full bloom. Not only the young swells,
but the old politicians and the celebrated generals, used to go
"titupping" down the Row, passaging, traversing, and piaffing to the
admiration of all beholders. But the age which, in the race for the
greatest good to the greatest number, has brought about simplicity in
men's dress, and has reduced oratory to mere conversation; which has
given the layman the right to abuse the church, and the costermonger
the privilege of running down royalty, has changed all this. And as
we have doubtless gone too far in many directions, in our desire to
make all men free and equal, may we not have also gone too far in
discarding some of the refinements of equestrianism? And is it not
true, and pity, that the old-fashioned outward courtesy to women (for
the courtesy of the heart, _Dieu merci_, always remains to us), whose
decrease is unhappily so apparent to-day, and among the young is being
supplanted by a mere _camaraderie_, is being swept from our midst
by the same revulsion towards the extremely practical, which has
discarded the beruffled formalities of our forebears and the high airs
of equitation?

We have, in the East, been so imbued with an imitative mania of the
hunting style of England, that if one rides a horse on any other than
an open, or indeed an all but disjointed walk, trot, or canter, he is
thought to be putting on airs, in much the same measure as if he
should dress in an unwarranted extreme of fashion upon the street. But
if we are to ape the English, why not permit on Commonwealth
Avenue--or by and by, we trust, the Park--what is daily seen in Rotten
Row? No one who has tasted it can deny the exhilarating pleasure given
you by a horse who is fresh enough to bound out of the road at any
instant, who conveys to you in every stride that glorious sense of
power which only a generous heart as well as supple muscles ever
yield, and who is yet well enough schooled to rein down to a five-mile
canter, with his haunches well under him; while, though he is burning
with eagerness to plunge into a gallop, he curbs his ambition to your
mood, and rocks you in the saddle with that gentle combination of
strength and ease to which an uneducated gait is no more to be
compared than Pierce's cider (good as it is in its place) to Mumm's
Cordon Rouge. When one is riding for the pleasure of riding, why not
use all the art which will add zest to your pleasure, rather than aim
to give the impression that you are sauntering to cover, well ahead of
time, and don't want to tire your horse, because you expect to tax him
severely during the day with the Myopia beagles across the pretty
country near Weld Farm?

A celebrated English horseman says: "The park-hack should have, with
perfection of graceful form, graceful action, an exquisite mouth, and
perfect manners." "He must be intelligent, for without intelligence
even with fine form and action he can never be pleasant to ride." "The
head should be of the finest Oriental type; the neck well arched, but
not too long." "The head should be carried in its right place, the
neck gracefully arched. From the walk he should be able to bound into
any pace, in perfectly balanced action, that the rider may require."
And yet such a horse, though esteemed a prize in Rotten Row, would be
all but tabooed on the streets of Boston, because he is not the type
of a fine performer to hounds.



XXIV.


There are so many manuals of the equestrian art from which any
aspiring and patient student of equitation may derive the information
requisite to become an expert horseman, that beyond a few hints for
the benefit of those who, like you, Tom, know nothing and want to
learn a little about the niceties of horseback work, it would be
presumptuous to go. If a man desires to learn how to train a horse
thoroughly, he must go back to Baucher, or to some of Baucher's
pupils. All the larger works which cover training contain the elements
of the Baucher system. The recent work of Colonel E. L. Anderson, late
of General George H. Thomas' staff, written in England and published
by David Douglas of Edinburgh, is a most excellent work.

I have found as a rule that abstruse written explanations are very
difficult to understand. In a recent excellent book on riding-school
training (not School-riding mind you), though I know perfectly well
what the riding-school volte and demi-volte are, as well as the
School-volte and demi-volte, simple and reversed, I have read certain
paragraphs dozens of times, without being able to make the words mean
what the movement really is. Colonel Anderson's book is very clear,
though it goes fully into the refinements of the art, except the
quasi-circus tricks and airs, and from it, with time and patience, a
man can make himself an accomplished rider and his steed equal to any
work--outside the sawdust ring.

But you, Tom, do not aspire to go so far in the training of Penelope.



XXV.


You must not suppose that a man who teaches his horse all the airs of
the Haute Ecole constantly uses them, any more than an eminent divine
is always in the act of preaching, or a _prima donna assoluta_ is
at all times warbling or practicing chromatic scales, when each ought
to be engaged in the necessary but prosaic details of life. The best
results of School-training lie in the ability of the horse and rider
to do plain and simple work in the best manner. Because a horse can
traverse or perform the Spanish trot, his rider need not necessarily
make him traverse or passage past the window of his inamorata, while
he himself salutes her with the air of a grandee of Aragon. For this
would no doubt be bad style for a modern horseman in front of a Beacon
Street mansion; though truly it might be eminently proper, as well as
an interesting display of horsemanship, for the same rider to traverse
past his commanding general while saluting at a review on Boston
Common. Nor because a horse can perform the reversed pirouette with
perfect exactness will a School-rider stop in the middle of a park
road and parade the accomplishment. But this same reversed pirouette
is for all that the foundation of everything that a well-trained horse
should be able to do, and if he knows it, he is ready to make use of
it at all times for the greater ease, safety, and pleasure of his
master.

  [Illustration: PLATE VIII.
   FLYING A HURDLE.]

You may ask of what use it can ever be. Suppose you were riding with a
lady, on her left,--which is the safe and proper, if not the
fashionable side,--and her saddle should begin to turn, say toward
you, as it is most apt to do. If your horse minds the indication of
your leg, you can keep him so close to your companion's as to afford
her suitable assistance, even to the extent of bodily lifting her
clear of her saddle. If your horse is only half trained, you cannot,
perhaps, bring him to the position where you want him in season to be
of any service at all. Have you never seen a man who was trying to
open a gate at which a score of impatient, not to say objurgatory,
riders were waiting, while the field was disappearing over the hills
and far away, and who could neither get at it nor out of the way,
because his crack hunter didn't know what the pressure of his master's
legs meant, and fought shy of the gate, while keeping others from
coming near it? Have you never stood watching a race at the Country
Club, with a rider beside you whose horse took up five times the space
he was entitled to, because he could not be made to move sidewise? Has
not every one seen occasions when even a little training would have
been a boon both to himself and his neighbors?

Talking of opening gates, one of the best bits of practice is to
unlock, open, and ride through a common door and close and lock it
after you without dismounting. Let it be a door opening towards you.
If your horse will quickly get into and stand steady in the positions
necessary to enable you to lean over and do all this handily at any
door, gates will cease to have any terrors for you.

Nor must you suppose that every schooled horse is of necessity kept in
his most skilled form at all times. As few college graduates of twenty
years' standing can construe an ode of Horace, though indeed they may
understand the purport and read between the lines as they could not
under the shadow of the elms of Alma Mater, so Patroclus, for
instance, is by no means as clever in the intricate steps of his
School performances as he was when fresh from his education. But the
result is there; and for all the purposes of actual use in the saddle,
the training he has had at all times bears its fruit.

After this weary exordium of theory, Tom, for which my apologies, let
us turn to a bit of practice.



XXVI.


And first about the horse himself. If you buy one, do so under such
advice as to get soundness, intelligence, courage, and good temper.
Our American horses, unless spoiled, generally have all these in
sufficient measure, and can be made everything of. You have been
exceptionally fortunate in your purchase of Penelope. She is light
gaited, not long and logy in her movements, and carries her own head.
She has remarkable good looks, an inestimable quality after you get
performance; but beware of the May-bird which has good looks alone.
She is fifteen three, nearly as high at the rump, and with tail set on
right there, fine-bred, but with barrel enough to weigh about a
thousand and twenty pounds. She looks like a thoroughbred hunter, Tom,
every inch of her. This is a good height and weight for you, who ride
pretty heavy for a youngster, and are apt soon to run up to "twel'
stun eight."

You say Penelope is six years old. From five to eight is the best age,
the nearer five the better. An old horse does not supple so readily.
And she was well broken to harness? A good harness training is no harm
to any horse, nor occasional use in light harness, whatever pride one
may take in a horse which has never looked through a collar. In fact,
many hunters in the Old Country are purposely used as tandem, or
four-in-hand leaders during the summer, to give them light work, and
bring them towards the season in firmer condition than if they had run
at large and eaten their heads off. It is only the pulling or holding
back of heavy weights which injures saddle gaits, and this because a
saddle beast should be taught to keep his hind legs well under him,
and remain in an elastic equilibrium; and dragging a load brings about
the habit of extending the legs too much to the rear, while holding
back gives a habit of sprawling and stiffening which is sadly at
variance with a "collected" action.



XXVII.


You ask about dress. Wear anything which is usual among riders. Enamel
boots as now worn are convenient to the constant rider, as the mud
does not injure them as it does cloth, and water at once cleanses
them. But plain dark trousers, cut a mere trifle longer than you wear
them on the street, and strapped under the feet, are excellent to ride
in. If cut just right they are the neatest of all gear for park riding
in good weather. The simpler your dress the better. Gentlemen to-day
dress in boots when riding with ladies, and fashion, of course,
justifies their use now as it did fifty years ago. But within half
that term, in England, a man who would ride in boots with a pretty
horsebreaker considered trousers _de rigeur_, if he was going to
the Park with his wife or daughters.

To saddle and bridle your horse, you must know your own needs and his
disposition and mouth. But the English saddle and a bit and bridoon
bridle, such as you have, are the simplest, and meet most wants,
providing they fit the back and mouth.

We do not have to suit such varying tempers and mouths in this country
as they do abroad. Our horses are singularly tractable. It is rather a
stunning thing to be mounted on the fashionable type of horse who
"won't stand a curb, you know,"--and there are some such,--but, as a
fact, ninety-nine American horses out of one hundred will work well in
a port and bridoon bridle properly adjusted.

Always buy good things. Cheap ones are dear at any price. Your saddle
should fit so that when you are in it you can thrust your riding-whip
under the pommel and to the cantle along the horse's backbone;
otherwise you may get sore withers. The bits should hang in the mouth
just above where a horse's tush grows. Penelope's sex, you see, Tom,
precludes her having any.



XXVIII.


When you bought Penelope, she knew nothing of saddle work, and I told
you to ride her a few times on a walk or a trot, anywhere and anyhow,
so as to get used to her, and her used to you, before you began to
teach her anything. She had presumably always been ridden to and from
the blacksmith's shop, and worked kindly under saddle. You have got
good legs, Tom, and any man with average legs can keep his seat after
a fashion on a decently behaved horse. You were afraid you could not
sit Penelope when you first bought her, and had not ridden for so long
that you felt strange in the saddle. So I advised you to hire an old
plug for a few rides until you were sure you would feel at home when
you mounted her, meanwhile exercising her in harness. The better part
of valor will always be discretion, now as in Falstaff's time, while
the best of horses will get a bit nervous if kept long in a half-dark
stable. Regular exercise is as essential to a horse as oil is to an
engine, if either is to work smoothly.

You ask me the proper way to mount. Let us stop while you dismount,
and I will show you the usual way. It is simple work. Stand opposite
Nelly's near shoulder, a foot or so away from her, and facing towards
the cantle of your saddle. Gather up your snaffle reins just tight
enough to feel, but not pull on her mouth, and seize a part of her
mane with your left hand. Insert your toe in the stirrup, just as it
hangs, using your right hand if necessary. Then seize the cantle of
the saddle with your right hand, and springing from your right foot,
without touching the horse's flank with your left toe, raise yourself
into the stirrup, pause a moment, and then throw the leg across the
horse, moving your right hand away in season. If you were shorter, you
might have to spring from your foot before you could touch the cantle.
As in everything else, there are other and perhaps better ways to
mount, and pages can be written upon the niceties of each method. But
the above suffices for the nonce. You can choose your own fashion when
you have tried them all.

An active youngster, like yourself, should be able to vault into the
saddle without putting the left foot into the stirrup at all. In all
Continental gymnasiums, this is one of the usual exercises, on a
horse-block with imitation saddle, and is an excellent practice. By
all means learn it.



XXIX.


You do not seem to hold your reins handily, Tom. Of all the methods of
holding reins I prefer the old cross-country way of a generation back,
still recommended, I was pleased to see, in the very excellent article
"Horse" of the edition of the "Cyclopædia Britannica" now publishing,
and I fancy yet much in vogue.

The School method is different; but the School requires that the curb
and snaffle shall be used for different indications or "aids" to
convey the rider's meaning to the horse, and not at the same time. In
ordinary saddle work it is generally convenient to employ the reins
together. Gather your reins up with me. The near curb outside little
finger, near snaffle between little and third fingers, off snaffle
between third and middle, off curb between middle and index, all four
gathered flat above index and held in place by thumb, knuckles up. Or
easier, take up your snaffle by the buckle and pass the third finger
of left hand between its reins; then take up the curb and pass the
little, third, and middle fingers between its reins. The snaffle
reins, you see, are thus inside the curb reins, each is easily reached
and distinguished and you can shift hold from left hand to right, or
_vice versa_, more readily than in any other way, by merely placing
one hand, with fingers spread to grasp the reins, in front of the
other. By having the loop of each rein hanging separate so that the
free hand can seize it quickly, either can be shortened or lengthened
at will, or they may be so together. Moreover, this hold affords the
easiest method of changing from one to both hands and back.

For if you insert your right little finger between the off reins, and
your third finger inside the snaffle rein, and draw the off reins from
your left hand slightly, you have a very handy means of using both
hands, with the additional value that you can either drop the right
reins by easing the length of the left ones to equalize the pressure
on the horse's mouth; or by grasping the left reins with right middle
finger over snaffle and first finger over curb, you can shift to the
right hand entirely. When in this position you can again use the left
hand by inserting its fingers in front of the right one and closing
upon the reins, as already indicated. In fact, without lengthening the
near reins, but merely by placing the right hand in any convenient way
on the off ones, you may be ready to use both hands in entirely proper
fashion. And in this day of two-handed riding, it is advisable to be
able to follow the fashion quickly.

For School airs, this also affords an easy way of using separately
curb and snaffle, as is often necessary.

If you are riding with single reins, you will place them on either
side of third or little finger, or embracing little, third, and middle
fingers and up under thumb in similar manner. A single rein may be
held in many ways.

With all other double-rein methods, except the one described, you have
to alter the position of reins in shifting from hand to hand. With
this one the order of reins and fingers remains the same.

Any other system of holding the reins which you prefer will do as
well, if you become expert at it. I have tried them all, from
Baucher's down, and have always reverted to what was shown me thirty
odd years ago.

Your curb chain should be looser than it is, Tom. A horse needing a
stiff curb is unsuited to any but an expert rider, and must have a
great many splendid qualities to make up for this really bad one. Some
people like a mouth they can hold on by, but they do not make fine
horsemen. Never ride on your horse's mouth, or, as they say, "ride
your bridle." Many men like a hunter who "takes hold of you," but this
won't do on the road, if you seek comfort or want a drilled horse. You
see that Nelly keeps jerking at the curb. Let out a link, at least. An
untrained horse seeks relief from the curb by poking out his nose, the
trained one by giving way to it and arching his neck. It is better at
first only to ride on your snaffle rein, leaving your curb rein
reasonably loose; or else you may use only a snaffle bit and single
rein for a while. But unless you very early learn that your reins are
to afford no support whatever to your seat, you will never be apt to
learn it. Don't use a martingale unless your horse is a star-gazer, or
else tosses his head so as to be able to strike you. It tends to make
you lean upon the rein and confines your horse's head.



XXX.


You have now been out a half-dozen times with your new purchase, Tom,
and you have managed to get along much to your own satisfaction. You
have neither slipped off, nor has Penelope misbehaved. But you are
intelligent enough to see that there is something beyond this for you
and her to learn. I do not know how ambitious you are. If you want to
make Nelly's forehand and croup so supple that you can train her into
the finest gaits and action, you must go to work on the stable floor
with an hour a day at least of patient teaching, for a number of
weeks. For this purpose you must have a manual of instruction, such as
I have shown you, and quite a little stock of leisure and particularly
of good temper.

The ordinary English trainer thinks that a good mouth may be made in
two weeks, by strapping a colt's reins to his surcingle for an hour or
two daily, and by longeing with a cavesson. But excellent as cavesson
work may be, this means alone will by no means produce the quality of
mouth which the Baucher method will make, or which you should aim to
give to Nelly.

Still I know that you have but limited time, Tom, and that you want
your daily ride to educate both yourself and your mare. This can be
accomplished after a fashion; but it is only what the primary school
is to the university,--good, as far as it goes. The trouble with
beginning to supple a horse's neck when in motion is that you ask him
to start doing two things at once, that is, move forward at command
and obey your reins, and he will be apt to be somewhat confused. He
will not as readily understand what you want him to do, as if standing
quiet and undisturbed.

With plenty of courage, Tom, Penelope seems to have a very gentle
disposition. Almost all of our American horses have. They are not as
apt to be spoiled in the breaking-in as they are abroad. And I fancy
she is intelligent. You should have no difficulty in training her, and
in teaching her a habit of obedience which she will never forget.

It is all but an axiom that an unspoiled horse will surely do what he
knows you want him to do, unless he is afraid to do it, or unless, as
is generally the case, you yourself are at fault. The difficulty lies
in making him understand you. Remember this, and keep your patience
always. If a horse is roguish, as he often will be, it is only a
moment's play, and he will at once get over it, unless you make it
worse by unnecessary fault-finding. I generally laugh at a horse
instead of scolding him. He understands the tone if not the words, and
it turns aside the occasion for a fight or for punishment.

Never invite a fight with a horse. Avoid it whenever you can
accomplish your end by other means. Never decline it when it must
come. But either win the fight or reckon on having a spoiled horse on
your hands, who will never thoroughly obey you.

And remember that a horse who obeys from fear is never as tractable,
safe, or pleasant as one who has been taught by gentle means, and with
whom the habit of obeying goes hand in hand with love for his master
and pleasure in serving him. I do not refer to those creatures which
have already been made equine brutes by the stupidity or cruelty of
human brutes. One of these may occasionally need more peremptory
treatment, but under proper tuition even such an one needs it rarely.

  [Illustration: PLATE IX.
   CLEAN ABOVE IT.]



XXXI.


Let us have a trot, and see how Penelope moves, and how you sit. You,
Tom, will take your pace from me. There is nothing more unhorsemanlike
and annoying than for a rider to keep half a horse's length in front
of his companion. Your stirrup should be even with mine. A gentleman
can be a foot or two in front of a lady, for safety and convenience,
but men should ride as they would walk, all but arm in arm. Now you
can see the effects of education. Penelope insists on trotting a
twelve-mile gait, and no wonder, for she has such fine, open action,
that a sharp gait is less effort to her than a slow one. On the
contrary, I, who, as the senior, have the right to give the pace, am
satisfied with two-thirds that speed; and Patroclus, who, as you well
know, can easily out-trot, or, I fancy, out-run your mare, and would
dearly like to try it, yields himself to my mood without an ounce of
pull or friction. Look at his reins. They are quite loose. Now look at
yours. Nelly is pulling and fretting for all she is worth, while you
are working your passage. Two miles like that will take three out of
her and five out of you. She will fume herself into a lather soon,
while Pat will not have turned a hair. She certainly is a candidate
for training. You appear to need all the strength of your arms to pull
her down to a walk, whereas a simple turn of the wrist, or a
low-spoken word, should suffice.

By the way, always indulge in the habit of talking to your horse. You
have no idea of how much he will understand. And if he is in the habit
of listening for your words, and of paying heed to what you say, he
will be vastly more obedient as well as companionable. Patroclus and I
often settle very knotty questions on the road. We think we helped
elect Cleveland. And I must confess that occasionally a passer-by
fancies that I am talking to myself, whereas, if he but knew the
meaning of Patroclus' lively ears, he would see what a capital comrade
I have, and one, moreover, who, like one's favorite book, is never
impertinent enough to answer back, or flout you with excessive wisdom.
It is certainly a very pleasant study to see how many words or phrases
a horse can learn the meaning of, and act intelligently when he hears
them.



XXXII.


What, then, shall you do first in the way of education? Well, let us
see. As Nelly has been broken to harness, she can probably only walk
and trot. You, yourself, seem to stick fairly well to the saddle. But
how about your own position? Your leathers are a trifle long. They
should be of just such length that, when you are in the middle of the
saddle, on your seat, not your crotch, with the ball of your foot in
the stirrups, your feet are almost parallel with the ground, the heel
a trifle lower than the toes. Your toes are below your heels, you see.
You should be able to get your heels well down when you settle into
your saddle. The old rule of having the stirrups just touch the
ankle-bone when the foot is hanging is not a bad one. The arm measure
is unreliable, and physical conformation, as well as different backed
horses, often require, even in a sound man, odd lengths of leathers.

You should not attempt to ride with your feet "home" until you can
keep your stirrup under the ball of your foot without losing it,
whatever your horse may do; and when you do ride "home," you should
occasionally change back to the ball of your foot, so as to keep in
practice. Moreover, you can train a horse much more easily, riding
with only the ball of the foot in the stirrup, for you can use your
legs to better advantage. My disability obliges me to ride "home" at
all times, and I have always found it much more difficult to teach a
horse the right leg indications than the left. I have to employ my
whip not infrequently, in lieu of my leg. Your stirrup should be
larger and heavier, for safety. I don't like your fine, small
stirrups; and your saddle should have spring bars, which you should
always keep from rusting out of good working order. They have saved
many a man's collar-bone.

Be in the habit of using your knees and thighs alone for grip, though
the closer you clasp the saddle without getting your legs _around_ the
horse, the better. In the leap, or with a plunging horse, you may use
the upper part of the calf, or as much more as your spurs will allow
you to use. But of all equestrian horrors the worst is the too common
habit of constantly using the calves instead of the knees to clasp the
saddle-flaps. To such an extent is this often carried by a tyro (and
no man gets beyond this stage who does it), that you can see an angle
of daylight between the points where his thigh and calf touch the
saddle, showing that his knee, which ought to be his main and constant
hold, does not touch the saddle at all. The stirrup-leathers,
especially if heavy, as they should be, often hurt the knee, if you
are new to the saddle, and perhaps are the main inducement to this
execrable habit. But you must either get your knees hardened, or else
give up the saddle. Keep a steady lookout for this. You will never
ride if you don't use your knees. If you do use them properly, your
feet will look after themselves. Ride with the flat of the thigh and
the knee-bone at all times close to the saddle.

Sit erect, but avoid rigidity. It is good practice to sit close, that
is, without rising, on a slow jog-trot. Let us try. Sit perfectly
straight and take the bumping. On a jog-trot, it is an unpardonable
sin to lean forward at all. You will find that shortly it does not
bump you so much, and by and by it will not at all. But don't lean
back either. That is the country bumpkin's prerogative. Nelly is
evidently easy enough, only she has not been taught to curb her
ambition. Nothing shakes a man into the saddle better than this same
jog-trot. Nothing is more absurd than the attempt to rise when the
horse is only jogging, or, as it were, the attempt to make your horse
begin to trot by beginning to rise. It looks like an attempt to lift
yourself up by your boot straps. Teach him some other indication to
start a trot. It is useless to rise unless a horse is going at least a
six-mile gait.

Some School-riders taboo the jog, but all the cavalry of the world use
it; it is the homeward gait of the tired hunter, and it does teach a
man a good, easy, safe seat. It is true that a horse who won't walk at
speed, but who falls from a slow walk into a jog whenever you urge
him, is a nuisance. Moreover, the uneducated jog is neither a
fashionable nor a desirable gait. But a schooled jog, which the horse
does under your direction and control, is quite another thing, and a
jog greatly relieves a tired horse. It seems to be unjustly tabooed.
Unless, then, you are ultra-fashionable, make a habit of jogging now
and then. By this I mean jogging with your horse "collected," so that
you have not an ounce of hold on his mouth, and he is still under your
absolute control, your seat meanwhile being firm and unshaken. But
never let the horse jog of his own motion. That may spoil his walk.
Make him jog only when you want him to do so, and when walking, do not
let him fall into a jog unbidden. The jog I mean should be almost a
parade gait; too slow to rise to, but still perfect in action, and so
poised that from it your horse can bound into any faster gait at word.

Your hands are too high. They want to be but a couple of inches above
the pommel, better lower than higher. A man whose reins wear out the
pigskin on his pommel is all right. A horse who carries his head high
needs lower hands. Some low-headed horses require the hands to be held
a bit higher to stimulate the forehand.

It is difficult to say thus much without saying a great deal more; for
this is but a hint of what is essential to correct such a physical
defect as a low-carried head. But what I tell you will whet your
appetite for a thorough knowledge, and this you will find in the books
of Baucher's followers. The use of snaffle and curb, each for its best
purpose, is very delicate.

Let me again repeat, of all things never hang on your horse's mouth.
You may have to do so on Penelope's, or rather Penelope may hang on
your hands, till you get her suppled, but you must try to do that
soon. You don't want to be a "three legged rider." If you cannot learn
to ride at any gait and speed smoothly and well, with your reins so
loose that you might as well not have them in your hands, you will
never do anything but "ride the bridle."

This applies to your seat, not to Penelope. It is not wise habitually
to ride with reins too loose; you should always feel your horse's
mouth. But you can feel it without a tight rein. Good driving horses
often pull. A good riding horse should never do so.

Nelly seems to be sure-footed. If she is apt to stumble, sell her.
Your neck is worth more than your pocket. By School-training and its
consequent habit of keeping the hind legs well under him, a stumbler
will learn instinctively to bring up the succeeding hind foot to the
support of the yielding fore foot, so as to save himself a fall; but
you don't want an imperfect horse, Tom. If Nelly can trot without
stumbling, it is excellent practice for you to tie the reins in a knot
on her neck, and to ride along the road without touching them. When
you feel as secure this way as any other, your seat is strong. You do
not want to do this _en evidence_. But get off on the country roads
and practice it. This is one advantage of a careful riding-master and
a good school; a pupil is taught the seat apart from and before the
uses of the reins.



XXXIII.


As I think you have already mastered all that I have told you, you may
begin to teach Penelope a bit. But remember that, as you are both
intelligent, she will be teaching you at the same time. I notice that
you have to use two hands to guide your mare, and I presume you want
to learn some better way, for however necessary two hands may
occasionally be, a horse must at times be managed by one. There are
three methods of guiding a horse under saddle. The simplest, and the
one requiring the least education, is the same which you are using,
and which is the common way of driving, by holding the rein or reins
of each side in one hand, and by pulling rein on the side you wish
Nelly to turn to. It is possible to guide this way with one hand by a
suitable turn of the wrist, but unless the horse is well collected, as
few of our horses nowadays are, it is a poor reliance in any unusual
case. The next method is guiding by the neck, by which the horse is
made to turn to the right if you draw the rein across or lay it upon
the left side of his neck, and _vice versa_. The third method combines
the two others, and the horse obeys either indication. It requires the
highest art in man and beast, and is superb in results when learned.
The animal may be guided by the bit with the reins held in one hand,
applying the pressure by the turn of the wrist, or may be turned by
the neck while the bit is used to lighten one or other side. But this
requires a hand and mouth of equal delicacy, and a horse always in a
state of equilibrium.

You will need only the first two to begin with, and Nelly already
knows the first.

Most horses now and then require you to use both hands, and
School-riding calls for their use in the more difficult feats. But an
agreeable saddle beast should guide by the neck readily at all times.
Stonehenge calls this a "highly desirable accomplishment," but it is
really only the beginning of the alphabet of the horse's education;
and indeed in the School airs, though both hands be used, the forehand
is constantly thrown to one or the other side by the neck pressure,
the direct tension of the rein being used to give the horse quite a
different indication at the same moment.

Moreover, you will not always be able to devote two hands to Nelly.
You may need one of them for something else. It would be embarrassing
not to be able to use your whip or crop, or to button your glove, or
to take off your hat, and at the same time to turn a corner or avoid a
team. I have often ridden with people who so entirely relied upon both
hands, that they had to draw rein for so simple a thing as the use of
their handkerchief, lest their horse should fly the track while their
right hand was so engaged. And while I am to a certain extent an
advocate for the use of two hands, I cannot agree with the habit of
the day of so constantly employing two that the horse and rider both
lose the power of doing satisfactory work with one.

By all means teach Nelly to guide by the neck. When you have done
this, you may resort to both hands again whenever you desire. And
the habit of using both hands is certainly more apt to keep your
shoulders, and hence your seat straight. But a horse who cannot be
guided with one hand under all but the most exceptional conditions is
not fit for saddle work on the road. In the more intricate paces of
the School, indeed, the soldier uses but one hand; and though often
more delicate hints can be imparted to a horse's mind by two, yet all
except the greatest performances of the _manège_ can be accomplished
with one, and a horse who is unable to rehearse perfectly all the road
gaits and movements with the indications of one hand and two heels is
sadly lacking in the knowledge he should boast.

You very naturally ask how this is to be taught. It is by no means
difficult. Have you never noticed a groom riding a horse in a halter?
Any steady horse can be so ridden. The halter rope is usually on the
left side of the neck because the man has it in his hand when he jumps
on, and he guides the horse by a pull on the halter rope if he wants
him to turn to the left, and by laying the rope upon and pulling it
across the neck pretty well up if he wants him to turn to the right.
Now you will notice that if you hold the reins far up on Nelly's neck,
half way from withers to ears, and pull them across the left (near)
side of her neck, she will, after a little uncertainty, be apt to turn
to the right, although the pull is on the left side of the bit. Try it
and see. There,--she has done it, after some hesitation. And she did
it because she felt that her head was being forced to the right and
she very naturally followed it. The reverse will occur if you will
pull the reins across the right (off) side of the neck. Some horses
seize this idea very quickly, and it is only a matter of practice to
keep them doing the same thing as you gradually bring the reins
farther and farther down the neck till they lie where they should be,
near the withers. If Nelly will thus catch the idea, a week or ten
days will teach her a good deal, and in a month she will guide fairly
well by the neck;--after which, practice makes perfect. If she had
not seemed to catch the idea, and had turned the other way, it would
have been because the pull on the bit impressed her mind rather than
the pressure on the neck acting in the opposite way. Under such
circumstances you should, when you press the rein on the near side of
her neck, take hold of the off rein also and force her to turn to the
right, trying to make the neck pressure a little more marked than that
on the bit. A horse quickly learns to appreciate the difference
between the direct pull of the rein on the bit and the indirect one
made across the neck. None of the neat movements of the _manège_ can
be executed unless a horse has learned absolutely to distinguish
between an indication to turn, and one which is meant to lighten one
side in order to prepare for a School movement, or to enable him to
lead or exhibit pronounced action with that side.

  [Illustration: PLATE X.
   TAKING-OFF AT WATER.]

At first you had perhaps better teach Penelope to guide only one way
by the neck, using the rein alone for the other turn. But you can
determine this by her intelligence. If there is any place where you
can ride in an irregular circle or quadrangle, you can, after Nelly
gets used to turning in a certain direction at the corners, press the
reins on the opposite side of her neck as she is about to turn, so
that she may get to associate this pressure with the movement in
the direction away from it. This is the way horses learn in a
riding-school. Or if she is going towards home and knows the corners
she has to turn, do not let her make them of her own accord, but hold
her away from them until you give her the neck pressure. Or you can
zig-zag along the road if you are in a quiet place where people will
not think that you are _toqué_, or that your mare has the staggers. It
will thus not be long before Nelly gets the idea, and the mere idea,
once caught, is quickly worked into a habit. Sometimes I have got a
horse to guide passably well by the neck in a day. Oftener, it takes a
week or two, while delicacy comes by very slow degrees.



XXXIV.


When you have got Nelly to the point where she guides fairly well by
the neck, what next?

It is evident that the muscles of your mare's neck are rather rigid,
for she carries it straight, though her crest is well curved. From
this rigidity springs that resistance to the bit which she so
constantly shows. A neck which arches easily means, as a rule,
obedience to it. It is extremely rare that a horse will arch his neck,
except when very fresh, so as to bring his mouth to the yielding
position and keep it there, of his own volition; and then he is apt to
pull on your hands. You must not suppose that an arched neck means
that the horseman is worrying his beast to make him appear proud or
prance for the purpose of showing off. It is precisely this which a
good horseman never does. He always uses his bits gently. It is
cruelty, as well as ruin to the horse's mouth, to hold him by the curb
until his neck tires, and he leans upon it, held suspended by the
equal torture of the chain and the aching muscles. A horse never
should pull on a curb. If your hands are light, the curb rein may be
loose and still the horse's head be in its proper position, that is,
about perpendicular. The well-trained horse, without the slightest
effort, arches his neck to the curb or snaffle alike, and keeps it so.
It is only when his rider releases it, or chooses to let him "have his
head" that he takes it. Often, in fact, a horse will not do so when
you give him the chance. Patroclus here will get tired out, certainly
completely tire me out, long before his bit becomes irksome. When
trotting, or when galloping across the fields or in deep snow, I am
often apt to let him carry his head as he chooses on account of the
change or the extra exertion. But with his well-suppled neck I always
feel certain that the slightest intimation of the bit will bring his
head in place instead of meeting resistance. And he generally seems to
prefer to bring his head well into the bit, so, as it were, to
establish agreeable relations with you. I often notice that he feels
unsteady if I give him his head too much. And when tired, he seems to
like the encouragement given by light and lively hands all the more.

The first thing, then, to do is to get Penelope's neck suppled. This
means that the naturally rigid muscles of the neck shall be by proper
exercises made so supple as to allow the mare to bring her head to the
position where there can be a constant "give and take" between your
hands and her mouth. The usual outward sign of such suppleness is an
arched neck, though as occasionally an habitual puller will arch his
neck naturally, this is not an infallible sign. And some horses,
especially thoroughbreds, however good their wind, will roar if you
too quickly bring their heads in. This is because the wind-pipe of
such horses is compressed too much by arching the neck. Thoroughbreds
on the turf are wont to stick their noses out while running, because
this affords them the best breathing power at very high speed. This
habit becomes hereditary, and among them there are not a few who
cannot readily be brought in by the bit. Sometimes, except as a feat,
you can never supple such necks. Oftener, it only needs more time and
patience,--in other words a slower process. A limber-necked
thoroughbred has, however, the most delightful of mouths, except for
the fact that he seems occasionally to draw or yield almost a yard of
rein, owing to the length of his neck, and your hands have to be
watched accordingly. If he has such a neck, the only safety, if he is
high-strung, is never to let him beyond the hand.

The result of the suppling of the neck is a soft mouth under all
conditions. How shall you begin to supple Nelly's neck, you ask,
without the long process of the Schools?

You cannot perfectly, but you may partially do this under saddle.
Whenever you are on a walk you may, as a habit, let your horse have
his head, and encourage him to keep at his best gait. A dull walker is
a nuisance. A little motion of the hands or heels and an occasional
word will keep him lively and at work, and get him into the habit of
walking well, if he has enough ambition. The School-rider keeps his
horse "collected" on the walk at all times, and though the steps are
thus shortened, they become quicker and more springy, and the speed is
not diminished. I do either way, as the mood takes me, for though I
incline to the method of the School-riders, I do not think that it
hurts a horse to have entire freedom now and then.

Some amblers are slow walkers, but the five-mile amble takes the place
of the rapid walk, and is often more agreeable. Few horses walk more
than three and a half miles an hour. A four-mile walk is a good one.
Exceptionally, you may reach the ideal five miles. I once knew a horse
in Ohio who walked (and not a running walk either, but a square "heel
and toe" walk) six miles in an hour, on wagers. But our confab, Tom,
often gets too diffuse. Let us go on with our lesson.



XXXV.


Here we are quietly walking along the road. Suppose you draw up the
reins a bit, the curb somewhat the more. Nelly will at once bring up
her head, and very naturally stick out her nose in the endeavor to
avoid the pressure of the curb chain. At the same time, as you see,
she will shorten her steps. Don't jerk or worry her, but still exert a
gentle pressure on the curb, and keep up a slight vibrating movement
of the hands, speaking to her kindly. In a moment or two, she will
arch her neck, and the bit will hang loosely in her mouth. There, you
see, her nose comes down, and a handsome head and neck she has! Now
pat her, and speak caressingly to her, and after a few seconds release
her head. When these exercises are done on the stable floor, the use
of the snaffle will accomplish the same result, and this is very
desirable. But if you begin these flexions on the road you must use
the curb, because Nelly now understands the snaffle to be for another
purpose. The use of the curb is apt to lower a horse's head, and with
some horses too much. The snaffle may be employed to correct this low
carriage, but this use of it involves more than I can explain to you
now. If Nelly's head gets too low, raise your hands a bit.

Try it over again, and each time prolong the period of holding her
head in poise. But never hold it so long that her neck will ache and
she begin to lean upon the bit. If she should do so before you release
her head, play gently with the rein for an instant to get her back to
the soft mouthing of the bit, caress her, and then release her head.
This is on the principle that you should always have your way with a
horse, and not he his. And kindness alone accomplishes this much more
speedily and certainly than severity. If the occasion ever comes when
you cannot have your way with Nelly, give a new turn to the matter by
attracting her attention to something else, so as not to leave on her
mind the impression that she has resisted you.

Notice two things, Tom, while Nelly is thus champing her bit. She has
an almost imperceptible hold of your hands and her gait is shorter and
more elastic. This has the effect of a semi-poised position, from
which she can more readily move into any desired gait than from the
extended looseness of the simple walk. This is one step towards what
horsemen call being "in hand," or "collected;" and grooms, "pulled
together," though indeed the "pulling together" of the groom but very
distantly approaches the fine poise of the Schools.

Of all means of destroying a good mouth, to allow the horse to lean
upon the curb is the surest. Avoid this by all means. But so long as
Nell will bring in her head and play with the bit, keep her doing so
at intervals. After a week or two she will be ready to walk quite a
stretch with her head in position, and you will both of you have
gained something in the way of schooling her mouth and your hands. You
can then try her on a trot, and if you can keep your seat without
holding on by the reins, she will learn to do the same thing at this
gait too, and later at the canter and the gallop. But unless your own
seat is firm and your hands are light, you will only be doing her
future education an injury. Every twitch on her sensitive mouth,
occasioned by an insecure seat or jerky hands, will be so much lost.
Moreover, your curb chain must neither be too long nor too short. If
too long, Nelly will not bring down her head at all. If too short, it
will worry her unnecessarily. You can judge of it by her willingness
gradually to accustom herself to it without jerking her head or
resisting it, and without lolling her tongue.

This suppling of Nelly's neck which you will give her on her daily
ride is only of the muscles governing the direct up and down motion of
the head and neck. You are not overcoming the lateral rigidities. This
requires stable exercises. If you have leisure for these (and you very
likely will make some when you find the strides in comfort and
elegance Nelly is making), you will buy one of the manuals I have told
you about. What you have taught her, however, is excellent so far as
it goes, and is time well employed. It will serve its purpose upon the
road, if it does not suffice for the more perfect education.



XXXVI.


The next step will be for you to try to supple the croup or
hind-quarters of your mare. The two things can go on together, though
it is well to get the forehand fairly suppled before beginning on the
croup. The flexions of the croup are fully as important, if not more
so, than those of the forehand, and in their proper teaching lies the
root of your success. If you wear spurs, you should be absolutely sure
you will never touch Nelly with them by accident. Spurs need not to be
severe in any event. It is uselessly cruel to bring the blood, except
in a race, where every ounce of exertion must be called for. Spurs in
training or riding should never be used for punishment. They will be
too essential in conveying your meaning to Penelope for you to throw
away their value in bad temper. The horse should learn that the spur
is an encouragement and an indication of your wishes, and should be
taught to receive its attack without wincing or anger.

The old habit of the _manège_ was to force all the weight of the
horse, by the power of a severe curb bit, back upon his haunches, and
oblige him to execute all the airs in a position all but poised upon
his hind legs. The modern dispensation endeavors to effect better
results by teaching the animal to be constantly balanced upon all
four legs, and, by having his forces properly distributed, to be in
a condition to move any of them at the will of his rider in any
direction, without disturbing this balance. Moreover, the element of
severity has been eliminated from training altogether.

Suppose, then, that you are walking Nelly and are holding her head in
poise. Now bring your legs gently together, so as to slightly touch
her sides. You will see that she at once moves quickly towards the
bit. Here she must find herself held in check by it. The result of the
two conditions will be that she will get her hind legs somewhat more
under her than usual. It is just this act, properly done, which
produces the equilibrium desired. When a horse is what is termed
"collected," or "in hand," he has merely brought his hind feet well
under him, and has yielded his mouth to your hands in such a way that
he can quickly respond to your demands. This he cannot do when he is
in an open or sprawling position.

It were better to teach Nelly this gathering of the hind legs under
her by certain preliminary exercises on foot; but you can by patient
trial while mounted accomplish a great part of the same result. And
between bit to restrain her ardor and spur to keep her well up to it,
the mare will get accustomed to a position of equilibrium from which
she can, when taught, instantly take any gait, advance any foot, or
perform any duty required. She will be really in the condition of a
fine scale which a hair's weight will instantly affect.

Do not suppose that bit and spur are to be used harshly. On the
contrary, the bit ought to play in her mouth loosely, and with the
trained horse the barest motion of the leg towards the body suffices.
The spur need very rarely touch her flank. The delicacy of perception
of the schooled horse is often amazing. But the co-efficient of a
balanced horse is a rider with firm seat and light hands. Either is
powerless without the other. Moreover, a generous and intelligent
beast, reasonably treated, learns the duty prescribed to him without
the least friction. To respond to a kindly rider's wants seems to be a
pride and a pleasure to him instead of a task.

Among the most agreeable incidents of horse-training is the evident
delight which the horse takes in learning, the appreciation with which
he receives your praise, and the confiding willingness with which he
performs airs requiring the greatest exertion, and often a painful
application of the spur, without any idea of resistance or resentment,
even when his strength, endurance, intelligence, and good temper are
taxed to the severest degree. I have sometimes wondered at a patience,
which I myself could never have exhibited, in a creature which could
so readily refuse the demands made upon him, as well as at the
manifest pleasure he will take in the simple reward of a gentle word.

There is much difference in the nomenclature of horse-training. Unless
one needs to be specific, as in describing the methods of the Haute
Ecole, "in hand" and "collected" are frequently used interchangeably.
But they should really be distinct in meaning, "in hand" being the
response to the bit, "collected," the response to bit and legs, and
"in poise," a very close position of equilibrium, preceding the most
difficult movements of the School.

Now, in order to get Penelope accustomed to respond to the pressure of
the legs, you must practice bringing your legs towards her flanks
while her head is well poised, at frequent intervals. Whenever she
responds by bringing her hind legs under her--and you will notice when
she does so by her greater elasticity and more active movement--speak
a good word to her, and keep her gathered in this way only so long as
she can comfortably remain so, gradually prolonging the terms during
which you hold her thus "collected." You will find that her step will
soon become lighter and the speed of her response to your own
movements a great contrast to the sluggishness of the horse moving his
natural gait in the saddle. Her carriage will begin to show the same
equilibrium in which the practiced fencer stands "in guard," or more
properly, it will show that splendid action of the horse at liberty
which he never exhibits in the restraint of the saddle, except when
trained.

Whoever has watched a half-dozen fine horses just turned loose from
the stall into a pretty paddock, will have noticed that, in their
delighted bounds and curvetings, each one will perform his part with a
wonderful grace, ease, and elegance of action. You may see the
passage, piaffer, and Spanish trot, and even the passage backwards,
done by the untrained horse of his own playful volition, urged thereto
solely by the exuberance of his spirits. Under saddle he will not do
this, unless taught by the methods of the School. But so taught, he
will perform all these and more, with readiness and evident
satisfaction to himself.

  [Illustration: PLATE XI.
   DOING IT HANDILY.]

I must again impress upon you, Tom, that for perfect success, even in
little things, you will need vastly more careful training than this;
and that what I am discussing with you is but a very partial
substitute for the higher education. I am indeed sorry to feel tied
down to such simple instruction. But I want to tell you just enough to
lead you to experiment for yourself, and to catch sufficient of the
fascination of the art to study it thoroughly. I am, however, anxious
that you should by no means understand me to say that you can, by any
such simple means as I shall have detailed to you, perfect the
education of your mare. You can improve her present condition vastly,
and make her light and handy compared to what she naturally is. But
the best results involve far other work.



XXXVII.


You tell me that Nelly can only trot and walk, and you want to teach
her the canter and hand-gallop. Many horses will naturally fall into a
canter if you shake the reins; but some who come of trotting stock
will not do so without considerable effort; and still such a horse is
often the best one to buy. Now the easiest way to get Nelly into a
canter, if she persists in trotting, is to push her beyond her speed,
for which purpose you should select a soft piece of ground. So soon as
she has broken into a gallop, unless she has been trained to settle
back into a trot, you can readily slow up without changing her gait.
If it has been attempted to train her as a trotter, you will have
harder work to do this. But there is a little vibrating movement of
the hands, sometimes called "lifting," which tends to keep a horse
cantering, just as a steady pull keeps him trotting. This movement is
in the little what the galloping action of a horse is in the great.
The hands move very slightly forward and upward, and pass back again
on an under line.

Apparently, Nelly has been broken in the usual way, for she trots
naturally on a steady rein or on the snaffle. Now, you will find that
a moving rein or the curb is apt to break her trot, and make her do
something else,--either prance, or trot with high unsettled steps, or
canter. It is for your own hands, when she gets to the canter, to hold
her there. This may take you some time, but you can certainly do it by
repeated trials. Having accomplished it, you may, between curb bit and
spurs, both gently used, mind you, gradually teach her to carry her
head properly at this pace, and get her haunches well under her; and
it will give you pleasure to notice how much more natural it is for
her to come "in hand" than on the trot. As the canter is the natural
gait of the horse, you will find Nelly soon keep to it if she
understands that you so desire. But remember that you should canter or
gallop habitually only on soft ground. Hard roads soon injure the fore
feet and fetlock joints if a horse is constantly cantered or galloped
upon them, because the strides are longer and the weight comes down
harder, and always more upon the leading fore foot than upon the
other. Moreover, the canter with the hind legs well gathered is apt to
be somewhat of a strain to the houghs of the horse unless it is
properly--rhythmically--performed, and unless the animal is gradually
broken in by proper flexions.

But to canter is one thing. You have yet to teach Penelope to canter
on either foot at will, leading off with left or right and changing
foot in motion. This is quite another matter, and you will find that
it will take some time and a vast deal of patience in both of you.

Let us suppose that you have brought Nell down to a fairly slow
canter. Until you can, without effort to her or you, rein her down to
quite a slow one, she does not know the rudiments of the gait. To
canter properly, she must, without resistance, pull, or fret, come
down to a canter quite as slow as a fast walk, even slower, and not
show the least attempt to fall into a jog; all this while so poised
that she can bound into a gallop at the next stride. Any plug can run.
Few of the saddle horses you meet on the road seem to canter slowly,
and yet it is one of the most essential of gaits and a great relief
from a constant trot, especially for a lady.

It may perhaps look more sportsmanlike--I don't like to use the word
"horsey"--for a lady always to trot; but no lady, apart from this,
begins to look as well upon the trot as when sitting the properly
timed park canter of a fresh and handsome horse. Moreover, it requires
vastly less art to ride the trot usually seen with us than to bring a
high-couraged horse down to a slow parade canter and keep him there,
not to dilate upon the gloriously invigorating and luxurious feeling
of this gait when executed in its perfection.

Some lazy horses find that they can canter as easily as walk and
nearly as slowly, but this disjointed, lax-muscled progress is a very
different performance from the proud, open action of the generous
horse, whose stride is so vigorous that you feel as if he had wings,
but who curbs his ardor to your desires, and with the pressure of a
silken thread on the bit will canter a five-mile gait.



XXXVIII.


You have probably noticed that Nelly sometimes canters with one
shoulder forward and sometimes with the other. Almost all sound horses
will change lead of their own accord, but not knowing why. When a
horse shies at a strange object, or hops over anything in his path, or
gets on new ground, or changes direction, he will often do this. If a
horse does not frequently change, it is apt to be on account of an
unsound foot, hough, or shoulder, which makes painful or difficult the
lead he avoids. But occasionally a sound horse will always lead with
the same leg, until taught to change. For a lady the canter is
generally easier with the right shoulder leading, and some horses are
much easier with one than the other lead. In fact, on the trot, many
horses are easier when you rise with the off than when you rise with
the near foot, or _vice versa_; and some writers have said that a
horse leads with one or other foot in trotting. But as the trot should
be a square and even gait, the peculiarity in question is owing to
excess of muscular action in one leg and not to anything approaching
the lead in the canter or the gallop.

It is possible to teach a horse to start with either or to change lead
in the canter without more flexing of the croup than you can give him
on the road; but it is worth your while to put Nelly through some
exercises which I will explain to you. It will save time in the end.
Their eventual object is so to supple the croup as to render the
hind-quarters subject to the rider's will, and absolutely under the
control of the horse as directed by him. The flexions of the croup are
in reality more important than those of the forehand. Unless a horse's
hind-quarters are well under him and so thoroughly suppled as to obey
the slightest indication of the rider's leg, he is lacking in the
greatest element of his education, if he is to be made a School-horse.
At the same time a supple croup and a rigid forehand cannot work in
unison. Both should be elastic in equal degree.

For the purpose of beginning the croup flexions, you can best use the
stable floor, or other convenient spot, say after mounting as you
start, or before dismounting as you return from your ride, or, better,
both. And this is what you should do.

Suppose you are standing on the stable floor, mounted. Any other place
will do, but you want to be where you are quite undisturbed. Bring
Nelly in hand by gathering up the reins quietly, so as not to disturb
her equanimity or her position. Perhaps you had better hold the reins
in both hands for these exercises. At all times, indeed, it is well
that a horse should be kept acquainted with the feel of the two hands.
In many respects, and for many purposes, I am an advocate of two hands
in riding. Do not misunderstand me on this point. My plea is for such
education that one hand may suffice for all needs, when the other can
be better employed than with the reins; but I myself often use both my
hands, perhaps even half the time.

Nelly being collected, gently press one foot towards her flank, if
need be till the spur touches her. She will naturally move away from
it by a side step with her hind feet. You should have kept her head so
well in hand that she will not have moved her fore feet. So soon as
she makes this one side step, stop and caress her. Try once more with
the same foot. Same result, and you will again reward her with a kind
word. Do not at first try to make her take two steps consecutively. If
you do so, she may, having failed to satisfy you with one step, and
imagining that you want something else, try to step towards the spur
instead of away from it, and you will have thus lost some ground. A
horse argues very simply, and if one course does not seem to comply
with his rider's will, he almost always and at once tries the other.
After a few days, you will find that Nelly will side step very nicely,
one or two steps at a time, and before long she will do so in either
direction. You cannot, however, consider her as perfect until she can
handily complete the circle, with the opposite fore foot immovably
planted, in either direction at will, and without disturbing her
equilibrium. But this is much harder to do, and if you propose to give
Nelly a college education you must first qualify yourself as
professor.

You should now at the same time test how well you have taught Penelope
to guide by the neck. If you will use the pressure of your legs
judiciously, so as to prevent her from moving her hind feet at all,
you should be able to describe part of a circle about them by such use
of the reins as to make her side step with the fore feet. When she can
take two or three steps with fore or hind feet to either side quickly,
and at will, keeping the hind or fore feet in place, you have made a
very substantial gain in her training.

There can be, of course, only one pivot foot. It is the one opposite
the direction in which you are moving the croup or forehand. But to
teach Nelly to use the proper pivot foot you must begin much more
carefully, and it is perhaps not necessary, if you aspire only to
train her for road use, to be so particular.

Properly speaking, you ought about this time to give Nelly a little
side suppling of the neck, so as to make the parts respond readily to
your will. This is done first on foot, by gently turning the
mouthpiece of the curb bit in a horizontal plane, so as to force her
head to either side and make her arch her neck, without allowing her
to shift feet. Later, it is done by drawing one curb rein over her
neck so as to bring her head sidewise down towards the shoulder, while
steadying her with a less marked pressure on the other rein. To do
this properly, the Baucher diagrams, or a longer description, would be
useful. When the neck is in this exercise perfectly flexed, she will
be looking to the rear. With some little practice Nelly will thus
readily, at call, bring her head way round to the saddle-flap, with
neck arched, and mouthing her bit. Later still, you can practice this
flexion mounted, by holding both reins, and pulling a trifle more
strongly on one curb than on the other, and steadying her by voice and
leg to prevent her from moving. This exercise will make it physically
easier for Nelly by and by to respond to your demands, for her neck
will be flexible enough for her to hold her head in any desired
position without undue effort. And the same thing can be done in
motion, if this is not too rapid.

As already said, the circular movement described (termed a pirouette
about the hind, and a reversed pirouette about the fore feet) should
be made on one absolutely unmoved fore or hind foot as pivot. For,
plainly, both feet cannot act as one pivot without twisting the legs.
This pirouette is really a "low pirouette," the pirouette proper being
a movement by the horse poised on his hind legs alone, describing the
circle with fore legs in the air, which is a vastly finer performance.

It will suffice for you, though, Tom, if Nelly will make the
pirouette, simple or reversed, without substantially shifting the
position of the two pivot feet. But you must remember that if you
start with a half-and-half education, it is more difficult to perfect
the training than if you start in a more systematic manner; and I do
not pretend that these are the proper, but only easy methods.

It is by the union of the side steps of forehand and croup, the former
always a trifle in advance, that a horse is taught to "traverse," that
is, to move sideways at a walk, trot, or gallop. But the traverse is a
School gait rarely needed on the road, and a horse may be trained to
entire usefulness without being able to traverse, _as a gait_, if
he can willingly make a few quick side steps in either direction.
Moreover, to properly traverse, a horse should be taught the passage,
which is a gait in which the feet are raised much higher, by the
inducement of the spur and the indication of the rein, than the horse
would naturally lift them. The passage is put to use in very many of
the airs of the _manège_.



XXXIX.


To revert now to the canter, for which the pirouettes are
preparations. There are two or three ways of teaching a horse to lead
with either foot, but the best way is to begin with the flexions which
I have just described to you, and the more perfect these are, the
easier and quicker the progress, and the more satisfactory the result.

If you have not patience to wade through all these, you may try the
following plan, which is founded on the natural instincts and balance
of the horse, but for the execution of which, with your load on his
back, he has not been prepared.

A horse will lead with the off foot most readily if he is going round
a circle to the right; with the near foot, if circling to the left. In
other words, the foot which will quickest sustain his weight against
the centrifugal motion is the one which is planted first, that is, the
foot not leading. The way a horse is taught in a riding-school to lead
with either foot is by associating the proper indication to do so with
the lead he naturally takes as he canters around the right or left of
the ring, or changes direction in what are called the voltes in
teaching pupils. But I have seen many horses who would do this very
readily inside school walls, who were very stupid or refractory on a
straight bit of road. I think this is universally true, in fact, and
that is why I recommend road teaching whenever practicable.

It cannot be alleged that every horse will always use the proper foot
in the lead. A horse unused to cantering with a rider's weight upon
his back may do all kinds of awkward things which at liberty, or when
trained, he will not attempt to do. But the above way of leading is
the natural thing, and that which a horse generally does when at
liberty; and it is not hard to induce him to do what comes naturally
to him, nor by practice to strengthen the habit.

  [Illustration: PLATE XII.
   A TWENTY-FOOT LEAP.]

The action of the legs of the leading side is higher in the canter and
the gallop than that of the other pair. A horse is said to be "false"
in his canter or gallop if he turns with a wrong lead, that is, if he
turns to the right until he alters his lead to the right shoulder,
unless he is already so leading, or _vice versa_. This is true of
sharp turns, which may indeed cause a dangerous fall if "false," but a
horse can safely make turns with a long radius and good footing
without altering his lead, and this is often convenient to be done.
But if the ground is slippery, it is a risk to turn a sharp corner
with a wrong lead. I have often seen men punish a horse for slipping
at such a turn, when it was solely owing to the false lead that he did
so; and the false lead was either the lack of education in the horse
or the rider, or both. Sometimes a horse will be leading with one
shoulder, and following with the alternate hind leg. He is then said
to be "disunited," or "disconnected." The leg or spur, applied on
either side to bring him to the proper lead, will soon correct this
error, as it is equally disagreeable to horse and rider, and it is a
relief to both to change it.

Now, acting on this theory of the horse having a natural lead, suppose
you canter Nelly about in a circle small enough to induce her to use
the proper leg in the lead. A circle fifty feet in diameter will do.
At the same time apply a constant but slight pressure of your leg on
the side opposite her leading shoulder. She will by and by associate
this pressure with what you want her to do. Stick to one direction
long enough, say three or four days, to impress the idea on her mind,
and she will be rather apt to keep it in memory. Then try the other
direction with opposite pressure, and you will gradually get the
opposite result.

Again, a horse canters best with off shoulder leading, if moving along
the side of a hill which slopes up to his right, and _vice versa_.
Thus, if you keep on the left side of most roads, where the grade
slopes towards the gutter, you will find that Nelly will lead best
with her right shoulder. This is for the same reason. She wishes to
plant quickest that foot which will keep her from slipping down hill.
If she is on the right of the road she will lead best with the left
shoulder. She will, perhaps, not do this as readily as on the circle,
but she will be apt to do it. If you should watch a horse in the
circus ring, you would notice that this is apparently not true. But
the slanting path of the circus ring is really not on a slant at all,
when we calculate the centrifugal force of the motion around so small
a circle. It is as if a horse were moving on a horizontal plane, for
he is really perpendicular to the slanting path; and its tipped
position is governed by the same mathematical rule as the road-bed of
a railroad curve.

You may utilize this slanting instinct also in the same fashion as the
circle first mentioned for getting the elementary idea into Nelly's
head that pressure on one side means leading with the opposite
shoulder. Moreover, the side of the road, which is the slope most
handy, has the additional advantage of being generally the softest
cantering ground.

There is an upward play of the rein, which can be explained only to
the student who has advanced some distance in the art, which tends to
lighten, or invigorate one or the other side of a horse, and thus
induce him, coupled with other means, to make the long strides, that
is, lead, with the lightened or active shoulder. But you, Tom, will
not be able to use this until you have devoted more time to study as
well as practice.

After you have tried the circle to your satisfaction, try cantering in
a figure eight of sufficient size. Nelly will thereby learn
instinctively to change step as she comes to the loops. You can
probably find a field or lawn somewhere on which you can practice.
Out-of-door instruction is always preferable to riding-school work, if
equally good, both for man and beast. And such instruction as these
hints are intended to enable you to give, will teach you more than the
average riding-school ever does. I by no means refer to those schools
which teach equitation as a true art, instead of merely drilling you
in the bald elements of riding. Nor is there any better place to give
Nelly proper instruction than a riding-school, unless it be the lawn
or field. What you teach Nelly out-of-doors you will find her much
more willing and able to put into use on the road than if she had gone
through the same drill in a school.



XL.


The above is, of course, the crudest of methods compared with the best
School systems, but if you have taught Nelly her side steps (or
pirouettes), as I have described them to you, or in other words have
to a certain extent suppled her forehand and croup by the proper
flexions, you can start in a more certain way. You must not expect to
succeed at once. Success depends upon Nelly's intelligence, your own
patience, and the delicate perceptions of both. I assume that you will
have already taught Nelly to canter whenever you wish her to do so,
though she may have been selecting her own lead. Now, you can, of
course, see, when you want her to canter, that if you keep her head
straight with the reins and press upon her near flank with your leg,
she will throw her croup away from your leg, and be for the moment out
of the true line of advance. This is bad for the walk or the trot, but
just what you want to induce her to start the canter with the off
shoulder leading. For if you can keep her in this position until she
takes the canter, she will be more apt to lead off with her right
shoulder, because the forcing of her croup to the right has also
pushed this shoulder in advance of the other. If at the same time she
is traveling along a slope which runs up from her right, say the left
side of the road, or on a circle turning to the right, she will be all
the more apt to do this. You can aid her also by a little marked play
with the right rein, which will tend to enliven that side, and by
giving it increased action, aid in bringing it forward, even if not
done with entire expertness.

A number of English writers state that the proper indication for the
lead with the right foot is a tap of the whip on the right side, but
this appears to be lacking in good theory, and might prove very
confusing to a horse, despite the fact that the animal can be made to
learn anything as an indication. A tap of the whip under the right
elbow would be more consistent with the horse's action, although it is
quite possible, as a feat, to teach a horse to lead with the off
shoulder by pulling his off ear, or his tail, for the matter of that.
But indications are best when they tally with a sound theory of the
horse's motions.

Reverse causes will induce Nelly to lead with the left shoulder. Not,
of course, at once. For though she will do it in a circle or figure
eight, on the road she may still be often confused. It requires much
time and practice to make her perfect. But once Nelly catches the
idea, you can surely succeed in impressing it on her for good and all,
and though she will blunder often enough, she will in the end learn it
thoroughly.

When you start out to make Nelly lead off with one shoulder, be sure
you accomplish your object. If she leads off with the other, stop her
at once, and try again. Always succeed with a horse in what you
undertake. If you cannot, on any given day, make Nelly lead right, do
not let her canter at all, but keep her on a trot or a walk. It
requires a number of successful trials to make it plain to the
intelligence of a horse that he has done what you want, and is to do
it again on similar indications. It is, therefore, well for him not to
have to learn too many new lessons at once.



XLI.


To change lead in motion is harder for the horse and rider both to
learn, and there is no better test of a well-trained horse than an
immediate and balanced change of lead on call. A canter is a gait
somewhat similar to the gallop, though the feet move and come down in
different progression. But at certain times one or more of the four
feet are successively sustaining the weight, and there is an interval
when the horse is unsupported in the air, or has only one hind foot
upon the ground. It is this last period which the horse chooses in
which to change his lead. Now, suppose you are cantering with Nelly's
right shoulder leading, and want her to change to the left. If you
press upon her right flank with your leg, she will want to shift her
croup to the left. This will incline her naturally to turn her head to
the right, which inclination you must counteract with as little motion
as possible of the reins. Nelly will thus find that she is cantering
uncomfortably to herself, and if you will keep along in this way for a
few strides, she will very likely shift to her left lead, because the
constraint of your leg and the bit are irksome while she continues to
lead with the right, and she will try what she can do to get rid of
the restraint. She certainly will change after a while, particularly
if aided by the circle or slope, even if she does it because she does
not know what else to do. And by rousing or lightening the left
shoulder by a play of the left rein you will materially aid the
change. So soon as she has changed, reward her by a few words, and
canter along on the new lead.

The reverse accomplishes a similar result. It will probably take you
many weeks to bring about all this. If you do it in a few weeks, you
will succeed far beyond the average. But the process of teaching an
intelligent horse, if you are patient, is as pleasant as the result of
the lessons is agreeable, after they have had their due effect.

A horse should be so well trained as to be ready to turn with a
"false" lead if you ask him to do so. Left to himself, he should take
the proper lead at the moment of turning. But he must obey you to the
extent of doing what he would otherwise not do, and should properly
not do, if you give him the indication. And this without becoming
confused, so as to fail to do the proper thing on the next occasion.

Though I by no means hold up Patroclus to-day as a model performer of
School-paces, which I am perhaps too lazy to keep him as perfect in as
I ought to do, the results of good training still remain. I sometimes,
when out of sight, canter him quite a stretch, say quarter of a mile,
changing lead, first every fourth stride, then every third stride,
then every second, in regular rhythmic succession. If Patroclus fails
to do this feat with exactness, I can always recognize my own error in
too late an indication, rather than his in obeying it. It is possible
to canter him very slowly with a change of lead at every stride, but
such work is very exhausting to a horse, and I have not often done it.
This latter feat must be done so slowly that the gait is properly not
a canter; but Patroclus can perform the true canter, and change at
every second step readily for several hundred yards.

There are undoubtedly many well-trained horses in Boston, very likely
more highly trained ones than I am aware of; but certainly the great
majority of saddle beasts possess scarcely the rudiments of an
education. This seems to be a pity, when it requires so little labor
to give them one, if their owners will but learn how to do so.

Not long ago a friend of mine, and an old rider too, was exhibiting to
me a recently purchased horse, for whom he had paid a high price,
because he was said to have come fresh from the hands of some noted
trainer. The horse would fall into a canter with his own lead readily
enough, but when, after a struggle of some hundred yards, he was made
to lead with the foot selected by the rider, it was thought to be a
triumph of cleverness. Is not this a common case? And would it not be
well to rectify it?



XLII.


There are a number of little exercises which you ought by no means to
omit, as, for instance, practicing Nelly in backing quickly, handily,
and without losing her balance. This is only to be done by slow
degrees, a few steps at a time, and by generously rewarding progress
as she increases her number of backward steps. Never force her. Use
persuasion only. In doing this, watch that she is always well poised.
Otherwise she cannot back properly. You must also teach her, by that
use of the reins and legs which you will already have learned, to
change direction as she backs, as easily as she does in moving
forward. These necessary things she has already been crudely taught in
her breaking-in.

If Nelly has the pride of a courageous horse, as I should judge by her
bright eye that she had, she will be fairly greedy of kind words and
caresses. And I trust you will never allow her to become afraid of the
whip. You should be able to switch your whip all about her face
without her heeding it. Reward goes much farther than punishment. The
latter needs very rarely to be resorted to. I have never used it,
barring in isolated cases, but what afterwards I was ashamed of it,
and not infrequently I have made most sincere apology and amends to
the sufferer. But the harm done has always been hard to eradicate. An
impatient man quickly loses his standing in the confidence and
affection of an intelligent horse. In your training, a whip will be
much more useful than a crop. The latter is but a badge of fashion, of
absolutely no use on the road, and of but little in education.

Now, Tom, I have suggested to you a number of very crude rules for
training your mare. Like Captain Jack Bunsby I ought to add that "the
bearings of this observation lays in the application on it." But by
the patient aid of even these simple methods, intelligently used, you
will have given Nelly an easy mouth, you will have suppled her
forehand and croup, and you will have taught her to canter with either
foot in the lead.

Everything which I have told you can be put to use by a lady as well
as a man. But a lady needs preliminary teaching in a school, because
it is neither pleasant nor safe for her to be on the road quite
untaught. But having acquired a seat and some little control of her
horse, she can apply all the rules I have given you, using her whip as
a man would use his right leg. The short skirts of the day enable her
to use her left leg as readily as you can.

The gallop comes of itself, and needs but care that your own position
is good and does not lose firmness or interfere with your hands.
Better sit down to the gallop. The jockey habit of galloping in the
stirrups is rarely of use except as a means of changing your own seat
and sometimes of easing your horse across ploughed fields or bad
ground. It is never proper for the road.



XLIII.


Having got thus far, you will surely want to teach the mare to jump
and yourself to sit her firmly when she does so. Perhaps you may
choose to defer the tedious processes described and go at jumping at
once.

If you think you can sit a fairish jump, probably the best plan is to
follow the hounds in a quiet way some day, if it happens to be in
their season. A great many horses will jump imitatively when in
company and do pretty clean simple work. There is a bit of a chance
for a blunder this way, because a horse unused to jumping cannot gauge
his work and may come down. But by taking him slowly at his fences,
perhaps at a walk, there is comparatively little risk. It is the
exceptional horse who will jump well in cold blood, like Patroclus in
the illustrations. But any horse can be taught to do so in a measure,
and no horse can be called a hunter unless he will do so cleverly.

If you first go out with the hounds, there is some danger that if your
seat is insecure you will drag Nelly back from her leaps, and worry or
confuse her so much that you will lose a deal of ground. Though,
indeed, she will be less readily spoiled if she gets excited by the
chase, than if put at equally high jumps as a lesson, because her
eagerness to keep up with the other horses will exceed her annoyance
at your unsteady hands.

I would advise you, on the whole, to have a little practice in some
quiet spot all by yourself. A horse who will only jump in company is
far from perfect in this accomplishment. A well-trained horse should
jump a three and a half foot gate or an eight foot ditch at any time
as willingly as start into a sharp gallop.

  [Illustration: PLATE XIII.
   ABOUT TO LAND.]

I assume that Nelly knows nothing of leaping. Wander off into the
fields somewhere. Find a place where there is a gate or fence of
several bars. Let all these down but one or two,--leaving enough in
height for Nelly to step over if she lifts her feet way up,--say
twenty inches. A fallen log is an excellent thing to try on. Make her
cross and recross the bar or log a number of times, by persuasion
only. Any horse will step over a high bar if you stand him in front of
it and encourage him. Don't scold or strike her. Nothing disheartens
the learning or courageous horse so much.

From the days of Xenophon down, any one who loses his temper in
training a horse, or uses any but gentle means, violates the precept,
practice, and experience of all successful horsemen.

"But never to approach a horse in a fit of anger is the one great
precept and maxim of conduct in regard to the treatment of a horse;
for anger is destitute of forethought, and consequently often does
that of which the agent must necessarily repent." Xen. Horsemanship,
vi. 13.

Curiously enough, in spite of this rule, Xenophon advocates the use of
the whip and spur in teaching a horse to leap--the gravest error, I
think, of this exceedingly sensible horseman.

It has been said that you should not make a horse keep on jumping the
same obstacle, because he sees no reason for doing it, and feels that
you are making a fool of him. But my experience is that a horse likes
to jump at any well-known thing, if he has been petted or rewarded for
cleverly clearing it. A horse who has been given a bit of sugar or
apple after jumping is far from feeling that he has been made a fool
of, even if he is jumped a dozen times over the same obstacle. And
every horse goes with double confidence at a thing he has leaped
before. It is the horse who knows the country who makes easiest
headway and quickest after hounds, and is oftenest in at the death. At
the same time it is true that a horse can be spoiled by leaping him in
cold blood much more easily than when in the company of many others.
And it is also true that if a horse is ridden at different things in
succession, if such can be readily found, he learns to take whatever
comes in his path more handily than if he is confined to only one
jump. Still, after once learning to jump any one obstacle, the lesson
is easily carried farther by riding across simple bits of country.

As soon as Nelly walks right over the bar without hesitation or any
pause longer than enough to lift her feet, walk or jog her up to it a
bit faster. She will soon find that it is less exertion for her to
rise to it with both feet at once, and hop over it, than to lift her
feet so high. As soon as she has caught this idea, reward her with a
nibble of something, for she has made her first step in learning the
lesson. A little sugar, salt, or a bit of apple, or a green leaf or
two, or a bunch of grass you will find to be wonderful incentives.

Don't raise the bar too soon or too much. When Nelly is quite familiar
with the small jump at a slow gait, trot her at it. Most horses can
jump well from a trot. In fact some of the best riders always trot up
to timber. It is a temptation of Providence to try to fly a stiff bit
of timber, unless you have a wonderful jumper who knows you well, or
unless you are at the beginning of a run, when your horse is in his
best condition; and Providence should never be tempted except when a
considerable result lies trembling in the balance.

When Nelly takes the obstacle cleverly from a trot, canter her at it,
and gradually she will take pleasure in hopping over it, particularly
if she now and then gets a tidbit at the other side. Moreover, this
tidbit will accomplish another object. It will teach your mare not to
rush as soon as she clears her fence, which a horse who is whipped at
his jumps almost always does. By insensible degrees and within a few
weeks you will get Nelly to jump three feet high, or even three and a
half. If she can do this in cold blood, "clane and cliver," she will
be able to do anything within reason which you need when in company.
You can try her in just the same way at small, then at large ditches,
always keeping to the familiar place and rewarding success, until
Nelly learns what jumping in the abstract is. After that, try her at
all kinds of things in moderation.

There is more than a grain of good sense in the idea that a horse does
not want to be made to jump unnecessarily. And it is true that some
horses get stubborn if always put at the same obstacle without an
object. But if a horse associates praise and reward with jumping, he
will be ready for it at any proper time. You should, however, avoid
making a tired horse leap except when it is absolutely necessary. Let
him do this work when he is fresh. You of course know that a really
stanch horse is usually fresher after five or ten miles of average
speed than at the start. The best of stayers are often quite dull
until they get their legs stretched and their bodies emptied. This
particularly applies to aged horses. And perhaps the very worst time
to jump a horse is when he is just out of the stall.



XLIV.


How about holding the reins in the jump? Well, now we come to
debatable ground. To-day's fashion tells you to use both hands. The
old-fashioned English habit, as well as the necessary habit of the
soldier and of all other riders who have work to do, is to use the
bridle hand alone. I prefer the latter habit. Only a half-trained
horse needs both hands. A good jumper ought to want to jump, not have
to be steered and shoved over an obstacle. I am willing to allow that
some brutes have to be so steered; but if a horse is well-taught,
likes to leap, and can be safely ridden at an obstacle with one hand,
why use two? If a man is astride a horse who must be steered, let him
use both. If he can teach his horse to be true at his jumps with but
one hand, both will have gained a point, and be one hand better off.
For two hands may be used at any time, if called for.

A sound and vigorous horse, who has been properly taught to jump, will
take anything which he feels that his rider himself means to go over.
If you want utterly to spoil your Nelly, ride her at things you
yourself feel uncertain about clearing. She will quickly find out your
mood from your hands. The only rule for keeping your mare true to her
work is never to ride at anything which you have not made up your mind
to carry her over. Be true to yourself in your ambition to jump, and
Nelly will be true to you. It is usually the horses that have been
fooled by uncertain hearts and tremulous hands who fail you at the
critical moment, or who have to be steered over their fences. So long
as your horse has jumping ability, and you have a "warm heart and a
cool head," you can go anywhere.

A generation ago no one was ashamed of even letting his right arm fly
up now and then, for it was not in olden times the extremity of "bad
form" which it is now pronounced to be. Look over Doyle or Leech for
proof of this. But the main argument against the unnecessary use of
two hands is that you may absolutely require your right hand for
something else, while it certainly argues a poor training or character
in a horse to make it a _sine qua non_ for you to employ both at
every leap. Of what avail would a trooper be in a charge, with his
horse bounding over dismounted companions, dead, or, worse still,
wounded and struggling horses, and all manner of obstacles, if he had
to steer his horse with his sword-hand? And not infrequently you will
find, in the peaceful charge after harmless Reynard, that your right
arm is better employed in fending off blows from stray branches or in
opening a passage through a close cover, than in holding on to one of
your reins. Have you never been through a bullfinch where you must
part the clustering branches if you were to scramble through and avoid
the wondrous wise man's bramble-bush experience? Have you never felt
your hat going at the instant your horse was taking off? Have you
never seen just the neatest place in the hedge obstructed by a single
branch, which your right arm could thrust aside as you flew over? Have
you never, O my hunting brother, had to make an awfully sudden grab at
your horse's mane?

And while I am happy to defer to the opinion of some of the most noted
steeple-chasers and first-flight men in this controversy, when they
call single-hand jumping a hateful practice, and ascribe to it half
the bad habits of the hunter and the crooked seats of the rider, I am
satisfied to look at the portraits of such wonderful equestrians as
Captain Percy Williams, or Tom Clarke, huntsman of the Old Berkshire,
and a dozen others that could be instanced, all using the bridle hand
alone, and some of them even forgetting that it is "bad form" to let
the right elbow leave the side. Bad form, forsooth! These portraits
would scarcely have been thus painted if the habit had met the
disapproval of the celebrated horsemen in question.

So far as you are concerned, Tom, you will learn while Penelope is
learning. Use your snaffle bit alone. A man needs light hands to jump
with a curb, or else his horse must have a leather mouth. Whenever
Nelly has made up her mind to jump, let her have her head. Don't try
to tell her when to take off. Leave that to her, and don't flurry her
while she is making up her mind when and where to do it. Leave that to
the very experienced rider. If she is jumping from a stand, or slow
trot, you can say a word of encouragement to her, but by no means do
so at a gallop, when within a stride or two of the jump. Be ready,
however, to draw rein sufficient to give her some support as soon as
she has landed.

You will find that when Nelly jumps, the strong and quick extension of
her hind legs will throw you into the air and forward. To obviate this
settle down in your seat, in other words, "curl your sitting bones
under you," use your legs (not your heels), and lean back just enough
not to get thrown from your saddle. Don't try any of the fancy ideas
about first leaning forward to ease her croup while she takes off. You
will come a cropper if you do. Lean back. It will not take you long to
find out how much, and the leaning forward will come of itself.



XLV.


It is often alleged by old cross-country riders that the best hunters
land on their hind feet. Many no doubt land so quickly and so well
gathered that they give to the eye the appearance of so doing. But I
doubt if photography would really show them to land other than on one
fore foot, instantly relieved by the second one planted a short stride
farther on, and followed by the corresponding hind ones in succession.
Plate XIV. shows what I mean, and the same thing appears in all the
Muybridge photographs. But your eye can by no means catch Patroclus in
this position. His hind legs seem to follow his fore legs much more
closely; and he always lands cleverly and so well gathered as to make
not the slightest falter in his new stride. It is also said that the
best water-jumpers skim and do not rise much to the jump. But I fancy
that every horse rises more to water than the fancy drawn pictures
show. Gravitation alone, it seems, would make this necessary.
Photography would prove the fact, but there are probably not enough
such photographs extant to-day to decide upon the question.

You may read a dozen volumes about jumping, Tom, but a dozen jumps
will teach you a dozen times as much as the printer's ink. And
remember that a standing or an irregular jump, even if small, or that
the leap of a pony, is harder to sit than a well-timed jump of twice
the dimensions on a full grown horse. I have been nearly dismounted in
teaching a new horse much oftener than in the hunting-field. It is
only when your horse comes down, or when a bad jumper rushes at his
fence and then swerves or refuses suddenly, that there is any grave
danger of a fall in riding to hounds.

Don't be afraid of a fall. It won't hurt you much in nineteen cases
out of twenty. If you find you are really going and can't save
yourself, don't stiffen. Try to flop, the more like a drunken man the
better. It is rigid muscles which break bones. This is a hard rule to
learn. Many falls alone teach its uses. A suggestion will by no means
do so. But hold on to your reins for your life, Tom, when you fall.
This is one of the most important things to remember. It has saved
many a man from being dragged.

A man who brags that he has never had a fall may be set down as having
never done much hard riding. Many a time and oft have the very best
riders and their steeds entered the next field in Tom Noddy's order:

    Tom Noddy         1.
    T. N.'s b.g. Dan  2.

And yet how few bones there are broken for the number of falls. A good
shaking up is all there is to it, as a rule. When a man mellows into
middle life--(how much farther on in years middle life is when we are
well past forty than when we are twenty-five!)--he is apt to feel
discreet, because conscious that a bad spill may hurt him worse than
in his youth, and he will look upon a "hog-backed stile" as a thing
requiring a deal of deliberation, if not a wee bit jumping-powder. He
will avoid trying conclusions whenever he can. But at your age and
with your legs, on that mare of yours, Tom, you should go anywhere, if
she will learn to jump cleverly.

Your feet should be "home" in the stirrups, and you will naturally
throw them slightly backward as you hold on, toes down, because it
both gives you the better grip and keeps your stirrup on your foot. In
this particular, Tom, I bid you heed my precept, and not study my
example, which is by no means of the best, as I am reduced to jumping
with a straight leg, and to fastening my stirrup to my foot, lest I
should not find it when I land.



XLVI.


The Englishman's method and seat for cross-country riding is
undeniably the best, and perhaps is hardly to be criticised. But a
good seat or hands for hunting are not necessarily good for all other
saddle work. That firmness in the saddle which will take a man over a
five-foot wall may not be of the same quality as will give him
absolutely light hands for School-riding. For as a rule, Englishmen
prefer hunters who take pretty well hold of the bridle, and work well
up to the bit. And for this one purpose, perhaps they are right. Such
a hold will not, however, teach a man the uses of light hands in the
remotest degree.

In a sharp run to hounds, a horse must have his head. For high pace or
great exertions of mere speed, the horse must be free. A twitch on the
curb may check him at a jump and give him a bad fall. As in racing, a
horse has to learn that his duty is to put all his courage, speed, and
jumping ability into his work, subject only to discreet guidance and
management. But on the road, the exact reverse should be the rule.
There is surely less enjoyment in your Penelope, who to-day can only
walk, or else go a four-minute gait without constant friction, than
there will be when she can vary her gaits and keep up any desired rate
of speed, from a walk to a fifteen-mile trot or a sharp gallop, at the
least intimation of your hands and without discomfort to herself. I
know of nothing more annoying than to be forced by a riding companion
of whichever sex into a sharper gait than either of you wish to go,
because mounted on a fretting horse, who cannot be brought down to a
comfortable rate of speed until all but tired out.

In the hunting-field you expect to go fast for a short time, and it is
alone the speed and the occasional obstacle which lend the zest to the
sport. But for the ride on the road, which to many of us is a lazy
luxury, you need variety in speed as well as gaits for both comfort
and pleasure. Patroclus here will walk, amble, rack, single-foot,
trot, canter, gallop, and run, or go from any one into any other at
will; and every one of these gaits is unmistakably distinct, crisp,
and well performed. Nor have I ever found him any the less
accomplished cross-country, within his limitation of condition and
speed, for having had a complete education for the road. When I give
him his head and loosen my curb, I find him just as free as if I had
never restrained him from choosing his own course. Who can deny that
the pleasure to be derived from such a horse for daily use does not
exceed that to be got from one who can only trot on the road, or run
and jump in the field?

  [Illustration: PLATE XIV.
   LANDING.]

Perhaps Nelly will never learn so much, for Patroclus is an
exceptionally intelligent and well-suppled horse. But she can learn a
good deal of it. Patroclus had no idea of any gait but a walk or trot
when I bought him, nor did he start with any better equipment than
Penelope; and in less than a year he knew all that he knows now, and
much that he has forgotten. For in the many High School airs which he
once could at call perform, he is altogether rusty from sheer lack of
usage. But the "moral" may remain, though the fable may have long
since passed from the memory.



XLVII.


Some horses, who trot squarely, will go naturally from a walk into a
little amble or pace, which is sometimes called a "shuffle." Often
this is an agreeable and handsome gait, but not infrequently far from
pleasant. Often, too, it will spoil the speed of the walk, as the
horse will insensibly fall into it if pushed beyond his ease. A slower
rate at a faster pace is always easier to a horse than the extreme of
speed at the lesser gait. It is scarcely worth while in the East to
try to teach a horse to amble or rack if he does not naturally do so,
though it can often be done.

Apart from the agreeable and useful side of the true rack as a gait,
it has not a few further advantages. In coming from a canter to a
walk, a horse may be taught to slow up into a rack, and then drop to
the walk, or to stop in the same manner. This enables him to come down
without the least suspicion of that roughness which almost all horses
show when stopping a canter, particularly if done quickly; unless,
indeed, they be "poised" before being stopped, as a School-ridden
horse always is from every gait. Moreover, when you rein a cantering
horse down within the slowest limit of his speed at that pace, as to
allow a team to pass, or for a similar purpose, if he knows how, he
will fall into a rack, from which he can with much more comfort to
himself and you resume the canter, than if he had fallen into a walk.
A rack is not an interruption of the canter, as is a jog or walk, but
a mere _retardando_, as it were. Still a rapid walk, a trot which
varies from six to ten miles, and a well-collected canter suffice for
any of our Eastern needs. These, and the gallop, moreover, are
considered the only permissible paces by the School-riders of Europe.

In our Southern States rackers are bred for, and the instinct is
confirmed by training. In many warm countries, ambling is bred for. I
do not think that any horse with practically but a single gait, as is
usually the case with the ambler or racker, comes up to the requisite
standard of usefulness. Of the two, I should give my preference, in
our latitude, to a mere trotter, if easy, who had a busy walk beside.
But in addition to the trot and canter, any comfortable gait may often
be a relief, and it is eminently desirable, if the horse can learn it
without spoiling his proper paces. Such a gait adds vastly to a
horse's value for the saddle.

I cannot agree with the School-riders that a rack may not be a good
School gait. Patroclus' rack, when collected, is certainly as clean a
performance as any of his other gaits. From it he will drop back to a
walk, or fall into a canter or gallop with either lead, or into a
square trot. And this more quickly than from another gait, for if, in
a canter, the indication to trot be given him out of season, he may be
obliged to complete one more stride before he can execute the order;
whereas, from a rack, which is always a mid-stride for any gait, he
can instantly fall into the one commanded. The indication and
execution are often all but instantaneous from the rack. He is really
more neatly collected on the rack proper than on any other gait,
except the canter; and though the rack is unrecognized as a School
pace, I feel certain that I could convince any master of the Haute
Ecole that within proper limits it is an addition, not a loss, to the
education of a horse. What School-riders mean when they exclude the
rack from School-paces is that a racker has rarely any other gait; and
in the usual loose-jointed rack of the South a horse is certainly not
well enough poised for use in School performances.



XLVIII.


To come back to our original text, then, it is quite impossible to
say, as a whole, what seat is intrinsically the best, or what nation
furnishes the best of riders. It appears to me that there is such a
thing as a _natural_ seat. Such a seat is clearly shown on the frieze
of the Parthenon, and in a less artistic way may be seen among any
horsemen riding without stirrups. Although Xenophon has been
misunderstood in this particular, I feel convinced that his
description calls for what I understand to be the natural seat. And
the best military riders make the nearest approach to this position.
By military seat I by no means intend to convey the idea of a straight
leg, forked radish style. That is not the military seat proper. It is
only in spite of such a seat, or in spite of the short stirrup of the
East, and because they are always in the saddle, that the Mexican
gaucho and the Arab of the desert both ride as magnificently as they
do. The best military rider should, and does, carry the leg as it
naturally falls when sitting on his breech, not his crotch, on the
bare back of a horse. The steeple-chaser, or cross-country rider, for
perfectly satisfactory reasons, has a much shorter stirrup. But on the
road, he should, and generally does, come back more nearly to the
natural length. The main advantage in the very long stirrup which
obtains among so many peoples lies in the possibility of sitting close
on a trot with greater ease, and of using the lasso or whip, or in
having a free hand for their sundry sports or duties. And a high
pommel and cantle are advantageous in helping the rider preserve his
seat when he might be dragged--not thrown--from it in some of his
peculiar experiences. But the perfectly straight leg always bears a
suggestion of the parting advice of the groom to a Sunday rider just
leaving the stable: "Look straight between his hears, sir, and keep
your balance, and you _can't_ come hoff." On the other hand, the
advantages of an extremely short stirrup, such as prevails in the
Orient, are very difficult to be understood at all.

The military riders of every civilized country, where enlistments are
long enough, and where proper care is given to the instruction in
equestrianism, are excellent. It would be curious indeed if men who
devote their lives to the art should not be so. Some of our old army
cavalry officers rode gloriously. Our volunteer cavalry, late in the
war, rode strongly, though not always handsomely. During the past
twenty years the severe work and long marches of our regular mounted
troops have militated greatly against equestrianism as an art. Some of
the most accomplished riders I have ever known have been in the United
States Army. Philip Kearny, that _preux chevalier_, the "one-armed
devil," was in every sense a superb rider. I have seen him with his
cap in one hand, his empty sleeve blowing outward with his speed, and
his sword dangling from his wrist, ride over a Virginia snake fence
such as most of us would want to knock at least the top rail off.

    "How he strode his brown steed! How we saw his blade brighten
      In the one hand still left,--and the reins in his teeth!
    He laughed like a boy when the holidays heighten,
      But a soldier's glance shot from his visor beneath!"

And a man who could not follow him did not long remain upon his staff.

One of my lost opportunities occurred for such a reason during Pope's
campaign, when General Kearny, who had dispatched right and left all
his aides, beckoned to me at dusk one evening to ride out and draw the
fire of some of the enemy's troops supposed to be on the edge of a
wood, some half a mile or so distant. My own horse had been shot, and
my equipments lost. I had captured an old farm-horse without a saddle,
and had extemporized a rope bridle. The course lay athwart some open
fields, with a number of fences still standing. My desire to do this
work stood in inverse ratio to my steed's ability to second me. And no
sooner had I ridden up and touched my cap for orders, than the general
had gauged the poverty of my beast and rig, and speedily selected a
better mounted messenger.

During the war, among the volunteer troops, we used in some of the
divisions to organize steeple-chases during a long term of inactive
operations, and good ones we frequently had; the old style
steeple-chase over an unknown course being the fashion, and the
steeple generally a prominent tree, at a distance of a couple of
miles. Often the course was round a less distant tree and back again.
Not a few good riders and horses were forthcoming to enter for such an
event, and I have rarely seen better riding than there. An unknown
course over Virginia fences, and through patches of Virginia second
growth, especially after heavy rains, when mere gutters became rivers
for a number of hours, and the ground was much like hasty-pudding,
could be a test to try the best of horses and horsemen.

These are but isolated examples, instanced only as showing that every
species of hard saddle work is very naturally apt to be cultivated
among men whose duty keeps them in the saddle the better part of every
day. And it is well known that English army officers are among the
very best cross-country riders, and not a few have occupied the
dignity of M. F. H., and done it credit. Surely such a rider, trained
in the niceties of the _manège_, as well as experienced in riding
to hounds, may fitly be placed at the head of the equestrian roll of
honor.

                 *       *       *       *       *

After excluding professionals, then (and exceptional individuals), I
am afraid I must brave criticism in calling the officers of civilized
mounted troops distinctly the best class of riders. Next--perhaps you
will say in the same category--comes that class in England which makes
its one pleasure the prosecution of the most splendid of all sports,
fox-hunting, and has reached perfection in the art. Excluding all
riders who do not belong to the classes available for our imitation,
there comes next, _longo intervallo_, the civilian rider everywhere.

It is impossible to draw any comparison between the above classes and
even our own cowboys, whose peculiar duties and untamed mustangs
prescribe their long leathers and horned pommel. Nor can the
equatorial style be fairly contrasted with what meets the wants of the
denizens of the civilized cities of the temperate zone.

In this country, the Southerner is the most constantly in the saddle,
and a good rider in the sunny South is a thoroughly good rider. But I
have often wondered at the number of poor ones it is possible to find
in localities where everybody moves about in the saddle. Many men
there, who ride all the time, seem to have acquired the trick of
breaking every commandment in the decalogue of equitation. Using
horses as a mere means of transportation seems sometimes to reduce the
steed to a simple beast of burden, and equestrianism to the bald
ability to sit in the saddle as you would in an ox-cart.

I think I have seen more graceful equestriennes in the South than
anywhere else,--than even in England. But I must admit that all women
who ride well possess such attractions for me as perhaps to warp my
judgment in endeavoring to draw comparisons. Who but a Paris could
have awarded the apple?

Although the Southern woman refuses to ride the trot, she has a proper
substitute for it, and her seat is generally admirable. Though I
greatly admire a square trot well ridden in a side-saddle, it is
really the rise on this gait which makes so many crooked female riders
among ourselves and our British cousins. This ought not to be so, but
ladies are apt to resent too much severity in instruction, and without
strict obedience to her master, a lady never learns to ride gracefully
and stoutly. In the South, ladies ride habitually, and moreover a
rack, single-foot, and canter are not only graceful, but
straight-sitting paces for a woman.

It is not to-day risking much, however, to prophesy that within the
lapse of little time our Eastern cities will boast as many clever
Amazons as are to be found in the South. Who can contend that our
Yankee women have not the intelligence, courage, vigor, and grace to
rank with the riders of any clime?



XLIX.


And now, Master Tom, let me again impress upon you that I have been
giving you only the most rudimentary idea of how to train your mare.
By no means expect that Nelly will ever execute the traverse,
pirouette, Spanish trot, or piaffer, let alone trot or gallop
backwards, as these airs should be performed, by any such superficial
education. But you will certainly find her more agreeable, more
tractable, safer, and easier, and you will have both enjoyed the
schooling. And I feel assured that having gone so far you will not
stop short of the next step, the study and practice of the art in its
true refinements. I may, moreover, safely assume that after you have
once owned a School-trained horse, you will never again be content
with what might be appropriately termed the "perfect saddle horse" of
commerce.

Our roads part here,--yours towards the studious shades of Harvard,
mine towards the rolling uplands of Chestnut Hill. Fare you well!


                 *       *       *       *       *


PATROCLUS AND PENELOPE

_A CHAT IN THE SADDLE_


BY
THEODORE AYRAULT DODGE

BREVET LIEUTENANT-COLONEL UNITED STATES ARMY (RETIRED LIST); AUTHOR OF
"THE CAMPAIGN OF CHANCELLORSVILLE," "A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE CIVIL
WAR," ETC., ETC.


ILLUSTRATED WITH FOURTEEN PHOTOTYPES OF
THE HORSE IN MOTION


_Since--as it has been our fortune to be long engaged about horses--we
consider that we have acquired some knowledge of horsemanship, we
desire also to intimate to the younger part of our friends how we
think that they may bestow their attention on horses to the best
advantage._

XENOPHON _on Horsemanship_


  HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
  BOSTON AND NEW YORK



PATROCLUS AND PENELOPE:


A Chat in the Saddle. By THEODORE AYRAULT DODGE, Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel,
U.S.A. (Retired List), author of "The Campaign of Chancellorsville,"
"A Bird's-Eye View of the Civil War," etc. Illustrated with fourteen
phototypes of the Horse in motion. In one volume, octavo, gilt top,
half roan, $3.00.

CONTENTS: Patroclus and I; Saddles and Seats; Patroclus on a Rack; The
Rack and Single-Foot; Patroclus Trotting; Thoroughbred or Half-Bred;
The Saddle Mania; Park-Riding; A Fine Horse not necessarily a Good
Hack; Soldiers have Stout Seats; A Gate and a Brook; The Old Trooper;
Instruction in Riding; Chilly Fox-Hunting; Is Soldier or Fox-Hunter
the Better Rider? The School-Rider; Patroclus Happy; Photography
versus Art; A One-Man Horse; Baucher's Favorite Saddle Horse;
Patroclus sniffs a Friend; Riding-Schools and School-Riding; Is
Schooling of Value? Manuals of Training; Result of Training; Qualities
of the Horse; Dress, Saddles, and Bridles; Mounting; How to hold the
Reins; How to begin Training; Penelope's Unrestrained Courage; Hints
before beginning to train a Horse; Guiding by the Neck; What an Arched
Neck means; Flexions of the Neck; Flexions of the Croup; The Canter;
Leading with either Shoulder; The Horse's Natural Lead; The Best Way
to teach the Lead; Change of Lead in Motion; Suggestions; How to begin
Jumping; The Reins in the Jump; Odds and Ends of Leaping; Hunting and
Road-Riding; Advantages of True Rack; Who is the Best Rider? Vale!

_This book is written from an experience extending over thirty
years,--in the English hunting-field, the Prussian army, the plains of
the West, active service during the Civil War, and daily riding
everywhere. The author has studied equestrianism as an art, and,
although believing in the Haute Ecole of Baucher, enjoys with equal
zest a ride to hounds or a gallop on the western prairies._

_The experienced equestrian will be delighted by the author's breezy
talk and thorough knowledge of his subject. The young horseman who may
have purchased a colt just broken to harness can by the use of its
hints make him as clever as Patroclus. Even the man who rides but a
dozen times a year will be interested in the book, while the every-day
reader will be charmed by its simplicity, geniality, and heartiness._


NOTICES OF THE PRESS.

The reader must feel that he is in distinctively good company. It is a
running commentary on saddle-riding, and gives the reader much the
same advantages he would have from a season's riding in company with a
gentleman who has ridden in all countries, on all sorts of animals,
and under all sorts of conditions.... One of the most attractive of
recent books.--_Boston Advertiser._

We all love Isaak Walton's talks about fish or John Burroughs's essays
on birds; in the same spirit is this delightful book of Col.
Dodge's.... It is a familiar chat of a man who knows all about
horsemanship and can tell you how to mount or ride, what saddle or
bridle to use, and, at the same time, touch upon life in the saddle
with words which will make your blood tingle.--_Saturday Evening
Gazette_ (Boston).

It consists of a series of essay-like chapters written in a lively,
chatty, conversational manner which makes it charming reading. The
advice is full of hints and suggestions to the experienced horseman as
well as of instructions of the utmost value to the new initiate in the
equestrian art. We are in sympathy with the author before the first
page is turned.--_Yale Literary Magazine_ (New Haven).

The volume consists of a most charming series of chats about horses
and horsemanship by a man who is thoroughly in the spirit of his
subject, and who is not a hidebound partisan of any school of
equestrianism, holding to the catholic belief that there are good
riders in every land and in every species of saddle.--_Army and Navy
Journal_ (New York).

It abounds in excellent suggestions, the fruit of sound experience,
accurate observations, and good common sense. It is an excellent book
for the amateur. Withal it is told in a pleasant, easy way, as if it
had been written in the saddle instead of at the desk.--_Christian
Register_ (Boston).

Col. Dodge combines to an altogether uncommon degree the merit of a
close acquaintance with and real enthusiasm in his subject, and the
quality of a trained literarian. The aspiring equestrian will gain
instruction from the lips of a masterly instructor.--_Christian
Union_ (New York).

Col. Dodge has given the beginner in the art of horsemanship the best
possible introduction to his pleasurable task. The author has had a
much wider store of practical experience in horsemanship than his
predecessors in this field of instruction.--_New York Evening Post._

The practical horseman cannot fail to admire the firm, easy seat which
the beginner will do well to copy. "Patroclus" is ably described, and,
if up to what is said of him, must be a gem of the first
water.--_New York Times._

One who has had some experience in the saddle will derive from it the
same sort of profit and entertainment which might be expected from an
accomplished, observant, clear-headed, and good-natured companion on
the road.--_New York Tribune._

Col. Dodge rode his horse at the time the photographs were taken, and
his skill in horsemanship is exhibited by a seat that was undisturbed
by even the most violent exertions of his steed.--_Sporting and
Dramatic News_ (London).

His horse "Patroclus" is his hero, his mare "Penelope" his heroine,
and the adventures undertaken with the aid of these two good animals
make a story which will fire the blood of every reader.--_Brooklyn
Union._

Col. Dodge has succeeded in giving much excellent advice on the
management of the horse, while at the same time holding the reader's
attention by the interest of the narrative.--_Herald-Crimson_
(Cambridge).

The beginner who will follow the excellent and simple rules of
training given by our author will be sure to win success in the art
and a great deal of pleasure by the way.--_The Nation_ (New York).

Considerable as is the space allotted to jumping, it is not too great
in view of the popularity of cross-country riding. We find in it
nothing to criticise.--_Philadelphia Record._

Written in a pleasant, sympathetic vein and in almost conversational
form, it has an abundance of keen hints and graceful thoughts on
horseback riding as an art.--_Cincinnati Commercial Gazette._

He covers the whole ground of good horsemanship, not as an amateur or
theorist, but as one who knows all the facts with which he
deals.--_San Francisco Chronicle._

Col. Dodge is an expert in all the finesse and paraphernalia of horses
and horseback-riding.... The advice is sound and simple and very
direct.--_The Critic_ (New York).

The chapters on the training of horse and rider are full of sound
information, clearly stated, and practical to the last.--_Journal of
Military Service Institution_ (New York).

A lover of horses will find in this volume a book which will give him
unlimited pleasure.--_The Book-Buyer_ (New York).

This book will be given an enthusiastic welcome by all lovers of
equestrianism.--_Chicago Journal._

The hearty animal spirits which gallop through its pages are
catching.--_New York Mail and Express._

Col. Dodge is a charming teacher.--_Boston Herald._


  HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY,
  _Publishers_,
  BOSTON AND NEW YORK.





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