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Title: How Women Should Ride
Author: Hurst, C. de
Language: English
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HOW WOMEN SHOULD RIDE

by

"C. DE HURST"

Illustrated



[Illustration]

New York
Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square
1892

Copyright, 1892, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.



                    TO
                 E. E. F.

       TO WHOM I OWE THE EXPERIENCE
  WHICH HAS ENABLED ME TO WRITE OF RIDING

                THIS BOOK

     IS GRATEFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY
                DEDICATED



INTRODUCTION


It has not been the intention of the author of this little volume to
present the reader with elaborate chapters of technical essays.

Entire libraries have been written on the care and management of the
horse from the date of its foaling; book upon book has been compiled
on the best and proper method of acquiring some degree of skill in the
saddle. The author has scarcely hoped, therefore, to exhaust in 248
pages a subject which, after having been handled on the presses of
nearly every publisher in this country and England, yet contains
unsettled points for the discussion of argumentative horse-men and
horse-women.

But it happens with riding--as, indeed, it does with almost every
other subject--that we ignore the simpler side for the more intricate.
We delve into a masterpiece, suitable for a professional, on the
training of a horse, when the chances are we do not know how to saddle
him. We stumble through heavy articles on bitting, the technical terms
of which we do not understand, when if our own horse picked up a stone
we probably would be utterly at a loss what to do.

We, both men and women, are too much inclined to gallop over the
fundamental lessons, which should be conned over again and again until
thoroughly mastered. We are restive in our novitiate period, impatient
to pose as past-masters in an art before we have acquired its first
principles.

Beginning with a bit of advice to parents, of which they stand sorely
in need, it is the purpose of this book to carry the girl along the
bridle-path, from the time she puts on a habit for the first attempt,
to that when she joins the Hunt for a run across country after the
hounds.

There is no intention of wearying and confusing her by a formidable
array of purely technical instruction.

The crying fault with nearly all those who have handled this subject
at length has been that of distracting the uninformed reader by the
most elaborate dissertation on all points down to the smallest
details.

This author, on the contrary, has shorn the instruction of all hazy
intricacies, with which the equestrienne has so often been asked to
burden herself, and brought out instead only those points essential
to safety, skill, and grace in the saddle.

No space has been wasted on unnecessary technicalities which the woman
is not likely to either understand or care to digest, but everything
has been written with a view of aiding her in obtaining a sound,
practical knowledge of the horse, under the saddle and in harness.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER I

    A WORD TO PARENTS                                     Page 3

    Dangers of Early Riding, 4.--Vanity, 9.


    CHAPTER II

    GIRLS ON HORSEBACK                                        13

    Hints to Mothers, 13.--The Beginner's
    Horse, 14.--Costuming, 16.--Preparatory
    Lessons, 16.--Instructors, 20.--Balance, 21.--Hands,
    23.--Position, 25.--Management, 26.


    CHAPTER III

    BEGINNING TO RIDE                                         31

    Form, 32.--Insufficient Training, 33.--Mounting,
    34.--Dismounting, 37.--Stirrup, 38.


    CHAPTER IV

    IN THE SADDLE                                             43

    Below the Waist, 44.--Above the Waist, 48.--Hands
    and Wrists, 49.--Reins, 53.


    CHAPTER V

    EMERGENCIES                                               63

    Eagerness to Start, 63.--Shyers, 65.--Stumblers,
    66.--Rearers, 66.--Plungers, 67.--Buckers,
    68.--Pullers, 70.--Runaways, 72.--Punishment, 76.


    CHAPTER VI

    CHOOSING A MOUNT                                          83

    An Adviser, 83.--Park Hack, 87.--Measurement,
    88.--Conformation, 90.--Hunter, 94.--Gait and
    Manners, 95.


    CHAPTER VII

    DRESS                                                     99

    Skirt, 100.--Safety Skirt, 100.--Divided
    Skirt, 102.--Bodice, 103.--Waistcoat, 104.--Corsets,
    105.--Boots, Breeches, Tights, 106.--Collars and
    Cuffs, 110.--Gloves, 111.--Hair and Hat, 112.--Veil,
    113.--Whip or Crop, 113.--Spur, 114.


    CHAPTER VIII

    LEAPING                                                  121

    Requirements, 121.--In the Ring, 122.--Approaching
    Jump, 122.--Taking off, 124.--Landing,
    125.--Lifting, 126.--Out-of-Doors, 127.--Pilot,
    128.--Selecting a Panel, 128.--Stone Wall, 130.--In
    Hand, 131.--Trappy Ground and Drops, 131.--In and
    Out, 133.--Picket and Slat Fences, 134.--Wire,
    135.--Combined Obstacles, 136.--Refusing,
    136.--Timidity, 137.--Temper, 138.--Rider at Fault,
    139.


    CHAPTER IX

    LEAPING (continued)                                      145

    Rushers, 145.--Balkers, 147.--Sluggards, 149.--Falls,
    150.


    CHAPTER X

    RIDING TO HOUNDS                                         159

    Courtesy, 159.--The Novice, 161.--Hard
    Riding, 162.--Jealous Riding, 163.--Desirable
    Qualities, 164.--Getting Away, 165.--Indecision,
    166.--Right of Way, 167.--Funk, 168.--Excitable
    and Sluggish Horses, 169.--Proximity to Hounds,
    170.--Choosing a Line, 172.


    CHAPTER XI

    SYMPATHY BETWEEN HORSE AND WOMAN                         179

    Talking to Horse, 180.--In the Stall, 183.--On the
    Road, 185.--Cautions, 187.


    CHAPTER XII

    PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE STABLE                        193

    Stabling, 193.--Picking up Feet, 194.--Grooming,
    197.--Bitting, 197.--Clipping, 199.--Bridling,
    200.--Noseband, 202.--Martingale, 203.--Breast-plate,
    204.--The Saddle, 205.--Stirrup, 208.--Girths,
    209.--Saddling, 210.


    CHAPTER XIII

    SOMETHING ON DRIVING                                     215

    Desirability of Instruction, 215.--Vulgar
    Display, 218.--Bad Form, 219.--Costume, 220.--Cockade,
    221.--Confidence, 222.--The Family-Horse Fallacy,
    222.--On the Box, 223.--Position of Reins, 224.--Handling
    Reins, 225.--A Pair, 226.


    CHAPTER XIV

    SOMETHING MORE ON DRIVING                                231

    Management, 231.--Stumbling, 232.--Backing,
    232.--Rearing and Kicking, 234.--Rein under Tail,
    236.--Bolting and Running, 238.--Crowded
    Driveways, 239.--Road Courtesy, 241.--Tandems and Teams,
    243.--Reins, 244.--Unruly Leader, 245.--Turning, 246.



Illustrations


    CORRECT POSITION                              _Facing p._ 24

    INCORRECT POSITION                                  "     26

    INCORRECT LEFT LEG AND HEEL                               43

    CORRECT LEFT LEG AND HEEL                                 44

    INCORRECT RIGHT THIGH AND KNEE                            46

    CORRECT RIGHT THIGH AND KNEE                              47

    CORRECT KNUCKLES, SIDE VIEW                               50

    INCORRECT POSITION OF HANDS                               51

    HANDS IN GOOD FORM, FRONT VIEW                            52

    SNAFFLE OUTSIDE, CURB INSIDE, FRONT VIEW                  54

    SNAFFLE OUTSIDE, CURB INSIDE, SIDE VIEW                   55

    REINS IN TWO HANDS, SNAFFLE OUTSIDE,
    CURB INSIDE                                   _Facing p._ 56

    POSITION OF REINS AND HANDS IN JUMPING,
    CURB OUTSIDE, SNAFFLE INSIDE                              57

    REINS IN TWO HANDS, CURB OUTSIDE, SNAFFLE
    INSIDE, SIDE VIEW                                         58

    HANDS AND SEAT IN REARING                     _Facing p._ 66

    CROP                                                     114

    A GOOD SPUR                                              115

    TAKING OFF                                   _Facing p._ 124

    ABOUT TO LAND                                       "    126

    DOUBLE BRIDLE FOR GENERAL USE                       "    202

    CORRECT SADDLE                                           205

    UNDESIRABLE SADDLE                                       206

    SAFETY STIRRUP, CLOSED                                   209

    SAFETY STIRRUP, OPEN                                     210

    A WELL-BALANCED CART                         _Facing p._ 220

    POSITION IN TANDEM DRIVING                          "    244



I

A WORD TO PARENTS


Riding has been taken up so generally in recent years by the mature
members of society that its espousal by the younger element is quite
in the natural order of events. We can look upon the declaration of
Young America for sport with supreme gratification, as it argues well
for the generation to come, but we should not lose sight of the fact
that its benefits may be more than counterbalanced by injudiciously
forcing these tastes. That there is danger of this is shown by the
tendency to put girls on horseback at an age much too tender to have
other than harmful results.

It is marvellous that a mother who is usually most careful in guarding
her child's safety should allow her little one to incur the risks
attendant upon riding (which are great enough for a person endowed
with strength, judgment, and decision) without proper consideration of
the dangers she is exposed to at the time, or a realization of the
possible evil effects in the future.

[Sidenote: Dangers of Early Riding]

Surely parents do not appreciate what the results may be, or they
would never trust a girl of eight years or thereabouts to the mercy of
a horse, and at his mercy she is bound to be. No child of that age, or
several years older, has strength sufficient to manage even an unruly
pony, which, having once discovered his power, is pretty sure to take
advantage of it at every opportunity; and no woman is worthy the
responsibilities of motherhood who will permit her child to make the
experiment.

Even if no accident occurs, the knowledge of her helplessness may so
frighten the child that she will never recover from her timidity. It
is nonsense to say she will outgrow it; early impressions are never
entirely eradicated; and should she in after-life appear to regain her
courage, it is almost certain at a critical moment to desert her, and
early recollections reassert themselves.

The vagaries of her own mount are not the only dangers to which the
unfortunate child is exposed.

Many accidents come from collisions caused by some one else's horse
bolting; and it is not to be expected, when their elders often lose
their wits completely, that shoulders so young should carry a head
cool enough to make escape possible in such an emergency.

It is a common occurrence to hear parents inquiring for a "perfectly
safe horse for a child."

Such a thing does not exist, and the idea that it does often betrays
one into trusting implicitly an animal which needs perhaps constant
watching. If fresh or startled, the capers of the most gentle horse
will not infrequently create apprehension, because totally unexpected.
On the other hand, if he is too sluggish to indulge in any expressions
of liveliness, he is almost sure to require skilful handling and
constant urging to prevent his acquiring a slouching gait to which it
is difficult to rise.

A slouching horse means a stumbling one, and, with the inability of
childish hands to help him recover his balance, he is likely to fall.

Supposing the perfect horse to be a possibility--a girl under sixteen
has not the physique to endure without injury to her health such
violent exercise as riding. From the side position she is forced to
assume, there is danger of an injured spine, either from the unequal
strain on it or from the constant concussion, or both.

If a mother can close her eyes to these dangers, insisting that her
child shall ride, a reversible side-saddle is the best safeguard that
I know of against a curved spine; but it only lessens the chances of
injury, and is by no means a sure preventive, although it has the
advantage of developing both sides equally.

Another evil result of beginning too young is that if she escapes
misadventures and does well, a girl is sure to be praised to such an
extent that she forms a most exaggerated idea of her prowess in the
saddle. By the time she is sixteen she is convinced that there is no
room for improvement, and becomes careless, lapsing into many of her
earlier faults. Parents should guard against this. It is often their
affection which permits them to see only the good points of their
daughter's riding, and their pride in her skill leads to undue
flattery, which she is only too willing to accept as her due.

Later I shall mention some of the principles a young rider should
acquire, and it is the duty of those who have put her in the saddle
when too young to judge for herself to see that she follows them
correctly. The necessity of riding in good form cannot be too firmly
impressed on her mind. One often hears: "Oh, I only want to ride a
little in the Park; so don't bother me about form. I ride for pleasure
and comfort, not work"--all of which is wrong; for, whether in the
Park, on the road, in the country, or in the hunting-field, nothing
is of more importance than to ride in good form. To do so is to ride
easily, being in the best position to manage the horse, and therefore
it is also to ride safely.

[Sidenote: Vanity]

The desire to attract attention often induces women to ride. Young
girls soon learn to do likewise, and their attempts at riding for the
"gallery" by kicking the horse with the heel, jerking its mouth with
the curb, that she may impress people with her dashing appearance, as
the poor tormented animal plunges in his endeavors to avoid the
pressure, are lamentable and frequent sights in many riding-schools.

Objectionable as this is in an older person, it is doubly so in a
child, from whom one expects at least modesty instead of such boldness
as this betokens. It is to be hoped that those in authority will
discourage her attempts at circus riding, and teach her that a quiet,
unobtrusive manner will secure her more admirers than an air of
bravado.



II

GIRLS ON HORSEBACK


[Sidenote: Hints to Mothers]

Notwithstanding these numerous reasons to the contrary, mothers will
undoubtedly continue to imperil the life and welfare of children whom
it is their mission to protect, and, such being the case, a few
directions as to the best and least dangerous course to pursue may be
of service to them.

Sixteen is the earliest age at which a girl should begin to ride, as
she is then strong enough to control her mount, has more judgment, is
better able to put instruction into practice, more amenable to reason,
and more attentive to what is told her. If the parents' impatience
will not admit of waiting until this desirable period, it is their
duty to see that the child has every advantage that can facilitate her
learning, and to assure her such safety as is within their power.

[Sidenote: The Beginner's Horse]

A common theory is that any old screw, if only quiet, will do for a
beginner. Nothing could be more untrue. The horse for a novice should
have a short but square and elastic trot, a good mouth, even
disposition, and be well-mannered; otherwise the rider's progress will
be greatly impeded. Even if the child is very young, I think it is a
mistake to put her on a small pony for her first lessons, as its gaits
are so often uneven, interfering with all attempts at regular rising
to the trot.

Ponies are also more liable to be tricky than horses, and, from the
rapidity of their movements, apt to unseat and frighten a beginner.
They are very roguish, and will bolt across a road without any reason,
or stand and kick or rear for their own amusement; and, being so quick
on their feet, their various antics confuse a child so that she loses
her self-possession and becomes terrified. It is just as bad to go to
the other extreme, as a large, long-gaited horse will tire the muscles
of the back, and, if combined with sluggish action, require twice the
exertion needed for a free traveller. Furthermore, it destroys the
rhythm of the movement by making the time of her rise only half as
long as necessary, thus giving her a double jolt on reaching the
saddle.

Having secured the right sort of horse, the saddle should be chosen
with great care.

[Sidenote: Costuming]

It is a shame that little girls are made to ride in the ill-fitting
habits seen half the time. They must set properly, or the best riders
will be handicapped and appear at a disadvantage. A child's skirt
should not wrinkle over the hips more than a woman's, nor should it
ruck up over the right knee, exposing both feet, while the wind
inflates the superfluous folds. Above all things, a girl should not
lace nor wear her habit bodice tight, as no benefit can possibly be
derived from riding with the lungs and ribs compressed.

[Sidenote: Preparatory Lessons]

It often happens that a child is put into the saddle before she has
had the opportunity of becoming familiar with a horse, either by
visiting it in its stall or going about it when in the stable. A more
harmful mistake could not be made; the child is likely to be afraid of
the animal the first time she is placed on its back, and nothing so
interferes with tuition as terror. Many of the difficulties of
instructing a little girl will be overcome if her familiarity with the
horse she is to ride has given her confidence in him. She should
frequently be taken to the stable, and encouraged to give him oats or
sugar from her hand, and to make much of him. Meanwhile whoever is
with her must watch the animal, and guard against anything which might
startle the child. She may be lifted on to his back; and if he is
suitable to carry her, he will stand quietly, thus assuring her of his
trustworthiness and gaining her affection.

Before being trusted on a horse, a beginner should have the theory of
its management explained to her; and here is another drawback to
infantile equestrianism, as a young mind cannot readily grasp the
knowledge. Nevertheless, she must be made to understand the necessity
of riding from balance, instead of pulling herself up by the horse's
mouth, and be shown the action of the curb chain on the chin, that she
may realize why the snaffle should be used for ordinary purposes, so
that in case of an emergency she may have the curb to fall back upon.
She must know that if she pulls against him, the horse will pull
against her, and therefore she must not keep a dead bearing on his
mouth. Unyielding hands are the almost invariable result of riding
before realizing the delicate manipulation a horse's mouth requires. A
light feeling on the curb and a light touch of the whip will show her
how to keep the horse collected, instead of allowing him to go in a
slovenly manner.

She must not try to make the horse trot by attempting to rise. Until
the animal is trotting squarely she should sit close to the saddle,
instead of bobbing up and down, as he jogs or goes unevenly at first.

When wishing to canter, in place of tugging at the reins, clucking,
and digging the animal in the ribs with her heel, the child should be
told to elevate her hands a trifle, and touch him on the shoulder with
the whip.

No habit is more easily formed than that of clucking to a horse, and
it is a difficult one to cure. It is provocative of great annoyance to
any one who is near, and who may be riding a high-spirited animal, as
it makes him nervous and anxious to go, for he cannot tell whether the
signal is meant for him or not, and springs forward in response, when
his owner has perhaps just succeeded in quieting him. Thus can one
make one's self an annoyance to others near by, in a manner which
might so easily have been avoided in the beginning.

After being familiarized with such rudimentary ideas of horsemanship,
comes the time for putting them into practice.

[Sidenote: Instructors]

It is a pity that there are not more competent instructors in the
riding-schools, for it is of great importance to begin correctly; to
find a teacher, however, who possesses thorough knowledge of the
subject is, unfortunately, rare. Their inefficiency is amply
demonstrated by the specimens of riding witnessed every day in the
Park; and either their methods, if they pretend to have any, must be
all wrong, or they are but careless and superficial mentors, as the
results are so often far from satisfactory.

There are, to be sure, plenty of teachers who ride well themselves,
but that is a very different matter from imparting the benefit of
their knowledge and experience to others. With the best intentions in
the world, they may fail to make their pupils show much skill in the
saddle. Skill, and the power of creating it in the pupil, is an
unusual combination.

[Sidenote: Balance]

If a young girl is to ride, she should be put in the saddle and not
permitted to touch the reins. Her hands may rest in her lap, and the
horse should be led at a walk, while the teacher shows her the
position she must try to keep, and tells her what she must do when the
pace is increased. As she becomes used to the situation, and
understands the instructions, the horse may be urged into a slow trot,
she being made to sit close, without, at first, any attempt at rising.
Then a quiet canter may be given her, but on no account should the
child be allowed to clutch at anything to assist in preserving her
balance. It is that she shall not rely on the horse's mouth for
balance that I have advocated keeping the reins from her, and it is a
plan which men and women would do well to adopt. Dependence on the
reins is one of the commonest faults in riding, and every one should
practise trotting (and even jumping, if the horse be tractable) with
folded arms, while the reins are left hanging on the animal's neck,
knotted so they will not fall too low. If the importance of riding
from balance above the waist were more generally recognized, the seat
would of necessity be firmer, the hands lighter, and horses less
fretful.

[Sidenote: Hands]

Too much emphasis cannot be put on the importance of good hands. Good
hands are hands made so by riding independently of the reins.
Intuitive knowledge of the horse's intentions, sympathy and
communication with him, which are conveyed through the reins in a
manner too subtle for explanation, must accompany light hands to make
them perfect. Such qualities are absolutely impossible with heavy
hands, which are incapable of the necessary delicate manipulation of
the horse's mouth. Light hands, therefore, should be cultivated first,
and experience may bring the rest. A child, beginning as I have
advised, will early have this instilled into her mind, and not be
obliged to overcome heavy hands when from experience she has learned
their disadvantages.

After sitting close to the trot and the canter, the beginner must be
told to rise to the trot. At first she will find it difficult to make
her effort correspond to the action of the horse's fore-legs, but,
having once caught the motion, she will soon have no trouble in rising
regularly. When she rises correctly and without much effort, the reins
may be given her. A snaffle will be the best to use until she is sure
of not letting them slip through her fingers, or of not interfering
with the horse's mouth. She should hold the reins in both hands, as
this lessens the probability of sitting askew, although as she becomes
more certain of her seat she may transfer them to the left hand, and
carry a whip or crop in the right.

If a double bridle has been substituted for the snaffle, the
instructor must show the child that the left snaffle rein goes outside
of her little finger, the left curb between the little and third
fingers, the right curb between the second and third fingers, and the
right snaffle between the first and second.

[Illustration: CORRECT POSITION]

Now, as the child begins to have confidence in herself, is the time to
guard against the formation of bad habits, which would later, if
uncorrected, be difficult to eradicate.

If parents will take the trouble to make an impartial criticism of
their daughter's riding, they can aid her by insisting upon her doing
as she ought, which is beyond the authority of the riding-master.

[Sidenote: Position]

They should see that her body is held erect, her shoulders squarely to
the front and thrown back, head up, chin held back, arms hanging
straight to the elbows, hands low and close together, her right knee
immovable, as from there she must rise. Her left leg must be held
quiet, and the heel away from the horse, the ball of the foot resting
on the stirrup; but she must be kept from placing too much reliance on
that support, by practising without it every time she rides, taking
care that, in relinquishing that aid, she does not instead take hold
of the horse's mouth.

[Illustration: INCORRECT POSITION]

[Sidenote: Management]

As the most trustworthy mount will at times be frisky or make a
mistake, a child should be prepared for such a contingency, and know
how to meet it. If a horse stumbles, she must sit well back and pull
his head up. In rearing, the reins must be left loose and the body
thrown forward. A tendency to back must be met with a sharp crack of
the whip. In shying, she must try to sit close, and in case of a
runaway she should understand that no good will come of throwing
herself off. To stick close and try to direct him is all she can do,
for she cannot hope to stop him when once started. If a horse falls
with her, it is best to try and hold on to the reins, as then he
cannot reach her with his heels; but if she cannot succeed in doing
this, she must endeavor to get clear of him and as far away as
possible, to avoid being rolled on or trampled upon as he makes his
effort to get up.

When I consider the trials and dangers she must pass through, a girl
who is allowed to ride before she is sixteen has my sympathy, while I
look with indignation on the mothers who thus thoughtlessly expose
children to all the evils attendant upon a too early attempt at
riding.



III

BEGINNING TO RIDE


That riding is increasing in popularity is clearly attested by the
crowded bridle-path of Central Park. It is greatly to be hoped,
however, that with its growth in public favor a more than superficial
knowledge of horsemanship will be sought for by those who desire to
experience all the pleasure which may be derived from this sport.
Women especially, laboring as they do under the disadvantages of a
side-saddle and imperfectly developed muscles, should try to follow
the most efficacious means of managing their horses, a result best
attained by riding in good form.

[Sidenote: Form]

Even those who consider themselves first-class horsewomen, and who are
undoubtedly competent to manage an unruly animal, often have defects
in form which destroy the grace and ease of their appearance, and
prevent them, in case of an emergency, from employing the full amount
of power of which they are capable. Besides this, there are so many
benefits to be derived from the exercise--if one will take it in a
common-sense manner--that every endeavor should be made to extract
from it the full amount of good.

This cannot be done with any undue strain on the muscles arising from
either a poor saddle, a back bent almost double, the arms nearly
pulled out by improper handling of the horse's mouth, or with that
abomination--a tight waist. Sense in dressing and attention to form
are the two indispensable attributes by which women can make riding a
means to improved health. Under such conditions all the organs are
stimulated, and good digestion, an increased appetite, quieted nerves,
better spirits, and sound sleep follow. With such advantages in sight,
it is strange that more of an effort is not made to bring about these
results by overcoming bad habits.

[Sidenote: Insufficient Training]

In most instances the faults come either from improper instruction, or
vanity which will not permit or heed criticism. If her horse has been
docile, and refrained from any attempt to throw her, a woman is
sometimes so impressed with her skill that after a few lessons she no
longer regards the advice of her instructor, and thinks she is beyond
the necessity of heeding his admonitions. Having acquired so little
knowledge, she will soon have numerous objectionable peculiarities in
form, resulting from her imperfect conception of horsemanship.

Occasionally, too, a woman considers herself "a born rider, with a
natural seat," and the result of this belief is a combination of
pitiful mistakes, when, had her taste for the sport been properly
trained and cultivated, instead of being allowed to run wild, she
would probably have become a rider. There might yet remain hope of her
acquiring a seat could she be convinced that there really is some
knowledge on the subject that she has not yet mastered.

In reference to those who have been taught by incompetent masters, a
great deal is to be said, both to enable them to adopt the right way,
and to prevent those who are desirous of learning from falling into
their mistakes.

[Sidenote: Mounting]

Unfortunately it is almost impossible for a woman to mount without
assistance, unless she be very tall and her horse small. In this case
she can reach the stirrup with her foot, and pull herself up by the
saddle. Sometimes the stirrup can be let down and used to mount with,
then drawn up when seated in the saddle. But this can only be done
when the stirrup leather buckles over the off flap, which is not
usual. Another method is to lead the horse to a fence or wall, climb
that, and jump on to his back; but all these methods require a very
quiet horse, and even then are not always practicable.

It is advisable to learn to mount from the ground as well as from a
block. This is done by placing the right hand containing whip and
reins on the upper pommel, the left foot, with the knee bent, in the
clasped hands of the attendant, the left hand on his shoulder, and, at
a signal, springing from the right foot and straightening the left
leg.

Nine out of ten women, after mounting, first carefully adjust the
habit, and have the stirrup or girths tightened before putting the
knee over the pommel, while some even button their gloves before; and,
as a secondary consideration, when everything else has been seen to,
they take up the reins, which have been loose on the horse's neck. He
might easily wrench himself from the groom at his head, and without
her hold on the pommel she would fall heavily to the ground; or if she
were seated, but without reins, the horse might bolt into a tree, a
wall, or another horse. She would probably grasp the first rein at
hand, perhaps the curb, and then the horse might rear dangerously, and
if she did not relax her hold on his mouth at once would be likely to
fall backwards with her--the worst thing that can happen to a woman on
a horse. All this may be avoided by taking the reins before mounting,
and upon touching the saddle, instantly putting the right knee over
the pommel. The reins should then be transferred to the left hand,
with the snaffle on the outside, and the curb inside, but loose. It
will then be the proper time to arrange the skirt and the stirrup.

[Sidenote: Dismounting]

To dismount she must transfer the reins to her right hand, take her
left foot from the stirrup, and lift her right knee over the upper
pommel, making sure that her skirt is not caught on any part of the
saddle. She must then take a firm hold of the pommel with the hand
containing the reins and the whip, the latter held so that it will not
touch the horse. If there is some one to assist her she may reach out
her left arm, and by this she can be steadied as she dismounts. In
jumping down she should keep hold of the pommel and turn slightly, so
that as she lands she is facing the horse, ready to notice and guard
against signs of kicking or bolting. Until she is fairly on the ground
she must not let go of the reins or the pommel, for should the horse
start she might be dragged with her head down, if her skirt or her
foot caught, and without the reins she could not stop him.

[Sidenote: Stirrup]

It is well to discard the stirrup for some time during each ride,
first at the canter, then at the trot, to make sure that too much
weight is not rested on this support, and that the rise is from the
right knee. If too much dependence is placed on the stirrup the seat
is sure to be too far to the left, unless the leather is too short,
when the body will be as much too far to the right, instead of
directly on top of the horse.

If these directions are observed, a very firm seat will be the result,
which gives a confidence that enables one to be thoroughly flexible
above the waist without fear of going off, and dispels a dread that
often accounts for a stiff or crouching position. A test as to whether
one is sitting sufficiently close in the canter is to put a
handkerchief on the saddle, and note if the seat is firm enough to
keep it there.



IV

IN THE SADDLE


[Illustration: INCORRECT LEFT LEG AND HEEL]

[Sidenote: Below the Waist]

The first impulse of a novice is to grasp the horse with her left
heel, while the leg is bent back from the knee so that it almost
reaches his flank. Instead of this, the leg from the knee, which
should not be more than half an inch below the pommel, must hang
naturally in a perpendicular line, and the foot parallel with the
horse, the heel being held away from his side and slightly depressed,
the ball of the foot resting on the stirrup. This alters the grip
entirely, and gives the greatest possible purchase, with the knee
firmly in the angle between the pommel and the saddle flap, the thigh
close to the saddle above, and the inside of the calf below, where one
should be able to hold a piece of paper without having it fall out
while trotting. The left foot will, of necessity, remain quiet--a most
desirable point often neglected.

[Illustration: CORRECT LEFT LEG AND HEEL]

Now for the right leg. The first direction usually given is to grasp
the pommel with it. That is all very well, but it leads to a grievous
error. In the endeavor to obey the order, the right knee is pressed
hard to the left--against the pommel, it is true, but in such a manner
that there is considerable space between the leg and the saddle,
extending from the knee half-way up the thigh. Thus the rider rises,
owing to her grip being too high, so that a person on the right can
often see the pommel beneath her.

[Illustration: INCORRECT RIGHT THIGH AND KNEE]

The first thing to do is to sit well back on the saddle, with the
shoulders square to the front, and press down from the hip to the knee
until as close to the saddle as possible. Then, when sure that the
knee is down, taking care that it does not leave the saddle in the
slightest degree, grasp the pommel. It is from this knee that one
must rise, and the most essential point is to have it absolutely firm,
with a secure hold on as extended a surface as possible. From the knee
the leg hangs straight, kept close to the horse, with the toe
depressed just enough to avoid breaking the line of the skirt. It is
seldom realized that the right leg below the knee should be held as
firmly against the horse as the left, but such is the case.

[Illustration: CORRECT RIGHT THIGH AND KNEE]

[Sidenote: Above the Waist]

The body should be held erect at all times, the back straight while
rising, instead of appearing to collapse with each movement, or rising
from right to left with a churning motion instead of straight up and
down; shoulders should be level--the right one is inclined to be
higher than the left, as well as farther forward--well back and
equidistant from the horse's ears, chest expanded, and chin held near
the neck, as nothing is more unsightly than a protruding chin. The
arms should fall naturally at the sides, bending inward from the
elbow, but on no account to such an extent as to cause the elbows to
leave the sides or form acute angles. All stiffness should be avoided.

Some difficulty may be experienced at first, though, in attempting to
relax the muscles above the waist while keeping the lower ones firm. A
little practice will accomplish this, and, as a stiff carriage is
most frequently the result of self-consciousness, it will be desirable
to practise where there are no spectators. As the woman becomes more
accustomed to riding she will lose some of her rigidity; but she must
not go to the other extreme and be limp or careless in her way of
holding herself. A woman's body should be at right angles to her
horse's back, neither inclining backwards nor giving evidence of a
tendency to stoop. Her anxiety to comply with these directions may
render her conscious and awkward for a while; but if she will
persevere, bearing them all in mind, they will become as second
nature, and she will follow them naturally and gracefully.

[Sidenote: Hands and Wrists]

The hands should be held about two thirds of the way back between the
right knee and hip, and as low as possible. They should be perfectly
steady, and in rising never communicate the motion of the body to the
horse's mouth. If the right knee is used to rise from, the seat will
not need to be steadied by the reins. In the canter, however, the
hands, as well as the body above the waist, should sway slightly with
the horse's stride, but not more than is necessary; for that, and
rising too high in the trot, give an appearance of exertion not
compatible with grace.

[Illustration: CORRECT KNUCKLES, SIDE VIEW]

[Illustration: INCORRECT POSITION OF HANDS]

The wrists should be bent so that the knuckles point straight ahead
with the thumbs up, thus giving the horse's mouth play from the wrist,
instead of, as is often the case, from the shoulder, the former
admitting of much greater delicacy of handling, and the give-and-take
movement being not so easily observed. Most teachers instruct a pupil
to keep her finger-nails down, but this also necessitates all movement
coming from the shoulder, or else sticking out the elbows.

[Illustration: HANDS IN GOOD FORM, FRONT VIEW]

[Sidenote: Reins]

Many hold their reins in the left hand, allowing the right to hang at
the side. This does not look well, and in case of an emergency, such
as stumbling, the hand being so far from the reins precludes the
possibility of rendering the quick assistance required. The reins
should be held in the left hand, but the right should be on them,
lightly feeling the horse's mouth, thereby anticipating his movements.

The left snaffle-rein should go outside of the little finger, the left
curb between the little and third fingers, the right curb between the
third and middle fingers, and the right snaffle between the middle and
first fingers. They must all be brought through the hand, over the
second joint of the first finger, where they must lie flat and in
order, held there by the thumb. The third finger of the right hand
should rest on the right snaffle, leaving the first and second free
to use the curb if required, thus giving equal bearing on all four
reins.

[Illustration: SNAFFLE OUTSIDE, CURB INSIDE, FRONT VIEW]

If the use of the curb alone is wanted, the third finger of the right
should release the right snaffle, the first and second retaining their
hold on the curb, and the desired result will be produced.

[Illustration: SNAFFLE OUTSIDE, CURB INSIDE, SIDE VIEW]

If only the snaffle is desired, it may be brought to bear more
strongly by keeping hold of the right rein with the third finger of
the right hand, and reaching over on the left snaffle with the first
finger.

When this method is pursued there is no necessity for shifting the
reins or hauling at them, and constantly changing their position and
length. When a rein has slipped through the fingers of the left hand,
instead of pushing it back from in front it should be pulled to the
proper length from back of the left hand.

[Illustration: REINS IN TWO HANDS, SNAFFLE OUTSIDE, CURB INSIDE]

It is quite correct, though inconvenient, to hold the reins in both
hands; but the hands should be held close together, with the thumbs
up, and always on the reins to prevent slipping. The little fingers
then separate the reins, the left snaffle being outside of the left
little finger, the left curb between the little and third fingers,
with the reins drawn over the first finger; the right snaffle outside
of the right little finger, the right curb between the little and
third fingers, and these also drawn over the first finger, in both
instances held by the thumbs. In this way the right reins may quickly
be placed in the left hand by inserting the middle finger of the left
hand between them without displacing the others. Sometimes the ends
of the left reins are passed over the first finger of the right hand
as well as of the left one, and carried on past the little finger, the
same being done to the right reins, thus giving additional purchase
should the horse pull.

[Illustration: POSITION OF REINS AND HANDS IN JUMPING, CURB OUTSIDE,
SNAFFLE INSIDE]

It is well to know several ways of holding the reins, and to practise
them all. For instance, the positions of the snaffle and curb may be
reversed; indeed, many expert riders always hold their reins with the
curb outside and the snaffle inside, especially in jumping, where the
curb is not used, and therefore requires a less prominent place in the
hand.

[Illustration: REINS IN TWO HANDS, CURB OUTSIDE, SNAFFLE INSIDE, SIDE
VIEW]

Another position of the reins is to have the middle finger of the left
hand separate the snaffle and the little finger the curb, both right
reins being above the left ones. However, unless a horse is
bridle-wise this plan is not a convenient one, because the right and
left reins alternate. A horse so trained may be guided by a turn of
the wrist. To turn him to the left the hand should be moved in that
direction, pressing the right reins against his neck, and to go to the
right the hand should be carried to that side, the thumb turned
downward, thus pressing the left reins against the horse's neck.



V

EMERGENCIES


Although she may ride in good form, and, when her horse goes quietly,
feel at home in the saddle, no woman can be considered proficient
until she is prepared for any emergency, and knows how to meet it.

[Sidenote: Eagerness to Start]

Many horses show restlessness while being mounted, some carrying it to
such an extent as to back and rear or swerve most unpleasantly. The
groom at his head should hold him lightly but firmly by the snaffle,
or, better still, the cheeks of the bridle; not lugging or jerking at
him, but endeavoring to soothe him. If the horse swerves from her, he
should be made to stand against a wall. The woman must get settled in
the saddle as expeditiously as she can, not taking any unnecessary
time in the arrangement of her skirt, which might augment the animal's
uneasiness. Once mounted she must walk the horse quietly for a few
minutes, using the snaffle only, as his restlessness may have come
from expecting the spur on starting, as is customary with the horses
of those who care for display rather than good manners. Before long
she should dismount, and, at a different place, repeat the lesson
without fighting him, even should he fail to show much progress at
first. If he rears, the attendant should let go of his head until he
comes down; then, before starting, try to make him stand a few
moments. Each time the rider mounts she should increase the period of
his standing, doing it firmly while talking to him, but without
force or harshness, and presently he will obey as a matter of course
and without an idea of resistance.

[Sidenote: Shyers]

The most common fault of a horse is shying, and though no one who has
a secure seat should be inconvenienced thereby, its treatment needs
some discrimination. Shying often arises from defective vision. If,
however, the animal's eyes are in good condition, it may come from
timidity, but in either case the horse should be soothed and coaxed up
to the object of his aversion and shown its harmlessness. If it is
merely a trick, then playing with his mouth and speaking in a warning
tone when approaching anything likely to attract his notice will
usually make him go straight. As a rule the whip should not be used,
because the horse may learn to associate a blow with the object he
has shied at, and the next time he sees it is likely to bolt in order
to avoid the impending chastisement--thus going from bad to worse.

[Sidenote: Stumblers]

For the same reason, I object to a horse being punished for stumbling.
Disagreeable as it is, the fault usually comes from defective muscular
action or conformation, or from not being kept collected by his rider.
It is not fair to punish the horse for these causes. The thing to do
is to sit well back and give the reins a sharp pull to bring his head
up, and then keep him going up to the bit, for if the rider is
careless the horse will follow her example.

[Illustration: HANDS AND SEAT IN REARING]

[Sidenote: Rearers]

A rearing horse is not fit for a woman to ride. If she finds herself
on one which attempts it, she must throw her weight forward and a
little to the right, because she can lean farther forward on this
than on the left side, to help the horse preserve his balance, as well
as to prevent being struck by his head. If necessary she can clutch
his mane, but on no account must she touch his mouth in the slightest
degree. As he comes down, a vigorous kick with the heel, a shake of
the snaffle, and a harsh exclamation may send him along. I cannot
advocate a woman's striking him, for if he has a temper, it may arouse
it to such an extent that he will throw himself back.

[Sidenote: Plungers]

Those with a strong seat have no reason to fear a horse that plunges,
if it does not develop into rearing or bucking. They should sit close
and urge the horse to a faster pace, as it stands to reason that if he
is kept going briskly he cannot so easily begin his antics as he could
at a slower gait.

[Sidenote: Buckers]

A woman is seldom if ever required to ride a horse which bucks, and if
he is known to do it viciously she had better not try any experiments
with him, as he will surely exhaust her in a fight. By bucking I do
not mean the mild form of that vice which is usually found under that
name in the East. Here an animal that plunges persistently and comes
down hard is said to buck; while if his head is lowered, that settles
the question in the minds of those ignorant of what a real bucking
horse is capable. In encountering the Eastern variety of this species,
the woman must elevate the horse's head, sit well back, and firmly
too, for even the mild form of bucking is not easy to sustain
undisturbed.

The genuine article, the real Western bucker, is quite another
matter. Newspapers have published instances of women who have managed
to stay on one through all his various and blood-stirring antics; but
such cases are in fact unknown outside of Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Show, and there the animals have been taught to perform to order. When
the bronco bucks, he gives no preliminary warning by harmless
plunging; he simply throws his head down between his knees, humps his
back like a cat, and proceeds to business. He jumps into the air,
coming down to one side of where he started, with all four feet
bunched and legs stiffened, only to bound into space again. An
occasional squeal adds to the general hilarity of the scene, and the
alacrity with which that meek-looking mustang can land and go into the
air again would astonish one not accustomed to the sight.

[Sidenote: Pullers]

In riding a puller, his head must be kept in a correct position,
neither low nor high, by lightly feeling his mouth until he gives to
the motion. Should he have his head up and nose out, elevating the
hands and drawing the snaffle across the bars sometimes causes the bit
to bear in such a manner that the horse will drop his nose, and at
that moment an effort must be made to keep it there. This method is
exceptional, however, and should be resorted to only when other means
fail, and the horse's head is so high, with the nose protruding, that
the bit affords no control. Ordinarily, the hands should be low, one
on each side of the withers, and quietly feeling the snaffle until he
obeys its signal.

If he pulls with his head down, almost between his knees, the curb
must not be touched, but the snaffle should be felt and the hands held
higher than usual and a little farther forward, playing with his
mouth. This may make him raise his head; but if not, then several
determined pulls, yielding the hand between them, given without temper
and with a few soothing words, may stop him. If he has the bit between
his teeth, quick give-and-take movements will probably surprise him
into releasing it. It is useless for a woman to try to subdue him by
force.

It is well to have a horse's teeth examined for pulling, as one which
has become displaced or sensitive causes excessive pain, and often
results in this habit. When a horse shows a tendency to kick, by
putting his ears back or a peculiar wriggle of the body, his head must
instantly be pulled up and kept there, for in that position he will
not attempt it.

[Sidenote: Runaways]

A runaway nearly always frightens a woman so that she loses her head.
Composure will best enable her to escape without accident. As the
horse starts she must keep her heel well away from his side and her
hands down, and instantly begin sawing his mouth with the reins; then
a succession of sharp jerks and pulls should be resorted to--never a
dead pull--and possibly he may be brought down.

Once well in his stride, no woman can stop a horse. She must then be
governed by circumstances, and, if in a crowd or park, try to keep him
clear of all objects, and not exhaust herself and excite the horse by
screaming. Some one will try to catch him; and as a terrific jerk will
be the result, she must brace herself for it. If the horse runs where
there is open country, and she is sure his running is prompted by
vice, not fright, she should urge him on when he tires and keep him
going up-hill or over heavy ground if possible, using the whip freely,
and not permit him to stop until he is completely done.

There are some good riders who advise pulling a horse into a fence to
stop him, but there is always a chance of his attempting to jump it,
while, as the rider tries to prevent this, the horse may be thrown out
of his balance or stride and fall over the fence. If he is driven at a
high wall or other insurmountable obstruction the horse will stop so
suddenly that the rider is likely to be precipitated over the animal's
head, even if she have a good seat. Again, the horse may miscalculate
the distance and run into the object, perhaps seriously hurting
himself and his rider. If this method is to be employed, a grassy or
sandy embankment should be chosen, if possible, as there will then be
fewer chances of injury.

Others believe in throwing the horse, which may be done by letting him
have his head for a few strides, then suddenly giving a violent tug at
the reins. If he can thus be made to cross his legs, he will go down.
Another way is for a woman to put all her strength into pulling one
rein, and if she can use enough force he may be twisted so that he
will lose his balance and fall. Then the danger is that a woman will
not get clear of him before he regains his footing and starts off, in
which case she might better have remained on his back than risk being
dragged at his heels. If some one else's horse is running instead of
the one she is on, and it is coming towards her, a woman should
instantly, but quietly, wheel her horse, and keep him as much to one
side of the road as possible; and if she is sure of her control over
him, a brisk canter will be the safest gait. Thus, if the runaway
strikes her horse, it will not be with the same force as it would had
they met from opposite directions. Besides, it is almost impossible to
tell which way a frightened horse may turn, and in endeavoring to
avoid him, if they are facing, a collision may result.

If a horse falls, from crossing his legs for instance, to keep hold of
the reins must be the first thought, and then to get clear of him as
quickly as possible and out of his way if he seems likely to roll. If
the rider retains her hold on the reins, he cannot kick her, as his
head will be towards her; nor can he get away, leaving her to walk
home.

[Sidenote: Punishment]

Punishment of a horse should never be begun without the certainty that
what has given displeasure is really his fault, wilfully committed.
Even then a battle should always be avoided, if possible, for it is
better to spend a half-hour, or even much more, gently but firmly
urging a horse to obedience than to fight him. It sometimes drives him
to such a state of excitement and temper that the effects of it will
be perceptible for days, sometimes weeks, in a nervous, highly strung
animal, and he will, perhaps, prepare for a combat whenever the same
circumstances again arise. That which comes from misconception on the
part of the horse is often treated as though it were vice, and such
unjust chastisement, without accomplishing its object, bewilders and
frightens the unfortunate victim. Therefore one should know positively
that it is obstinacy or vice, not dulness or timidity, which has made
the horse apparently resist his rider's authority. A horse with much
temper may only be made worse by the punishment he undoubtedly
deserves; therefore, forbearance and ingenuity should be exercised to
bring him into submission. Discipline must be administered at the time
of insubordination, or it loses its meaning to the horse. It is folly
to postpone punishing him, for then he fails to connect it with the
act of resistance which has provoked it.

Another great mistake, and one to be strongly censured, is that of
venting one's impatience or temper on the poor brute, which may be
doing its best to understand the clumsy and imperfect commands of a
cruel taskmaster.

Having calmly decided that the horse requires punishment, it should be
given in a firm and temperate manner, no more severity being employed
than is necessary. However, the whip should fall with force and
decision, or it is worse than useless; and if a moderate amount of
whipping or spurring does not result in victory, it must be increased,
as, once begun, the fight must end in the conquest of the animal, or
the woman on his back will thenceforth be unable to control him. It
must be done dispassionately and continuously, and no time allowed him
to become more obstinate by a cessation of hostilities when he might
be about to give in. At the first sign of yielding, he should be
encouraged, and the punishment cease, until he has had an opportunity
to do what is desired of him.

While using the whip, the right hand should never be on the reins, as
that necessitates jerking the horse's mouth and hitting from the
wrist, a weak and ineffectual method. The blow should fall well back
of the saddle and with the force given by the full swing of the arm.
A woman usually expends her energy in hitting the saddle-flap, making
some noise, to be sure, but not producing the desired effect.

If these suggestions are followed, there will be comparatively little
trouble in learning to properly handle a horse that he may be kept up
to the mark. Until having laid a solid foundation for one's self, it
is useless to hope to obtain the best results from the horse, which
will surely appreciate and take advantage of any incompetency on the
part of the rider. Even if not aspiring to more than ordinary park
riding, attention to these hints will add so materially to the comfort
and safety of both horse and woman that it will be a subject of wonder
to the latter how she could have found the wrong way pleasant enough
to admit of any hesitation in giving the correct one at least a fair
trial.



VI

CHOOSING A MOUNT


Much of a woman's comfort will depend on the horse she chooses. She is
too often inclined to procure a showy one, which pleases the eye, even
though she cannot control his antics, rather than a trustworthy and
less conspicuous mount.

[Sidenote: An Adviser]

In choosing a horse, she should not rely exclusively on her own
judgment. Few women are aware of the artifices resorted to by
dishonest dealers to render presentable some animal which in its
natural condition she would at once reject; therefore she should
enlist the services of some man in whose knowledge of horse-flesh she
has reason to place confidence, and of whose disinterestedness she is
certain. When a horse is found which appears to fulfil her
requirements, she should insist upon a trial of him herself; for,
although he may go well and comfortably with her friend, a woman might
not possess the qualities which had assured success in the former
trial by the man. The horse would recognize the difference, take
advantage of her inexperience or lack of skill, and act as he would
not think of doing under an expert. Furthermore, gaits which would
suit a man are often too hard for a woman, and a horse which he might
think merely went well up to the bit would to her weaker arms seem a
puller.

After being approved of by her friend, the woman should try the animal
herself, outside, alone and in company. If he proves satisfactory, she
should endeavor to have him in her stable for a few days, and during
that time to have him examined by a veterinary surgeon, obtaining his
certificate of the horse's soundness. An animal absolutely sound and
without blemish is a rare sight; but there are many defects which do
not lessen the horse's practical value, although their presence lower
his price, and may enable her to secure something desirable which
would otherwise have been beyond her means.

Such a horse should be accepted only after a thorough examination by
the veterinary, and upon his advice. It is well to avoid purchasing a
horse from a friend, unless one is perfectly familiar with the animal,
as such transactions frequently lead to strained relations, each
thinking bitterly of the other. Some, having pronounced their horse
sound, would take offence should a veterinary be called; while if he
were not consulted the horse might go wrong, and the purchaser would
perhaps think the former owner had disposed of him with that
expectation, or at least knowing the probability of it, yet their
social relations would prevent accusation or explanation. Furthermore,
a difference of opinion as to the price is awkward, and altogether it
requires more tact, discretion, and liberality than most people
possess to make a satisfactory horse-trade with a friend.

Having decided as to whose advice she will take, a woman should not be
influenced by the comments and criticisms of others. If she waits
until all her friends approve of her choice she will never buy a
horse. However, by listening to what the best informed of them say,
she may gain much instruction and knowledge. As a woman may wish to
know what points are desirable in a horse, and what to look for, a
general idea of this may be welcome. It is only by comparison that she
will learn to distinguish whether certain parts are long or short,
normal or excessive, therefore she should critically notice horses at
every opportunity, and observe in what they differ from one another.

[Sidenote: Park Hack]

If a woman could have a Park hack made to order, the following points
would be the most prominent: A horse should always be up to more
weight than he will have to carry; and as, in the Park, appearances
are of importance, a woman should buy a horse on which she will look
well. Much will depend upon her mount being of an appropriate size and
build. A woman of medium size will look her best on a horse of about
15.2. No exact height can be fixed upon, as the present system of
measurement is so incomplete.

[Sidenote: Measurement]

A horse standing 15.2 at the withers, where it is always measured, may
be much higher there than anywhere else, his quarters being
disproportionately low. On the other hand, the withers might be low
and the rump high, giving the strength, power, and stride to a horse
of 15 hands which might be expected in one of several inches higher.
In races and shows it enables low-withered horses to run and compete
against those which, although high at the withers, have not the
posterior conformation to justify their being in the same class. The
more common-sense and accurate method of measurement, if it would only
be generally adopted, is to take the height at the withers and also at
the rump, average it, and call that the size of the horse. For
instance, a horse 15.3 at the withers and 15.2 at the rump should be
registered as measuring 15.2-1/2. The fashionably bred trotting horse
often measures higher at the rump than at the withers, while the
properly proportioned saddle horse should measure as high, or highest,
at the withers.

In a saddle horse there are other points than height to be considered.
If the woman is stout, the horse should be of substantial build, very
compact, and like a cob. If she is slight, she will look best on a
horse of light build and possessed of quality.

In my opinion, three quarters, or a trifle more, thoroughbred blood
makes the pleasantest mount for a woman. Five to seven is a good age
at which to buy a horse, as he will then have been through the early
ailments of young horses and be just entering his prime.

[Sidenote: Conformation]

As to his points, his head should be small and clear-cut, with
delicately pointed ears, prominent eyes, a fine muzzle, full nostrils,
clean-cut angle at the throttle, and the head carried somewhat less
than vertical to the ground; the crest curved, and the neck thin and
supple, but muscular and well set on to broad shoulders. These should
be long and oblique, thus reducing the concussion and making the horse
easier to ride as well as safer, because his forelegs are
proportionately advanced, giving less weight in front of them to cause
a fall should he trip. The true arms (commonly called lower bones of
the shoulders), extend from the points of the shoulders to the elbows,
and should be short, or the forelegs will be placed too far back. The
forearms, extending from the elbows to the knees, should be large and
muscular and rather long. Broad, flat knees are indicative of
strength, and they should have considerably more width than the
forearms or the shanks.

Below the knees and to the fetlocks the legs should be rather short,
flat, deep, and fine, no swelling to prevent one from feeling
distinctly, especially near the fetlocks, the tendons and ligaments
quite separate from the shanks or cannons and the splint-bones. The
fetlock-joints much developed give evidence of overwork, therefore any
undue prominence is not desirable. Long, slanting pasterns give
elasticity to a horse's gait and prevent disagreeable concussion; but
if the length is excessive, there will be too much strain on the back
tendons. The fetlocks reach to the coronet, below which are the feet,
which must be of good shape and absolutely sound.

The thorax must be either broad or deep and full, so that the lungs
and heart may have plenty of room to expand. It should be well
supplied with muscle where the forelegs are joined to it, and these
should be straight, with the feet pointing straight ahead. The toe
should be under the point of the shoulder. High withers are preferred
to low ones, but if they are too high they place a side-saddle at an
uncomfortable angle, which needs an objectionable amount of padding at
the back to rectify the fault. The back should not sink perceptibly,
but it may be somewhat longer in a woman's horse than in a man's, as
her saddle occupies so much more space; but the ribs should be long in
front and short back of the girth, running well up to the hips. This
conformation will prevent the saddle from working forward; a tendency
to slip back may be checked by using a breast-plate.

A horse should be broad across the loins; if these are strong, and the
horse well ribbed up, there will be no unsightly sinking of the flanks
even in front of hips that are broad, as they should be. The thighs
extend from the lower part of the haunches or hips to the
stifle-joints, and these and the haunches are covered with powerful
muscles, which, when well developed, form strong quarters. A
well-placed tail, carried at a correct angle, adds greatly to a
horse's appearance. From the stifles to the hocks are found the lower
thighs, and these should be long and strong. The hocks should be
prominent, clearly defined, and free from all puffiness or swelling.
From the hocks to the fetlocks the leg should descend perpendicularly,
neither bent under him nor back of him. The same rule applies to these
fetlocks as to the fore ones; and the same may be said of the feet,
but the latter are too important to dismiss without further comment.

The hoofs when on the ground should be at an angle of about forty-five
degrees from the toe to the coronet. Any unevenness or protrusions on
the wall of the hoofs, or a sinking-in at the quarters, should be
viewed with suspicion. Breadth is desirable at the heels, and the bars
should not be cut away. The frog should be nearly on a level with the
shoes, and the soles should be slightly concave.

[Sidenote: Hunter]

If a hunter is to be chosen, looks are not of so much importance,
although I like him to be almost if not quite thoroughbred. However,
if the animal can gallop and jump, has good staying qualities and a
strong constitution, a kind disposition and a light mouth, good
manners and plenty of power, he should not be discarded because he
lacks beauty. A large head, ewe neck, ragged hips, rat-tail, poor
coat, and other such ungainly points, are not bad enough to condemn
him if he has the other qualities I have mentioned; and often a
peculiarly shaped animal will out-jump a horse of the most correct
conformation.

[Sidenote: Gait and Manners]

After carefully looking over the horse, a woman should have some one
trot and canter him, to see that his action is what she wants. A Park
hack should have free, easy gaits, with good knee and hock action, and
travel evenly and without brushing, cutting, interfering, dishing, or
showing any such irregularities of gait. She should watch him from in
front, from behind, and at the sides; and, after his trial by a man,
the woman should ride him, and find out what his faults are under the
saddle. His manners should be perfect: no sign of bolting, or
rearing, or other vices; nor should he be a star-gazer, nor lug on the
bit, as a good mouth is very essential to her comfort.

However, if he is green--that is, unaccustomed to his surroundings and
to being ridden--he should not be rejected without a fair trial, to
ascertain whether his cramped gait, shying, and other such failings
are the result of inexperience under the saddle, or are established
traits. The most desirable points are a light but not over-sensitive
mouth, even gait, with swinging (not jerky or shuffling) action, a
kind disposition--with which quality considerable friskiness need not
condemn him--good manners, and freedom from tricks and vices. He
should be practically sound and of correct conformation--a more
valuable attribute for safety and ease than high action.



VII

DRESS


Simplicity is the rule for the habit. It should be of Thibet
cloth--black, dark brown, or blue for winter, tan or a medium shade of
gray for summer. All conspicuous colors and materials are to be
avoided. It is well to have the skirt made of a heavy-weight cloth,
which will help to make it set properly without the assistance of
straps; while the bodice may be of a medium weight of the same cloth,
that it may fit better and be less bulky. For very warm weather in the
country a habit made of heavy gingham or white duck is cool and
comfortable, and will wash. The skirt and bodice may be of the same
material, or a silk or cheviot shirt and leather belt may be worn
with the skirt. A straw sailor-hat completes this convenient
innovation, but it should be reserved for use out of town.

[Sidenote: Skirt]

The skirt should reach only far enough to cover the left foot, and be
too narrow to admit of any flowing folds. Fashion and safety both
demand this. A skittish horse is often frightened by a loose skirt
flapping at his side.

[Sidenote: Safety Skirt]

I should be very glad to see the safety skirt, which is worn in the
hunting-field, adopted in general riding. Its advantages are manifold.
Although it appears the same, less cloth is used, therefore it is
cooler; there is nothing between the pommel and the breeches, thus
improving the hold, and in case of accident it is impossible to be
dragged. There are several kinds in use, but the less complicated the
more desirable it is. The simplest is made like any other skirt,
except that where the pommels come there is a large piece of the cloth
cut out, extending in a circle at the top, and then straight down, at
both sides, so that there is no cloth near the pommels or where it
could catch in case of a fall. This leaves enough to extend under both
legs when in the saddle, and looks like an ordinary one. Under the
right knee, where the skirt is rounded out, a small strip of cloth
buttons from this point on to the piece which is under the leg; this
and an elastic strap on the foot keep it in place; but neither is
strong enough to stand any strain, therefore would not be dangerous in
a fall.

Another pattern has eyelet holes made on each side from where the
cloth has been taken, and round silk elastic laced through them, thus
preventing the possibility of disarrangement. Both of these skirts
loop at the back, and can be kept from appearing unlike others if the
wearer will immediately fasten them on dismounting. An ordinary skirt
may be made safer by having no hem.

[Sidenote: Divided Skirt]

We hear a great deal now of the divided skirt, and the advisability of
women riding astride. The theory is good, as having a leg each side of
the animal gives much greater control over his movements.

For most women, however, it is impracticable, since they cannot sit
down in the saddle and grip with their knees as they should, owing to
the fact that their thighs are rounded, instead of flat like a man's.
It might be possible for a lean and muscular woman to acquire a secure
seat, but not for the average one. Being short is another drawback to
a strong seat against which most of them would have to contend. This
is particularly trying, as so much of her weight is above the waist,
making it difficult to ride from balance, which might otherwise
replace the deficient leverage of the short thigh. Again, if on a
large or broad horse, the constant strain on the muscles necessary
when astride him must be injurious.

Aside from any physical reasons, the position for a woman is, in my
opinion, most ungraceful and undignified, while few of them possess
the strength to profit by the changed seat in forcing the horse up to
his bridle or keeping him collected; and I cannot blame those who
think it open to the charge of impropriety.

[Sidenote: Bodice]

The bodice should be single-breasted, long over the hips, reaching
almost to the saddle in the back, and cut away in front to show a
waistcoat, the upper edge of which makes a finish between the collar
and lapels of the waist and the white collar and Ascot or
four-in-hand. The waistcoat gives more of an opportunity for the
exercise of individual taste. The most desirable, I think, has a white
background, on which is a black, brown, blue, or red check. It may be
all tan or a hunting pink, plain, figured, or striped, so long as too
many colors are not combined; but, as a rule, something quiet and
simple will be the most desirable. In summer a piqué waistcoat is
worn, or something similar, that is light, cool, and will wash. A
black or white cravat always looks well, or one which, without being
glaring, harmonizes with the waistcoat.

[Sidenote: Waistcoat]

Sense, health, and comfort all demand that the waist shall not be
laced to the painful extent endured by many foolish and vain women.
They would let out an inch or two if they could realize that the blood
is forced from their waists to their faces, making them scarlet at any
exertion, while they have difficulty in conversing except in gasps,
and are compelled to walk their horses at frequent intervals to catch
their breath.

[Sidenote: Corsets]

It is so invigorating to feel the lungs expanded by a long, deep
breath, and the blood, quickened by the motion of the horse, coursing
unrestrained through all the veins, while the muscles of the back and
abdomen are allowed full play, that those who go along panting and
aching lose half the beneficial effects of riding, and more pleasure
than they can possibly derive from trying to make people believe that
they have small waists. The corsets are of great importance and must
be of good quality and not very stiff, small bones being used instead
of large ones or steels. They must be short in front and over the
hips, that the movements may not be unnecessarily restricted, or the
skin become raw from rubbing against the ends of the bones. A plain
corset-cover should be worn over them, as the lining of the
habit-waist sometimes discolors the corsets if this precaution is not
taken.

[Sidenote: Boots, Breeches, Tights]

Considerable latitude is permitted a woman in the choice of what she
shall wear under her skirt. Boots and breeches are considered better
form than shoes and trousers; but there is no reason why the latter
should not be used, especially if the shoes lace. Boots and tights,
however, are the most comfortable of all. Breeches are made of
stockinette, re-enforced with chamois skin, and reach half-way down
the calf, where they should button close to the leg--the buttons
being on the left side of each leg, that the right may not be bruised
by the buttons pressing against the saddle. Chamois skin is sometimes
used to make breeches, but it is not very satisfactory. At first they
are soft and pliable, but after being worn a few times they become
stiff and unyielding, and rain will render them hard as boards.

Tan box-cloth gaiters, extending from the instep almost to the knee,
are sometimes worn with breeches and shoes. They are made exactly like
those for men, and take the place of boots. Boots may be of calf-skin
or patent leather, with wrinkled or stiff legs, the tops reaching a
few inches above the bottom of the breeches. In warm weather tan boots
are often worn; but, of whatever variety they may be, they should
always be large, with broad, thick soles and low, square heels.

Trousers are of the same material as the skirt, and are also
re-enforced. Elastic bands passing under the shoes keep the trousers
down. Tights should be of the color of the habit, and fit smoothly
without being stretched. They come in different weights, and either
silk, cotton, or wool may be worn. They should have feet woven on
them, thus doing away with the necessity for all underclothing below
the waist.

When breeches or trousers are worn, tights may advantageously be
substituted for the other usual garments worn under such conditions.
If tights are not worn, whatever replaces them should fit snugly and
be without starch or frills. The stockings should be kept up from the
waist, as garters chafe the knee when it presses the pommel, and
often interfere with the circulation. Some women wear union garments,
which are practically tights extending from the neck to the feet,
taking the place of shirts. However, when a shirt is worn it will be
most comfortable if of a light-weight wool. This absorbs the
perspiration, and is therefore pleasanter to wear than silk, and more
likely to protect from a cold. Outside of this should be the corset.

When it is cold a chamois-skin waist with long sleeves should be worn
under the bodice, as this is much better than a fur cape, which is
often used, and which confines the arms. A covert coat is the most
convenient, but the former is more readily obtained. A wool shirt,
short corsets, plain corset-cover, and tights are all the
underclothing needed for riding. Some women wear a linen shirt, with
collar and cuffs attached, like a man's, except that it is narrowed
at the waist. With this the corset-cover is not needed.

[Sidenote: Collars and Cuffs]

Separate collars and cuffs are more generally used, and the scarf
should be pinned to the collar at the back, as these have a way of
parting company that is most untidy. To make it more certain, a clasp
or pin such as men use to hold a four-in-hand tie in place should
fasten the ends of the scarf to the shirt-front or corset-cover, thus
securing it against slipping.

The cuffs should not be pinned to the sleeve, as the lining of the
coat will be torn, and the pin will catch on the habit and stretch and
roughen it in places. A small elastic band put over a button at the
wrist of the sleeve, and attached to the cuff-button, will answer
every purpose.

[Sidenote: Gloves]

Gauntlets should be discarded, and gloves worn large enough to admit
of the muscles of the hand being used freely. Dogskin of a reddish
shade of tan is the best material for gloves. The stitching is such as
to form slight ridges of the glove itself on the back of the hand, the
red stitches being scarcely perceptible at a little distance. It is
difficult to find women's gloves broad enough for comfort in riding,
and it is a good plan to buy boys' gloves, which give the desired
freedom. They have only one button, an advantage over women's, which
have two or three that are in the way under the cuff.

Should the wrists need more protection from the cold, wristlets may be
worn, as they take up but little room. For cold weather, gloves come
in a softer kid, like chevrette, and have a fleecy lining, very warm,
but too soft and light to make the gloves clumsy. Flowers and jewelry
are decidedly out of place on horseback, and a handkerchief should
never be thrust into the front of the bodice. It should be put in the
slit on the off saddle-flap, or in the pocket at the left side of the
skirt where it opens.

[Sidenote: Hair and Hat]

The hair should be firmly coiled or braided on the neck, and not worn
on top of the head. A top hat is correct, especially on formal
occasions, but it should not be allowed to slip to the back of the
head. However, I prefer usually a derby, as being more comfortable and
looking more business-like. It should be kept on by an elastic which
fastens under the hair. Pins through the crown are an uncalled-for
disfigurement, and a hat may be made just as secure without them. In
fact, they will be of but little use if the hair is not done high. A
large hair-pin on each side should pin the hair over the elastic; and
if the wind or anything else causes the hat to become displaced, it
will not come off entirely, forcing some one to dismount and restore
it to the woman, who cannot get it alone. Hair-pins should be long and
bent half-way up each prong, so that they will not easily slip out.

[Sidenote: Veil]

[Sidenote: Whip or Crop]

When a veil is worn, it should be of black net or gauze, never white
or figured, and the ends should be neatly pinned out of sight, instead
of being allowed to float out behind, like smoke from a steam-engine.
If a whip is carried for use, it should be a substantial stiff one,
held point down, not a flimsy thing that a sound blow will break, nor
should it be made absurd by a bow or tassel being tied to it. If for
style, then a crop is the correct thing, with the lash-end held up.
The handle should be of horn, rather than silver or gold, and the
stick quite heavy and somewhat flexible. Short bamboo sticks are in
favor just now, and are often tipped with gold, and have a gold band a
few inches from the end where it is held.

[Illustration: CROP]

[Sidenote: Spur]

I do not approve of a spur for women, as it is difficult to use it
just right, and its unintentional application often has disastrous
results, while should she be dragged by the foot, it will keep hitting
the horse, urging him faster and faster. In mounting, the spur
sometimes strikes the horse, making him shy just as the rider expects
to reach the saddle, and a nasty fall is the consequence. Where a man
would use it advantageously, a woman cannot produce the same effect,
having it only on one side. Moreover, a horse suitable for her to ride
should not require more than her heel and her whip.

[Illustration: A GOOD SPUR]

Some horses are very cunning, and will shirk their work if they
discover that there is no spur to urge them, but such may be taught
that a whip in skilful hands is quite as effective. In a crowd a spur
is of value, as it may be applied noiselessly, and without danger of
startling other horses, as a whip will do. In leaping, a spur on one
side of the horse and the whip on the other form a combination which
will often compel him to jump when, from sulkiness or indolence, he
has been refusing.

It requires some practice, however, to use it in the right place and
at the right moment; a woman's skirt has an unhappy faculty of
intercepting the spur when it should strike him, and her heel of
hitting the horse when it should leave him alone. For these reasons I
am in favor of women riding without a spur when it is possible, for,
although it looks well as a finish to a boot, its adoption by inexpert
riders may lead to sad results.

If a spur is to be worn, there are several kinds from which to choose.
I prefer a box-spur with a rowel, such as men use, but having a
guard, which prevents it from catching in the habit, and lessens the
probabilities of its unintentionally punishing a horse. When it is
applied with force, the rowel comes through the guard, which works on
a spring, and upon releasing the pressure the guard again protects the
sharp rowel. They may be of the kind that fit in a box which has been
put in the heel of the boot, or they may have straps and buckle over
the instep.



VIII

LEAPING


[Sidenote: Requirements]

When a woman has attained some degree of proficiency in the saddle,
she will probably desire to perfect herself in riding by learning to
leap. Her equestrian education cannot be considered complete without
this, but she should not attempt it until she has learned thoroughly
how to ride correctly on the road. A secure seat, light hands, a cool
head, quick perception, judgment, and courage form a combination which
will enable her in a short time to acquire skill in jumping. Few women
possess all these qualities, but an effort should be made to obtain as
many of them as possible before trying to jump.

[Sidenote: In the Ring]

The first lessons should be on a horse which has been well trained to
this work and requires no assistance from his rider. He should inspire
confidence, and jump easily and surely rather than brilliantly. I
think it is well to begin in a school over bars, as there the rider is
not under the necessity of choosing a good take-off or landing, and is
thus free to give undivided attention to herself.

[Sidenote: Approaching Jump]

Three feet is high enough to put the bars at the start; or they may be
even lower should the rider feel timid. As she approaches the jump she
must sit firmly in the middle of the saddle (not hanging either to the
right or to the left, thereby upsetting the horse's balance), and she
must look straight at the obstacle, with her head up and her body
thrown a trifle back. The reins should at first be held in both
hands, for several reasons. It lessens the chances of sitting crooked,
and it prevents throwing up the right arm as the horse jumps--a common
and unsightly practice, calculated to frighten him and distract his
attention from his work, and to jerk his mouth, while it has no
redeeming features. In addition to this, when the horse lands, the
reins are not so liable to slip through two hands as through one.

Approaching the jump, the horse should break into a moderate canter,
and the only rule his rider will be likely to remember at the first
trial will be to "lean back as he jumps and give him his head." As she
becomes accustomed to the action, her attention must be called to
details. While nearing the jump, she must keep her hands low, and just
feel her horse's mouth with the snaffle without interfering with it
or shifting her hold on the reins. Quiet, steady hands are
indispensable to success.

[Illustration: TAKING OFF]

[Sidenote: Taking off]

[Sidenote: Landing]

By watching his stride one can tell when he will take off. At that
moment he will stretch out his neck; then she must, by instantly
pushing them forward, let her hands yield to his mouth. This must be
accurately calculated, for should the pressure on his mouth be varied
too suddenly and at the wrong time, it would throw him out of his
stride by letting go of his mouth when he needed steadying. Some
advocate leaning forward before leaning back as the horse takes off,
but the slight involuntary motion communicated to the body by
thrusting the hands forward will be sufficient to precede the backward
movement. Before he has finished his effort, she must lean back just
enough (but no farther) to avoid being thrown forward by the action
of his quarters or by the angle at which he comes down. Her left heel
should not come in contact with him after he has taken off, although
she may strike him with it to urge him on if he goes at the jump too
slowly. Below the waist she must be firm and immovable; above,
yielding and flexible. As the horse lands, she regains her upright
position, and should be careful that he does not pull the reins
through her fingers. Under all circumstances she must have too firm a
hold on the reins to admit of such an occurrence. If the horse
stumbles at the moment of landing, he needs the support of her hands;
or should he bolt, it must not be necessary to pull in the slack rein
before being able to check him.

[Sidenote: Lifting]

One of the most erroneous theories extant is that it is desirable to
"lift" a horse at his fences. Doing so only necessitates carrying the
weight of his rider's hands on his mouth, and risks pulling the horse
into the jump, while he is hindered from stretching his neck, as he
must to land safely and correctly. Hanging on to his mouth is often
the cause of a horse's landing on all four feet at once, or dropping
too close to the jump. The pull on the reins holds him back, thus
inducing these bad habits, and will often make him refuse or dread to
jump, knowing that it entails a sharp jerk on his sensitive mouth. To
a casual or ignorant observer it sometimes looks as though a good
rider were "lifting" his horse; but it only appears so because,
knowing intuitively at just what instant his hands must yield, he so
accurately gives to the animal's mouth that the action of the horse's
mouth and the rider's hands is simultaneous.

[Illustration: ABOUT TO LAND]

[Sidenote: Out of Doors]

After some practice in the ring, a woman may try jumping out-of-doors,
for inside there is not a sufficient variety of obstacles; and she
should then have a breast-plate attached to her saddle. By this time
she should, in jumping, hold her reins in one hand, the snaffle
inside, curb outside, and quite loose. As she goes towards a jump, her
right hand should be placed in front of the left on the snaffle to
steady the horse. In this way she can remove it without leaving an
uneven pressure on the horse's mouth, as would be the case if, as is
customary, her hand had rested on the two right reins, then been
suddenly withdrawn in order to urge the horse with the whip, or to
protect the face from overhanging branches.

[Sidenote: Pilot]

The most favorable conditions under which a woman may begin jumping
in the country are when she can go across fields with a capable pilot
to give her a lead over some easy timber or walls. She must never
forget to see that the horse in front of her is well away from the
fence before she jumps, or she will risk landing on top of him if he
makes a mistake; or if he refuses, her horse, if too near, would be
forced to do likewise. She should not allow herself to become
dependent on the services of a pilot, or let her horse become
accustomed to jumping only when he has a lead; therefore she must
learn to choose a panel of the fence for herself.

[Sidenote: Selecting a Panel]

Supposing the fences to be moderate, she must decide, as she canters
towards the first, where she will jump, and there are a number of
considerations by which she must be governed. First, to find a panel
which is low, for in riding across country it is wise to save one's
mount, as all his strength may be needed at a big place later on. Then
the take-off must be looked to, sound level turf being chosen if
possible; and if the landing is plainly visible, so much the better. A
moderately thick top rail is often safer to put a horse at than a very
thin round one, which is liable to be a sapling, that will not break
if a horse tries to crash through it, as he is sometimes tempted to do
by its fragile appearance.

It is well to send a horse at the middle of a panel; for, should he
hit it, this, being the weakest spot, may break, while should he hit
nearer the end, where it is strong, he may be thrown. Such details as
these she will observe instinctively with a little practice. Having
decided where she will jump, her horse's head must be pointed straight
at the place, and her mind must not waver. If the rider is determined
to go, and has no misgivings, the horse is sure to be inspired with
the same confidence.

Having once put him at a panel, she should avoid changing her mind
without good reason, as her uncertainty will be imparted to him. A
fence such as described is jumped just as are the bars in the ring;
safely over it, the next obstacle must be examined.

[Sidenote: Stone Wall]

If it be a stone wall, it may often be taken in one of two
places--either where it is high and even, or where it is lower and
wide, because of the stones which have fallen from the top. In the
first instance it should be jumped in a collected manner, but at a
slower pace than the second requires. At the latter some speed is
necessary, as the horse must jump wide enough to avoid the rolling
stones on both sides.

[Sidenote: In Hand]

Few riders remember that it is as important to keep a horse collected
when going fast as at any other time. When he is hurried along, no
chance is given him to measure his stride or get his legs well under
him, but he is nevertheless expected to take off correctly and clear
the obstacle.

A good rider will always have her horse well in hand, and never hustle
him at his fences, even if she goes at them with considerable speed.

[Sidenote: Trappy Ground and Drops]

If the take-off looks treacherous, or is ploughed or muddy, the horse
should be brought to it at a trot, well collected, and allowed to take
his time at it.

When the ground approaching the jump is uphill, or descending, the
same tactics should be pursued, and unlimited rein given the horse. On
encountering a drop on the far side of a fence or wall, a woman must
lean back as far as possible, leaving the reins long, but ready to
support the horse's head as he lands. At a trappy place, where, for
instance, there might be a broken-down fence among some trees,
overgrown with vines and bushes, the horse must be taken quietly and
slowly and made to crawl through the gap. His rider will even then
have enough trouble in keeping her feet clear of the vines, and in
preventing the branches from hitting her face, which she could not do
if a jump were made with a rush. If her horse carries his head high,
she can probably pass where it has been without injury by leaning
forward over his withers, to the right, and raising her right arm to
ward off the branches with her whip or crop.

[Sidenote: In-and-out]

Sometimes she will not notice a limb or other obstruction until almost
under it, when it will be necessary for her to lean back, resting her
shoulders on the horse's quarters. Under these circumstances it is
most important that her right arm should guard her eyes from pieces of
bark or other falling particles. Where two fences are within a few
feet of each other, forming an "in-and-out," the pace needs to be
carefully regulated. If the horse goes very fast, he will jump so wide
that he will land too close to the second fence to take off as he
should. Therefore if he is rushing, his stride must be shortened and
his hind-legs brought well under him.

On the other hand, he must not go so slowly that all impetus for the
second effort is lost, as he would then be likely to refuse. It is
difficult to turn him in so short a space and get him into his stride
before he is called upon to jump.

At a ditch or stream considerable speed is needed to gain the momentum
necessary to cover the distance, and the horse must have plenty of
rein given him.

[Sidenote: Picket and Slat Fences]

A picket fence is usually regarded as a very formidable obstacle, but
if negotiated properly it is no worse than others. It should be taken
at a good rate of speed, for the danger is that the horse will get
hung up on it and be cut with the points by not having enough impetus.
It is not so dangerous to hit this fence in front, for it is frail and
the top of the pickets will snap off at the binder if hit with force.
A slat fence is more to be dreaded, on account of the ledge on the top
of it formed by the binder. This should be taken with deliberation, as
the thing to be guarded against is having the horse hit his knees on
the ledge which protrudes a couple of inches beyond the fence. The
lower slats give way easily if they are approached from the side where
the posts are; if from the opposite direction, they are braced against
the posts and offer great resistance.

[Sidenote: Wire]

Any fence that has wire on it should be avoided if possible, unless
the horse has been trained to jump it. When it extends along the top
of a fence, the horse should be made to jump a post, as it is not safe
to count on his seeing the wire. If the fence is made of strands of
wire, with only a binder of timber, it should be taken slowly, so that
the horse will not attempt to crash through it, under the impression
that it is a single bar.

[Sidenote: Combined Obstacles]

A stone wall having a rail on top must be taken in the horse's stride,
for considerable swing is required, as there is width as well as
height to clear. When a ditch is on the near side of a wall or fence,
the horse should be allowed time to see it. When it is on the landing
side, he should be sent at it fast enough to carry him safely over.

Thus far I have been supposing that the horse has gone without a
mistake. Under these circumstances he should not be struck--just to
encourage him, as some maintain--or he will grow to dislike jumping if
associated with a blow.

No woman who rides much can expect to be always so perfectly mounted;
therefore, a few suggestions as to what she should do in emergencies
may be of practical value.

[Sidenote: Refusing]

[Sidenote: Timidity]

The most common fault of the jumper is refusing, and it must be dealt
with according to its cause. If it arises from weakness in the hocks,
the horse hesitating to propel himself by them, or from weak knees,
or corns that cause him to dread the concussion of landing, he should
not be forced to jump--it is both cruel and unsafe. If he be sound and
well, and the fence not beyond his capabilities, the rider must know
whether the disinclination to jump comes from timidity or from temper.
She will soon learn to distinguish between the two, but it is
difficult to lay down any rule for recognizing the difference. If she
thinks it is for the former reason, the cause may be that he was not
in his stride when he should have taken off, and was allowed to sprawl
as he cantered. She should take him back and keep him well collected,
making him take short, quick strides in the canter, measuring the
distance, and giving him his head when he should take off. If he seems
inclined to swerve or hesitate, the whip, applied just when he should
rise, will often prevent his stopping. When over, a caress and a word
of praise will greatly encourage him.

[Sidenote: Temper]

Temper is a very different and a very difficult thing to manage.
Coaxing and ingenuity may accomplish something; turning him short at
another place will often surprise him into jumping before he realizes
it. The human voice has great power over animals, and a few loud,
sharp exclamations, with a quick use of the whip, may make him take
off when otherwise he would have refused. A really obstinate horse,
having made up his mind not to jump, needs such a thrashing as a woman
is seldom able to give him. If she begins it, she must keep it up
until she has conquered him, or he will try the same trick constantly.

As a horse almost invariably turns to the left when he refuses, a
sharp crack on the near shoulder, being unusual and unexpected,
sometimes prevents his turning. When, in one way or another, he
finally has been forced to yield, he should be rewarded by a few words
of approval. At the next fence a firm hold, keeping his head straight
and his legs well under him, will be of more service than a whip,
unless he refuses again, when the lesson must be repeated.

[Sidenote: Rider at Fault]

At least half of the refusals are the fault of the rider, and it is
most unjust to punish a horse at such times. Unfortunately, conceit is
such a common failing that few of us are willing to acknowledge
ourselves in the wrong, therefore the poor horse suffers for our
error. The timid rider sends the horse at an obstacle in such a
half-hearted way that he does not know whether he is expected to jump
or not; or, feeling his rider waver, he imagines there must be unknown
dangers connected with the place, and so hesitates to encounter them.
One of a woman's frequent failings is shifting the reins as she nears
a jump. This form of nervousness is very disconcerting to a horse, and
takes his mind from the work in front of him.

Lack of skill makes one lug at a horse's mouth just as he is getting
ready to jump, thus throwing him out of his stride and frustrating his
effort. After one or two refusals, a woman often puts her horse at the
place in a mechanical way, fully expecting the animal to stop, and
doing nothing to guard against such an occurrence. If she would
instead then summon all her courage, and determine to go either over
or through the fence, and ride at it with resolution, the horse would
be infected with her spirit and probably clear the obstacle, as he
would have done at first had his rider's heart then been in the right
place. In such cases it does not seem fair to punish a horse for our
own want of nerve.



IX

LEAPING--(_Continued_)


[Sidenote: Rushers]

On a horse which rushes when put at a jump, the use of the whip will
only make matters worse. This habit of rushing comes most frequently
from the horse having been frightened while being taught to jump,
either by extreme harshness and punishment or from having hurt himself
severely. Even if it comes from viciousness, quiet, kind treatment
will do more to eradicate the tendency than coercive measures.

Such a horse should be walked towards a fence until within half a
dozen strides of it. This can best be achieved by not indicating that
he will be expected to jump, but by approaching it as though by
chance. Otherwise the restraint will make him the more unmanageable
when he does start. He should be induced to stand a few moments, while
his rider strokes him and talks to him in a soothing way. The snaffle
should then be gradually and quietly shortened until there is a light
but firm feeling on the reins, when a pressure of the leg (not of the
heel, which might suggest a spur) will put him to a trot. If the hands
be held low and steady and the voice be soft and pacifying, they will
probably prevail upon him to trot all the way, although he may break
into a canter a stride before the jump. When over it he should be
gently, not sharply, pulled up, and coaxed to walk again, or, better
still, to trot slowly. When he has learned to jump from the trot he
will soon do so from a slow canter, which will be more trying for him,
as it has a closer resemblance to the gait at which he has been in
the habit of rushing, and he will therefore be inclined to return to
his old failing.

[Sidenote: Balkers]

Sometimes a horse will not go near a fence, and on being urged will
back or rear. If he persists in backing, his head should be turned
away from the jump, and when he finds his movements only bring him
nearer the fence, he will stop. If then he is made to wheel suddenly,
and can be kept going by whip or spur, he will be likely to jump.
Should he, instead, face the direction in which he should go, and rear
whenever an attempt is made to urge him forward, the whip only
inciting him to rear higher, the woman who hopes to triumph over him
must resort to strategy; she must not whip him, at the risk of his
falling back on her.

A ruse which may prove successful is to occupy his attention by
playing with his mouth while he is allowed to go diagonally towards
the fence. He will be apt to concede this point, in the hope of
bolting alongside of it; but when he has been inveigled into a closer
proximity to the jump, even if he be parallel to it, and before he has
time to divine his rider's intention, he should be turned sharply to
the fence. He must be ridden at it resolutely and with a firm hand,
while a determined swing of the body, corresponding to his stride,
conveys to his mind the impression that he will be forced to jump. If
he can be kept moving forward, he cannot rear; therefore, should he
attempt to swerve or bolt, a blow from the whip will keep him
straight, and when he should take off, another will guard against a
refusal.

[Sidenote: Sluggards]

A sluggish animal calls for constant watching, as he cannot be
trusted at small places any more than at large ones. He is always
liable to rap, or even fall, at his fences, because of the careless,
slovenly manner in which he moves. He should be forced up to the bit,
and kept active by the whip, the noise of which is desirable in his
case, as it will assist in rousing him. If his laziness or sulkiness
is such that he will endeavor to crash through fences, he is not
suitable for any woman to ride. He may miscalculate his power and come
in contact with a rail which withstands his weight, when a fall will
ensue.

In this case the lunging-rein should be resorted to, and, either in a
ring or out-of-doors, the horse should be put over some stiff bars,
that he may learn he will be hurt if he touches them. I do not approve
of intentionally throwing him by pulling him in the jump; there are
too many chances of his being injured, even though he has no weight to
carry. The bars should be strong enough to sustain his weight, without
breaking, so that if he hits them hard he will have a tumble and a
lesson. The top bar should, if possible, be covered with straw, to
protect the knees from sharp edges. Some forcible raps and a few
tumbles will teach the horse the necessity of exerting himself, and
how to bend his knees and lift his hind-legs over a jump.

[Sidenote: Falls]

A fall is, at the best, a dangerous and often a disastrous affair for
a woman, whose very position on a horse lessens the chance of escape
from such a predicament without injury. A safety skirt will prevent
her being dragged; but much harm may result from the fall, even though
she be clear of the horse when he gets up. If she is not hurt, there
is still danger that the shock to her nerves will weaken her pluck.
Should such symptoms appear, she should remount at once; for the
longer she waits the greater will be her apprehension, and it might
end in her never regaining her nerve. She should make as light of the
casualty as possible, and not regard it seriously if she has been only
somewhat bruised or shaken up.

It is marvellous how many and what ugly falls one can encounter
without being any the worse for them; nevertheless, no precaution
should be neglected to prevent exposure to them. When a woman has
experienced several, she will know instinctively what to do; but at
first she should try to bear in mind some points which may help her on
such occasions.

A rider not accustomed to jumping will probably lose her seat if the
horse hits a fence with much force; as she feels herself going she
should try to grasp the animal's neck, and not attempt to keep on by
the aid of the reins, for by so doing she might throw him. Even if she
has gone farther than the saddle, if she can fling her weight, above
the waist, to the off side of the horse's neck, she will balance there
for a moment, and that will give her time to grasp the saddle and pull
herself back. Should she find herself beyond that, then as she slips
off she can keep her head from the ground by seizing hold of the
breast-plate with one hand, but without letting go of the reins.

These must always be retained, as their possession renders it
impossible for the horse to reach her with his heels, and precludes
the chance of his getting away.

If the horse bungles the jump, or comes down on his knees without
disturbing his rider's equilibrium, and seems likely to fall, a woman
cannot disentangle herself from him in time to get away. If he should
go down, therefore, she must sit evenly, leaning back, that her weight
may be taken from his fore-legs, while he is allowed plenty of rein.
He may thus regain his balance or his footing after a scramble; but it
will be impossible, in a slow fall like this, for a woman to be thrown
clear of him. As he will not roll immediately, the closer she sits the
better; so that if he tumbles on his near side, the force of the blow
will be broken by the pommels, which, if she be sitting close, will
hit the ground first, thus protecting her legs from the concussion.
Moreover, if she were half out of the saddle, the pommels might
strike her chest or crush a rib, and she would be more likely to be
kicked.

As the horse makes an effort to get up, she must be ready to extricate
herself from him and scramble as far away as possible, as the danger
then is that he will not regain his feet, but will sink down a second
time and thus roll over his prostrate rider.

If he should fall on his off side, a woman must strive to get clear on
that side as he lands, and not where the horse's feet are.

Where a ditch has caused a fall, it is usually from unsound banks;
therefore, in attempting to climb out, firmer ground should be chosen.
If the woman has been thrown and the horse has landed on top of her,
the ditch being deep or narrow, she must try to keep his head down
until help arrives, so that he cannot strike her, as he might do,
because of the limited space, in his struggles to get up.

In a stream, if she has preserved her seat, she must keep the horse
moving, or he will be inclined to lie down.

If she has been thrown into the water, she must obtain a hold on the
saddle and the reins, but use only the former to support herself until
the horse reaches the shore.

In all of these events a cool head and presence of mind will be of the
greatest assistance; but when a horse turns completely over at a
fence, or falls heavily and without warning, to drop her stirrup,
relax her muscles, and get clear of him as best she may is all a woman
can do.

Occasionally, after a number of jumps, the girths become loosened and
the saddle begins to turn. In such an emergency the horse's mane
should be firmly grasped and the foot taken out of the stirrup. The
horse should be quieted and stopped, if he is not too much startled by
the turning saddle. With a breast-plate it will probably not turn all
the way, and her hold of the mane will enable a woman to keep her head
up until some one comes to the rescue.

It will probably be a long time before such a variety of contingencies
as I have mentioned will happen to any one rider. A well-mounted woman
may jump a great deal and escape with only a few tumbles. If she
perseveres, there will be so many delightful experiences to
counterbalance each mishap that she will gladly risk the consequences
of indulging in a sport which, to so great an extent as leaping,
develops her nerve, skill, and self-possession.



X

RIDING TO HOUNDS


Whether hounds are running on the scent of a fox or a drag, a woman
who is following them should always remember certain points to guide
her in her conduct and in the management of her horse while in the
field.

[Sidenote: Courtesy]

Many a beginner renders herself objectionable by striving to take a
place among the hard riders of the first flight.

It is not to be expected that a woman without experience in the
hunting-field can keep up with those who have followed hounds for
several seasons; and should she attempt it, the probable result would
be a fall not only endangering herself and her horse, but compelling
some man to come to her assistance, and thereby perhaps lose the
remainder of the run. Even though too well mounted to have this occur,
there are countless ways in which a novice, in endeavoring to keep on
even terms with the leaders, may unwittingly call down anything but
blessings on her head from those for whose good opinion she most
cares. It is a mistake for her to suppose that people are watching
her, ready to admire her pluck and dash, when she crashes through
fences because her horse was not collected, or rides so close to the
hounds as to risk hitting them. If she flatters herself that she is
cutting out the work, it is pretty certain she has no business to be
so far forward, and that she will add to the number of men who
consider the hunting-field no place for women.

[Sidenote: The Novice]

A beginner should be content to stay behind the first flight until,
by experience and skill, she has earned the right to take a better
place. At first she should find out which of the men go straight, yet
ride cautiously and manage to keep the hounds in sight. Such a one she
should choose as her pilot, rather than a reckless rider or one who
shirks his fences. Unless she is very well acquainted with him, a
woman should not let a man know that she is following him. It annoys
him to think that some one is "tagging on behind," or that he is
responsible for the jumps she takes. Above all things, she must
invariably give him or any one in front of her time to get well away
from a jump before she takes it. This is of the utmost importance, and
is a point neglected by men and women alike in the excitement and
impatience of a run.

If she desires to be looked upon otherwise than as a nuisance, she
must be as unobtrusive and cool-headed as possible, always courteous
to and considerate of others, patient when waiting for her turn at a
narrow place, and not try to take jumps that well-mounted, hard-riding
men deem impracticable.

[Sidenote: Hard Riding]

Women seldom need to be urged on in the hunting-field; they require
rather to be cautioned and restrained. If they are new at it, they do
not know the dangers to which they are exposed, so go recklessly; if
they appreciate the chances they take, they grit their teeth and go
desperately; if they are timid they nevertheless resolve not to be
outdone, and, trusting all to their horse, go blindly, even closing
their eyes at a critical moment. Therefore hard riding does not prove
that a woman has either pluck or skill. She is an exception who goes
straight and keeps with the hounds without taking foolish risks,
unnecessarily tiring her mount, or interfering with others, for this
requires judgment, discretion, skill, and nerve.

[Sidenote: Jealous Riding]

An undesirable trait observed in many instances is jealous
riding. This cannot be too strongly condemned, not only for the
unsportsmanlike spirit it betrays, but because it often threatens the
safety of others than those who ride in that manner. A jealous rider
crowds past people, jumps too close to them, and is constantly trying
to be among the first, regardless of the consequences to those he or
she hurries by. The motive that usually actuates a woman in such a
case is vanity. She cannot bear to see another woman ahead of her, so
she dashes along unmindful of the rules of etiquette and the
hunting-field, until by pushing, crowding, and taking big chances for
herself and against others, she reaches the object of her jealousy,
thinking to wrest from her the admiration of the field. If the other
woman is of the same mind and objects to being passed, a steeple-chase
will ensue that may end in accidents, disabled hounds, and bad
feelings. Admiration is far from the minds of the spectators, who do
not fail to see that jealousy and vanity, not eagerness for sport, are
the incentives to such hard riding.

[Sidenote: Desirable Qualities]

When a woman begins riding to hounds, she should already have had some
experience in larking a horse across country, and be acquainted with
the way to take the different kinds of jumps she will encounter during
a run. If she starts with a good seat and hands, pluck and nerve, a
little time and practice will add composure, judgment, and discretion,
and the experience necessary to cross a stiff country without mishap.
She may then discard the services of a pilot and ride her own line.

[Sidenote: Getting Away]

When hounds are thrown in, she must watch them, and, although not
interfering with their work, be ready to get away on good terms with
them when they begin to run.

Indecision at the first two jumps may cost one dearly, for during that
moment of hesitation hounds slip away, horses crowd one another and
begin to refuse, while the few who make the most of their
opportunities ride on ahead with the hounds. Much hard galloping may
retrieve the lost ground, but a stern chase is always disheartening to
horse and rider. By getting away in front, both are encouraged, and
start with mutual good-will and satisfaction--relations which should
always exist between a hunter and his rider.

[Sidenote: Indecision]

If, after pointing her horse's head at a certain part of a jump, she
thinks another place is more inviting, she must not change her course,
unless certain that she can do so without inconveniencing some one
else who may have been going straight at it.

It is inexcusable to turn from one place to another by cutting in
ahead of following riders. It throws their horses out of their stride,
and may force them to pull up in order to avoid a collision.
Therefore, in suddenly changing her direction, a woman must assure
herself that she is at least half a dozen lengths in front of her
follower, who is going straight, or she must wait until she has been
passed.

[Sidenote: Right of Way]

When a horse refuses, the rule is that the rider shall immediately
pull out and give the next a chance to jump. This is so often
overlooked in the field, that a few words seem desirable to impress
its importance upon the minds of those who hunt.

Women particularly seem to consider themselves privileged to keep
their horse at a fence while he refuses at each trial, blocking the
way, if there is no other place to jump, of those in their rear.
Frequently, when her horse refuses, his rider thinks there is time to
try it again before the next one reaches the place; she puts him at
the fence, in her hurry turning him so short he could not jump if he
wanted to, and the result is that he stops just as the other horse
arrives, whose rider is thereby obliged to pull up.

Had the woman pulled to one side in the first place, and waited until
her follower had given her horse a lead, which would probably have
induced him to jump, both would have been in the next field much
sooner than her impatience in the first instance eventually permitted.

[Sidenote: Funk]

A horse should not be ridden behind one that is likely to refuse, or
he may be inclined to imitate the misdoings of his predecessor.

In the same way, it is injudicious to take a horse to a place where
others are refusing, either from their own or their riders' timidity.
He is liable to be infected with their faint-heartedness; for it needs
an unusually sensible, reliable horse to be the first to jump out from
a crowd at a place that has stopped those in front of him.

It is far better for a woman to choose another way of reaching the
hounds than to risk adding to the number of refusers, unless she be so
well mounted as to be sure of giving the rest a lead.

[Sidenote: Excitable and Sluggish Horses]

A hot-headed, excitable horse will go more quietly if he can be made
to think he is ahead of the others. Therefore his rider should choose
a line for herself, apart from the others, and if he is a good
performer it will be safer to put him at a big jump where he can take
it coolly than to trust him at a smaller place where other horses are
crowding and goading him into a state of such impatience that in his
anxiety to overtake any one in front of him he will jump without
calculation, and endanger all in his vicinity by kicking, rearing, or
rushing.

A sluggish horse, on the contrary, should be kept near others, that
their lead and example may arouse his ambition and keep up his heart.
It will not do to allow such a horse to fall far behind, as he will
probably get discouraged and refuse to jump without a fight, at the
end of which the hunt may have disappeared in the distance.

[Sidenote: Proximity to Hounds]

It is never wise to ride on the line of hounds, but rather to the
right or left of them. Horses directly behind them frighten the hounds
and interfere with their hunting. It also makes a few run very fast to
keep from being galloped over, while many others sneak away or get
behind the horses, of whose heels they stand in terror.

It is a nuisance to be obliged to stop and give some slow hound a
chance to get by, or, if not considerate enough to do this, no rider
likes to see a hound going through a fence with the probability of
having a horse jump on him, should he pause for a moment on the other
side.

A woman will escape these occurrences if she will keep to one side of
the pack. In this position it is permissible to ride farther up than
when so doing would bring her too near the pack; but the leading
hounds must be watched closely, and should always be allowed plenty of
room to turn sharp to the side where she is, without bringing them in
contact with her horse. The instant they check, or even hover, for a
moment, a woman must stop, and for two reasons:

In the first place, because she does not want to be in the way should
it be necessary to cast the hounds in her direction; and, secondly,
because she should seize every opportunity of giving her horse a few
moments' respite, which she can afford to do if well enough up to
notice what the hounds are doing.

[Sidenote: Choosing a Line]

She must be guided as to her course by the character of the country
over which she is riding.

If the hounds run over a succession of small hills, much unnecessary
exertion may often be spared the horse by galloping around the base of
them, instead of over their crest. But the hounds must not be lost
sight of too long, or a sharp turn may hide them from view and conceal
the line they have taken.

When a very steep hill is to be descended, it should be done by going
down sideways in a zig-zag course, so that in case of a slip or
stumble the horse will not roll over, as he might if attempting to
make the descent in a straight line.

If the going is rough or through furze or some low growth of
underbrush, a woman should sit well back in her saddle, and although
guiding her horse, allow him plenty of rein to stretch his neck and
see where he is putting his feet. Should he stumble or step into a
hole, she will in this way have the best chance of keeping her seat,
and he of regaining his balance.

If riding in a district where wire is extensively used for fencing, it
will not do for a woman to go very far to one side of the hounds or to
try to cut out a line for herself, unless she knows the country.
Otherwise she may get pocketed by the wire, which few horses here are
trained to jump, and which, therefore, should not be ridden at. In
this case she would have to go back the way she came until she could
get clear of it.

In jumping towards the sun, extra precautions should be taken. A horse
is often quite blinded, and unable to accurately gauge the size of the
jump he is to take, especially if it is timber. When the rays are
directly in his eyes, the best thing to do is to walk him up to and
alongside of the fence for a few yards, giving him a chance to measure
it, then take him back and put him at it. This must not be done where
it will interfere with any one else, but in any case such a jump must
be approached slowly.

Wide ditches and streams are probably shirked as often as any kind of
jump. Too much preparation for them excites the horse's suspicions and
makes him hesitate, then refuse. A horse must be kept collected, yet
sent along too fast to admit of any faltering on his part, and there
must be no involuntary checking of his stride as the rider tries to
see the depth or width of ditch or stream. When such are in sight, it
is well to quicken the horse's pace, that he may reach the place
before he sees any horse refusing, or before the banks have been made
unsound by the jumping of the others. Each horse will probably widen
the distance as the ground gives way beneath him, so a woman must use
her own judgment in deciding where she will jump, instead of following
some one else.

A bog or swamp is a most disagreeable place in which to be caught, and
calls for calmness to get out without a wetting or fall. To quiet the
horse is the first thing, and prevent his plunging into it deeper and
deeper, as he will with every struggle. Should he be sinking, his
rider must get off, keeping hold of the reins, for, although their
combined weight would cause the bog to give beneath them, they might
separately be able to keep on the surface, and quietly and gradually
work their way to firm ground.

Whenever one comes upon something that cannot be seen at a distance,
such as a hole, a drop, or a wire, the first person who discovers it
should warn those behind by shouting back what it is, and, if
possible, motioning where it is, that those in the rear may avoid it,
each person cautioning the next one.



XI

SYMPATHY BETWEEN HORSE AND WOMAN


The advantages derived from the existence of sympathy between horse
and rider cannot be too highly estimated. When a woman gives her horse
to understand that he will be ruled by kindness, he is very certain to
serve her far more willingly and faithfully than if she tried to
control him by force. If he has learned to be fond of her voice, it
will calm and reassure him in moments of excitement which might
otherwise result in a runaway; it will stimulate him to expend his
best energies at her command, when force or punishment would fail, and
will do more to establish a mutual understanding in a few weeks than
would be gained in as many months of silent control.

A horse soon learns to distinguish the intonation of words of praise
from those of censure, terms of endearment from admonition, and will
often respond to them more readily than to severe discipline.

Few horses are so dull as not to be susceptible to kindness, or so
vicious as not to be influenced by gentle treatment.

[Sidenote: Talking to Horse]

I do not approve of a woman, once she is in the saddle, entering upon
a lengthy address of endearment to her horse if she is riding with
friends. They may care for a little of her attention themselves; it is
just as well not to show them the horse is the more interesting, even
if she feels so.

Moreover, incessant chatter becomes after a little time so familiar to
the animal that the voice loses its power when intended to convey a
definite meaning, and he fails to distinguish the difference between
commands and idle pettings.

It is only necessary to reprove him, to give words of command, such as
"walk," "trot," "canter," "whoa," which he may easily be taught to
obey, and a few words accompanied by a caress to soothe, encourage, or
command him when the occasion presents itself.

When living in the country, with a stable near the house, a woman is
afforded the most favorable opportunity of making friends with her
horse.

A good way to begin will be to dismount at the stable after a ride and
take off the saddle and bridle.

It is very simple, for it is only to unbuckle the outside leather
girth, stirrup leather, two inside girths, and perhaps a balance
strap, and take off the saddle, unfasten the throat latch, lip strap,
and curb chain on the bridle, throw the reins over his head, and take
hold of the headstall, when he will withdraw his head.

She must have his halter ready to put on at once, or he might pull
away.

This will give him a pleasant impression of her, which is an important
point gained.

Should she through some mistake find no one in the stable, and the
horse in a heat at the end of her ride, she should not hesitate to
scrape him herself, brush the mud off his legs, put a light blanket on
him, give him only a mouthful of water, and put him in his stall with
a little hay. If she will rub his ears, and sponge out his mouth, it
will be a great relief to him.

All this should be accomplished in a quiet manner, nothing done to
alarm or excite him; and she may talk to him most of the time, and
thus become quite friendly with him.

[Sidenote: In the Stall]

When she visits him in the stall, she should always speak before
touching him or entering, otherwise he might be startled and kick or
plunge from fright.

If in a standing stall, entrance should always be made at the near
side of the horse.

I greatly prefer a loose box in which the horse may turn at his
pleasure. If he eats too much of his bedding, it is better to keep a
leather muzzle on him than to tie his head up.

Before opening the door of the box, he should be induced to face it,
to avoid the possibility of his kicking. This can be managed by
offering him some sugar, carrots, or oats, which he will come for,
held quietly on the palm of the hand, with the fingers out of his
reach.

It is well for a woman, at first, to keep a light hold of the halter,
so that he cannot crush her against the wall or hit her with his head.
She should never put her head above his, or a severe knock may be the
result. She should pet him, avoiding all sudden movements, and
accustom him to her voice; when it has become familiar to him, he will
listen for it, and neigh at her approach.

If he seems inclined to kick, the closer she keeps to him the better,
as then she will receive only a shove, instead of the full force of
the blow. If he shows a tendency to nip or bite, from play or
mischief, he should be muzzled until, by coaxing and kindness, he has
been made to give it up.

To strike him would be to turn his playful though dangerous prank into
a vicious habit.

In petting him she should begin by stroking his neck, and gradually
work down and backwards with a firm, light touch, until he does not
resent being handled. He must be taught to let her lean on any part of
him, and not to fear her skirts. This is often of value in case a
woman is thrown and her habit catches on the saddle; for if the horse
were accustomed to her weight and skirt being against him, he would
not become frightened. Knowing her voice, he might be quieted by it,
and had he learned the important lesson of stopping at the word
"whoa," she might escape being dragged.

[Sidenote: On the Road]

If in the course of a ride a woman dismounts at a house or stable, she
should always be sure that a light blanket is immediately thrown over
her horse. She should not start for a ride until some time after her
horse has been fed, or his digestion will become impaired, as would
hers under similar circumstances. After mounting, it is always well,
by a light hold of the snaffle, to make a horse walk a short while; it
is most annoying to have him start with a series of plunges or an
inclination to bolt.

If he is so fresh that he will not walk without restraint likely to
irritate him, perhaps spoiling his temper for the rest of the ride, it
will be better to let him indulge in a brisk trot, after which he may
be brought back to a walk. The next time, if having had more work, he
will walk at first, while had his mouth been jerked the previous time,
or a fight ensued, he would remember it, and prepare for a repetition
of the performance.

A horse should not of his own will be allowed to change his gaits, but
his rider must think to vary them; for if the horse is kept on one
too long, it tires him unnecessarily and causes him to travel
carelessly. Whatever gait she makes him adopt, it should be distinct
and regular, and he should be kept collected and not urged beyond the
pace at which he can comfortably travel.

[Sidenote: Cautions]

A jog-trot, trotting in front and cantering behind, and other such
eccentricities, should not be permitted in a park hack.

In turning a corner, the horse should always be somewhat supported,
and have his hind-legs brought well under him, or he will be liable to
slip. He should never be cantered around a corner unless leading with
the foot towards which he will turn.

He should not be pulled up abruptly, unless to avoid sudden obstacles,
but his pace should be gradually decreased until it is as required. A
sharp stop entails considerable strain on the back tendons and hocks,
and if done too often would be apt to make the horse throw a curb.

In going downhill, a walk is the gait which should be taken, or the
horse's fore-legs will suffer. Should the ground be uneven and rough,
or covered with rolling stones, the horse ought to be permitted to
walk. His head should not be held too tightly, or he will be unable to
see where he is going, while if the reins are slack he will appreciate
that he must pick his way, and then will seldom put a foot wrong.

It is most undesirable to canter where there is a hard road; nothing
will more quickly use up a horse than pounding along, each stride
laying the foundation of windgalls and stiffness, if nothing more
serious results from this ill-advised practice.

If a horse is at all warm, he must never be allowed to stand in a
draught; five minutes of it might founder him, so that he would be
ruined, or thrown into pneumonia. If, while on her ride, a woman
should be forced to wait, she must keep her horse moving in a circle
or any other way, keeping his chest from the wind as much as possible.
Before reaching home, the horse should be walked for some time, so
that he may enter the stable cool, and not be endangered by draughts
if not attended to at once.

When riding with others, their horses should be regarded; and as the
woman sets the pace, she should not make it faster than that which her
companions' horses can easily maintain.



XII

PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE STABLE


[Sidenote: Stabling]

The woman should visit her horse in the stable, and there she cannot
talk to him too much. If it be a private one, I assume that it is
constructed on hygienic principles; but as horses are frequently
boarded at livery-stables, a woman should not leave the choice of a
stall to her groom. She should see that of those procurable it is the
best drained and ventilated, though free from draughts, and well
lighted. If these conditions are not obtained, sickness and incapacity
may be looked for in the horse. She should notice the feed
occasionally, and see that her horse is supplied with all he requires,
and of the best quality, and that he has an abundance of good
bedding. A frequent or indiscriminate use of physics is to be
deprecated. Pure air, good food, careful grooming, and regular,
moderate exercise are the best tonics.

[Sidenote: Picking up Feet]

She must learn to pick up her horse's feet, as she should examine his
shoes personally, and ascertain that they have been made to fit the
feet, instead of the horn being rasped away to fit the shoes. The
soles must be pared, but the frogs and bars should not be interfered
with. She cannot expect to have the shoes on more than a month;
although, if the horse has not had enough work to wear them down, they
may be removed and put on again, for were they worn too long, corns
and inflammation, causing lameness, would be the result. Another
reason for knowing how to lift his feet is that he might pick up a
stone on the road, and if alone she would be obliged to take it out,
or run the risk of seriously laming him. While a woman is playing with
him is an excellent opportunity for her to look at her horse's feet,
which should be taken up in the following manner.

She must stand on his near side, a trifle back of his fore-legs, and
facing his hind ones. She should run her left hand from his knee to
his fetlock, behind, and inside of his near fore-leg, grasping just
below his fetlock, with the fingers on the coronet and the thumb above
on the pastern. A horse which has been broken will yield his foot,
bending his knee at once, but sometimes with such force that she must
keep her head held up, so that there be no chance of contact with his
heel. With the right hand she can examine his foot, after which she
may pass to his off fore-foot, and then to the near hind-leg.

For this she must stand close to his side, and stroke him firmly from
the quarters to the hock. Passing her right hand under his hock to his
fetlock, and grasping his foot as she did the fore one, she must raise
it, letting the hock rest in the angle of her arm, while with her
right hand she turns up the foot for inspection. She must not lean too
far over or get back of the horse, or she is likely to be kicked if he
offers any resistance.

Then, too, she may unfasten the roller and throw back his blanket,
that she may be sure the saddle has not rubbed his back. A slight
abrasion of the skin, if treated at once, will require only a day or
two to heal; but if neglected for some days, the time will be greatly
prolonged. If any soreness is detected, the saddle should be looked to
immediately and the cause of the trouble remedied.

[Sidenote: Grooming]

A shining coat is not positive proof that the horse is properly
groomed. The hair should be rubbed the wrong way, and if the skin
leaves a whitish deposit on the fingers, it will be well for the
horse's owner to watch the groom the next time the horse is dressed,
and to insist upon its being thoroughly done.

[Sidenote: Bitting]

Much of what seems to be vice in a horse comes from his having been
imperfectly bitted when young, or from subsequently having his mouth
roughly handled. He should always be ridden in as easy a bit as
possible, as some horses go well and quietly in a plain snaffle, and
will pull, bolt, or run in a curb or any severe contrivance. No rule
can be given as to what bit will best control certain tendencies.
Experimenting with each kind will be the only means of finding out,
but pulling is as likely to arise from an over-sensitive mouth as
from a hard one, in which case a rubber snaffle might prove
efficacious where a Chifney would fail.

Sometimes certain parts of the mouth become callous, and a bit bearing
on a different place might produce the desired result. Most horses
will go well in a bit and bridoon, varied to suit their peculiarities
by the height of the port, the length of the branches, and the
pressure of the curb-chain. There are certain points which should
always be regarded. The mouth-piece must fit the horse's mouth
exactly, being neither so narrow as to pinch him, nor so wide as to
lose its power. The port should be the same width as the
tongue-channel, and no higher than required to leave room for the
tongue. The curb-chain must be sufficiently tight to furnish leverage
for the branches, yet not so tight as to pinch the jaw when no force
is applied.

[Sidenote: Clipping]

Clipping horses in winter I have heard objected to on the ground of
its being unsafe to deprive them of the thick coat which affords
protection from the cold. If their coat is thick and long, it is, in
my opinion, much wiser to clip them, and for several very good
reasons. Their work is rarely continuous, and the alternating of the
heated with the cooling-off condition is very liable to work more or
less injury. A heavy-coated horse which has been driven until very
warm, and then left for half an hour to stand outside of a shop or
house and become chilled by the wind striking the heavy wet coat,
which frequently does not dry for hours, is likely to become a subject
for the veterinary.

On the other hand, if the horse is clipped, he does not get so warm
in the first place, and, in the second, would cool off more quickly
and without danger of becoming chilled. In very cold weather quarter
blankets will furnish all the protection necessary, and prevent the
wind from striking the horse while standing.

With saddle horses, although not so important, it is an advantage to
have them clipped, because a cold day is certain to make the rider go
steadily to keep warm, and the horse, becoming overheated (if his coat
is heavy), is in great danger of taking cold if permitted to stand for
a moment in a draught.

[Sidenote: Bridling]

No woman who rides should be without a practical knowledge of how to
saddle and bridle her horse, as the groom often turns him out
imperfectly bitted or girthed; and unless she knows how to do it
herself, she will not perceive that anything is wrong until too late
to prevent mischief. She should learn to hold the bridle by the
headstall, in her left hand, as with the right she slips off the
horse's halter, and throws the reins over his head. Then change it to
the right hand, putting her left on the bits, which she gently inserts
between his jaws. With the right she must pull his ears under the
headstall, and then turn her attention to fitting the bridle.

She must see that the headstall fits, that the forehead-band is not
too tight, and that there is plenty of room between the throat-latch
and the throat. The snaffle-rein is fitted by the buckles of the
cheek-piece, and should fall a trifle below the angle of the mouth.
The curb needs careful adjustment, that the mouth-piece may rest
exactly on the bars of the mouth. Then the chain must be hooked when
quite flat on the chin-groove, but not tight enough, unless used
vigorously, to inconvenience the horse. The lip-strap should pass
through the small ring attached to the curb-chain, thus keeping it in
place. I like a bridle with buckles, or billets as they are called,
rather than one which is stitched to the rings. In the first place, it
is frequently desirable to change the bits, especially in a large
stable, and being sewed would necessitate a bridle for each bit.
Furthermore, when the bits are washed, the leather gets wet, and the
stitching is apt to become rotten, and unexpectedly give way at a
critical moment, when some unusual strain is put on it.

[Illustration: DOUBLE BRIDLE FOR GENERAL USE]

[Sidenote: Noseband]

A noseband furnishes additional control over a horse; but it should
not be attached to the bridle, or it may interfere with the action of
the bit. It should have a headstall and cheek-pieces, and be
buckled tight enough to prevent the horse from opening his mouth too
wide, but it must not restrain his breathing.

[Sidenote: Martingale]

If a martingale is used, I much prefer a running to a standing one. It
is useful with star-gazers or horses that get their noses out too far.
Some horses need one to steady them in hunting, but the running
martingale is the only one which should be tolerated in jumping, and
then not be used unless necessary. It is attached to a girth, and at
the two upper ends are sewed rings through which the snaffle passes.
With a running martingale there must be a stop on each snaffle,
considerably larger than the rings of the martingale; otherwise there
is danger of these rings getting caught in the bits, frightening the
horse, and making him rear or back, as there is no way to release the
pressure thus brought on his mouth. The length should be carefully
regulated, so that it will keep the horse's head at the desired
height. This admits of considerable play to the horse, but within
control of the rider, while with a standing martingale no liberty is
attainable. Once mounted, the rider cannot influence its bearing; and
should the horse trip, he cannot fling up his head, as he must to
regain his balance.

[Sidenote: Breast-plate]

For ordinary riding a breast-plate is not always used, but in hunting
it is almost indispensable, and is always a safeguard against a
woman's saddle slipping back. It is put on over the horse's head with
the reins, and one strap passes between his fore-legs, through the
loop of which one of the girths passes. Two other ends buckle, one on
each side of the saddle, near the horse's withers, and it should be
loose enough to admit of free movement in galloping and jumping.

[Illustration: CORRECT SADDLE]

[Illustration: UNDESIRABLE SADDLE]

[Sidenote: The Saddle]

The saddle should be very plain in appearance. It must have a level
seat, which can only be obtained in those having the tree cut away
above the withers; otherwise, to clear them, the saddle must be so
elevated in front that it is sometimes six inches higher than the
cantle, placing the knee in an awkward and fatiguing position, and it
is impossible to rise without an unusual amount of exertion, which
will lead to arching the back, thrusting the head forward, and
probably galling the horse's withers. There should be no third pommel,
such as there formerly was on the right side of the saddle, bending to
the left over the right leg.

The two pommels must fit the knees exactly, or the circulation will be
impeded, and a cramp brought on which renders the muscles powerless to
grip the pommels. The seat must extend about an inch beyond the line
of the spine, and, although I usually object to it, for a child the
seat should be covered with buckskin. No more padding should be used
than is required to fit the horse's back, as it looks badly for the
top of the saddle to be several inches above the horse. Moreover, the
nearer one is to the animal's back, the greater will be the control.
It enables one more readily to detect the stiffening of the muscles
when mischief is contemplated, and to be prepared to thwart it. It
should not have any superfluous straps, stitching, or attempts at
ornamentation: the simpler the style the better; even the slit on the
saddle-flap for the pocket is now frequently dispensed with. A safety
pommel-band is sometimes fastened from the extreme upper forward end
of the right saddle-flap to the top of the right pommel, thence to the
left. This lessens the likelihood of a skirt becoming caught.

[Sidenote: Stirrup]

On no account should a slipper stirrup be used, but a safety stirrup
without any padding, and one which does not work by having the bottom
drop out, as these are apt to come to pieces when least desired,
leaving the foot without any support. The best kind have the inner
half-circle jointed in the middle and working on a hinge at both
sides, so that it can open only on being pulled from below, as in case
of a fall. Next to this in safety comes a plain, small racing stirrup.

[Illustration: SAFETY STIRRUP, CLOSED]

[Sidenote: Girths]

The Fitz-William web girths are the best for a woman's saddle, white
being used in preference to darker shades. There are braided raw-hide
and also cord girths, the former being very serviceable, but they do
not look so well as either of the others.

[Illustration: SAFETY STIRRUP, OPEN]

[Sidenote: Saddling]

When the saddle is in position, free from the play of the shoulders,
the first girth is taken up, then the back one, and kept clear of the
horse's elbows, that his action may not be impeded. Although pulling
the girths excessively tight is to be avoided, it will not do to leave
them loose, as a woman's unevenly distributed weight might cause the
saddle to turn. Any wrinkles in the skin caused by the girthing should
be smoothed away by passing the fingers between the girths and the
horse. Then the stirrup-leather is buckled, after this the outside
leather strap that keeps the saddle-flap in place, and finally the
balance-strap, which must be fairly tight, assists in keeping the
saddle in position. Before mounting she should always glance at the
saddle and bridle, and be sure that they are properly put on;
otherwise her ride may be rendered uncomfortable, if not dangerous.



XIII

SOMETHING ON DRIVING


[Sidenote: Desirability of Instruction]

Ninety-nine women out of every hundred are firmly convinced that
instruction is by no means necessary to their driving safely and in
good form. Four men out of five labor under the same delusion. It is a
sad error, that leads to numberless failures, and many accidents which
might so easily be avoided if the services of a competent teacher were
employed at the beginning. Having seen others drive without any
apparent difficulty, the novice conceives the notion that there is
nothing to learn which cannot be mastered without assistance after one
or two attempts. If such a one escapes a bill of damages, it should
be credited to the ministering care of her guardian angel. She may
indeed escape accident; she may learn to start without dislocating the
neck of every one in the trap, and get around the corner without an
upset; but she will never learn to _drive_. There is something more
for her to know than that she must pull the off rein to turn to the
right and the near one to go to the left, though this appears to be
the extent of knowledge deemed necessary.

Women, even more than men, require a thorough understanding of what
they are doing, for they lack the strength to rectify a miscalculation
at the last moment. The ignorance, indecision, and weakness frequently
displayed by women in driving are what so often render them objects of
apprehension to experienced whips.

It is folly for any woman to flatter herself that she needs only a
little practice, and that the rest "will come." If she has not begun
correctly, practice will only wed her to the faults she must have
acquired.

Assuming, however, for the sake of argument, that, after having
discounted her call on an all-protecting Providence and stricken with
terror her long-suffering friends, she manages to guide the family nag
along the turnpike without the aid of a civil escort to clear the road
before her--what of it? She hasn't learned anything; her form is
execrable; and in case of an emergency she is quite as unprepared as
when she took up the reins weeks before, with the ill-conceived notion
that she was not of the common clay, and that, a whip, rather than a
rattle, had been the insignia of her infantile days.

How much better, safer, and more sensible to acquire good form than by
its neglect to become an object of ridicule to those who, by their
knowledge of driving and exposition of superior horsemanship, are
entitled to criticise others who have disregarded proper instruction,
and, wise in their own conceit, relied on their ignorance for
guidance.

[Sidenote: Vulgar Display]

Some women there are who drive only because they consider it the
"proper thing." Absorbed in the opportunity for display, and ignorant
of the fitness of things, they array themselves in the treasures of
their wardrobe, more likely than not to be a gay silk, and, with every
discordant ribbon and flounce of their _bizarre_ costume loudly
challenging the attention of the on-lookers, they sally forth perched
on the box of a spider phaeton, Tilbury, or dog-cart, indifferent to,
because ignorant of, the incongruity of their turnout, unconscious of
the signal they have flung to the breeze, which unmistakably proclaims
their lack of early instruction.

[Sidenote: Bad Form]

These are they who in the handling of their animals instantly call to
mind the puppet-shows of our childhood days, and fill us with an
almost irresistible desire to look under the box-seat and discover who
is working the invisible wires. Every movement is spasmodic--the arms
work as though an alternating electric current were constantly being
turned through them--the hands finger the reins nervously; and if the
vehicle happens to be a two-wheeler, the unhappy driver looks as
though every jolt of the poorly balanced cart would send her into the
road from her very insecure seat.

Another harrowing spectacle is that of the woman leaning forward, a
rein in each hand, with her arms dragged almost over the dash-board
by her horse's mouth, a look of direful expectancy in her eyes, and a
much be-flowered and be-ribboned hat occupying unmolested a rakish
position over one ear, where it has fallen during her hopeless
struggle with the reins.

[Illustration: A WELL-BALANCED CART]

[Sidenote: Costume]

It is strange women should not have a sufficiently clear idea of the
fitness of things to realize that elaborate toilets of silks, laces,
and flowers, and large hats, although appropriate in a victoria, are
inconvenient and totally out of place when driving a sporting-trap,
such as a dog-cart.

A plain, neatly fitting, but not tight cloth suit, with a small hat,
which will not catch the wind, is far more serviceable and in better
taste. However, she should avoid the other extreme affected by the
woman who desires to appear masculine and "sporty," and who,
showing a large expanse of shirt front, wears a conspicuous plaid
suggestive of a horse-blanket.

This specimen of feminine "horsy-ness" invariably drives with her
hands held almost under her chin, and her whip in as vertical a
position as herself. She is as powerless to control her animal as is
the one who leans over the dash-board.

[Sidenote: Cockade]

This is the sort of woman who compels her groom, if she have one, to
wear a cockade in his hat, in ignorance of the fact that we in this
country have no claim to its use. In Great Britain it is the
distinguishing mark of either the royal family or the military, naval,
or civil officers of the government; but used here it is only a
meaningless affectation.

[Sidenote: Confidence]

To achieve success, and to obtain a business-like appearance in
driving, a woman must possess confidence in her power to control her
horses, and it must be the confidence derived from knowledge and
skill, and not that born of ignorance or fool-hardiness.

She must know what to do, and how to do it promptly, under all
circumstances, and this necessitates a thorough comprehension of the
sport she is pursuing.

It is to be hoped she will gain this from competent instruction, and
that she will embrace every opportunity of adding to her information
on the subject.

[Sidenote: The "Family-Horse" Fallacy]

A quiet, steady old horse, such as one might expect to see doing
farm-work, cannot always be recommended even to a beginner, for he
generally requires so little management that when he does
occasionally become unruly it is so unusual that the woman is taken
unawares.

Moreover, it makes one careless and slovenly always to drive a horse
which goes along in a leisurely manner, without any display of life.

A woman who has been accustomed to such an animal will be at a loss to
manage a spirited pair, should she be called upon to do so. If she
begin with a horse which goes well into his collar and does his work
generously, she will learn twice as much as she would in the same time
with a lazy horse, and will sooner be able to drive a pair.

[Sidenote: On the Box]

The position on the driving seat should be comfortable and firm, which
cannot be the case when it is used merely to lean against, instead of
to sit upon.

From the knee down, the leg should be but slightly bent, with the
feet together and resting against the foot-rail.

The elbows should be held near the body, and the reins in the left
hand, with the little finger down, and the knuckles pointing straight
ahead, about on a line with or a trifle below the waist, and in the
middle of the body.

Whether driving one or two horses, the manner of holding the reins is
the same; but more strength and decision, as well as the judgment
which, of course, experience will bring, are required for the pair.

[Sidenote: Position of Reins]

The near rein belongs on top of the first finger, held there firmly by
the thumb, and the off rein should be between the second and third
fingers.

The gloves should be large, broad across the knuckles, and long in the
fingers; otherwise cold, stiff hands will result from the impeded
circulation.

The right hand, close to the left, should contain the whip, which must
be held at an angle of a little less than forty-five degrees, and at
the collar, about eight to ten inches from the butt, so that it
balances properly.

[Sidenote: Handling Reins]

When about to start, the reins should be tightened, to feel the
horse's mouth, and a light touch of the whip will suffice to send him
forward. The hand should then yield, so that as he straightens the
traces there will be no jerk on his mouth.

In turning to the right or to the left, the reins must not be
separated.

The right hand should be placed on the rein, indicating the desired
direction, until the turn has been made; but a slight pressure on the
opposite rein should keep the horse from going too near a corner.

The left hand must not relax its hold, so that when the right is
removed the reins will be even, as they were before.

In stopping, the body is not to be bent backwards, suggestive of an
expected shock, and the hands raised to the chin.

It cannot be too strongly impressed on the woman's mind that the less
perceptible effort she makes, the more skilful will she appear.
Therefore, if she take hold of the reins with her right hand as far in
front of the left as she can handily reach, and then draw them back,
she will have accomplished her purpose in a quiet and easy manner.

[Sidenote: A Pair]

Driving a pair is much the same as driving one horse; but allowances
should be made for the peculiarities of each, and they should not be
treated as though machines of identical construction.

Frequently a woman driving a nervous horse with a quiet one will hit
them both with the whip, when, should she touch the quiet one only,
the sound of it would urge the other as much as the blow does the dull
one.

Here is another objection to clucking to horses: one of them needs it
much more than the other, yet they hear it with equal clearness, and
simultaneously; therefore the high-mettled horse increases his pace
sooner and more than his sluggish companion, and does more than his
share of the work. Several noiseless touches of the whip, administered
in quick succession to the laggard, will do more to equalize their
pace than would a sharp, loud cut or any amount of clucking.

Sometimes a woman will experience great inconvenience from not having
her horses properly bitted and harnessed. This should always be seen
to, either by herself or some one who is competent to judge for her.
When she has more than one horse to control, she will soon become
tired if one of them pulls and the other will not go into his collar.

A judicious readjustment of the curb-chain and the coupling-rein will
often make the difference between discomfort and ease.



XIV

SOMETHING MORE ON DRIVING


[Sidenote: Management]

While a horse is doing his work in a satisfactory manner he should not
be irritated by having his mouth jerked and the whip applied for the
driver's amusement. It is a pity all women do not realize that a horse
will accomplish, with less fatigue, much more work when taken quietly
than he will if fretted and tormented by needless urging or restraint.
Constant nagging affects an animal in the same way as it does a human
being; and though a horse is usually subjected to such treatment
through want of thought, it is none the less exasperating to him.

One result of this ordeal is that it prompts him to break into a
canter as he becomes restless; and then he must be brought back to a
trot by decreasing the speed and keeping the hands steady.

[Sidenote: Stumbling]

A stumbling horse must be kept awake and going at a medium rate of
speed. In either a very fast trot or a slow one he is likely to trip,
and unless his driver is prepared for it, and ready to keep him up, he
will probably fall, and she may be pulled over the dash-board.

A bearing-rein may assist in keeping him on his feet, but an habitual
stumbler can never be considered safe. Such a horse must not be driven
with loose reins, as a feeling on his mouth is necessary at all times.

[Sidenote: Backing]

When a horse persistently backs, there are two great dangers: first,
he may upset the carriage, unless it cuts under; and, secondly, he may
back into something or over an embankment.

If the road be level, a woman must try to keep the horse from backing
to one side, although in case of a steep declivity it may be necessary
to pull him sideways, and risk an overturn rather than a fall over a
bank. In all events, the whip should be vigorously applied, in the
hope of starting the horse forward; if the woman have a groom with
her, he should go to the horse's head at once and lead him.

Occasionally, backing may arise from sore shoulders caused by an
ill-fitting collar; but if there is no such excuse for his action, and
it should become a habit, the horse is not suitable for any woman to
drive.

If desirous of making a turn in a narrow lane, it will often be
necessary to back off the road, between trees or on to a foot-path,
to obtain room. Some horses will not back under these circumstances,
nor from a shed where they have been tied. In most instances all that
will be required is to get out, take the horse by his bridle, and by
lightly tapping one foot make him raise it, at the same time pushing
him back by the bit. The other foot should be moved in the same way,
and this repeated until he has gone far enough. After a few steps the
woman may resume her seat, with the probability of the horse backing
without further resistance.

[Sidenote: Rearing and Kicking]

If the horse is nervous, the pull at his mouth may make him back so
fast that in his excitement he will rear. In this event the reins
should be loosened a moment and the animal quieted, after which the
backing process may be continued.

If the rearing comes from temper, and takes place when he has been
going forward, there should be no weight on his mouth while he seems
in danger of falling backward, but a cut of the whip administered as
he comes down may prevent his trying it again. It is important to feel
his mouth at this juncture, as the whip will make him plunge forward,
and the hold on his mouth must be firm enough to keep the traces loose
as he lands; otherwise there would be a sudden strain on them, and
consequently an unpleasant jerk, which might bring the carriage on to
his hocks, as he stopped to gather himself for another effort, and,
even if it did not make him kick or run, he would probably be bruised.

A determined kicker needs to have his head kept up, and for this
purpose a bearing-rein will be found of great service. He should be
driven with a kicking-strap, but it must not be too tight, or it will
induce the habit it is intended to cure. He may kick if the crupper is
too tight, so this also should be looked to.

[Sidenote: Rein under Tail]

When a rein gets under the tail of a horse, under no circumstances
should an attempt be made to pull it away. It should be pushed
forward, and the horse spoken to in a reassuring manner.

If he does not then release it, a slight cut of the whip may divert
his attention; he will whisk his tail, and at this instant the rein
must be allowed to fall to one side, as were it pulled directly up, it
would be likely to be caught again. If these methods do not prove
efficacious, a woman must try to keep the horse straight, and prevail
upon him to walk until some one sees her predicament and comes to her
assistance. In some traps she might be able to reach forward and
remedy the difficulty, meanwhile watching for any symptoms of kicking.
But whether she does it herself or directs some one else, she must see
that the tail is lifted, instead of an effort being made to pull the
rein away.

Many mishaps come from this seemingly trivial occurrence, and a horse
frightened by improper treatment is liable to bolt or run.

It is always an excellent plan to have a horse trained to stop short
at the word "whoa!" This expression is usually misapplied, being made
to do duty for "steady" or "quiet," and it will be difficult to teach
a horse its true significance unless he is never driven without this
end in view, and the term employed only when it is meant.

[Sidenote: Bolting and Running]

In the event of a horse bolting, the chances are very great against a
woman's checking him. If she can do it at all, it will be by sawing
his mouth, and giving a succession of sharp jerks, while endeavoring
to control his course.

The most dangerous and irrational thing she can do is to jump out of
the trap.

Severe injuries almost invariably attend such a proceeding; and if it
be possible to stay in, she should do so, never relinquishing her hold
on the reins. If from the swaying of the carriage she seems in danger
of being thrown out, a woman must make sure that her skirts are not
caught on anything, and that her feet are clear of the reins.

Men sometimes pull a runaway horse into a ditch or up a steep bank,
which stops him; but a smash or an overturn is inevitable; and should
a woman attempt this, there is great danger of her being unable to
extricate herself from the tangle. She is handicapped by her skirts,
which are more than likely to cause her to be dragged should the horse
manage to start off again. Besides this, after a struggle such as she
will have had, a woman will seldom have enough strength left to force
a horse from the direction he has chosen.

[Sidenote: Crowded Driveways]

In whatever pranks horses indulge, the dangers are multiplied and
intensified when encountered by a woman who ventures to drive in a
crowded park or avenue during the afternoon.

Women of culture and refinement, realizing this, and wishing to avoid
making themselves conspicuous on public highways, are content to be
driven at this hour, reserving the mornings for the pleasure of
handling the reins themselves.

Some women there are who drive better than most coachmen, and a few of
these may desire to display their skill and their well-appointed traps
when the spectators are most numerous. They may be competent to make
their way through such a maze as one finds on popular carriage roads,
but they do it in defiance of the condemnation they will receive from
people of more refined ideas.

The majority of women who drive are unable to control their horses,
and they need not flatter themselves that their immunity from
accidents is the result of their skill. They owe their safety to the
fact that men, appreciating the uncertainty of their movements, give
them plenty of room, and keep as far as they can from anything driven
by a woman.

[Sidenote: Road Courtesy]

Such women would be less objectionable if they were more considerate
of others. For example, they should keep on their own side of the
drive, and, if they are going slowly, as much to the right of it as
possible, that those who desire to pass may not have their way
blocked.

Again, they should remember that some one is behind them, and that
they should not endeavor to turn or stop abruptly without having
intimated their intention to those in the rear.

Another heedless thing they do is, in passing a leading trap to turn
in ahead of it so sharply that a more careful driver is forced to pull
up rather than endanger his horses by having the wheels swing against
them.

Women seem to forget now and then that they must always pass to the
left of a vehicle in front of them, and not try to get through a
small space on its right. If they would only take a few lessons in
driving, pay attention to the instruction they receive, and cultivate
consideration for others, their presence on the box might be welcomed
more frequently and with greater warmth than it now is.

It would be well if equestrians rode with more regard for the
convenience of those who are driving. When a bridle-path is provided
for them, there is no reason why they should usurp any of the road
intended for carriages. They would feel outraged, and justly so, if
one vehicle should appear on their road; yet swarms of them daily use
the drive, occupying much-needed space, and clattering and darting
along, unmindful of startled horses and the narrow escapes of their
own mounts from collisions with many wheels.

[Sidenote: Tandems and Teams]

Comparatively few women are so fortunate as to have an opportunity to
drive tandem or four-in-hand. If they are so situated that they would
be likely to do so frequently, they should not hesitate to take
lessons, as otherwise they would slowly learn from many dangerous and
costly experiences what a trustworthy teacher could have shown them
with safety and expedition. However, it is well to be prepared for all
contingencies, and therefore many women may desire to know something
about these branches of driving, in case they should in some
unforeseen manner have an opportunity to essay them.

If, for instance, she were driving with a friend who offered to let
her take the reins, a woman would not be expected to look to the
harnessing and bitting, but there are a few points she might be glad
to know.

[Sidenote: Reins]

The reins are held the same in tandem and team-driving. The first
finger separates the leaders' reins, and the second those of the
wheelers, with each near rein above the off one. Thus over the first
finger will be the near leader, under it the off leader, and between
this rein and the second finger the near wheeler, with the off wheeler
between the second and third fingers. The right hand must be free to
hold the whip and to manipulate the reins.

The off-wheel rein will often need attention, as the third finger is
not so strong as the other two used, and therefore this rein will more
readily slip through.

In changing a rein it must always be done by pushing it back from in
front of the hand, instead of pulling it through from behind.

[Illustration: POSITION IN TANDEM]

The correct handling of the whip can be mastered only after much
patience and constant practice, but its proper use is of paramount
importance.

Women will find driving tandem easier than driving four, because,
although it requires more skill to keep the horses straight, it does
not call for the amount of muscle needed to manage four horses, the
brake, and whip.

[Sidenote: Unruly Leader]

At first the weight alone of the reins would tire her, and of course
there are more chances of mishaps with four horses than with two. In
the latter the leader has no horse at his side to steady him; but if
well trained he will travel straight, and not attempt to turn around
and join the wheeler. Should he do this, and not respond to the reins,
the whip should hit his neck with force sufficient to make him change
his mind.

As a last resort, the wheeler must be turned to follow him, and then
they must both be made to proceed in the direction desired by the
driver. If the leader, instead of being exactly in front of the
wheeler, gets too far to the right, his near rein should be shortened;
but the wheeler must be made to meet him half-way by pulling his off
rein at the same time. In the opposite case the off-lead and
near-wheel reins must be shortened.

[Sidenote: Turning]

To turn a corner, say to the left, with a tandem or a four, the
near-lead rein should be looped by taking up several inches, pushing
it back of the forefinger, and holding it there in this shape with the
thumb. The right hand must be placed on both off reins, to guard
against the turn being made too sharply, and the cart or coach being
brought into contact with the corner. To turn to the right, the
reverse tactics are employed, but it is more difficult to loop the
off rein.

When the corner has been successfully rounded, the right hand should
be taken away and the left thumb raised, thus leaving the horses in a
position to go straight.

In going downhill all the reins should be shortened, and care taken
that the leaders' traces particularly are loose, or they may pull the
wheelers down when these should be holding back the coach.

The wheelers should always, if possible, start and stop the load.

In going uphill the leaders must do their full share, and on the level
each horse must be kept up to his work.

An unnecessary nervous fingering of the reins should be avoided, as,
besides being most unworkmanlike, it irritates the horses.

It is the height of folly for a woman to attempt to drive a tandem or
a four-in-hand until she is thoroughly familiar with one horse and a
pair. She may understand the theory of it, but until she has had some
practice under proper instruction she should not take the reins,
unless some one is near to assist her, or she will endanger not only
her own safety, but jeopard that of those who may accompany her.


FINIS


       *       *       *       *       *



BLAIKIE'S HOW TO GET STRONG.

     How to Get Strong, and How to Stay So. By WILLIAM BLAIKIE.
     Illustrated. 16 mo, Cloth, $1 00.

Mr. Blaikie has treated his theme in a practical common-sense way that
appeals at once to the judgment and the understanding. A complete and
healthful system of exercise is given for boys and girls; instructions
are set down for the development of every individual class of muscles,
and there is sound advice for daily exercise for children, young men
and women, business men and consumptives. There are instructions for
home gymnastics, and an easy routine of practice laid out.--_Saturday
Evening Gazette_, Boston.

Every word of it has been tested and confirmed by the author's own
experience. It may be read with interest and profit by all.--_Christian
Instructor_, Chicago.

A successful performance, everything in the line of gymnastic exercise
receiving copious illustrations by pen and pencil. The author's aim is
genuinely philanthropic, in the right sense of the word, and his work
is a useful contribution to the cause of physical culture.--_Christian
Register_, Boston.


Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.

_The above work will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part
of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price._



BLAIKIE'S SOUND BODIES.

     Sound Bodies for our Boys and Girls. By WILLIAM BLAIKIE.
     With Illustrations. 16 mo, Cloth, 40 cents. A manual of safe
     and simple exercises for developing the physical system.

Mr. William Blaikie's new manual cannot fail to receive a warm welcome
from parents and teachers, and should be introduced as a working
text-book into thousands of schools throughout the country.--_Boston
Herald._

A book which ought to be placed at the elbow of every
school-teacher.--_Springfield Union._

The directions are so simple and sensible that they appeal to the
reason of every parent and teacher.--_Philadelphia Press._

The influence of judicious exercise upon mind as well as body cannot
be overestimated, and this will be a safe guide to this end, requiring
no costume nor expensive apparatus.--_Presbyterian_, Philadelphia.


Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.

_The above work will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part
of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price._



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:

Obvious typographical errors were corrected.

Hyphenation variants were retained as in the original.

Illustration List: "Hands and Seat in Rearing ... facing P. 66." The
illustration was actually facing P. 64; it has been moved to P. 66.





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