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Title: Hints on Driving
Author: Knight, C. Morley
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hints on Driving" ***

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                           HINTS ON DRIVING.

                       [Illustration: CURRICLE.]


                                HINTS ON


                     CAPTAIN C. MORLEY KNIGHT, R.A.

                             ILLUSTRATED BY
                    G. H. A. WHITE, ROYAL ARTILLERY

                    [Illustration: Publisher’s Logo]



                      First Published, July, 1894.
                  Second Edition, revised, Dec., 1894.
                            Reprinted 1902.




IN sincere admiration for his devotion to every kind of sport, and as a
mark of appreciation of his encouragement and kindly advice in all
sporting matters connected with the Royal Regiment of Artillery, this
little Handbook on Driving is respectfully dedicated by one who has had
the honour and privilege of serving under his command.




                     PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

THE favourable reception given by the press and the public to the first
edition of “Hints on Driving,” which has run out in a little over three
months, gives me hopes that a reprint of it will also be acceptable.

For this edition the sheets have been carefully revised throughout, and
some additions have been made, many of which have been suggested to me
during a short period of service in India. Several new illustrations
have also been added.

General Albert Williams, who has kindly interested himself in this work,
has given me permission to insert the following letter:


    “I have heard with pleasure that a second edition of your book on
    Driving is about to be published, and feel sure that it will be as
    well appreciated as the first has been. The book is full of valuable
    information most useful to beginners, and many professed coachmen
    might read it with advantage. The latter, like doctors, differ on
    many points, but I feel sure all good coachmen will be glad to know
    that your endeavours to instruct in the art of Driving have been so
    well received, and will welcome the new edition, the success of
    which I shall look forward to with confidence.

      “Yours very truly,


I have also to thank His Grace the Duke of Beaufort, K.G., for his
kindly advice, and the numerous hints and corrections which I have
endeavoured to incorporate in this volume.

                                                                C. M. K.

    _Nov., 1894._




                 INTRODUCTION                               1


              I. HARNESS                                    5

             II. DRIVING—SINGLE HARNESS                    23

            III. DRIVING—DOUBLE HARNESS                    45

             IV. CURRICLE AND CAPE-CART                    58

              V. DRIVING FOUR HORSES—POSITION OF           75

             VI. FOUR HORSES—THE REINS                     82

            VII. FOUR-IN-HAND—THE WHIP                    101

           VIII. FOUR-IN-HAND. STARTING—PULLING           119

             IX. FOUR-IN-HAND. VARIOUS USEFUL             131
                   CARRY, ETC.

              X. TANDEM DRIVING                           161

             XI. TANDEM HARNESS                           187

            XII. BREAKING TO HARNESS                      197


                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

            FIG.                                         PAGE

                 CURRICLE                            _Frontispiece_

              1. SINGLE HARNESS ON HORSE                    1

              2. SINGLE HARNESS—POSITION OF THE            24

              3. SINGLE HARNESS—RIGHT HAND IN WRONG        27

              4. SHORTENING REINS                          31

              5. SHORTENING REINS BY SLIDING LEFT          33
                   HAND UP TO RIGHT

              6. DOG-CART                                  38

              7. DOUBLE HARNESS ON HORSE                   44

              8. COUPLING REINS PROPERLY                   49

              9. COUPLING REINS OF EQUAL LENGTH            51

             10. OFF-SIDE COUPLING REIN FITTED FOR         53
                   WHICH CARRIES HEAD IN CHEST

             11. POLE FITTED WITH SPRING FOR               61

             12. CURRICLE BAR AND ROLLER BOLTS             63

             13. CAPE-CART HARNESS                         69

             14. SPRINGING A HILL                          74


             16. FOUR WEIGHTS AND PULLEYS FOR              78
                   PRACTISING DRIVING

             17. FOUR-IN-HAND—HOW TO HOLD REINS            83

             18. STEADYING TEAM WITH RIGHT HAND            89

             19. HOW LOOP SHOULD BE TAKEN UP               90

             20. LOOPING NEAR-LEAD REIN UNDER THUMB        91

             21. LOOPING OFF-LEAD REIN UNDER THUMB         92

             22. LOOPING OFF-LEAD REIN UNDER FIRST         93

             23. RIGHT HAND ON OFF-SIDE REINS TO           95

             24. OPPOSITION POINT TO THE RIGHT             97

             25. OPPOSITION POINT TO THE LEFT              99

             26. RESULT OF HOLDING WHIP IN WRONG          103

             27. PREPARING TO CATCH THONG                 105

             28. THONG CAUGHT UP BEFORE LOOP HAS          107
                   BEEN TAKEN OFF

             29. TAKING OFF LOOP                          108

             30. SECURING LASH BY TWISTING IT ROUND       110
                   HANDLE OF WHIP

             31. BRINGING BACK THONG OF WHIP AFTER        115
                   HITTING A LEADER

             32. TAKING LEADERS’ REINS OUT OF LEFT        137
                   HAND WITH RIGHT HAND

             33. RIGHT HAND ASSISTING LEFT (ON THREE      151
                   REINS ONLY)

             34. TANDEM WITHOUT BARS                      160

             35. TANDEM—POSITION OF RIGHT HAND ON         165

             36. TANDEM—TURNING TO THE LEFT               169

             37. TANDEM—TURNING TO THE RIGHT              171

             38. TANDEM WITH BARS                         186

             39. LONGEING WITH LONG REINS                 196

             40. A BREAK BY HOLLAND AND HOLLAND           209


    [Illustration: FIG. 1.—SINGLE HARNESS ON HORSE.]


                           HINTS ON DRIVING.


IN the following pages an attempt has been made to explain to beginners
the rudimentary principles and niceties of driving.

In most treatises on this subject the minute details have been entirely
omitted, the writer taking for granted that the reader has previously
acquired some practical knowledge of harnessing and driving.

It is of course impossible to describe in a short essay every method of
handling the ribbons, for well-known authorities even of the present day
differ on so many points, that to discuss all would take too long.
Nevertheless, as nothing has been considered too trifling to be
explained, it is hoped that these hints may be especially useful to
those who may not have been able to obtain any previous experience, and
have not a thoroughly competent tutor at hand to teach them.

The difficulties which have to be overcome are so numerous that they
cannot all be discussed in detail, for one of the greatest charms of
driving consists in the ever-varying and complicated problems which are
being constantly placed before the driver to solve—problems which must
be solved at once without hesitation—and in no sport or pastime does the
old saw, “He who hesitates is lost,” more frequently prove true than in
that of driving. Thus, though it happens that the same result may be
obtained in a variety of ways by the practised hand, these notes being
especially intended for the instruction of beginners, the author has
endeavoured to solve, in the most simple and lucid manner, those
problems only which are most likely to puzzle the novice.

After all, there is no way of learning to drive so instructive as
sitting on the box seat beside a first-class coachman, and carefully
watching the movements of his hands. The novice is always tempted to
confine his attention to the horses, and so omits to notice the
manipulation of the reins at the critical moment. This omission on his
part should be carefully avoided, as the crisis is over in so short a
space of time that it is most important to keep the attention fixed
almost entirely on the driver’s hands, and carefully to commit to memory
every detail of the handling of the ribbons. In this work no new
theories on the art of driving have been advanced, but many very old
ones have been specially emphasized by repetition—a course which has
been considered justifiable on account of their great importance.


                               CHAPTER I


IT is often said by those who have little or no experience, that four
horses steady themselves, and require therefore little skill in driving.
This is a very great error, and a man who is keen to learn should make
it his first aim to drive one horse well, and having thoroughly mastered
this accomplishment, he should then proceed to handle a pair. In driving
the great aim is to get the horses going well together, and all doing
their fair share of work without taking more out of the driver than is
absolutely necessary. In order to arrive at this it is essential to have
the horses properly bitted, rightly coupled, comfortably poled up, and
the harness fitted correctly.

To begin at the beginning, it is first of all [Sidenote: Fitting of
harness. The collar.] necessary to see that the harness fits the horse.
The collar is a very important point. This should lie flat on the
horse’s shoulders, so as to give sufficient room for the fingers to pass
between it and the horse’s neck at the sides, and the flat of the hand
should be able to pass freely between the lower part of the collar and
the horse’s neck. Before putting the collar on, it ought to be widened
by lateral pressure with the knee, so as not to hurt the horse’s eyes
while passing over his head. [Sidenote: Sore shoulders.] If the horse’s
shoulders should get rubbed, the best remedy is to apply plenty of sweet
oil. This prevents the skin getting hard and the hair coming off. Salt
water should never be used.

[Sidenote: Hames.] The hames should fit the groove in the collar, which
should be well recessed, correctly all round and be buckled up tightly,
otherwise in double harness they are very liable to be pulled out when
going down hill, or when pulling up suddenly. [Sidenote: Hames straps.]
To prevent this, a small strap may be buckled round the bottom of the
collar over the hame links.

With a pair, the hames straps should be buckled on so that the ends
point inwards.

The traces should be of such a length that [Sidenote: The traces.] the
backband will lie on about the middle of the pad when the horse is in
draught; the horse will then not be drawing the cart by the backband.
Care should be taken that the tugs are in front of the stops on the
shaft, or a bad accident may occur owing to the cart running on to the
horse’s quarters.

[Sidenote: The reins.]

The width of the reins may vary from seven-eighths of an inch to an inch
and a quarter, according to the length of the driver’s fingers, but
about one inch will be found the most suitable width for general
purposes. The reins should not be too thick, or they will always be hard
and stiff, while, on the other hand, if they are very thin, they will be
uncomfortably soft in wet weather.

[Sidenote: Backband.] In a two-wheeled cart the backband ought to be
long enough to allow the shafts to hang level. There ought always to be
a little weight on the shafts, as nothing looks so vulgar as shafts
pointing up to the skies, with all the weight on the belly-band.
[Sidenote: Shafts and balance of cart.] It must be borne in mind that by
letting down the shafts the balance of the cart can be very considerably
altered. This alteration is often useful when there are four people in
the cart, as few dog-carts balance well with this number, the weight
being nearly always on the belly-band. Few owners thoroughly appreciate
what misery their friends undergo when made to occupy a back seat under
these conditions, as they so rarely try it themselves.

The belly-band should not hang down [Sidenote: Belly-band.] quite loose,
but, while allowing a little play of the shafts, should be tight enough
to prevent them from tipping up to any extent.

[Sidenote: Girth of pad.] The pad as well as the crupper should be
buckled up pretty tight if there are any steep hills to go down, and a
breeching is not used; otherwise the pad will slip forward and gall the
horse’s withers. Sore withers give a great deal of trouble and are
difficult to cure. Another result of the pad slipping forward is chafing
of the horse’s elbows. On some horses the only way to prevent it is to
fasten the girth back to the shaft on each side by means of straps. This
plan is frequently used in hansoms in London. The pad itself should be
well stuffed off the back, particularly with high-withered horses.

[Sidenote: The blinkers.] The blinkers should be so fitted that the
horse’s eyes come almost in the middle of them, while the headstall
should be tight enough to prevent the blinkers from bulging out when
pressure is put on the bit, and thus enabling the horse to see behind
him; but they should be fitted so as not to turn inwards and almost
touch the eyes. [Sidenote: Horse’s comfort reflected in manner of
going.] This is a point which is very often little attended to, but one
which makes a considerable difference to the horse’s comfort, and is
naturally reflected in his manner of going.

The throat-lash should not be fastened too [Sidenote: Throat-lash.]
tight; if it is, it will half choke the horse. It should be loose enough
to allow three fingers to be passed between it and the horse’s throat.

The nose-band should admit of the breadth [Sidenote: Nose-band.] of two
fingers between it and the horse’s jaw.

[Sidenote: Bitting.] Bitting is all a matter of common sense and
practice. The reins must be altered up or down the bit until the
adjustment most comfortable for the horse has been discovered. But even
then a great deal will depend on [Sidenote: Hands.] what is generally
known as “Hands.” This really unknown quantity, consisting as it does of
complete sympathy between the horse and his driver, though born and not
made, can be improved to some extent by teaching and practice. This gift
has been defined as “not using more force on the reins than the
exigencies of the occasion render absolutely necessary.” As a general
rule the bit should lie flat in the horse’s mouth about one inch above
the tusks.

[Sidenote: Curb-chain.] The curb-chain must not be too tight, and there
ought to be room for at least two fingers to be placed between it and
the horse’s jaw. If a horse is at all inclined to be a puller, an
ignorant groom will very often fix it as tight as he can, with the
probable result that the horse will jib or pull all the harder. In the
latter case he will be likely to get a sore under the jaw. The best
remedy for this is to fix a piece of leather on the chain, so that the
latter does not rub on the sore place. If a horse bores to the near
side, putting the rein down lower on the off than on the near side will
very often make him go straight, and _vice versâ_. Some horses pull with
very sharp bits, and will not do so with a snaffle, while others do just
the contrary. A double-ring snaffle covered with leather or made of
indiarubber is useful for very light-mouthed horses.

[Sidenote: Use of a net.] A net usually stops horses pulling for a time,
but it is doubtful whether it has a permanent effect; so that it is
better to leave it off occasionally.

[Sidenote: Bearing-rein.] If a horse is inclined to put his head down,
and bore, a bearing-rein will prevent him from doing so; but it must not
be too tight. There are many horses that would be undrivable without
one, as it keeps their heads in the proper position, and thus takes the
weight off the driver’s hand. When driving a young horse or a bad kicker
it is always advisable to have a loose one on, as it will prevent him
from becoming unmanageable by putting his head between his legs. The
American pattern, which passes from the bearing-rein hook on the pad
over the top of the horse’s head, through a keeper on the headpiece
between his ears, down to the bridoon is very useful for a hard puller.

The correct adjustment of a bearing-rein requires a certain amount of
practice, as when the horse is standing still it always appears much
tighter than it really is.

[Sidenote: Bitting of a pulling horse.] Sometimes a very hard puller,
especially in a team, can be driven with a big Liverpool bit hanging
loose in his mouth and with the reins fixed to a bridoon; a bearing-rein
can also be fitted on this bridoon if required.

A martingale will prove effective in the case of horses who pull owing
to their habit of star-gazing.

Sometimes a horse pulls by getting hold of the cheek of the bit with his
lip. This can be met with the elbow-bit, which is an improvement on the
Liverpool bit, as, by having a bend in it, the cheek is so far back that
the horse cannot reach it with his lips or tongue. The reason that this
bit is not more generally used is that many people consider it

Indiarubber-covered bits, especially those with a double bar, also
answer very well with some pulling horses, the effect then being to make
the bit work on a different part of the mouth from that to which they
are accustomed.

A double bar can easily be improvised by sewing a piece of leather, like
a lip-strap, only larger, across the top of an ordinary bit, just below
the end of the headpiece.

An inveterate puller may in time get used to any bit, in which case
frequent change is the only remedy.

[Sidenote: Every horse’s mouth has a key.] In fact there is a key to
almost every horse’s mouth if it can only be found, and it is well worth
taking considerable trouble to find it; though frequently much patience
and many experiments will be required before a successful result is
obtained, and the man who has to drive many horses must have a large
assortment of bits.

[Sidenote: Martingale.] A martingale is excellent for a horse that
carries his head in the air, and also very effective for one that rears.
It should be so adjusted as to keep the nose about in line with the
withers, and is generally fixed to the nose-band, but may be attached to
the bit, and when so attached it is better to use a half-moon snaffle,
or one without a joint in it, as this greatly reduces the chances of the
corners of the horse’s mouth getting sore.

Circular pieces of leather, called cheek leathers, are also very useful
in this respect with ordinary bits, as they keep the corners [Sidenote:
Corners of mouth sore.] of the horse’s mouth from being pinched by the
cheeks, and also prevent to a certain extent his getting hold of them
with his lips.

For a horse that has only one side to [Sidenote: One-sided mouth.] his
mouth, it often answers to have a few tacks put on the inside of the
piece of leather, which effectually stops him from leaning his head out
to that side.

These pieces have a round hole in the middle, which fits the bar of the
bit, and a slit from this hole to the outside, so that they can be put
on and taken off quite easily.

[Sidenote: Kicking-strap.] Kicking-straps can be used either in single
or double harness. In the former the strap passes up from one of the
shafts through a loop in the crupper, and down to the other shaft. In
double harness two straps are required. These are fixed to the pad, from
which they run parallel to the crupper down to the splinter bar. They
are connected by a short strap across the loins. Kicking-straps should
be so adjusted that there should be plenty of room for the movement of
the horse’s quarters, as if he breaks into a canter they are liable to
catch his quarters and so make him kick. A good rule is to allow a
hand’s breadth between the horse’s back and this strap.

[Sidenote: Fitting of breeching.] A breeching is a necessity in a hilly
country, more especially with a two-wheeled cart, when a brake is of no
use. It should hang about a foot below the upper part of the dock, and
have about four to six inches’ play when the horse is in the collar.

[Sidenote: Three kinds of breeching.] There are three kinds of
breechings for a dog-cart.

The first starts from the tug on one end of the backband, and goes right
round the horse’s quarters to the tug on the other.

The second buckles to loops on each shaft, these loops being placed half
way between the stops and the front of the cart.

[Sidenote: Brown’s patent.] The third consists of a broad strap, which
is stretched fairly taut across the shafts about six or eight inches
from the front of the cart. This one is always ready and requires no
adjustment, looks neat, and answers admirably. It is known as Brown’s

The first method is better than the second, because it does not require
any extra loops on the shafts, which tend to weaken them considerably,
and also it does not take any of the paint off.

[Sidenote: Breeching rubbing the horse.] If a horse’s quarters should
get rubbed by the breeching, the best plan to prevent any further damage
is to have a large piece of sheepskin sewn round the strap, with the
hair next the horse.

[Sidenote: Crupper.] The crupper ought to be fitted so that there is
room for the breadth of the hand, or about four inches, between it and
the horse’s back, when the pad is in the right place. Great care should
be taken that all the hairs of the tail are passed through the crupper.

[Sidenote: Breast harness.] Breast harness can very often be substituted
for collars with great advantage, especially when the horses’ necks get
wrung by the latter.

This method of draught also obviates the necessity of keeping a large
number of collars to fit all sorts of horses, while another advantage
is, that you are able to use breechings to the best advantage in double

The breast strap should be made of a strong leather strap, about three
inches wide, and padded inside so that the hard edges do not touch the

For double harness a ring must be sewn into the middle for the purpose
of attaching the pole chains.

The breast strap is held up by a light strap passing over the horse’s
withers, and the breeching, by a similar strap, passing over the croup.
A crupper can be used, but is not necessary.

The breast straps should lie flat, and be kept well above the point of
the shoulders. They must be carefully adjusted, the usual fault being
that they are placed too low. Each end of the breast strap has a buckle,
into which both the trace and the end of the breeching are fastened. Of
course it is impossible to get as much work out of a horse with breast
harness as with collars.

[Sidenote: Whip.] The whip should be as light as possible, and well
balanced, the thong being about half the length of the stick. The points
should always be of leather, as these are much the best in wet weather.
[Sidenote: Always hang whip up.] A whip should never be allowed to stand
in a corner or up against a wall, as it will very quickly warp in that
position. It should always be kept hung up, either on a reel or by a
string to a nail in the wall.

Before leaving the subject of harness, a word on the general appearance
and neatness of turn-out will not be out of place. Straps ought to be
shortened to fit the horse, and be no longer than absolutely necessary.

To prevent any ends flapping about, keepers must be tight, and fitted so
as to be within an inch or two of the points of the straps. Nothing
catches the eye more quickly, or looks more slovenly, than the ends of
the traces sticking out a foot beyond the keepers, or a belly-band strap
dangling loose underneath the horse.

When buying harness go to a really good maker: cheap clumsy harness
never pays.


                               CHAPTER II

                        DRIVING—SINGLE HARNESS.

[Sidenote: The start.] Before starting, always have a good look round,
and see that all the harness is put on correctly; then go to the off
side of the horse and take the reins in the right hand, the near rein
under the forefinger and the off rein under the third finger. [Sidenote:
Getting into dog-cart.] Get up into the cart and sit down immediately;
now transfer the reins into the left hand, the near rein over the
forefinger, and the off rein under the middle finger. Thus you have two
fingers between the reins (fig. 2). The reason for this is that it gives
much more scope [Sidenote: How to hold reins.] for play of the wrist on
the horse’s mouth than if you only have one finger between the reins.
The thumb should point straight to the right, and the forefinger be held
well out, pointing to the right rear. This will keep the near rein close
up to the knuckle, and the horse may easily be moved across the road to
either the left or right by turning the back of the hand up or down


[Sidenote: Sit well up.] Sit well up; nothing looks so bad as to see the
driver leaning forward over the reins.

Finally, take the whip in the right hand at [Sidenote: How to start.]
the place where it balances most comfortably, and you are ready to
start. Then give the horse the office to start by feeling his mouth
gently and speaking to him; if he does not respond touch him gently with
the whip.

The moment he starts drop the hand slightly; jibbing is often caused by
neglect of the latter precaution.

[Sidenote: Elbows must be close to sides.] Keep your elbows close to
your sides, with the points almost touching the hips. The wrists should
be well bent, as by this means you are enabled to keep a perfectly
steady bearing on the horse’s mouth without any jerking. This is a very
important point.

[Sidenote: Fore arm horizontal.] The fore arm should be horizontal, and
the fingers from two to four inches from the centre of the body, with
the knuckles to the front.

[Sidenote: Lower fingers to grip the reins.] The thumb must not be
pressed down on the rein, except when a loop is taken up to turn a
corner to the right or left (see fig. 23), [Sidenote: How to turn.] when
the right hand is available for shortening the other rein to prevent the
horse turning too rapidly, or else to use the whip to bring him round.

The fingers which should grip the reins, (so tightly that they should
never slip), are the three lower ones. The forefinger should be held as
in fig. 2.

[Sidenote: Whip not to be used when hand on reins.] Never keep a large
amount of slack of the off rein in your right hand (fig. 3), as then you
cannot use the whip; and remember never to hit the horse while the right
hand is holding a rein.

The reason for this is obvious, because if you do try to hit him when
you have the off rein in the right hand, you must slack that rein off,
and the horse immediately dashes away to the left.


[Sidenote: Never move reins in left hand.] It cannot be too strongly
impressed on the beginner, that whether the right hand is on the reins
or not, they should always be of the same length in the hand, and never
be allowed to slip.

The right hand should never on any account take the off rein out of the
left hand. It is the first and most important law of driving, that the
reins, as held in the left hand, should be of such a length as to keep
the horse straight, and should remain at that length, whether the right
hand is being used on one or other of them or not.

No coachman who drives with a rein in each hand can be said to know his
business, and yet it is one of the commonest things to be seen in

[Sidenote: Do not job horse’s mouth.] Never use the whip on the horse
unnecessarily, and never job him in the mouth except to punish him for
doing something wrong. Nevertheless, for a horse which is inclined to
kick, jobbing is very useful when applied at the right time, more
especially if accompanied by a sharp hit with the whip over his ears.

[Sidenote: Never hit a shier.] The whip should never be used on a shier,
it will only frighten him, and confirm him in the habit, which is caused
by nervousness and not by vice. Encourage him rather by [Sidenote: Use
the voice.] speaking to him, as there is nothing a horse learns to
understand quicker than his master’s voice.

Do not flap the reins on his back either to start him or to make him
increase his pace.

[Sidenote: Pace should be steady.] Learn to drive at a steady and even
pace. From eight to nine miles an hour will usually be found most
suitable to average horses, but do not on any account drive sometimes at
six miles and sometimes at ten. Nothing tires a horse so much as
constantly changing the pace.

[Sidenote: Start slow.] It is usually better to start a little slower,
especially if you have a long way to go.

Once fairly started, keep your eyes well fixed in front of you, and
watch exactly what other vehicles are doing, so that you may never have
to pull up suddenly. You should be able to see from a distance whether
you can get through or not, and if you see that you cannot, begin to
slow down at once.

[Sidenote: Jerky pace very bad.] Never increase your pace, or check it,
suddenly. Nothing is more uncomfortable for the passengers or more
wearying to the horse.

It is far better for the beginner to slow down at once, if he is not
sure of getting through a tight place, than to go fast up to it, and
then have to pull up quite suddenly, if he can pull up at all. This
cannot always be done at the last moment, and an accident is the result.
[Sidenote: Shortening reins.] As a rule, when it is necessary to pull up
in a hurry, the reins cannot be shortened except by throwing up the
hands, which, to say the least of it, looks very unbusinesslike. The
proper course to pursue is to catch hold of the reins with the first
finger and thumb of the right hand just behind the left, and shorten
them as much as necessary by pulling them through (fig. 4).

    [Illustration: FIG. 4.—SHORTENING REINS.]

It is far better on such an occasion to have the reins rather too short
than too long, but if only a small amount of shortening is required the
right hand can be placed on the reins in front of the left and the left
hand slid up to the right (fig. 5).

[Sidenote: Signal with whip to carriage behind.] When driving in a town,
it is the rule to swing the whip stick round once or twice as an
indication to the drivers of vehicles behind you that you are going to
slow down or turn a corner.

[Sidenote: Turn corners carefully.] Before coming to the turn the pace
must always be checked, particularly in a town, where the streets are
generally slippery and there is nearly always a curbstone. Many an
accident occurs daily through corners being negotiated carelessly. This
advice appears almost superfluous, but the reader will find that to
drive, even fairly broken horses, collectedly round sharp turns requires
great care and precaution.

[Sidenote: Starting a jibber.] In conclusion, it is worth pointing out,
that a horse which is inclined to jib, may often be started either by
turning him to one side with the rein, or if this fails, by getting some
one to push him over. The reason is that he is thus made to move before
the pull comes on his shoulders.


[Sidenote: Fit of gloves.] The fit of the gloves may seem a very trivial
matter to the uninitiated, but it is not considered such by the expert

Any one attempting to drive with tight “masher” gloves will find his
hand cramped in a very short time. All his power is taken up in trying
to keep his hand shut and wrestling with his gloves, and not as it
should be in holding the reins tight.

It is difficult in fact to have them too large.

They should be made of dogskin, and when new, at least one inch longer
than the fingers, and rather larger, also very loose indeed across the
palm of the hand and wrist. They will very soon shrink down and become
the right size, after the hand has got damp in them once or twice.

It is a good plan to punch a few round holes in the back of the gloves
to keep the hand cool.

The leather should be hard and tough, but not too thick. Strapping
inside is apt to make gloves clumsy and very awkward for driving,
especially with four reins.

[Sidenote: Woollen gloves.] Woollen gloves should always be carried, as
they are the most comfortable in wet weather, and the reins do not slip
through them.

[Sidenote: Carriage rugs.] Never drive without a rug or apron of some
kind. A light cloth or cotton one may be used in summer, but for the
winter it is far better to have a thick one of box cloth warmly lined.
When choosing an apron, remember to get one with a V-shaped piece let in
at the top; this adds greatly to one’s comfort if there are two people
in the cart, as it allows of the sides being tucked under, and thus
keeps out both cold and wet very much better than one without the V let
into it.

[Sidenote: Hints on building dog-cart.] A dog-cart is the handiest of
two-wheeled carts for all-round purposes, and therefore the one in most
general use; so that a few hints on the selection or building of such a
vehicle may be of use to those who have not had much practical
experience in that line. At the same time I would strongly recommend
that when buying a carriage of any kind professional advice should, if
possible, be obtained, since no one without experience can possibly find
out faulty workmanship or detect defects in the material.

The following would be built for horses about 15.2 in height:—

[Sidenote: Height of wheels.] The wheels should be fairly high, say
about five feet, as this enables the horse to pull the cart over any
small obstruction with greater ease than with low wheels.

[Sidenote: Track of wheels.] The track should be from five to five feet
three inches wide. This gives plenty of room inside, and makes the cart
less likely to upset.

    [Illustration: FIG. 6.—DOG-CART.]

[Sidenote: Bent shafts.] Bent shafts are the most convenient for driving
horses of different heights, and should be pivoted on the front part of
the cart and adjustable behind. A cart so constructed will easily admit
of horses from 14.2 to 16 hands being driven in the same vehicle.

[Sidenote: Body of cart should be wide and low.] The body should be as
wide as possible, because nothing is more uncomfortable than being
cramped on a narrow seat. It also ought to be low on the axle, thus
rendering the cart far more safe and also more comfortable.

A fixed body is better than one that moves backwards and forwards on the
shafts, because it always remains the same distance from the horse, and
enables the cart to be built lighter.

[Sidenote: Seat of cart.] The seat should be low enough to prevent the
driver from feeling he is in want of a footstool or that he is half
standing, and should slide in a groove out of which it cannot come if
the horse falls down. Many men have been thrown out and had bad
accidents simply because of the seat coming away. It is moreover more
comfortable if slightly below the top of the sides of the cart. The back
and front seats should be so arranged that the cart will balance equally
well with one person or four—a result which can be arrived at by having
the seats to slide backwards and forwards when more than two people are
in the cart. [Sidenote: Heath’s patent seat the best.] I consider
Heath’s patent the best for this purpose; it is very light and

[Sidenote: Adjustable foot-rest necessary.] If the seat is a sliding
one, the driver must have an adjustable foot-rest, and this can easily
be managed by having about half-a-dozen pairs of holes in the floor of
the cart for the foot-rest to fit into. It should be a plain board
covered with indiarubber to prevent the feet slipping, and tilted at an
incline which will keep the feet at right angles to the legs. [Sidenote:
Bar foot-rest dangerous.] A bar foot-rest is most dangerous, as the feet
may be easily caught under it in getting out of the cart. [Sidenote:
Position of lamps.] The lamps should be fixed between the wheels and the
sides of the cart, care being taken that there is plenty of room for
them, so that should they get bent by any accident they will not
interfere with the wheels. This position is much the best for tandem
driving; in any other position they are continually catching the lash of
the whip, and are consequently a perpetual source of annoyance.

[Sidenote: Best trace attachment.] The best system of draught for a
dog-cart is that in which the traces are attached to a swingle-tree,
from the centre of which two chains pass down to loops fixed to the axle
close to the inside of the wheels.

[Sidenote: Swingle-tree.] The swingle-tree is held up by two straps
which pass through metal loops in the front part of the cart. These
straps should be pretty strong; were they to break, the bar would fall
on the horse’s hocks and cause an accident.

[Sidenote: Chains on swingle-tree not to be too long.] Be careful that
the chains are not too long, and that the pull is really on them, and
not as is frequently the case entirely on the straps. In the latter case
of course the swingle-tree ceases to be of any use.

[Sidenote: Advantages of swingle-tree attachment.] The swingle-tree
attachment enables the horse to pull directly from the axle-tree by
means of the chains, and in this way the best line of draught is
obtained; moreover a certain amount of play is given to the horses’
shoulders and the chance of their galling is less than with the ordinary


                              CHAPTER III

                        DRIVING—DOUBLE HARNESS.

    [Illustration: FIG. 7.—DOUBLE HARNESS ON HORSE.]

TO drive a pair well, that is, to be able to put-to and drive any two
horses, is not such an easy thing as at first sight it may appear to the
uninitiated. To drive a pair of good goers thoroughly accustomed to
their work, and harnessed up in the right manner, is such a very simple
matter that the merest tyro ought to be able to compete with it, with
fair success. But when he has two entirely different and unknown animals
to take in hand, it is quite another question.

[Sidenote: Belly-bands.] Double harness is fitted exactly the same way
as single, except that the belly-bands should be slightly looser, so as
to admit two or three fingers between them and the girths.

We will suppose that the harness has been put on the horses and
correctly fitted to them, and that they are standing in the stable ready
to be put-to; then the correct way of bringing them out would be as

[Sidenote: How to lead horse out of stable.] The traces having been
placed across his back, the horse should be led out by the nose-band,
not by the rein or the bar of the bit, otherwise the groom is very apt
to job him in the mouth without intending to do so, a performance to
which he may object and run violently back, or rear up and fall over.
Great care should be exercised when leading out of the stable. It not
infrequently happens that horses hit their hips against the walls, which
is liable to chip them, and cause lameness, besides teaching them the
extremely bad habit of rushing out of the stable-door.

[Sidenote: Hooking in alongside of pole.] Bring the horse carefully up
alongside of the pole, so that he does not hit either the pole or the
bar, and at once insert the hook of the pole chain into the ring of the
kidney link of the hames, to prevent his running back on to the splinter

Now place the outside trace on the roller bolt, and afterwards fix the
inside one. The quicker the latter is done with uncertain horses or
kickers the better, as this operation renders it necessary to reach
right over behind their quarters. If only one horse is likely to kick,
he should be put in first, to avoid this danger. When taking out the
exact reverse should always be adhered to.

[Sidenote: Polling up.] Never pole up the horses too tightly, as it is
very uncomfortable for them, more especially with a team, when the pole
is a heavy one, because if the pole chains are tight the weight of the
pole will be always resting on their necks. See that the end of the hook
on the chain is pointing downwards, as otherwise a horse with a bar
across the bottom of his bit may get caught in it.

[Sidenote: Pole pieces.] For ordinary pair work leather pole pieces are
commonly used instead of chains. They do not require so much cleaning,
and are much less trouble. They must be made of strong leather and kept
soft with dubbing or salad oil, otherwise they may become rotten and

[Sidenote: Adjustment of coupling reins.] The correct adjustment of the
two short inside reins, called coupling reins, requires great care. They
should be so fitted that an even pressure is brought on both sides of
the horses’ mouths, and in such a way also that both horses shall go
straight and pull evenly on the traces (fig. 8).


With a view to this the outer reins have a number of holes punched in
them, up and down which the buckles of the coupling reins can be
shifted, thus enabling them to be shortened or lengthened to suit each
particular horse’s mouth.

[Sidenote: To prevent a horse carrying his head to one side.] For
instance, if the near horse carries his head to the near side, the
coupling rein on the off side should be taken up, when his head will be
straightened. At the same time it must be borne in mind that if a
coupling rein is let out the effect is also produced of shortening up
the outer rein on the same side, and thus bringing the horse on that
side further back than the other.

[Sidenote: To make horses which carry their heads in different ways pull
level.] Supposing we have two horses apparently well matched, but that
the near horse carries his head rather out to the front and has a light
mouth, while the off horse has a hard mouth and carries his head close
in to his chest. Now to get this pair to pull equally on the traces we
must obviously have the near horse’s reins considerably longer than
those of the off horse. If they have been put to with the coupling reins
of equal length, both buckled in the centre holes, there will then be
three or four holes on each side of the buckles, and the reins can
either be let out or taken up (fig. 9).


In this case we should begin by letting out the off side coupling rein
two holes, and taking up the near-side rein the same number (fig. 10).

Then as the near horse has a light mouth, he should be put on the cheek,
and the hard-mouthed pulling off horse on the middle bar. This fitting
will probably suit the horses, and the pull on all four traces will be

The reins will now be adjusted like those in fig. 10, which shows how
the near horse is able to hold his head well in front of the other,
while the collars are brought level.

[Sidenote: Coupling reins must not be too tight.] The most general fault
is coupling up both reins too tightly, which makes the horses carry
their heads in towards the pole, instead of going quite straight, as
they should do. To prevent horses acquiring this habit, it is a good
plan occasionally to change their positions, instead of always driving
them on the same side of the pole.


This fault is very often to be seen in the leaders of a team, keeping
them close together, and causing them to rub up against each other to
such an extent that they sometimes chafe.

[Sidenote: To alter length of rein without interfering with coupling
rein.] It is a convenience, particularly when breaking young horses, to
have more than one hole in the billets for buckling the reins on the
bits, so that a horse can be pulled back or let out a hole on either
side without altering the coupling rein.

[Sidenote: To prevent horses leaning against the pole.] Horses in a pair
sometimes get into the trick of leaning in against the pole,
particularly when going down hill.

It is a difficult habit to cure them of, and perhaps the best preventive
is a good cut with the whip when they first attempt it, though a little
furze or a bit of hedgehog skin on the pole is sometimes effective.

[Sidenote: Reins must not be allowed to slip.] The reins must never be
allowed to slip through the fingers of the left hand, nor under any
circumstances should the off rein be taken [Sidenote: Right rein never
be taken out of left hand.] out of the left hand in order to turn to the
right or pull across the road.

The right hand should pull the rein towards the centre of the body, and
not out to the side to which you wish to go.

[Sidenote: To prevent collar galling the wither.] Sometimes a horse gets
galled by the collar, from being continually pulled up, or from holding
back down steep hills; this can be remedied by having a tinned iron
plate fitted on under the top of the collar, without taking the horse
out of work.

[Sidenote: Length of traces.] It will be found that traces usually
stretch and become of unequal length; when this occurs, the shorter
trace should be put on the inside, and should be marked, so that it
shall not be put on the outside by mistake. With some horses it will be
found necessary to have the inside trace half a hole or even one hole
shorter than the outer one, so as to obtain an equal pressure on both
sides of the collar.

[Sidenote: Bearing straps.] If bearing straps for the traces are used
they should be just long enough to keep them in a straight line; if
longer, they will jump up when the horse goes into his collar.

Further instructions for his guidance in driving a pair the reader will
find in the chapter on driving four horses.

Breaks are so commonly used in India, that a few hints may prove useful.

As a rule those in use are so low that the horses’ quarters are in front
of the footboard instead of being under it, and the driver is
consequently too far from his work. In modern breaks the driving seat
and boot are built almost exactly like those of a coach, where the
footboard is well over the horses’ quarters. That portion of the
footboard which comes over the roller bolts should be about five feet
from the ground, which gives room for the horses underneath.

The inside seats should be at least six feet long, so as to take four
people comfortably on each side; a second seat behind the driving seat
as on a coach can be added, and if necessary can be made removable. This
gives three extra seats looking to the front, the occupants of which
will not suffer so much from the dust as if they were inside.

The body can be hung on four elliptical springs, with a cross spring on
the hind axle, or on two elliptical springs in front with two side
springs and a cross spring behind. The latter method is to be preferred.

[Sidenote: Break measurements.] The approximate dimensions are as
follows (see fig. 40): height of body from ground, 3 ft. 6 in.; driving
seat without cushions, 7 ft.; front wheels, 3 ft. 2 in.; hind wheels, 4
ft. 6 in.; length of pole, 10 ft. 6 in.; weight about 12 cwt.; track, 5


                               CHAPTER IV

                        CURRICLE AND CAPE-CART.

WHEN it is desired to drive a pair, but owing to the expense, lack of
carriage accommodation, or other reasons, the purchase of an extra
carriage is inconvenient, an ordinary dog-cart can be fitted with a pole
and adapted for a pair of ponies or horses at a very small cost. In such
a case however the pole of the dog-cart, having nothing to support it
with the ordinary double harness, would fall to the ground, and it would
therefore be necessary to adopt one of the two following methods of

[Sidenote: Curricle.] 1. That known as Curricle, in which a bar passing
from one horse to the other over the pads supports the pole by means of
a strap or brace.

[Sidenote: Cape-cart.] 2. The system employed in what is generally known
as the Cape-cart, in which the supporting bar passes through a ring near
the end of the pole, and is held up by straps passing over the horses’

The first of these systems is the smarter in appearance, while the other
is more suitable for rough work. I will begin by discussing the

[Sidenote: Cost of curricle.] An ordinary dog-cart which has removable
shafts can be fitted with the requisite gear, including the curricle bar
and the pole chains, for about £10. The necessary alterations were made
to my own dog-cart by Messrs. Heath of Aldershot, who had originally
built it, but with no idea at the time it was made of having a pole
eventually fitted to it. I found that it worked admirably from the
first, and no subsequent alterations or repairs were necessary, there
being in fact nothing at all likely to get out of order.

[Sidenote: How to fit dog-cart with a pole.] To adapt the cart for pole
draught, a large square iron loop must be fixed under the front of the
cart, and a smaller one under the centre. The latter loop must be very
strong and firmly fixed, as it has to take the extreme end of the pole,
which at times puts on it a very great amount of strain.

An extra board will therefore probably have to be fitted right across
the bottom of the cart, the ordinary boarding of which the bottom of a
dog-cart is usually made being too thin and flimsy to resist the strain
which the pole loop will put on it. Should this loop tear out, or the
board to which it is fixed give way, a very serious accident may occur.

The pole must of course fit both loops accurately, and it must be
secured in them by a bolt passing through it and preventing it from
being drawn out.


Underneath the pole at the point where the supporting strap will come
there should be a strong spring (fig. 11), which will do away with much
of the jar on the pole itself, and also on the backs of the horses; and
if it is likely that a team of four will be driven, the pole should be
made with a hook at the end to take the swingle bars.

[Sidenote: Bars for attaching traces.] For the attachment of the traces
two bars must be provided for, and as the front of the cart will be too
narrow for these to be fixed to it direct, iron stays projecting about
six inches to either side can be screwed on underneath each end of the
front of the cart. The bars can then be fixed to these stays by bolts
passing through their centres. The bars will then revolve on their
centres and give the horses’ shoulders plenty of play, enabling them to
do their work with much comfort.

To the dog-cart itself no other alterations are necessary. The addition
of the pole does not affect the balance to any appreciable extent.

[Sidenote: Difference between curricle and ordinary double harness.]
With regard to the harness, the chief difference between curricle and
ordinary double harness is in the pads.

These must be strong and heavy, and fitted with special roller bolts, on
which the steel curricle bar rests (fig. 12). They require to be heavy
and strong, because at times the pole will put a considerable weight on
them, more particularly when going down hill.

    [Illustration: FIG. 12.—CURRICLE BAR AND ROLLER BOLTS.]

On each side they have a leather loop like those on a tandem pad, and
through these the traces are passed. In the bolts on the top of the pads
is pivoted a small steel roller. The curricle bar rests on the rollers,
and by their action is enabled to work freely from side to side, or from
one horse towards the other, without any friction or noise. The rollers
can be raised or lowered about a couple of inches, so that should the
horses be of unequal height the bar can be levelled by raising or
dropping one end of it.

[Sidenote: Curricle bar.] The bar should be made of steel, and must be
long enough to give at least six inches play to the outside of each pad
when the horses are standing square in their places. It has a small
screw at each end, on which are screwed flat circular nuts to prevent
the bar dropping out of the bolts and off the rollers. These are put on
immediately the bar has been passed through the bolts, and are
themselves secured and prevented from coming unscrewed by V-shaped steel
ties, which pass through slits at the extreme ends of the bar. In the
centre of the bar is a long-shaped loop or slit, through which the brace
or supporting strap is passed (fig. 12).

[Sidenote: Supporting strap or brace.] This brace should be a strong
leather strap about three inches wide. It passes under the spring below
the pole, through the slit in the bar, and is fastened by a large double

The traces are the same as for single harness.

[Sidenote: How to prevent pole tipping up.] To prevent the pole from
tipping up when the weight is on the back of the cart, a light strap,
with a double buckle at each end of it, can be fastened to the end of
the girth-strap of one of the pads under the horse, passed over the
pole, and again buckled at the other end to the other horse’s
girth-strap. This is an effectual remedy for the tilting up of the pole,
even when a heavy man mounts suddenly on to the back seat. In all other
respects the harness is the same as ordinary double harness.

If the cart is fitted with a swingle bar for single harness, the steel
chains which connect the bar to the axle can perfectly well be used as
pole chains, in which case it would be unnecessary to purchase new ones.

Ponies of fourteen hands or upwards, which would look too small for a
full-sized dog-cart in single harness, and would be unable owing to its
weight to draw it, look extremely well and make little of the weight
when driven as a pair, and can thus be utilized in curricle when perhaps
their services in harness would otherwise be lost.

A team of horses, or better still of ponies, can also be driven in the
poled dog-cart, provided that the pole has the hook referred to before
at the end of it.

Four horses look altogether too big, and the team is too long for the
short cart behind it; but a team of ponies, although they also look
rather too long, are very much better; and the slight disadvantage of
appearance is well counterbalanced by the pleasure of driving them, and
by the ease with which long distances can be covered without distress.

Given a good, comfortable, roomy dog-cart and four fairly-trained ponies
which are really fit, and no more enjoyable way of travelling about a
country can be found for two, three, or even four people. The weight to
be drawn is so small compared to the horse-power employed, that all
hills can be surmounted at a rapid pace, and long distances can be
covered in a single day, without placing any undue strain on the cattle.

The bars, though considerably lighter, are exactly like the bars of a
coach, while the leaders’ harness, it is hardly necessary to remark, is
precisely the same.

[Sidenote: Cape-cart.] In the Cape-cart, about eighteen inches from the
end of the pole, comes a supporting bar or yoke, sometimes called a
bugle, the use of which is to prevent the pole from falling to the
ground. This bar, usually made of lance wood, about an inch in diameter,
and five feet long, can be attached to the pole in several ways, but it
is best so to arrange it that it can slide up and down the pole as well
as from side to side. Perhaps the best and simplest attachment is
obtained by passing a short strap with brass rings at each end of it
round the pole, and then putting the yoke through the rings. The middle
of the yoke ought to be covered with leather, to prevent it being chafed
by the pole.

Though collars can be used, breast harness is nearly always employed,
and is much to be preferred on account of the breeching being much more
effective than with collars; without a breeching the horses are apt to
come back on to the splinter bar.

Neither cruppers nor pads are essential.

    [Illustration: FIG. 13.—CAPE-CART HARNESS.]

The breast harness is held up by straps which pass through the same pads
as the yoke straps.

These latter are fixed near the middle of the yoke, and pass through
pads on the horses’ withers to short buckling pieces attached near the
outer ends of the bar.

[Sidenote: Makers of Cape harness.] Messrs. Atkinson and Philipson of
Newcastle-on-Tyne make a speciality of this kind of harness.

A dog-cart can be adapted for the Cape-cart draught in exactly the same
manner as previously described for curricle; the pole, however, should
be rather longer.

Advocates of the Cape-cart claim the following advantages for it over
the Curricle: that specially constructed heavy pads are not required,
and that should one horse fall, there is very slight chance of his
bringing down the other with him.

These two styles of draught are much used abroad, the latter in India,
where it is known as “Tonga,” the former in South Africa, whence it
derives its name. As far as utility goes there appears to be little
between them.

    [Illustration: FIG. 14.—SPRINGING A HILL.]


                               CHAPTER V


IN order to learn to drive four horses as they should be driven, it is
necessary to begin by studying the rules and general principles of this
most fascinating amusement. To the lovers of this pastime nothing is
more enjoyable than sitting behind a perfect and well-appointed team
skilfully driven. [Sidenote: Constant practice necessary.] It is most
essential for one who would become a thoroughly efficient whip to have
several years of constant practice, and even when this has been
obtained, it will be found that there is still always something to


[Sidenote: Practice with weights.] For driving, like so many other
accomplishments, requires to be kept up, or else the hand and eye will
very soon be found to have lost their cunning, and not only does one
become slow and clumsy with the whip and reins, but the arms and fingers
soon tire. In order to keep the hand in, when not driving regularly, an
arrangement of weights and pulleys is a very convenient toy. It requires
a weight of about twenty pounds (a cylinder of lead is very handy), to
which is attached a strong cord. This passes over pulley P (fig. 15),
fixed for convenience to the mantelpiece or other projection from the
wall, down to pulley P1, on the floor, and then ends in a loop, into
which four straps can be fastened like reins. Then sitting in a
comfortable chair, the hands holding the straps like reins, the weight
can be kept working up and down (four or five inches will be found quite
sufficient) for ten minutes or so. Another method, which is rather more
complicated, but more useful for the beginner, is shown in fig. 16.
This, while strengthening his arms and fingers, enables him to acquire
the art of looping and shortening the reins, and in fact to practise all
the tricks of [Sidenote: Arrangement of pulleys and weights.] the trade.
For this practice eight pulleys are required; four are fixed on the
wall, about three or four feet from the ground and from three to six
inches apart; the other four are placed directly under these, and fixed
to the floor close up against the wall. A strong cord is passed under
each lower pulley first, then over the pulley directly above, the ends
being fastened to weights of four or five pounds. To the other ends of
the cords are attached leather straps similar to ordinary reins. Thus
you have four reins, the two inner ones representing the wheelers, the
two outer ones the leaders.


[Sidenote: Weight on hands when driving four horses.] It has been found
by trial that the approximate weight on the hands when driving a light
team is about five pounds, but the average weight may be taken as about
ten or twelve pounds, which will be much increased with a team of
pullers; while going down a steep hill the pressure will not
infrequently exceed thirty-five pounds. These pressures, which I
ascertained after many experiments, will show the novice how
all-important it is that he should be really fit, and the muscles of his
arms and fingers well developed, before he can hope to be really master
of a team of horses.

It is always advisable, while practising with weights, to hold a whip,
or stick to represent a whip, in the right hand, as by so doing you will
very soon get into the way of using this hand correctly on the reins
(fig. 15).

[Sidenote: Muscle of thumb necessary for holding whip.] It is very
important for the young driver to develop the muscle of the thumb;
otherwise it will be found extremely tiring to hold the whip properly
for any considerable time, more especially against a high wind.

Messrs. Whippy and Steggall have shown me a very neat arrangement of
weights and pulleys which can be easily fitted up in any room, and is
well worth inspection.

[Sidenote: Position of body on driving seat.] When driving, the body
should be kept upright and square to the front, but all stiffness should
be avoided. The driving seat should be low, and about three or four
inches higher at the back than in front, so that the driver can sit down
in a really comfortable position. [Sidenote: Position of legs.] The
ankles and knees should be just touching each other, and the arms close
to the sides, the point of the elbows touching the hip bone. [Sidenote:
Position of arms.] The forearm should be about horizontal, and the left
hand from three to four inches from the centre of the body, the back of
the hand being turned towards the front and nearly vertical, but
inclined a little towards the horses. [Sidenote: Position of left
wrist.] The wrist must be bent slightly towards the body, and on no
account allowed to bend the other way. This is far the best position for
feeling the horses’ mouths, as the wrist then acts like a spring, and a
perfectly even pressure can be maintained. [Sidenote: Leaning forward
bad.] Sit well back, and do not lean forward over the reins in the
attitude of a dairymaid on a milking-stool. [Sidenote: Driver should sit
well down.] The driver should on no account be half standing, or merely
leaning against the seat, with unbent knees, as, in the event of a
wheeler falling or shying up a bank, he will inevitably be jerked off
the coach.


                               CHAPTER VI

                         FOUR HORSES—THE REINS.

[Sidenote: How to hold reins.] THE best way of holding the reins is to
have the near lead over the left forefinger, the off lead between the
forefinger and the middle finger, the near wheel between the same and
under the off lead, and the off wheel between the middle and the third
finger (fig. 17) [Sidenote: Thumb and forefinger must not hold the
reins.] . The reins must be gripped firmly by the three lower fingers of
the left hand, so that they cannot possibly slip, the thumb and
forefinger never being used to hold the reins except when looping. The
thumb should invariably point to the right, and the forefinger be held
well out. The near lead rein should pass over or close to the knuckle of
the forefinger, and not over the first or second joint. The beginner
will find that after a time the muscle at the base of the left thumb
will develop wonderfully, and that the reins will be held between this
muscle and the lower fingers very firmly without any apparent effort.

    [Illustration: FIG. 17.—FOUR-IN-HAND—HOW TO HOLD REINS.]

[Sidenote: Adjusting length of reins in hand.] There are various ways of
adjusting the reins, either by pulling them out or pushing them back
from the front, or by pulling them from behind, or by taking out the
lead reins.

[Sidenote: Shortening reins.] One general principle as to shortening the
reins is to do it by putting the right hand in front of the left, and
pushing those required to be shortened through the left hand. In doing
this the thumb should never be used, as it is fully occupied in holding
the whip. But the beginner will very often find it easier to shorten the
reins from behind by pulling them through the left hand. In this case
the thumb and forefinger must be used. I consider the following the
easiest and most effective ways of adjusting the reins, viz.:—

[Sidenote: To shorten all four reins.] All four reins can be shortened,
if much is required, by pulling them through from behind, but it is
generally quicker and neater to hold the reins with right hand two or
three inches in front of left (the little and the third fingers over the
off-side reins and middle finger between the near-side reins), and then
slide the left hand up to the right. By this means a perfectly steady
pressure is kept on the horses’ mouths. This movement is generally
required when going down hill.

[Sidenote: To shorten both wheel reins.] _Both wheel reins._—It is
better to shorten these by pulling them through from behind. This is
necessary when going down steep hills, especially when the wheelers are
loosely poled up, so as to prevent the bars hitting the leaders’ hocks.

[Sidenote: To shorten both lead reins.] _Both lead reins._—In order to
shorten these take out both the leaders with the right hand (the third
and little fingers over off, and first or middle finger over near-side
rein); you can then pass them back to your left hand the required length
by letting them slide through the right hand the necessary amount. To
lengthen them, simply pull them through from the front.

[Sidenote: Shortening near-lead rein.] _The near lead._—Either push
through from the front, with the full of the right hand over the rein,
or take it right out of the left hand the same way and replace it the
proper length.

[Sidenote: Shortening off lead rein.] _The off lead._—Push through from
the front.

[Sidenote: Shortening near wheel.] _The near wheel._—This rein will be
found the most difficult of all to keep in its right place and to
shorten. It constantly slips when the horses pull, and for beginners it
is certainly the best plan to pull it through from behind. It can also
be done by lengthening out the off-lead rein from the front, and then
pushing both reins back together.

[Sidenote: Shortening off wheel.] _The off wheel._—Push it through from
the front with the right hand.

[Sidenote: Shortening centre reins.] _T he two centre reins._—Always
adjust them from the front. If the leaders are not straight in front of
you, which will be found a very common occurrence, but are running to
the right, they will generally come straight by pulling the two centre
reins through the left hand from the front, so as to lengthen them a
little; on the contrary, if the leaders are running to the left, push
these two reins back so as to shorten them.

If, however, they are going to the right or left simply because you are
holding the off or the near-lead rein too short, let out this rein only,
just enough to bring the leaders square.

[Sidenote: Passing off across road.] The following are probably the
easiest and most effective methods of passing off across the road, or of
turning to the right or left:—

1. _To the left._—Turn the left-hand knuckles upwards, and pass it
across the body from left to right; the horses will incline to the left,
the reins on that side being shortened.

_To the right._—Pass the left hand down towards the left hip, back of
the hand to the front, with the knuckle of the forefinger downwards and
that of the little finger uppermost; this shortens the right-hand reins
and causes the team to incline in that direction. The whip can be
applied to the off wheeler in the first instance, or the near one in the
second, in front of the pad, if the horses do not cross rapidly enough.

2. _To the left._—With the right hand seize the near-lead and wheel
reins under the lower fingers; then either pull those reins up towards
the centre of the body, which will shorten them, or allow the left hand
to go slightly to the front, which will slack off the right reins, or
better still, combine both these motions, the result being the same in
each case, that the team will go to the left. _To the right._—Take hold
of the off-lead and wheel reins with the lower fingers of the right
hand, and treat them in the same way as described for the left reins,
when the team will go to the right.

    [Illustration: FIG. 18.—STEADYING TEAM WITH RIGHT HAND.]

The latter of the two methods is by far the best and the one most
usually employed, the other only being possible with very perfectly
broken teams, as obviously only very little pressure can be put on.

    [Illustration: FIG. 19.—HOW LOOP SHOULD BE TAKEN UP.]

[Sidenote: To steady the team.] In order to steady the horses or to ease
the left hand, the right hand may be placed in front of the other over
all the four reins (fig. 18), but it is generally preferable to have the
hand on only three reins for steadying purposes, the third and little
fingers being over the off reins and the upper fingers over only one of
the near reins.


[Sidenote: The point or loop.] It will now be necessary to explain the
term “point” or “loop.” The point is made by taking hold of either the
near or the off-lead reins under the little and third fingers of the
right hand (not with the forefinger and thumb), and placing it six
inches or more (according to the inclination of the turn), [Sidenote:
Loop under thumb.] in advance of the left, and then bringing it back so
as to form a loop under the left thumb (figs. 20, 21), which must press
the rein firmly down on the forefinger. As a rule never move the left
hand forward while doing this. The off-lead rein can also be looped
under the first finger in turning to the right (fig. 22).



Turning to either side can be done as follows: By pointing the near
leader to turn to the left (fig. 20), or the off leader to turn to the
right (fig. 21); or, by pointing both the near-lead and the near-wheel
reins together to go to the left, and similarly both the off-side reins
together to go to the right, at the same time striking the opposite
wheeler with the whip in front of the pad after the point has been made,
if the horses are required to move in either direction very quickly; or,
by passing the near-wheel rein round the left thumb, and then looping
the off-lead under the forefinger (fig. 22), it will be found that the
horses will get more easily round a very sharp and [Sidenote: Turning an
awkward corner.] awkward corner to the right, especially going down
hill. In a like manner, by looping the off-wheel rein under the
forefinger of the left hand, and then pointing the near leader under the
thumb, any difficult turn to the left can be negotiated with perfect
safety. This method will often be found quicker and better than passing
the off-wheel rein under the thumb.

[Sidenote: Meaning of opposition point.] This looping up of the
wheeler’s rein on the opposite side to which you are about to turn may
be termed the “Opposition point.”

This device for preventing the wheelers from cutting the corners will be
found most useful with horses that have been driven a great deal in the
wheel, because they soon learn to recognize the indication given to the
leaders by the shortening of the lead rein passing along close to their


Very often, when the wheelers are boring to one side going down hill,
and the whip is required, it is useful to loop up the wheeler’s rein on
the opposite side to which they are boring, before using the whip.

[Sidenote: Do not lean forward when looping.] Be careful, when
stretching out the right hand in order to take up the lead rein to loop
it, not to lean the body forward, as it looks very bad, and almost
invariably shows that the left hand is holding the reins too short and
is too far away from the body.

It is a common fault with beginners to stretch out the left hand when
looping, thus taking up a larger loop than would be necessary, if the
left hand had a proper hold of the horses’ heads.

The loop once made should not be allowed to slip until the turn is
completed. [Sidenote: Prevent wheelers cutting corners.] The right hand,
having once caught up the loop, and given the leaders the office which
way to turn, is then free to be used in any of the following ways: to
seize both the off-side reins, if turning to the left, to prevent the
wheelers from going too quickly round the corner (fig. 23); to assist
them, if not turning sharply enough, by catching hold of the near-side
reins; to do just the opposite if turning to the right; or finally to
use the whip on either of the wheelers, by hitting the outside one to
make them come round more quickly, or the inside one to prevent them
cutting the corner.

    [Illustration: FIG. 24.—OPPOSITION POINT TO THE RIGHT.]

[Sidenote: Looping a second time, when first loop not enough.] More than
one point can be made, if a large enough loop has not been taken up at
first, but usually one point is sufficient, enough rein being taken up
the first time to complete the turn.

Sometimes at a very sharp corner two points are necessary, as you may
find that the first one is not bringing the leaders round fast enough.

[Sidenote: Opposition point to right.] The opposition point to the right
is made by putting the near-wheel rein round the left thumb, passing it
from inside from right to left, and then making the point with the
off-lead rein under the forefinger (fig. 24). When once round, first let
go the point of the leader, and then that of the near wheeler.
[Sidenote: Opposition point to left.] Conversely, the opposition point
to the left is made by putting the off-wheel rein under the forefinger
of the left hand, and then pointing the near-lead rein under the thumb
(fig. 25). In order to avoid having two reins looped up under the thumb,
it seems better to use the forefinger for one of the loops and the thumb
for the other; in this manner either loop can be let go separately.

    [Illustration: FIG. 25.—OPPOSITION POINT TO THE LEFT.]

[Sidenote: Shortening reins going down hill.] It should hardly ever be
necessary to shorten the lead reins when going down hill, as the mere
fact of the wheelers coming back out of draught to hold back the coach
will make you shorten up the reins enough to bring the leaders out of
draught at the same time. If anything, it will be found necessary to
shorten the wheel reins, more especially if the hill is very steep and
the wheelers are loosely poled up.

[Sidenote: Leaders out of draught going down hill.] Going down hill the
leaders should just carry the bars, and nothing more. They should not
put any strain at all on the pole, for by doing so they obviously tend
to counteract the efforts of the wheelers to keep back the coach. In
order to carry the bars the traces should be slack, but not slack enough
to let the whole weight of the bars weigh down on the pole, which would
put so much extra weight on the wheelers’ necks.

[Sidenote: Leaders must not pull on pole when turning.] Be careful that
the leaders are not straining on the pole when turning a corner, as
otherwise the wheelers will inevitably be pulled sharply across on to
the pavement or footpath, and the pole may be broken.


                              CHAPTER VII

                         FOUR-IN-HAND—THE WHIP.

[Sidenote: How to hold whip.] YOU must learn to play with the whip
neatly, and to be able to use it skilfully on any of the horses. The
handle should rest in the palm of the right hand, and be kept firmly in
its place by the action of the thumb pressing against the base of the
forefinger; the lower fingers will then be left free to catch hold of
the reins.

If, however, it is necessary to pull the reins through from behind, the
lower fingers must be tightened on the handle so as to allow the thumb
and forefinger to be used.

Always take care that the whip is in its right place, and the thong
properly done up. [Sidenote: Angle of whip.] Hold the whip at an angle
of about thirty degrees to the left front and about forty degrees
upwards, and not as in the picture opposite (fig. 26).

The thong ought to have three or four turns round the stick, the first
turn beginning close to or on the quill, which is always covered with
black twine.

[Sidenote: No kinks in lash.] Pay special attention to holding the whip
so that the double thong hangs straight down and has no kinks in it. If
there should be any kinks they can be taken out by adding a turn or two
on the stick, or by taking some off.

Do not hold the whip tighter than is absolutely necessary. In fact, when
the hand is on the reins the grip may be released altogether for a time,
as they will hold it up; this will give the thumb a rest. Holding it
loosely also ensures the double thong hanging straight down, as then it
will do so by reason of its own weight. It looks excessively bad to see
the whip held all sideways, but it will constantly get into that
position unless the tyro pays great attention to keeping it straight.


[Sidenote: Lash of whip under thumb.] The point of the lash should be
just under the inside of the thumb; this will keep it from slipping.
Hold the whip where it balances comfortably, the end of the stick close
to, and under the forearm, the wrist well bent, and the elbow close to
the side.

[Sidenote: Position of whip hand.] When the right hand is not on the
reins or using the whip, it should be kept close to the left, the
forearm being about horizontal. It can then rest on the thigh, and yet
be ready for any emergency.

[Sidenote: Balance of whip.] A good whip should balance well when held
at or close to the collar (this should come nearly under the thumb),
otherwise it will be found top-heavy and clumsy.

The collar is the plate about ten inches from the thick end of the
stick, and is sometimes termed the top ferrule.

    [Illustration: FIG. 27.—PREPARING TO CATCH THONG.]

[Sidenote: Choice of whip.] In choosing a whip the most essential points
are: firstly, that it should balance as above; secondly, that it should
be fairly light and springy—springiness being useful, because it renders
a whip very much easier to catch; and, thirdly, that it should have some
knots near the top, as they materially assist in keeping the thong up,
though too many will be found an impediment to getting it out quickly.

[Sidenote: How to catch thong of whip.] A very good way to learn to
catch the thong neatly round the stick is this: chalk a large pot-hook
or _S_ on the wall; stand opposite to this with the whip held in the
proper position, the thong undone, and the point of the lash under the
middle finger of the right hand, the forefinger rather pointed up the
stick (fig. 27); then with the point of the whip quickly follow the line
as traced on the wall, beginning from the bottom end, and moving it
across from left to right; the top part of the _S_ should be done by a
back turn of the wrist, first upwards and then downwards, which will
bring the fingers uppermost at the finish. Never let the point of the
whip drop at the beginning of the _S_, and never hit at the thong, but
on the contrary make it come up to the stick. If you find that the thong
is caught rather too low down, it can be very easily sent up higher by
catching it again as above, but with rather a shorter and more jerky
motion, in fact describing a small _S_.


This is done almost entirely by the wrist, with only a slight movement
of the arm.

    [Illustration: FIG. 29.—TAKING OFF LOOP.]

[Sidenote: Taking out loop in lash.] Having caught the thong (fig. 28),
the next thing to be done is to take out the loop which will be found in
the middle of the stick, so that all the turns should be from right to
left; otherwise it will very soon come undone. To do this, lower the
stick so as to enable the left thumb to seize the loop (taking care not
to move the left hand from its correct position while doing so); now
move the whip hand out to the right front as far as possible, keeping
the wrist well bent and holding the lash tight with the left thumb (fig.
29). This movement will take off the turns on the lower end of the
stick. Now place the whip under the left thumb, and turn the spare end
of the lash once or twice round the handle [Sidenote: End of lash round
handle of whip.] (fig. 30). With the right hand retain the point of the
lash securely under the inside of the right thumb, which will prevent
the thong getting loose. If the point slips up, it can be pulled tight
again by catching hold of it with the left thumb and forefinger, and
drawing the right hand away.

[Sidenote: How to keep lash pliant.] The thong should be kept pliable by
being rubbed with salad oil or mutton fat; otherwise it will be found
difficult to keep it in its proper place when caught.

The following rules should be followed in hitting the horses:—


[Sidenote: How to hit horses with whip.] The wheelers should be hit in
front of the pad to avoid making them kick. If ever they should attempt
to kick, a severe blow about the ears will usually put a stop to it.
Generally move the whip from left to right, keeping the wrist nearly
stiff, and doing it as far as possible from the elbow, without any
circular motion of the forearm. With a fidgety near wheeler it is
advisable to hit the off one on the outside. It is no use hitting the
wheelers if the leaders’ reins are too long; in this case you must first
shorten up the leaders’ reins, and then use the whip on the wheelers;
otherwise, as soon as the wheelers have jumped into their collars, the
leaders will again press forward, and allow the wheelers to hang back as

[Sidenote: Hitting off leader.] The best way to hit the off leader is
first to bring the top of the whip from the near to the off side of the
coach; then undo the thong by swinging the stick round and round, at the
same time keeping the point of the lash under the first finger. Next
bring the right hand down close to the left, and place the left thumb
over the point of the lash so as to keep it clear of everything. Now
swing the stick back to the right until the wrist is about in line with
the shoulder, at the same time releasing the point from under the thumb.
This should be done with very little movement of the wrist. Make a good
circular turn and bring the stick to the front again sharply, aiming
with the point a little in front of the spot you wish to hit. In doing
this the lash can travel to the front either above or below the stick,
but in traffic, or when under trees, the latter will be found the safer.

The only place the point of the whip should ever crack is on the horse,
and never under any circumstances in the air, which would be dangerous,
especially to those on the back seat, besides being very unworkmanlike.

The lash should hit the leaders under the bars on their hocks, as it
does not look well to see wheals or streaks of mud on the horses’ flanks
and quarters.

[Sidenote: Hitting near leader.] To hit the near leader, begin as
before, but instead of making the lash go to the off side of the coach,
throw the right hand well up and make a good swing with the stick, so
that the lash may go well over the heads of the passengers from the off
to the near side, and then by dropping the point of the stick and
letting the hand go slightly out to the front, it will be found that the
lash will swing in and hit the near leader, while passing outside and
avoiding the near wheeler’s head.

[Sidenote: Bringing back lash.] Having once hit the leader, the lash
should be brought back on the near side of the coach. Do not attempt to
get it straight back to your hand, otherwise you will most likely hit
the wheeler, or the passenger on the box seat, but just send the lash
out to the front over the leaders with a circular motion, and then by
holding the stick nearly upright it will come into your hand or under
your arm (fig. 31). This will leave the right hand free to steady the
horses, which will generally be found necessary. The lash, having been
brought back to the near side of the coach, can also be recovered by
raising the whip vertically and bringing it over the wheeler’s back.
This, although a quicker plan than the other, will not be found so easy
or so safe.

[Sidenote: Hitting near leader under bars.] The near leader can also be
hit from the off side under the bars. To do this the lash must be thrown
outwards, away from the coach, and then brought back swinging under the
stick, so that the point passes between the off wheeler and the off
leader just under the end of the pole. This requires a considerable
amount of practice, otherwise the off-side horses will often be hit by
mistake. Another very useful method is to throw the lash between the
wheelers’ heads, hitting the leader on the quarter.


[Sidenote: Placing lash under thumb before catching up.] When once the
lash has been secured under the wrist or forearm, it can easily be
placed under the left thumb by bringing the right hand down close to the
left. Holding it firmly in this position, draw the whip hand away to the
right front, keeping the wrist well bent, and allowing the lash to slide
through the middle finger of this hand.

This can be repeated until the point of the lash has been pulled up into
the right hand, when the thong can be caught on the stick as usual. If
you catch the lash straight into the right hand the point may be got
hold of by throwing the point of the stick upwards, and allowing the
lash to slide through the middle finger. This is not nearly such a good
plan as that described above, for you may easily throw the lash away
altogether, and thus have to catch it again. Be careful, when you have
the point of the lash in the right hand, to see that the loop is well
clear of everything before catching it up on the stick, as it often
[Sidenote: See that thong is not caught on footboard.] gets caught round
the handle of the footboard or against the reins, which utterly spoils
the catch. [Sidenote: Never use whip when right hand on reins.] You
should never hit a horse with the whip while the right hand is holding a
rein; it looks very awkward, and is most unworkmanlike. Should you have
a loop of a rein in the right hand, as you might have when going round a
corner to the right, first place the loop under the left thumb or
forefinger, and then use the whip.

[Sidenote: To release lash caught in harness.] If when hitting a leader
the lash should get caught round the bars or harness, do not jerk or
pull it hard, but shake it loosely up and down; otherwise it will most
likely get caught all the tighter.

[Sidenote: Whip under thigh.] If you want to use the right hand on the
reins while the lash is caught, place the handle under the thigh and sit
on it. Should the whip get fast in the bough of a tree or a [Sidenote:
Lash caught in tree.] lamp-post, on the near side, the only thing to do
is to let it go at once, letting your hand go well up and over to the
left. You will then avoid hitting the passenger on the box seat.
Constant practice with the whip is absolutely essential; no one can
drive well until he has thorough control over it, and is able to
manipulate it in such a way that the horse struck is the only one which
knows that it is being used.


                              CHAPTER VIII


[Sidenote: Looking round before starting.] BEFORE starting have a good
look round and see that the horses are properly put in, that the harness
is correctly put on and fitted, and more especially that the bits are
rightly adjusted and the reins put in the correct places. Take care also
that the pole-pin is in its place. It is never safe to trust entirely to
the servants or ostlers.

[Sidenote: Lead reins should never be buckled.] The lead reins should
never under any circumstances be buckled together; the reason of this is
that if the main bar gets broken, the leaders will be able to pull the
reins through and get clear away. On road coaches it is customary to
leave both lead and wheel reins unbuckled.

[Sidenote: Preparing to start—taking up reins.] Place the whip neatly
caught up in the socket, if not already there. Standing alongside of the
off wheeler’s quarters, with the right hand take hold of the leaders’
reins without touching the horses’ mouths, and place them in the left
hand, the forefinger between them; next take hold of the wheelers’
reins, placing the middle finger of the left hand between them, without
pulling them so tight as to feel their mouths.

Then with the right hand pull out the off-side reins twelve to eighteen
inches, and see that the splicing on the lead reins and the buckles of
the couplings in the wheel reins are about the same distance from the
left hand. The reins will then be about level when you are seated on the

[Sidenote: Transferring reins to right hand before mounting box.] Having
done this, transfer the four reins to the right hand, but one finger
lower down than they are held in the left; the first finger will then be
free to hold on to the footboard whilst climbing up.

[Sidenote: Mounting box seat.] In order to help yourself on to the box,
catch hold of the lamp wire with the left hand, place the left foot on
the pipe box of the wheel, the right foot on the roller of the splinter
bar; then the left foot can be raised on to the step and the right foot
on to the footboard.

[Sidenote: Sit down at once when mounted.] Now sit down on the seat at
once; otherwise if the horses start off suddenly you may be pitched off.
Immediately transfer the reins from the right hand back to the left, by
passing the fingers of the left hand just in front of the fingers of the
right, the forefinger of the left hand being opposite the middle finger
of the right. Then adjust any rein not found to be correct. It is always
advisable to have a rug [Sidenote: Rug or apron necessary.] or apron
over your knees, as not only does it look untidy to be without one, but
it also saves your trousers immensely, as the reins are sure to touch
them to a certain extent and wear them out, especially in damp weather.
As soon as you have arranged the reins satisfactorily in the left hand,
being especially careful not to have them too long, take the whip out of
the socket and keep it in [Sidenote: Caution to passengers before
starting horses.] the right hand. Before starting always give the
caution, “Sit fast,” or ask if “All right behind?” as many a man has
been jerked off from not knowing that the coach was going to start.

[Sidenote: To start horses.] To start, feel all the horses’ mouths, and,
if necessary, give them the word to go, dropping the hand to them at
once until the coach is fairly off. Nothing tends more to make horses
jib than holding on to their heads at the moment of starting. [Sidenote:
Wheelers start the coach.] The wheelers ought to start the coach, and
this can be effected by touching them with the whip if they require a
hint. Do not, however, on any account hit a wheeler which is inclined to
jib, but make the others get the coach moving.

To be able to start horses well is perhaps the most difficult thing
which the young driver has to learn. The knack can only be acquired by
experience, and no absolute rules can be laid down for his guidance, as
no two teams are alike in temper and disposition.

Before starting have the rugs taken off quietly, not snatched off, and,
as soon as you are ready, make the grooms stand well clear of the
horses’ heads. Then start them as quietly as possible, devoting all your
skill to getting the coach under weigh at once, without pulling at the
horses’ heads, as nothing irritates horses so much, or is more apt to
make them jib, than jerking their mouths, or having to pull up and start
afresh. As soon as they are well started, you can bring your hand back a
little and feel their mouths properly. Then if you find that the horses
are not going straight you must re-adjust the reins as quickly as
possible; this is a most difficult thing for a beginner to do neatly. It
is a good plan to start with the near-wheel rein rather shorter than the
off, as that is the most difficult rein to shorten in a hurry.

[Sidenote: Whip should be in the hand, ready for use at start.] It is
never safe to start the coach without having the whip in the right hand
ready for immediate use. The whip is to the driver what the leg is to
the rider, _i.e._, it keeps the horses up to their bits.

As soon as the horses are going straight take the right hand off the
reins, at the same time keeping it close by ready for any emergency.

[Sidenote: Left hand must give and take.] A great deal of the neatness
in driving depends on what may be termed the give and take of the left
hand. That is, it can be allowed to go forward or be lowered a little,
or be pulled back close to the body; for instance, in order to pull
across the road to the right, the right hand should pull the off side
reins, while the left hand at the same time moves slightly to the front
so as to slack off the near-side reins. In this way both hands do their
share of the work, and an exaggerated movement of the right hand is
rendered unnecessary. Much can also be done by turning the back of the
left hand either up or down. The principal effect of this is to shorten
or lengthen the near-lead rein, and so pull the leaders more or less
across the road.

[Sidenote: Pulling up.] When you want to pull up, shorten all the four
reins by passing the left hand up to the right, or else by pulling all
the four reins through from behind as before explained; then having the
right forefinger on the near-lead rein, the middle finger on the near
wheel, and the lower fingers of the right hand on the off reins (see
fig. 35), pull both hands back towards the body, and if necessary lean
back a little. It is not easy to pull up exactly square, as one wheeler
will very often hang back much more than the other. This can be
regulated by pulling rather harder with the middle finger to keep the
wheelers to the left, or by pressing strongly with the lower part of the
hand, in order to keep them to the right.

Should the horses be getting the better of you, and you find that you
cannot stop them, it will be found a great assistance to place the right
leg over all the four reins, as you may then be able to stop them by the
extra power and leverage you gain by the position of the leg.

Having pulled up at the end of a stage, professional coachmen always
throw the reins down with both hands outside the wheelers.

[Sidenote: When turning round, go slow.] With plenty of room a coach can
be turned round at a considerable pace, but for this a wide sweep must
be taken.

Unless there is at least twenty yards, remember to go very slowly;
otherwise the [Sidenote: Coach may lock and upset.] coach may lock, and
then nothing can save it from overturning except the breaking of the

In any case great care must be taken to keep the wheelers well out and
the leaders’ bars very slack. To do this it is well to put on the
opposition point, and take a large loop in the leaders’ reins.

[Sidenote: Turning in narrow road.] If it is necessary to turn in a very
narrow road, it is generally better to take the leaders out, but it can
also be done in the following manner:—

[Sidenote: Backing coach to enable turn to be made.] Pull off to the
left side of the road as far as possible, and then pull up to a walk;
slant the horses across the road to the right by advancing a little, and
then halt, pulling strongly on the near reins so as to get the pole
across to the left; shorten up all the reins, and with the little finger
of the right hand on the off-side reins, and the middle finger on the
near-wheel rein, pull back the horses, backing the coach as far as
circumstances will admit. When again halted the coach ought to be at
right angles to the road. The leaders must now be brought right round to
the right, and in order to do this it is usual to shake the off-lead
rein a little before taking up the loop, otherwise the leaders may come
back on to the pole.

The wheelers must be brought round after the leaders, care being taken
not to bring them round too quickly, so as to lock the fore-carriage.
Turning to the left is done in a similar manner. With unsteady horses it
is safer to take out the leaders, as they are apt to be hit by the bars,
or come back on the pole.

[Sidenote: Pull of right hand should be towards centre of body.] Always
pull the reins that you take up with the right hand towards the centre
of the body, and on no account let your hands move across to the side to
which you want the horses to go. This rather appears to be the natural
tendency, but it must be overcome. [Sidenote: Turning corner without
looping.] It is often unnecessary to loop when going round a gentle
curve, and it may be sufficient to pull the lead rein with the right
hand, and then, while still retaining a slight bight in it, to catch
hold of the wheel rein on the same side just below; by this means you
pull both the reins on the same side, but with greater force on the lead
rein than on the wheel. This plan may also be adopted for slanting
across the road.


                               CHAPTER IX


THE beginner must not suppose that a team, or for that matter even one
horse, can be driven with the left hand only; even the very best of
whips is obliged to have constant recourse to the right hand, especially
when passing through traffic.

At the same time, he must remember to resist the temptation of keeping
the right hand permanently on the reins, nor should it ever be employed
like the coachman’s hand in fig. 3, in holding on to a bight of the off
reins in order to keep the horses straight.

The team ought to run perfectly straight at any time with the reins in
the left hand only; and as a continuous pressure of the right hand is
very liable to cause any one of the reins to slip, especially the near
wheel when the horses are pulling, this practice is objectionable. Of
course if the left hand gets tired, the right must come to its
assistance, and then it should be placed either on three or all four
reins (see figs. 18 and 35).

[Sidenote: Always keep a steady pressure on reins.] Mind and keep a good
steady pressure on the reins at all times, and keep the horses up to
that pressure with the whip. The most common fault among amateurs is
that they do not hold their horses nearly tight enough by the head.
[Sidenote: Reins slipping a common fault.] Always have a good hold of
them, and above all things remember never to let the reins slip through
the fingers. This is a constant cause of horses getting out of hand, and
pulling for a long way, when they would otherwise have gone quite
comfortably after the first mile or so.

[Sidenote: Resin or wax on gloves.] To prevent the reins from slipping,
if the horses are pulling, and especially with new gloves, it will be
found very convenient to put a little powdered resin or beeswax on the
fingers and palm of the hand.

[Sidenote: Start slow.] If you have time, always start slowly (at first
six or seven miles an hour); by adopting this plan the horses will go
more kindly, and after a bit your arm and fingers will feel much less
tired than if you had started at a rapid pace.

[Sidenote: Right wrist well rounded when right hand on reins, back
inclined downwards.] It is very important to keep the right wrist well
rounded when pulling the reins on either side, and the back of the hand
rather inclined downwards.

[Sidenote: Point of whip to be kept well up and to the front.] By
keeping the hand in this position it will be found that the point of the
whip is kept well to the front and high up. If the back of the hand is
turned up at all, the whip is sure either to cause considerable
inconvenience to the person on the box seat (fig. 26), or else to hit
the near wheeler close to his tail. This will most probably make him
swish it, and if it should by any chance get over the thong, the result
may be disastrous to the boot.

[Sidenote: Team boring to one side—how to remedy.] If the horses are all
boring to the left, it is no use simply pulling at the two off-side
reins with the right hand, but at once shorten these reins in the left.

This can be done either by shortening them singly, or by catching hold
of the two off-side reins as usual, placing the forefinger over the near
lead, and the middle finger over the near wheel, and then allowing the
near-side reins to slide a little through the fingers of both hands,
while still retaining a firm grip of the off-side reins. Of course,
however, only a very little can be got out at a time by this method.

Another plan is to grip the reins tightly with the right hand, the first
two fingers over the near-side reins, the lower fingers over the off,
and then to open the fingers of the left hand, when the off-side reins
can be pushed through them by turning the lower part of the right hand
towards the left (see figs. 18 and 35).

[Sidenote: Never remove left hand from reins.] Never on any account take
the left hand out of the reins, even though the right may be holding
them firmly in front, as it is very difficult to get the left hand back
into its place again with the reins in the right places. Of course, if
your fingers are numbed from cold or from hard pulling, it will be
necessary to take the hand out and slap the fingers on the thigh.
[Sidenote: Taking leaders’ reins out with right hand.] But if the horses
seem to be going all anyhow, take the leaders out with [Sidenote: Lead
reins should seldom be removed from left hand.] the right hand, the
little finger over the off lead, and the first or second finger over the
near lead (fig. 32); then adjust the wheelers by letting the rein which
is too short slide gently through the left hand, and replace the
leaders. If the reins are found to be too long, shorten them all from
behind. This plan should be rarely resorted to, as it is a very bad
habit to perpetually fiddle with the lead reins.

[Sidenote: Keep an eye always on horses.] Always keep an eye on the
position of the horses, and see that they are in their right places, and
that each is doing his fair share of work.

If any horse is out of his place, find out the cause, and adjust the
rein or use the whip accordingly.

[Sidenote: Grip tightly with third and little fingers to prevent reins
slipping.] Always keep the left hand and elbow in their proper
positions, and keep a firm grip of the reins with the third and little
fingers never on any account allowing one to slip. This cannot be too
strongly insisted on, although it will be found very tiring at first,
even if the horses are not pulling.

        RIGHT HAND.]

[Sidenote: Do not drop left hand.] When catching or attending to the
whip, beginners are very apt to drop the left hand. This leads to horses
getting out of hand, and makes them pull.

[Sidenote: When looping do not alter position of left hand.] Do not
allow the left hand to go moving across the body from side to side, or
to move to the front to pick up the reins; except occasionally when
turning to the left, when it may be useful to loop thus:—

Hold the off-side reins under little and third fingers of the right
hand; then take hold of the near-lead rein with the forefinger some
three inches away from left hand; and holding it tight bring it up as
much as possible towards the body, at the same time quickly passing the
left hand down so as to catch the near-lead rein in front of the right
forefinger with the left thumb; then bring the left hand back to its
original position, and you have a good loop, and the wheelers are
checked from rushing the corner by the lower part of the right hand
pressing on the off reins.

[Sidenote: Leader’s tail over reins.] If one of the leaders gets his
tail over the reins, never pull at it, but, on the contrary, slack it
out. Pull the wheelers across to that side on which the offender is
running; then hit the wheeler on the opposite side, on his neck, when
the movement of the wheelers to one side will probably clear the rein.

[Sidenote: Loosen rein fixed under tail by hitting horse.] Another plan
for getting the rein out is to slack it a good deal, and give the horse
a sharp hit with the whip behind the pad; this will nearly always cause
him to swish his tail, when you can pull the rein quickly away.

If both the above methods fail, stop the coach at once, when a man must
get down and release the rein by lifting up the leader’s tail, and not
by pulling the rein away from under it.

[Sidenote: To prevent leader getting tail over a rein.] With a horse
that habitually gets his tail over the reins and then kicks, it is a
good plan to run the lead rein either through the throat-lash, or the
inside loop of the bearing-rein of the wheeler which is on the opposite
side of the coach to the kicking leader.

The reins can also be run through the head terrets or loops on the top
of the wheelers’ heads, but if this is done it is better to use a
bearing-rein, because, if the horse shakes his head up and down, he will
inevitably jerk the leader in the mouth.

These terrets have been almost entirely done away with, as, if the
leaders pull, they put a great strain on the wheelers’ heads, and if the
latter throw their heads up and down to any great extent, they
continually jerk the leader’s mouths, [Sidenote: Objection to lead reins
passing through head terrets.] whereas by passing the lead reins through
the ring on the throat-lash of the wheeler there is almost a straight
pull from the leaders’ mouths to the terrets on the pads of the

[Sidenote: Side reins.] Side reins are sometimes useful on leaders, and
have a good effect on hard-mouthed horses.

If on the outside, they should be fixed to the buckle of the horse’s own
trace, but on the inside to that of the other horse.

A very useful kind of side rein has a brass ring sewn into one end of it
instead of a buckle; a short strap or loop is passed through this ring
and buckled to each side of the bit, while the other end of the rein is
buckled to the inside trace of the other horse.

The ordinary rein used by the Artillery Driver on his off horse will do
equally well. This consists of a long rein buckled to the outside of the
bit, and a short coupling piece to the inside. If a horse pulls very
hard and tries to get in front of the other horse, either of these reins
will bring all the pull on to his bit and keep him in his place.

[Sidenote: Fitting coupling reins.] The leaders’ coupling reins should
not be made too long or else the horses’ tails may get fixed in them—a
position from which it will be found that they are extricated with
difficulty. The buckles should come to within six or eight inches of the
top of the leaders’ tails, which allows plenty of room for taking up or
letting out these reins.

[Sidenote: To prevent buckle of coupling rein getting fixed in terret.]
Have a runner fixed about a foot below the buckle on the rein, through
which the coupling should be passed; this will prevent any chance of the
buckle getting through the terret. Messrs. Whippy and Steggall of London
have invented another simple device to prevent this danger occurring.
They place a short steel plate, about five inches long, covered with
leather, and the same width as the reins, between the rein and the
coupling. One end has a hole which passes through the tongue of the
buckle, and the other has a runner on it, through which the coupling
passes, so as to admit of this rein being altered. They also place two
keepers on the rein just below the buckle. By this means the steel plate
would be drawn across the terret and the buckle could not possibly get
through. For the fitting of coupling reins the reader must refer to
Chapter III.

[Sidenote: To prevent wheelers cutting corners.] In order to prevent the
wheel horses from rushing too quickly round a corner, which they very
often try to do, it is usual to catch hold either of both off or
near-side reins with the right hand, on the opposite side to which you
are turning, after having looped.

When looping a wheel rein for the opposition point, take hold of the off
rein from outside, but the near rein from above the two off reins.

[Sidenote: Keep tight hold of horse’s head when hitting him.] When
striking a horse be careful to keep a tight hold of him, as the whole
effect of the punishment will be lost if the reins are slack or are
allowed to slip.

[Sidenote: Buckles of wheel reins should be close to hands.] The buckles
of the wheelers’ reins should be well within reach, but should not be so
far up as to come into the hand when going down a steep hill or when
pulling up. A foot from the hand when the horses are in draught will be
found to be about right.

[Sidenote: Cruppers unnecessary except with bearing-reins.] Cruppers
will be found quite unnecessary as a general rule, more especially on
the leaders, but if bearing-reins are used, it is almost imperative to
have them on, in order to prevent the pads being pulled forward on to
the withers, and so galling the horses.

Be careful not to have any spare end of the crupper-strap hanging loose,
or the lead rein will be apt to get caught in it, and give trouble. For
this reason it is a good plan to have the cruppers made martingale
fashion, as they have no spare ends, and only one runner is required.

[Sidenote: Reins should be of equal thickness.] Both lead and wheel
reins should be exactly the same width and thickness, and should on no
account be short. This is extremely dangerous, as they might be easily
dropped. It is much better to have them very long, but about two or
three feet of spare rein will usually be found sufficient.

[Sidenote: Leaders flying apart.] When leaders are inclined to fly away
from each other, or one of them hangs outwards, the inside traces should
be lapped round each other and hooked into their own bars. This will
help to keep the horses together. It is not a good plan, though it is
sometimes done, to fasten the leaders’ bars together by a chain as, if a
horse kicks, and gets his legs fixed up between the main bar and the
others, it becomes a very difficult matter to extricate him.

[Sidenote: Spare gear should be carried.] The following spare articles
should always be carried on a coach:—

Two swingle-trees—one large and one small.

Two traces—one lead and one wheel.

A jointed whip fixed up on a board. A leather bag containing a hand
punch with assorted bits, and a McMahon spanner.

[Sidenote: Brushing boots.] Brushing boots. Those made of fairly thick
blanket will be found the most useful. They must be long enough to go
right over the fetlock and overlap, and should be fastened round the
middle with tape and be deep enough for the upper part to be folded down
over the knot.

Collar-pads—several leather ones are required.

Sheepskin—a good-sized piece.

Needle and waxed thread.

A few spare straps and buckles.

A few cheek leathers.

[Sidenote: False collars.] False collars, which can either be made of
leather or numnah, often come in very handy. The advantage of the latter
material over the former consists in its being softer, and in the event
of a gall a piece can easily be cut out; but, on the other hand, it
requires a more roomy collar.

[Sidenote: Alter bits when team pulling.] If the team are pulling too
hard, stop them occasionally and alter the bits. Lowering these in the
horses’ mouths often has a wonderful effect. You can also tighten the
curb-chains, or put the reins lower down on the bits. Do not pull at
your horses more than you can help, but directly you feel that they are
getting the best of you stop at once, and if possible give them up to
another driver. [Sidenote: Pace should suit the slowest horse.] If three
of the team can go ten miles an hour, and the fourth horse only eight,
keep the three back to the slow one, for you cannot make him go up to
the others without galloping. When, however, you are on a road coach, it
is better to let the slow horse gallop than to lose time.

[Sidenote: Galloping.] Galloping should not be attempted by the novice,
for until he has learnt to take a good steady hold of the horses’ heads
it is really very dangerous, not only on account of the rapid pace, but
because the coach will almost certainly be set rocking in a very
uncomfortable manner, and may eventually be upset. [Sidenote: How to
prevent coach rocking.] When a coach is found to be rocking, give the
leaders a little more rein, so that their traces may place a more
constant strain on the pole, which will then be steadied. Then take hold
of the horses’ heads and slow down gradually.

[Sidenote: Horse’s likes and dislikes.] If possible try and find out
what a horse likes and dislikes so as to avoid irritating him. The sound
of the horn annoys many horses terribly, and makes them pull. Sometimes
this can be got over by constantly blowing the horn in the stable. Some
hate the sound of the whip, so try and use it very quietly. Others
dislike the sound of heavy carts rattling past them, and are in that
case best placed on the near side.

[Sidenote: Judging pace.] To become a really good judge of pace is most
difficult, but it is very important, and can only be learned by constant
and steady practice.

[Sidenote: Team wobbling.] To drive neatly the horses must above all
things be kept going straight along the road, with the wheelers exactly
behind the leaders. Always save your cattle as much as possible, and to
this end never let them wobble across the road. In some teams this
tendency to wobble is great, and must be checked at once. This can only
be done by continually watching them. [Sidenote: Coach wobbling, apply
grease.] One great cause of the coach wobbling is the fore-carriage
moving stiffly, owing to grit or mud having found its way in between the
plates—a state of affairs which can easily be remedied by a plentiful
application of grease.

[Sidenote: Steering team like steering a ship.] Any such movement should
be anticipated in the same manner that a good helmsman anticipates the
swing of his ship, with a slight motion of the rudder, as by so doing he
is never obliged to put his helm hard over. The unaccustomed hand always
waits too long, till the ship has already swung, and then is obliged to
use a great deal of helm—the result being that he makes his course into
a series of zigzags.

In the same way a very slight pressure applied on the reins at the right
time will keep the horses going perfectly straight and true, without any
pulling or jerking.


[Sidenote: Treating four reins as if only three.] To attain this end it
is very convenient to treat the four reins as if there were only three,
the two off-side reins being treated as one and always kept together
(fig. 33). Then all that is necessary is to place the third and fourth
fingers on the off-side reins, and the middle finger on the near leader
to check the tendency of the leaders to run to the right or of the
wheelers to the left, or else the middle finger on the near wheeler
(fig. 33), to check the tendency of the leaders to run to the left or
the wheelers to the right. This cannot be too strongly impressed on the
reader, as the right hand has to be more frequently used in this way
than in any other.

[Sidenote: Watching an omnibus driver is a good lesson.] A very good and
inexpensive lesson in driving may be obtained by riding on the box seat
of an omnibus by the side of a good driver through the most crowded
parts of London. The driver has not only to gauge his own pace
accurately, but also that of the other vehicles he is meeting and

[Sidenote: Judging pace of other carriages.] This renders it absolutely
necessary for him to keep his eyes looking well to the front and not
always riveted on the horses, otherwise he will be unable to judge
exactly the relative positions of his own and the other vehicles on the
road, all of which, at any given moment, will most probably be moving at
different rates of speed.

These things have to be calculated to a nicety and almost
instantaneously, if the coachman wishes to wend his way at a steady and
a fairly uniform pace through the busy traffic of crowded thoroughfares
like those of the Metropolis.

[Sidenote: Change of pace must be gradual.] When he finds that it would
be impossible to get through by continuing at an even pace, he must
either go faster or slow down. But in either case the change of speed
should be gradual, so as to avoid any sudden jerks.

[Sidenote: Pulling up with jerk, bad driving.] To be obliged frequently
to pull up with a jerk not only indicates bad driving, but causes the
greatest discomfort to both passengers and horses. Many London coachmen
are in the habit of treating their passengers in this way, with the
result that they are perpetually jolted out of their seats and
experience sensations which are both unpleasant and irritating.

The reason is not far to seek—these coachmen are bad judges of pace,
interval, and distance, and do not see till too late whether it is
possible to get through or not. They first hit their horses to try and
get through, and then at the last moment finding it impossible are
obliged to pull up suddenly. With a heavy coach it is impossible to pull
up at once, so that the chances are a collision will occur.

[Sidenote: How to judge width of coach.] The width of a coach is judged
as far as the driver is concerned by the leaders’ bars. They are always,
or they ought to be, rather wider than the pipe boxes of the wheels, so
that the driver knows with the greatest certainty that wherever his bars
will pass his coach will pass also, always provided that he is going
straight. If he is on a curve he will have to make some allowance for
his hind wheels, as their track will pass a little inside that of the

[Sidenote: In passing give room to other carriages.] When passing a
carriage do not move across the road more than is necessary, but at the
same time, once having overtaken it, do not pull across its front until
well clear, unless compelled to do so. It is considered bad form to
oblige another driver to slow down unnecessarily. Begin to cross in
plenty of time, so as to make the incline as gradual as possible, and
thus avoid pulling at the horses. It is far better and safer for the
beginner to give himself plenty of room, and to slow down at once if he
is not certain of getting through. Nothing should be left to chance.

[Sidenote: Take a pull before going down hill.] Always take a pull at
the horses to steady them just before you arrive at the crest of a hill,
and begin to descend the other side slowly. The pace can always be
increased, but it is most difficult to check it if you find that you
have too much way on.

In crossing over a bridge, like the ordinary canal bridge, where the
rise and fall of the road are very sharp, be careful the leaders are out
of draught, otherwise the jerk on the pole might cause it to snap.

[Sidenote: The break.] As regards the break, the driver should put it on
and take it off himself, as no one else can tell the exact moment when
it is required or when it can be dispensed with; but with the beginner,
who probably has quite as much as he can do to manage the reins, it is
advisable to have assistance. It should be put on, as a rule, before the
coach is actually on the incline, and, if another hill has to be
ascended immediately, it should be taken off before actually arriving at
the bottom, in order to take advantage of the way on the coach to assist
in mounting the opposite ascent.

[Sidenote: Coming off racecourse.] When coming off a racecourse with a
heavy load never pull up if it can possibly be avoided, but keep moving
at any price, however slowly, the wheels will then never have time to
sink deeply into the ground. When this happens with a team that is
inclined to jib, it is long odds against getting started again without a
considerable loss of time.

[Sidenote: On slippery stones or asphalt.] When coming on to slippery
stones or asphalt the horses will require holding rather more firmly
than before, and it is advisable to slow down a little when approaching
a corner, otherwise the wheelers are liable to slip up in turning it.

[Sidenote: Wheeler slipping going down hill.] If, while going down a
hill, and especially when near the bottom, you find a wheeler slipping
on to his hocks, do not try to pull him up, but drop your hand and allow
the team to go a trifle faster.

[Sidenote: Place right hand on reins passing startling objects.] It is a
good plan for the novice to accustom himself to place his right hand on
the reins when passing anything on the road, or any object by the side
of it, which might startle the horses, so as to be ready to check them
at once should they show any tendency to shy in either direction.

Naturally the beginner will find that it takes some little time for his
right hand to get into the habit of instinctively seizing the proper
reins when a sudden emergency arises, and accidents occur so very
quickly that I think these precautions may save him from many a mishap.
_Experientia docet._


    [Illustration: FIG. 34.—TANDEM WITHOUT BARS.]


                               CHAPTER X

                            TANDEM DRIVING.

[Sidenote: Principles of tandem driving.] THE fundamental principles of
tandem driving are very naturally almost the same as those of driving a
coach. But the chief difference between the two styles arises from the
fact that both horses in a tandem turn much more quickly and with far
less pressure on the reins, more especially the leader, than the pair of
horses, either wheel or lead, in a coach. Furthermore, the tendency to
wobble about the road is much greater, necessitating a much more
frequent use of the right hand; so that it really requires greater
quickness and lighter hands to drive a tandem than a coach. [Sidenote:
Great nicety and quickness required.] On the other hand, a tandem can
turn on its own ground and everything is in front of the driver, whereas
a coach requires a large space to turn in, and often a good allowance
has to be made for the hind wheels.

[Sidenote: Advantages of tandem.] One of the greatest recommendations of
a tandem is that it is well within the reach of many who cannot afford a
team. The small extra expense and trouble which the leader entails are
fully compensated for by the extra enjoyment which everyone feels when
driving behind a perfect and well-appointed tandem.

[Sidenote: Idea of tandem being dangerous is erroneous.] It is quite a
mistake to suppose that a tandem is necessarily a very dangerous
turn-out to sit behind. It is nothing of the sort, if driven by an
experienced coachman and the horses are fairly trained.

Of course horses that have never been driven in single harness cannot be
safe in a tandem. [Sidenote: Almost any horse will go in tandem.] But
almost every horse that will go in single harness, and some that will
not, will make perfectly safe leaders with very little teaching. It must
be thoroughly understood that there is an immense difference between the
terms a perfectly safe leader and a perfect leader. A horse may be a
perfectly quiet animal, which will not kick, nor do anything that will
get one into difficulties or danger, but yet be a terrible slug. This
would altogether prevent one driving him rapidly through traffic;
therefore, though a perfectly safe animal, he is not a perfect
[Sidenote: Frequent use of right hand necessary.] leader. As mentioned
above, it is necessary to use the right hand very frequently when
driving a tandem, in order to immediately check every tendency the
leader may have to [Sidenote: Follow leader if he turns suddenly.] cross
the road or to turn round a corner. But if by any chance the leader has
got well on the turn before you are able to check him, do not then try
and do so, but apply the principle of “Follow my leader” at once. Follow
after him, and when the horses are straight turn round and come back
again. Do just the same if you are standing still, and the leader
suddenly comes right round. Whilst turning the wheeler, back him if
possible, so as to give the leader plenty of room. By this means you
will never get the leader tied in an inextricable knot.

If it is not possible to follow the leader round, hit him on the side of
the head with the whip, which will probably induce him to get back into
his place.

[Sidenote: Position of left hand and method of holding reins.] The left
hand should be held in the same position as when driving four horses,
and the reins held in precisely the same way, but as these matters have
been thoroughly discussed in a previous chapter it is unnecessary to go
into them again here.

[Sidenote: Position of right hand when on reins.] The right hand ought
to be placed on the reins in front of the left, with the little and
third fingers together over the two off-side reins, the middle finger
over the near-wheel, and the first finger over the near-lead (fig. 35);
all the reins will then be under the immediate control of the right


The two off-side reins should in all cases, except for a sharp back turn
to the right, be treated as one rein, and always kept under the little
and third fingers of the right hand. [Sidenote: Three-rein principle.]
This, which may be termed the three-rein principle, will be found to
simplify matters very considerably, owing to there being practically
only three reins to think about instead of four.

[Sidenote: Difficult to get right hand quickly into the reins.] The
beginner will experience considerable difficulty at first in passing his
right hand quickly on and through the reins in the proper manner, the
reason being that they are all close together, much more so than with
four horses, so that he is obliged to stretch the right hand much
further forward in order to get it in between them. For this reason,
carry your hand well out to the front, where the reins open out a
little, and when once you have hold of them correctly slide it back
towards the body. It looks very awkward to drive with the right hand
held out a long way from the left, and it is also quite unnecessary.

[Sidenote: Always keep right hand on reins at night. ] For those who
have not much experience, it is far better to keep the right hand always
on the reins, and particularly so at night, when the hand should never
be taken away unless it is required for the purpose of using the whip.
Rarely pull one rein singly, as described for pointing the leaders in a
coach, except when looping a lead rein in order to turn a sharp corner,
or to execute a quick bend to get through traffic. If you pull a rein
singly, especially a lead rein, you are very likely to overdo it or jerk

[Sidenote: Never pull rein as if ringing a bell.] Never jerk a rein at
all except in an emergency, but apply the pressure steadily and
gradually. The only excuse for “ringing the bell” with a rein is when
driving a slug which is not going quite up to his bit, when you want to
turn a corner.

It is generally advisable, whenever possible, to advance a few paces
before turning round in a road from the halt. The best methods of
avoiding any jerking when going round corners with free-going horses are
as follows:—

[Sidenote: Turning to the left.] To turn to the left, slide the right
hand slightly to the front and catch hold of the near-lead rein with the
forefinger, and then bring the right hand back towards the left,
allowing the other fingers to slide over, but not to move away from
their proper reins. The near-lead rein will then be looped under the
first finger (fig. 36). When the leader is turning nicely round the
corner, tighten the little and third fingers on the off-side reins, and
apply as much pressure as is necessary by turning the wrist away from
the body; thus bringing the little finger closer to it. This will have
the effect of checking any tendency of the leader to turn too fast,
while also preventing the wheeler from following round too quickly after
him, and cutting the corner.

    [Illustration: FIG. 36.—TANDEM—TURNING TO THE LEFT.]

If the wheeler is still turning too fast, drop the left hand towards the
right, which will slack the near-wheel rein and so keep him off to the
right, or away from the corner. Should the leader not turn quickly
enough, seize the loop which is held by the forefinger of the right hand
with the left thumb, retaining it there in the same manner as previously
described for “pointing” a rein. Another loop can then be taken up as
before, which will bring the leader round as fast as is desired.

[Sidenote: Best method of turning to right.] To turn to the right, slide
the right hand to the front, and with the middle finger seize the
near-wheel rein; draw the hand back about an inch or two, still
retaining a grip of the near-wheel, but sliding the fingers over the
other reins. This is done in order to prevent the wheeler coming round
too quickly. Then tighten the little and third fingers on the off-side
reins, and press strongly on them (fig. 37). This will have the effect
of bringing the leader round to the right. If the leader is not coming
round sufficiently fast, turn the back of the left hand down gradually,
this will enable you to turn him with the greatest nicety.

    [Illustration: FIG. 37.—TANDEM—TURNING TO THE RIGHT.]

The above methods are especially recommended, as they entirely do away
with the necessity of taking the right hand out of the reins for looping
purposes, the great danger of which is that it is almost impossible to
get the right hand back between them quickly enough to prevent the
wheeler cutting the corner, if he is at all inclined to do so, or to
check the leader if he is coming round too rapidly. The horses turn so
quickly, that the wheeler can see the leader coming round almost before
the lead rein can be seized with the left thumb, and tandem reins being
very close together, it is difficult for the right hand to catch the
wheeler’s rein in time to check him. The fact is that several things
have to be done simultaneously, or nearly so, to obtain perfection, and
the manipulation of the reins is then, as I have often heard it
expressed, somewhat like playing the harp. Of course with very sluggish
horses the reins can be looped in the same manner as when driving four
horses, but as a rule less rein must be taken up, or the leader will
come round and look you in the face. Therefore you must always be ready
to pull the opposite rein, and so check the horse from going too far

[Sidenote: Proper time to turn leader at a corner.] Practice alone will
enable one to hit off exactly the proper moment to turn the leader when
a sharp corner has to be negotiated. Perhaps the best general guide is
to give the leader the office when his head is abreast of the centre of
the road to be turned down. More than this it is useless to say, as
everything depends on the width of the road and the angle of the turn.
It is, however, always a safe thing to take as much room as possible,
and it is therefore a good plan before arriving at the corner to pass
off to the opposite side of the road, provided the traffic will allow
this to be done.

[Sidenote: Quickness of handling reins necessary in traffic.] In order
to turn corners nicely with the wheeler going over the same ground as
the leader, and not shuffling round anyhow, or to go in and out rapidly
through traffic like that of London, requires the utmost nicety and
quickness of handling, and also that the horses be well trained to keep
constantly up to their bits, and to feel even the lightest pressure and
answer to it at once. [Sidenote: Horses should answer to pressure of
driver’s hands at once.] When you drop your hand to them, they should at
once increase their pace until you come back to the original pressure,
but the moment more than this is put on they should at once check their
pace. They should also willingly go into an omnibus if driven there, and
never shy off. Such is a perfect tandem, but one most difficult to find.

[Sidenote: Tendency to slow down.] A beginner at tandem driving, and
even some who have had a certain amount of practice in driving four
horses, will usually find the tandem has a great tendency to slow down,
and that a considerable amount of whip is required to keep the horses up
to the proper pace. This tendency will be found to disappear if a
practised hand takes the reins, without the aid of the whip. A want of
lightness of hand is usually the cause, and a want of give and take to
the horses’ mouths. Probably the wrist is kept too stiff, and the
pressure on the horses’ mouths is as a result uneven, too much being
applied at one moment and not enough the next. To keep an even feeling
on the horses’ mouths the hand must be allowed to move backwards and
forwards a little, and there should be plenty of play from the wrist.

[Sidenote: Effect of altering centre reins.] When you find that the
leader is going off to the left, and the wheeler to the right, it is
usually right to push the two centre reins back a little through the
left hand from the front with the right hand, using the whole hand to do
it with.

[Sidenote: Reins must be held firmly.] If, on the contrary, the leader
is bearing off to the right, and the wheeler to the left, you must then
pull the two centre reins out a little until they, _i.e._, the horses,
are straight. You must remember that, although you are using the right
hand a great deal, the reins must none the less all the time be held
very firmly in the left, and not allowed to slip in the least; so that
at any moment you should be able to take the right hand off the reins
and the horses should still be going exactly one behind the other, with
all the reins tight, the left wrist turned in towards the body with the
back of the hand to the front and almost perpendicular.

This position of the left hand is of great importance, as by turning the
back down or up respectively a great deal can be done in the way of
directing the leader to the right or left without any assistance from
the right hand. [Sidenote: Thumb and forefinger always ready to take up
loop.] The thumb should be nearly parallel to the front, and like the
first finger should be ready at any time to take up and hold a loop of
either lead rein; therefore these fingers should never be busy gripping
the reins. [Sidenote: Third and fourth fingers must grip reins tightly.]
The whole four reins should be held firmly in position by the grip of
the third and little finger, slightly assisted by the middle finger.

To get horses, which have never been in [Sidenote: Tendency to form a
pair.] tandem before, exactly to follow one behind the other, requires
considerable skill and patience, as it will be found that their common
tendency is to get one alongside the other, the wheeler as a rule being
anxious to run up alongside the leader. This tendency to form a pair
must be checked at once, but without any jerking or hurried pulling at
the reins.

[Sidenote: Do not worry leader.] The leader should be worried as little
as possible; therefore, do not pull him across the road more than you
can avoid, particularly at first, but try to make the wheeler follow
him, and you will find that if they are fairly well-disposed horses they
will soon fall in with the idea of following one another.

[Sidenote: Constant use of whip shows bad coachman.] Do not use the whip
perpetually; try and work the horses chiefly with your hands, and to a
certain extent by your voice. For instance, when starting them give them
the office by slightly feeling their mouths with the reins and
immediately shouting “Go on,” or something to that effect, momentarily
dropping your hand to them in order to avoid any jibbing while getting
under way. The horses will very quickly understand this, and the use of
the whip will be unnecessary. [Sidenote: Wheeler should start cart.]
Remember, however, that the wheeler should start the cart; therefore be
ready to touch him with the whip, if he hangs back; if, however, he is
inclined to jib, it may be better to allow the leader to assist him.

With raw and nervous horses a good start is everything. Watch the leader
carefully, and when you see him starting get the wheeler off at once by
using the whip if he is not moving off at the same time. When pulling
up, I think it is always a good plan to say “Whoa.” They very soon learn
to obey the voice, and it often comes in handy.

[Sidenote: Encourage horse with voice.] If a horse shies, speak to him
at once and encourage him, but on no account hit him or you will confirm
him in the habit. He does it nearly always from nervousness, or from
defective vision, and not from devilry. [Sidenote: Never hit a shyer.] A
shyer will often go perfectly in the wheel of a tandem and never shy at
all, but is never safe in the lead. I am also a believer in rating a
horse soundly when he does wrong, and especially when you are hitting
him, as the next time you rate him he will think he is going to feel the
whip, and be very careful at once.

[Sidenote: Returning lash after hitting leader.] In a dog-cart, when you
have hit your leader, bring the lash back and catch it quickly with a
turn round the stick by a slight jerk, or bring it straight into the
fingers of your right hand by the same motion. You can then at once
bring it well into the cart, and get your hand back on the reins. This
last is a very important matter, as when the leader is hit he generally
takes to pulling for a few yards, and your whip hand is much needed on
the reins to steady him.

On the other hand, it is very unsafe to bring your right hand on to the
reins unless the lash has been brought well into the cart, as it may
easily be caught up round the axle or get under the wheel; and, as a
rule, if the wheel goes over it, it will break off at that spot next
time you use it.

It is often very convenient to have the whip ready to hit the leader at
a particular place or corner which he is likely to want to go round. To
do this unwind the lash, and keep the point of the stick out to the
right front. The lash can then fly loose and do no harm, unless the wind
is blowing across from right to left.

[Sidenote: Check pace before going down hill.] Always check the pace
before reaching the crest of a hill which you are about to descend, as
when once on the downward slope this may not be possible, whereas to
increase the pace is easy enough. When going down a hill it will be
necessary to shorten up all four reins, either by pulling them through
from behind with the thumb and forefinger (fig. 4), or by placing the
right hand on the reins as before explained and sliding the left up to
it (fig. 35). Sometimes it will be found necessary when going down a
very steep hill to pull back the leader a little, [Sidenote: Leader out
of draught down hill.] but as a rule the mere fact of the wheeler coming
out of draught to hold back the cart will necessitate the shortening of
all the reins, which will bring the leader sufficiently out of his
collar to prevent him pulling on the traces.

[Sidenote: Shortening lead reins.] The leader’s reins can be shortened
either by taking out both the lead reins with the right hand (fig. 32),
the near lead under the first or second finger, the off lead under the
little finger, and then replacing them in the left hand, or else by
pushing them through from the front with the right hand in front of the
left, the latter being usually far the best plan.

[Sidenote: Leader doing too much work.] While on this subject, it may be
well to remark that the novice is usually inclined to allow the leader
to do a great deal too much work. The traces should never be quite taut
except when going up a hill, and then the leader may be allowed to do
his best. The result of allowing the leader to do all the work on the
flat is that the wheeler soon learns to hang back, and thus makes his
companion pull him along as well as the cart, and when this happens it
is almost impossible to [Sidenote: Turning while going up hill.]
negotiate a sharp turn safely. From this it is evident that, when going
up a hill with the leader well in draught, he must be taken out of the
collar before a turn is attempted, otherwise the wheeler will be forced
to cut the corner.

From this chapter it will be seen, that although the general principles
of driving a tandem are the same as those of driving four horses, yet
there are many minor points of difference, which the man, who wishes to
drive both with equal skill, must carefully study and practise.

One very notable difference, which may be pointed out again, is the
greater lightness and quickness of handling necessary to guide a tandem
with ease and safety through difficult places.

Tandem is therefore admirably adapted for ladies who are fond of
driving, as it affords all the interest of a team, without placing any
undue strain on their strength or powers of endurance, while it enables
them to exercise those qualities of quickness and lightness of hands, in
which as a rule they surpass men.

The whole art of driving is composed of innumerable small, though most
important details, but probably no other class of driving requires so
much attention to be paid to these minutiæ as Tandem.


    [Illustration: FIG. 38.—TANDEM WITH BARS.]


                               CHAPTER XI

                            TANDEM HARNESS.

[Sidenote: Best kind of harness simple and light.] THE harness should be
as simple and as light as possible, consistent with strength. The colour
is a matter of taste and convenience, but perhaps for country work brown
with brass mounts is the most suitable, whereas for driving in the Park
black harness is almost _de rigueur_. Certainly for soldiers at home,
and more especially abroad, brown is far the most useful, because it is
a part of every mounted soldier’s training to clean this kind of

[Sidenote: Wheel harness.] The wheeler’s harness is an ordinary single
set with one or two trifling additions, none of which are absolutely
necessary. These are two brass rings or loops fixed under the trace
buckles, into which are fastened the spring hooks of the leader’s
traces, and terrets on the pad divided by a roller to separate the
reins. For the former short pieces of leather can be substituted, which
have holes punched in one end, through which the tongues of the trace
buckles pass, while at the other end are sewn metal rings to take the
hooks of the leader’s traces. [Sidenote: Lead harness.] The leader
should have a pad of rather lighter make than the wheeler, with two
fixed leather loops, one at each side, for the traces to run through.
There must also be a bearing-strap passing over the horse’s loins, and
this should be just long enough to keep the traces level.

[Sidenote: Lead traces.] The traces are usually made long enough to be
fixed to the loops on the wheeler’s traces, as already described. This
is the simplest and most economical plan, but another method consists in
having two swingle bars, by means of which the leader’s traces can be
reduced to the same length as those of the wheeler.

[Sidenote: Swingle bars.] The first of these bars, which is about two
feet six inches in length, has a large hook about five inches long fixed
in its front, and a light chain about one foot long attached at the
back. The chain is hooked to a ring in the bottom of the wheeler’s
hames, and is intended to prevent the bar from falling down. At each end
of the bar are two short traces about two feet long, which hook into the
wheeler’s trace in the same way as previously described for the long

[Sidenote: Advantages of swingle bars over long traces.] The second bar
is a light swingle-tree about two feet in length, having an eyelet to
attach it to the hook of the other bar.

Advocates for this system claim that it is less dangerous than the
other, because neither horse can get a leg over the trace, nor can a
trace wrap round the leader’s quarter if he swings suddenly round to
study the view in rear. The second method however entails more expense
and trouble than the first, which with careful driving need rarely be
the cause of accidents.

[Sidenote: Traces hooked to shafts dangerous.] The leader’s traces are
sometimes hooked to the points of the shafts, but as this is a most
dangerous system it should never be employed.

I have seen tandem traces extemporized out of ordinary single-harness
traces and pole chains, the latter bridging the gap between the
wheeler’s traces and the leader’s. This arrangement looked very smart,
but must make the lead traces too heavy.

[Sidenote: Breast harness.] Although not so smart as a collar, breast
harness can be used in tandem equally as well as in single harness, and
as it can be adjusted to fit any horse its use avoids the necessity of
spending money on numerous collars. It also comes in very useful when a
horse’s shoulders have been wrung by a collar (see Chap. I.).

[Sidenote: Length of lead traces.] The length of the leader’s traces
should depend on the length of the horses and also on their action. They
should be as short as possible, but not so short as to make the wheeler
appear to be stepping on the leader. Three feet from nose to croup seems
to be about the right distance when the leader is in draught.

[Sidenote: Hooking up lead traces.] While on the subject of the leader’s
traces it may be well to point out that the best way to hook them up,
when putting to or taking out the leader, is to pass the end of the
trace from outside under and over itself just in front of the
bearing-strap, and then fasten the hook to the ring of the hames.

[Sidenote: How to fasten up lead reins.] As regards the fastening up of
the lead reins, it is usual to take a loop in the end of the rein and
pass it through the terrets of both pad and hames, so adjusting it that
no spare end hangs down by itself. The loop will be about the right
length if the end of the rein is brought up to the terret on the pad,
the end of the loop thus made being then put through the terrets as
described above.

[Sidenote: Driving bits.] The best bits for all-round work are either
the Liverpool or the elbow-bits, [Sidenote: Wheeler’s bit.] but the
wheeler’s should be made with a light bar across the bottom of the cheek
pieces. This prevents the wheeler from catching the lead rein under the
end of the cheek piece, which constantly happens if he is inclined to
shake his head about, and has the effect of pulling the leader sharply
to one side. [Sidenote: Bit catching in rein.] It is, moreover, very
difficult to get the rein free when caught in this way without getting
down. I think, as a rule, it is a good plan to pass the lead reins
through the loops of the bearing-rein of the wheeler, instead of through
D’s fixed on his [Sidenote: Lead reins through bearing-rein loops.]
head-collar or throat-lash. The loops should hang down about four
inches, and be quite loose, so that the wheeler can toss his head to a
considerable extent without violently jerking the leader in the mouth.
It is unnecessary to pass the reins through the terrets on the hames, as
bringing them straight back to those on the pad gives a better lead.

Of course, if the wheeler habitually shakes his head about very much,
either up or down, or both, then a martingale and a bearing-rein must be
put on, which will effectually stop his little game.

[Sidenote: Lead reins never to be buckled.] Never drive with the lead
reins buckled, as, if the leader breaks either the traces, or the bar
(if he has one), by kicking or falling, the reins will run through the
terrets, and the horse can then get clear away, and a worse accident be
avoided. [Sidenote: Leader’s tail over rein.] Should the leader get his
tail over a rein, a good way of getting it clear is to pull the wheeler
well across to the side on which the rein is fast, and the leader rather
over to the opposite side, slacking at the same time the fixed rein as
much as possible. By this manœuvre the rein will often come loose. If it
does not, try hitting the leader on the quarter with the whip, when he
will probably swish his tail and allow the rein to drop.

[Sidenote: Tandem whip.] The whip is generally a rather lighter and
shorter one than that used for four horses, though the same can
perfectly well be used. The usual lengths of stick and lash are about
five and ten feet respectively. As to the correct method of holding and
handling it the reader must kindly refer to a former chapter, where it
is fully discussed. The principles are obviously exactly the same.


    [Illustration: FIG. 39.—LONGEING WITH LONG REINS.]


                              CHAPTER XII

                          BREAKING TO HARNESS.

[Sidenote: Accustom horse to harness in stable.] IN conclusion, a few
hints as to breaking a horse to harness may be useful to those who have
had no experience in giving a young horse his first lessons. In the
first place, it is a good plan to put the harness on in the stable, and
let the horse stand with it on for a time, with his head on the pillar

In India I found that with Australian horses, even those trained to
military draught, it was absolutely necessary to accustom them to
blinkers before attempting to drive them. They should be made to stand
in their stables, fed and taken out to water, and exercised with
blinkers on, previously to their being driven for the first time,
otherwise they will almost invariably jib.

[Sidenote: Longeing with long reins.] After the pupil is accustomed to
his harness, he should be taken out and longed with two long reins (fig.
39), never with one only. These can be conveniently made of webbing,
like a common single longeing rein, but the lead reins of a tandem will
also answer the purpose. The horse should have a body roller on with two
rings or loops about half way down each side, though an ordinary
single-harness driving pad with the tugs on, or a saddle with the
stirrup irons fixed up for loops, can be substituted. In all cases a
crupper should be used.

[Sidenote: Use snaffle and martingale.] It is always advisable to have a
fairly loose standing martingale on the bit, which should be a large
smooth snaffle, the martingale being so adjusted that it will keep the
bit on the bars of the mouth, and will not allow the horse to get his
head up sufficiently high to cause the bit to press only on the corners
of his lips.

[Sidenote: Bearing-straps.] It is also advisable to put on
bearing-straps like those of a tandem leader, in order to keep up the
reins. The long reins should be passed through the loops of the
bearing-straps, then through the rings on the roller, the tugs on the
pad, or the stirrup irons of the saddle, as the case may be, and then
buckled on to the bit.

[Sidenote: Use whip when longeing.] The horse can now be driven about
and be kept up to his bit with the whip, which the operator should
always have in his hand.

Keep him circling with the outer rein round his quarters above his
hocks. This will teach him to go collectedly, and enable the driver to
keep his quarters well in towards the centre, preventing him from
passing off sideways like a crab. It is impossible to attain this object
with a single rein, which also would have the effect of teaching him to
go on his shoulders.

Another point about having the rein against the horse’s quarters is that
it teaches him not to kick at the trace or breeching.

[Sidenote: Do not longe too long on one rein.] If he should very much
resent having the outer rein on his hocks, begin by driving him with
this rein over his back. He should not be kept circling too long on one
rein, but be often changed from one side to the other. If, however, one
side of his mouth is harder than the other, he should be made to turn to
that side for a longer period, until he turns equally well both ways.

When the horse has learnt to answer the rein at once, and turn equally
well to both sides, he should be taught to rein back.

When this has been successfully accomplished, bring him out with his
harness on and long traces like lead tandem traces.

[Sidenote: Have two men pulling against traces.] Tell off two men to
hang on to these while he is being driven about. By this means the
amount of pressure can be regulated, and as only a small amount need be
applied to begin with, the horse will become gradually accustomed to
pulling with his shoulders. It is impossible to begin too gradually;
although some horses can be taken out of the stable and put into a break
or a coach at [Sidenote: Jibbing taught by undue hurry.] once and will
go fairly well, others will be rendered jibbers for ever by this too
hurried process.

[Sidenote: Horse-breaking in India.] In India a young horse is generally
given his first lessons harnessed to a block of wood. The block of wood
is triangular in shape, and in front of it is fixed a long splinter bar.
The horse’s traces are hitched to this, and the breaker, standing on the
block of wood, drives his pupil about until he is quiet enough to be put
in a cart. A short pole, with a cross bar at the top like a parrot’s
perch, is fixed to the front of the block, to enable the driver to
steady himself and prevent his being jolted off.

This is not at all a bad way of breaking a horse, as he cannot do much
harm by kicking or plunging, and the block being very light does not
teach him to jib.

[Sidenote: Steady horse alongside youngster.] The horse having been
taught to pull is now quite fit to be driven in a break or cart. If
possible, place him at first in a double break, with a steady old horse
alongside of him, which will do all the starting by steady pulling and
not by jumping into the collar. Many old break horses are quite up to
watching the young one, and start accordingly.

Never forget to have a bearing-rein on, also kneecaps and bandages.

[Sidenote: Accustom to both sides of pole.] Drive the youngster on both
sides of the pole for a time, when he should be quite fit to put into a
single-harness break or cart.

Always have a rope halter on a young horse under the bridle the first
few times that he is put to. If he is likely to be very violent, two
halters may be put on, and you can then have a man leading him on each

[Sidenote: Take young horse among traffic.] It is far better to drive
him where there is some traffic than along a deserted country road, for
he will go much better if he sees other things moving about, as they
will distract his attention, and keep him from playing tricks on the

[Sidenote: Exercise before giving lesson.] It is advisable to have him
well exercised before attempting to give him any of the above lessons.

[Sidenote: Breaking in single cart.] Supposing that there is no double
break available, use a strong light cart with extra strong shafts
instead; but a heavy cart with no springs is bad, as it will make a
rattling noise and possibly frighten the novice, while its weight may
teach him to jib.

In this case put a good strong kicking-strap on, but be careful not to
buckle it down too tight, or it will catch his quarters if he should
canter, and perhaps induce him to kick.

The bearing-rein must be loose, but tight enough to prevent him from
getting his head close in to his chest. A loose martingale may also be
added if the horse has a tendency to put his head up; fasten this to the

[Sidenote: Two men to assist in putting to.] Have a couple of men to
hold him, and try and put him in without the shafts touching him
anywhere. Hold the shafts well up, and get the horse as nearly under
them as possible, and quite straight in front of the cart; then lower
them quietly and run the cart up, passing the points of the shafts
through the tugs.

[Sidenote: Hook traces before buckling kicking-strap.] Next hook the
traces and buckle the kicking-strap on as quickly as possible. One man
should be kept standing in front of the horse and holding his head the
whole time, and he should never move away until the driver is ready to
start. It is a good plan at this stage to lead the horse about by the
rope halter, with a man on each side ready to assist, while the driver
walks with the reins in his hand on the off side of the cart. He can
thus guide him without getting up, while the weight which the horse has
to pull to begin with is materially reduced.

[Sidenote: When quiet get up into cart.] If he goes along all right,
mount into the cart and drive him about, keeping a man running alongside
for a little, when, if he continues to go well, the man can jump up
behind. If he should be inclined to jib, have him led on at once, but do
not hit him. Never let the man lead him by the rein, but invariably by
the nose-band or halter. [Sidenote: Turning lesson.] When he has gone
well for some distance on the straight, teach him to turn. Begin by
turning him if possible on a very large circle. If this cannot be done,
have him led round very slowly, the man pushing the outer shaft at the
same time to assist him, as in turning the inner one is bound to catch
him on the shoulder, when he will most probably passage off sideways or
rein back and get frightened.

[Sidenote: How to start a jibber.] With a horse that continues to jib
from sheer cussedness, I have found that strapping up one leg, and
making him stand still until he is tired out, will often induce him to
start off perfectly quietly as soon as the leg has been released.

A rope crupper may also be tried with good effect. This is formed by
taking an inch rope about sixteen feet long and doubling it. The loop is
tied by a thumb-over-hand knot, forming a crupper about two feet long.
Pass the loop under the tail and bring the ends forward, one on each
side; then put a man to pull on each of these ends, and the horse will
most probably move forward at once.

This system is a very useful one for getting refractory horses into a
stable or loose box. In Ireland it is a common practice to rub some
gravel in a jibber’s mouth, and this appears to be effective at times.

When a horse is inclined to kick on first being put in harness, he can
often be prevented, if not cured, by holding, or even tying up a leg, as
in the case of a jibber.

[Sidenote: How to guard against pulling.] If the horse is likely to be a
hard puller, it is a good plan to have a Liverpool bit in his mouth,
with two pairs of reins, one buckled to the cheek and the other to the
bar, the latter only being used to check him if he is pulling too hard.

[Sidenote: Lessons must be continuous.] The lessons must be continued
without intermission daily for some considerable time, or else it will
be found that the pupil very soon forgets what he has been taught.

[Sidenote: How to fix up reins when taking out of cart.] At the
conclusion of the lesson, after getting out of the cart, place the reins
over the off terret to prevent them from falling on to the ground when
the horse is being led into the stable. Take care that the spare parts,
which hang down on each side of the terret, are well in front of the
stop on the shaft; otherwise, if the horse should by any chance jump to
the front while the cart is being run back, [Sidenote: Rein catching apt
to cause an accident.] the rein may get caught round the stop and give a
sharp jerk to the horse’s mouth, which will probably frighten him.

    [Illustration: FIG. 40.—A BREAK BY HOLLAND AND HOLLAND.]

Horses that have once been frightened in this way seldom forget it, and
are apt to plunge forward directly they think they are clear of the
traces, which is a constant source of accidents, as the horse may only
get half out of the shafts, and then he will probably bolt. For this
reason the kicking-strap must always be unbuckled before the traces are

[Sidenote: How to prevent horse plunging forward out of shafts.] The
best way of breaking a horse of this very bad habit is to drive him
straight up to a wall, or into a corner where he cannot jump forward;
then unhook the traces and run the cart back.

[Sidenote: Accustom horse to bars in stable.] A horse that is to be
driven in the lead of a team can be to some degree accustomed to the
bars, by having one tied on so as to hang down and touch him just above
his hocks when standing in the stable.

In conclusion, I would remind the reader that “Prevention is better than
cure,” and in breaking a horse to harness every precaution should be
taken from the very beginning of his education, for when a young horse
has once been hurt or frightened, it is a very difficult thing to
persuade him that the same thing may not occur again, and many a
naturally quiet and generous horse is ruined for harness work, or
rendered nervous for life, simply owing to carelessness or to want of
ordinary precautions during his first two or three lessons.

The beginner who has mastered the foregoing pages will, I trust, find
that he is thoroughly grounded in the theory and principles of driving,
and his interest will, I hope, be roused to such an extent as to induce
him so to turn theory into practice, that with time and perseverance he
will develop into a neat and skilful whip.


                          [Illustration: Logo]



                           HINTS ON DRIVING.


                           From _The Times_.

“Another book which will appeal to all who are interested in horses is
the capital little volume called ‘Hints on Driving,’ by Capt. Morley
Knight, R.A. Captain Knight has nothing to do with history or anecdote;
his work is entirely practical. Doubtless there are other books on the
subject, but none within our knowledge is more clear or complete in the
instructions given for driving in single or double harness, and, above
all, for the more difficult mysteries of four-in-hand or tandem driving.
The utility of the volume is much increased by the accurate vignette
illustrations of hands holding reins, etc., made by G. H. A. White,
Royal Artillery.”

“Captain Knight is the author of a thoroughly practical book entitled
‘Hints on Driving,’ which he dedicates to Major-General Albert
Williams.”—_Morning Post._

“There are perhaps few greater masters of the detail of the art than the
author.”—_The Sportsman._

“One conspicuous and excellent feature is that it takes nothing for
granted, etc. Altogether this little volume is a capital manual of its
kind.”—_Glasgow Herald._

“It is simple, practical, and instructive. So far as the delicate art of
handling the ribbons can be taught by a book, this book succeeds to the
best effect in teaching it.”—_Scotsman._

“Any who are deficient or novices in the art of driving—and it is an
art—will do well to inwardly digest the contents of a capital volume by
Captain Knight, R. A., whose practical advice, down to the veriest
minutiæ, will work wonders in a short space.”—_Sporting Life._

“Captain Knight has done as much as anyone could do to place before his
readers the more or less accepted canons of driving. The book costs but
little money, and anyone who wants to drive properly would do well to
invest his 3_s._ 6_d._, and commit to memory some of the principal
rules.”—_The Field._

“A very businesslike and pleasant little book it is. Captain M. Knight’s
little book will be found far more serviceable than the big work on
Driving in the ‘Badminton Library.’ The book is provided with copious
illustrations and diagrams.”—_National Observer._

“The advice and details afforded by Captain Knight are about as
succinct, clear, and reliable as those which any pupil can desire to
acquire.”—_The Road._

“We have come to the conclusion that the author has accomplished his
design with no little success, and that anyone who desires to drive
properly would be well advised to study Capt. Knight’s pages attentively
before spending much money in driving lessons.”—_Baily’s Magazine._

“Much which it is very necessary for the learner to know may be acquired
from a writer who is sufficient master of his pen and of his subject to
make his meaning clear. Such an one is Captain C. Morley Knight, R.A.,
whose ‘Hints on Driving,’ published by Bell and Sons, will supply a
long-felt want.”—_Referee._

“The neophyte in handling the ribbons has found an excellent friend in
Captain C. M. Knight, R.A., whose ‘Hints on Driving’ are exactly what
the beginner needs. Capt. Knight is a master in the art, and whatever he
says is the fruit of practical experience.”—_Army and Navy Gazette._

“Quite fulfils its author’s object,—namely, to explain to beginners the
rudimentary principles and niceties of driving.”—_United Service

“A most useful, practical, and handy little work on all that appertains
to driving in single and double harness—including four-in-hand and
tandem driving.”—_Broad Arrow._

“We have not for some time come across such a thoroughly practical and
sound handbook as this.”—_Admiralty and Horse Guards Gazette._

“This little octavo volume should have an immense sale in India, where
every household keeps its trap. Herein is given information and
instruction on every conceivable point connected with the mysterious
craft of Whip and Reins.”—_The Pioneer_ (Allahabad).

“It is pleasant to meet with a little volume like Captain Knight’s
‘Hints on Driving,’ so erudite and yet so simple.”—_Times of India._

                     LONDON: GEORGE BELL AND SONS.


 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.
    ○ Unbalanced quotation marks were left as the author intended.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed in underscores (_italics_).

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