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Title: Horse Training by Modern Methods
Author: Pope, Allan Melvill
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Galley Slave, a 2-year-old filly, is the present queen of
Sagamore Farm. Last winter she ran three times in California. She won all
three races and set one world’s record.]

                             Horse Training
                             Modern Methods

                           ALLAN MELVILL POPE,
                First Lieutenant of Cavalry, U. S. Army.

                     FRANKLIN HUDSON PUBLISHING CO.,
                            KANSAS CITY, MO.

                            Copyright, 1912,
                   By Franklin Hudson Publishing Co.,
                            Kansas City, Mo.


The object of this book is to arrange in the most convenient, clear, and
concise form the modern system of horse-training, in so far as it is
applicable to the training of horses in the mounted service of the United

No attempt has been made in any case to improve upon methods already
deemed correct by the best horsemen; and as such methods can be found
dealing with all points of training, it follows that the subject matter
in this book is not original. Where the best was to be found, there it
has been sought, and where the authors of previous works have expressed
their ideas in language considered the most concise and clear, their
words have been copied verbatim, with due acknowledgement to the authors.

I am indebted to the following for methods, theories, translation of
technical terms, and improvised commands herein contained:

    To Major George H. Cameron, 14th Cavalry,
    Captain W. C. Short, 13th Cavalry,
    Captain Guy V. Henry, Cavalry,
    1st Lieutenant Gordon Johnston, Cavalry,
    1st Lieutenant Joseph F. Taulbee, 2d Cavalry,
    The late Captain M. Horace Hayes, F.R.C.V.S.,
    Edward L. Anderson,
    James Fillis,
    Captain de Saint-Phalle,
    _Notes d’Equitation-Carouseles Militaire_,
    _Saumur Notes_ (English translation of the above);
    and to Col. Haddens W. Jones, 10th Cavalry, for valuable assistance
      and advice.


Nothing within this book is believed to be beyond the reach of the
mounted service in general.

The time allotted to “breaking” or gentling will be in many cases
eliminated, as the present system of remount stations has become well

Each troop should have three or four such articles as longes and
cavessons. These articles can be made very easily by saddlers and
blacksmiths, from a model. Models can undoubtedly be procured through the
Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas, or from any saddlery store,
care being taken in purchasing from the latter to determine whether the
model is a correct one or not.

In many cases the reasons for the use of certain aids, etc., are
apparent, and all explanation is omitted. In other cases, where
explanations involve nice points of mechanics, etc., they have likewise
been omitted. The reason for the latter omissions being that they are
interesting to the student only. The real student of horse-training can
only be one who enjoys such work. Many officers do not enjoy it, and this
book is intended for all.

In view of the fact that all the methods embodied herein are
well-recognized methods, I trust readers will take for granted that they
conform to the mechanical principles, etc., omitted.

As riding cannot be taught by books, no attempt is made to do so here.
Officers instructed in riding at the Mounted Service School are returned
to their regiments every year, where, by their example and ability
to instruct, they can accomplish far more than any literature on the
subject; but where riding, as regards the seat, cannot be readily
forgotten, points of training a horse can; and it is for such as forget,
or for such as have had nothing or little to forget, that this book is

As to riding, it might be of interest, however, to some to note that
the following cautions have been found to be a frequent necessity while
training horses with enlisted men up:

Don’t yank upon your horse’s mouth.

Keep your hands low and your wrists supple.

Don’t stick your knees up in the air.

Grip with your knees and the calf of your leg.

Let your stirrups out (for most men).

Carry your legs back.

Don’t let your reins flop.

Don’t hollow out your back.

Don’t let your horse back up (unless the movement is a retrograde one).

Drive him forward.

Don’t let him bend his neck at the shoulder.

Use your leg (or legs).

Don’t be rough with your horse.

New horses sent to a post should be turned over to one competent officer
with assistants, if necessary, for training. If necessary to assign
them to troops to assure proper care and grooming, orders should be
given that they be exercised only by direction of the officer in charge.
Enlisted men specially suited for training horses should be detailed
under the above-named officer’s direction. Only such enlisted men should
be detailed who will not be discharged or detailed on other duty until
the training ceases. The training should continue for not less than six
months. Horses should, when possible, be assigned trainers who belong
to the organization to which the horses are assigned, the rider being
assured, if possible, that the horse will be assigned to him after the
training is over.

Two officers can train with reasonable satisfaction seventy-five horses,
if given one hour and a half per day six days a week, in the riding-hall.
As the number of horses in the riding-hall at a time go over fifteen the
difficulties increase.

In case it be impossible for new horses to be under the direction of one
officer, organization commanders should keep the horses out of ranks an
equal period, and undertake the same training with competent men.

Hard-trotting, uncontrollable horses, uncomfortable to ride and weak in
muscular activity, result from lack of training.

From practical work with enlisted men, it has been found that there is
little difficulty in teaching them the kinds of aids, with their proper
names, and the use and form the various exercises take. The manner in
which they apply their aids and perform the exercises varies with the
individual’s ability to ride and aptitude for training.

When Part II. is undertaken, the difficulties increase. The difficulties
do not lie in the use of the double rein, which the men soon become
accustomed to, but in understanding the flexions and the delicate use of
the aids required in these exercises and in the changes of lead at the

As hands are a most important element in Part II., it is not surprising
that men who have ridden perhaps less than three years should have

Part II. should not be abandoned, either because of the difficulties
inherent to the exercises or because of the lack of proper equipment. The
use of a double bridle improvised from a watering bridle and a regulation
bit is preferable to the use of a single curb immediately succeeding the
work with the snaffle alone.

To some it may seem that confusion exists as to arrangement of the facts.
The scheme of arrangement is as follows:

A man, in training a horse, can begin work on the horse with what he
finds in the beginning of this book, and as the horse progresses he need
only progress in his reading to find new exercises. Certain definitions
and explanations are requisite to a proper understanding of an exercise.
These are necessarily interpolated.

If the reader will consider the difficulties in setting forth such facts
in a logical sequence, he will perhaps be more lenient in his criticisms
of this book, although criticism is expected and sought.

                                                                 A. M. P.

_Manlius, N. Y._, August, 1911.




_Object of Training._—Horse-training is a series of exercises to render
the horse obedient and at the same time to preserve and develop his
inherent qualities. It is a muscular training which by suppling the parts
will strengthen the entire body, and by balancing the horse will develop
harmony in his movements.

_New Horses._—New horses should be exercised daily, at first being led
by men on foot, and later by men mounted on quiet horses. The exercise
should be at a walk, and is used to quiet and strengthen the animals.
When leading a young horse mounted, the side upon which he is led should
often be changed to avoid giving a false set to the neck.

_Care of New Horses._—The young horse should have flannel bandages on his
fore legs when exercised, from the fetlock to the knee, to support the
flexor tendons and to keep the horse from hitting himself, thereby often
causing splints.

After exercising, the legs should be rubbed and the tendons massaged,
then washed with cool water and flannel bandages applied. The tendons are
thereby supported and wind-puffs and swellings prevented.

_How to Adjust a Bandage._—A bandage should be wound up with the tapes
inside. Unroll six or eight inches of it, and lay this loose portion
obliquely across the outside of the leg, close to the knee, with the
end reaching to about the center of that joint, and the rolled-up part
turned to the outside, and directed downward and forward. The beginning
should be continued around the fetlock and upper part of the pastern, and
brought back close up below the knee. The loose end is then turned down,
and the folds of the bandage carried over it. The tapes are tied a little
above the center of the cannon bone. (_Hayes._)

_To Approach an Uncertain Horse._—To go up to an uncertain horse which
is held or tied up in the open, approach the fore leg on the near side
at an angle of about 70 degrees to the direction of the axis of the
horse. Having reached his shoulder, place a hand on his crest and stroke
the mane. When a certain degree of confidence is restored to the horse,
further handling may be undertaken.

_To Lead a Horse with the Snaffle, and to Adjust Snaffle._—To lead a
horse with a snaffle mounted or dismounted, pass both reins through the
near snaffle ring if the horse is to be on the off side. In placing the
snaffle bridle upon a fractious horse, place the reins first over the
neck, if possible. If the horse objects to having the head-stall put on,
unfasten the left check-strap from the ring of the snaffle. Place the
head-stall in position, then put the bit in the mouth and refasten the
cheek-strap. If impracticable to remove the halter before bridling the
horse, place the bridle on over the halter, then unfasten the halter,
slip the nose-band down over the nostrils, then into the mouth and around
under the bit and out of the mouth. The halter will then fall off.

_Longeing._—The following principles must be considered when longeing:

1. The horse must be controlled by the longe; the only function of the
whip is to move the horse forward.

2. The length of the longe should be frequently changed. The horse should
alternately stretch himself on a large circle and bend himself on a small

3. The gaits should frequently be changed. (_Notes d’Equitation._)

_Method of Longeing a Horse._—Start the longeing exercise without the
longeing whip. Place the cavesson on the horse, if possible, after the
halter has been removed, or, if a bridle is on the horse, over the
bridle. Fasten the longe into the ring of the cavesson. Face the same way
the horse faces and walk near his head, leading him by a short longe in a
circle to the left; right hand on the longe near the horse’s head, longe
in the left hand, not coiled, but arranged so that in running out quickly
it will not become entangled or pinch the fingers.

If the horse refuses to lead, an assistant may urge him forward as
quietly as possible from the rear. As the horse becomes accustomed to
being led, gradually lengthen the longe and drop back slightly from
the head of the horse, toward his shoulders. Cluck to the horse to urge
him forward. Use the hand to make motions for the same purpose or tap
him lightly with the hand on his side, in case the horse refuses to go
forward. If the horse turns toward the trainer, shake the longe so that
it lightly taps the nose on the side of the horse which should be toward
the center of the circle. Gradually, as the horse learns what is wanted,
the trainer moves so that the horse circles about him, first at a slow
gait, then at the trot, and finally, when more proficient, at the canter
and gallop.

To slow down the gait, use the voice soothingly and shake the longe up
and down gently. To stop the horse, a series of motions of the longe up
and down, with a strong pull on the longe as it comes down, will have
the greatest effect. The word “whoa” should frequently be used in this
movement. When the horse obeys, he should be caressed.

When a horse will go to the left on the longe, even at the walk, he
should be practiced going to the right until equally capable on that
hand. A horse should not be longed until fatigued.

_Use of the Longe._—

1. To exercise young horses without injury.

2. To give first lessons to horses difficult to manage.

3. For horses that hold back or fight.

4. For horses with one shoulder more developed than the other.

5. For horses that will not work equally well on either hand.

6. For horses that bend themselves with difficulty.

7. For the first lessons in jumping. (_Notes d’Equitation._)

_The Snaffle Bit._—As early as possible, a bridle and snaffle bit should
be put on the horse.

The snaffle is a very mild bit because it acts mostly on the lips and
only a little on the bars. The faults of the hand are therefore less
prejudicial to the tender mouth of the new horse. When, in the course
of training, the horse becomes familiar with the snaffle bit, he may
be prepared for the double bridle by the use of the double snaffle, a
bit which is known not to be dangerous and which gives the rider more
action upon the horse. The double snaffle should properly be composed of
a snaffle without branches and a “Boucher” snaffle. The double snaffle
also is useful in the case of a horse that leans on the hands; the remedy
consisting, in this case, of producing action either by alternate effects
which make each snaffle bit felt separately, or by cross-effects obtained
by the action of one snaffle bit on one side and the other snaffle bit on
the other side.

_Saddling New Horses._—New horses should be made accustomed to equipment
while they are first exercised by leading or when on the longe; first
by the blanket and surcingle, then by the saddle being placed on their
back. The saddle is put on first without stirrups, then with stirrups
crossed, and then with the stirrups hanging. The girth should at first be
tightened slightly, and afterwards readjusted, if necessary, during the
exercises. A nervous horse should be longed a little before placing the
saddle on his back.

A horse should not be mounted for the first time on the same day he is
first saddled.

_Mounting the New Horse._—When first mounting, the rider should get into
the saddle as handily and quickly as possible, without being particular
as to exactness. An assistant stands facing the horse. The rider slaps
the saddle, lets the stirrups drop against the sides of the horse, and
then takes up the reins, leaving them very long. In case the horse backs
up or tries to move away, the assistant leads him gently up to where he
was before and the rider tries to mount again.

If the rider believes that the horse will make violent resistances, he
can insure his seat by having a rolled blanket strapped to the pommel
of the saddle, to keep his knees in place. With a horse very difficult
to mount, where there is danger of severe resistance, the horse should
be snubbed up to a strong, quiet horse. Snubbing is only resorted to in
cases where longeing and quiet handling have failed to bring about the
desired results.

With very restless animals, the assistants stand squarely in front of the
horses and simply caress the animals’ heads without holding the reins.
If a horse is very restless, and the cavesson has to be used, it should
be in the hands of an experienced man.

The following is a position often taken for mounting a restless animal:
Take the reins of the snaffle in the left hand, and with the same hand
catch hold of the mane at about the middle of the neck so that there is a
slight tension on the reins. Take hold of the pommel of the saddle with
the right hand and mount, taking care that the left toe does not touch
the horse when mounting. Above all things, avoid bustling the horse when
starting; for, if he is led to expect this, he will never stand quietly
to be mounted. Sometimes feeding a horse oats from a pan while he is
being mounted causes him to stand quietly.

_First Lessons after Mounting._—Never require anything from the horse
mounted for the first time. If he walks straight ahead, it is sufficient.
Keep the reins separated and feel lightly the snaffle. Ride the horse a
few times around the hall to the right and to the left, leaving him as
free as possible, if, of course, he is quiet. If the horse does well,
dismount and feed him carrots, if they can be supplied, or a handful of
oats. Carrots ought always be cut lengthwise and never across; in the
latter case they might stick in the animal’s throat.

_Resistances._—Among the most violent resistances are bucking and rearing.

If the horse attempts to buck, press him forward with the legs and hold
his head high. The rider is more easily displaced if the horse bucks in
place. If the rider is not able to make the horse go forward, he should
turn him to the right or left with the snaffle bit. As all horses have
a soft and hard side to their mouths, when resistance is encountered in
turning to the right, the attempt should be made to turn him to the left.

When a horse rears, separate the reins, and take hold of the mane in the
left hand at about the middle of the neck. Lean forward, and when the
horse comes down again, push the body back into its place by quickly
straightening the arm.



A little must be understood about equilibrium before the aids can
properly be mastered.

_Direct Equilibrium._—This relates to the balance of the horse when the
center of gravity is moved forward or backward. The fore legs of the
horse are used for translation, the hind legs for propulsion. The horse
naturally bears more weight upon his fore legs than upon his hind. The
center of gravity, then, is nearer the fore quarters than the hind, which
is therefore favorable to the forward movement of the horse.

If the weight of the horse, by changing the position of parts of the
body, brings the center of gravity towards the rear, it is more favorable
for the backward movement.

When the center of gravity is forward, the fore legs control the movement
of the mass, and the hind legs merely propel. When the center of gravity
moves backward, the hind legs become more and more masters of the control
of the movement of the mass, and their action then is from the ground up
as well as from rear to front as before. In other words, the movements
gain in height.

_Position of a Horse for the Forward Movement._—

1. When a horse wants to move forward, he naturally puts himself in the
most favorable position; consequently he throws his weight forward to his
shoulders, and, to do this, stretches out his head and neck.

2. To obtain the forward movement and the accelerations in gait then, the
rider must let the horse extend and lower his head and neck; similarly he
must raise them to obtain the slower gaits.

3. _A horse must always be ready to carry himself forward._ This is
the most important rule in equitation. The tendency to move forward is
called “impulsion.” Without impulsion we can have no influence over the
direction. (_De Saint-Phalle._)

The horse must go into the bridle. Nearly every vice and resistance
offered by a horse is preceded and made possible by the animal getting
behind the bit; that is, he refuses to face the bit, or take the pressure
of the bit, so that the rider’s hand can find nothing by which he can
enforce his demands. (_Anderson._)

_Lateral Equilibrium._—This relates to the balance of a horse when the
center of gravity is moved sideways. It is a case where the horse is
made to load one shoulder or one haunch or all one side more than the
other. It is used for changes of direction, parallel displacements, etc.
The horse being in motion, if we force him to carry the weight of his
forehand to one side, the entire forehand tends to be displaced to the
same side. This displacement of the horse is obligatory if that of the
center of gravity is sufficiently accentuated.


_What Are the Aids?_—The aids are the different means employed by
the rider to convey his desires or intentions to the horse. (_Notes


_The Stirrups._—The stirrups should be so adjusted that the tread of the
stirrup is level with the top of the heel when the rider is mounted and
seated properly. When the stirrups are too long, as with the “fork seat,”
the rider is unable to use his legs with strength and accuracy. With the
stirrups too short the rider’s knees are too high, the seat is forced too
far back and he is unable to sit down in the saddle; hence is less secure.

_Position of the Foot in the Stirrup._—At least one-third of the foot
should be inserted in the stirrup; the heel should be slightly lower than
the toe and the ball of the foot should rest upon the tread. (_Notes

The following are the uses to which the legs are put:

1. To produce the forward movement.

2. To range the haunches.

3. To bring the hind legs forward under the body.

_The Equal Action of Both Legs._—The most important duty of the legs
is to act together for the purpose of giving or sustaining impulsion.
This action should command the forward movement and its acceleration.
To obtain this result, the legs can act by simple pressure of the knees
or by pressure of the knees and calves. The pressure of only the knees
is sufficient with delicate horses, but with others the pressure of the
calves has to be added to that of the knees. The more energetic the
pressure and the farther behind the girths it is, the greater the result
produced. Usually the action of the leg is strong enough if it is placed
against or a little in rear of the girth. If the action there is not
sufficient, it may be carried back a little—never, however, to reach an
angle of 45 degrees. The perfection to aim at is to have the leg move
almost imperceptibly and vary its effects only by different shades of
pressure; but with a horse that does not respond sufficiently to the
demands, it becomes necessary to carry the leg back a little by bending
the knee and keeping the heels low. The inclination of the leg to an
angle of 45 degrees is the very maximum, which it is unscientific and
useless to pass or even to reach, so that if the action of the leg is
not efficacious under these conditions, we must turn to more energetic
methods. But little trouble is experienced in teaching riders not to
carry the legs too far back. The reverse is usually the case.

The above method failing, the next to try is consecutive thumpings with
the calf of the leg, not very pronounced, but repeated until the result
sought is obtained. At the instant the legs should cease their action,
and should repeat it only when the need again is felt.

If this means is not sufficient, there is nothing to do but come to
blows with the legs. These are executed by slightly carrying to one side
the calf and ramming it against the horse with a violence proportionate
to the result to be obtained. This movement ought to be done without
raising the knees or sticking them out, the lower part of the legs being
independent of the rest of the body in order that the seat and the hand
be not deranged. This manner of getting action upon the horse ought not
to be continued for a long time, even if its effect is not sufficient or
lasting. Like every violent movement, this one ought to be exceptional,
and rather than repeat it frequently, it is better to have recourse to
short, energetic action of the spurs.

It is very necessary to avoid the frequent fault of using the leg after
sufficient action has been gotten out of the horse or of continuing
the demands when they are already obeyed. Then the impulsion of the
horse is augmented in a manner prejudicial to the desired result, which
necessitates the action of the hand to oppose the augmented impulsion
falsely ordered by the legs.

_Unequal Action of the Legs._—When one leg is used more than the other,
the haunches are displaced to the opposite side. The horse is then said
“to range his haunches.” This effect is often useful in preventing the
horse from slipping out sideways, in straightening him, and in making him
change directions, etc.; but its greatest utility lies in permitting the
rider to range the haunches and traverse the horse, which movements are
essential to the main instruction in the mental and physical suppling of
the horse.

The rules for the use of both legs apply equally well to the use of one
leg, as regards place of contact and manner of graduating the intensity
of action. (_“Equal Action of Both Legs and Unequal Action of the Leg,”
from “Elementary Equitation,” by De Saint-Phalle._)

_To Bring the Hind Legs Forward Under the Horse._—Due to contraction of
the muscles produced by the tickling sensation of the leg or spur upon
the side, the horse mechanically brings his hind legs up under the body
when so forced. This bringing up of the hind legs places the control of
the movement of the mass in their power, because the center of gravity
is nearer their base. Hence the leg movements become more elevated, the
speed less fast, and the horse more handy and more easily controlled.

_Mutual Support by the Legs._—If one leg acts to range the haunches, the
other should receive the mass to limit and control the movement. Both
legs should be at all times close enough to the horse to act accurately,
quickly, and without abruptness in order to assist each other.

_When a Horse Is “Behind the Legs.”_—When a horse refuses to move forward
after the equal action of both legs is produced, he is said to be
“behind the bit” and likewise “behind the legs.” A horse in this state
is beyond the control of the rider, and every means should be exerted to
force the horse with the legs up into the bit again.

_The Spur._—The spur should not be used until the seat is secure. If the
pressure of the calves of the legs is sufficient to command impulsion,
the spur should not be resorted to.

Resistances are provoked if the spur remains in the side continuously,
and the animal becomes disobedient and on the defensive. Continued
contact should be replaced by repeated contacts of short duration of an
intensity to fit the case.

The length of the spur varies with the length of the stirrup-leathers,
the length of the leg of the rider, and the form of the horse. A general
rule is that the spur should be of such a length as to be easily used
without danger of unintentional usage during sudden displacements.


In the training of the horse the reins should be held in two hands.
Single reins should be held as prescribed in the Cavalry Drill

The following important rule should always be observed: _The pressure of
the rider’s legs, or of his heels, must always precede any action of the
hand_; in other words, the bit does not go back to the horse, but the
horse goes forward against the bit.

It has been shown that by the action of the legs impulsion is produced in
the horse, which causes a stretching of the neck to the front in order to
begin or accelerate the forward movement. If as the head and neck stretch
out the forward movement of the bit in the mouth is arrested by the hand,
the bit is brought into stronger contact with the bars of the mouth,
which produces its action. The action of the reins is thus produced after
the action of the legs has produced its effect.

KINDS OF REINS. (_De Saint-Phalle._)

_Open Rein._—This rein is used in turning the horse. The right rein, for
example, is said to be open if the right hand is carried to the right
and front. Reins are so used for the particular effect they have upon
the horse’s head. The need of them is felt especially in the training of
green horses, but also with a horse that refuses to turn and carries his
head in the opposite direction from that in which the rider desires him
to go. When the right rein is open, the horse’s head will be drawn to the
right and he will be assisted in moving in that direction.

_Direct Rein._—This rein acts parallel to the axis of the horse without
intermediary action upon the neck. Reins used in this manner bring
a little of the weight to the side on which they act, which with an
obedient horse suffices to make him turn to that side. It is also used in
turning the horse’s head at the poll so that the horse may look in the
direction toward which he is going.

_Rein of Support._—The right rein, for example, is called the right rein
of support when the right hand moves from right to left and the right
rein hence bears against the neck. It has different effects according
to the point towards which its action is directed. For example, if the
hand is moved towards the front of or over the left shoulder, the effect
is to bring the weight of the forehand towards that shoulder; or if the
direction of the right rein of support passes in rear of the withers,
the effect is felt by the increased weight on the left haunch; or if
the action of the rein in this direction is sufficiently strong, it can
either lead to the displacement of the haunches towards the left by
setting the left shoulder, or displace simultaneously the shoulders and
the haunches towards the left by pushing the horse entirely to that side.

The effect of the rein of support is extremely powerful in preventing the
horse from slipping out on its side, or in restraining the horse from
turning in the opposite direction.

_Rein of Opposition._—If the rider opens the right rein slightly and
pulls either in the direction of the right haunch or the direction of
the left haunch, the rein is called the right rein of opposition. He is
then said to set the shoulders in opposition to the haunches. (_Notes

_General Rule._—A general rule is, that at all times contact is kept with
the mouth by the reins through the medium of the bit. _The reins never
flop._ There are two exceptions to this rule allowable: during complete
abandon, as at the walk; and momentarily, during flexions, as will be
shown later.

_The Seat._—The seat is an aid when it changes the support of the body
from one buttock to the other to assist the horse in lateral movements.
This movement helps to carry the center of gravity of the horse to the
side toward which the movement is desired. Similarly an increase in the
weight placed on one stirrup is an aid.

The upper part of the body by leaning forward or back likewise assists
the horse in moving the center of gravity forward and back.



The horse being now able to be mounted, the following exercises may be

The horses are taken into the riding-hall, if available, and the riders
instructed to work without regard to distances. It is a bad plan to work
in groups, especially with young horses, as they soon become accustomed
to remaining in ranks and refuse to leave.

The forward movement, as has been stated, is the most important lesson
in training, and it is continually taught during the entire course of

_The Walk._—To take the walk from the halt, both legs should be made to
be felt, gradually increasing their intensity until the setting in motion
is produced. The fingers and wrists give, to allow the neck to stretch
out. The horse should be set in motion in the direction of his axis by
symmetrical use of the aids. The movement should be smooth, but without

In order to keep the start from being sudden, the energy displayed in
the use of the leg should conform to the degree of sensitiveness of the
horse. The movement can be kept from being hesitatingly performed by
progressively, but without hesitancy, using such force as the legs should
have, and by giving the reins with the fingers and wrist at the precise
moment the neck tries to stretch out.

_The Trot._—This is the most advantageous gait to take during the first
lessons, because:

1. It starts the horse straight ahead and helps to bring him in hand.

2. Horses are less restless at this gait.

3. It is a natural pace.

4. It is a good suppling exercise for the horse.

The trot is not a fatiguing pace to the horse. He can go a long distance
continuously at a fair rate of speed at this gait, because both fore
and hind legs, respectively, have the same amount of work to do, and
the body can be easily maintained in a state of equilibrium, as it is
supported by diagonal supports.

The rider, if in the flat saddle, except at slow gaits, should rise to
the trot during this exercise. The diagonal on which the rise is made
should frequently be changed.

The lightness of the horse only comes with further training. The rider up
to this point tries little by little to bring the horse under control by
the following exercises:

1. Moving to the front at a walk, then a trot.

2. Increasing and decreasing gaits.

3. Halting.

_To Halt._—To execute this movement, lean back slightly and gradually
increase the pressure of the bit on the mouth until the movement slows
down and gradually stops. Both legs should at the same time be carried
back to assist the horse in bringing the haunches up under him. The horse
should neither raise nor lower his head. The whole mass of the neck
should move toward the withers.

Halting the horse should often be practiced with horses possessing a
high, powerful croup and with those inclined to forge ahead at all times.
Those inclined to fret, those whose legs are well set up under them, and
those that are difficult to keep up into the bit should seldom be halted.

Especially during these lessons must the rider pay strict attention
to the even tension of the rein. At first the rider must do all the
work—that is, must tighten the reins; but later the horse, having become
accustomed to the pressure of the bit and always having the idea of going
straight ahead, will of his own accord keep the reins taut.

_The Gallop._—Almost invariably the gallop lesson should be begun early.
This is an additional means of suppling the horse, of strengthening him,
extending him, and pushing him straight ahead. It would be stupidity
to gallop frequently on a colt that drags his legs and is disunited
at a trot and that has difficulty in holding up the part essential to
the training. On the other hand, it is proper to gallop repeatedly
on a vigorous horse that has been worked before purchase, or on the
horse with good strong legs, particularly after he has been thoroughly
confirmed in the correct trot. (_Notes d’Equitation._)

_To Take the Gallop by Extending the Trot._—To accomplish this movement,
the rider needs only to take the trot and by the use of both legs to push
this gait up to the point where the horse leaves it to pass into the

To accomplish this without undue increase of speed, put the horse on a
circle of six or seven yards radius, first trot around this and then
lengthen the trot until the horse escapes into the gallop. When he is
calm and the rider feels confidence in himself, the rider may leave the
circle and rejoin the track on the same hand.

As long as the rider does not wish to make abrupt changes of direction,
but gallops on a large circle or on the track, it makes little difference
whether the horse is galloping true or false, and it is useless for the
rider to bother about the leads at this stage of the training. (_De

When the horse begins to understand the gallop and takes it calmly, the
correct lead, which is explained on page 61, may be undertaken, at
present, by the following aids: Both legs to increase the gait from the
trot to the gallop; outside rein to prevent the haunches from swinging to
the outside and which precludes the liability to a false lead.

(_Note._—“Outside” always means the outside of a circle, or, if on the
track, the side towards the wall.)



_The Walk._—This is a movement of four beats, and is a pace in which all
the legs move, respectively, one after the other. If, for instance, the
left fore leads, the sequence is:

    1. Left fore.
    2. Right hind.
    3. Right fore.
    4. Left hind.

If the near hind begins, it will be:

    1. Left hind.
    2. Left fore.
    3. Right hind.
    4. Right fore.

Each foot comes to the ground after the one that precedes it at an
interval of about half the time occupied taking one step. The result of
this is that we have the following order of supports:

    1. Right laterals (right fore and right hind).
    2. Right diagonals (right fore and left hind).
    3. Left laterals.
    4. Left diagonals.

As a rule, a horse begins the walk with a fore leg. (_Hayes._)

_The Trot._—This is a movement of two beats. The diagonal feet are on the
ground at the same time. The order of supports is:

    1. Right diagonal.
    2. Moment of suspension.
    3. Left diagonal.
    4. Moment of suspension.

_The Pace._—This is a movement of two beats, like the trot, except
the support is by the laterals instead of the diagonals. The order of
supports is:

    1. Right lateral.
    2. Moment of suspension.
    3. Left lateral.
    4. Moment of suspension.

_The Gallop._—The gallop is an unsymmetrical gait of three beats. It
is called unsymmetrical because the two front legs make dissimilar
movements, likewise the two hind. Two different combinations take place,
which are called “gallop right” and “gallop left.” The moment of taking
each new point of support is called a beat.

In the gallop right the points of support are taken in the following

    1. Left hind.
    2. Left diagonal (left front, right hind).
    3. Right front.
    4. Moment of suspension.

The gallop left is as follows:

    1. Right hind.
    2. Right diagonal (right front, left hind).
    3. Left front.
    4. Moment of suspension.

A horse galloping right, for instance, seems to have the right legs
always in front of the left. The rider can tell by seeing if the right
shoulder is further advanced than the left. If the horse gallops right
in front and left behind, the rider can feel an unusual stiff movement
beneath him.



The horse being able to move forward and to decrease and increase gaits
with reasonable accuracy, changes of direction may be undertaken.

_First Exercise._—The horse being at the walk, force the horse forward
with both legs, use the open rein, and if he moves off at an angle
oblique to the original direction, although the divergence may be small,
it is satisfactory.

_Second Exercises._—The horse being at the walk, use the right or left
leg to help carry the haunches around to the left or right; use the
right or left rein of opposition to turn the horse to the right or left
in a direction perpendicular to the original. The rein of opposition
is used to combat the haunches with the shoulder. The horse not yet
knowing the meaning of the preponderant use of one leg of the rider,
the shoulder combating the haunch will make the haunch swing around,
and if the horse, every time he is obliged to swing his haunches by the
rein of opposition, feels the rider’s leg on that side, he will begin to
associate the use of the leg with the swinging of the haunches.

_Third Exercise._—As the horse begins to understand the meaning of the
use of one leg, gradually lessen the use of the rein of opposition as an
open rein, until it finally becomes a direct rein, used only to turn the
head slightly in the new direction. As the rein of opposition, or open
rein, is diminished, supposing it to have been the right rein, gradually
bring into play the left rein of support to force the fore quarters
to the right in the new direction. As to the legs: Have both ready to
maintain the impulsion, and each ready to act singly in case the hind
feet do not follow in the track of the fore feet in making the change of
direction. The hind legs being the propellers, and the maximum of power
being always desirable, for purely mechanical reasons the greatest power
of the hind legs is obtained when they follow in the same path as the
fore legs, during turns.

(_Note._—The third exercise should not be undertaken until the horse has
accomplished most of the exercises of Lateral Equitation, explained in
following chapters.)

Abouts, circles, figures of eight, and serpentines are exercises,
named in order of difficulty, which may be undertaken to accomplish
the same result as the above exercises, with greater exactness. All
these exercises should be practiced at the walk until proficient before
attempting them at the slow trot. The rider sits the slow trot.

_The About on the Forehand at a Halt._—With horses that are naturally
impulsive and are continually endeavoring to forge to the front, abouts
on the forehand from the halt may be practiced at this stage of the
training. With horses of exaggerated impulsiveness it may sometimes be
undertaken earlier. The exercise should come later for less impulsive
horses. The movement should always be completed by moving the horse
straight to the front. The about on the forehand should always be about
the inside leg as a pivot, for otherwise the movement is a retrograde one
and tends to put the horse behind the bit.

It must be understood that at this stage of training, that is, during
lateral equitation (explained on page 50), the about on the forehand is
not a finished movement. The aids to be used are: To execute an about
on the forehand to the right; both legs to arouse impulsion; the right
leg to swing the haunches; the right rein of opposition to assist the
right leg; the left rein to assist the right in its second function of
preventing the horse from moving forward. The left leg is always ready to
prevent the horse from backing.

_About on the Forehand (Dismounted)._—With some horses that are
particularly difficult to teach the use of the leg as an aid, dismounted
work may be resorted to. Short lessons only should be given.

Working on the left side, seize the reins six or eight inches from the
bit in the left hand. Stand facing the horse and with the riding-whip
touch him in rear of the girth where the rider’s leg would ordinarily
come when used as an aid. Increase the force of the whip, beginning with
light taps, until the horse swings his haunches away from the whip. The
left hand prevents the horse moving either forward or backward. If at
first the horse fails to move his haunches, he may be assisted in doing
so by bringing the head slightly toward the side of the trainer. This
opposes the head to the haunches and assists the action of the whip.



From the moment the horse will go straight ahead outdoor work is in some
cases a necessity and in all cases to a greater or less extent desirable.

Horses which tend to get behind the bit or which do not let themselves
out should frequently have outside work alternated with hall work. The
horse being gradually educated to a good free trot should be given them
outdoors, allowing time enough between trots for the horse to assume
normal breathing. Outdoor work should take place with normal horses two
days a week.

All horses need fresh outdoor air occasionally.

Horses that are inclined to bolt or forge ahead continually, or those
that throw most of the weight on the forehand, need much more hall work
than outdoor work.

Young horses especially should be given trots on soft ground. No horse
should be galloped on hard roads. Soft ground means turf or dirt roads,
not plowed land or stone-built roads. The gallop is undertaken outdoors
only when the horse can be made to lead from either foot.

By going in pairs nervous horses do not fret while outdoors, as much as
though alone. It is likewise better not to maintain a formation in ranks
while outdoors, any more than necessary, in order to prevent the new
horses from acquiring the habit of going in ranks and refusing to leave.

During the last part of outdoor exercise the horse should be walked so
that he is returned to the stable breathing normally.



_Different Kinds of Equitation._—When, for example, the _right_ rein
and _left_ leg are used to assist each other in moving the haunches, it
is called lateral equitation. When the reins place the forehand and the
legs alone control the hindhand, as, for example, if the _left_ rein and
_right_ leg are used, it is called diagonal equitation.


The following points should be considered during the exercises in lateral

1. One step taken correctly is at first all that should be expected or

2. As the movements are fatiguing, they should at no time be continued
more than a few seconds.

3. Horses that are stiff on one particular side should be suppled by
exercises to that side.

4. The preceding rule applies to all parts of the horse except the neck.
If the neck is stiff on the right side, supple it by exercises, as
“Shoulder In” (see below), on the left hand. (_Capt. Short._)

5. The movements are all begun at a walk and, when proficient in them,
are executed at a slow trot.

6. When the movements are executed on a circle, where the fore quarters
are on one circumference and the hind quarters either on a larger or a
smaller circumference, the effect, besides being one of suppling, is as
follows: When the haunches are on a smaller circumference the horse tends
toward collection, his hind quarters tend to come up under the body,
and it is a good movement for a horse that forges ahead; when the hind
quarters are on a circle of greater circumference than the fore quarters
the horse tends to be forced up into the bit and to stretch out behind,
hence it is a useful movement with sluggish horses or horses that tend to
get behind the bit.

7. When executing any of the following exercises, if the horse fails to
respond to the action of both legs and does not go up into the bit, cease
the exercise at once and move straight ahead at a trot or gallop and do
not return to the exercise until the horse is again into the bit.

_First Exercise in Suppling the Haunches._—This lesson consists in abouts
on the forehand while marching. For example, marching on the right hand,
leave the track on a diagonal (oblique) and return to it by a half turn
to the left exacted by a very pronounced action of the left leg and left
rein. This strongly marked lateral effect carries the horse’s haunches to
the right; that is to say, the horse while still gaining ground yields to
the effect of the leg (and left rein), and thus describes a half turn.
The same movement is executed while marching on the left hand and the
horse eventually swings the haunches easily about the forehand, without
halting, without striking the fetlocks, and without dancing. (_Notes

The commands for this exercise are:

    1. Right oblique.
    2. _March._
    1. On forehand.
    2. Half turn in reverse.
    3. _March._

“Half turn” and “reverse” could, in this case, be expressed “left half
turn,” but “in reverse” has particular significance, and the terms should
be retained on that account.

_Haunches In._—This movement is one to exact obedience to one leg while
marching. It continues the suppling of the hind quarters and confirms the
obedience to the leg. It should be undertaken only when the horse yields
readily to the legs in previous exercises.

Marching on the right hand, use the left rein of opposition and the left
leg. It is sufficient if the horse swings his haunches to the right so
that the left hind foot steps on a line passing through the prints of the
right fore foot. The left rein of opposition assists the action of the
left leg. At first one step is sufficient to demand at a time. Repeat the
movement several times, gradually demanding more steps in the correct
position. Never demand the movement, at any one time, over a greater
distance than the long side of the riding-hall. The following cautions
should be carefully observed:

1. Never let the horse’s body make an angle of more than 45 degrees with
the original direction. To prevent this, use the inside leg.

2. Never let the gait diminish. To prevent this, use both legs when
necessary to demand impulsion.

3. Do not lean to the left when moving to the right. The weight of the
body should be slightly more upon the right buttock when moving to the

4. Do not let the right rein be slack when moving to the right.

_Shoulder In._—This is a similar exercise to haunches in, but more
difficult and more useful.

This movement supples both forehand and hindhand.

To execute the movement when marching on the right hand:

First use the right open rein and the left rein of support, the fore
quarters are then moved off the track and the head turned to the right;
the right leg is then used to push the mass from right to left and the
left leg to receive the swinging of the haunches and to control the

_Cautions to Be Observed_:

1. During the first lessons, after the fore quarters have been moved off
the track, to facilitate the movement along the track, the outside rein
may be slightly opened.

2. The reins prevent the lateral flexion of the neck at the shoulders by
holding the head firmly between them.

3. The fore quarters are sufficiently removed from the track if the left
fore foot and right hind travel along the same path parallel to the




_General Rules for Diagonal Equitation_:

1. Perfection is gained when the body of the horse from the poll back is
in a straight line.

2. The horse’s head is always turned slightly at the poll to enable him
to see in the direction he is going.

3. The reins set or place the forehand.

4. The legs govern the hindhand.

5. The green horse is never passaged directly to the right or left. The
direction of motion should not be more than 45 degrees from the direction
of the axis of the horse.

_Work on Two Tracks._—This movement consists in displacing the horse
parallel to himself in a direction oblique to that of his axis, the front
and hind legs describing four parallel tracks. The exterior members
cross over the interior ones.

The following are the aids in order to move a horse on two tracks to the

1. Both legs, if sufficient momentum is not already obtained, should send
the horse up into the bit to receive the indications of the reins.

2. The right direct rein makes the horse look to the side toward which
he should march, and by throwing the weight slightly to the right begins
the displacement of the center of gravity towards the right. The left
rein of support acts at the same time as the preceding, to insure the
lateral displacement of the forehand to the right by further displacing
the center of gravity.

3. The left leg, at this moment, becomes preponderant in order to direct
the haunches to the right, while the right leg acts if necessary to limit
the displacement of the haunches, and to oblige the horse to maintain his
gait and to gain ground to the front as well as to the side.

4. The seat is displaced towards the right to aid the horse’s movement to
that side. (_De Saint-Phalle._)

The following are exercises on two tracks:

1. _On Two Tracks, Haunches In._—A two-track movement along the track,
with the head to the wall, in which the haunches move on an inside track,
the horse being in the position described above for the work on two
tracks and being governed by similar aids.

2. _On Two Tracks, Haunches Out._—Same as above, except the croup is to
the wall and the fore quarters move on an inside track, the hind quarters
on the track.

3. _On Two Tracks on the Diagonal._—A movement in which a horse moves
across the hall on the diagonal on two tracks.

4. _On Two Tracks on a Circle._—Described by its name. The haunches being
on a smaller or larger circle than the fore quarters. The same principles
apply in each case as described for work on two tracks.


_For First Exercise._—1. On two tracks. 2. Haunches in. 3. March.

_For Second Exercise._—1. On two tracks. 2. Haunches out. 3. March.

_For Third Exercise._—1. On two tracks. 2. Right oblique. 3. March.

_For Fourth Exercise._—1. On two tracks. 2. Haunches in (or out). 3.
March. (_Foot-note to Saumur Notes._)

_About on the Forehand at a Halt._—To execute this movement from left to
right the aids are as follows:

1. Carry the weight of the mass over the shoulders by the equal action of
both legs.

2. Just as the horse is about to move out, close the fingers on the reins
and prevent further advance.

3. Use the right rein of support to bring the weight upon the left

4. Use the left direct rein to turn the horse’s head to the left at the

5. Use the left leg to move the haunches to the right.

6. The right leg remains ready to maintain the advanced position of the
center of gravity and likewise to limit the movement of the haunches to
that side.

7. The seat should be carried to the right to facilitate the displacement
of the haunches to that side.

_About on the Haunches._—This movement is more difficult than the about
on the forehand and should be undertaken only after the work on two
tracks is well understood.

The movement is first taught by moving the horse on two tracks on a small
circle; for example, to the right, with haunches in.

Gradually decrease the diameter of the circle as the horse becomes
proficient. As the circle becomes smaller change the direction of the
rein so that the direction of the pull is toward the right haunch to
weight the latter down. Likewise increase the pressure of the left leg
until it is sufficient to prevent little by little any movement on the
part of the haunches. The circle then is finally diminished so that the
movement is that of a circle on the part of the forehand about the right
hind leg as a pivot. If the movement should be about the left hind leg,
or outside leg, as a pivot, it becomes a retrograde movement, which is
liable to put the horse behind the bit.

_The Gallop._—Heretofore the gallop has been undertaken merely as a means
of exercise to strengthen and stretch out the horse and to teach him a
little in balancing himself by the use of his legs. No attention was paid
at first to the leads; later a little lateral equitation was used to
partially insure the correct lead.

A horse is leading correctly when the right laterals (right front and
right hind) are in advance of the left laterals, when turning to the
right. This is called “leading right.” A horse is galloping disunited
when he is galloping one way in front and another way in rear.

On small circles or sudden turns of direction a horse is liable to fall
if not leading correctly.

_The Right Lead._—To require a horse to lead to the right, the aids are:

1. Weight of the body to the left, weight in left stirrup in order to
weight down the left haunch.

2. Use of the left leg to cause the haunches to be displaced to the right
consequently requiring the right lateral to pass the left.

3. Use the right leg to join its action to that of the left to give the
necessary impulsion and to receive the haunches and prevent their being
moved too far to the right.

The horse being driven by the legs up into the bit, is received by the
reins in the following manner:

4. Right rein of support exerted in a direction toward the left shoulder
to weight the latter, for it must be slowed down; at the same time this
movement frees the right shoulder and allows it to extend itself. The
horse is made to slightly turn the head to the right at the poll in order
that he may see in the direction in which he is going.[1]

5. Left direct rein corroborates the action of the right and keeps the
neck straight. (_De Saint-Phalle._)

6. If the gallop is taken from the trot while posting, rising with the
right diagonal assists the right lead. Rising from the left diagonal
assists the left lead.

When perfection is attained, the horse does not perceptibly swing his
haunches to the right or left.

    [1] _Note._—For paragraphs 4 and 5 the following paragraphs,
    showing a method of using the reins, may be substituted.
    This method is taught by some of the best authorities in
    our service. It certainly can be reasoned out as well as
    that mentioned above, it is more easy to put in practice and
    produces results in a scientific manner.

    “1. Use the left direct rein to weight the left shoulder.

    “2. Exert sufficient pressure on the right rein to keep the
    head from being turned to the left, so that the horse may
    see where he is going, and at the same time raise the right
    hand slightly to assist in lightening the weight on the right
    shoulder, thereby assisting to free it.”



This exercise is a suppling one for back and haunches, and is especially
applicable to horses who have difficulty in bringing the hind legs under
the body. It is an exercise which to the unskillful is dangerous, as it
tends to put a horse behind the bit. To the skillful it is of course less
dangerous yet it should not be undertaken by either until this point in
the education of the horse is reached, provided he be normal. With horses
that are very difficult to hold, or are continually bolting, backing
exercises may be undertaken earlier in the training.

The movement may be advantageously taught dismounted at first.

_Teaching the Backward Movement, Dismounted_:—The trainer stands facing
the horse. He takes the reins one in each hand and slightly lowers the
head to relieve the weight on the hind quarters. He then makes a slight
movement with his hands towards his own body, sufficient to prepare the
horse to move forward. As the horse is about to move out the trainer
presses directly toward the horse with the bit until the horse takes a
step to the rear. One step at first is sufficient.

After a few lessons of this, the trainer steps to the left side of the
horse, with the reins in the left hand, the riding-whip in the right. He
stimulates the hind quarters with a light touch of the whip, and as the
horse starts to move his hind quarters up under his body he urges him to
take a step to the rear by the pressure of the bit. As soon as he takes a
step or two as desired, he leads him forward.

_Mounted._—When the horse can perform the last exercise well, mount him.
Use the aids required to move the horse to the front; then, just as he is
about to move out, increase the pressure of the reins and lean slightly
back until the horse steps to the rear. As soon as the horse at first
has taken a single step to the rear he should be moved straight to the
front. Later several steps to the rear may be required, but a movement
to the front always follows the last step. If difficulty is at any time
encountered in moving the horse forward after the backward movement,
backing should cease as an exercise until the horse is sent up into the
bit again.

If the horse sets himself, move him forward a step or two, and as he is
moving exert the aids for the backward movement until he obeys. Moving
a horse’s haunches laterally will help to prevent a horse from setting
himself and refusing to back.

This exercise should not be repeated often in a single day.




The horse that can perform successfully the foregoing exercises, that
has found his balance while moving forward, that is easy to control by
the aids at the walk and trot, and that has learned the use of his legs
in accomplishing a good walk, trot, and gallop, is ready for the double
bridle. It normally takes about three months to accomplish this.

_Definition._—The double bridle is one with usually four cheek straps,
which fasten, one into the eye of the curb bit the other into the ring of
the snaffle bit.

The curb bit is nearer the front of the horse’s mouth than the snaffle,
and the curb chain likewise passes in front of the snaffle bit.

_The Severity of the Curb Bit Increases_—

1. With the difference between the length of the upper and lower branches.

2. With the tightness of the curb chain.

3. With the height of the port.

4. Inversely with the size of the canons. (_De Saint-Phalle._)

Bits with branches similar in length to the U. S. regulation bit are
arranged below in order of mildness:

1. The broken curb bit. (Like a snaffle bit, but with upper and lower
branches and curb chain.)

2. Rubber- and leather-covered bits.

3. The straight bar bit.

4. The regulation bit.

_Kinds._—The “Weymouth” or “Pump” bit is quite universally used for polo.
Why it is considered efficacious for polo especially is not known. It is
a good bit, except the lips are liable to become pinched.

The “Pelham” is a bit provided with rings for the snaffle rein at the
junction of the canon with the branches. The action of the curb reins on
this bit does not produce the same effect, when the snaffle reins are
used at the same time, as it does on a curb bit, where the snaffle reins
are attached to a separate snaffle bit.

It is a general rule to follow, that all complicated bits are useless,
and that with a well-trained horse the mildest bit that will insure
obedience is the correct one.


The reins are held in both hands, snaffle reins outside the little

1. Use the curb bit without curb chain until the horse becomes accustomed
to it.

2. Use the mildest bit available and fasten the curb chain loosely. At
first only move on straight lines until the horse takes the bit quietly,
then execute simple exercises in which the horse is proficient. These
exercises at first are begun on the snaffle bit.

3. Use the bit best adapted to the horse, and set the curb chain to keep
the bit from falling through. Work mainly on the snaffle bit until the
horse becomes accustomed to the bit and curb chain.

The preceding movements should be begun at first at a slow gait.

_Use._—The curb bit is used primarily, in training, to lower the head, to
flex the jaw, and to bring the nose in towards the body.

The snaffle bit raises the head and supports the horse.

A curb bit will not stop a horse that makes up his mind to bolt.

A curb bit roughly used may cause a horse to make up his mind to bolt.

A “hard mouth” is often a tender mouth accustomed to hard hands.

_The Curb Bit “Gathers” the Horse._—A horse is gathered when his head and
neck are well raised, the front line of the face nearly vertical, and the
jaw and the junction of the head and neck at the poll flexible.

A horse in a state of “collection” is in a position to obey, to the
utmost of his capability, any demands the aids may give.

A horse is in “collection” when he is gathered and his hind legs are well
up under the body.

When a horse is collected, the rider, by having omitted bending the neck
near the shoulders during training, has the neck firm on the shoulders
and not flexible or “rubber-necked.” Hence the rider acts on the neck
through the mouth and on the shoulders through the neck. The hind
quarters by being under the horse bind themselves to the forehand. The
rider then by acting on the forehand acts likewise upon the hind quarters.

The entire body of the horse should be, if properly collected, an
energetic and harmonious whole. The horse is “in hand,” because his jaw
is flexible and he yields to the effects of the bit. The horse is light
or handy, because he is balanced by continual training and because his
center of gravity is equally near both front and hind quarters; hence the
proper movement on the part of the rider will disturb this balance in any
direction desired.

The rider at this point, being supposed to be able to get the hind legs
up under the horse, must learn to gather him.

To gather the horse involves:

1. Direct flexion (the flexion of the jaw and head in the direction of
the axis of the horse.)

2. Lateral flexion (the flexion of the neck at the poll in a direction
perpendicular to the axis of the horse).

_Direct Flexion._—Direct flexion is the concession the head and lower jaw
of the horse make in the vertical plane of the axis, of the horse when
the action of the reins arrests the extension of the neck. The giving of
the neck is confined to the upper portions; the front line of the face
is made to approach a vertical line and the head is made to make in an
almost imperceptible manner a movement analogous to a nod.

The giving of the jaw consists in opening the mouth, causing complete
abandon of the bit, followed _immediately_ by the closing of the mouth
and the taking up of contact with the bit again.

To flex the jaw in direct flexion, first start the horse into a walk.
Never let the gait slacken during flexion. Close the legs. When the horse
goes up into the bit, close one hand on one snaffle rein (if the movement
is done with a snaffle bit), or close the hand on both curb reins. Do
not make the pressure of long duration if resistance is encountered.
Alternate the action, first by releasing, then increasing the pressure.
This is more uncomfortable to the horse than continued pressure, and he
will soon yield.

The head is flexed in direct flexion so that it is set with the front
line of the face nearly vertical by the action of both curb reins. The
head and neck are raised by the snaffle bit, should they be lowered too

_Lateral Flexion._—Lateral flexion is a concession which the head and
neck make by turning the head to the right or to the left when an
opposing action of the reins stops an extension of the neck. The jaw
gives in lateral flexion as in direct flexion. The neck gives by making
the head make a turn of a quarter of a circle to the right or left at the

Lateral flexion should be demanded, in the beginning, at the walk. To
obtain it, to the right, for example: first, resistance must be offered
by the right direct rein, which leads the head into the desired position;
the left rein then acts to limit this movement and to work together with
the right rein to obtain the concession of the jaw.

Flexion may be made dismounted, if absolutely impossible of execution

_Direct Flexion Dismounted._—Stand on the near side of the horse. Take
the snaffle reins off the neck over the horse’s head and hold them a few
inches in front of his head with the left hand. Urge the horse forward
into a walk and raise the head slightly to the proper elevation with the
snaffle reins. When the horse moves out at the walk, take the curb reins
in the right hand and assimilate the movement of the reins as though
flexing the jaw mounted. Do not let the horse slacken speed or, at any
cost, back up.

_Lateral Flexion Dismounted._—Stand on the near side, with the snaffle
rein held as for direct flexion. Execute direct flexion and when
performed lead the horse’s head to the right with a snaffle rein,
increasing the pressure of the right curb rein slightly until the head is
turned to the right at the poll. Do not let the horse move backward, nor
let the neck flex in rear of the poll. The maximum movement of the head
is over an arc of a circle of 90 degrees.



This movement is to be undertaken when the horse is capable of taking the
desired lead from a trot on a straight line.

1. Put the horse on a circle of large radius, at a gallop. Leave the
circle by a line parallel to the diagonal of the riding-hall and form
another large circle to the opposite hand, keeping the same lead at the
gallop as on the first circle. Galloping on the second circle with the
same lead as on the first is galloping “false.” Besides lowering the
croup and balancing the horse, the false lead impresses the aids upon the
horse, because to maintain a false lead the aids used on the first circle
must be more strongly used on the second.

2. Gallop the horse on a straight line, leading right. Bring him down to
a trot, previously having changed the aids to gallop left, which assists
in bringing the horse to the trot and prepares the way for the next
move. As soon as the trot is taken, increase the aids of gallop left,
increase the impulsion, and send the horse into gallop left, with only
a few steps of the trot intervening between gallops. Gradually, as the
horse becomes proficient, decrease the number of steps taken at the trot.

3. When the amount of trot required between changes of lead is hardly
more than a slackening of speed, or “half halt,” make a large circle to
the right at the gallop, leading right. Leave the circle on the diagonal,
as before, and make another circle to the left, holding the right lead.
Change the aids, while on the second circle, to gallop left, without
coming to the trot, and force the horse into the change of lead.

4. When the horse can accomplish the above, attempt the change of aids
and force the change of lead on the straight line without diminishing the

The above movements are very difficult to accomplish smoothly and
correctly. The change of aids must not be accomplished roughly and the
aids must be used with only the intensity required to change the lead,
thereby not forcing the horse to increase of speed.




Jumping is an exercise which when properly undertaken is most instructive
and productive of good results to both man and horse.


(Jumping from the Gallop Left.)

1. As the left fore foot is about to leave the ground, just before the
moment of suspension of the gallop, the leg, especially the fetlock
joint, is straightened.

2. The head and neck are elevated.

The above movement raises the forehand.

3. Just as the left foot is raised the two hind legs are brought up to a
place on the ground about where the left fore foot was.

4. The hind legs are straightened out.

Due to the last movement, the horse completely leaves the ground and
takes the obstacle, with fore and hind legs bent.

5. The horse lands on the left fore foot, legs straight.

6. The right fore foot, leg straight, is then brought to the support.

7. The left fore foot is picked up.

8. The right fore foot is picked up and simultaneously the left hind
comes to the ground.

9. The right hind comes to the ground.

The horse then is galloping right after landing.

The horse leaps from a trot from one front leg and both hind legs. The
leap is more difficult, as it is impossible at a trot to get both hind
legs side by side up under the body to “take off.”

From the walk and halt, the horse in jumping first rears, then
straightens out his hind legs.

As jumping for height at a gallop is the easiest for a horse, and as
the principles encountered apply equally well to the other gaits, the
following deductions are made from the mechanism at the gallop, as
explained in previous paragraphs.

From Paragraph 1: As the distance from the jump to the place where the
left leg leaves the ground is of the utmost importance to the horse, he
should be allowed to gauge his stride while approaching the jump.

From Paragraph 2: As the head and neck are raised to assist in raising
the fore quarters, the rider’s body should not lean forward of the
perpendicular, for this would hinder the movement. As the horse’s
object is to lighten the fore quarters, it follows that great speed is
a detriment to a horse in jumping, for the more speed the more weight
upon the forehand. Raising the head and neck necessitates lengthening
the reins at the moment of extension, or letting them slide through the
fingers. It follows then, that, as a false movement of the hand with a
severe bit causes greater injury than one with a snaffle bit, a snaffle
bit should be used in jumping until proficiency is obtained.

From Paragraph 3: To facilitate the bringing well up under the body of
the hind leg, the rider’s legs must be carried back.

From Paragraph 5: The weight of the rider’s body must set to the rear to
assist the horse by lightening the load on the forehand while landing. If
a severe bit or a hard hand pulls the head in and bends the neck while
the horse is in this position, by cramping the muscles of the neck the
horse is prevented from stretching his legs to the front to insure a safe

From Paragraph 7: If the rider’s weight is forward or he is thrown upon
the horse’s neck while the horse is landing, the extra weight on the
forehand prevents the fore leg being picked up and causes over-reaching.
Extreme speed has the same effect with the same result.

From Paragraphs 8 and 9: It is seen that the horse is galloping with
the other lead after landing. In jumping in the riding-hall care should
be exercised at the corner beyond the jump if at the gallop, for, if
galloping correctly at the start, the horse is galloping false after the

_Teaching the Horse to Jump._—Place a bar upon the ground and lead the
horse over it at a walk. When the horse executes this movement correctly,
raise the bar to about two feet and jump the horse upon the longe.

_To Jump a Horse on the Longe._—First instruct the horse sufficiently
upon the longe until he goes equally well on either hand. Approach the
jump, the horse circling on the longe on the left hand, for instance. The
trainer holds the longe in the left hand so that it can be allowed to
run out with ease; the longeing-whip is held in the right hand. Circle
the horse near the jump until the horse goes quietly. The circles are
made slightly in rear of the jump. When the horse is quiet, move so that
the jump will intercept the circle the horse is making. As the horse
approaches the jump the trainer, with the longe fairly taut, likewise
approaches the end of the bar nearest him, keeping the longeing-whip held
in rear of the horse. Urge the horse with the whip, if necessary, until
he jumps. After taking off, let the longe run through the fingers so as
not to yank the horse or bring him up short. When the horse does well,
stop him and caress him or give him carrots or oats.

Jumping should be begun at first at the walk, then at the trot and
gallop. The horse jumping for the first time gauges his stride more
easily at the walk.

A bar may be placed two or three feet from the ground in the opening
of the corral fence, etc., so that the horses that have been worked at
jumping on the longe may be thus intercepted by an easy jump on their way
to the corral or to some such place to which they are desirous of going.
A man with a longeing-whip stands ready to urge on any that refuse. This
jump should be stiff and helps to prepare horses for outdoor jumping.

_Riding the Horse Over the Jump._—The horse being able to jump with
sufficient accuracy, on the longe, is mounted. First, he is ridden over
the bar on the ground, then over the bar gradually raised to suit the

On taking a horse up to the jump the following are essential points to

1. The rider must make up his mind that he is going to make the horse

2. He must have confidence in his balance and not stiffen his muscles.

3. He must increase the grip with his knees and the calves of his legs
and keep his hands low.

4. The rider must have the horse well in hand and must remember that if
a horse attempts to slip out to the left, the use of the right rein, to
turn the head to the right, helps the horse to go to the left by freeing
the left shoulder. The rein of support is the one which should be used,
together with whichever leg will straighten the horse so that he is
perpendicular to his jump.

Horses are more easily controlled in the riding-hall, but jump with more
freedom outdoors. Outdoor jumping should be taken up as soon as the horse
learns to jump moderately well indoors.

Wings are not found in ’cross-country work, hence a troop horse whose
training is fitting him for just such work should not be made dependent
upon them by their use in the riding-hall all the time.

_Jumping for Breadth._—This is a more difficult jump to teach a new
horse, because he is more fearful of a ditch than of a fence. From
the nature of the jump, it can only be taught outdoors. The method of
instruction is the same as for jumping for height.

As the momentum acquired by speed is essential to carry the horse’s body
across an open ditch, greater speed is necessary than in jumping for
height. Excessive speed, however, so weights down the forehand that it
becomes difficult for the horse to raise his forehand sufficiently to
clear the ditch.


Although all horses are different one from another, the preceding rules
generally apply. The rider who appreciates the needs of his horse is the
one most likely to succeed in training.

To many, the expenditure of six months in training troop horses by these
methods seems unnecessary and impracticable. With experienced men and
amenable horses the time may be slightly reduced. A horse cannot be
hurried, and slipshod, careless training is often worse than none.

As it has been found entirely practical to follow out this course with
enlisted men on remounts at a regimental post, it is to be hoped that
heavy, hard-gaited, uncomfortable horses to ride will soon disappear from
the ranks.

[Illustration: Arion. The highest-priced American trotter. Purchased
by J. Malcolm Forbes, Boston, Mass., for $125,000. Now owned by M.
W. Savage, Minneapolis, Minn. Arion holds the fastest record for a
three-year-old colt of 2.10½. Illustration by courtesy of Mr. Savage.]

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