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How To Use Hands and Legs for Control a Horse

How do you to ride a horse, and how use legs and hands to gain body control in a horse.
The horse is propelled by the hindquarters, and the movements are directed by the fore-hand. The legs of the rider act upon the croup, and by their pressure bring forward those forces ; the hand restrains the forces of the fore-hand, and collects and guides all. When the forces of the croup are brought forward to such a a point that they meet and balance the forces of the fore-hand, the horse is in equihbrium, and no movement can be generated until one or other of the forces predominate.
How To Use Hands and Legs for Control a Horse
How To Use Hands and Legs for Control a Horse

As the legs act upon the forces of the croup, and as the hand governs the forces of the fore-hand, it will be seen that this union and balance of the forces puts the immediate and distinct control of the mass within the power of the rider.
 The forward movement of the horse will be measured by the effect of the forces of the croup to predominate, and the corresponding yielding of the forces of the fore-hand.
 But if the force opposite the augmented force does not yield, then that unyielding part is the more firmly fixed to the ground, as by an incumbent weight, and if action takes place it must either be in rearing or in kicking.
 If the forces of the croup predominate, and the fore-hand does not yield to correspond, then the action ot this latter part is hampered. But if, as the forces of the croup seek to advance the point of union, an advance is made by the fore- quarters, the equilibrium may still be approximately obtained. That is, if this equilibrium is to be maintained, the forward movement of the fore-hand will be permitted as the forces of the croup are brought forward.
 If the speed is to be increased, the legs will act upon the croup and the hand will give freedom to the forehand. If it is desired to moderate the speed the forces of the fore-hand wiU be brought back ; and when they are brought back to a point where they balance the forces of the croup, a halt is brought about. If the forces of the fore-hand are brought back beyond this point of balance, the mass must move back, or undue weight must fall upon and fix the croup.
 It is the object of the rider to maintain the approximate equilibrium in all the movements of the horse.
 But to obtain the control of these forces, all the resistances, active or by the will of the horse, and passive or by the weight of the horse, must be overcome.
 That is, the horse must be suppled in the fore-hand and in the croup, must obey the legs, and be amenable to the bit. The method of suppling the croup and of teaching obedience to the pressure of the legs, w411 be treated at length in the chapter upon The Pirouettes." We shall now turn our attention to the fore-hand and to its seat of feeling, the mouth.
 The horse must first be taught that he cannot pass beyond the Hmit put by the hand without bringing pain upon himself, but that so long as he is obedient to the bit he finds comfort. To this end the hand will firmly resist any attempts of the horse to go beyond the Hmit fixed, but it will make a concession whenever he yields his opposition. The next step will be to make him relax his jaw and bring his head into position, so that there will be no opposition to the bit. To accompHsh this the rider will be mounted and the horse will be kept upon his ground. Taking the curb-reins in the left hand, the rider will make gentle vibrations of the right rein with the right hand until the horse gives the jaw. A word of encouragement will be given and the tension will be re leased. Then changing the curb-reins into the right hand, the same thing will be done with the left rein by the left hand. After the horse will yield to either side, he will be induced to give up the opposition of the jaw, and bring the head into position by the same vibrating motions of the two reins at equal length. If the horse hangs upon the bit, he will be induced to bring up his head and carry his own weight by a few pulls upon the snaffle-bit, from below upwards. But there is never to be a steady tension upon the bit, the horse is to be kept in hand by a series of shght touches that are to be relaxed the moment the resistance ends. When there is a steady pull, no matter how light it may be, the equilibrium is destroyed.
 By a pressure of the legs the horse will be made to bring his hind-legs in under him, a forward movement being prevented and lightness in front being secured by the means above recited. When these forces from the fore-hand and from the croup are gathered and balanced, the horse is in equilibrium, and is ready for any movement without further preparation.
 After these lessons have been repeated at the halt until he desists from opposition, he will be put into  the walk, the trot, and the gallop, the approximate equilibrium being at all times demanded. If he attempts to go beyond the bit he must be re strained, and lightness must be kept up by tbe gentle,  ntermittent tensions of the curbs. If he hangs back the heels must keep the forces of the croup up to the point that is required by the desired speed.
 It is through ignoring the fact that a horse's fore-hand may be lightened by the play of the bit, that induces some writers upon riding to adopt crude and improper means for producing the different movements depending upon that condition. A badly trained horse wiU bear upon the bit of the heavy hand, and instead of becoming hght in the front at its pressure upon the mouth, the forehand will be the heavier for this opposition. It is for such horses and such riders that some writers upon the art advocate that the head should be pulled to the left to lighten the right shoulder, when the rider wishes his horse to lead in the gallop with the right side. Now it is agreed on all hands that a horse's head should be turned in the direction that he goes.
 In the above instance the head of the horse is turned to the left and he is to lead off with the right side. Then if his head is carried to the right to change direction to that side, the horse should, if he answers to his signals, change his leg and be false in his gallop. But when the heavy-handed rider has on some occasion made his horse rear, he finds that when the horse is forced to yield to the hand he becomes light in front, and the theory we support is in that case proved.
 We have seen that by overcoming the resistances of the fore-hand we can lighten that part without violence, and when we come to the lesson upon the gallop the same principles will be applied to make the horse lead with either leg. For if the fore-hand is made light by the proper action of the bit, that side will be made the Hghter upon which the action is the more strongly defined, so that to make him lead off with the right leg we shall raise that side with the right rein, and the horse will move off  with his head in the proper position.

To Change Direction:

We will suppose that the horse has SO far progressed in his education that he may be put into the walk, and yet be so obedient to the bit that he retains the equilibrium as far as and possible. Keeping him at a steady walk, the rider will accustom him to bear the pressure of the legs by applying them, first one and then the other, as the horse raises the opposite fore-leg. This will serve to improve the action of the gait, as well as to bring him to bear the pressure of the legs without flinching. When he will answer the pressure of the legs and bare heels by bringing forward the forces of the croup, and will measure his speed by the freedom given him by the hand without forcing himself upon it, he will be accustomed to the spur until he bears the scratch of the rowel with the same complacency that he bore the attacks of the heels. This can be brought about without trouble by quieting the horse by voice and hand after each application of the aid, which at first should be very Hght, to gradually increase in force. The spur should never be given with a shock, but the foot should be carried back and the rowel quietly but quickly apphed by lowering the toe. After the horse finds that the spur comes soon after the pressure of the leg he w^ill rarely require the a,ppHcation of the severer form of the aid, and the whole education of the horse will tend to make him quick and lively in his motions, and ohedient to the slightest expression of his master's will.
 The horse, in hand and gathered, will be put into the walk, and the rider will practise the change of direction to the right. Taking the curb-reins in the left hand, he will hold the snaffle-reins divided by the width of his right hand. Upon arriving at the point where a new direction is to be taken, the rider will turn the head of the horse by the direct apphcation of the right snaffle-rein, and when the horse turns into the new path the left hand will be carried to the right, so that the left curb-rein will press against the left side of the neck. The legs of the rider will give such aid in bringing up the croup in the new direction as the circumstances may require.
 After the horse will turn readily to the demand of the snaffle-bit, he will be made to take the new dii-ection with the unaided use of the curb, the left-hand being canied to the right so that the outside rein presses upon the neck, and bends his head in the direction he is to move.
 Carrying the curb-reins in the right hand and those of the snaffle in the left, the change of direction to the left will be made in a similar manner.
 The horse will be accustomed to be brought to a stop from the walk by the rider raising the hand and leaning back in the seat, and gently pressing with the legs to bring under the forces of the croup.
 The horse standing, and in equilibrium, the rider will induce him to bend his head and neck, first to one side and then to the other, by the vibratory motion of the direct curbrein. Both legs will be kept close to the sides of the horse to keep him steady, the opposite leg being rather closer to overcome resistance and to prevent a movement of the croup against it. The horse will not be permitted to carry back his head, at will, from the bent posture, but the rider will bring it back into position by the rein opposed to that by which the movement was begun.
 It only remains, for the present, that the horse should be taught to bend the croup, at the application of the heel, sufficiently to put him into position for the gallop. He will first be made to take a step with the hind legs to the right by the application of the left leg, the right rein playing with the mouth to remove the opposition of the right shoulder. By inverse means the croup wdll be moved a step to the left. In all movements of the croup the legs should be held close to the horse, so that the action produced by the one may be readily checked by the other.

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