Henri Louis Paul Robert Blacque Belair.

Cavalry horsemanship and horse training : (Responses an questionnaire D'Equitation de l'Ecole de cavalerie) online

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Online LibraryHenri Louis Paul Robert Blacque BelairCavalry horsemanship and horse training : (Responses an questionnaire D'Equitation de l'Ecole de cavalerie) → online text (page 10 of 10)
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and neck.

In thus riding his horse with impulsion, held
firmly between fixed legs and long stretched reins,
the horseman gives his horse liberty between the
aids, and places him in the best position for jumping.
In fact, the formula which best sums up the instruction
to be given to the riders when jumping, is, not to jump
before the horse, nor after the horse, but with the



The resistances of the horse are very rarely caused by
wickedness or a bad disposition. They arise some-
times from a defective conformation, or from defects,
visible or invisible, which make obedience painful,
and force him to try and free himself from the effort

But it is most often the case that the ignorance or
awkwardness of the rider are responsible for the bad
habits and resistances of the horse.

The horse, as has already been shewn when studying
his mental constitution, is for ever taking his rider's
measure, and he is a past master at finding out the
form of resistance which the latter is most afraid of ;
rearing, resistance on slippery pavements, or beside a
wall, etc. If the animal discovers the timidity of his
rider, or feels the powerlessness of his aids, he im-
mediately feels his own power, abuses it, and gets the
upper hand.

On the other hand, restiveness rarely occurs when a
horse (even one with a bad character) is entrusted to
an energetic intelligent horseman with method, and
determination to overcome difficulties. The vigorous
application of certain rules of horsemanship and of


breaking, laid down in the preceding pages, will nearly
always bring success.

To the brutal and sui)eri()r force o! the horse, the
rider should oppose skill and tact ; he will take careful
note of the nature of the resistances, their cause and
their scat (mouth, shoulders, quarters or pain).

He will divide the difhcultics, and as much as
l)ossible, attack them separately (stop, relax, place,

He will remember that the seat and fixity give the
aids their greatest power with the least effort ; when
a fight is necessary he will preserve his coolness ; he
will not squander his strength, but, on the contrary,
concentrate it on the right spot at the right time.

Alongside these first principles — knowledge, the
control and economy of strength — there exists for the
domination of a difhcult animal, a number of methods,
natural or artificial, which study and experience have
disclosed, and it is for the rider to employ them accord-
ing to his temj^erament and that of the horse, and to
apply them in the difficulties, special or unforeseen,
which arise during the training, or in the daily w^ork
of the horse.

Ignorant horses. — When a horse disobeys out of
ignorance of what is required of him, by merely showing
anxiety or a passive resistance, one should recall him
to obedience by taking up his training from the point
at which he is at fault, and then following the series of
exer(?ises laid down for the completion of his education.

Nervous and frightened horses. — It is by kindness
and patience that one succeeds in giving the horse
confidence. When his rider sees an object likely to
frighten him, he should sink into the saddle, leave the
reins long, pat the horse and calm him with the voice.


If the horse has constantly fear of the same object, it
is preferable to get off and familiarize him with the
object, rather than force him up to it with the spurs.
If the horse tries to turn round the rider should keep
him on his right road by opposing the shoulders to the

Badly shaped horses. — The badly made horse
naturally suffers the consequences of having inherited
weak organs, and refuses to execute movements which
throw sj^ecial strain on these organs. The rider should
avoid immoderate demands, which will but provoke
resistance if the horse is weak, or ruin still further the
defective parts if he tries to carry them out.

Restive horses. — To master a horse with a difficult
character, the rider should prove himself the stronger,
and never let pass an act of disobedience or yield to
a whim. It is, however, rare that one can get him to
yield without using force ; on the other hand, cwery
concession on the part of the horse should be im-
mediately recompensed. With the horse who no
longer obeys the pressure of both legs, the instructor
is obliged to return to the lesson of the legs given with
the lunge and the long whip.

Horses which rear. — To put up this defence a
horse must first stop or hang back. The first thing
to do is, therefore, to prevent this hanging back, by
pressing the horse forward and bringing the weight
on to the forehand.

If the horse refuses to go forward, one should turn
him round, so as to relax the muscles which arc
necessary for the rear. By mobilizing the hindquarters,
by moving them to one side, one relaxes all parts of
the horse, and prevents him from placing his weight
on to his hindquarters.


The employment of the rearin*,' bit helps in over-
comintr this defence. The reins of the bit passed over
the neek and between the forelegs, and fastened at a
suitable length to the girths, make the best and simplest
rearing bit.

Horses which kick. — If a horse has the habit of
kieking, one should make use of the bridoon to prevent
him from lowering the head, and at the same time,
press him strongly forward with the legs.

It is a mistake to always hold a kicker's head very
high, for it often happens that the kicking is caused by
l^ain in the loins or hocks, and by raising the head of
certain horses one only increases their irritation and
provokes their resistance.

The horse which kicks at the boot, should be taken
back to the lesson of the single leg with the lunging-
rein and the long whip. Every time that he defends
himself in this w^ay the rider should immediately reply
by apptying a vigorous stroke of the spur.

Horses which fight against the hand. — The causes
of this fault are many. They arise generally from
an excessive sensibility of the bars of the mouth,
from a badly chosen bit, or from too severe a hand.
One should find a suitable bit, and if necessary take off
the curb chain.

The martingale attached to the noseband can be
advantageously used in this case, as also work on the
lunging rein, the horse being properly reined on to a
dumb jockey.

Horses which overbend.- — The horse ovcrbends from
weakness or want of training. This is the case with
many young horses. It is sufficient to give them
confidence in the hand, by forward movement with an
extended neck. If this attitude becomes a defence,


one can use the bridoon reins to raise the head, with,
if necessary, a short but vigorous action from below
upwards. The desired result having been obtained,
the legs should prevent the horse from moving slower.
One should not at first be exacting, and should yield
when the horse raises his head slightly in relaxing the
lower jaw.

The gag snaffle also helps in overcoming this

Horses which poke their noses. — The horse which
pokes his nose, holds his head high, and more or less
horizontal, the jaw being contracted ; a bad conforma-
tion predisposes to this fault, but this defective position
generally comes from the horse being badly ridden, and
consequently in fear of the hand. To correct it one
should fix the hand just above the pommel of the saddle,
the Yvins remaining stretched, close in the legs, press
the horse into his bridle, and close the fingers strongly
on the reins until the horse lowers the head slightly ;
one should then immediately relax the fingers and
yield. Repeat this lesson until the horse yields to the
least pressure of the fingers, and learns that the hand
is only hard when he pokes his nose, and that it yields
the moment he places his head properly. The use of
the rearing bit, and also the fixed or running martingale,
suggest themselves in this defence.

Excitable horses. Horses which niggle.^ — The reasons
which cause excitement and make a horse niggle
are many. Some horses have too short a step in the
walk, and training should put this right. Others
lack impulsion and shrink from the leg : one should
renew the lesson of the spur, and keep them moving
forward. Others, owing to excessive nervousness
fidget, move sideways, and cannot support the pressure


ol' the ranks. They should be made to work for some
time by themselves, and l)c put into ^rood eondition,
as fat makes the nerves less sensitive ; the rider being
told to sit as still as possible.

But in most cases the fault arises from the horse,
owing to fear of the hand, not daring to take from the
bit the support whieh assists the free extended paces.
The instructor should, in this case, change the rider
whose aids are too severe, and make the horse extend
his neck several times, in order to give him confidence
in the hand, and to carry his weight on to his shoulders.
These first results obtained, one relaxes him by long,
slow trots, on bending courses, circles, and figures of
eight in order to gradually get him used to the aids.

Horses which pull. — Being at the walk, stop him
with an upAvard action on one rein ; when he yields,
let him straighten himself, and restart the w'alk.
Repeat this lesson first at the slow trot and then at the
ordinary trot. In this way one succeeds in overcoming
the stiffness of the horse that i^ulls, by forcing him to
bend himself, and engage his hind legs.

Work at the slow trot, on volts, serpentines, and
diagonal lines, stops and half-stops, constitute an
excellent exercise for a horse w^hich is on his shoulders
and leans on the hand.

Horses which open their mouths or pass their tongues
over the bit. — For the first, make use of a noseband, or
of a strap, tied either above or below the corner of the
mouth. In the case of those which get their tongues
over the bit, use a noseband and a bit with a pallet
made of leather or indiarubber, or tie the tongue down
with a strap.


Example of a "reprise" which might serve as a
preparation of an officer's charger for the championship.

This " reprise " designedly eomposcd of numerous
movements, gives the horseman the opportunity of
attempting all the difficulties of horsemanship, and a
jury the means of assuring themselves —

1. That the horse moves straight at the various

2. That he passes easily — as Avell on the straight
line as in the changes of direction — from the slow
cadenced paces to the extended paces.

3. Of appreciating the degree of obedience of the
horse by the facility, more or less great, with which
he moves — to both hands — his quarters round his
shoulders, and his shoulders round his quarters.

4. Of judging the power and delicacy of the rider's
aids, the movements demanded being carried out
between lines and points carefully fixed.

The judges, in order to be able to form an exact
opinion as to the precision with which the work is
done, should stand in the centre of one end of the
riding school.

The walk. — To walk the length of the school and back.

Whilst coming down the centre of the school, with
the right leg closed into the horse, and the horse's near
quarter inclined slightly to the left.

After a few side paces, complete the half-turn on
the -shoulders.


Whilst going up the school, with the left leg closed
ill and the horse's off-quarter inclined slightly to the

After a few side paces, complete the half-turn on
the shoulders.

Come down the middle of the school, and on arriving
in front of the judges, collect the horse on to his
quarters, and make a half-turn to the left.

Return up the centre of the school, collect the
horse, and make a half -turn to the right.

The trot. — At the free strong trot, with the wall
on the right, make a large turn to the left. Cross the
school, change direction, and make a large turn to the

At the cadenced trot, the wall on the left, half -turn
to the centre, and then return to the track with the
horse placed diagonally, moving on two lines.

The wall on the right, half-volt on the forehand,
proceed to the centre of the school, the horse moving

The wall on the left, move diagonally across the
school, and change to the other hand by moving the
quarters round the shoulders.

Cross the school again diagonally, and then change
the hand again by moving the shoulders round the

Wall to the right : trot fast half round the school,
and then decrease the pace.

At the cadenced trot move sideways across the
school, and then come back to the same hand by moving
the quarters round the shoulders.

Cross the school again diagonally, and come back
to the same hand by moving the shoulders round the


At the English trot on a serpentine course, increase
the speed, decrease the speed, increase it again, halt,
go backwards, trot again.

Trot up the school. On leaving the centre line turn
round to the right on the quarters, then turn round to
the left on the quarters, turn round to the left on the
forehand, turn round to the right on the forehand.
Walk down the centre of the school.

The canter. — Start the canter leading with the
near fore leg, trot, then start into the canter, leading
with the off fore leg.

Wall on the left, turn round to the right going as
far as the centre of the school, then turn round in half
the distance from the wall.

With the wall on the right turn round to the left,
going as far as the centre of the school, then turn going
only half this distance. Canter down the centre, turn
sharply on the off hind leg, change the leading leg, and
turn on the near hind leg.

Return down the centre of the school, make a half
sharp turn to the left, change the leading leg. A close
half -turn to the right, and change the leading leg.

Wall on right. Serpentine without changing the
leading leg. Canter up the centre, half-turn on
the forehand to the left, change the leg, half -turn on the
shoulders to the left, change the leading leg, half-turn
on the shoulders to the right and change the leading

Wall on left. Serpentine along the centre changing
the leading leg at each bend. Change of leading leg
at various intervals.

London: vinton & co., ltd., 8, bream's buildings, chancery lane, e.c.

Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at
Tufts University
200 WestDoro Road
Ndrth Grafton, MA 01536

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Online LibraryHenri Louis Paul Robert Blacque BelairCavalry horsemanship and horse training : (Responses an questionnaire D'Equitation de l'Ecole de cavalerie) → online text (page 10 of 10)