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The art of horsemanship : altered and abbreviated, according to the principles of the late Sir Sidney Medows online

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" paid to the subject ; but my noble patron, who was
" a liberal and a discerning man, was not in the least
11 prejudiced by the jokes that were passed upon the
" flying horse, as they too generally termed it."

In order further to illustrate this, having a high-
couraged colt, that was just forward enough to have
been backed ; I put it to the first lesson here described,
by driving it loose round the riding-house in the trot
and gallop. Mr. Ghalon, who has drawn the rest of my
engravings, stood by me, and drew this horse, when



the action of the full trot presented itself to his view, so
as for the horse to be at that moment all in air, as here

KB.Chalon dd.

W. SlceZtorb ■sculp.

The description of the horse in the trot on the lines
of art has been given not only on account of the pecu-
liarity of the action, but on account of the manner in
which it should be tied for that purpose, which has been
also described. It is very material that all this should be
exactly attended to ; for when done properly, which I
have seldom seen, it contributes more towards sup-
pling the shoulders of a horse, than any lesson that is
afterwards given. In this mode of longing, the centre
of gravity falls most upon those parts which are most


constrained, namely on the shoulders ; for, whether in
going large round the house, or in circles, the parts
nearest the centre are always the most constrained. In
the present instance, the neck is bent by the tie, and
nearest of all to the centre ; no lesson is therefore so
good as this for bringing one jaw in, so as to constrain
and supple the muscles of the neck on that side. The
shoulders are on the first and second circles, and con-
sequently more constrained than the quarters, which are
on the third and fourth circles. The centre of gravity
is also thrown forwards on the parts most constrained,
namely the shoulders, which describe the two smallest
circles. The weight being upon these sets the haunches
entirely at liberty to describe the two largest circles,
namely, the third and fourth. In this lesson the weight
is required to be most upon the shoulders, in order
that they may be worked the most. The head may
therefore be permitted to be as low, as the horse, for
its own ease, chooses to place it — in order that the
haunches may be quite at liberty. This is just contrary
to what is generally done by those, who think they
can advance their scholar by attempting to work the
shoulders and haunches at the same time ; which is
like wishing to blow hot and cold with the same

I have before observed that the rate of going should


be as fast as the horse is inclined to go, or it may be
driven on if it does not go fast enough. This should be
the same whether the horse is tied or not ; for the faster
it goes, the more the horse opens its arms, so as to embrace
a larger portion of ground in the circle. The shoulders,
being consequently more worked, become more supple.
The more ground a horse can embrace with its fore parts,
either in the trot or in the gallop, the more forward
the haunches can be thrown, after the fore parts have
quitted the ground. The horse, by going as fast as I
have recommended, will be sometimes on the trot,
and sometimes on the gallop ; but as the former works
the shoulders the most, and is the foundation of the
latter, the trot should always be most encouraged.*

* The advantage gained by this method of longing, in point of giving
speed to a horse afterwards, might perhaps be worth the attention of gen-
tlemen of the turf. I shall refer those who may wish to consider it in that
view, to a remark on the subject at the bottom of page 63, in my pub-
lication on the mechanism of the horse's foot.



K.B . Chalon del

W. SkcZton sadp.

The same legs describe the four circles in the gallop ;
although they do not come to the ground at the same times
as in the trot. For the off fore-leg doubles over the


near fore leg, and is set down in the first circle imme-
diately after the near fore leg is taken up from the
second circle.

In the gallop, as well as in the trot, there are two
periods in which the horse is all in air. One of them
is constituted by the haunches being thrown in after the
fore parts have performed their grasp, and are in air
again. The hind legs then come to the ground as here
represented. The near hind leg touches the ground
first on the fourth circle. In the instant of time which
this leg takes in being set down and taken up again,
the off hind leg doubles over it, and is set down on the
third circle. This is what is here represented as taking
place. The spring from these, when they are launched
out, enables the fore parts to be thrown forwards, which
are already in air. This is therefore the next period in
which the horse is all in air. When the leap is made,
the fore parts come down again on the second and third
circles, where they are marked : for a gallop is a con-
tinued leap. The near fore leg will come down first
upon the second circle, and the off fore leg doubling
over the near fore leg in that instant of time will be
set down on the first circle, the moment the former
is taken up from the second circle. After the haunches
are thrown in, the fore parts will next be thrown
forwards again, in the same position, in which my des-
cription was begun.



It has been before observed, that in the trot, the off
fore leg doubles over the near fore leg, and is set down
on the first circle, at the same instant that the near hind
leg, passing by the off hind leg, gains ground on the
fourth circle. When these are set down again, the near
fore leg passes by the off fore leg, and gains ground on
the second circle, at the same instant that the off hind
leg doubles over the near hind leg on the third circle.
When either of these near legs are passing the off legs,
•and gaining ground — that is to say, when either of the
outside legs are leading — the change can be made from
the trot to the gallop. If it be begun by the near fore
leg while in air,* — by the will of the horse, the centre
of gravity is thrown on it for that purpose, as it comes
down ; the weight therefore, instead of being equally
divided, as in the trot, on the near fore leg and off hind
leg, is now chiefly thrown on the near fore leg. The
impulse also, instead of being on both, is chiefly given
by the near fore leg, so that the bound is made on that
leg. The off hind leg is set down as it otherwise would
have been. The two other legs across would have been
next thrown forwards at the same period, had the trot
continued. + But the centre of gravity being thrown
forwards, causes the off fore leg to double on the first
circle (by the additional impulse of the near fore leg)
one time sooner than the near hind leg gains ground on

* See Vignette, page 51, + See Vignette, page 50.


the fourth circle, instead of being set down at the same
instant. By the grasp of the fore legs, the haunches are
thrown in, upon which, by this act, the centre of
gravity is immediately transferred. The near hind leg
then bounds in coming down immediately after the
off fore leg, by the same will which dictated to the near
fore leg to bound. By this impulse the off hind leg
when thrown forwards in doubling on the third circle,
is brought to the ground one time sooner than the near
fore leg gains ground on the second circle; as the centre
of gravity is then on the hind parts. Instead of this, had
the trot continued, the centre of gravity being then
equally divided across would have brought these legs
across to the ground at the same period, as was before
observed. This repeated action of the two fore legs,
followed immediately by the two hind legs, in the
manner I have described, constitutes the true gallop to
the right, begun by an impulse on the near fore leg,
when in passing the off fore leg, it has gained ground
on the second circle. If it be begun on the near hind
leg, when in passing the off hind leg it has gained ground
on the fourth circle,* — the near hind and off fore leg; are
equally set down at the same time ; but an additional
impulse is given to the near hind leg. The off hind leg
when thrown forwards after this, is set down one time
sooner than the near fore leg, which would otherwise

* See Vignette, page 50.



have accompanied it. The fore legs next take their
grasp as I have mentioned. This equally constitutes
the true gallop, as the horse throws its centre of gravity
properly in both cases.

But as the near fore leg and the off hind leg are set
down in the trot at the same time, the horse, by its will,
may throw the centre of gravity on either of these two
legs at that period. If therefore the horse chooses to
throw its centre of gravity on the off hind leg while
doubling, instead of waiting one time more, by which
it could throw it on the near hind leg when it has gained
ground in passing the off hind leg — an additional impulse
having also been communicated to the off hind leg, the
near hind leg is immediately thrown forwards, and con-
sequently leads." The haunches being thrown in, in this
manner, are succeeded by the impulse being given to the
near fore leg next, by which the off fore leg leads. This
action is so uneasy to the horse, that it cannot continue
long. If therefore the horse be not stopped, it will
soon make a bound on the near hind leg, which sets it
right again. The horse, when in this position, is said
to be wrong behind and right before ; for its centre of
gravity continues in this case across and across, as in
the trot ; for it is thrown on the off hind leg and near
fore leg.

* See the Plate.

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TUtc VI.

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tan. sculp.


When the gallop is wrong before, it is occasioned
in the same manner by its having been begun by an
impulse communicated to the off fore-leg while doubling
on the first circle." The near fore-leg is next thrown
forwards so as to lead.-f This is succeeded by an im-
pulse on the near hind-leg, after which the off hind-
leg is thrown forwards when the haunches are thrown
in, as before mentioned. Had the horse waited one
time more, the impulse, as before observed, would then
have been given to the near fore-leg when gaining
ground by passing the off fore-leg in the circle ; instead
of being given to the off fore-leg, while doubling. The
gallop would then have been true. Whereas, from
impatience, or from other causes, the impulse having
been given one time too soon, the centre of gravity is
across and across, as well in this case, as when the
gallop was begun by the bound on the off hind-leg;
for it is thrown on the off fore-leg and near hind-leg.
This gallop is therefore said to be wrong before and
right behind.

* See Vignette page 50. + See the plate.



E.ft . Ctlalon dd

W.Skebon sculp.

The impulse can also be given totally false, when
the gallop is begun either by the hind-legs or by the
fore-legs ; for the impulse may be given by the off
hind-leg while doubling, succeeded by the near hind-
leg, and these succeeded again by an impulse on the
off fore-leg, by which the near fore-leg leads; and vice
versa, if begun with the off fore-leg. The gallop is
then said to be wrong both before and behind, when
the horse is going in circles to the right ; for each
near-leg would lead when each off leg received the
impulse. But this would be the exact true gallop, if
the horse were going in circles to the left.


When either by the will of the horse, or by the
direction of the rider, the change is again required
from the true gallop to the trot, it can be made at
either of the two periods that it could in the other
case. It has been just mentioned, that when the gallop
was begun by the near fore leg while gaining ground
on the second circle, a bound is made upon it, and the off
fore leg is impelled forwards one instant before the near
hind leg. When the haunches are afterwards thrown
in, I have also observed that the off hind leg is impelled
forwards after a bound has been made on the near hind
leg, one instant of time before the near fore leg, which
comes next. The continuation of this bound, as before
described, constitutes the gallop ; the cessation of it,
therefore, constitutes the trot again. This, as well as the
gallop, can be begun at two different periods. The
alteration of the centre of gravity is all that is required.

If the change be begun while the off hind leg is lead-
ing, one instant is required to throw the centre of gra-
vity, and the impulse, on the near shoulder. By the
centre of gravity being thus thrown forwards, the spring
on the off hind leg is decreased, and it touches the
ground at the same time as the near fore leg, instead of
being one time sooner. The weight being thus divided,
the impulse required to throw the other two legs for-
wards is also equally divided ; that is to say, it is


given by both these legs across at the same time ; suc-
ceeded immediately by both the other legs across at the
next period. If it be begun while the off fore leg is
leading, one instant of time is required to transfer the
centre of gravity to the off fore leg, which was thrown
forwards after an impulse had been given to the near
fore leg. The action, being thus retarded, brings the
off fore leg to the ground at the same time with the
near hind leg, instead of being one time before it, as
it would have been had the gallop continued. The cen-
tre of gravity being transferred at the instant upon the
off fore leg, the impulse also accompanies it, — so that
the impulse is also given at the same instant by the off
fore leg and near hind leg. The other two legs across
are then thrown forwards in their turn. This change can
generally be distinctly heard in a riding-house, if it
happens to be too quick to be perceived by the eye. It
can, and ought also always to be distinctly felt by the
rider the instant it happens ; as his hands should be
immediately accommodated to it by slackening the reins
instantaneously, after having gently pulled them, when
he wishes it to take place.

It has been observed before, that the making of the
change takes the difference of one instant of time from
what would have been required, had the gallop con-
tinued. In that instant, if the rider sits loose enough,


he will find himself drop on his saddle very differently
to what happened in the gallop: for the centre of
gravity is thrown more on the haunches in the gal-
lop, than in the trot, in the last of which, the weight
is more equally divided. In the longe the trot should
always be preferred, as being the greatest exertion to
the shoulders. But it is such a relief to a horse, to go
easily from the one to the other, that it is by far the best
way to permit it to be done so.

After a little time, the horse's croup gets more and
more thrown out by its bearing to be tied rather
tighter than at first. The shoulders consequently be-
come more supple by being constrained to describe
the smallest circles. When it can bear to do this with
ease to itself, the trot or the gallop may be more exactly
required. The haunches should be left as much as
possible at liberty for nearly the first year of a horse's
work. They should never be exerted except in the
stop. At that period, the whole body of the horse
should be reversed ; and the hind legs should come
upon the same circles, which the fore legs worked upon
in the progress, and vice versa. The haunches, being
then the nearest to the centre, will at that instant be
most worked. By their being bent in the stop, the
centre of gravity will also be altered, so as to be entirely
upon them, instead of upon the shoulders, which at that
time occupying the outward circles will be the least


constrained. The reason, why the position should be
altered in the stop, is this. If the horse be stopped with
its croup out, namely in the same position as when in
progress, the stop must be made upon the shoulders ;
as being the parts occupying the smallest circles, and
consequently the most constrained. Not only this, but
when the horse sets off again, it must go false for a few
steps, before its position can be recovered. What I
mean by false is, that the near leg must lead outwards,
namely to the left, for two or three steps, before the
horse can regain its position in the longe. For till then,
the off fore leg is not at liberty to occupy the 1st circle,
that is the circle nearest the centre. Whereas, if the
stop be made outwards, that is, with the shoulders on
the 3d and 4th circles, the haunches are then most con-
strained ; and consequently bend to receive the weight as
they ought to do. The foreparts, being stopped on the
3d and 4th circles, are also immediately ready to advance
to their position on the 1st and 2d circles, when the
horse is required to set off again. It may seem a diffi-
cult matter, when a horse is working in hand, for this
stop to be performed with tolerable exactness, but it is
not so.* For there is more difficulty in getting a horse

* The horse's position at that instant should be the same as would
happen when stopped in going with its head to the wall, which will be
hereafter explained. For in the stop, its head should be to the wall; ad-
vantage of which should sometimes be taken for that purpose.


to put its croup out, than to put its croup in. At this
period, the man in the centre is making a very narrow
circle, holding the rein in his left hand, which is put
through the eye of the bridle up to the head on the near
side. That man also holds a whip in his right hand, trail-
ing it across before him on the ground. When the stop is
to be made, advantage being taken of the wall, the man,
as before mentioned," should run before the horse towards
the circumference of the circle ; and, while he speaks to
it for that purpose, he should look it full in the face.
His whip should be brought forwards and lifted up
suddenly in one hand. His rein should be shaken as
suddenly with the other hand, which should be lifted
up at the same time for the same purpose. When the
horse, for a few days, has stopped quietly by this
method ; the master may check it, so as to endeavour to
make it go back two or three steps, after the stop is
completely finished. This should be done without un-
tying it. For this purpose, the whip, which was trailed
before him in his right hand, should be put into his
left hand in the same position. The long rein should
be taken hold of verv short, and be twisted round his


right hand ; the remainder of it being held with the
whip in his left hand.

At this period, or before if it can be done, a plain

* See page 39.


saddle should be put on as quietly as possible ; and the
stirrups be thrown over the pommel, when the horse is
brought in. They may occasionally be put down during
the time it is longing, in order to try whether the horse
would be disturbed by it, in case of the rider's acciden-
tally letting his foot slip out of either of them. At the
end of the lesson at this period, if the horse be quiet,
while the stirrups are let down, the horseman may
venture a little more. Having untied the horse, and
taken off the black rein — let that end of the rope rein,
which has a loop to it, be put through the eye of the
snaffle, and slipped on to the upper cheek of it on the
off side. Let the other end be unbuckled from the
headstall on the near side, and be buckled to the front
part of the eye of the snaffle on that side. If there are
two men at this period on the outside of the circle, one
of them should stand about the length of a man's arm
before the horse, and hold this rein about that length,
in each hand, in the manner I shall hereafter describe.
This may either be done by one rein, and one man ; or
by two reins and two men, if requisite. The other two
men, advancing quietly to each side of the horse, should
take hold of the stirrup leathers high up, and bear the
whole weight of their bodies by leaning on them. The
manner of doing this I shall also describe, when speaking
of it as a counterpoise to the weight of the rider, while


mounting. But it should always be practised at this
period, as a preparatory step ; in order that every thing
maybe done as quietly as possible at the time of mount-
ing : for at that time, a great many things are required
to be done at once with the greatest exactness.

The method of working the horse on the trot and
gallop has thus far been given. It has been said to be
that, by which the lessons of the colt should be begun.
I come now to the more difficult task of describing the
foot pace. This will lead me next to describe the
manner of working the horse in circles on a walk,
which lesson may be begun at this period.

To the best of my knowledge, the action of the legs
in the walk has never been accurately described by any
former writer on the subject. The Duke of Newcastle
says,* " a horse, in walking, has two of his feet in the
" air, and two upon the ground, which move otherways
" at the same time, one fore and one hind foot, which
" is the movement of a gentle trot." Dr. Johnson, in
his Dictionary of the English language, says, "Inzwalk,
" a horse lifts two legs of a side, one after the other,
" beginning with the hind leg first." As Dr. Johnson
has specified this walk to be made by two legs of a side,
beginning with the hind leg, in which he is right, I shall
shew that the Duke of Newcastle's account is also right;

* See the folio Edition, p. 30.


and that the walk which he describes is begun by the
fore-leg. For a horse has the power of walking either
way, according to its will. But before so difficult a task
is entered upon, perhaps it maybe allowable for me to
make a short digression, in order to shew my reader
by what chance, the opportunity presented itself of
studying it for a length of time, so as to enable me to
describe it in that detail, which the intricacy of the
subject requires.

When my work was thus far in the press, I happened
to take a journey over the Welsh mountains, in an open
carriage, with my own horses and two out-riders. The
horse, on which one of my servants rode, was impa-
tient with him, while following the carriage, when
going gently. The men were therefore permitted to
pass me up and down the hills with their horses on a
foot pace. My first motive was the ease of each party,
by preventing their horses from being disturbed. But
it struck me, that a double purpose might be answered,
by the frequent opportunity it afforded me, of observ-
ing the motion of their legs in the walk, as they passed.
This enabled me to form a more accurate idea of the
separate motion of each leg, than had ever before pre-
sented itself.* I shall now, by the use of letters and

*As it has been mentioned that the journey was made with my own
horses — it may also be observed, that when I had gone a considerable


figures, endeavour to convey to my reader the two
different actions of the horse in the walk, which nature

distance, it occurred to me to keep an account of the greatest number of
miles in which some of my horses' shoes were worn. This I shall now
point out, and shall also make other observations, tending to shew the
advantage of their fore-shoes being made in the manner recommended in
my publication on the mechanism of the horse's foot, in preference to the
heels of them being drawn in, so as to cover the extremities of the heels
of the foot — a mode too much recommended, and too much practised.*

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Online LibraryStrickland FreemenThe art of horsemanship : altered and abbreviated, according to the principles of the late Sir Sidney Medows → online text (page 5 of 15)