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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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same, as that in which the black rein was held. When
going along the walls, his arms should be extended, and
the right hand held almost close to the end of it. This


gives him room to walk exactly in the same track, as
when holding the rein. — It is seldom requisite to work
the horse in hand, head in and croup out, to the left ;
for in working to the right, in this lesson, the legs
double over to the left ; so that this is easily done after-
wards with the rider on its back.

In order still to continue keeping the croup out, the next
lesson should be that of putting the croup to the wall.
This also prevents the horse from retaining itself. For
the shoulders are still the most constrained, as they
continue to describe the smallest circles. The transi-
tion from the last lesson to this is very easy, as it re-
quires no alteration as to the tie, except that, perhaps
just at first, it should be slackened a little. A black
rein should be placed on the near side, instead of the
rope rein. It should be put through the eye of the
bridoon up to the head, as the rope rein was. The
track of the man who holds this rein should be nearly
in a line with the horse's shoulders. He should hold it
nearly as he did when leading the horse with its head
in and croup out, only rather shorter: pulling or giving
according as the horse is required to be held more or
less sideways, and corresponding in this respect with
the long rein of the driver. In order to keep the horse's
mouth fresh, the rein should now and then be shaken
in his hand, and sometimes entirely given.



E.B.audan id.

TV. Skdtcn, sadp.

If the horse be heavy in hand, the stick maybe used with
good effect instead of the black rein. It should be buckled
to the mouth-piece on the near side, and be held very far
apart in the man's hands, his left hand being held pretty
close to the end of it. He should hold it in his hands as
loose as a cricketer holds his bat ; so as for him to be able
to slip his left hand along it either way, more or less, as
the horse may require it. He should play with it in his
left hand in the same manner as he would shake the rein ;
this keeps the horse's mouth fresh. If another man be
wanted to lead the horse (which is sometimes the case just
at first), his position towards the horse should be exactly
the same, as when leading it with the head in and croup

Croupe renversee down the line. HI

out ; only, as the track is to the left, instead of to the
right, he should lead it with his right hand, instead of
his left ; and the black rein, with which he is to lead
it, must be buckled to the off side, instead of the near
side. When the croup is put to the wall — although the
track be to the left along the house, the horse is tied to
the right. This makes it work the reverse way ; from
whence this lesson has got the name of croupe renversee.
As the horse is by nature so much more bent to the left
than to the right, it is seldom required to do this lesson
on the track to the right, by being tied to the left.

When it begins to go with ease to itself in this way
along the walls — occasionally during the lesson, a circle
may be made in this position ; that is, with its shoulders
making the two inward and smallest circles, and its
haunches the two outward and largest. The head, of
Course, must be nearest to the centre, and a little beyond
it, in order for the fore parts to lead. This is, in fact,
only a continuation of the half circle it made in turning
at the circular end. When tolerably perfect, this lesson
may be finished by holding it a little tighter in hand,
and by forcing it a little either by the whip, or by
the voice. For this purpose, it should be kept rather
straighter down the line of the wall, after it is clear of
the circular end. It should be carried on, so as to finish
by degrees at about two-thirds of the length of the


wall. These lessons gradually prepare the horse for the
haunches being still more worked, by the head being
put to the wall, when its shoulders are perfectly suppled.

A horse should never be put upon any fresh lesson till
the former lesson is perfectly easy. This gradation re-*
quires the utmost judgment of the horseman. The exact
method of coming gradually to these lessons in succession
I have never known practised, nor ever seen described
in any book of horsemanship, that I have read. By
long practice, it strikes me as being the best suited for
the purpose ; as I have seldom met with opposition from
the horse, when it was supple enough to come easily
from one lesson to the other. When length of time, and
practice have taught the master the observations of these
times, and the mode of communication, he will seldom
meet with much difficulty from the scholar. If he find
a difficulty, let him look to himself for the cause of it ;
and put his horse back to a former lesson, as before
recommended, till after some time he thinks he can
venture to try it again. For when the master and man
can properly communicate their meaning, and the horses
are supple enough to be able to do what is required of
them ; (according to an old observation of Sir Sidney's)
" they only desire to do well."

When the horse is able to go with the head in and
croup out, and also with the croupe renversee along the


walls, and in circles ; the next lesson, which is that of
putting its head to the wall, follows very easily without
any alteration in the tie of the rein. For at the period
when the horse is meant to leave the wall, in order to
turn that part of the circle which is independent of the
walls — if the man, who holds either the black rein, or
the stick, puts it a little from him, he will easily guide
the horse aslant, from that wall to the wall at the other
end. By the black rein, or the stick, being held in
this way, and by the long rein being gently pulled
by the other man, while the horse is crossing the house,
its hind parts will be constrained, and its fore parts
will advance the quickest ; whereas the hind parts
described the largest circle, when its croup was put to
the wall, and consequently were required to move the
quickest when turning, and in the circles. But from
the moment the horse quits the circle, to cross the house
in this way, by the reins being thus managed, its head
will reach the opposite wall before its croup, and the
horse will continue along the wall to the right, instead
of to the left. The best idea that I can give of the track,
that should be made across the house, is by saying, that
the moment the horse, with the croupe renversee has
quitted the wall from the large circle it described at one
end of the house ; it should cross in such a manner, as
to arrive at that part of the next wall, where, if a circle


were made at the other end, it would begin to touch it.
The house should be crossed at first from the square
end of it ; in order that when the horse arrives at the
other end, it may have less constraint in putting its
head to the wall at the circular part, than would be
occasioned by the corners. For the stress at first is very
great ; and if practised for more than a few steps, quite
at the end of the lesson, it will teach a horse to retain
itself, from the difficulty of executing, for too long a
time, what its limbs are not yet supple enough to bear.
But all this is too delicate a business to be expected to
go on right at first, especially with men untaught. For
while the man is teaching, the horse is apt to be spoiled.
The difficulty of teaching the horse is none, compared
with that of teaching the man. With men untaught, there
are too many things required to be in union at once. I
know the difficulty from experience. When three men
are already taught, there is a very great nicety in pull-
ing and giving, so as not to counteract one another.
When they are untaught, it is scarcely possible, unless
the horse be very quiet. I only describe the method,
and recommend the young practitioners never to put
their scholars to any fresh lessons, till they are tho-
roughly masters of those preceding. For if they attempt
to go on too fast, the horse may begin to play tricks ;
and as before mentioned, they must in that case go back


again, for a time, to the former lesson. I cannot also re-
peat too often, that more harm is done by doing too
much, than by any thing that may appear to be lost by
doing too little. Even after the lessons are perfectly easy
to them, a horse should seldom be required to do the same
thing for above twice round the riding-house. — If the
tie of the rein be slackened a little just at first (which
ought generally to be done when the head is first at-
tempted to be put to the wall), the alteration should be
made before the lesson is changed ; in order for the
horse to come immediately from the one to the other
without stopping. This is better than making a stop in
order for the rein to be slackened, and then beginning
the new lesson.

After crossing the house, the man must still hold the
stick in the same way, unless he finds that the horse is
too much constrained by it ; in which case he may slip
his left hand a little lower down it. This will allow
the horse rather more room, in consequence of the man's
being able to put the stick as much further from him,
as his own position will admit of. It will also allow the
long rein to act on the off side, with less chance of the
horse's being too much retained by it ; when it is re-
quired to be put rather straighter. If the stick be not
made use of, the rein may be given rather more, in
order to encourage the horse to advance at that time,


and it will produce the same effect. The man, thus
giving the black rein in his left hand, should, at the
same time, if requisite, hit the horse under its arm with
the small whip, or switch, which he should hold in his
right hand. For nothing makes a horse advance so
soon as this aid, provided the rein be given at the same
time. In beginning this lesson, the horse's rate should
by no means be impeded. It should be that of a trot for
a few steps just at first, and the lesson should be ended
there. More should be done progressively, when it
can be done with ease.

The horse may possibly at this period be inclined to
hurry the lesson, so as to pull too much at the man's
hand who holds the stick — it may also be apt to carry
its head too low. In this case the man's position should
be altered, in order to enable him to have the greatest
power of using the stick with the least effort of his own.
The next Vignette therefore represents him standing
before the horse at the off shoulder, instead of being in
the position in which he has been hitherto described,
namely, at the near shoulder. Nothing should be re-
versed by this alteration, but the position of his body,
for his track should be the same. His position at the
horse's shoulder should be the same as that in which
he ought to stand, when stopping the horse in circles, or
along the walls, in going with its head in and croup out.



H.B - CluLm dtl .

If the head requires to be elevated still more, I have
ventured to alter a little the mode of tying the black rein.
For this purpose, having first buckled it to the mouth-
piece on the off side, it should be brought through the
ring at the cheek, and from thence across the neck to the
staple on the near side of the saddle, where it should be
fastened of a proper length. Either this may be done, or
the end of the rein, when put on as before, may be brought
across the neck to the near side, instead of being fastened
to the girth on the offside as here represented. Thedriver
should so regulate his rein as for the horse in its pro-
gress to be put a good deal sideways, so as to work upon
four pistes ; always taking care that the fore parts shall


lead. If the horse advances the hind parts too much by
the restraint of the stick, the driver should immediately
pull the long rein, and the other man should at the same
time pull the stick towards himself, advancing from the
horse in a sidling position a little faster, when he does
it — for his back should be nearly turned to the horse.
The legs of the man should move slower or faster, ac-
cording to the occasion, as well as his arms. Unless
the two men are completely in union, the work will
be presently spoiled. For of all the times in which the
stick is made use of, this is the most severe, and re-
quires the nicest management. As the Earl of Pem-
broke observes in the motto to his book, " Vis consili
expers mole ruit sua." — Hor. It is very effectual, when
well done, for the horse cannot advance in a hurry
against it. If it is not nicely done, the horse may get
the trick of retaining itself, or may rear, in a manner
that is afterwards very difficult to be overcome.

The best way of obviating this, when it happens, is
for the man holding the stick to pull it towards himself,
as if going to turn, till he puts the horse with its head
in and croup out. This brings it back to a former
lesson, and may be finished, as I mentioned for that
lesson. For it cannot be too often repeated, that in
every case where difficulty occurs, the only thing to be
done is to go back to a former lesson.


The late Earl of Pembroke has also put another motto
to his book, which should be very much attended to by
all horsemen, viz. " Scientia et Patientia" There is no
doing without both. More or less patience is required,
in proportion as there is more or less knowledge. But
all the patience will not do without the science, nor all
the science without the patience. In the present in-
stance, if the man will bring his horse to a former lesson,
he will find that more suppleness will be gained before
the new one is again put in practice, and consequently
less opposition attempted. This last, if not brought
on by the want of skill in the man, is frequently occa-
sioned by the constraint which the horse feels in first
attempting to exert those parts, the powers of which
have not yet been sufficiently brought forth to be
enabled to bear it. For all the preceding lessons
have tended chiefly to the work of the shoulders. The
jaws have been worked by the horse's having been
very much bent each way, and the mouth has had little
or no constraint. The horse is therefore thus far
suppled, before the lesson commences, at which most
men begin. In that mode of practice, the consequence
is, that the horse's shoulders are always stiff, and the
haunches generally so. The mouth is also deadened by
bearing upon the bridle to ease the pain of the jaws,
which are obliged to be constrained, frequently more



than the horse can endure, when required to be set upon
its haunches before the fore parts are suppled. For the
poize of the body being in this case meant to be put upon
the hind parts, the head must be raised very much, or
the horse will be placed upon its hocks, instead of on
its haunches, as was always the case while the long
curb bridle was in use." The jaws having been pre-
viously worked without constraint to the mouth, as
well as the shoulders suppled in such a manner as to
enable it to throw the fore parts easily forwards,
the horse is able, with less fatigue to itself, to set its
weight properly on the haunches. For it has then only
half the difficulty which generally happens, when the
head is required to be held very high before the fore
parts are suppled, in order for the weight to be placed
so much further back. — When at first, in the ardour of
my study, I wanted to try every thing that could be
done, without knowing sufficiently how far the horse
was able to bear the lesson it was put to, I can remem-
ber my old master's frequently saying to me, "Your horse
must not do that this half year." — Most horses are natu-
rally so much more supple to the left than to the
right, that in the lesson of putting the head to the
wall, as in most other lessons, the work to the right

* See the prints in the folio edition of the Duke of Newcastle's Horse-


only should be practised for a considerable time just at

When the horse can go with ease to itself, with the
man standing before it, with its head to the wall ; as
soon as it has quitted the circular end, (or indeed at any
period in coming down the line in that position,) the man,
by pulling the stick a little towards himself and stepping
back a few paces into the middle of the house, may
go on with the horse so as to begin making a turn holding
haunches. By thus stepping back, he will get room to
place himself at the near shoulder without stopping,
as soon as the horse has quitted the wall. In this, he
must be assisted by the man who drives, who should
give his rein very much at first, and then pull it again
just so much as not to lose haunches ; so that the horse
may go in the same manner as when going along the wall ;
the stick will then be held in the same way as when
crossing the house. Having turned, (or what is more
technically called made a double,) in this way, and come to
the other wall, the horse may be brought along that wall,
till it arrives at that part where I mentioned, it should
touch, when going to cross the house from the croupe ren-
versee* A sort of long demivolte maybe made there within
the breadth of half the house, so as to come back again
to the same wall. For this purpose, the man holding the

* See page 113.


stick and standing at the horse's shoulders, should shorten
it, and carry his hands very high, quite close to the
horse's jaws, thrusting the stick from himself. The
same thing should be done if holding the black rein.
The driver should at the same time assist him by pull-
ing the off side long rein, and by striking the ground
with the whip back-handed behind the other man, if
necessary, in order to prevent the horse from retaining
itself too much. When this half circle is finished — if
the croup be carried to the wall, instead of the shoulders,
the lesson may either be finished immediately by hold-
ing the horse a little more together, and a little straighter,
or it may be carried once round the house so, and then
finished in the same position that was described in that

As more than one person can work at the same
time in a riding-house, and at different rates of going,
this mode of doubling without interrupting the horse
is particularly useful, at times when it may be im-
mediately required, by another horse coming faster
behind the person whose horse is going with its
shoulders to the wall, while he is standing before it
with the stick. I mention it particularly now, as there
is no great difficulty in turning a horse immediately in
any other lesson, but some little art is necessary in turn-
ing it properly when the man is in this position, without


interrupting the horse. When this lesson begins to be
tolerably familiar to it, and not before, the same thing
may be practised to the left. This work prepares it for
what may be attempted next.

Having been already set a little upon its haunches
with its croup to the wall at the conclusion of that
lesson, as well as when finishing with its head in and
its croup out, the horse is now in a state for the driver
to attempt to set it upon its haunches still straighter,
and without the help of the walls. The great difficulty,
which the horse finds in doing this at first, is that of
being able to get the proper poize of its body. By
having been held rather straighter in the croupe reri-
versee tied to the right- — and by having been more
worked to the right than to the left, for reasons before
assigned" — the off legs have been most at liberty to lead.
This is a great help to a horse when beginning to be
worked in hand down the middle without being tied,
which may be attempted to be done at this period. For
it is there required to go quite straight, and for the off
shoulder to work the most in the piaffe. The off side
should also work the most, when the horse, in doing this,
changes for its ease for a few times by going terre a
terre. In this case the off legs should invariably lead ;
which, if the ^shoulder does not work the most in the

* See page 109.


Passage down the middle of the house.

S.S.Chalm del .

Jf.Skelton sculp.

piaffe, they will not do. In order to make the horse
advance with the greatest ease to itself, and with the
least fear of restraint ; two men should each hold a black
rein put through the eye of the snaffle and buckled to
the headstall. The driver should have a long rein
fastened to the mouth-piece on the off side, and thrown
over the horse's shoulders, for him to hold behind the
horse on the near side. The use of this rein is to keep
the horse's plie* and as an aid towards preventing it
from advancing too fast. For in doing this, the hoise's
head should be a little bent to the right, and the body
kept quite straight. By attending to this, the ofFshoulder

* The term plie is used from the French word plier, to bend.


will work rather the most, and the passage will be made
more regular ; so that when the terre a terre happens
to take place, the off legs will lead. If the horse be
inclined to carry its head low, so as to press upon the
hands of the men on each side, a buckle and. strap may
be put on to the off side. cheek of the headstall, and the
driver's rein maybe first put through that ring, and after-
wards buckled to the off side eye of the snaffle. He may
then occasionally check the horse, when this happens,
without fear of injury to its mouth. — But the business to
be done by these three men is so very much the touchstone
of art, that I scarcely know how to describe it. It is
hardly to be done with any truth by young beginners
and a young horse. For when the horse is in its utmost
exertion, as it ought to be, the two men holding the
black reins are in danger of being trod upon, unless
they pull and give exactly with one another ; and the
driver holding the long rein, and the whip, is in danger
of being run back upon, if either of these two men
check the horse too severely to save their toes.

The two men holding the black reins should stand at
the horse's shoulders. — The near side man quite close
to the shoulder, and the off side man a little further
off, and a little further back. They should twist the
reins firmly round their hands, and should hold them
of such a length, as to be able to pull or give instanta-


neously, as occasion may require. The man on the
near side, with the rein in his left hand, and the switch
in his right, should be ready to strike the ground at the
horse's haunches, if they are not sufficiently held in, or
to touch the horse's nose with the butt end of it, if the
haunches are held in too much. The driver must at
these times regulate his rein accordingly. Whenever
the near side man uses his switch, he must be very care-
ful to give the rein at the same time. This cannot be too
frequently mentioned. — When the long rein is pulled,
the horse may run back, and in so doing force its shoulders
on the near side man. In this case he should immediately
strike the horse with the switch under its arm, in order
to bring it straight again. At this time, the driver must
give his rein ; and while this is happening, the off side
man must give his rein entirely also ; so that the horse
must only feel the check by advancing to the near side
man's rein, which should be held across its neck the mo-
ment after the blow is struck. But this operation on the
near side may drive the horse suddenly on the man upon
the off side. This man should hold the black rein in
his right hand rather longer than the other man's, and
have a switch in his left hand. But the switch should
seldom be made use of; as the aids should chiefly be
given on the near side. Nor should so much use be
made of his rein, as of that of the man on the near side ;


as the off side man has the additional assistance of the

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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 8 of 15)