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out a useful existence. However, should accident place you on a rearer, directly he rises lay hold of the mane with one hand; this, while at once throwing your weight forward where it should be, will enable you also to completely slacken the reins, which is important.
No one need be ashamed to adopt this plan. I have seen the best riders do so.
Vicious rearing may, on its first manifestation, be sometimes checked by a determined and reckless rider giving a well-directed blow on the ear with some bothering missile; but this is a venturesome proceeding, and only in emergency should it be resorted to, as an illdirected blow is very likely to produce poll-evil, or knock the sight out of an eye.
It is said that a bottle full of water, broken on the ear of a rearing horse, proves an effectual cure; but happily the danger to the rider during such treatment of his bearer, is a strong guarantee against the frequent adoption of this barbarous practice. In many cases lowering one hand with the rein on that side when the horse is just beginning to rise, will have the effect of breaking the rear, the horse being urged forward with the spur the instant his fore legs are down; but if, when he has gained anything like the perpendicular, the rein or head be chucked, or by any misfortune interfered with, the chances are that the brute will walk about on his hind legs like a dancing dog, and most likely finish by falling back on his rider.
A martingal is sometimes found to be a preventive, especially a running one.
Jibbing.—The disposition to this vice is generally called into action, in the first instance, by the fret consequent on the abrasion of the neck by the collar, or by
the working of uneven traces (page 57). The use of a saving-collar, and the careful adjustment of the traces, may therefore obviate the propensity.
Sometimes jibbing is the effect of bad handling when starting with a heavy load. Where such a disposition evinces itself, the carriage should be pushed from behind, or another horse placed beside, or, if possible, in front of the jibber, to lead him off.
Shying may proceed from various causes, such as defective sight, nervousness, or tricks; thus it may be the result of either constitutional infirmity or of vice. From whatever cause proceeding, the proper way to manage a shying horse is to turn his head away from the object at which he shies, in riding, pressing the spur to the same side to which his head is turned; thus, if the object he dislikes be on the right, turn his head to the left, and press your left leg, giving him that spur, and vice versa, according to the side on which the object to be avoided is found. If you have to deal with a bad shyer, your time being precious, and you only care to get through your present ride with the least unpleasantness possible, in addition to the abovementioned means, take him, if necessary, well by the head, the reins in each hand, and saw or job his mouth rather sharply, keeping him in rapid motion till you pass the object.
Operating thus on his mouth severely, if necessary, will engage his attention, and cheat him out of his apprehension for the moment. It is bad horsemanship, and dangerous besides, to force a horse's head towards an offending object while in motion; but if it is particularly desirable that the animal should become familiarised with anything of which he is shy, let him be brought to a standstill, and coaxed up gradually to it, that he may assure himself of its harmlessness by smelling and feeling it with his nose and lips, if possible. Punishment by whip or spur—what is called "cramming" him up to a thing—is a file error.
"When a horse is found to evince a confirmed objection to passing a particular place, and that he keeps bolting and turning viciously in spite of all ordinary efforts to prevent it, take him at his own fancy, and keep turning and turning him till he is so tired of that game that he will only be too glad to go forward past the objectionable spot. A horse's sense of smelling is very acute, and sometimes a dead animal in the ditch or field by the side of the road, though unseen, will cause an abrupt and very unseating sort of a shy, with an ordinarily quiet beast of sensitive olfactory nerves.
If the horse you wish to dispose of be a fancy one, either for beauty, action, or disposition, and a fancy price be required, efforts must be made to obtain the fancy customer to suit, and time and attention must be devoted to that object. But if he be of the ordinary useful class, unless a purchaser be found at once, let the owner, directly he has made up his mind to part with him, think of the best market available, whether public auction, a fair, or private sale by commission.
The public auction, with a good description of the animal's merits, if he has any, is the readiest and least troublesome mode of disposing of all unsuitable property; and from my own experience, I should say that the better plan is to make up one's mind positively to dispose of such the first time it is put up by the auctioneer, having, of course, placed a reasonable and rather low reserve price on it, and provided that the sale be fairly attended by purchasers; otherwise I should not allow my property to be offered until a more favourable opportunity.
A valuable and fancy animal, if his owner is not pressed to sell, had better be disposed of by full advertisement and private sale at his own stable. It is bad management to exhibit for sale an animal that is out of condition; it always pays to make your horse look as well as possible before he meets the eye of a customer. There is an old and true saying, " no meat sells so well as horse meat"—of course animal flesh is here alluded to.
All horsemen know how whimsical horses are, and the best riders feel a certain amount of diffidence, and even awkwardness, on beginning with any new mount, until a more perfect acquaintance is established between man and horse.
A horseman who identifies himself with his steed will
* A suggestion has been made by one of the ablest reviewers of the first edition of this work, to add a chapter on caprices of horses; and doubtless such would be so extremely interesting, that the temptation to insert notes under this head in my first edition was only overcome by the determination to avoid being led into anecdote, which has been strictly observed throughout, as being out of keeping with the concise style in which it was intended that the book should be produced. A few practical hints are, however, here classed under the head of " Caprice."
sometimes by a mere fluke hit off the means of having his own way with a capricious though perhaps really well-disposed animal, if one only knew the way to manage him.
For instance, a first-class hunter of my own (Baronet), whose excellent performance in the field, where I had seen him tried, induced me to purchase him, soon gave evidence of a peculiarity for which, unknown to me, he had made himself remarkable. No ordinary means could prevail upon him to go through any street of a town except such as he pleased himself, of which he gave me evidence the first day I had occasion to try him in that way, walking on his hind legs directly his will was disputed on the subject, even to the extent of a mere pressure on the rein at the side he was required to turn. In my difficulty, instinct prompted me to drop the reins and gently direct his progress with the point of the whip at the side of his nose, and in this way he went ever after as quiet as a sheep with me. Having discovered his caprice, I was always provided with a handle of a whip or a switch of some kind for his benefit. Riding him one day into Dycer's, an old acquaintance of his, well aware of his propensity, exclaimed in terms not complimentary to Baronet at my possession of him, and was much amused when I told him my simple method of managing this self-willed gentleman.
The same sort of what I can scarcely help terming "instinct" that has often taught me, and doubtless hundreds of other practical horsemen, to meet the whims of their steeds so as to suit themselves, produced a victory somewhat similar to the foregoing over an animal that, in the presence of a large assemblage interested in his performance, most determinedly refused to trot,