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TARING HINTS. again struck, and so on. The horse soon finds out what is wanted, and like the stupidest of ourselves, would of course prefer the little trouble of lifting a leg to avoid a hit on the shin. To this he gets so awake that the mere motion of the stick or whip is sufficient; and as the man's body naturally inclines or waves to the right or left as he moves the stick or whip to strike, the horse gets so accustomed to this that the mere swaying of the exhibitor's body is in the end quite a sufficient hint to him; and some motion of this sort will be observed in the exhibitor when the horse is performing in public.
For this purpose a horse must be a high-mettled, high-couraged one— high-mettled, that a slight touch suffices to make him lift his leg in preference to suffering it to be hit; and high-couraged, that a slight touch, though it will make him readily move, will not put him in fear. In fact a high-mettled horse, though he will fly to avoid a touch of a whip, is not in actual fear of it, because his high spirit never renders it necessary to severely punish him with it.
In proof of this is a fact that every coachman knows. We will suppose it a sunny day ; the free horses run along as usual, mind their business, and leave the sun to mind his: but the shirkers and lazy ones keep their eye on the shadow of the whip (if they can see it): they have felt it, know they deserve it, and watch for it: only move the whip-hand, they are up to their traces in a moment, and seem as if they had determined to take their side of the coach single-handed ; and so they do till they see the shadow of the whip still again ; then “let them work that like it." Picking up a handkerchief from the ground is
APPEALING TO THE SENSES. another trick often seen in the circle, and is one that calls for no cruelty or severity in the teaching; in fact, severity would be useless, for it could in no way contribute to forwarding the thing wanted. The whip would of course deter a horse from stopping on seeing the handkerchief on the ground; but all the whips that Swaine, Crowther, or Griffiths ever made could not make him stoop his head to it. We will see if kinder means would not more readily produce the effect.
We will spread a white cloth on the ground, and on that put a quartern of oats: we then bring in the horse, and lead him round the circle up to it. On giving him a handful of the oats, he learns in a moment that oats are there, and will soon put his head down to get at them. This he is encouraged to do, and he consequently gets a few: he is then led round the circle again, and, on coming to the handkerchief, is, as before, stopped : again he picks up some oats. By the time he has done this a few times, he will want no stopping, but, on the contrary, would have to be led or driven past the handkerchief on coming up to it if we wished him to pass it. It is thus seen there is no difficulty in teaching him to stop from his walk on seeing the handkerchief. It must therefore be equally apparent that with further practice he will as readily stop from his trot, canter, or full gallop..
Now, though nothing like a whip or anything bordering on punishment has been used in teaching the horse to do this, we have supposed him to be quiet, docile, and attentive — it may happen that he may be the contrary, or, from high keep and exuberance of spirits, heedless and inattentive; so, instead of thinking “ SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE IS SAUCE," ETC.
a few oats worth the trouble of picking up, he may choose to amuse himself by jumping, squealing, kicking, and gambolling round the circle. Should this be found to be the case, it would be useless to go on with the lesson: we might as well attempt to teach a boy to solve a problem in Euclid while under the excitement of laughing at a pantomime. It would be cruel to use the cane to the boy for exuberance of spirits, though it might have the effect of producing attention : it would be equally so to use the whip to the horse, and with him it would be quite useless. It might make the poor brute tremble and gallop from fear instead of play, but it would have anything but the effect of rendering him quiet, collected, and attentive. We will, therefore, good-naturedly laugh at his frolics; but as we want him for business we must make him attend to it, and must to a certain degree punish him for not having done so.
As he has been galloping about for ten minutes to please himself, we will indulge him by half-an-hour more of the same exercise for our advantage, by way of a steadier, and send him to his stable. This kind of amusement once a day (or twice if required), and stopping his oats for three days, will produce two good effects: it will stop his predilection for extra galloping, and makes him think a quartern of oats quite worth having, though he may have to go round the circle and stop a dozen times before he gets the whole of them.
I am mentioning an extreme case in supposing a horse (except he was in a state of excitement) neglecting to avail himself of the chance of getting anything he likes to eat; for he is naturally a greedy animal,
as it is well known a dying horse will frequently eat up to the last moment.
It may be said, that a person stationed before the object at which we wish the horse to stop with a whip in his hand would deter him from passing it, or flogging him back might teach him not to do so in future: no doubt it would, and if simply stopping was all we wanted, this summary process would do ; but we want the horse not only to stop, but to eat for a purpose that will shortly appear, and flogging will not make him do that.
We want the horse to eat because we want him to pick up the handkerchief; and it is only by his desire to eat that we can effect this.
He has now learned that where he sees a white cloth there he may expect to find corn. We will now double over the ends of the cloth so as to cover the grain ; but as his not seeing it is not now enough to do away with his expectation of finding it, he will very soon twist the cloth about so as to get at the corn. We now tie the cloth up so that he cannot get at it: he well knows, both from habit and his sense of smell, that corn is there, and from the common instinct of nature he does just what we want him to do; he lays hold of the cloth with his teeth, and lifts it up. Our business is now more than half donewe have taught or induced him to lift up the handkerchief.
To show that he will do this, we have only to observe a cow : if she gets hold of a hay-band, she knows she cannot swallow the whole ; so, after chew: ing as much as she can swallow, she will be seen to lift it from the ground, and shake it to get rid of the
HORSES RAMPANT. part she does not want and to get at that which she does.
The horse lifts the handkerchief for the same purpose, to get rid of that and get at the oats. To let him find that by picking it up he gets a reward, we take it from him, but give him a handful out of it: we then lay it down ; he again picks it up; so, as he finds that by picking it up he each time gets some of its contents, in the end the moment he sees a white handkerchief, from the force of habit and constant reward he picks it up though there are no oats in it. As he will hold it for a moment till we take it and give him his reward, he in the course of time by long practice learns to hold it while he walks up to us. But teaching a horse to hold anything is a most tedious thing to do, and requires great practice and unwearying patience in the teacher to effect, for we can hardly make him understand he does wrong in dropping it: we can only make him find he gets rewarded for holding it till he comes up to us; so here we have only immediate reward to offer as an inducement, but we cannot resort to immediate punishment on the other hand.
Teaching horses to stand still with their fore feet on anything, like the lion and unicorn in the Queen's arms, is effected by making them stand with the fore parts more and more elevated each lesson till they are brought to the required height, and they are taught to remain so by finding that so long as they do they are supplied with what they like, and (when perfect) corrected if they do not. In proof that it is reward and not punishment that teaches these horses to stand still in the truly extraordinary elevated situations in which they are often placed, and