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Horses - Riding Over Jumps And Riding Bucking Horses

( Originally Published 1940 )

FIRST, WE must take up the matter of saddles and bridles, for there are various sorts and used for different kinds of riding. The cowboy uses a big, heavy stock saddle, often weighing around forty pounds and having, on its pommel (front end) a strong "horn" to be used during his roping of cattle, horses, etc.

There is no other type of saddle which would so well suit the cowboy's work. It is a most comfortable saddle to both horse and rider. It is used in two ways as to cinching-the "single-rigged" and the "double-rigged" saddle. This means: The single-rigged saddle has but one cinch, while the double-rigged has two, a front and rear one. Each is excellent and it is a matter of preference.

The cowboy saddle, is numbered for nomenclature, which is as follows: 1, the horn; 2, the swells, to furnish the rider of a bucking horse with strong knee grip; 3, side bars (seat); 4, cantle; 5, upper and lower skirts of leather; 6, sweat leathers (or "fenders") that prevent chafing of the rider's inner sides of his legs; 7, rear cinch strap (one on each side of the saddle); 8, the front cinch strap (one on each side of the saddle). The under surface of this saddle is generally lined with sheepskin with the wool left on, to lie against horse's back both as a protection to his skin and to prevent slipping of the saddle. The under part of the saddle is open its entire length, so as to place no pressure at all on the horse's spine.


The Regular Cavalry uses the McClellan saddle. This one weighs but seventeen pounds and, like most stock saddles, is open down its seat (in the middle) lengthwise, to permit coolness on the horse's back and to avoid any pressure on the horse's spine. Also, this saves weight. This saddle is the outgrowth of many years of plains riding by our cavalry and is thoroughly comfortable and remarkably durable, lasting thirty or more years with normal care. The life of a good cowboy stock saddle should be about the same, with good care. The McClellan cavalry saddle has been developed largely to fulfill one imperative demand beyond the rider's or horse's comfort, and that is, the packing of the saddle when on field service.

The full pack of the Regular cavalryman weighs ninety-one pounds, and all must be fastened to the pommel and cantle of his saddle. He does no roping and so needs no "horn" as does the cowboy.

The McClellan saddle, is marked with its nomenclature as follows: i, pommel; 2, side bars (seat).; 3, cantle; 4, coat straps (on pommel and cantle—three on each); 5, quarter straps, adjustable; 6, centre fire cinch (slightly in front of actual centre of saddle); 7, hair cinch; 8, leather hood covering the wooden stirrup. The hood is for protecting the rider's feet against cold and wet and thorns. On the cowboy type these hoods are much larger, sometimes almost touching the ground, and are called "tapaderos," but most cowboys, nowadays, use no hoods, only the "open" stirrup.


The other saddle which we must consider is what is known as the "Flat" (or "English") saddle. This is the one habitually used by the civilian park and riding-school horsemen and women, in cross-country riding, and in taking high and broad jumps, and in polo. This type of saddle was adopted for official use of cavalry officers in our service some years ago. While it was NOT, at first, meant to be packed for field service, this has gradually come about, and now it is so made and arranged by straps, etc., that it, too, can be packed for an officer's service in the field.

When not packed, the saddle weighs about the same as the McClellan cavalry saddle. This is the type of saddle also used in training by the service officer and in teaching equitation and when riding after hounds and in steeple-chases.

Each class of rider feels very strongly that its type of saddle is the very best, and often regards the other types with unjustified scorn. One should maintain an open mind, and learn how to ride each sort of these saddles and make up his or her own mind which is desired by that particular person.

The "Flat" or "English" saddle, is marked for its nomenclature, as follows: 1, pommel with pommel pockets; 2, side bars (seat)—the seat is open on its under side so as not to touch the horse's spine; 3, cantle; 4, saddle bags; 5, the skirt. Note the white tie-rope running from snaffle bit to around the horse's neck, used to tie the horse to a hitch-rail. Also note the double bridle ("Bit and bridoon" bridle). This saddle is padded on its under side and can be used with or without a saddle blanket. Also, note the type of braided cinch generally used. This horse is a thoroughbred and a splendid jumper. The durability of these flat saddles is scarcely half that of the cowboy or McClellan saddles and needs constant care to avoid becoming stiff and thus cracking the leather open.


As TO BRIDLES: Cowboys use a curb bit and a single-reined bridle, Our cavalry and civilian riders around cities, and in the East, hold to the curb bit with double reins, known as the "double bridle." The second set of reins are attached to a snaffle bit, which lies just above and behind the curb bit when the two bits of the bridle are placed properly in the horse's mouth.

Riders accustomed to one of these two styles rarely change to liking the other kind. Both have good points, and a rider should learn how to handle and hold both kinds.

"Double bridle" or "Bit and bridoon" bridle shows its nomenclature, as follows: 1, crownpiece; 2, brow band; 3, cheek piece; 4, throat latch; 5, snaffle bit; 6, curb bit. Note the adjustment of the curb chain. This must lie smoothly in the curb groove (or chin groove as it is also called) of the horse, to which the arrow 5 points. The snaffle is the easiest known bit on the horse's mouth. Of course this snaffle bit has no lever action, as has the curb bit.


Riding over jumps is an art in itself, and requires long practice, but it is one of the most fascinating forms of riding. Like flying, it gets in one's blood. There are two forms used by riders when jumping fences or ditches.

One form is to maintain the rider's body so that it is always perpendicular to the ground. That is, the rider leans slightly forward as the horse rises to the jump, becomes more erect from waist up and wholly so as the horse passes over the jump, and he leans slightly backward as the horse goes downward to the ground after the jump, and then he straightens erect again when the horse lands.

The other form is being far more used now. This second form consists in the rider's leaning forward over the horse's neck as the animal goes at the jump, and retains this leaning far forward position as the horse rises, as it passes over the jump and even as it goes down to, land, then straightens up into his normal erect seat.

Both the "vertical" (first) form given above and the "crouch" (the second) form have very strong advocates. One should practice both, then adopt the form which seems the better suited to the individual.

In all broad and high-jumping, as at horse shows and when riding across-country after hounds, etc., most civilian and cavalry riders hold a rein in each hand, with their hands held low almost against the horse's withers (shoulders in front of the saddle) , and they use a quite short stirrup, and lean much farther forward than any trained cowboy ever does, and place far more weight on their stirrups than he does. In Figure 12 the modern "crouch" seat is well shown. In attempting this seat, many a rider exaggerates it by leaning much too far forward until, at times, his face almost touches the horse's neck. Note especially this rider's firm seat in the saddle.

The cowboy almost never jumps very high jumps, though he often has to take broad ones over arroyos, ditches and the like. He generally holds his 'reins in one hand and sits erect, but with complete flexibility. His friction (grip with his thighs) is very powerful from constant hard riding over rough country and on many unbroken horses. And he uses a much longer stirrup length, as has been explained in a previous chapter.

In taking up jumping, either high or broad, the new rider should select a horse known to jump well and willingly. Then he should practice taking very low jumps, with and without using his stirrups —jumps, at first, not over a foot -high or two feet wide. Not until rider and horse go over these easily, should the height or width be increased, and then only gradually.

Trotting and jumping without stirrups, over low jumps, has the greatest value here in gaining balance, friction and self-confidence. It should be practiced a very great deal, before the jumps are raised or widened. In jumping, the rider's lower legs should go slightly back of the cinch, and never should they go forward of it; and he should clinch the horse firmly with thighs and with upper calves, being sure to keep his spurred heels outward so as not to jab the horse.


In all riding, a daily effort must be made to keep the rider's feet as nearly parallel to the horse's sides as possible, as has been said before. The tendency of all new riders is to turn in their heels, causing the spurs to scrape the horse, and this will make the horse nervous, uncertain, jiggly, even frantic, and cause "bolters" (runaways). And turning in the heels places the backs of the rider's thighs against the horse, when it is the INNER side of the thigh which should do so, so as to allow the adductor muscles to come into play in gripping. It is almost invariably the new rider's habit to turn the backs of the thighs against the horse, as he would on a barrel. He or she MUST learn the right way, as explained.

There is also a long-recognized seat known as the "Hunting seat," (Figure 13) which should be studied carefully. The rider sits erect, without stiffness, using always the "flat" saddle. Thighs are rather more advanced than slope of horse's shoulders. Lower legs are held vertically, heels about two inches lower than rider's toes; foot parallel to horse's side. Hands are held low and with an easy feel of the horse's mouth through the lightly-held reins. This is a very easy and secure seat for cross-country riding. Note that this seat uses a rather shorter stirrup than the "normal" seat. The rider invariably posts when moving at the trot, in this seat. Note the double bridle and the open stirrups; and also the martingale running from snaffle bit down between the horse's front legs to the cinch. The martingale is used to prevent the horse from tossing up its head and is liked by many riders, while others are as thoroughly opposed to using it. Note also the superior type of hunter on which this rider is seated.

The average good saddle horse, when trained as a willing jumper, should easily clear a high jump of three feet and a broad jump of at least four.


Many horses will clear over three feet high and a six or eight foot broad jump. Some, exceptional, will clear four or five feet and a broad jump of some fifteen feet. And, at the top, we come to the very exceptional jumpers that will go above even these figures. The internationally famous horse named Heatherbloom cleared something like seven feet in a high jump.

But a horse should never be forced beyond his capacity. A safe jump is always better than a broken neck.

A female rider taking a five-foot log jump. The firm seat, the steady hands on the reins, the solid knee grip, and the rider looking ahead and not down as many riders do. Looking down is a mistake. The rider's eyes should always sweep ahead. Note also the use of the single-reined bridle, with only a snaffle bit. Many riders prefer this to the double bits. The horse goes more willingly than when held back by the more severe curb bit. The horse and rider in this picture have won many blue ribbons for form, skill, and daring. Note the "breast strap." This is used by many cross-country and jumping riders. The strap is a divided one in its upper half, each part being buckled to the pommel of the flat saddle. The lower end goes between the horse's front legs and around the cinch. The breast strap holds the flat saddle from sliding back during fast riding and jumping, especially where a horse tapers from his chest to his smaller flanks, as some excellent saddlers do.

The time arrives when a rider has gained such a firm seat and so much confidence that he wishes for other worlds to conquer; and that world lies open before him—the bucking horse riding.

Such horses can be had all over the West, and many have been shipped to eastern markets.


It is wise for the rider to select, at first, a horse known to pitch only very mildly, very gently, making what Westerners call "Cow hops" —small bucks without much real violence.

The saddle used should be carefully examined and well cinched on to the horse. Some riders have learned buck riding by "hobbling" their stirrups until they learn how to ride buckers. That is, tying the two stirrups together by a rope or strap passed under the horse's belly.

The horse, saddled and bridled (no bit used, but a hackamore instead--a sort of rope halter around the horse's nose) should be held, for the learner, by other men, until the rider is firmly seated in his saddle (stock saddle type) and has his feet firmly in his stirrups and the hackamore rope grasped in one hand tightly.

It is well to begin learning buck riding inside of a corral or similar enclosure, so as not to be dragged away if thrown, and always to mount only when other men are close at hand to help. Sometimes the horse is first blindfolded and the blind snatched off when, the rider being in the saddle, the horse is turned loose. The expert rider is expected to stay on without "grabbing leather" (gripping his saddle horn), but, for the new rider at this dangerous game, it is suggested that he grab anything in sight when he feels himself about to be thrown—and pray hard!


IN ALL riding, and especially in western riding, and always when on a ranch, be it a "dude" ranch or the usual sort, this matter of the bucking horse is one deserving extended knowledge and a very great deal of actual experience, and every rider will find that the more understanding he or she has of the methods used, the wiser and safer and more skilled he or she will be.

Expect "spills." These come to all riders. And, as told in a previous chapter, if the rider or horse is not hurt, the rider should get on the horse again at once, before timidity comes, which is one of the worst phases of mental anxiety that a rider can know, and it will spoil all the pleasure in horseback riding—for a good long time if not permanently.

A determined effort should always be made to overcome timidity. If yielded to, it will become more and more a settled condition of mind, fixed in one's make-up, and then that person's riding days are just about over. That is always too bad, for riding is exhilarating and wonderfully healthful—the "sport of kings."


There are various methods used in breaking and riding horses. In the old frontier days, it was very usual for several men to rope and throw a horse, then to saddle the animal by brute strength, let him get up and then, while several men dragged down on the horse's ears, the rider got on, sometimes using a very severe bit instead of the customary hackamore.

Then the horse was turned loose by the holders and the rider gripped everything with all his strength, spurred savagely and "razzed" the horse in every possible way, until the animal, from sheer exhaustion, stopped its bucking. This whole thing was repeated several times—about once or twice a day—and thereafter the horse was said to be "gentled."


The above method of brutality often converted an otherwise good, intelligent horse (once properly broken) into what Westerners call an "outlaw"—a horse which will pitch, sunfish, whirl, fall over back. wards, run into anything, bite, kick and generally raise Cain.

There are still some ranches that use this method. Their riders are truly wonderful, in skill and nerve, but it is now generally regarded that it is far better to break the horse by more reasonable methods.

The old way can be more readily understood if we will remember that, in those old frontier days, where hundreds of thousands of cattle, themselves wild, were being "trail driven" all over the West, on long drives extending from the Mexican border to the Canadian line, time was precious and green, unbroken horses had to be saddled, mounted and ridden quickly, whether or no, every day, and loss of time could not be afforded to break them more gently and consume days or weeks in the doing.

It was a rough life, a rough period, and a rough method, effective only because the riders were themselves marvelously strong and skilled, with a grip of iron in their thighs and courage of the same sort.

The unbroken western horse is as wild today as he ever was, as can be proved by watching any rodeo, and as terrific a bucker, and men today of the range are as brave and as skilled, but time changes methods, even in such rough riding; though it still remains a game not for the timid or weak or inexperienced. Death lurks close every time a rider mounts a bucker or an "outlaw."

Today, as a rule, the green horse of the West is saddled, bridled, ridden and broken inside a circular corral. Patience is required, or the horse becomes, naturally, frightened, and on the defensive.

Rodeo rules are direct from our western cattle ranches, prepared by cowmen who know every angle of the game. These rules require that a bronco rider spur his wild horse at least three times in its shoulders immediately upon coming out of the chute and thereafter keep spurring the bucker back of the cinch; also, that one hand grip the hackamore rope as shown in the illustration of the buck-horse rider, and that his other hand hold itself high as shown in the picture; also, that neither hand shall touch the saddle at any time. 'The time the rider must "stick on" during his ride is usually eight seconds, sometimes only seven seconds, before his "pickup rider" may help him. Stirrups are not allowed to be hobbled (tied together by a rope passing under the horse's belly). Note that there is no bridle or bit worn, just the halter and hackamore rope. Also, note the shorter length of stirrup used. The rope seen passing around the horse's flanks behind the saddle is put on tightly, to make the horse buck harder in rodeos, as many horses will if a tight rear cinch is used. The rider's thigh and knee grip must be like steel, as the lower legs must keep spurring until the competitive ride is finished.

First, the hackamore (sort of halter of rope) is put on. This is made almost always of rope and has no bit. It goes around the horse's "muzzle" (lower part of the head just above the nostrils) and has one (or two) reins of the same material. Then the rider, standing near the animal's head and holding the hackamore rope in his left hand, gently smooths the saddle blanket over the horse's sides and back until the animal gets used to it, loses its fear of it and stands quietly.

Next, the blanket is finally laid on the horse's back, ready for the saddle. This takes both time and patience, and also steady firmness, but pays, as it gets the horse over its first fright of man and equipment.


Next, while one or two other skilled men hold the horse's head —and we still hold to the method of gripping the horse's ears, on some ranches (and this ear gripping is a bad one, making a horse afraid thereafter to have his head or ears touched)—the rider moves the saddle about, close to the horse's left ("near") side, which, from fear, the horse will sidle away from. He will do this a lot at first, but finally the horse quiets and then the saddle is quietly laid on the animal's back. Again the horse is handled—"gentled"—until he again stands quiet.

Then, with no quick moves to scare the horse, the rider cinches up the saddle on the horse's back. This must be done slowly, inch by inch, and quietly, and NEVER TOO TIGHTLY AT THE FIRST ATTEMPT, for a green horse naturally resents having a cinch pulled too tightly about his body. Here he is very apt to buck, and this we want to avoid.

The idea at this point, is not to MOUNT the horse, but to accustom him to a bridle, blanket and saddle. It pays to bridle, blanket and saddle a green horse several times, patiently, firmly, and then lead the animal around after the equipment has been put on him, and until he leads quietly. Many will, at this period, pitch, especially when the cinch is tightened up a bit more, and will try to buck off the saddle. The animal may jerk loose frantically and go pitching high, wide and handsome all around the corral.

But, when the horse finds he cannot rid himself of. the saddle or of the tightened cinch, he finally calms down, perhaps more or less winded for the moment. The rider should then go up quietly and again slightly tighten the cinch and again lead the horse around. Patience pays here. Don't hurry. Give the horse time to adjust himself to his new life of wearing the bridle and saddle and blanket and at being led.

Quite frequently, hackamore (with its rope rein or. reins dragging) , blanket and saddle are left on for hours and the horse permitted to get used to such equipment himself, (inside a corral or other enclosure), which is a good way and always wise when time allows. That is to prevent his running away, as he would probably do if turned loose in the open.

Also, as in our cavalry service, there is used what we call a "caves-son and longe"—a halter having an iron ring sticking up from the noseband, and a twenty-foot rope snapped into the ring. The trainer holds the far end of the rope and sends the horse (saddled) around himself at the length of the rope (called the "longe'') at a walk, then at a trot, then at a canter, and to the right and then to the left. This "cavesson and longe" training brings splendid results and frequently ends by the horse, when later mounted, never pitching at all.


Finally, when the horse is gentle in the corral while wearing bridle, blanket and saddle, he is ready to be mounted. Very often, among cowboys, the blanket is not yet used at this stage, so that the saddle will rest more tightly on the horse's back.

A saddle blanket will often slide out to the rear, from under the saddle, and thus leave the saddle too loose. Too, the underside of most stock (cowboy) saddles are lined with wool (sheepskin with the wool left on so as to be against the horse's back), and this clings to the horse's hide and hair.

On some ranches the horse is blindfolded before the rider mounts, and then the rider (or some dismounted assistant) pulls off the blind before the rider starts the horse forward. Some prefer no ,blindfold. Opinions differ. It is an old method.


Now the rider steps beside the horse's head (always on the horse's left side, which we call the "near" side) , grasps the cheek-piece of the bridle (on the near side) in his left hand, grasps the horn of the saddle in his right hand, places his left foot in the left stirrup, and then slowly and quietly rises in the left stirrup to mount, the reins being clutched in the rider's left hand. The grip explained, of the rider's left hand, draws the horse's head around to the left and holds it there while the rider goes up into the saddle, and, with his head so turned and held, it is very hard for the horse to pitch (buck). After the horse can be mounted without trying to buck, the left hand should, thereafter, grasp a lock of the mane instead of the side of the halter (or bridle, as the case may be); and the reins are held as before, in the left hand, leaving the right hand free to grasp the saddle-horn (or pommel).

The old way (and still used on some ranches) was to mount at once and get settled in the saddle. Then—"Let 'er buck!"

The new way is far better, undoubtedly. All this while, the rider is holding the hackamore rope (or reins) in his left hand; and when there are two reins, of course they are first placed beside the horse's neck (one rein on each side thereof), the same as with bridle reins. There is no bit put in the horse's mouth at this stage of the game. That comes later, after the horse has been gentled while being ridden with the hackamore.

In the new way, the rider, after all the preliminary training and gentling of the horse as described in preceding parts of this book, does not mount at once after the horse has become quiet under saddle and bridle. Instead, the rider mounts only part way; that is, raises himself up and down in the left stirrup (left foot in it), repeatedly, until the horse becomes accustomed to his weight. Only when the horse gets used to this, does the rider swing his right leg over the horse's croup (part of horse behind the saddle) and sit down in the saddle.

After mounting, keeping the horse quiet and holding the animal at a halt, the rider's right foot is then placed in the right stirrup and the reins gathered correctly (of equal length and with a light feel of the horse's mouth). We call the right side of the saddle horse the off side. Cowboys, Indians and other riders do NOT mount usually from this off side, though Indians used to do it years ago. The horse that will stand quietly while being mounted from his "near" side (to which he has been accustomed) will often be nervous, frightened and apt to rear, leap away or even buck if the attempt be made to mount him from his off side—as many inexperienced men and women try to do through ignorance.

However, a good saddle horse should be trained to allow the rider to mount from EITHER SIDE; and, many times, this is a decided advantage. And a rider should practice it, for he will find it awkward and this should be overcome.

After mounting a horse whose training has reached that far, the rider must NOT immediately urge the horse forward by "clucking," spurring and shaking the reins (as green riders so often do). The experienced horseman "jiggles" up and down in the saddle for awhile, so that the horse will become used to the rider's weight and movements when on his back, before trying to make the horse move forward. Take things slowly.

After a few minutes of this, if the horse is still quiet, the rider gently urges him forward at a WALK, using his squeezing thighs, light touches of his spurs, shaking the reins and leaning slightly forward as indications to the horse to move forward. NEVER CLUCK. If the training has been well done, most horses will move ahead at the walk and not try to buck, rear or misbehave. Sometimes a horse WILL start bucking or leaping about the moment the rider urges him for-ward. Be prepared for this and clinch tightly.

The amount of preliminary training, as well as the nature of the individual horse, must answer the question as to what he will do when starting to move forward; and no one ever knows until the horse actually moves.


After the horse goes quietly, under the rider, at a walk, urge the animal into a slow trot by the same means; and after a few times around' the enclosure at this trot, urge the horse into a lope (slow gallop), again by using the same means of reins, legs, friction and balance.

Try not to allow the quiet lope to break into a wild, excited race around the enclosure, and never into a headlong run—if you can help it. Be firm, quiet, patient.

Continue all this work patiently, every day, and soon the horse should be ridden out in the open at all gaits, and taught being "rein wise," to stop from a lope, canter or gallop by shoving forward his hind feet well under him and stopping on them instead of on his front feet, which is awkward and bad and apt to make the horse a stumbler. You always desire your saddle-horse to be what we call "light in front"—not heavy like a plow-horse.

Also, the rider, now out in the open, must teach the horse to turn to right or left or all the way around quickly, to take up a lope or even a run from a halt, and to stand "ground hitched"—reins dragging on the ground.

Training a horse for roping work and cutting out cattle at round-ups, and for shooting a revolver or rifle from his back, follow in their natural order; and then the owner possesses a mighty fine and handy animal for all sorts of work, which will be a daily delight.

If, however, the horse starts pitching, the rider must sit down tightly, using strong thigh and knee grip, and allowing the upper part of his body to remain flexible.

Stiffening a rider's body in the saddle often results in a "spill." Also, when a horse pitches, the rider's lower legs must help in clinching, getting all the grip one can out of his entire leg, for security. As a final means of remaining in the saddle, there is, of course, what we call `grabbing leather," which means grabbing the horn or pommel of the saddle with the right hand and still clinging to the hackamore rope (or to the reins) with the left hand.

No rider should ever allow himself to be thrown if he can stay in the saddle by any means he possesses. No fall from a horse's back is enjoyable, and many injuries can come by trying to fling oneself out of the saddle through fright. And NEVER, while on the horse's back, should a rider drop the reins. This is fatal. The horse will rush away in mad flight, maybe bucking, and run into almost anything. The reins are a rider's "brakes" as a last resort.

Avoid trying to throw yourself from the saddle while the horse is bucking or rushing about. Control your fears at such a time. The cooler and steadier the rider holds himself or herself in hand, the better and the safer.

Whenever a horse or steer or even a calf throws a rider off, the animal invariably makes a final kick with the hind foot nearer the tossed person. If this kick should land, the rider's days would probably be ended then and there. Fortunately, few riders are struck this way, however strange that may seem. But cowboys, aware of this tendency, roll away on the ground before rising to their feet.

It is a wise practice for a green rider, before mounting any horse, to leave off his spurs, which he is very apt to jab against the horse's flanks and cause trouble. Begin to use spurs ONLY after having acquired a good, strong seat in the saddle, and balance.

And it is also a wise practice used by a great many experienced riders, to leave off their spurs when training a green horse, so they will not bother the animal with them and also to avoid the spurs catching (should the horse buck or rear or plunge about) in some part of the cinch or leather and thus dragging the thrown rider.

But with a strong rider, the proper use of spurs is a very decided advantage. The proper use of them should be learned early and, as an habitual practice, should then be worn for all usual riding, in-side riding halls or outside in the open. Used viciously, they are brutal; used properly, they give a rider a form of discipline which the trained horse well knows and responds to easily.

Whenever a rider mounts a green horse in the open for the first time, he should have another rider accompany him for safety—a skilled rider. In the western country, this assistant is called a "hazer." He "hazes" the green horse away from dangerous places and catches the animal up when necessary. This always pays and saves many a life. And the same thing applies to a green rider mounting a horse for the first few weeks. He or she should have an experienced riding companion along—and close.

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