Spirited and Dull Horse

 

Xenophon – Spirited and Dull Horse

On Riding the Spirited and Dull Horse by Xenophon. (430BC – 350BC)

 
Lusitano-Spirited and Dull HorseIn this section of his book On Horsemanship, Xenophon discusses riding the spirited and dull horse:   The spirited horse must be annoyed as little as possible.   It must not be approached with loud voices or carrying things that might scare him.   Once mounted it must be let to stand longer than other horses.   It must be started at a slow gait and increase the pace gradually.   Sudden signals and changes disturb him.   When galloping, he does not like to change direction too much.   Galloping in a straight line soothes him and relaxes him.   Changing speed constantly makes him angry too.   The spirited horse must always be kept under a tight rein and must always feel the pressure of the rider’s thighs on his belly.   Relaxing too much on a spirited horse can be dangerous and you might lose control.
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Lusitano-Spirited and Dull HorseDo not touch the horse or rein him in too much.   Keep your hands away from him as much as possible because he is already aware of your presence by the pressure of your thighs.   Never race a spirited horse against other horses, especially another which has the same temperament.   Always try to rest and feed the horse before battle.   Xenophon finishes by saying that a spirited horse is not really made for battle and should not be used because of its unsteady character.   He also says that a dull horse must be treated in exactly the opposite way as a spirited horse.
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