Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 08:45 PM
The book is a facsimile reproduction of "A General System of Horsemanship" by William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle. It was first printed
in 1658 in French. And translated and reprinted in 1743. This is one of the very few written manuscripts on systematic training of horses of that time.
The English is unusual. I want to give explanation to two words. "Passionate" - means with a lot of emotions and very little reason. "Dressing a horse" -
means training a horse. Enjoy:
"I have seen very few passionate horsemen get the better of a horse by their anger; on the contrary,
I have seen the horse always get the better of them: and since the weakest understanding is always
the most passionate, it is probable that the horse will always outdo the man. In this act there should always be a man and a beast, and
not two beasts. Indeed, a good horseman ought never to put himself in a passion with his horse, but chastise him
like a kind of divinity superior to him. If the horseman spurs his horse rudely, the horse will answer in the same manner, by flinging maliciously.
...If the rider be angry with him he will be malicious, but otherwise will take all in good part, and never be offended: so that patience
is one means of dressing a horse. It is true, that patience without knowledge will never do, as knowledge will seldom do
without patience: you must therefore treat him gently, and not exert your full power; but the thing is difficult; for if he takes it
into his head to rebell, you must either let him master you, or else venture a bold stroke to reduce him. If you let him master you, you
have done with him; if he submits, you must alight that moment and cherish him. ... Reduce him by degrees, mixing gentleness with helps
and corrections. From hence you will learn how to fit a horse either for use or pleasure." William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle.
Cavendish W., Duke of Newcastle, A General System of Horsemanship. North Pomfret: Trafalgar Square, 2000