116 DRIVING FOR PLEASURE.
manege, lie nevertheless applied methods in the accomplishment of his work which are of inestimable value to a horseman. One of his first principles was to teach the horse to play with the bit, thus keeping his mouth moist and distracting his attention from a possible inclination to " take hold."
The perfectly mannered harness horse should simply carry the bit in his mouth ; it should be felt by the coachman at all times, but with a touch so light that it would not break a piece of thin twine.
The proper adjustment of the noseband is much neglected, and in most harnesses this important strap has but one or two buckle holes. One should depend almost as much on the noseband as on the bit to make a pulling horse go pleasantly. It is far wiser to tighten the noseband when one's horse is pulling than to take up the curb chain. The tighter the curb chain is fastened the more senseless the mouth becomes, until finally one can make almost no impression on the poor brute. Should a horse be pulling, it is well to try the effect of dropping the bit one or two holes and having the curb chain easy (not too loose), to tighten the noseband so that the mouth is kept closed.
Avoid severe bitting as far as possible, for there is nothing pleasanter than a pliant snaffle bridle mouth ; but whatever bit is used, avoid placing it always in the same position, thereby making the mouth " dead." Of