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xenophon Xenophon was a great Greek General who discussed the merits of horses with the likes of Plato, Socrates and many others.

Here are few Xenophon’s thoughts , 2400 y ago … :

 …when the moment comes to dismount, never do so among other horses, nor in a crowd of bystanders , nor outside of the riding-ground; but let the horse enjoy a season of rest in the very pace where he is obliged to work ….. 

  ….the gods have bestowed upon man the gift of teaching his brother man what he ought to do by word of mouth; but it is evident that by word of mouth you can teach a horse nothing. If, however, you reward him with kindness after he has done as you wish, and punish him when he disobeys, he will be most likely to learn to obey as he ought. This rule, to be sure , may be expressed in few words, but it holds good in every branch of the art of horsemanship. For instance, he would be receive the bit the more readily if some good should come of it every time he receive it; and he will leap and jump up and obey in all the rest if he looks forward to a season of rest on finishing what he has been directed to do…. 

 Portrait Herm of…. if you desire to handle a good war-horse so as to make his action the more magnificent and striking, you must refrain from pulling at his mouth with the bit as well as from spurring and whipping him. Most peoples think that this is way to make him look fine; but they only produce an effect exactly contrary to what they desire, – they positively blind their horses by jerking the mouth up instead of letting them look forward, and by spurring and striking scare them into disorder and danger . This is the way horses behave that are fretted by their riders into ugly and ungraceful action; but if you teach your horse to go with a light hand on the bit, and yet to hold his head well up and to arch his neck , you will be making him do just what the animal himself glories and delights in….. 

 ….the horse enjoys fast running is that when he has got loose he never moves at a walk, but runs . It is his nature to enjoy it, unless he is obliged to run an excessive distance. Neither horse no man likes anything in the world that is excessive…..

 To conclude, if a man buys his horses skillfully , feeds them so that they can bear fatigue, and handles them properly in training them for war, in exercising them for the parade and in actual service on field, what is there to prevent him from making his horses more valuable than when he acquired them, and hence from owning horses that are famous and from becoming famous himself in the art of horsemanship ? Nothing expect the interposition of some divinity ….

 … if you gallop him during a ride until he sweats freely, and as soon he prances in fine style, quickly dismount him and unbridle him , you may be sure he will come willingly to the prance ….