"O thou father of a jackass!" they cried, "thou hast helped the thief to rob thee of thy jewel." But he silenced their upbraidings by saying: "I would rather lose her than sully her reputation. Would you have me suffer it to be said among the tribes that another mare had proved fleeter than mine? I have at least this comfort left me, that I can say she never met with her match."
Different countries have their different modes of horsemanship, but amongst all of them its first practice was carried on in but a rude and indifferent way, being hardly a stepping stone to the comfort and delight gained from the use of the horse at the present day.
The polished Greeks as well as the ruder nations of Northern Africa, for a long while rode without either saddle or bridle, guiding their horses, with the voice or the hand, or with a light switch with which they touched the animal on the side of the face to make him turn in the opposite direction.
They urged him forward by a touch of the heel, and stopped him by catching him by the muzzle. Bridles and bits were at length introduced, but many centuries elapsed before anything that could be called a saddle was used.
Instead of these, cloths, single or padded, and skins of wild beasts, often richly adorned, were placed beneath the rider, but always without stirrups; and it is given as an extraordinary fact, that the Romans even in the times when luxury was carried to excess amongst them, never desired so simple an expedient for assisting the horseman to mount, to lessen his fatigue and aid him in sitting more securely in his saddle.
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