Danny Maher on the Art of Riding, Daily Racing Form, 1913-11-16


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DANNY MAKER ON THE ART OF RIDING. While at Liverpool, writes "Hotspur" in the London Daily Telegraph, I found a convenient opportunity of talking with Danny Maher 011 the subject of riding. "Legislation will not cure any evils of the very short stirrup leathers such was the summing-up of the premier jockey after a most interesting chat. Maher does not ride with very short leathers. They are short compared with the pro-American seat days, but certainly not verv short. Letting out leather. sententiously observed the jockey, "will not stop foul riding. It comes from the brain and not from short leathers. " Surely, ho went on with some cynicism, no one in the wide world could come and tell me what length I should ride. It is an absolutely ridiculous thing to suggest, though no doubt it is meant for the best. Anyone who is going to put me on a horse and arrange my length of leathers would probably see me fall off. We have heard a lot about the disadvantages lately, but what about the adan tagesV Those who rode in the old-fashioned way could not live with those who rode in the new style. I grant you that some jockeys riding today ride too short, and the result is that they havnt got the correct balance. " Balance! That is the whole principle of the scat, was Mahers terse comment. A jockey riding with a proper length with a short stirrup has twice the power that a jockey had riding in the old-fashioned style. 1 will tell you why. In the old-fashioned style they sat with their feet straight out in the Irons, and when a horse pulled at them they had to saw at its mouth in order to stop it. If your feet are stuck straight out, it stands to reason that the major part of your power to stop a. horse must come from the arms and ttr minor part from the knees. r " Take my own case, if I may suggest it to you an an example. From the leverage you get from the short stirrup you get twice the power. You are using the power from the legs and arms, a sort of double power. They used to have no leverage from anywhere, but with the knees up you get tlie leverage evenly distributed, and I know that the even distribution of leverage and perfect balan-s are good for the horse. If you take hold of anything witii a bend in your knees you are gaining in levef age. And it follows that the present-day seat, if properly adapted to the balance of the rider, "must give more command over the pulling horse. " Yes, there is no doubt about it. The principle of the seat is balance. It isnt everyone who can arrive at that you know, added Maher. with a smile which suggested that the gift of it is not endowed on j tlie many. How many loys. lie asked, are then" that have had some tuition but dont know that there Is such a tiling as balance? " In the old days, lie went on to say, thev used to first make horsemen of boys before they were put up to ride races. I believe boys must stay at school longer now than they used to do. and this shortens the time for them to acquire the arts of riding while they are still light. Then, when I was in the making as a jockey, loys had to be with trainers five or six years before thev were supposed to be capable of riding in public. "Now an intelli gent-looking youth who looks like shaping is put on to a horse within six or eight months. That is absurdly little time for a boy to learn his business in. " Dont blame short leathers for foul riding, and dont blame them for swerving and bumping so much as people have done. The one comes from the brain, the other Is tlie result of incomnetence aris ing from insufficient training and instruction. Short leathers not very short ones, mind vou! are tlie best for the horses today, and best for race riding. Get balance and learn to sit still! " "Such are the ideas of one who holds world-wido fame as a jockey, and who is considered by the vast majority to be without an equal today. He is, therefore, entitled to express an opinion, as the result of his years of experience, his splendid and honorable record, and his easy abilitv to put his meaning into words."

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1910s/drf1913111601/drf1913111601_2_2
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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800