Alfred Saunders.

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Webster Family Library Of Veteriw^^^^^^^
Cummings School ot Veterinary IVledicine at
Tiitts University
200 VVesttoro Road
North Grafton, MA 01 536


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Price Go.

"Tills book is describeil by tlie autlior. and nut witliout sub^tautial gi-ouiul;>,
'A rractioal Poultry Book.' It is not a coniyilatiou, as so inaay books that
concern the a-griculturists are, but a work bearing traces in every jart of large
practical acquaintance with the subject.'' — Daily News.

"Every page is rich in information and suggestion, lie has omitted the
discussion of no point, from the construction of the house and the purchase of
the stock to the appearance at table of the cooked product, whether egg or
chicken, Six chapters are devoted to ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea-fowls,
pheasants, and pigeons." — Glasgow Herald

"ilr. Saunders has carefully studied the liabits, wants, ami health of the
poultry, and his advice on the subject is valuable both for its humanity and its
good sense." — Mvnihin Post.

"We have as a duty, and still more as a matter of taste, read and studied
every fowl book and poultry guide published lor the la>t thirty years, and we do
not hesitate to say that this book of Mr. Saunders's is not only by far the best,
but worth any dozen of the best of them. Sir. Saunders not only knows what he
writes about, but he is able to make his readers understand as \\cll. Independent
of poultry altogether, the book is well worlli reading for the uifonnatiou it
coutaiui on food, digestion, hcrcditarj' intlueuces, and evolution." — jiantcm
Moiiilii'j News.

" -Mr. Saunders is evidently a cultivated man of tlie world, and writes about
poultry in a way which shows that if he were so pleased he could discourse
profitalily on many other things as well. We believe that his book will be much
r, ad by bird-fanciers here and in our colonies. The fourth chapter, on food, is,
pel haps, the most useful in the book. The ^vhole volume shows that Mr. Saunders
has been a nu)st careful observer. Many facts he tells \Nill be useful to those
interested in science who have little leisure, ojiportunity, or taste for rearing
poultry." — The Academy.


SamI's-on Low, M.s.rstox, Skahi.k i Rivixi.ton,
iss. Fleet stkkkt, k.c.








Sampsox Low, Makstox, Searle lV Eivixgtox,
188, Fleet Street, E.G.





Chapter. Page.

1. — General Remarks ... ... ... ... ... i

2.— Varieties OF THK Horse ... ... ... ... 7

3. — Stabling, Clothing, Cleaning ... ... ... 27

4.— Food ... ... ... ... ... ... 36

."). — Water ... ... ... ... ... ... 47

6.^AiR ... ... ... ... ... ... .50

7. — Exercise ... ... ... ... ... ... 60

8. — Shoeing ... ... ... ... ... ... 72

9. — Theory of Horse Education ... ... ... 83

10.— Breakixg a Horse Slowly an'd Thoroltghly ... 90

11. — High School Education ... ... ... ... no

12. — Local Systems ... ... ... ... ... 1,S2

13. — Expeditious Education ... ... ... ... 1,51

14. — Theory of Breaking to Harness ... ... ... 104

1.5. — Breaking to Light Harness ... ... ... 171

16. — Breaking to Slow HEA\Tr Draft ... ... ... 182

17. — ViCKS AND Bad Habits ... ... ... ... 197

18.— Riding ... ... ... ... ... ... 216

19. — Driving ... ... ... ... ... ... 225

20. — Selecting a Horse ... ... ... ... 242

21. — Indications of Age ... ... ... ... 255

22. — Purchasing a Horse ... ... ... ... 258

23.— Breeding ... ... ... ... ... ... 263

24. — Diseases ... .,. ... ... ... ... 275


A Bristol youth whose theological education had been ninch
neglected, was once asked by his Sunday School teacher, in the
words of_^a catechism, *' What is thechief end of man ?" Feeling
his intellect insulted by a question, the answer to which appeared
to him so very obvious, theboy indignantly replied, " Why liis head
to be sure." This answer was not received with much fav« nr
by tlie teacher, but it nevertheless contains a very important
truth, and one which man is too prone to forget, especially when
dealing with animals whose head can hardly be considered their
"chief end." His dealings with the horse have not always
illustrated the truth of Cowper's lines : —

" 'Tis plain the creature whom He to invest
With kingship and dominion o'er the rest,
Received his nobler nature, and was made
Fit for the power, in which he stands arrayed."

The unexampled progress of oiir countrymen in beneficent
civilization during the last sixty years, has been mainly due to
the fact, that even the toilers amongst us have learned to use
their " chief end" more, and their inferior ends less.

"With more peace, more food, more leisure, and more education,
even our agricultural labourers have asserted their right to be
something more than hewers of wood and drawers of water ; have
sought and have obtained improved tools ; and now willingly
leave the lowest and most severe drudgery to the water wheel, the
steam engine, and the horse.

The descendants of the poor mistaken men, who, fifty years
ago, were burning the farmers rude thrashing machines, and


demanding that their ill-fed rausoles should replace those of the
ox or the horse, are now quite able to see that their elevation
must come in the opposite direction, and that their own heads
must take, at least, a part in the ascent.

They nDW earn the price of three bushels of wheat with less
effort than their ancestors earned the price of one. They have
learned to toil less and to accomplish more. They no longer
demand to raise their weary arms in a physical competition with
the strength of the ox, or the power of the steam engine. They
thrash, but not with the flail ; they dig, but not with the spade ;
they mow, but not with the scythe ; they reap, but not with the
sickle ; they grind, but not as Sampson ground.

A few minutes thought of what the world would be without
the horse, leads us to a true estimate of his value, and enables
us to realize what our lives would lose of pleasure, power, profit,
and picturesqueness, without the animal that brings such great,
yet such controllable powers to our aid.

Our earnest aim in the following pages has been to help on
the triumph of mind over the agencies placed at its disposal ; to
put the best muscles completely under the control of the best
brains, and to show that unthinking brute force is not the weapon
with which man can hope to make the best of his most willing
and most timid servant, the horse ; but that his superior intel-
ligence, applied in a spirit of humanity to the relationship, will
make this powerful ally far more useful and more happy than he
is now found to be.

By carefully observing the nature and peculiar instincts of
any animal in our charge, and meeting them with some humane
resources within our reach, we can generally insure obedience to
our will, cure most of his bad habits, and secure our own safety
by some simple stratagem, We only convert his eccentricities
into formidable dangers when we combat them with unmanly

We are only too conscious that no effort, literary, legislative,
or moral, will ever keep the horse from falling into hands unfit
to arbitrate the fate of any sensitive creature.

From the nature of things the most worthless and the most


hearJess are attracted by the trick?;, and atrocious barbarities,
adopted by the bhicklegs among horse dealers. But enlightened
self-interest is the most powerful, and by far the most generally
applicable antidote to cruelty, and should, at least, save the young
horse from the injuries of ignorance, and to him ignorance forms
the most substantial danger.

Let breeders and owners suflficiently understand that the
education of the young horse is no question of craft, mystery, or
even skilled horsemanship ; bat demands temper, judgment, tact,
and qualities only to be found in a superior class of men, and we
may hope to see fewer cruel mistakes, and consequently losses in
that direction. With horses educated under the eye of those who
know how it should be done, and who have a direct pecuniary
interest in the result, an entirely dilfereut system would be adopted,
with results that would not be uncertain, either humanely,
morally, or commercially.

After seeing the horse, both tame and wild, reduced to
obedience by men of various degrees of civilization, in every
quarter of the globe, our aim has been to select the system that
would give us the best possible horse with the least expenditure
of time and trouble. In this we have succeeded beyond our most
sanguine expectations, and by the most humane and simple means
We therefore record these methols for the benefit of the horse
and its owner, certain that, if faithfully carried out, they will not
fail to contribute to the welfare and happiness of both.

For the harness horse we have entirely and invariably
succeeded in preventing that vice which has caused the greatest
exhibition of cruelty, and the greatest depreciation of value, from
which he has ever suffered, and we have the satisfaction of
knowing that the adoption of our advice would remove a weight
of suffering from the horse, and a load of sin from his owner,
that would make the w^orld less sad.

If we have forsaken the beaten paths of orthodox horse
management, and called in question the teachings of those who
have long been looked up to as great authorities, our defence
must be, that for half-a-century we have gone to a greater Teacher,
and have been shewn that they were wrong.


Very slowly, very reluctantly, but very surely, we have lost
our faith in long cherished theories and practices, and have
learned from Nature, and to bow only to the unanswerable logic
of facts.

Where the results have been constantly and strikingly good,
we have concluded that the course practised must be good also.

In judging of the value of our work, we ask our readers to
try it by the same rule. Let our advice be tested by the unerring
records of careful practice, and we confidently leave the estimate
of our work to the result of that unbiassed testimony.

It is usual to acknowledge the sources of any information
that the author has been able to utilize ; but, so far as it is
possible, we have done that in the text of the chapters before us.
We say, as far as possible, because it is not possible for the
human mind to ascertain all the aids that have led up to its
present degree of knowledge upon any subject. Where we could
recollect the source we have gratefully recorded it, whether from
great names, like Sir J. Forbes, Dr. Dadd, or Professor Rarey,
or from a humble American Indian, a Gaucho, an Australian
stockman, or a simple Maori family.

Our readers will see that we have thus literally become a
" debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians ; " and,
although we have too often proved but a slow scholar, we have
had every advantage to be derived from books, from the observa-
tion of experts, from a comparison of the different horses and
horsemen of the world, from a long practical experience, and
from a love of the animal itself, that has been the strongest
incentive to our writing the pages of this book.




1. — In the language of zoology, or in the orderly classification
of naturalists, the horse ranks under the division vertebrata
(having a brain and spinal marrow) ; the class mammalia
(suckling their young) ; the tribe ungulata (having feet protected
with hoofs) ; and, although his own skin is thin and very
sensitive, he is placed under the order pachydermata, or thick
skinned, that term being applied to all hoofed animals that do
not chew the cud. He belongs to the volipeda family, having
on each foot only one undivided hoof.

2. — Such ancient history as we have had handed down to m,
gives us singularly little information about so important and
useful an animal. Statues and hieroglyphics do not help us
much : nor are there any existing herds of wild horses, except
those that are known to have originated with animals once
domesticated, and which consequently give us no cine to the
aboriginal home of the horse. It seems to have formed no part
of the possessions of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. We first hear of
it from Egypt, where, in the time of the dire famine, we read,
" Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses." The waggons,
the sight of which revived the spirit of old Jacob, may have
been drawn by asses or mules, as more suitable for such roads,
and more safe for the conveyance of such passengers as the
" wives and little ones." But, when Joseph took back his
father's [remains to the field of Machpelah, we are left in no


doubt that "there went up with him both chariots and horse-
men." Thus we gather that the horse first came from North
Africa, and was used in the service of man at least 3,600
years ago. The examination of ancient sculptures has led some
antiquarians to the highly improbable conclusion that the horse
was long used to draw vehicles before any one ventured to
mount on his back. We cannot imagine that generations of men
who rode on asses would continue to walk by the side of an
animal so much better fitted to carry them, and which they had
made docile enough to draw all sorts of frightful things at its
tail. It is far more probable that the early sculptors found it
more easy to represent a horse drawing something behind him
than to place a stone rider gracefully on his back.

3. — Egypt itself is very little adapted for a horse breeding
country, but the leading part that she once took in civilisation,
and the commanding political position she long occupied, would
enable her to draw supplies of them from any part of North
Africa. With her great maritime advantages these seem to have
been distributed to other parts of the world, horses being a
favourite article both of ordinary export, and for royal presents
to foreign potentates. Soloman was a large importer of horses
from Egypt, and with his wealth, wisdom, and power, he is
likely to have secured the best, so that there is nothing very
incredible in the Arab tradition that their best horses descend
from the stud of Soloman. Mahomet appears to have severely
tested the powers of the Arabian mare, and as he would be able
to obtain the best, mares that had endured such tests from him,
would naturally become celebrated, and thus the Arabs get
another starting point in the pedigree of their best hoi-ses, more
than 1,000 years later than the reign of Soloman,

i. — In point of strict utility the horse must perhaps rank
behind the cow, or even the sheep, although in the present state
of society it would be more difficult for any nation to take a
commanding position, or even to hold its own, without the
horse than without either of those animals. In intelligence he
has many superiors : the elephant, the dog, the fox, the pig, the
rat, the cow, and even the donkey have more brain power, and


are far less easily deceived than the horse. Few animals have
so little capacity to take care of themselves, or can be made the
subjects of such easy and long continued imposition, Xo other
animal submits his physical powers so unreservedly to the service
of man, nor can the muscles of any other slave be so constantly
and cruelly overtaxed at his command. In fiction, in poetry,
and even in real life, he often gets credited with much wisdom
and courage, though he is singularly deficient of both, and many
cruel mistakes in his treatment result from the supposition that
he is far more intelligent and more aggressively courageous than
he really is. He is essentially not a fighting but a flying
animal, one that trusts to his speed, and not to his sagacity,
courage, or aggressive power for his safety. Even when driven
into a yard, or otherwise placed beyond the possibility of escape,
the wild horse shows no fight, as most other wild animals will do,
but still cowers like the timid 'sheep at the greatest possible
distance from any puny pursuer. Completely and continuously
gregarious in his habits, the horse never feels so safe, so contented,
or so happy as when in company, and his hardest lessons in the
service of man are those which confine him to solitary service or
solitary confinement, and compel him to face alone dangers that
would terrify him even in that companionship which nature has
taught him to cling to at any cost of exertion. Even the
wounded horse will never voluntarily leave the herd, but gallops
with it till he drops, evidently under a feeling implanted in his
nature that to be left behind is to be left a prey to some cruel
pursuer. This is the simple key to most of the romance Ave
hear and read about the horse enjoying the battle, the chase,
and the race. Nature has taught him what she teaches all
animals that seek safety in flight and in society, that it is
dangerous to be left alone, or to be loft behind, a feeling that she
has sometimes allowed to seize large bodies, even of that most
aggressive animal — man. The vaunted courage of the battle
horse is the courage of ignorance and panic. He has with
difficulty been taught on parade that sights and sounds that once
terrified him are harmless, and he knows no diflTerence Ijetween
the boltless noise of the blank cartridge and the deadly balls of


actual warfare. In the charge the more really terrified he feels
the more determined he is not to be left alone, so that each
horse madly rushes wherever he believes his companion to be
going. His most dangerous vices are the result of his extremely
timid nature, which makes him imagine every log to be a lion,
every gap in a hedge to be a lurking place for a tiger, and an
oppossum rug to be a bear, whilst he flies in frantic terror fi"om a
serpent-hke leather rope drawn by himself, from the rider dragging
in the stirrup, or the carriage wheels rolling behind him.

5. — In silent, patient, unresisting endurance of sufTerings from
which he has not been allowed to fly he has few equals. He
plods patiently on from day to day suffering from heat, cold,
starvation, or thirst, until his bones start through his skin, and
his wasted muscles can no longer raise him from the ground. He
pushes on to the fixed bayonet. He carries his rider without a
groan or a pause with flanks heaving for life until he drops dead.
No person can be prepared to deal properly with the horse who
starts with the too common impression that he has to deal
with a cunning, courageous, obstinate animal. He has usually
to deal with an animal simple as a baby, nervous as a lady, and
timid as a partridge.

(1. — In size the horse varies almost from that of the dog to
that of the elephant, from two feet to six and half feet high ; from
two cwt. to one ton in weight ; from the mere toy which a
gentleman has lifted into his gig, to the gigantic quadruped
which starts five tons weight on the London pavement.
Fortunately the docihty and ]>lacidity of the horse generally
increases with his size, making the giants often more easy to deal
with than the dwarfs. In slower times than the present the
finest specimens of the race used to be seen calmly wending their
way through the sights and sounds of London streets, attentive
to every word that was spoken to them by a self possessed and good
tempered driver, who was justly proud of his glossy, magnificent,
and obedient team.

7. — Rough stunted ponies are found in the Shetland Islands,
and in Iceland, and dry skinned, unhappy, emaciated Arabs and
Australian horses are made to endure the heat and insects at the


equator, but the horse can only be said to flourish in temperate
regions, and reaches his finest proportions only in those countries
where green grass can be obtained during the greater part of the
year. T^ven on the vast, dry, though temperate Australian plains
where light horses are so abundant and so good, the size of the
heavy cart horse cannot be sustained, so that he is regularly
imported from the colder climates of Tasmania and New Zealand.
There is ia the climate of New Zealand something specially
favourable to the development both of the cart horse and the
race horse. No finer cart horses can be seen in any part of the
world than at the New Zealand agricultural shows. Some of the
very first race horses bred in New Zealand were from Flora
Mc. Ivor, when about twenty years of age, yet they surpassed in
speed anything that she bred in her prime in Australia. During,
the year 1883, a three-year-old colt, bred in New Zealand, and
undergoing a voyage to Australia, has carried off the two
principal races in Melbourne, in the shortest time they have
ever been accomplished. This colt (]\Iartini-Henry) won not only
the Derby, for three-year-olds, but the Melbourne Cup, beating
a field of no less than 29 of the very best Australian horses of all
ages, doing the mile and a half in 2 minutes and 39 seconds,
and the two miles in 3 minutes 30^ seconds.

Though capable of his greatest speed and of the utmost
endurance when fed chiefly on dry fodder, with a large proportion
of corn, the horse only attains his utmost growth, continuous
health, aud natural age, when fed on somewhat bulky and
succulent food,

8. — Under good treatment he reaches his full growth and
utmost power at five years old, continues in perfection until
twelve, and is capable of moderate work until over twenty.
After that age his powers fail fast, although there are a few
cases on record in which he has attained the age of forty, and
both sexes have been known to retain fertility until after thirty.
Excessively fast work over hard roads, excited l^y stimulating
concentrated food, often wears him out in a few months, so that
stage coach horses, although skilfully selected, with great natural
powers of speed and endurance, only stand their cruel work two


years on an average. The more moderate pace of the city omnibus
horse enables him to last about six years, although eating
17 lbs. of corn a day, whilst the pampered giants used by the
great London brewers, stand their slow work ten years, eating no less
than 22 lbs. of corn a day. The ordinary farm horse, eating
10 lbs. of corn a day, and getting a good deal of green food,
often lasts twenty years, although under equal treatment the
heavy cart horse is naturally a shorter-lived animal than the light
coach horse.

9. — In the course of many centuries the climate, the soil,
and the requirements of each country, as well as the tastes,
opportunities, occupations, and genius of its people, have stamped
a peculiar character on the horses produced in it. South East
Asia and North Africa have produced the beautiful, wiry, enduring
Arab and Barb, the rich plains of Central Europe have grown
and fostered the heavy Flanders horse, whilst Great Britain, with
its horse-loving population, its grassy soil, its free trade, and its
watery high way to all the world, has culled from every country,
and cultivated whatever it required, until it has excelled every
other part of the world in its racers, its hunters, and its draft
horses. London streets and London parks have become the
places where the child's pony, the lady's pamlfrey, the gentleman's
hunter, the high stepping carriage horse, or the brewer's dray
horse, may be seen in the greatest perfection, under the highest
discipline, and in the best possible condition. The oflPshoots of
our race in America and Australasia, take the same horses and
the same tastes wherever they go, and whenever the horses of the
old country are beaten it will be by the descendants of her own
stock in the hands of her own children.

Her colonists do not send to Africa or Arabia for their nags,
nor to Flanders for their dray horses, but to England for their
racers, to Ireland for their hunters, and to Scotland for their
draft horses, and foi' the men to handle them.



10. — Although there may never have been a period when it
was more possible to obtain a horse of any required size or
character than it is now, there were far more distinct and definite

Online LibraryAlfred SaundersOur horses : or, The best muscles controlled by the best brains → online text (page 1 of 29)