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Crapauy A, Fifth Rejrimeiit of iEfaitrr,
Second Brigade. M. V. M

Elements of Hippology



Fifteenth Cavalry.

Prepared for the Department of Tactics,
United States Military Academy.

Second and Revised Edition.


Copyright, 1908, by

Franklin Hudson Publishing Co..

Kansas City, Mo.


It is A due to the^late^ General Sir Frederick Fitzwygram to
give credit to his book ; "Horses and Stables/' for very much
that is contained in this work, and the author wishes to thank
his widow and her son, the present Sir Frederick Fitzwygram,
for their kind permission to quote from it.

" Horses and Stables 7 ' has been the hand-book and guide
of the American cavalry officer since the issuance of its first
edition, and it is deeply regreted by us all that the fifth edition
is to be the last to be revised by its talented author.

, In the preparation of these notes the works of Dr. James
Law, General Carter, Captain Hayes, James Fillis, Gouboux
and Barrier, and Captain Seton, and the admirable work of the
Department of Agriculture on the "Diseases of the Horse,"
which have been the author's guide duringiiis service as a cav-
alry officer, have also been freely consulted. Whatever ideas
he has developed in his experience flow from suggestions re-
ceived from these and similar works. Nothing new is claimed or
attempted. The effort has been„made to write a comprehen-
sive book that will cover, in outline only, all general subjects
that a horseman should know.

All of the anatomical illustrations are taken from "Dis-
eases of the Horse," a public document issued by the Bureau
of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture. The pho-
tographs for the rest of the illustrations, except as noted, were
taken by Mr. W. H. Stockbridge, under the author's supervision,
from horses and polo ponies at the Military Academy, and rep-
resent ordinary conditions only. No effort is made to discuss
the so-called "horse of luxury," which is, after all, only an ex-
ceptionally good specimen of the type that ought to be adhered
to in purchasing a horse for any special purpose.

Special thanks is due the editor of "The Rider and Driver,"
Mr. Samuel Walter Taylor, for his kindness in loaning photo-
graphs, and for the cover design.

United States Military Academy,
West Point, New York,
January 1, «908.


Chaptke. Page.

I. — General Discussion, ..... 1

II. — Age, as Determined by the Teeth, . . 21

III. — Inflammation, . . . . . .41

IV.— The Head and Neck, 48

V. — Bits: Their Action, Influence, and Proper Use, 60

VI.— The Front Leg, 81

VII.— The Position of the Saddle, ... 97

VIIL— The Trunk, 106

IX.— The Hind Leg, . . . .. . .111

X.— The Horse's Foot, . . ' . . .122

XL— Diseases of the Foot, 129

XII. — -The Principles of Horseshoeing for Horses with

Ordinary Feet, . . . . .141

XIII. — The Heart, Lungs, and Air Passages, . . 155

XIV. — The Digestive Apparatus, . . . .164

XV. — Stable Management, 171

XVI. — Endurance of Horses. — Vices. — Punishment, . 181
XVIL— The Care of Sick Horses, . . . .196

XVIIL— Preventable Diseases, 201

XIX. — Irregularities of Action, .... 206
XX.— Judging Horses and the Examination for Sound-
ness, . . ^ 212



It is useless to attempt the description in a few words of the
origin and development of the modern horse;* we know that as
far back as authentic history reaches, horses have been used by
men for the manifold purposes of peace and war, toil and recrea-
tion. For many centuries past two general types of horses have
been preserved. One, which may be called the thoroughbred
type, is a light, active, speedy animal, possessing great endurance.
It finds its best uses for saddle and racing purposes. The other
type is more powerful, but not so. active, nor as fast. This
type may be called, in general terms, the Flanders type. It is
used for draft purposes. By crossing these two types the many
special breeds and families of horses now in use arise.

A thoroughbred animal is, in the broadest meaning of the
term, one of pure blood, descended for many generations from
animals of the same sort. Thus, one may speak with perfect
propriety of a thoroughbred fox-terrier dog, or of a thorough-
bred Jersey cow, or of a thoroughbred Cotswold sheep. A thor-
oughbred horse, however, is a race-horse — not necessarily used
for racing purposes — descended through a line of racers, from
Arab stock. Any other sort of a horse that is of pure strain, de-
scended from known ancestors of the same strain, should not be
called thoroughbred, but pure- bred.

*Those who are interested in this subject will find "The Origin
and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse/' by William Ridgewav
(Cambridge, University Press), interesting and exhaustive.



A stud-book is a book that is kept for the purpose of re-
cording the pedigree and performances of thoroughbred animals.
The stud-book for the American thoroughbred horse is kept by
the editor of the American Stud-Book, in New York City. To
entitle a horse to be registered as a thoroughbred in this stud-
book, his ancestors, for at least six generations of sires and five
of dams, must have been so registered.

If, in examining the pedigree of a thoroughbred horse, an
ancestor not of pure Arabian blood is found, the horse is said to
have cold blood.

A well-bred horse is one descended from a line of selected
sires and dams, chosen for the qualities they are known to im-
part to their offspring, and whose rearing has been carefully
attended to.

The horse shown in Figure 1* is an example of what cen-
turies of intelligent breeding and the most scientific care can

An ill-bred or under- bred horse is one carelessly bred,
whose sires and dams have not been well chosen, and who, for
generations, have been neglected in their rearing.

Figure 2 shows an under-bred polo pony of poor quality.
This is a coarse animal, with abundant mane and tail. While
it is a perfectly sound, serviceable animal for slow, light work,
its sluggish nature, the result of careless breeding and rearing,
unfits it for anything that demands courage or stamina or spirit.

The varied uses to which horses are put has led breeders to
develop special strains of horses that will best accomplish the
special work demanded of them.

*This colt was bred by Mr. I. Simons Harrison at his stud-farm
in East Yorkshire, England, and it is due to his courtesy that the
photograph is introduced here.

Mr. Harrison says of him: "This colt is very handsome and
racing-like and on good lines. I hope he may, with luck, make a name
for himself on the turf."

Figure 3. — The Coach-Horse Type.

Courtesy of J. Campbell Thompson, Es-q.

Figure 4. — The Hackney.
Courtesy of "The Rider and Driver.


For heavy draft purposes, the French Percheron and Eng-
lish Clydesdale are the most distinctive types. The former are
usually of gray color and the latter bay or brown. These are the
familiar heavy dray-horses; they weigh from 1,200 to 2,000
pounds, and are the most popular heavy work-horses in the
United States.

The English Shire horse is very similar to the Clydesdale,
and the French draft and Norman horses to the Percheron.
The Belgian and Flemish draft-horses are more ponderous
than either of the above breeds, and for that reason, probably,
have not caught the American horse-users' fancy.

The coach-horses are bred for moderate speed, while
drawing fairly heavy loads. They are over sixteen hands high,
and weigh from 1,100 to 1,300 pounds. The best-known breeds
are the English coach, the French coach, and the Cleveland
bay. The last named is a breed developed in the United States.
These horses are not pure-bred, but are carefully bred from
selected individuals.

The hackney is a breed of driving-horses of English origin
very popular in the United States. They are stocky, strong,
active horses, full of courage and good temper, smaller than the
coach-horses, and much less rangy in build. Fashion demands of
them an exaggerated knee action when in motion and a peculiar
stretched-out pose when at rest.

The hunter is a saddle-horse of good size, with a strong
thoroughbred cross, good at jumping, and with excellent wind.
There is no particular breed of hunters. They are simply se-
lected individuals that have proven to be useful in cross-country
galloping. It is performance that makes a hunter.

The polo pony is another type of saddle-horse that depends
absolutely on his individual performances to make him of any
value in his class. Excellent polo ponies are bred from small
mares of the mustang type by Arabian or Spanish barb sires.

Figure 5. — A Hunter.
Courtesy of "The Rider and Driver.

Figure 6. — A Polo-Pony.
Courtesy of M. W. Smith, Esq.


In the United States there have been developed three strains
of horses that are worthy of special notice on account of the in-
fluence each has had on the quality of the horses of the nation.
These strains are the American standard trotter, the Amer-
ican or Kentucky saddle-horse, and the Morgan horse.

The trotter is the result of an effort to produce the best an-
imal for racing under harness. The first horse to trot a mile in
harness in less than three minutes was Yankee, who performed
that feat at Harlem, N. Y., in 1806. It took a hundred years of
the most careful breeding to pass the two-minute mark, and
breeders are still trying to reduce the present record of 1:58J,
made by Lou Dillon in 1903.

The influence of remarkable individuals is singularly shown
in the breeding of American trotters of record. In 1884 there
were in the neighborhood of 6,000 horses in the United States
that had trotted in races that were of enough moment to be re-
corded. "Of these, a little over 1,700 are Hambletonians; there
are 657 other Messengers, making a total of 2,369 that trace in
male line to Messenger. There are 762 Black Hawks, and 453
other Morgans, or a total of 1,215 that trace in male line to Justin
Morgan. There are about 700 that trace in male line to Canadian
sires, and the same number of Bashaws, with something over 300
which trace to thoroughbred sires other than those mentioned,
and about 1,000 whose tracing is not certain."*

In other words, in 1884, seven of every twelve trotting
horses of record traced back directly to Messenger or Justin
Morgan, and the same proportion is probably still true. The
greatest of Messenger's descendants was Rysdyk's Hamble-
tonian. He was not a thoroughbred.

The standard American trotter is a horse that has been
bred for racing under harness. It is of comparatively recent
date that any care has been taken in registering these horses.

*From an article in " Spirit of the Times," February 14, 1885.


Figure 7.

-Lord Clinton, Standard Morgan Trotter.
Courtesy of J. Campbell Thompson, Esq.

Any horse that was speedy, or whose sire or dam was a fast
trotter, or pacer even, was admitted to registry in the stud-book
of the National Trotting Horse Breeders' Association. This has
resulted in the greatest confusion in tracing pedigrees, and for
several years has not been permitted.

The term " standard-bred" is now applied to trotting horses
only that are bred to a certain standard of speed. The term does
not refer to the blood of the horse, but to the excellence of the
trotting performances of his sire and dam. The rules of the


American Trotting Register Association, in whose records the
pedigrees of standard-bred horses are kept, set the following as
the trotting standard:

" When an animal meets these requirements and is duly regis-
tered, it shall be accepted as a standard-bred trotter:

"1. The progeny of a registered standard trotting horse and a
registered standard trotting mare.

" 2. A stallion sired by a registered standard trotting horse,
provided his dam and grandam were sired by registered standard trot-
ting horses, and he himself has a trotting record of 2 :30 and is the sire
of three trotters with records of 2:30, from different mares.

" 3. A mare whose sire is a registered standard trotting horse,
and whose dam and grandam were sired by registered standard trot-
ting horses, provided she herself has a trotting record of 2:30, or is the
dam of one trotter with a record of 2:30.

" 4. A mare sired by a registered standard trotting horse, pro-
vided she is the dam of two trotters with records of 2:30.

"5. A mare sired by a registered standard trotting horse, pro-
vided her first, second, and third dams are each sired by a registered
standard trotting horse."

The effect of this search for speed for racing purposes under
harness has been to give to the United States a fine breed of
light harness-horses. The standard trotter is not a saddle-horse;
he is too rangy to be a strong weight-carrier, and too long in his
stride to be a comfortable mount.


In Effect August, 1904.

Rule 1. A stallion whose sire and dam are both registered in
Saddle Horse Register is eligible.

Rule 2. A mare whose sire or dam is registered and who
traces on other side to registered or foundation saddle stock is eligible.

Rule 3. A gelding tracing on either side to registered or foun-
dation saddle stock is eligible.

Certificate of Owner or Manager of sire that mare was bred must
accompany all applications for foals of 1907 and after.

* This is the form used to register American saddle-horses and contains the
rules governing their entry. For a thoroughbred registry, the sixth dam must be
registered to entitle the colt to be called a " thoroughbred."


In Effect from August 12, 1904.

The fee for entry for each animal shall be $1.00 to members of
this Association and $2.00 to non-members; but if not registered by or
before December 31st next after being foaled, the fee is $5.00 to mem-
bers and $10.00 to non-members, for stallions and mares.

For geldings, any age, the fee is $1.00 to members and $2.00 to
non-members. Fee must accompany application.

Fee for transfers and duplicate certificates, 50c each.

Six volumes of Register have been issued and they are sold at
$2.00 per volume.


If any member of this Association knowingly makes a false or
fraudulent statement in order to enter an animal in the Register, he
will be expelled from the Association and his entry expunged.

If anyone not a member knowingly makes a false or fraudulent
statement in order to enter an animal, his entry will be expunged and
he will be debarred from making entries in the future.


The following stallions are registered as foundation stock, and
will be recognized as saddle strains under the rules above:
Denmark (thoroughbred), by Imp. Hedgeford.
John Dillard, by Indian Chief (Canadian).
Tom Hal, Imp. from Canada.
Coleman's Eureka (thoroughbred — Morgan).
Vanmeter's Waxy (thoroughbred).
Cabell's Lexington, by Gist's Black Hawk (Morgan).
Stump the Dealer (thoroughbred).
Peter's Halcorn.
Davy Crockett.

Pat Cleburne, by Benton's Gray Diomed.
Say whether stallion, mare, or gelding.

Give the name and address of the breeder of entry, and of the
sire and dam if known.

If you think name you select may be taken, give second choice
for name.

Write Saddle-Horse Register numbers straight. Put trotting
numbers in parentheses.

If there are no " distinguishing marks," write " None" in space.
Address, I. B. NALL, Secretary,

Louisville, Ky.






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For a number of centuries in England, whence the larger
proportion of our imported saddle-horses have come, saddle-
horses have been trained to three gaits only— the walk, trot, and
gallop. In the early years of the history of Kentucky, although
the country was prosperous and its people rich, the roads were
poor. The business of the State was done on horseback, and the
demand arose for a comfortable saddle-horse. To meet this de-
mand a breed of horses, now known as the American saddle-
horse, was developed. The Canadian pacer, a horse descended
from French and English stock, was crossed with the thorough-
bred, and, by careful breeding, the present splendid breed of
saddle-horses has resulted.

They are medium-sized, well-built animals, of good color;
kind, docile, and willing. They jump well and gallop easily and
make ideal mounts for cavalry, but their chief distinction is the
possession of a number of artificial gaits that add greatly to the
comfort of- their riders.

These horses can be used as light driving-horses without
injury to their gaits.*

The term " breed," as used by the farmer, signifies a group
or class of animals having 'a number of distinctive qualities and
characteristics in common, and the power to transmit those
distinctive traits with a good degree of certainty.

"A breed is usually started by selecting two or more unusu-
ally good animals from a group that has been produced in a lo-
cality by reason of better food, environment, and intelligent se-
lection, and which is usually superior to the animals of the same
species in other localities. These few having JUeen selected, in-
breeding is practiced to a greater or less extent for the purpose
of perpetuating and intensifying one or more desired character-
istics. At first the work is usually carried on by one, or at most
a few, of the most intelligent breeders, who, by improving condi-
tions, have first improved the quality of their own stock.

*The description of these gaits will be found in Chapter XIX.


"It will be readily seen that when the attempt is made to
launch a breed and establish a record of genealogy, or pedigree,
for the various animals selected for such record, the first pedi-
grees must be based on unpublished records. Not infrequently
some of the foundation stock is recorded simply by name, and
nothing is said of ancestors, because nothing is known of them."*

From the above definition, the term "breed" can hardly be
applied to the trotter, because the search has been more for
speedy individuals than for a class of horses possessing special
qualities. Until recently, pedigrees have been very loosely kept.
The Kentucky saddle-horse, although his breeding has been con-
temporary with that of the trotter, forms now a distinct breed,
whose individuals possess the power of transmitting their dis-
tinctive traits with reasonable certainty.

The Morgan family of horses is, in this sense, not a breed.
It includes the descendants of Justin Morgan, a horse foaled in
1789, three-quarters thoroughbred, and of such remarkable vir-
ility that his descendants to this day still bear unmistakably
many of the qualities that made their great progenitor famous.

The rules of admission to the Morgan Horse and Register
are' these:

"1. Any meritorious stallion, mare, or gelding that traces in
direct line to Justin Morgan and has at least one-sixty -fourth of his
blood; provided the sire and dam were bred in approved speed or
roadster lines.

" 2. Any meritorious stallion, mare, or gelding having one-
thirty-second or more of the blood of Justin Morgan; provided the
sire and dam were bred in approved speed or roadster lines.

"3. The produce of a sire and dam both registered in the
Mcrgan Registry."

As a business-horse — a horse of all work — the Morgan horse

stands preeminent. No other" stallion in the history of Western

horses possessed the power of perpetuating good qualities to the

the extent possessed by Justin Morgan. The distinguishing

*From Chapter IV., "The Horse," Roberts (The Macmillan Compa-
ny), a most excellent and practical book, treating of the horse in his
every -day aspect.

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characteristics of his family are: beauty and symmetry of
conformation, hardiness, longevity, docility, willingness, and

The light harness-horse and the lighter sort of work-horses
in the United States are, in the main, mongrels. They are so
badly bred, so crossed with conflicting strains, that little can be
predicted of the quality of the average foal, based on the qualities
of its sire and dam.*

The Arab horse is the aristocrat of the horse world. These
wonderful animals have been kept of pure blood for "a known
period of 3,500 years"! in the deserts of Arabia. They have
furnished the uplifting, ennobling quality which has been intro-
duced in the' blood of commoner horses from a period dating
back from 1600 to 2000 B. C.

Their influence is met with in the mustang of the Western
plains and in the small Philippine pony, both degenerate Arabs,
descending through the Spanish barb. Both are wiry, plucky
little animals, showing little ' of the graceful conformation of
their great ancestors, but much of their courage and endurance.


The perfect male of the horse is called a stallion or an entire.
When altered (castrated), he becomes a gelding. The female
is a mare.

The young is called, for either sex, a foal. Specifically, the
male foal is a colt; the female a filly.

A colt, or filly, becomes of age when the corner incisor teeth
grow up level with the other incisors of the lower jaw, — about

*This condition has been realized by the better farmers of the
country for some years, and, due to this fact and to the efforts of the
Bureau of Animal Industry of the Department of Agriculture, the
quality of the cheaper grades of horses is being rapidly improved.

fPage41," The Arab Horse," Spencer Borden (Doubleday, Page
& Company, New York).


five. He is aged, under the racing rules, at seven, when he is
considered thoroughly mature.

The period of gestation is eleven months. The age of the
horse is usually reckoned from the first of January preceding
birth. For purposes of record, a thoroughbred foal becomes a
yearling on January first after his birth.

To aid in the recognition of horses, they are described by
giving their color, sex, age, height, color of mane and tail, points,
and by detailing their marked peculiarities. In this description
certain technical terms are used:

A snip is a patch of white (skin and hairs) on the nose.

A star is a patch of white hairs in the center of the forehead.

A blaze is a streak of white hairs running down the face,
starting from the star.

A horse is bald-faced when the star and snip are connected
by a broad blaze.

When the blaze does not run down the axis of the nose, it is
termed a race.

White hairs on the legs are almost always limited below by
the hoof. They are described by mentioning their upper limits:
white heels, white coronets, white pasterns. When the white
color extends nearly or quite to the knee or hock, it is termed a
white stocking (Figure 3). A white foot is, properly, one
where the hoof, as well as the hairs near it, is white.

A horse has black points when the mane, tail, and lower
legs are black. If the mane, tail, and lower legs are the same
color as the rest of the animal, he is self-colored. A horse is
light of the sort when he is paler than the average for the color.
It is usually a sign of constitutional debility.

A mane is roached when it is trimmed close on each side,
leaving a short, thin line of hair in the center about an inch long,
running the length of the crest (Figure 4). It is hogged when the
mane is cut closely throughout (Figure 3).


A tail is banged when it is cut square below the end of the
dock (Figure 2). It is thinned when it is shortened by pulling
and breaking, but not squared off (Figure 4). It is docked when
the dock and hair both are cut off from eight to eleven inches

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Online LibraryFrancis C. (Francis Cutler) MarshallElements of hippology → online text (page 1 of 13)