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Thomas J. J. Christian.

Mounted instruction for field artillery : care of horses and equipment, riding, driving and miscellaneous online

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sensitive nerves and membranes. If the foot is too small and con-
tracted, if the frog is too narrow and low, inflammation of the mem-
branes will frequently follow. The ample foot, wide on top and behind,
well supported at the heel, and carried true in movement, turning
neither in nor out at the toe, is least likely to be troubled with disease.

Body : The body should be short on top, long below, broad along
the back, with ribs strongly arched and of great depth. A long back
indicates weakness of both constitution and Artillery power, while
a short deeply muscled back means strength. If the ribs are well
sprung and deep, it shows capacity for the internal organs, indicates
a good feeder and materially adds to the weight, which is necessary
in the Artillery. Usually satisfactory rib development provides a
proper body conformation. Often immature horses appear to lack
depth of body to some degree, but age and feeding establish the proper
proportions. The horse that lacks depth of body will also lack the
power of endurance.

Loin: The loin should be broad and thickly muscled. Narrow, thin
loin indicates weakness of a serious character. Often the loin is
depressed, directly in front of the space between the hips, a distinc-
tively undesirable conformation. Animals with a sway back as a rule
show this weakness of loin.

Croup: The croup should be broad, wide, fairly level and heavily
muscled. A steep croup is very objectionable, and affects both the
beauty and power of the horse. A short, steep croup is less strongly
muscled than one that is long. The Belgian and French Artillery
breeds seem most subject to steepness of rump and low setting of tail.

Thigh : The thigh should be strongly muscled and the quarters
should be thick and free. A horse split up high behind, with a thin,
sharp tapering thigh, lacks good Artillery form at this place. The
gaskin. or lower thigh, where properly made, is deep from the front
to rear and heavily covered with muscle.

Hock : The hock is a part which requires careful study. As viewed
from one side, it should show considerable depth, while from the rear
it should possess a certain degree of thinness, though broad in front,
the entire point being free from extra flesh. Thick hocks are very
common with Artillery horses, due to various reasons. The joint
may be fleshy, pufiiness may occur for lack of exercise, or a form of
spavin may exist. The hock should be smooth and its various natural
curves well defined. As the horse stands in a natural position on his
feet, the hocks should be straight and true as viewed from behind,
showing no evidence of weakness. Where the hock holds a true
position the hind foot also stands true, neither toeing in nor out.
When toeing out the points of the hock come too close together,
while if toeing in notably the points may be wide apart and the hocks



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8 MOUNTED INSTRUCTION

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MOUNTED INSTRUCTION 9

appear springy and weak when in action. The hock should be sup-
ported by a wide, thin, cleanboned cannon, which may be about 11
inches in girth at its smallest point. From rear position a line dropped
from the point of the buttock or crouj) viewed from behind, should
pass the center of point of hock, cannon, pastern and foot. From
one side it should pass parallel to the entire edge of cannon and when
suspended from the point of the hip should pass the gaskin at the
center and drop to the center of the foot. Such a horse is likely to
have a good constitution and be able to resist hard work, fatigue and
disease to a maximum degree. On the other hand a poor constitution
is indicated by a shallow, narrow chest, small bones, long loins, coarse
neck and head, with thick throat, small, long and musclar develop-
ment, short thighs and forearms, small joints, long, round cannons,
and hoofs of open texture with flat soles.

The temperament is indicated by the manner in which the horse
responds to external stimuli. AMien the horse is spoken to or when
he sees or feels anything that stimulates or gives alarm, if he responds
actively, quickly and intelligently, he is said to be of a lively or
nervous temperament. On the other hand, if he responds in a slow,
sluggish manner, he is said to have a sluggish or lymphatic tempera-
ment. The temperament is indicated by the gait, by the expression
on the face and by the carriage of the head and ears. The nature
of the temperament should be taken into consideration in an endeavor
to ascertain the severity of a given case of illness, because the general
expression of an animal in disease as well as in health depends to a
large extent on the temperament.

SOUNDNESS

To be theoretically sound a horse must have no disease or other
condition that interferes or is likely to interfere with his usefulness.
A horse may have a disease from which he will recover. At the
time of the examination he will be technically unsound.

A blemish does not interfere with his usefulness, but is unsightly,
as ewe neck, Roman nose, wire cut, scars, etc.

An examination for soundness should be systematic and thorough,
although it may be rapidly done. Examination should be made with
the horse in the stall ; as he backs out. stands at rest and in motion.
In the stall, examine to see whether the horse cribs or weaves, or
has any other stable habit which is objectionable. As the horse backs
out of the stall, he may show peculiar use of the hind legs or imperfect
control, due to serious disorders of the nervous system. Very fre-
quently the first intimation of spavin may be had as the horse is made
to step from side to side, particularly as he steps toward the
spavined leg.

At Rest : With the horse at rest the observer should begin in front
and examine the ears for hearing, for tumors that may develop around
the base, for split ears, etc. ._ _ , _ ._ _



10 MOUNTED INSTRUCTION

The eyes should be examined to test the sight, bearing in mind
that moon blindness, which recurs at intervals and leaves the eye
more or less normal betv^een times, still shows a weakened or squinting
appearance that is suggestive.

The nasal chambers should be examined for ulcers, scars, or dis-
charges which would suggest possible glanders.

The teeth should be examined for evidence of cribbing, for age,
and for a condition commonly known as parrot mouth, which inter-
feres with a horse feeding, i.e. overhanging upper jaw teeth.

The lips should be examined for evidence of paralysis. The glands
under, or rather between the portions of the lower jaw should be
examined particularly with reference to glanders.

The poll should be examined for scars or other evidences of present
or previous poll-evil.

The withers should be examined for scars, for discharging sores,
and other evidences of fistulous withers.

The shoulders should be examined for sore neck and particularly
so-called collar boils. The latter are either flat and broad or more
prominent tumors, which will usually subject a horse to sore shoulders
whenever he is put to work.

While passing along the side and flank the breathing should be
observed, as to whether it is even and regular, or jerky, suggesting
heaves. The flank and lower part of the abdomen must be examined
for possible ruptures.

Stepping behind the horse, the two hips are compared for evidence
of fractures, or what is commonly known as hipped or hipped shot.
This disorder does not interfere seriously with the horse's working
ability, but gives the horse a very awkward appearance.

An examination should be made for the following unsoundnesses
in the leg:

Splints : Are found on the inside of the leg, from the knee near which
they are frequently found, downward to about the lower third of the
principal cannon bone. They are of various dimensions and are readily
perceptible both to the eye and to the touch. They vary considerably
in size, ranging from that of a large nut downward to very small pro-
portions. In searching for them they may be readily detected by the
hand if they have attained sufficient development in thein usual situ-
ation, but must be distinguished from a small, bony enlargement that
may be felt at the lower third of the cannon bone, which is neither
a splint nor a pathological formation of any kind, but merely the
button-like enlargement at the lower extremity of the small metacarpal
or splint bone.

Ringbones : Extend around the coronary band when on the front
of the foot, and even when not very largely developed, assume the
form of a diffused convex swelling. If situated on the lower part,
it will form a thick ring, encircling that portion of the foot immediately
above the hoof; when found on the posterior part, a small, sharp bony



MOUNTED INSTRUCTION 11

growth somewhat projecting, either on the inside or outside and some-
times may comprise the entire coronet.

As with splints, ringbones may result from severe labor in early
life, before the process of ossification has been fully perfected ; or they
may be due to bruises, blows, sj^rains, or other violence; injuries of
tendons, ligaments, also may be among the accountable causes.

Spavin: Bone spavin is an exostosis of the hock joint. The general
impression is that in a spavined hock the bony growth should be
seated on the anterior and internal part of the joint, and this is par-
tially correct, as such a growth will constitute a spavin in the most
nearly correct sense of the term. But an enlargement may appear on
the upper part of the hock also, or possibly a little below the inside of
the lower extremity of the shank bone, forming what is known as a
high spavin ; or, again, the growth may form just on the outside of
the hock and become an outside or external spavin. Serious in its
beginning, serious in its progress, it is an ailment which, when once
established, becomes a fixed condition which there is no known means
of dislodging.

Blood Spavin: Is situated in front and to the inside of the hock
and is merely a varicose or dilated condition of the vein. It occurs
directly over the point where the bog spavin is found, and has thus
been frequently confused with the latter.

Bog Spavin: Is a round, smooth, well-defined, fluctuating tumor
situated in front and a little inward of the hock. On pressure it dis-
appears at this point to reappear on the outside just behind the hock.
If pressed to the front from the outside it will then appear on the inside
of the hock. On its outer surface it presents a vein which is quite
prominent, running from below upward, and it 'is to the unnatural
dilation of this blood vessel that the term blood spavin is applied.

Thoroughpin: Is found at the back and on the top of the hock in
that part known as the "hollows," immediately behind the shank bone.
It is round and smooth, but not so regularly formed as the bog spavin,
and is most apparent when viewed from behind. The swelling is
usually on both sides and a little in front of the so-called hamstring,
but may be more noticeable on the inside or on the outside.

Sprains: Express a more or less complete laceration or yielding of
the fibers of the muscles, tendons, or the sheaths surrounding and sup-
porting them. The usual cause of a sprain is external violence, such
as a fall or a powerful exertion of strength, with following symptoms
of soreness, heat, swelling, and a suspension of function.

Curb: Is the bulging backward of the posterior part of the hock,
where in the normal state there should be a straight line, extending
from the upper end of the point of the hock down to the fetlock. The
cause may be a sprain of the tendon which passes on the posterior
part of the hock, or of one of its sheaths.

Capped Elbow: Or "shoe boil," is a term applied to an enlargement
often found at the point of the elbow. This lesion is due to injury



12 MOUNTED INSTRUCTION

or pressure of the part while it is resting on the ground. If the leg
is flexed under the body so that the hoof or shoe is directly in contact
with the elbow, which may occur in horses having an extremely long
cannon bone or excessive length in the shoes, the greater part of the
weight of the chest is concentrated at this point and the pressure
may cause a bruise or an inflammation.

Capped Hock: Is a bad habit of rubbing or striking the partitions
of their stalls with their hocks which prevails among some horses,
with the result of an injury which shows itself on the upper points
of those bones. From its analogy to the condition of capped elbow
the designation of capped hock has been applied to this condition.

Stringhalt: Is an involuntary movement of one or both hind legs,
in which the foot is suddenly and spasmodically lifted from the
ground much higher than it is normally carried, with excessive flexion
of one bone upon the other. This peculiarity is usually prominent,
although it may disappear with work, only to reappear after a short
rest. Veterinarians and pathologists are yet in doubt in respect to the
cause of this afTection, as well as to its essential nature.

Flatfoot: Is that condition in which the sole has little or no con-
vexity. It is confined to the fore feet, which are generally broad and
low-heeled.

In flatfoot there can be little or no elasticity in the sole, for the
reason that it has no arch, and the weight of the animal is received on
the entire plantar surface, as it rests upon the ground instead of on
the wall. For these reasons such feet are particularly liable to bruises
of the sole and corns. Horses with flatfoot should be shod with a shoe
having a wide web, pressing on the wall only, while the heels and frog
are never to be pared. Flatfoot generally means weak walls, and as
a consequence the nails of the shoe are readily loosened and the shoe
cast.

Clubfoot: Is a term applied to such feet as have the walls set nearly
perpendicular. When this condition is present the heels are high, the
fetlock joint is thrown forward, or knuckles, and the weight of the
animal is received on the toes. The shoe should not be pared, but the
heels are to be lowered as much as possible and a shoe put on with a
long, projecting toe piece, slightly turned up, while the heels of the
shoe are to be made thin.

Crookedfoot: Is that condition in which one side of the wall is
higher than the other. If the inside wall is the higher, the ankle is
thrown outward, so that the fetlock joints are abnormally wide apart
and the toes close together. Animals with this deformity are "pigeon
toed," and are prone to interfere, the inside toe striking the opposite
fetlock. If but one foot is affected, the liability to interfere is still
greater, for the reason that the fetlock of the perfect leg is nearer the
center plane.

When the outside heel is the higher the ankle is thrown in and the
toe turns out. Horses with, such feet interfere with the heel. If but
one foot is so affected, the liability to interfere is less than when both



MOUNTED INSTRUCTION 13

feet are affected, lor the reason that the ankle of the perfect leg is not
so near to the center plane. Such animals are especially liable to
stumbling and to lameness from injury to the ligaments of the fetlock
joints. This deformity is to be overcome by such shoeing as will
equalize the disparity in length of walls and by proper boots to pro-
tect the fetlock from interfering.

Interfering: An animal is said to interfere when one foot strikes
the opposite leg, as it passes by, during locomotion. The inner sur-
face of the fetlock joint is the part most subject to this injury, al-
though, under certain conditions, it may happen to any part of the
ankle. It is seen more often in the hind than in the fore legs. It may
cause lameness, dangerous tripping, and thickening of the injured
parts. Faulty conformation is the most prolific cause of interfering.

Knuckling: Is a partial dislocation of the fetlock joint, in which the
relative position of the pastern bone to the cannon and coronet bones
is changed, the pastern becoming more nearly perpendicular, with the
lower end of the cannon bone resting behind the center line of the
large pastern, while the lower end of this bone rests behind the center
line of the coronet. While knuckling is not always an unsoundness,
it nevertheless predisposes to stumbling and to fmcture of the pastern.

Windgall: Joints and tendons are furnished with sacs containing a
lubricating fluid called synovia. When these sacs are overdistended
by reason of an excessive secretion of synovia, they are called wind-
galls. They form a soft, puffy tumor about the size of a hickory nut.
and are most often found in the fore leg. at the upper part of the fet-
lock joint, between the tendon and the skin bone. When they develop
in the hind leg it is not unusual to see them reach the size of a walnut.
Occasionally they appear in front of the fetlock on the border of the
tendon. The majority of horses are not subject to them after colt-
hood has passed. The tumor is more or less firm and tense when the
foot is on the ground, but is soft and compressible when the foot
is off the ground. In old horses windgalls generally develop slowly
and cause no inconvenience. If they are caused by excessive tension
of the joint the tumor develops ra])idly. is ten^e. hot and painful, and
the animal is exceedingly lame.

Overreach: A\nien the shoe of the hind foot strikes and injures the
heel or quarter of the fore foot the horse is said to overreach. It rarely
happens exce|)t when the animal is going fast ; hence is most apt to
appear in running and trotting horses. In trotters the accident gen-
erally happens when the animal breaks from a trot to a run. The out-
side heels and quarters are most liable to the injury.

Frostbites: Excepting the ears, the feet and legs are about the only
parts of the horse liable to become frostbitten. In mountainous dis-
tricts, where the snowfall is heavy. and the cold often intense, frost-
bites are not uncommon, even among animals running at large.

Quittor: Is generally seen in but one foot at a time, and more often
in the fore than in the hind feet. It nearly always attacks the inside
quarters but may affect the outside, the band in front, or the heel.



14 MOUNTED INSTRUCTION ' "

where it is of but little consequence. It consists in the inflammation
of a small part of the coronary band and adjacent skin, followed by-
sloughing and suppuration, which in most cases extends to the neigh-
boring sensitive laminae. Injuries to the coronet, such as bruises,
overreaching, and calk wounds, are considered as the common causes
of the disease. Still, cases occur in which there appears to be no
existing cause, just as in other forms of quittor, and it seems fair to
conclude that subhorny quittor may also be produced by internaf
causes.

Canker: Of the foot is due to the rapid reproduction of a vegetable
parasite. It not only destroys the sole and frog, by setting up a
chronic inflammation in the deeper tissues, but prevents the growth
of a healthy horn by which the injury may be repaired. The essential
element in the production of canker is the parasite ; consequently the
disease may be called contagious. As in all other diseases due to
specific causes, however, the seeds of the disorder must find a suitable
soil in which to grow before they are reproduced. It may be said,
then, that the conditions which favor the preparation of the tissues
for a reception of the seeds of this disease are simply predisposing
causes. The condition most favorable to the development of canker is
dampness — in fact, dampness seems indispensable to the existence and
growth of the parasite ; the disease is rarely, if ever, seen in high, dry
districts, and is much more common in rainy weather than in dry
seasons. Filthy stables and muddy roads have been classed among
the causes of canker, but it is very doubtful whether these conditions
can do more than favor a preparation of the foot for the reception of
the disease germ.

Corns: A corn is an injury to the living horn of the foot, involving
the soft tissues beneath, whereby the capillary blood vessels are rup-
tured and a small quantity of blood escapes which, by permeating
the horn in the immediate neighborhood, stains it a dark color. If the
injury is continuously repeated, the horn becomes altered in character
and the soft tissues may suppurate or a horny tumor develop. Corns
always appear in the sole in the angle between the bar and the outside
wall of the hoof.' In many cases the laminge of the bar, of the wall,
or of both, are involved at the same time. The fore feet are almost
exclusively the subjects of the disease, for two reasons: first, because
they support the greater part of the body ; secondly, because the heel
of the fore foot during progression is the first placed upon the ground
whereby it receives much more concussion than the heel of the hind
foot, in which the toe first strikes the ground. It may be said that all
feet are exposed to corns, and that even the best feet may sufi^er from
them when conditions necessary to the peculiar injury are present.
Among the causes and conditions which predispose to corns may be
named high heels, which change the relative natural position of the
bones of the foot and thereby increase the concussion to which these
parts are subject; contracted heels, which in part destroy the elas-
ticity of the foot, increase the pressure upon the soft tissues of the



MOUNTED INSTRUCTION 15

heel, and render lacerations more easy; long feet, which by removing
the frog and heels too far from the ground deprive them of necessary
moisture ; this, in turn, reduces the elastic properties of the horn and
diminishes the transverse diameter of the heels ; weak feet, or those
in which the horn of the wall is too thin to resist the tendency to
spread, whereby the soft tissues are easily lacerated. Wide feet
with low heels are always accompanied with a flat sole whose pos-
terior wings either rest upon the ground or the shoe and as a conse-
quence are easily bruised; at the same time the arch of the sole is so
broad and flat that it cannot support the weight of the body, and in
the displacement which happens when the foot is rested upon the
'ground the soft tissues are liable to become bruised or torn.

It is universally conceded that shoeing, either as a direct or predis-
posing cause, is most prolific in producing corns. A shoe so set as
to press upon the sole or one that has been on so long that the hoof
has overgrown it until the heels rest upon the sole and bars become
a direct cause of corns. Indirectly the shoe becomes the cause of
corns when small stones, hard, dry earth, or other objects collect be-
tween the sole and shoe. Lastly, a rapid gait and excessive knee
action especially on hard roads, predispose to this disease of the feet.

Bruise of the Frog: Generally happens from stepping on a rough
stone or other hard objects. It is more liable to take place when trot-
ting, running or jumping than when at a slower pace. A stone wedged
in the shoe and pressing on the frog or between the sides of the frog
and the shoe, if it remains for a time, produces the same results.
A cut through the horny frog with some sharp instrument or a punc-
tured wound by a blunt pointed instrument may also cause suppura-
tion and gangrene of the plantar cushion. Broad, flat feet with low
heels and a fleshy frog are most liable to these injuries.

Contracted Heels, or Hoofbound: Is a common disease among



Online LibraryThomas J. J. ChristianMounted instruction for field artillery : care of horses and equipment, riding, driving and miscellaneous → online text (page 2 of 24)