W. J. (William J.) Miles.

Modern practical farriery : a complete system of the veterinary art as at present practised at the Royal Veterinary College, London online

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covered with crimson cloth, doing duty for saddle, and, thus
caparisoned, he is deemed fit to carry one of the ' Pillars of
the State.' It is a pretty sight to see a procession, accom-
panied by a cavalcade thus mounted, and taking every
opportunity of displaying their horsemanship, a cavaUer occa-
sionally darting from the crowd at the top of his speed, and as
suddenly pulling his horse on his haunches in the midst of his
headlong career, then wheeling about, and still at full speed,
describe in an incredibly small space, the difficult figure of
eight, with all the apparent ease of a graceful skaiter."

The Kozakee is a hardier and more patient animal. He has
a deep girth and a good forearm, but betrays his origin by a
large head and what are called " cat-hams." Nevertheless he
is enduring, hardy, and capable of long joumeys.

Next we have the Mahratta horse, the product of half-
blood Arab and the native Tazee. These horses are thus not
very compLunentarily described by the writer w» have already
quoted : —

" Tte Mahratta horse is an active, serviceable little beast,
but, in ten ijases out of twent}', extremely vicious, but will
often make a capital hunter, in fact, being the only horse in
India worth his keep, the larger horses from Hindostan being
adapted only for the capering of a native Sowar ; they are
leggy, under-limbed, and, as far as vice goes, regular

These were the horses who carried that formidable race who
ruled in Central India from sea to sea, across the south of the
Deccan, and whose /ule was broken by the fall of Serin-
gapatam and the death of Tippoo Sultaun. The Mahratta
army consisted almost entirely of cavalry. The Mahratta,
when not on horseback, may be said to be almost constantly
employed in shampooing his horse." It is properly so called,
for he rubs him violently with his wrists and elbows, as well
as his hands, and moulds and bends his limbs in ever)- direc-
tion. The Mahrattan way of riding is a singular and,
according to European notions, a very ungraceful one His
knees are as high as his horse's back ; he holds on with his
heels, and chngs with his hands either to the mane or the peak
of the saddle. With such aids, hi« seat is more secure than
at first sight it would appear to be The peak of the saddle
rises in the form of a crane's leck, and is said to have been

• These are Persian horses, or nearly »o, apoUt by unnatural treatment
for purpofes of pomp. — Ed.



borrowed from the Moguls. A crupper and a martingale are
almost indispensable accompaniments of the Mahratta horse-
t'urniture It is a singular kind of crupper, however, not
projecting from the centre of the saddle, but attached to both
sides. The tobm, or Isathem vessel out of which the horse
eats his com, is also attached to the crupper ; and this part of
Jhe trappings is generally ornamented with silver knobs, or
with silk tassels or embroidery.

Their horses, like most of those of the East, are picketed,
not only during the day, but very frequently in the night.
A rope is carried from the headstall on each side to a peg
driven into the ground. A rope, or thong, is also tied round
the fetlocks behind, and carried backwards twenty or thirty
feet, and fastened to a peg. This pulls the horse back, and
keeps him, when standing, on the stretch, but does not prevent
bim from lying down. When they are thus tethered, their
eyes are covered, that they may not be alarmed at any object
that passes They are also clothed, in order that the beau-
tiful, glossy appearance of their coat may be preserved.

They use the snaffle-bridle, but it is so jagged and pointed
that the animal may be punished to the full content of any
barbarian that may ride him. The headstall is usually orna-
mented, and from the rein a thong descends by which the
horse may be occasionally reminded of his duty. The horse-
man has neither whip, switch, nor spur, but the horse is
controlled, if he is disposed to rebel, by the cruel argument
of the bit.

The breast of the Mahratta horse is more splendidly orna-
mented than any other part. Numerous coins, of different
size and value — rupees and double rupees — are formed into
plates more or less highly ornamented, and which in time of
war form a rich booty for the conqueror. The mane, too, is
generally plaited with silk-braids, and silver knobs attached to
them, with a beautiful top-knot between the ears. If the rider
has distinguished himself in war, some curious tails, said to
be taken from the wild cow, dangle on either side.

The imported horses of India occupy a prominent place in
a consideration of this subject. We have already aUuded
to the several sources of supply. Colonel Markham,* in his
lively volume, bears testimony to the goodness of the horses
brought from Muscat and the Persian Gulf. He says: —
" The centre point of attraction (at Calcutta,) was the Arab
stables of Sheik Ibrahim, who deserves to be commemorated
were it only for his honesty. Filled with the best bred horses
to be found in India, many an hour did I pass there ; com-
panionable as other horses may be, there are none to compare
for sociality with high caste Arabs. Four thousand po'inds
did the old Sheik take from the regiment, with an air of the
most perfect indifference, and wonderful to say, not a bargain
was repented of in after times."

A writer who describes a sale of these horses, crossed with
the Iranee, from the now defunct Company's stud at Bala

• Shooting in the Simalayas, A Journal of Sporting Adventures and
Travel in Chinese Tartary, Ladak, Thibet, CaBhmere, &c., by Col. Fred.
Markham, O.B. Bentley, 1854.

Hissar, is by no means so complimentary to this class of
animal, in a second or third descent — " There were not less
than one thousand horses shown. They were aU above four-
teen hands and a half in height, high-crested, and showy-
looking horses. The great defect seemed a want of bone below
the knee, which is indeed general to all the native horses
throughout India ; and also so great a tendency to fulness in
the hocks, that, in England, it would be thought half of them
had blood spavins."

Soth Arab and native crosses have, however, succumbed to
the imported English horse. In 1829, Arab horses having
previously been matched against English on race-courses at
the various stations, Meerut, Cawnpore, Calcutta, Barrackpore,
&c., &c., the question was thought to be brought to issue by
the race of the English-bred horse Recruit, against Pyramus,
a pure Arabian. The race was two miles over the Barrackpore
course ; in this the English horse was an easy victor. Another
English race-horse, Constance, however, was shortly after
defeated by a selected Arab, and this balanced the account, say
the advocates of the Arab. Why then place penalties on
every imported horse on every race-course in India ? the
question answers itself.

Lest, however, we should seem to do mjustice to the Arab,
jn this point, we subjoin a table of time and distance, made
by Captain Gwatkin, of the H. E. I. C. service, of the beat
performances of te Aiab horses then in India : —



tt. lb*.



m. I.
6 34

Patrician •


280 yds., less tbree miles.


Antelope -


6 4 '

21 miles.



U 3

6 16 1

3 miles, 326 yards.



8 85 '

3 mUes, 325 yards.


Sir Lowry •

/ 4


2 miles.



S 10

4 6

2 miles.

Sultan (not 14 haua.",

9 12

6 16

3 miles.




4 20

2 miles.

Esterhazy -

.1 7

3 42

U mile.

Cavalier (not 14 haodi)

! 7

4 4

2 miles.


Champion -

1 7

3 14

11 mile. *-



3 4

6 7

Second heat of tbrv miles.

Chapeau de Paile

8 3

2 63

11 mile.

Red Gauntlet -

9 3

6 6

2i miles.

Botberem -

9 a

2 58


The speed and endurance in the Arabian therefore are not,
according to the above report, diminished ; and, as Captain
Gwatkin observes, when we consider the average Height of
these diminutive racers (fourteen hands, one inch), and the
want of tenacity in the sandy soil of India, -ve caimot but be
struck with their performances.

We may refer the reader who seeks further details to the
pages of the Sporting Magazine and Asmtw Journal, which
from time to time contain accounts of Racing m India.

A remarkable instance of the confidence of a horse in a
firm rider, and his native courage, was conspicuously evinced id
the case of an Arab, mentioned by Colonel Hamilton Smith.
General Sir Robert Gillespie happened, when mounted on this
animal, to be present on the race-course of Calcutta during
one of the great Hindoo festivals, when several hundred
thousand people were assembled. On a sudden an alarm was
given that a tiger had escaped from his keepers. Sir Robert


immediately snatched a boar spear, and rode to attack this
formidable enemy. The tiger was probably confounded by the
crowd, but the moment he perceived Sir Robert, he crouched
to spring at him. \.t that very instant, the gaUant soldier, on
his gallant steed, leapt right over him ; Sir Robert striking the
spear through the animal's spine ! This was a small grey, but
he possessed another horse who has become almost historical.
It was a favourite black charger, bred at the Cape of Good
Hope, and carried with him to India. When the noble soldier
fell at the storming of Kalunga, this charger was put up for
sale, and after great competition was knocked down to the
privates of the 8th Dragoons, who actually contributed their
prize-money, to the amount of £500, to retain this memorial
of their beloved commander. The beautiful charger was always
led at the head of the regiment on a march, and at the station
at Cawnpore, took his ancient post at the colour stand, where
the salute of passing squadrons were given at driU, and on
reviews. When the regiment was ordered home, the funds of
the privates running low, he was bought by a gentleman, who
provided funds and a paddock for him, where he might pass
the remainder of his days in comfort ; but when the corps had
departed, and the sound of the trumpet was heard no more,
the gallant steed pined, refused his food, and on the first
opportunity being led out for exercise, he broke from his groom,
galloped to his ancient station on parade, neighed loudly again
and again ; and there, on the spot where he had so often
proudly borne his beloved master, he dropped down and died !
Bishop Heber thus describes the docility of his Indo-
Arabian horse. He says : " My morning rides are very
pleasant. My horse is a nice, quiet, good-tempered little Arab,
who is so fearless, that he goes, without starting, close to an
elephant ; and so gentle and docile that he eats out of my
hand, and has almost as much attachment and as many coaxing
ways as a dog. This seems the general character of the
Arabian horses, to judge from what I have seen in this country.
It is not the fiery, dashing animal I had supposed, but with
more rationality about him, and more apparent confidence in
his rider than the majority of the English horses."


The incomparable and unproved breed of the noblest of
^'i.adrupeds, which takes its name from the coxmtry of the
Ishmaelite, has certainly a high, if not the highest, claim to
the admiration of every lover of the horse.

Mr. Youatt, in addition to many reasons which we have
before given, as proving the Arab, like the British blood horse,
a product of judicious crossing, training, and sedulous culture,
notes that, " in a curious record of the commerce of the
second century, among the articles exported from Egypt to
Arabia, horses are mentioned, as presents to princes ; while
in the fourth century the Roman Emperor sent two hundred
Cappadocian* horses as the most acceptable present he could
offer to a powerful prince of Arabia."

• The peculating bacon-factor, and fraudulent army contractor, known as
St George of Cappadocia, and distinguished as a h orse-riding laint, is
especially the tutelary patron of cavalry. When oui CruBaders went to the

We have before noted the poverty of Mahomet in horses,
and that at the close of the great campaign against ihf
Koreish, though he drove off 24,000 camels and 40,000 sheep,
and carried oflF 24,000 ounces of silver, horses are not in tht
list of plimder.

These and other circumstances sufficiently contiite the notion
of an original Arab horse, and show that he has been com
paratively recently naturalized in that country. Indeed, thc-
Arabs themselves lend countenance to this ; for when, within
the last hundred years, they found how eagerly their horses
were sought, they pretended to no higher pedigree for their
Kohlani than tracing the animal to one of the four mares
on which Mahomet and his four immediate successors, fled from
Mecca to Medina, in the night of the Hejira (July 15th, 622).

We will now say a few words on the country which gives birth
to this beautiful animal.

The extensive country of Arabia, celebrated in aU ages for
its roving tribes, is situated at the south-western extremity of
Asia. It is boimded on the south-west by the Red Sea and
the Isthmus of Suez ; on the north-east by the Persian GuH
and the lower course of the Euphrates ; on the north-west by
Syria, the Euphrates, and the intervening desert ; and on the
south-east by the Indian Ocean. The country may be
described as a vast collection of rocky and precipitous moun-
tains, encircled by a border of low, barren, and sandy plains,
which differ widely in their cHmate, soil and productions.
The plains consist either of bare rocks or of hard or loose
sand, and suffer from an almost constant drought, fliere being
no rivers ; consequently the deep wells and springs scattered
at distant intervals, and which are generally surrounded by a
small margin of the most refreshing verdure, form the sole
resource of the fainting traveller. The temperature of other
tropical climates is moderate in comparison with the heat of
these deserts, where the thermometer is frequently above 100 °
during the night, in the sun 180° , and in the course of the
day often rises to 110° in the shade. The mountainous tracts
immediately behind these dry and sandy deserts stretch back-
wards from the sea shore, and contain nimierous valleys of
remarkable fertility, forming the celebrated region called by
the ancients Arabia FeUx.

The dry air and soil of Arabia seem peculiarly aaapted to
produce hard muscular fibre ; accordingly we find the Arabian
horse in the highest, and other Eastern breeds in an inferior,
degree, possess a firmness of anatomical organization un-
equalled except by the English thorough-bred horse. The
nature and character of what is popularly called the horse of the
desert particularly adapted him to beget an animal which,
as in the case of the race horse, is called upon to put its physical
power to the severest trial to which nature, aided by art, can

East in 1096, they found him in the Calendar as a warrior-saint, with the
title of " Victorious." It seems that, at the siege of Antioch, St. George
helped the English kmghts ! Hence his adoption by Edward III. ae patron
of the Garter, and the cry of "St. George for England!" bo long the echo of
the shout, " St. Denis for Prance 1" The dragon is, according to one of the
church-historians, merely the emblem of " the IncamatioD of EtU,"
this not very reputable saint is fabled to hare alsin.



Hubmit. These advantages, which he derives from climate, and
ihe great care exercised in breeding and rearing him by his
Aj-ab master, arise from the possession of larger muscles and
smaller, harder bones than any other horses — muscles and
sinews constituting the powers of action ; and on these depend
the lasting qualities of an animal going at the top of his speed.
Bones, being the weight to be lifted, serve only to extend the
parts; and it is obvious that such as are small, but highly
condensed, like those of the deer and the Arabian horse, are,
by occupjdng less space, and containing less weight, more
easily acted upon by muscular force than such as are large
and porous, and for a greater duration of time, without
fatiguing the active powers.

But the excellence of the horse of the border of the Desert
does not end with his condensed bone and flat, wiry leg, so
much valued by real judges. On reference to eminent writers
on the anatomy of the horse, we find all the muscles, and
fibres, and sinews of his frame described as driven into closer
contact than those of any other breed — always excepting
our own thorough-bred horse ; and from the membranes and
ligaments being composed of a firmer and thinner substance,
he possesses the rare union of strength with lightness, so
essential to the endurance of fatigue in all quick motions ; and
when to these qualifications are added the peculiar and deer-
like elegance, the broad squareness of forehead, the short fine
muzzle, the prominent and brilliant eye, the small ear, and
the beautiful course of the veias, he appears to furnish all the
requisites of a race-horse.

The following tradition oi the origin of the Kohlani, or
KaiLhani, the noblest race of horses, whose genealogy, with true
Eastern exaggeration, has sometimes even been traced to the
stud of Solomon, is from Burckhardt. The author relates
that the Arabian prophet, wishing to set aside from his stud
the best mares, in order to form a distinct and perfect breed,
had them all kept for two entire days and nights without
water. On a sudden, when almost mad with thirst, the mares
are released, and gallop with the swiftness of the wind to the
well-known spring. When in view of the refreshing waters,
by a preconcerted signal, the trumpets sound a war charge.
At this well-known sound five of the mares, forgetting in a
moment the agonies of their thirsrt, leave untasted the waters
of the spring, and gallop to the imagined war ; and from
these five mares the author fables the noblest breed to have

Another writer, upon whose statements we shall hereafter
remark, asserts that the greatest care is exercised in breeding
the Kohlani, or Kailhaui. Much ceremony takes place as
well at the union of these animals as at the birth of
the foal ; and a certificate is made out and properly authen-
ticated within seven days after that event.* It is generally
believed that pedigrees of the noble race of horses exist of not
less than five hundred years, with sire and dam distinctly

• M. de Portes, who was sent by the French Goyermnent into Syria,
seemingly contradicts this : but the ciutoms of the tribes vsry. — See pages
23-84 post.

traced. The following pedigree is mentioned by Weston, in
his Fragments of Oriental Literature : it was found hanging
round the neck of an Arabian horse purchased by Colonel
AinsHe during the English campaign in Egypt against the
first Napoleon.

" In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate, and
of Seyd Mohammed, agent of the High God, and of the com-
panions of Mohammed and of Jerusalem. Praised be the Lord,
the omnipotent Creator. This is a high-bred horse, and its
colt's tooth is here in a bag about his neck, with his pedigree,
and of undoubted authority, such as no infidel can refuse to
believe. He is the son of Rabbaing, out of the dam Lahadah,
and equal in power to its sire, of the tribe of Zazhalah. He is
finely moulded, and made for rtmning hke an ostrich, and great
in his stroke, covering much ground. In the honotirs of rela-
tionship he reckons Zaulah, sire of Mahat, sire of Kallack, and
the unique Alket, sire of Manasseh, sire of Alshek, father of
the race down to the famous horse the sire of Lakalala ; and to
him be ever abundance of green meat, and corn, and water of
Ufe, as a reward from the tribe of Zazhalah, for the fire of his
cover ; and may a thousand branches shade his carcase from
the hyena of the tomb, from the howling wolf of the desert ; and
let the tribe of Zazhalah present him with a festival within an
enclosure of walls ; and let thousands assemble at the rising
of the sun, in troops, hastily, where the tribe holds up, under a
canopy of celestial signs within the walls, the saddle, with the
name and family of the possessor. Then let them strike the
hands with a loud noise incessantly, and pray God for immunity
for the tribe of Zoab, the inspired tribe."

Burckhardt has some sensible remarks on the exaggeration
of these pedigrees. In the interior the Bedouin does not
trouble himself with them, as they know the genealogy of
their horses as well, if not better, than that of their own
families. The Arab horsedealer, however, with that acuteness
which seems bom of the profession, who goes with his stock to
Damascus, or Bagdad, or eastward to Bussorah, supplies him-
self with a written pedigree, duly made out, for the edification
of the purchaser. In these the animal is as gloriovisly
furnished with an ancestry, as ever was parvenu by herald oi
king-at-arms. Some of these call on the credulity of the
buyer to an immense extent. They trace the descent of the
terrible high-bred animal, not only from one of the "four
mares" of Mahomet, who figure Hke " the royal mares" in
our stud-book, but might make paler Europeans blush,
bringing them down in a direct line from the stud of Solomon,
the son of David. This suggests a curious inference : the
Arab, the child of tradition, with 2500 years of oral history,
goes back to the stud of Solomon, who, we need hardly repeat,
" brought up horses out of Egypt" a phrase equivalent to all
Northern and Eastern Africa. The Bedouins of the Desert,
unless, of course, they are " dealing," laugh at the idea of a
horse's pedigree.

It is a prevalent error that the Arab is bred m the arid
desert ; and equally tmphilosophical to suppose that he owes
his undoubted powers of endurance in his adult state to the



hardships inflicted upon him in his youth. The real fact is,
the Arabs select for their breeding places some of those beau-
tiful spots, known only in such countries, where, though all
may be dry and barren around, there is pasture, and the smaller
Bort of cereal grasses, saccharine dates, and various succulent
herbs, remarkable for nutritious and sub-aromatic properties.
The powers of the animal are developed in the natural way by
exercise sufficient for health, and by hard work, when under-
going that exercise. Once only is a cruel, and sometimes
ruinous exertion, imposed upon the animal, as we shall pre-
sently note.

In Nedjed the horses are regularly fed on dates, and the
fragments of any provisions that may be used by the inhabi-
tants ; and some writers have even asserted, that flesh, raw,
as well as boiled, is given them by the wealthy people, a
practice in the prevalence of which we are not inclined to
place much faith. Very little water is given, as the Arabs
conceive (and justly) thpt much liquid injures the horse's shape
and aS'ects his wind.

The colt is mounted at^er its second year, when the Arab,
on all other occasions so kind to his horse, puts it to a cruelly
severe trial. The colt, or filly, is led out to be mounted for
the first time ; its master springs on its back, and rides at full
speed for perhaps forty miles, over sand and rock of the burning
desert, without one moment's respite. He then plunges it into
water enough to swim, and if immediately after this, it will
eat as if nothing had happened, its purity of blood and
staunchness are considered incontrovertible.

Count Rcziousky gives the following account of the docility
and sagacity of the Kohlan, translated by an English writer,
which we give as curious, although extremely exaggerated both
in style and matter : —

" Above all horses in the world," writes the Count, " the
Kohlan is distinguished for the goodness of his quality and
the beauty of his form. He possesses uncommon mildness of
temper, an unalterable faithfulness to his master, a courage and
intrepidity as astonishing as they are innate in his noble
breast, an unfailing remembrance of the places where he has
been, and of the treatment he has received. Not to be led, not
to be touched but by his master, in the most dreadful confusion
of battle cool and collected, he never forgets the place he came
from, and, though mortally wounded, if he can gather up suffi-
cient strength he carries back his desponding rider to his de-

Online LibraryW. J. (William J.) MilesModern practical farriery : a complete system of the veterinary art as at present practised at the Royal Veterinary College, London → online text (page 5 of 160)