Page images
PDF
EPUB

The halter may soon be put on, and it should be occasionally led, and then tied up; grooming and dressing must be sometimes practised ; and thus, by degrees, it becomes associated with every thing to which it is destined as age and strength advance; it also, by this steady process, becomes tractable, and does not lose its temper, which is a most essential point in the value of the horse.

At a year old, the colts and fillies should be separated until the former are castrated.

On the operation of castration, which takes place after the colt is six or seven months old, mention has been made at page 180.

When about two and a half years old, the two front teeth are shed. The colt at this period should have bran-mashes with hay cut like chaff, for the loss prevents their eating the grass as ably as heretofore.

When colts do not thrive, and their coats stare, and they are given to be hide-bound, the following ball may be used : Socotrine Aloes

4 drachms, Castile Soap

2 drachms, mixed.

When worms is the cause, which is easily told by the

appearance of whitish-coloured powder around the anus, twenty grains or more, according to the age, of calomel, may be administered on the night preceding the giving of the ball.

ON COLT-BREAKING

The colt having been by degrees handled, haltered, led to exercise, and tied up, the bit having been occa

sionally left in his mouth for some time, and, finally, having become familiarised to every portion of the harness, the next essential object is to teach him to move properly, to obey the voice and motion of the rider or driver, and to regulate his paces: this is termed “ breaking in,” and is oftentimes a most tedious and irksome job; and consequently requires a very sweet and mild, but determined temper, to overcome the many difficulties attendant on the operation.

Patience and kindness will generally prevail, when roughness and barbarity ruins the animal for ever; the whip is sometimes necessary, but it should always be used judiciously and gently.

Never allow the horse to appear to have obtained the mastery ; it is in this instance that energy, patience, and determination is requisite; once lose this point, and as much harm is done, at least, as regards your own management of the horse, as by cruelty and barbarity.

All the early lessons should be inculcated by kindness and caressing. In the after parts of the education, the whip is often judiciously called into action; but harshness will undo much that has already been favourably overcome, and obstinacy or vice may ensue.

The colt is first led with the cavesson, which is attached to the head-stall and buckled round the nose; gentleness is very requisite in the use of this instrument, being very severe. The bones of the nose have sometimes become diseased through the pressure and bruising it has endured; especially from the violent and sudden jerkings of an impatient or irritable breaker.

A long rein is then put on, and the first lesson may be given. A person following at a convenient distance. occasionally showing or cracking the whip but never attempting to use it.

The colt, after walking quietly and steady, may next be tried in the ring, and walked round, right and left, in a moderate sized circle: never allow him to break into a trot till he has first acquired a steady and certain pace in walking. All lessons at first must be short, and each pace kept distinct from another; good 'temper, docility, and improvement, being always rewarded with caresses and a few handsful of corn. The length of the rein must be increased by degrees, and the pace gradually quickened.

The trot is next to be attempted, when something may be loosely attached to the clothing or trappings, this will accustom the colt to the flaps of the saddle and the skirts of the rider's coat.

Most horsemen speak very highly of the lessons in a circle, among whom, that noted sportsman, the Duke of Newcastle, remarks in his treatise on horsemanship, that it is the best method of giving ease and pliancy to the shoulders; and this is, without doubt, an opinion well founded.

When in the circle, his inside and outside legs move in two different circles of different diameters; that on the outer side being the largest : it consequently follows that the outside legs pass over more ground than the inner ones; hence, also, a greater extension of the shoulder and fore-leg is required. In this lounge, the horse inclines his body inwards towards the centre of the circle ; and in small circles this inclination is to an extent that would cause the animal to fall on his side if he were to move in a straight line.

The motion of the inner legs are accordingly shortened, and come to the ground sooner than the outer legs : thus the joints acquire a greater pliancy in the bending, and the limbs are elevated nearer to the body.

The canter and the gallop are the next to be taught, as also the motions of turning and breaking from one pace to another at the option of the rider: these will be discussed in the next subject. Ambling is a pace that should never be allowed, and the sooner the horse is broke of it the better : it is performed by moving a fore-leg and a hind-leg of the same side at the same time, and does not appear to be a natural motion, although in some countries, and especially the east, it is preferred to the walk or trot, as giving less motion to the rider; it is, however, by no means so safe as the natural paces : many horses amble at the rate of six or seven miles an hour.

The Earl of Pembroke recommends, in his admirable treatise on military equitation, that when horses carry their heads low while in the lounge, (which is frequently the case), a cord should be buckled to the top of the head-stall, passing from thence through the eye of the snaffle into the hand of the person that holds the lounge ; and this must be slackened or drawn tight as circumstances require.

No horse should be suffered to advance one step with a false gait, and his head should not be tied up for any length of time, for this would give him the habit of leaning on the rein and throwing himself heavily on his shoulders when he grew tired : too much work at this time frequently makes the horse vicious.

When the bit is used, it should be both large and smooth, and the reins carried back to a ring on either side of the pad, rather slack at first, but gradually tightened : the twisted, sharp, and cutting bits, only tend to harden the mouth and render it callous to all feeling.

Working in hand, is the process to which the horse must be next broke ; and though in reality by no means difficult, it is what few people can accomplish with success; a quick eye, asteady, but active movement, and a good and persevering temper being required. The horse's head is bent inward by means of a strap, tied from the side-ring of the cavesson to the ring on the pad: trotting is the pace that should be first used in this. In the use of this strap the eye is apt to be chafed, to prevent which, a strap and buckle is attached to the head-stall under the throat; thus the strap may be used as tight as the breaker deems fit, and no damage can happen to the organ of sight.

When the horse leans on this bending-strap, remove the cavesson, and use in its place a long cord, attached in the first instance to the ring of the pad, and carried thence through the eye of the snaffle.

THE TURKISH HORSE.

These horses are principally an intermixture between the Arab and Persian, some of which are very fine, and have been noticed by numberless travellers. When imported to England, they have occasionally improved our breed materially. Slade, in his travels, gives us the following account of the Turkish stable-management, and at the same time praises the animal :

Large apertures in the walls, and the roof constantly admitting the air, it being a principle with the Osmanleys to keep their stables cool, covering their horses with thick clothes ; and as no country presents greater variety of climate than Turkey in Eurone no

« PreviousContinue »