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WHAT KILLS. 171
thing for them to say, “they will work themselves easy:” they will in time; but they would work my horses hard before they did so. The weight of a carriage, like that of a man, is always quite enough, without its being made more distressing by our inattention or want of judgment. Neither men nor carriages are feather-weights to horses, but they are equal to these when all is properly arranged. Want of judgment, want of attention, and want of consideration are the welter-weights that kill!
“”Tis Education makes us all.”—ZARA.
THAT the term Education may appear misapplied, or at all events inappropriate, as regards horses, I am quite aware — it is for this very reason I have adopted it, hoping by so doing to awaken ideas on the subject somewhat at variance with the general term of breaking horses. If horses were, what Wombwell's showman assures us the laughing hyaena is, “a hanimal untameable by man,” we may take great credit to ourselves when we can say, as he does, notwithstanding the “hanimal being untameable, this one you see is parfectly tame.” Now to show “the most woraciousest beast in the forest, wot entices the young children into the woods by his cries and then dewours them,” as he says, “parfectly tame,” does credit to the tamer; but horses are neither untameable, difficult to tame, nor “woracious” (in a general way): so I consider the term educating implies the mode of treatment required by most young horses better than the hackneyed one of breaking; for we must always annex the ideas of force and violence to the latter term, and in nineteen cases in twenty neither the one nor the other is required, or should be used, towards colts. The system of education advocated and described by friend Jean Jacques Rousseau as very proper for his élève might lead us to imagine the Island of Utopia
“FIRST CATCH A HARE.”—MRS. GLASSE. 173
was the locale the tutor had in view as the residence of his protégé. His idea, taken as a whole, was perhaps visionary, and the picture too highly coloured: but if we made a copy, and softened down the tints a little, we should have nearly a perfect composition: we only then want a perfect engraver, and posterity would derive much benefit from the efforts of the two artists. In giving hints or offering ideas on any subject, it may very naturally be expected that the person doing so should confine himself to the subject in question; but I never could bear confinement in any way: I must “run loose in my traces,” or I cannot work at all. In writing, this erratic habit actuates me in double force; but as I have not vanity enough to suppose that in treating on any particular subject I can so interest a reader as to make him consider my quitting it of much consequence, I feel apology would be useless, as I am aware I should sin again and again. In corroboration of what I have said, I now offer a few hints on breeding horses. This I allow has nothing to do with educating them; but it strikes me forcibly that before we can educate them, we must get them somehow, and as before we can get them they must be bred, I shall venture a few ideas on that process, though they will not be many, and, for the further advantage of the reader, the means of conveying those ideas shall be made as short as possible. I ought to have mentioned something about breeding in the title of this paper, but I did not, and I never alter anything I have written. If it was better, it would be worth this: but as it is, its only merit (if any merit it has) is the coming before the public as it
174 PROMISING STOCK.
is: not but that the public is entitled to the compliment of full dress, but I have tact enough to be aware, that as men who have nothing aristocratic about them in appearance never look better than in a shooting-jacket, so I consider my scribblings would lose by laying aside their homely garb. The first thing to be considered by any one contemplating breeding is the purpose for which he intends to breed: and even then (to use a figurative expression) to breed to the purpose falls to the lot of very few breeders among the many. By considering the purpose for which a man intends to breed, I mean he should first consider whether he means to do so for his own use or for sale — in other words, for himself or the public. If he breeds for his own use, he has to consider the nature of the service to which he means to put the horse, and then to endeavour to breed the best sort of animal for that service. In considering what is the best description of horse for different purposes, the only true guide is what is held to be so in the opinion of the majority of competent judges. This I allow a man need not attend to if he breeds for his own use, and is arrogant enough to think he knows better than all these put together: and in truth I am led to imagine something like this opinion does actuate many breeders, when I see the number of queer animals produced, and considered by their owners as promising stock. There can be no doubt that among the best judges a little difference of opinion may exist as to what is the best sort of horse for different purposes. This difference will, however, chiefly be as to size, and one man preferring them more highly bred than another: in other particulars most good judges think pretty
PUBLIC OPINION NOT TO BE DESPISED. 175
nearly alike. On one point they all agree; namely, that of his class all horses should be of a good sort, and have good action. These two qualifications should never be overlooked or disregarded, whether we want a horse to carry a jockey or draw a plough. Breed, or try to breed, everything the best of the sort : middling stock of any kind cannot pay — at least cannot pay well — and it is worse than waste of time and trouble to breed such. If a man breeds for his own use, and has any particular or singular opinions about animals, he has of course a right to breed in accordance with those opinions, be they right or wrong : but if a man breeds for the public, even allowing his ideas to be more correct than those of the public as to what is the choicest animal, it would in this case be highly injudicious in him to breed to please his own fancy; for if he breeds to sell, the commonest sense must tell him to breed what will sell; and he may depend upon it, let him think as he will, it is the best that will do so. A man may be a better judge of any given thing than five thousand other men, but the public is a better judge than probably any one man living. If a breeder is modest enough to think that he knows more than the public, and can consequently lead that public, he is the very man to breed as he likes and what he likes; and (to try his strength) I would recommend him to get a cross between a whale and a cameleopard, and enter him in a Produce stake. If he gets high up in the betting, I will allow my present deference to public opinion to be wrong; but till this event comes off, I most strenuously recommend every breeder to consult public taste and opinion : I think of the two he will find it the safest speculation. I beg the reader will not for a moment suppose me