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THE RIGHT PLAN. 391
clear, but seven or eight can be got over if the horse has learned to take it as a dog does a stile, by leaping . on and off; in this Irish horses are unrivalled, and the certainty with which they do it is quite astonishing. In England, to be safe, a horse has much more to learn; for in the generality of countries a hunter has to manage fifty distinct sorts of fences in every run ; but then, in point of labour, he has one advantage; for in most fences there are gaps or thin places, low stiles to jump, or gates to be opened, if we have time; if not, a moderate gate requires as little, nay less exertion than a moderate fence; and provided the taking off is sound, and horses are good timber jumpers, and fresh, I ever found they made fewer mistakes at moderate gates than they did at fences. Notwithstanding the diversity of knowledge of fences our horses require to be perfect hunters, such is the aristocratic indolence of masters, and the ignorance and obstinacy of English grooms, that our horses are not taken half the trouble with to make them perfect as fencers that the Irish horses are: they are, to use an Irish term, “trained ” to jump from colts; in fact a four-year-old Irish horse has learned his lesson perfectly, whereas ours very commonly, when first shown hounds, hardly know a hedge from a hurdle, and are then very frequently trusted to some pully hauly groom to teach them. I have, however, found one great objection in many Irish hunters; from being hunted when young, and consequently weak, their riders are obliged to get them along as they can, and to lift them at all their fences, to make them rise at them ; and when the horse comes to maturity, as but few are kept, they
are hunted so often that the same system is perse
392 A FALL, “D–L A MATTER."
vered in : this gets them into the habit of expecting all this assistance and forcing; so that, in fact, though a man will be carried by Irish horses extremely well as a whipper-in, it is but few of them that will carry him pleasantly as a gentleman; in truth, on many of them it is sheer hard work on the part of the rider to make them do their share of it. Paddy has no earthly fear of a fall, or, indeed, of any thing else. I suppose the horse participates in the feeling; for ride him quietly at a fence, he seems to think you mean him to go into it, and into it he will go; give him a shout and a lift, and the stouter your arms and the stronger your lungs, the higher and further he goes.
The next objection to Irish horses is their temper; in this they widely differ from their masters; you may easily exasperate the latter, touch his honour or his liberty “Och, murther,” but it is hard to destroy the cheerfulness of his temper; the goodness of his heart you cannot destroy: not so with his nags; there is a want of that generous attachable disposition about them that we find in our horses; possibly hard usage from their youth produces this sulkiness, and frequent wish on their parts to retaliate, for in sooth their life is not usually a sinecure. I believe this is the fact, and one cause of their usual want of temper; that is, good temper.
It may be asked, then, why are not the men of the same country equally sullen and morose, from the same cause. It is not my province, as an Englishman, to investigate such a subject; my only reply will therefore be a very short one:–they have Irish hearts.
Accide NTs, numbers of, arise from want
ANEcdotes, Vol. I. : —
ANecdotes, Vol. I. — continued.
ANEcdotes, Vol. I. — continued.
ANEcdotes, Vol. II. : —
ANEcdotes, Vol. II.-continued.
ANEctotes, Vol. II.-continued.
Alken, Mr., as an artist, remarks on,
Animal painting still in its infancy,
Animation, its effects, ii. 66.
Anxiety of thousands during a race,
Arab horses and American bears, ii.
Ascott made use of, ii. 13.
Ashbourne steeple races, i. 148.
Assistance to horses, how it affects
Astley's piebald mare, her sagacity, ii.
his impartiality handicapped;
Bad debts constantly occur to dealers,
men an injury to the turf, i. 6.
men promote rascality, i. 7.