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LESSONS FOR BEGINNERS. horse get once hung on it, he would as soon be hung as get there again, when he has been taught how to avoid it; for before he can get off again, he will be in the situation I well know you are after a suit of Chancery, where, though you gain your cause, you are very comfortably skinned before you do so. People will put a bar up perhaps three feet high, and say “ he can jump that if he can jump anything.” We know that ; but at first he cannot jump anything in height, at least he does not know that he can, never having probably tried; so, as to him, it seems an impassable barrier: he naturally enough does not try; but he tries to shove it down; if it gives way, he is spoiled ; if not, he is flogged because he does not do what he does not know how to set about doing. He then probably turns sulky, and kicks at you: then he gets flogged for that; so he gets twice flogged, as boys often do at cheap schools, from the ignorance of his tutor. If the horse never saw a bar before, lay it on the ground—yes, positively on the ground; you will see he will make a jump even at that : probably that would have carried him over two feet. He has already learned two things at this one jump; namely, that by jumping he gets over the obstacle, and that he can jump two feet high: this even he did not know before: raise it six inches, he will take it next time at that height: let him do that two or three times, caress him, and send him away: he has done enough for his first lesson, and has learned a good deal. Put it on the ground again next day; you are sure he will not refuse that: then again the six inches; then a foot, and so on : he will take three feet in a week, and very shortly the height of a gate. • Another horse may at the end of a fortnight have been driven and flogged over as great or a greater
MEN NOT WANTED
HORSEMEN NOT WANTED AT THE BAR. 183 height than mine has taken; but if he has, I will answer for it he has sometimes jumped it, sometimes tumbled over it, and very often refused it. He has only learned, that by making a kind of effort of some sort, he can sometimes get over his leap, and sometimes tumble over it: mine has got his lesson perfectly ; knows how to set about the thing scientifically ; feels and knows, by very moderate exertion, he can do the thing to a certainty ; is not afraid of it; so never refuses it, either from want of confidence in his own powers, or from having been disgusted with leaping from its having been made a punishment to him. People generally make a horse jump too often over the same thing: this further disgusts him: when he has acquitted himself well, leave off; otherwise you tire and put him out of humour.
I have heard people give as a reason for having leaping-bars made to go down, that they do it for the safety of the “man.” This would be all very well if bars were intended for men to ride over ; but they are not: they are only intended to teach young horses the rudiments of leaping in hand. If you wish to show how a horse will carry over a fence, take him to a proper place, and there ride at hedges, ditches, hurdles, or gates, as you please, and leave the bar in the school-room. A young horse left to the tuition of a groom seldom makes a neat and perfect, fencer: they drive horses over their fences; this causes them to rush headlong at them; by doing which they either blunder into them, or do, what is almost as bad, take twice as much out of themselves as they have any occasion to do. This soon beats them, and then they cannot, if they would, jump high or wide enough. A horse, in taking his spring, should be
HANDS, HEELS, AND HEADS. taught to do in the field what his master should do after dinner- take enough, and not too much : doing the reverse will tell on both in time.
It is all very well to say that some men, like the friend I mentioned on my thorough-bred, will drive a horse in, through, or over anything; this will do and is quite proper with a horse who knows how to do his business, but will shirk it if he can; but it will not do with a young one. If an old offender, who, from sheer roguishness, will swerve or balk his fences if he can, keep an ash-plant between his ears that you have taught him will visit one or other side of his nose, according to the side he swerves to; send him at it so as to persuade him he must go in, if he does not go over : if he should choose the former, which is very unlikely under such circumstances, afford him no assistance to get out till you have given him a good thrashing while in: he got into the scrape from laziness or roguishness, and deserves all he gets. Strongly as I at all times advocate the greatest kindness to horses, I can be as severe as anybody with a lazy or badly-disposed one, and can bring both hands and heels into pretty free use; but I hope I always use some head in considering whether a refusal of my wishes proceeds from ignorance or inability, or from other causes : too many, I fear, suffer when the former is the case.
While writing these wandering observations, the heels have had a sinecure. I have made considerable use of the hands, and some, though perhaps very indifferent, use of the head. I shall, however, now use the latter for a purpose to which, perhaps, my reader may say I ought to have devoted it long ago— making my bow.
HINTS ON HORSE-DEALERS AND DEALERS
Qui cnpit ille facit. — Old Proverb.
That readers should attach credence or give attention to the observations, opinions, or facts promulgated by any writer, it is necessary, or, to say the least, quite desirable, that they should be impressed with the opinion that he is quite conversant with the subject or subjects on which he writes. That I am so, I must earnestly but very respectfully beg the public to take my word : that I am equally competent to write upon such subjects is quite another matter : I am perfectly satisfied I am not. Still this will not render what I write one atom of less utility. Facts are still facts, however homely may be the language in which they are set forth ; and if the public derives any advantage from those facts being set forth, the end will be just as well attained as if they were clothed in the most erudite or poetic language that inspiration could suggest.
Before any one can be capable of guarding others against errors and impositions, he must first make himself perfectly master of in what those errors consist, and how the imposition is practised. To guard others against errors, experience in the cases where those errors are committed will suffice : but to detect the means by which impositions are practised, it becomes necessary to get among those who practise them; to 186 “ IF YOU MORE WOULD ASK, I SHUN NO QUESTIONS.”
place yourself by some means in situations where you can hear their private conversations, get intimately acquainted with the tools or means employed, and perfectly learn how those tools are made use of: then, and not till then, is any one qualified to give beneficial hints and advice to others. How or why I have placed myself in situations to have seen so much of the subjects of these hints and observations, matters nothing to the public: suffice it to say, I have seen them much, and now offer the results of such observations to others, to whom I shall only say,
There is no nation in Europe where the horse is made an object of so much importance as in England; consequently Englishmen are, taking them in the aggregate, the best judges of horses in Europe. Most of our nobility and men of fortune are so, and English horses are now becoine, taking them in all the various purposes to which they are applied, unquestionably the best in the world. The Arab is certainly as particular in the breed of his horse, and in the care of him, as we are here; but his attention and care are directed to one particular description of horse, and he knows of no other; it is left for England to produce horses all bred for, and adapted to, their various purposes, and each of his own class the finest animal in the world. Horses for draught, for the road, and for the turf have been bred among other nations, and for these purposes animals have been produced of a moderate quality. But the Leicestershire hunter has been till within a very few years a description of horse confined to the United King