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HARD, BUT JUDICIOUS FOR SOME PEOPLE. 207 sonable price, he cannot afford to come up to the fee given by the dealer; and, being probably quite unaware of what the servant does consider he is entitled to, he gives him a sovereign. This horse will to a dead certainty be made to turn out badly: “Master must not be allowed to get into this way of buying horses !” The only way therefore of giving this horse a chance of success, is for the friend to take care that between the seller and the master the man is satisfied. It will be said, it is hard that a master should pay his own servant because he chooses to purchase a horse of a particular person. It is hard ; but with the generality of servants it must be done: he must be satisfied somehow, or by somebody, or he will be sure to beat you, unless you have resolution to adopt Lord A.'s Prussian system. Then this plan will do well enough, and the horse will do well enough.
The next mode is breeding. This is in all cases the most uncertain, and in the generality the most expensive of all. I will take it as it will probably be done by a private gentleman, and give a rough sketch of its probable expense on the most moderate scale ; we shall then judge a little at what we may expect to get a good five-year-old colt ready for use. We will suppose a good sort of mare selected for this purpose, if a superior sort of colt is looked for – and none other has a chance of paying expenses. The mare must be put to a good sort of horse : this we will say will cost 51. 58. : the mare has then to be kept eleven months, and well kept; this cannot be done under 181. The colt, after being weaned, must be kept on grass, oats, and hay till he is five 208
A BREEDING GENTLEMAN.
years old, before he can be called fit for work: this cannot be done, taking one year with another, including keep, shoeing, attendance, and breaking, under 25l. each year. Here we come to 1231. Now, if the colts were all to turn out well, and grow into fine horses, we should by these means get horses at about the same price we could buy the same stamp of horse of any respectable dealer. But in lieu of their all turning out worth their cost, 1231., we must calculate, that, taking several together, one dies, some get accidents, some grow up plain in appearance, and some want action. All these casualties and diminutions of value must be added to the value of what those who do turn out well ought to bring to make the remainder pay their expenses, which to the private gentleman they never do or will. We will suppose he breeds three colts: then these three, at 1231. each, have cost him 3691. Now, he will be a very fortunate breeder if he can calculate on a number as we will on the three, by supposing they grow up to be worth, at five years old, the following prices : 1231., 1001., and 701., making 2931. the three. Deduct this from their expenses in rearing, we shall find he is minus a little more than 251. per horse by the speculation.
From the representation I have made of the result of a gentleman breeding, two questions may naturally be asked— 1st, why do so mnany breed ? and, 2dly, how do some men make it pay? I will endeavour to reply to both these questions. Many begin breeding from knowing nothing of its expense, and really thinking they are certain to get a very fine horse for very little money. I wish they may: but they will not. A very great number are tempted to breed
BREEDING NOT ALWAYS PROFITABLE. 209 from having a favourite mare that they have used as long as she was fit for work, or has perhaps met with an accident that makes her no longer pleasant to use. They do not like to sell her to be subject to ill usage - which she certainly would be if sold to that description of person who buys worn-out horses. This induces them to breed from her, and is certainly the most humane and best reason a gentleman can give for doing so. If he studied economy, he would shoot her. Another person has also a favourite— we will say she is a remarkably good animal, very fast, and a very fine goer. Because she is so, he determines to lay her by in her prime, and breed from her, making certain, that, because she is all I have mentioned, her progeny will be so likewise. No idea is more erroneous. It sometimes turns out so, but it no more follows as a matter of course, or a thing to be in any way depended on, than that the son or daughter of an opera-dancer should inherit the grace or elasticity of the parent. This is well known in the breeding of race-horses. Many mares, which were themselves excellent runners, never produced one; and others, which never could run themselves, have produced superior race-horses. Some men breed for amuse. ment. Fortunately for others, many men of large fortune do this, and take the greatest interest in the pursuit. Such men do a great deal of good, and deserve the thanks of the community. It is a pursuit worthy a man of fortune, as tending to keep up a breed of superior horses in the country; but such men do not do it, or expect to do it, with profit to themselves. Respecting the second question, as to what persons
210 BREEDING MADE PROFITABLE. do make money by breeding, it is briefly answered in very few words. They are men who make a trade of it; and I will endeavour to give some little idea how they do make it pay. They are usually persons holding large tracts of land at a low rent. Instead of paying five guineas for putting their mares to the horse, they keep a sire or two of their own. These horses, besides serving their own mares, are let out, and are a source of considerable profit. The persons they employ in the care of their mares and colts are engaged at half the cost of those employed by the gentleman breeder; and, what is still of more importance, in every way, the master is constantly in attendance on them himself. No waste is permitted here; no accidents from the carelessness or inattention of servants : everything is well done, but done with the strictest economy. At three years old, his colts begin to earn their living by tilling or working in some way on the ground that produces not only provender for themselves, but also for sale. They never do a hard day's work, or sufficient work to fatigue them; but doing what is only moderate and healthful exercise, they earn what they eat. Even the mares, for a certain period in each year, do light work, which helps to keep them. By such management, economy, and saving of expense, the same colt that at five years old would have cost the private gentleman breeder 123l., does not cost the trader more than half. Thus it is clear gentlemen will save nothing by breeding instead of, as I have advised, going to the dealer.
Frequent complaints are made of the enormous prices our first-rate dealers demand for their horses.
DEALING NOT ALL PROFIT.
Granted: nor can they do themselves justice unless they do so. They give enormous prices for them, much more than people give them credit for; and they are at enormous expenses in order to get them. The travelling expenses of their men and themselves in searching for horses would exceed the credibility of persons unacquainted with the fact; and without these expenses they could never supply themselves with such horses as are fit for their purpose in sufficient numbers. Four years ago I saw ten horses Elmore had bought at a fair, which, where I saw them, 120 miles from home, had then cost him 10001. He had bought perhaps twenty or thirty others, some at higher, some at lower prices. All these had of course to be travelled home at considerable expense and risk. In travelling these young fresh horses, some of them are almost certain to be taken sick, and have to be left on the journey with a man to attend them. Here is additional expense. Sometimes a valuable horse gets kicked, or blemished, or otherwise severely injured. Every possible precaution is used to prevent accidents; still they do frequently occur. When half a dozen of these young horses are tied together to start in the morning fresh out of the stable, they play all sorts of tricks, kicking, rearing, plunging, throwing each other down: I have often seen three or four of them, worth 100 guineas a-piece, all down together. The surprise is, not that accidents should occur, but that they do not occur much oftener than they do. Supposing the horses arrived at the dealer's stables: the riding-horses have to be rode; if they are not quite steady, they must be ridden till they are: the harness horses have to