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not meet the gentleman's views and wishes, he is quite in his way; in fact, useless to him. It cannot turn out so with the dealer: he has got a young, sound, blooming, selling-looking horse, which is enough for him, be his imperfections in other particulars what they may (at least to a certain extent): if he does not suit one customer he will another, and thus he is sure to sell him to some one: whereas the gentleman, in getting what does not suit him, may think himself well off if he gets rid of him at 15l. or 201. loss. We will say he is fortunate enough to buy only two before he gets a third that does suit, and loses the lowest sum, 15l., by each. He had originally given 1001., and loses 301. by the two, besides expenses. How much richer is he than if he had gone to the dealer and given him 1301. for one that he (the dealer) had bought for 1001.? It strikes me, not much, except in one respect, and that is in experience — which, by the by, if he afterwards makes use of it, is really cheap at the 301.
I have merely supposed the private gentleman goes twice to a fair, and gets two horses that do not suit him on trial, and have concluded that on his third attempt he has succeeded. To show that I am very much below the mark in the odds I have given against him, we will suppose that he had gone to a dealer's yard and was shown forty or fifty horses : out of these he sees nine or ten that, in point of size, price, and figure, appear to be likely to answer his purpose. Now, if he would at first tell the dealer the particular qualification he requires in the horse he wishes to buy, he would save himself, the dealer, and his servants, a great deal of trouble. He would in that case be put on two or three out of the ten that hap218
THE LONG ODDS. pened to possess these particular qualifications; he would be allowed a fair and reasonable trial, and would no doubt get what he wanted. This will show that the dealer knew there were but two or three out of the ten that were likely to meet his particular wishes; and also shows that among ten horses, all looking like what he wants, it is just seven to three against his getting one that is even likely to suit him. He rides the three, and finds one, and one only, of the three that he approves. As it therefore appears that out of ten horses, each of which looked like what he wanted, he finds but one that is so, it must be as clear as any demonstration Euclid could make, that had he seen these ten horses in a fair, it is just nine to one against his having fixed on the one for his purpose. Now, when I speak of this horse being fit for his purpose, I beg it may be understood that I only mean that he finds him so as far as regards pleasantry to ride or drive. As to his turning out good, or good for nothing, when put to work, that is quite another affair : he must take his chance for that, as every man must who buys a young sound untried horse. In exemplification of this I recall to mind an anecdote of Wimbush. I took a friend to him to buy a pair of carriage-horses : he fixed on a pair, saw them driven, and quite approved of them ; so did I. He then said, “Now, Mr. Wimbush, I buy these horses from the recommendation of my friend, and I rely on you that they are a pair of good horses." -“Pray don't, Sir," says Wimbush; “I know nothing about that. If you want a pair that I can answer for as good ones, I will take a pair off a job that I can answer for; but these young devils I have only bought in a fair. I have warranted them quiet
219 in harness and sound, and they shall be so to you: but as to their goodness, you must take your chance of that.” — My friend bought the young devils, as Wimbush called them, and they turned out well : but supposing they had proved diametrically the reverse, it would have been no fault of his: he could not tell what effect different work and different treatment might produce: all he could be expected to do, in truth all he could do, was to put such horses in his customer's hands, that, as far as he had seen or knew of them, were likely to answer the purpose for which they were designed. He has then done all in his power ; his customer has got what he no doubt considers the great desideratum to get, young sound horses, and must keep them for better for worse, as the thing may turn out: they may be very desirable attainments : I can only say I never bought such in a general way for my own use, or ever will, nor would the dealer for his : he knows better; he buys such for sale, because he knows the generality of his customers will buy none other of him, and of course his interest is to meet their wishes and opinions : his own upon this subject he wisely keeps to himself: he knows, and I know, that a young horse from his stable cannot be fit to do one day's moderate work under at least six weeks from the time of his being purchased. Few persons are aware of this; and even those who are so are often impatient to get their new purchase to work, and trust to their luck that he does not get amiss in consequence. Hence the great number who get all sorts of diseases soon after being put to work. On this subject, however, more anon.
Very few persons are at all aware of the treatment a young valuable horse has undergone before
he gets into the dealer's hands. In the first place, such a horse has never done one day's even moderate work since the day he was foaled. The breeder would not risk his doing it. It matters not to him be he good or good for nothing; he merely wants him to look well by the time he means to offer him for sale ; and provided his constitution and stamina are good enough to enable him to be brought to this, it is all he requires or cares about. He has tried him sufficiently to ascertain that he rides pleasantly at the end of five miles; he is in no way interested in what he might do at the end of twenty, nor will he risk his knocking his legs about or cutting his ankles by trying. Why should he ? When he sells him, he does not guarantee to sell you a good horse: he gives a warranty that he is a certain age, that he is sound and free from vice; and provided he proves to be so, he has conscientiously fulfilled his compact with the purchaser.
Now for some months before any of the great fairs, the horses the breeder intends sending there are being prepared for the purpose; that is, by taking no more exercise than is absolutely necessary to keep them in health, and are literally put up to fatten, like any other beast for market, placed in an even and warm temperature in the stable, to keep their coats fine; and by the time they are wanted for sale are made in every way ripe for the purpose. They come out fat, blooming, beautiful in their skins, and of course in the highest spirits, but as unfit for and incapable of a day's work as the pampered child of a lady of fashion, and as sensible of even the slightest variation of the atmosphere as any exotic from the hot-house. In this state they are sold to the dealer, USEFUL ANIMALS — VERY.. 221 who is forced to nurse them like children, to get them home in safety, in which, however, and particularly in bad weather, he does not always succeed. Supposing they do arrive safely at his stables, as he is quite aware how they have been treated, he is forced (for a time at least) to keep them in the same forced and artificial state. He knows well enough that by so doing he is laying the foundation for all sorts of diseases; but what is he to do? He dares not change the system, except by slow degrees; and this in a great measure he does, if he keeps any of them long enough; but probably some of them are sold in two or three days after their arrival. Now let me ask, what on earth is an animal in this state fit for beyond being shown in a dealer's yard ? Why literally nothing, till, figuratively speaking, he has been taken to pieces and put together again.
Of all the internal diseases to which the horse is liable, and more particularly fat horses, inflammation of the lungs is by far the most prevalent, the most sudden in its commencement, the most rapid in its progress, and the most fatal in its effects. It is to this disease that horses in the state and condition I have mentioned are, more than any other, particularly liable. Once attacked by it, unless immediately and judiciously attended to, two or three days bring on the crisis, which under such circumstances mostly ends in death: yet do and probably will most persons persevere in putting such horses to work without preparation for it. By so doing, they are unjust to themselves, the animal, and the dealer from whom he has been purchased, who in most cases, however, comes in for all the blame, whereas it rests solely with the impatience, ignorance (in this particular), or