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REFORMATION AND PREPARATION.
obstinacy of the purchaser. No horse in the artificial state I have described should be put to even moderate work under about the six weeks I have mentioned before. During this time he should get at least two, generally three, doses of physic, and proper exercise, which, after the first three weeks, should be daily but gradually increased. He should also by the same gradual means be got to bear a stable of proper tem- : perature, and get accustomed to change of weather. His drink and his food should also be changed, and in lieu of the constant hot mashes, hot gruel, hot potatoes, and God knows what other trash he was fattened on, good oats and an occasional cooling mash should be substituted. By the end of the six weeks a large portion of the gross and unhealthy fat with which he was loaded will have been got off, and he may be put to moderate work with safety. I say moderate work, for let not the purchaser imagine his horse is yet in condition for severe exertion : all that has as yet been done for him has only been undoing what never ought to have been done; consequently he is now only in that state when the proper means of bringing him into condition can with safety be resorted to : this, good and proper food, good stable management, and regular work will effect without further difficulty or danger. There may be perhaps many persons who may think the precautions I have pointed out as unnecessary, and the danger I have represented as exaggerated: if there be such, and doubtless there are many, let them ask any respectable dealer, or any other really good judge of horses, whether I am so. If they say I am, I will bow with submission: if not, and the advice I have given is acted upon, I shall feel my time, so far from having been thrown away, has been usefully employed.
VARIATION AND SPECULATION.
I stated, a few pages back, that probably the dealer might ask something like 1301. for the horse he had bought at 1001. Now I by no means intend to infer that this is about the average advance he would ask on his purchase: this must all depend on the particular merits of each horse. What may be his average profits on all his horses, nothing but his books can tell. On some his profit will be enormous, and on some a very moderate one; some will only save their price and expenses; by some he will lose considerably, while occasionally, from deaths or accidents, he must lose both cost-price and expenses in toto. This very great fluctuation may appear singular to a person not conversant with this particular trade: it is, nevertheless, a true statement of the fact.
It never struck me till this moment that I possessed intuitive genius or talents of the higher order: I am, however, now quite convinced that such is the case, inasmuch as I found out, in some part of these hints, that a horse is not a mahogany dining-table: till he is, the profits on his purchase can never be reduced to anything like a certainty. This arises in a great measure from the very little time first-rate dealers can bestow in the examination of each horse they buy. A dealer of inferior grade, who intends purchasing half a dozen horses, can afford to lose two or three days in the purchase of them ; and if he saves 201. by so doing, it answers his purpose, and he is well paid for his time, trouble, and the numberless underhand tricks he has made use of to get them at his own price — of which I purpose giving some idea when I speak of this class of dealer. Not so with the large dealer: he purchases perhaps fifty high-priced horses in two days : he cannot afford, on an average, ten minutes to the examination of each horse: his practised
QUITE THE RIGHT SORT. eye and constant habit enable him to purchase half a hundred horses, so as, taking them together, they pay him; but he could not stand higgling for a few pounds in the price of each horse, or even give himself time to investigate every minor circumstance relative to each: he buys on a broad scale, and, taking them together as a lot, buys them well; of course some turn out better, some a little worse, than he at first sight thought them to be. Still this off-hand mode of buying pays him ; for if he devoted a couple of hours to the getting any one particular horse five pounds cheaper, by this delay he would only gain the five pounds in him, and lose fifty by missing five other horses that he would have purchased in these two hours. I know of no man who generally gives so little trouble in buying a horse, or as a stranger is so desirable a man to offer a horse to, as one of this class of dealers: he sees your horse out; if he does not like him, he makes up his mind at once — he would not buy him at any price, but generally civilly tells you he is a very clever horse, though too big or too little for his purpose; in fact, makes some excuse for not purchasing him, so as not to offend you. If, on the contrary, he thinks him adapted to his purpose, he inquires the price; and if he finds it far exceeds his ideas of his value, he states at once that it is far beyond what he can afford to give, thanks you for the sight of him, wishes you a better customer, and thinks no more about him. On the other hand, if he finds you ask something like his estimation of his value, he tells you what, as a dealer, he can afford to give; and if you do not take it, there is no harm done. He seldom alters much in his offer: if you agree to take it, he gets you to sign a receipt and warranty,
hands you your money at once, and the transaction is ended.
It not unfrequently happens that a particular horse or two are brought into the fair for which an astounding price is demanded. This does not frighten a dealer of high repute: if he really sees him to be what he would call “ quite a nice one,” price does not deter him : he makes up his mind to have him, and have him he will ; twenty or thirty pounds more or less makes no difference in his determination, for with a horse of this sort, it is not whether he expects to get twenty or thirty pounds profit, but that he intends to make eighty or a hundred by him. He, therefore, often buys him at a price that makes bystanders stare (if there happen to be any); he is quite right: he knows of purchasers ready for such a horse at any price he may choose to ask for him the day he gets him home, for when horses get beyond a certain price, their value is nominal — it is in fact what certain men will give rather than go without them. He knows this, and it is his interest not to let such a horse escape him: he will probably pay better than half a dozen of his other purchases.
It is the usual practice of dealers, when they have bought, say a dozen horses, to send them off to some town ten or fifteen miles from the fair. This is done for several reasons: it gets them thus far on their home the day they are bought, they rest better out of the noise of a fair, and it saves considerable expense in stable room ; for it is a frequent trick with innkeepers to charge enormously for stalls during any of the great fairs. These horses stand in the town to which they have been sent till those that
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have been subsequently purchased arrive, and till the dealer himself arrives also. Here he has them all paraded before him, or, in more dealer-like phrase, he has a private show — to see, on a second inspection, how they look, how they go, whether they appear sound, and in a fit state to go on. And here, if the Reader were in his confidence, he would hear something like the following remarks, made on the different horses as they are led out. We will suppose the dealer has a friend or brother-dealer with him, overlooking the lot: — " That's a useful sort of nag, and not much too dear. Run on, Jack; that horse goes well; that'll do: go in.”...... Something like this is perhaps said of four or five : “ Come on, Jack ; now I like this horse a deal better than I did when I saw him yesterday. , I was very near losing him. I am glad now I did not; he is a better nag than I thought he was: he'll do; go in." ......" Now here is a horse wants but little to be quite a nice one: I booked him the minute I saw him ; run on; he can go; he cost a hundred, and cheap at the money : coine on.” ...... The next alters the tone a little: “Why, Jack, that ain't the grey I got of the Parson?” – “Yes, it is, Sir.” — “Why, I thought him a deal bigger horse; but then he makes a deal of himself when going, and that deceived me: the Parson got the best of me: he ain't a bit too cheap, and not a very bad one neither; there, go in.” ......“ Now here comes one of the best nags I have bought for some time: I look on him as the best horse in the fair for leather. I gave a good deal of money for him, a hundred and fifty ; but he is sold at three hundred. — (N. B., being sold in this case does not mean that he actually is so, but that he will be sold to some particular customer so soon as he gets home.l-Infored a hun