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A MASTER'S EYE NECESSARY.
from an ordinary man? Common sense must say, No; and then common sense must tell us what results we may expect : what they are we have lately had proofs enough of. I think my barrel of gunpowder has been sat upon, and some pretty blows-up we have had. How then are these explosions to be prevented ? This is a poser I allow; but put the question in a modified way, and ask how is the chance of SO frequent a recurrence of them to be effected? “Keep a constant and watchful eye on the barrel yourself, or employ some one who will.” Who is this some one to be ? A man of tried honour, a man personally attached as a friend, and to render - assurance doubly sure,” make it his interest to watch yours as his own. No other man will do it. It is not the hiring good attendants, and leaving children to their care, that will ensure their well doing : it is the careful and anxious eye of the mother that is wanted to watch their daily progress, and afford those thousand-andone little cares that only a parent will attend to: so it is nothing but a master's eye in himself, or in a second self, that will anxiously watch every change in race-horses, make himself master of their different qualities, and study where to place them to the greatest advantage to their owner in their running.
It may not be necessary for a lady to dress her child, but she ought to be able to do so: it may not be necessary for an owner to put on bandages or sweaters, but I can only say that if I did not know how to do both properly, I would never pretend to give an opinion in a racing stable, nor should I expect to be attended to if I did. The master or the master's representative should know such things if he means to be attended to: he may leave as much as
he pleases to the trainer, who actually works the horses; and so long as things are well done, he should not interfere; but it does a trainer no harm to be aware the eye of some one is kept open over the horses who can detect anything that is not well done, and also knows (supposing a stake is open in which a horse can be entered with a fair prospect of winning) whether the horse is fit to go for it; and further knows, if told that he is not, whether he ought or could be expected to have been. This no man who only sees his horses occasionally could know, nor can he, or at least ought he, to take upon himself to decide in such a case.
I consider it a duty that every man owes to others as well as to himself not to throw such temptation in the way, as it may be almost impossible for a man of ordinary mind to resist. Let then any man keeping race-horses in a public training stable, and who leaves them to the care of a public trainer, consider the abyss constantly under him. A trainer has possibly two horses in his stable, both engaged in the same race: he can in such a case very accurately judge which is the best of the two for that particular race. It is by no means unlikely that these two horses may be nearly on a par, and yet, from various causes, it may happen that he can get 30 to 1 against the one, and not 6 to 1 against the other. He takes the first in hundreds, perhaps two or three times over: supposing he thinks the horse he backs at such long odds the worst or best of the two, or thinks them equally good, in either case it is expecting a great deal if we suppose he will not make three times thirty hundred tolerably safe. No one but himself knows how near the qualities of these horses may be to each other:
TRUTH SOMETIMES HARD TO COME AT.
his boys do not; his head man does not; the jockeys or lads who tried them do not; and depend on it, generally speaking, their owners do not. These all know which horse was first in the trial, whether these two were tried together by consent of the owners, or were tried with other trial horses: but all they know is the result of the trials, and this is knowing next to nothing (if the trainer wishes to keep them in the dark): HE knows all about it, but nobody else does. An owner sees his horse tried, is quite satisfied he now knows all he wants to know for or against him, and goes and makes his bets accordingly: he might as well have stayed at homne, perhaps better: he might then have chanced to have got on the right side, but now, if his trainer chooses it, there is no chance in the case. “Seeing is believing," they say; so it is here; but seeing is no sure test in trying race-horses in all cases. Many owners know this well enough; many do not; many know how this is to be managed: a vast many more do not, nor is it my business to enlighten them. Why should I ? " All the world's a stage, and all the men and women players.” A vast number of the former humbug each other; many have me: but as trainers do not do this more than other men, let them go on and prosper: they at least never did me any harm; why should I them? We will therefore leave Mr.— , the trainer, arranging weights, &c. for a trial, and take a little more consideration about weight as applied to horses in other ways.
I have endeavoured to prove that good breeding and speed are quite necessary qualifications in a hunter that is intended to carry weight, and, correct or incorrect, have given my reasons for feeling convinced 124
OPINIONS ON SAFETY VARY.
that such is the case. Let us now turn our attention to that most difficult animal to get, a Hack. There is no great difficulty in getting carried well to hounds; and indeed, provided a horse has speed, we may there screw anything along, for few horses will fall in a fast pace, and, however he may be disposed to do so, we don't give him time enough for it. If a man has nerve, I will guarantee his neck to the kill. Returning home, he must take care of himself; but defend me from an unsafe goer as a hack. I am not particularly nervous, and if I wanted to do seven miles in twenty minutes even on the road, particularly if with the excitement of going to meet hounds, should not be very nice what I got upon; for, provided they are good enough, they will go safe enough at that pace; but to trot an unsafe hack seven miles an hour along a road is to me awful: I would at all times on a fair horse compound to take half a dozen gates and a couple of good brooks to avoid such a seven miles ride. I constantly see people in the neighbourhood of London riding quite contentedly along on road-horses that would frighten me to death. Rowland's hard pomatum or his best bandoline would not prevent my hair standing on end every ten steps. People may say, how is it that they do not come down ? They do come down; and then the owner attributes their doing so to treading on a stone, or some other adventitious circumstance; fancies fifty things as an excuse for his favourite cob; in short, fancies everything but the fall, or that he will fall again. He will though. Such men will say, their horse had always before carried them safely: they are, however, in a trifling error here: the fact is, the brute had never for a minute carried them safely:
he had never been on his knees before: this is all true, for everything must have a beginning; but he will most certainly be there again.
Unsafety on the road generally arises from one or more of the following causes— bad action, bad formation, sluggishness, or infirmity, or all combined, if we can suppose any man's sins to be so great that such an animal has got into his hands as a just retribution of them.
To begin with action. There may be a diversity of opinion as to what is pretty action, and each man may harmlessly indulge his taste in this particular: but there should be but one opinion as to what is safe action. Many persons conceive, if a horse has high action, it denotes perfect safety : there can be no greater error: high action has very little to do with safety; in fact, in many particulars it very much contributes to its reverse. The most moderate action is generally high enough to clear all the imperceptible inequalities of a road, and it is only of such we need have any fear; and so far as loose stones go, if they are large enough to want high action to get over, the horse would step on one side of such, not over them : we do not leave mile-stones lying about. It is chiefly the way in which a horse puts his foot to the ground that constitutes safety, or the reverse: if he puts it down with a shove (for I can find no better expression), he must be unsafe, as the shock he would experience from any opposing substance would very likely bring him down; and this would of course be just the same whether the action previous to putting the foot down had been high or low. If he puts it fairly on the ground, whether the foot was placed on the ascending part of a rise, on its summit, or on its