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النشر الإلكتروني

176

LOSING IS SOMETIMES WINNING. guilty of so great presumption as contemplating the giving instructions on breeding or instructions on any. thing. I merely venture a few opinions on producing the animal before we educate him.

We will take the race-horse first, as the highest class of animals bred; in the breeding of which we have not only to consult the opinion of good judges and of the public, but fashion. There is perhaps no animal known over whose value before trial “fashion holds such sovereign sway" as it does over the racing colt. In the breeding of him the owner has three things to consider (he will find by-the-by that he has a thousand); but in allusion to the first three, let himn determine whether he intends to breed to run, to sell, or to take the chance of running and selling.

If a man means to breed with a view to running his horses, we naturally suppose he would wish to run and win. I must make, however, a little digression here, for I see the word we has slipped under my pen. Now this word we includes myself among those who I state might naturally suppose a man as wishing to run and WIN. Now, without knowing much, I am really not such an ignoramus as this; it would there fore be very unnatural if I and many others supposed that a man would wish to run and win always. We will therefore only say, we conclude if a man breeds to run that he wishes to breed such horses as can win when they are wanted to do so. I have made a short bolt in the last few lines, but have, by doing so, got into straight running. I hope my reader is not hoping to see me shut up, for I am quite within my length as yet. I am, however, lying a little too far out of my ground, so will run up to my subject again.

In breeding to run, the first thing is getting mares of running blood, whether they could run themselves

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or not. The next is to get sires of running blood also; if good runners themselves, so much the better; but with a particular mare it is sometimes quite judicious to select for her a sire that may as a racehorse have been inferior to many others, for that horse may in a very eminent degree happen to have the very quality in which the mare has been found deficient: whereas we might get a mare that had won many races, and a sire that had done the same, and yet have very little chance of getting a winner from them: for though both might have won many races at particular lengths or weights, if whatever failing the one had the other possessed also, we should, by breeding from them, probably be laying the foundation of that failing being perpetuated in the progeny in an increased degree, while we might only get their best quality in a very diminished one. The great desideratum is therefore to endeavour to perpetuate the good qualities of both sire and dam, while by a judicious cross we endeavour to at least neutralize the bad ones. To do this, therefore, a man does wisely, when breeding for his own use, to forego a fashionable stallion for one that with a particular mare may give fair hopes of producing a runner. What I have said on this subject, be it correct or erroneous, or partly both, is sufficient to show what I mean by breeding to run.

Breeding to sell I hold to be quite a different affair. The man breeding for himself has only himself to please : I will bet long odds he does not do that. However, he is not bound to try to please any other person. Now the man breeding to sell must please himself but in one way, and that is, by pleasing the public: if he can do that he will be sure to please

VOL. II.

178

BREEDING TO SELL. himself, for his stock will sell, and probably pay him. If the blood does not please the public, that is, is not fashionable blood, the produce will sell also— but at about ten pounds a head as yearlings. I don't think it very probable these will pay him. Breeders, like other men, have their predilection for certain blood, and fancy this sire or that; but a man must indulge in no fancies who breeds to sell : it does not matter what he likes or does not like, it is what others like that must guide him.

A friend of mine asked my advice some time since as to the best sire to put a mare of his to. I knew her well: she was in fact once mine. I mentioned a sire; he asked if I liked the horse ? I said what is the truth — that I hated him. “Did I then think he was likely to get a good runner with the mare ?" I very candidly allowed I considered it all but impossible, knowing the mare as I did. He of course asked my reason for recommending a horse I disliked, and moreover did not think would suit the mare ? I replied in very few words : "I dislike the horse, and always did: but the public like him : he is fashionable, and that is enough. I know he is the last horse in the world to suit the mare as to the probability of a runner; but the public do not know this. It is only particular circumstances that make him so bad a horse for her; for as regards the blood on both sides, there could not be a better mixture than the two. The public know this, and your object is to sell, not run, and the produce will sell, bred as it will be.”

The man who breeds to both run and sell has more to consider than either of the former, for he must not only try to get good ones, but fashionable good ones. What I should call a fair good horse, BREEDING FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES. 179 whose blood may not be fashionable, may go away and win his master money, which is all the man who breeds to run wants; but such a horse will not bring a long price: he may be good to use, but not to sell. Those bred to sell are or should be sold untried : so they may be very good to sell ; but if one out of ten of these prove really good to use, the man is fortunate who gets him. The man who runs his horses, and sells if he can, must get good ones, or they will not sell. He must, still more than either of the other breeders, breed so as to get as far as possible great strength and size: he can then save himself a little with bad ones, for a very bad or at least a very slow one, if big enough and strong enough, will command a certain price for other purposes; whereas a middlingsized light race-horse that cannot run is worth comparatively nothing. Thus, in this breeder's case, a good deal must be sacrificed in the choice of blood in order to select such sires as generally get large stock. I should say large and strong; for large horses without strength are sad speculations. They may run two or three times as young ones, but are then good for no purpose on earth.

Hunters, like all other horses, are of course sometimes bred for a person's own use, and at others for sale. In the former case, a man breeds or tries to breed horses adapted to his particular country or particular notions of excellence; acting on these principles, of course different persons produce stock of very different qualifications; and so long as a variety of opinions among men exist, these different sorts of stock are useful, and will sell provided they are good of the sort, and the sort is good. The low strong weight-carrier will be sought with avidity by many 180

THROWING PEARLS BEFORE SWINE.

men and for many countries, and is a very safe horse to breed. The taller, higher bred, racing-looking nag has also his admirers and his particular country ; but in either, symmetry and muscular power must be the great aim of the breeder if he means his horse to be at a proper time worth educating. It is true, if a man happens to have bred a light ten-stone hunter, if he is clever there are ten-stone men to be found to buy him: but such a horse will not in one case in a hundred pay half his expenses when sold. With a colt likely to grow into such a horse, it would be economy to send him as a present to the kennel : you would be sure to get thanks for him; and you will be sure not to make a guinea by him if kept: in short, he is certain (1 may say) to prove a heavy loss—that is, if reared in the way and at the expense a colt must be reared if he is ever intended to inake a fine horse.

We have hunters, from the regular half-bred to the thorough-bred horse. I believe most men will allow that for the pace hounds go now the breeder must act upon a very different system, if he means to sell, to that pursued fifty years since. We must have very high breeding to get the pace, and great strength to support it. The pace, that is the speed, is very easy to get; but speed and strength, combined with all the knowledge, care, and expense we may use, must only be expected in a very few out of the number of colts we may breed. It is the loss on the others that renders breeding so expensive, and its realisation in the few that causes those few to bring such enormous prices as they do.

In breeding the half or three-quarter bred horse, different men go on different principles. The ge

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