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EXTREMES NEVER MEET.
nerality put a half-bred mare to a thorough-bred sire, a mode that I should say is mostly attended with the best success. Some use the thorough-bred mare and half-bred sire, while others breed from sire and dam half or three-quarters bred. I have in several instances seen the experiment tried of putting a direct cart-mare to a thorough-bred sire, and vice versa. I have never yet seen this answer. The produce from such a connexion does not, as might be anticipated, possess the strength of the cart parent, lightened by the thorough-bred throughout his general formation, but is mostly a brute with light legs and body, with the head and shoulders of the regular cart-horse; or, at all events, in some parts or other of his form, he will be this kind of nondescript; at least all I have seen bred by such a cross have been so. I quite agree with the opinion of many that the produce generally partakes more of the quality of the sire than the dam. This idea, or fact (if it is so), leads many people into the very great error of being careless in their choice of mares. I think, from what I have seen, the Irish err particularly in this respect; for, speaking in a general way, provided they get a good sire, they put the veriest wretches on earth to him. I am not quite sure but that to this practice we may attribute the fact that Irish horses have hitherto been more cross-made than ours. This peculiarity of form I fancy I perceive to be gradually getting less particular; they certainly are much improved in their breeding ; God knows, they used to produce threecornered ones enough; and three-cornered ones are almost sure to come from parents differing so widely in point of quality.
To breed hunters, although I consider they cannot
FINIS CORONAT OPUS. be too highly bred if strong, provided I got a sire of good temper, sound constitution, and with lasting qualities, I should not care one farthing about his having been first-rate as a race-horse. In a general way, I should say the horse that was not would get the best stock as hunters : we want hunters to be flyers as hunters, but we don't want Derby flying. Elis is a favourite sire, very deservedly so in his way; but I would not put a mare to him to breed a hunter: I could point out many at one-fifth of his price I should greatly prefer. I have all the profound respect for Elis he could wish, but I should not like his prototype for a hunter. If horses are high bred enough, be the blood what it may, if they are big enough, they will generally be fast enough (for hunters). I like a hunter with racing speed; personally I do not call a horse half one that has not. I mean, by racing speed, racing four-mile speed. A race-horse may be able to go over the Beacon Course under his eight minutes, but not be one to win many general races; yet I should like him mightily as a hunter. It is not running four miles in a very short time that wins races: a horse may do that, and be found wanting in finishing; it is the extraordinary extra exertion of a few strides that wins races. This many good and honest horses cannot make, and are beat by less intrinsically good ones who can. This is not wanted in the hunter, but the four-mile stamina is, and regular good honest slaves of race-horses are the sort to get hunters. Speed is occasionally perpetuated, but by no means to be calculated upon as a certainty: I really think constitution is, if found in sire and dam. Constitution is a great desideratum in a hunter, both as regards lasting for the day in severe
CLIPPING AND CUTTING.
183 long runs, coming out again in reasonable time, and also in condition. I have no wish for fat horses, but I hate a frightened, harassed, staring-coated looking wretch, which ill-constitutioned ones generally are. I do not mind horses being, like myself, light in flesh, but I must have them looking, what I do not, blooming. Clipping will of course give a short coat; but if from want of constitution we want condition, the coat will still stare, and only represent the hard shoe-brush instead of the blacking one. To please me he must look like that accommodation for the destitute, a silk hat, where a fine gloss is to be had for ten shillings: condition is rather more expensive. On the other hand, I never wish for this hard constitution in a race-horse; in fact, I think it objectionable; for with a horse of this sort we must bring him out too high, or knock his legs to pieces, and his energy too, to get him in proper form. Here geldings have the advantage. Most men are too sanguine as to what their colts are likely to do to cut them: they might regret having done so by one colt in fifty : I should say this would be the maximum : this is, however, matter of opinion among men: I have mine, and as probably no other person would have it, I intend to keep it.
There are some thorough-bred sires that almost invariably get large bony stock. To some of these, from objectionable blood or want of racing qualities, I should never put a racing mare under the idea of getting a race-horse; but such are the horses to put mares to to get hunters.
Breeders of race-horses have now a great advantage over those of by-gone days. Now with a colt of favourite blood that can run a bit, the foreign
PUTTING ARMS IN AN ENEMY'S HAND.
market is a sure one, and at a large price if the colour is what they like; for though we care little about this, some nations make it a very considerable object. The Russians, for instance, will not give a farthing for a horse with much white about him, and other nations have their predilections and fancies ; but, rich as John Bull boasts himself (and boast he is sure to do if he is so), he is comparatively parsimonious in the price of horses. This foreign market is certainly a wonderful encouragement to breeders of fine horses, and so far does good as an encouragement; but though I hope I am not in the generality of things illiberal or ill-natured, I am a little so in horses. We have, take them all in all, the finest breed in the world; and my pride in them is such I should wish to keep them to ourselves. I do not exactly see that letting our best mares and sires go abroad is likely to effect this; but as they are permitted to be sent, of course I am wrong.
The other great advantage the present breeder of: thorough-bred or first class horses possesses is this :if a good-sized thorough-bred one, cannot race, he may now make a steeple-racer or hunter. A hundred years since a thorough-bred hunter was not seen ; his being thorough-bred would have prevented his being tried as one: consequently in those days a race-horse, or rather a horse bred for racing that could not run, was positively worth nothing to any one, except at a later period to Mr. Tattersall's grandfather: to him they were worth a good deal when he went to Newinarket to sell them ; but now, should a good-sized thoroughbred one not be likely to make even a hunter, if his trotting action is good, he is worth more for harness than our worthy grandfathers gave for their best
PEDIGREES AND PERFORMANCES. 185 hunters! while, on the other hand, I am afraid it is a fact, that with our fathers and their friends hunters brought on an average longer prices than they do now, though show and harness-horses not so much. But Hugo Meynell, during the whole of the Billesdon Coplow run, did not cross one railroad! If he had, “the iron would have entered into his soul.” Now the taking blood and pedigree is Show, by Trade, dam by Railroad out of Smoke; grandam Steam, by Boiler out of Stevenson's Burst-Scaldings, &c. No better blood than this. They have all a turn of speed, can go long lengths, and are sure to win, because they are always lucky enough to get a walk over. This will do: but they sometimes get a turn over : how do ye do then ?
If I bred horses for first-rate harness-horses, I should prefer breeding from sires and dams both highly bred, but neither thorough-bred. I think by this better harness action is got, and action that is, knee action— sells horses for show purposes. For this, to get a distant cross with that superlative beast of beasts, the Hanoverian, is no bad thing. I hate them when genuine; hate them from head to tail; in fact, the tail is the only bearable part about them : any particle of their blood does harm if we want a good horse ; but they make a show, and this is what all the world is aiming at, and leads to so many being shown up. These horses — like friends, members of parliament, and many great men— make a great fuss about what they intend to do, but when really called upon, will, and very often can, do nothing. This is why they are employed in funerals : they can just manage that; they are very well for the dead, though good for nothing for the living, and when employed for the former are not often, I presume, employed for