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of transcendent speed, I might choose him for a good honest hard-constitutioned four-mile slow mare, under the hope of getting a race-horse ; but I certainly never would use such a horse in breeding hunters : for what is it that stops these flyers ? It can proceed but from one of two causes, or both — want of wind, or want of stamina. It may be said such horses may go at such a pace as it is impossible they can "stay at it.” I know they can ; for such velocity produces such increased action of the lungs that a horse would, technically, choke ; and if we tried to get such a horse to do a mile in (say) 56 seconds, we need not wonder if he stops short completely exhausted; but if he has only led other horses for a mile, however tremendous the pace may have been, and they are within a length or two of him when he stops, and they, or at least some of them, go on, however slow they afterwards go, it is quite clear that want of wind, strength, or constitution stopped him. Now, though the perpetuating speed is in no way to be depended upon — indeed the chances are very much against it as a general result — the perpetuating want of stamina or constitution is much more certain : at all events I should not consider it judicious to put ourselves in the way of perpetuating very great imperfections. I have said what without explanation may appear as somewhat contradictory to this when I stated I did not wish a race-horse to have too hard a constitution : but to explain this, I do not mean that a race-horse or any other horse can have too sound or healthful a constitution ; I merely mean, I would not wish a race-horse to have that kind of hard constitution that tends to throwing up flesh, or rather fat. Some animals will look well and get fat on comparatively anything.
This would be a most desirable thing in a bullock or a poor man's horse, but really an imperfection in a race-horse. Throwing up fat is not always a proof of health, and it is health, not flesh, we want in a racehorse. In a mitigated sense the same thing is wanted in a hunter, and without sound constitution we cannot get health.
Although I have said vice and various tricks are hereditary from the sire, under particular circumstances I should be tempted to breed from a vicious sire for a race-horse, as vice is less objectionable in him than in horses for general purposes. It is very objectionable in a race-horse, and for this reason it would be only in very particular cases that I would risk its being transmitted to the produce; but nothing should induce me to use a vicious sire for horses intended for other purposes than racing.
Blind sires are objected to by many: I would certainly be shy of using one : whether I did or not would depend on circumstances. If I could trace bad eyes back to any other of the family, I most certainly would reject such a sire at once; and, supposing this had not been the case, if the horse had naturally suspicious eyes — that is, a description of eye likely to go blind—I would reject him at once also. Training and severe racing must show its effects somewhere on all horses, in some of course more than in others; and that effect (barring accidents) will certainly be shown most in the least perfect part of the anatomy, be it eyes, lungs, constitution, legs, or feet; therefore any constitutional weakness I would certainly avoid the risk of having perpetuated.
Roaring is a disease upon which I have heard a variety of conflicting opinions. There can be no doubt BROKEN WIND NOT HEREDITARY.
that a vast number of race-horses have been bred from sires that were roarers, they have, and it is also certain that great numbers of race-horses have become the same. Whether those that have done so were or are chiefly the progeny of roarers, I do not know; but I for one would under no case breed from a sire that was one. There is one certain fact relative to roarers that I never yet found a man who could at all account for ; this is, the great number of very large-sized horses that turn out roarers; while, on the other hand, we rarely see a very small horse or pony that is one. If all large horses were treated like racehorses, we might impute this to the treatment: but it holds good with every description of horse. That fast work and dry feeding combined tend to produce the disease, I think may be fairly inferred from the fact that it is by no means common with cart-horses, though broken wind is. That the latter can be in no way hereditary (whatever roaring may or may not be) I consider quite clear, as broken wind, with very few exceptions, is solely the effect of treatment: still I would not breed from a broken-winded mare, mainly from the presumption that whatever oppresses must tend in some measure to lessen the vigour of the constitution, and, by so doing, at all events risks lessening that of the progeny. When therefore there are so many constitutionally sound sires and dams to be had, I certainly would very rarely indeed breed from either that was not so.
One of the great things to be desired in a brood mare, after having properly selected her, is to render her perfectly farniliar and quiet: she should be brought to be as tame as a pet sheep. A great deal more depends on this than many persons think, and
194 BREEDING STOCK SHOULD BE FAMILIAR. it is very seldom sufficiently attended to. Nearly all mares, by kind and gentle treatment, may be brought to this. The being perfectly free from alarm produces a general placidity of temper and feeling that is highly desirable in any breeding animal as to their well doing; fright, we all know when in this state, has often most fatal effects both on mother and offspring: reasoning therefore on analogy, if absolute fright is often fatal, constant alarm or apprehension must be at least prejudicial. Independent of this, mares galloping about, to avoid being caught whenever they are approached, is highly dangerous : and, after the foal is produced, he naturally follows the mother : if she is wild, the colt becomes so, and learns from her to avoid man as his enemy, whereas he should be taught to hail him as a friend. The mare should be induced to come up to man the moment he enters her paddock or pasture, from always gaining caresses and indul. gence when she does so. A little corn from a sieve or a carrot from the hand will soon teach her this; and, if when laid hold of she gets this and caresses, and is never suffered to be alarmed, she will come as readily and willingly as a favourite dog. What, then, is the result of the tameness of the mother ? the foal naturally follows her either to or from you, and from constantly approaching man he becomes familiar; and, as a matter of course, never being hurt or alarmed, he in a few weeks has no more fear of him than of his dam, and will suffer himself to be handled in any way you please. As soon as he is able to eat, he should get something from the hand, he will from this watch for the approach of man, instead of (as most colts do) galloping away to avoid him. A flock of sheep follow the shepherd from habit, and finding him their friend. A herd of deer, from want of habitual intimacy with
EARLY HABITS INFLUENTIAL THROUGH LIFE. 195 man, avoid him, but a tame deer is as tame as any other pet; and so will mares and colts be if properly treated. Even supposing there was an inherent vicious propensity born with a colt, by beginning thus early with him it would in most cases be eradicated; if not, it would to a certainty be most materially softened.
This is beginning to educate horses : instead of which we let them contract bad habits, and then trust to the breaker to get rid of them. I hate the term breaking as applied to horses : treat them properly from the first, they will then only want practice to teach them how to carry us, but will want no breaking. We never begin teaching or educating colts half soon enough. The yearling should be an old horse in point of docility and confidence in man. I fear most of us who tread the thorny path of life get weary of the way long before we have completed our allotted journey; but it would be cruel to damp the youthful traveller's hope by telling him, what he will after find, that the soft and balmy morning of his setting out is but too often the prelude to the coming storm. Thus horses, I
fear, have generally reason enough to dread man in their · progress through life ; but there can be no reason to teach or allow them to dread us from their birth, this dread to be further increased by the general usage of them. It may be said, that, however wild the colt may be, work will tame him, and if he gets vicious or troublesome propensities, punishment and consequent fear may prevent his practising them. To a certain degree this would probably be the case; but if. the inclination remains, some unguarded moment on our part will afford the opportunity of showing the ruling passion, and fatal will probably be its effect. But suppose we do make an animal submissive through