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HORSES NOT BY NATURE WILD. 201 him familiar. Horses are by nature more active than cows, and more disposed to gallop about. This only arises from galloping being less trouble to them than to the less active animal: but the antipathy to or the fear of man exists no stronger in the one animal than in the other when in a wild state. The highest bred, the hardest pulling, and most determined filly that ever bolted with a jockey when in a state of irritability and excitement, the very frequent result of severe training and racing — can be made, if properly treated when permitted to lead a life of quiet and repose, as a brood mare, as familiar and as docile as the veriest cow in existence, and the colt as taine as any calf that ever lived the pet of a cottage family. Such, I maintain, is the state to which all mares and colts should be brought, and most particularly valuable ones.
If the mode I advocate as the best in rearing horses was attended with great extra expense or trouble, some objections on that score might be made ; but it is not; for the utmost it could cost is a very small additional portion of the time of the man in charge of the stock: and even this in most cases would be no loss to the employer; for if the man did not spend this little additional time in the paddocks with the mares and foals, he would most likely spend it in the public-house with much worse company, or in idleness, which is nearly as bad..
I have seen a man giving mares their oats in their paddock-sheds : when I say man, I should say men, for I have seen many of the same sort-I trust I need scarcely say, they did not live with me:— these men, on opening the paddock, walk towards the hovel with their sieve : the mares, seeing the latter, come up to 202
CIVILIZATION AND SAVAGES.
it, and in this case up to the man, probably the only occasion on which they would do so. The colts follow, and, in the little playful mischief of colts, poke their noses into the sieve. In reward of this familiarity, they should have been allowed a mouthful, if old enough to eat; if not, they should at least have been permitted to satisfy their curiosity or whim : but no! a smack on the nose with the back of the hand will be all the notice they get. They naturally run round to the other side of the dam; she, aware something is the matter, draws back too, so both are repulsed. We will suppose the man has entered the hovel, the dam and colt after him : in her impatience to get her feed, she probably forgets her colt's treatment, and thrusts her nose into the sieve or manger before the corn is properly spread in the latter : for this she gets a blow from the hand, or perhaps sieve: she bolts back, incurring the danger of hurting her colt, or, likely enough, rushes out of the hovel at the risk of hitting herself with one or other of the door-posts. I do not say such is the conduct of all or the generality of men intrusted with stock, but it is that of many, while it never ought to be that of any. There is nothing atrocious or really cruel in it; but it is the very reverse of what it should be : it is not, at all events, the way to make a colt permit us to use freedoms with him (to which he has been unaccustomed), from having no fear that we shall not do any thing to hurt him. I have mentioned this incident as step the first to spoiling a colt's temper. If any proof was wanting of the perfect domestication to which the very highest bred horses may be brought, an Arab tent and its inhabitants, with the mare among them, would be sufficient.
FEAR WILL NOT TAME.
Some persons may ask, what is the great utility of rendering colts so docile before we want to make use of their docility ? and may add, that breaking and work will make them tractable. I will answer both the query and the remark by referring to Van Amburgh, or any other Lion-tamer and his beasts. A Lion-tamer is not a proper epithet to distinguish such performers by; for the fact is, their beasts are not tame or tamed: they are awed sufficiently to make them crouch before their master, and reluctantly to obey him. To a certain extent they have been reduced to a state of helplessness; and, when in that state, have felt that master's superiority; so when in a certain degree of liberty, from habit the dread of him remains: but let him carelessly turn his back on them, and his eyes from them, they would make him into minced meat for their supper. This system of terror is well enough to produce all that is wanted for exhibition ; but we want domestic animals to serve us willingly and cheerfully, because we want them to do this pleasantly: and pleasantly they will not do it if the fear of punishment is their only incentive to do it at all.
We have daily proofs of the gratitude and docility of domestic animals when properly and kindly used; and to show that I do not recommend this kind of treatment too strongly, I will mention some instances of the bad effects of its opposite ; and, in doing so, shall prove that if horses are so sensible of kindness, they are equally so of ill-usage. Some meek horses, like cowardly men, will through fear patiently submit; but the high-spirited animal, like the proper spirited man, will bear unkindness or injustice to a certain point from those he loves : but oppression, if carried
point from those he kindness or injuste proper spirited
too far, rouses the lion in him, and turns him from the forbearing friend and servant to a lasting and ruthless foe.
Mild and gentle as is the natural disposition of the horse, I can assure iny reader I do not know a more terrific animal than a thoroughly enraged one. I would rather face half a dozen tigers in succession; these would spring on you as the cat does on the mouse, not in rage, but to get a dinner. A blow or two would probably cow the tiger, because he might prefer foregoing his meal to getting a repetition of them ; but the attack of the horse is rage, and, when thus excited, his attack is like that of the maniac, which nothing but death or the being rendered powerless can restrain.
This most fearful kind of rage and antipathy to man I saw in two horses, both sires and both Arabs. What made one of them so I do not know, nor did the man in charge of him; he only knew the horse was so when he first saw him, and remained so to the day he was shown me. The moment the half of the box-door was opened, he rushed towards it like a tiger at the bars of his cage, and would have attacked any man living who went near him. He always wore a very strong head-collar; to this was attached a rope, passing through a ring on the manger, and then brought along the side wall of the box and out behind. When any thing was wanted to be done to this savage ---feeding, watering, or any thing else— by means of this rope his head was brought to the manger, and secured there while the man was in the box. If wanted to be led out, a long strong iron bar was fastened to the head collar : by means of this he could be brought round: his head was then fastened to the door-post,
TURNING THE LAMB INTO THE LION.
and a bit got into his mouth : by this and the long bar jobbing against his jaws if he got unruly, he was managed : a pretty animal this to breed from!
The other Arab belonged to a friend of mine. Now this horse was originally perfectly quiet, either in or out of the stable and to ride, till on one occasion he unfortunately got loose: he ran after a mare, which very severely kicked and bit him: he retaliated, and, to get him away, some very but necessary harsh measures were used. On getting into his stable, the man very imprudently and improperly beat him unmercifully, till he turned on the man, who was glad and lucky enough to escape from the box, and shut the door. From that day no one dare approach him : the moment he saw man, his eyes positively glared like those of a wild beast. The way they managed him was curious enough: they had a stout ash-pole about eight feet long, at its end a hook like those used by shepherds: with this they caught him by the headcollar, and brought him to the half-door ; then fixed a rope to the opposite side of the collar; and, thus held by two men, each out of his reach, he was led wherever they wanted him to go. Shoeing, physicing, dressing, or touching his mane or tail was all out of the question—so he looked like, what in fact he had become, a very demon in a horse's shape.
I have mentioned these to show what the horse can be. I will now state an instance or two that will prove that he is sensible of and will sometimes retaliate lesser injuries.
A dealer, of whom I have bought a horse occasionally, had one he kept for his own hunting. I had for some time wished to purchase the animal, and got the refusal of him, if he was ever to be sold. He had ridden this