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REMEMBRANCE OF. ILL USAGE.
horse one season. At the commencement of the next he very imprudently took him out before he was fit to go; in short, fat: the consequence was he could not carry his master in his usual way. He foolishly thought the horse sulked, and punished him a good deal with the spurs, till he fairly shut up; in short, knocked up. His master went the last thing at night to look at him; the moment the horse saw him, he ran at him open mouthed : fortunately the door was open ; but so near a thing was it, he left a small piece of his flesh and the whole of the back of his coat in the horse's mouth, right glad to get off so well. Now the horse had offered no injury to the man who had dressed and done him up, though he remarked his being very irritable in being cleaned; but he remembered master, and would not let him come near him. I saw the horse two days afterwards, went up to him as I always had done, and found him perfectly good tempered. I then bought him. Some weeks afterwards I rode him into his old master's yard: he of course came towards me. So soon as he was within a few yards of me, the horse laid his ears in his poll, and would have run at him had I not checked him: and it was remarkable, but a fact, that ever afterwards, at least so long as I had him, the moment the door of a stable or box where he was standing was opened, he looked instantly at who was coming; and, I make no doubt, but two years afterwards, when I sold him, had his old master gone near him, he would have'run at him if he could..
The next circumstance was very similar, and I bring it forward that the first may not be thought a solitary instance of a horse knowing his oppressor. I purchased a mare to carry my wife: she was one of the neatest and most perfect fencers I ever saw, and a
207 child could ride her with hounds. During the summer, however, chiefly, I believe, from the extreme thinness of her skin, she was so troublesome when flies were about, that my wife most reluctantly consented to her being sold. The first time the hounds met, I desired a helper I had taken from a steeple-racing stable to take the mare out, and mention my determination to part with her. On his return, I found the mare spurred from shoulder to flank. This I well knew she never wanted. I asked no questions, but told the man he should go at the end of the week. The next morning I desired him to give her half an hour's walking exercise, and prepared to see it done. She was brought out: with the greatest difficulty possible we held her till he got up:she then set to plunging, bucking, and kicking so violently, that, though a good horseman, she sent him over her head, then lashed both heels at him, and a narrow escape he had. Nothing we could do could induce her to let him come near her again. I put a friend then on her, but she sent him spinning in a very short time. I then took off the saddle, doubled a rug, put on a surcingle, and jumped on her: she plunged and kicked till she was as if ridden through a pond. I never even spoke harshly to her. At last she got perfectly quiet! I got off, had her dressed, and brought out again saddled; she carried me as quietly as ever; but the moment the man approached her, she began again. I then put a boy up who was accustomed to ride her at exercise; she carried him with perfect good temper. I tried her several days afterwards, but she would carry no one but me and the boy: my wife, as a matter of curiosity, desired her saddle to be put on. I saw the mare meant well ; so my wife got up: the poor mare went just as
quietly with her as ever. This is almost like reason. When I first got on after her ill usage, a fear of its repetition made her plunge with me: had I punished her for it, she never would have carried me again ; but finding I did not, she got confidence. She had never been hurt by my wife or the boy, so she was quiet with them ; but she had her suspicions of strangers roused, so she would not carry them: I sold her to a friend, who acted like a reasonable man: he begged the boy of me; took the mare home, and began by feeding and caressing her for several days before he attempted to mount her, and then got on her in her stable: she carried him as quietly as she did the boy, but she never would let any stranger mount her ever afterwards without trying to get him off. She gradually got better, but never could bear any one she was unused to.
I bought a mare for a friend some time afterwards, and was warned that, though perfectly quiet and good tempered, if struck in the stable with a stick, the water-brush, currycomb, or even the hand, she would lash out immediately. This was the case: a man might give her a pat on the haunch if he wanted her to move over in her stall, and spoke to her to tell her what he wanted; but a smack with the back of the hand, even as a correction, sent her heel or heels flying in a moment. No doubt this all arose from having been beaten in her stall.
Having shown the effects of improper and ill usage of horses, I will give one of the effects of fright. This occurred also to a mare my wife used, but in a pony phaeton : her great merit was her perfect docility and good temper. I was riding her one day; a carriage came behind us, knocked the galloway down on her side, sending me under the feet of the horse that drew
FEAR IN HORSES AS DANGEROUS AS VICE. 209 the carriage: neither of us was hurt. She was put next day in harness, and went as usual; but the first carriage that came behind us set her going, and had I not been in the phaeton, a regular runaway would have been the consequence. I pulled her up: she was trembling with terror, and did the same thing several times before we got home. She showed no vice, no attempt to kick: but her terror could not be got over, and I was most unwillingly compelled to sell her. Here was an inestimable little animal in its way spoiled by being once thoroughly frightened. Vice may in many cases be cured, or, at all events, many (though not all) horses may be awed from showing it, because the act is voluntary: but the effects of fear cannot be controlled : they are as involuntary as the start nervous persons give on any sudden alarm: I never knew a horse overcome a thorough fright.
If, therefore, ill usage or fright, and both, will thus affect matured horses, if either is practised towards young ones, we are in fact teaching them propensities contrary to their nature, which it will probably cause us a world of trouble to eradicate, and which we shall as probably only effect partially after all, for the animal is only prevented practising these propensities through fear; the germ of them is still in the disposition. This germ, if even natural, should have been gradually extirpated instead of being strengthened, for while the root flourishes, the branches will shoot, somewhere, somehow, or at some time. The reflecting and scientific gardener is aware of this, and acts accordingly; the blundering labourer only lops the branches, and possibly in doing this causes them to burst forth at some season with tenfold vigour.
EMILE (NOT ROUSSEAU'S). The usual and proper general treatment of mares and young stock has been treated on by many so much more able pens than mine, that I do not mean to inflict on my readers the repetition of them: it would be useless. The quoting superior authorities in corroboration of our own opinions is quite fair, and evinces a proper modesty of feeling : but the obtruding upon the public AS OUR own any opinions on any subject that can be recognised as a mere gathering from abler hands and heads, is merely offering a bad copy to those who have the original: at least, I am quite sure such would be the result if at any time I was guilty of such plagiarism. There is a meanness in the thing that no one likes. It is better by half to write like the veriest schoolboy; for if any thing at all like a man's genuine ideas are thrown out, an indulgent public will in such a case always make a liberal allowance for all faults and feelings in the author, who, encouraged by this lenity, will in time perhaps achieve better things.
Our colt having been produced, and itself and mother properly attended to till weaning time, we have nothing farther to do with the latter, who returns to the seraglio, and our Emile must now occupy our attention.
Whether the horse was intended by nature as a granivorous animal matters little at the present moment, or for my present purpose: it is, however, quite clear that the domesticated horse has for generations been accustomed to be so fed; and so far inherits a grain-fed constitution from his ancestors, that, to render the animal suited to our present ideas of perfection, corn is as necessary to him as the water he drinks. At no very remote period, corn was as unknown to the colt prior to his breaking in, as Cayenne