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306

HONORARY DISTINCTIONS (MEM.) CIIEAP.

that, if we were to even suppose such persons possessed less kindness of feeling towards animals than other individuals, they would not do that which they know would retard instead of accelerate the object they have in view, it being against their interest to do so.

That horses in being thus schooled undergo some hardship, annoyance, and occasional correction, is certainly the case; so does almost every pupil of the human species — the school-boy invariably so more or less; but the horse at school has one decided advantage over the child; the latter gets punished if he does wrong; but the encouragement for doing right amounts to little more than the absence of correction, unless it be the occasional wear of a bit of tin or some such honorary badge hung round the neck, and once a year receiving some twopenny-halfpenny book, “a reward of merit," to show papa and mamma- a little kind of by-play to intimate the wonderful progress it is making at Hardfare House or Learnlittle Villa.

Now as to the horse (putting any kind feelings out of the question), he must be encouraged, for it is by encouragement he is taught to do what is wanted. Fear and correction may prevent his doing many things, and may make him do some; but it is only by encouragement that he can be taught to do voluntarily such things as are contrary to his usual habits; and that encouragement must not be confined to a mere caress or kind word; he would soon neglect his lessons if such were his only reward : he must have something tangible, something given him that he can eat, and that a something that he relishes. Patting a horse if he puts his nose to the ground at

HIGH BREEDING HAS ITS INFLUENCE.

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our bidding, helps to induce him to do so again ; but a carrot, or a lump of sugar when he has contracted a taste for it, insures his doing it.

The majority of these stage and trick horses are of foreign extraction, but bred in this country; that is, those exhibited here. From this, people may be led into the supposition that they are more readily taught than those of our own breed; but this is not at all the case; they are only selected for the sake of colour, and because their action is calculated for stage effect. It has not been found that intellect or aptitude to learn preponderates more in favour of foreign horses than our own : if any, the advantage is in favour of ours, as being higher bred; for, taking horses collectively, the nearer the horse approaches to thoroughbred the more readily he is to be taught. This plainly shows that intimidation is not the chief agent employed in teaching horses, for high courage is generally concomitant with high breeding; and no horse will so determinately resist improper liberties taken with him as the thorough-bred one; and one of the first principles with teachers is to avoid as much as possible any resistance on the part of the animal under tuition.

Whether the thorough-bred horse is naturally endowed with more instinct than the coarser bred one, I am not prepared to say ; but, judging from what I have seen and heard, I should, so far as my opinion goes, say he decidedly is ; but, supposing he is not, there is a buoyancy of spirit and alertness about him that induce him to exercise his intellect, and notice circumstances and things much more than horses of more dull and sluggish dispositions. I have heard more than one surgeon say, that, in

308

BLOOD STANDS THE TEST.

the course of their practice, they have found, that, generally speaking, the high-bred man bears any serious operation with more fortitude than the ploughman, and the most delicate female shows the same superiority over the coarsest cook. This of course does not arise from the high-bred person feeling less pain than the others : on the contrary, the same blow that would injure a delicate frame would scarcely be felt by the one rendered robust by weather and hardened by habit; but when the knife of the surgeon causes the same share of pain to be felt by each subject, the complaints are generally much louder with the coarse than with the delicate one; the suffering is as great with the one as with the other, but the fortitude is not.

Thorough-bred horses indubitably endure suffering far better than the common cart-horse. It is true that the stroke of the whip that scarcely takes effect on the latter, would set the former plunging or running away. This arises from two causes — the thinkness of the skin of the one in comparison with that of the other; but still further, from the different dispositions, habits, and activity of the two animals. It is a greater annoyance to the cart-horse to accelerate his pace than it is to feel the whip. The high-bred horse would rather go at his full speed than feel the touch of it; and yet, when the whip is really applied, as it sometimes is in a closely contested race, it is only the thorough-bred that will go under its punishment; the cocktail shuts up.

We rarely find thorough-bred horses kick in harness or kick at the whip: they run away from it. So far as my experience goes, I never met with a thorough-bred a rank kicker in harness: the worst

“ AN IRISIIMAN ALL IN HIS GLORY IS THERE.” 309 I ever have had to deal with have been the coarsest bred ones, and for this reason such horses hate exercise : — they will rather kick than go. In some corroboration of this, Irish horses are on an average less highly bred than ours; so where one English horse attempts any mischief in harness, treble the number of Irish ones will not only attempt, but do it if they can. In this they differ widely from their masters (and I have had a good deal to do with both). Paddy is always willing to exert himself for those who use him kindly : he will not stand the whip, it is true; but who ever knew an Irishman that wanted it when a good-natured act was to be done? My countryman, Johnny Bull, will do good-natured acts too; but, like some lazy, though good, horses, is apt to want a little payment for his exertions.

This generous spirit and high courage are all but indispensable in the horse that it is proposed to teach any thing out of his common habits. He must be free in his natural disposition, that he may not be averse from exertion; and possess high courage, that he may not become alarmed at the means that must necessarily be taken to instruct him. This is indepen. dent of the courage that will make him hear, and see, the sound of boards under his feet, lights, guns, drums, flags, powder, smoke, and all the et ceteras of the stage and ring, with indifference. This, where the animal is only wanted to fill up the pageant, nearly every horse can be brought to bear by constantly habituating him to such scenes and noises; but the trick and ring horse requires a further courage, and at the same time forbearance of temper: for, as we cannot tell the animal what we want him to do, we must in many cases appeal to his feelings of pain or gratification, as the 310

A POSITION. only means of teaching him. Pain, perhaps, is a word that carries with it too strong an idea of suffering : we will therefore substitute that of inconvenience.

To show about the quantum of pain, or rather inconvenience, that in an ordinary way it may be necessary to subject a horse to in teaching him, we will suppose we want him to stand with his two fore legs stretched out before him: if he is struck several times successively on the back part of the legs, he naturally puts them forward; if when he has done this, he is caressed and fed while he stands thus, and finds his leg again struck as soon as he puts it back, he of course prefers the little inconvenience of standing on the stretch, and being caressed and fed, to getting a stroke on his legs : he will soon learn to know the signal made to him to put himself in this position, and to remain in it so long as that signal continues; for if he finds that a stroke of the stick invariably follows his neglecting to obey that signal, or his changing his position till told to do so, he finds obedience contributes most to his comfort. After some time he does this from habit, as much as common horses give their leg to the groom from habit as soon as he gives them the signal to do so, by giving it a pat with the palm of his hand.

When I say that to induce a horse to put his legs forward a stick is made use of, it must not be understood that a severe blow is given, or one that absolutely puts him to pain ; for if it was, so far from producing the effect wanted, the horse would run forwards, backwards, or sideways, to avoid a repetition of it: he would get alarmed and probably out of temper, in either of which cases it would be useless to attempt to go on with his lesson. He must be sent into the

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