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BUTCHERS' HACKS VERSUS DERBY NAGS.
sound) carry them the next season better. This is easily accounted for. The power of carrying heavy burdens is very much increased by being accustomed to do it; those parts of the frame, whether belonging to man or quadruped, that are most called upon under weight, acquire additional strength from prac tice, as the arm of the smith does by using his sledgehammer: but, independent of this, the horse learns by experience that style of going which enables him to get along with the most ease to himself. It may appear to some persons a singular assertion on my part, that numbers of horses go (particularly on the road) much safer under a very heavy man than under a light one: it is nevertheless the case, and is easily explained. A horse, to go safely on the road, should step short and quick, for in so doing, supposing him to make a false step, the succeeding leg comes so quickly to his support that he is right again in a moment; but if he walks with the long lounging stride of the race-horse, and makes a mistake, or treads on a stone, he rolls forward on his head before he can bring the other leg in a place to act as a prop to his body; independent of which, dwelling so long a time on each leg fatigues both muscles and sinews. Let any person try the truth of this by measuring only half a mile by striding it in yards: he will be more fatigued than by walking four times the distance at moderate short steps. Comparatively speaking, race-horses tire very soon in walking. Set one to walk from London to Edinburgh by the side of a butcher's hack; why little Cutlets would wear him out; and the chances are the Leger or Derby nag would have been on his nose half a dozen times during the journey. No horse with a long stride either in his walk
52 FEATS OF STRENGTI ACQUIRED BY PRACTICE. or gallop can carry weight. I never saw even one that could. If any person doubts this, I can assure him the horse will not (after he has carried weight a few times), and will be found very shortly to alter his gait. Desire a man to walk fifty yards, and observe his way of walking ; then clap a sack of oats on his back; I will answer for his taking three steps where before he only took two. So it is with a horse : with 8st. on him he walks lazily and loungingly along; he can do so; put 18st. on him, he, like the man, will shorten his steps, and will make fewer blunders in consequence of so doing. He must do the same thing in his gallop before he can live under great weight; he has sense enough to learn this and many other ways of saving himself, and this is the great reason why, when put to carry weight, he does it better the second season than the first. If I had a hack that was clever in every way but in taking long strides in his walk, I would lend him to an 18st. man. I will answer for it he cures him of that fault at all events.
It is self-evident that physical strength is necessary to carry great burthens; but there is also (if I may be allowed the term) a certain knack in doing it. A smith, as I have said, acquires the arm of a Hercules, and can wield his enormous hammer for hours in a day. A miller's man could not do this, or anything bordering on it; but he will chuck a sack of flour about, and carry it a distance, that would make our son of Vulcan's loins and shoulders crack again, though the latter might be the bigger and in a general way the stronger man; but he has not learned to carry sacks of flour on his shoulders, and till he has the little one will beat him at that particular game. A machiner that in point of strength is (in road
TAILORS VERSUS GROOMS AS DRAGOONS. 53 phrase) “a side of a coach by himself,” and will twist a loaded coach of three tons about, would probably be tired to death carrying a very heavy man; and vice versâ, a troop-horse that has carried perhaps 22st. or 23st. with apparent ease to himself, if bought for a coach, is beat in a ten-mile stage. Like the miller and the smith, they both had learned to do their own work; but, not knowing how to do the other's with the most ease to themselves, it tires them.
If I was to purchase a horse to make a hunter for an 18st. man, I would much prefer a horse that had been very little hunted to one that had been some time at it carrying a light weight; and I should do so on the same principle that a groom or a post-boy always give more trouble in a riding-school than a tailor. In the first place, they are conceited; but, worse than that (for the riding-school has taken the conceit out of many a poor fellow), they have acquired a particular seat and mode of riding ; so they have not only to learn a new one, but to be broke of the old one. Now the tailor has no seat at all, excepting a crosslegged one, and that he never practised on horseback; so one seat is as natural to him as another when on a horse. God knows, the poor devil finds any uncomfortable enough; but he is willing to learn, and having nothing to unlearn, he has the advantage of the others, as their knowledge is against them. Snip is equal if not superior to the others in another particular -- his stern is as hard as a rhinoceros's hide.
But to return to the horse that has not and the one that has been hunted. The first has probably ordinary action in his walk and gallop: now put this horse into a riding-school under a manège rider for three months, or on the other hand put him in training and under a
: NATURAL PACE TO BE ALTERED.
riding exercise lad for the same period, he will in either case contract a manner of going quite different from his natural one. And what he would become by the two distinct modes of treatment would render him so widely different in his way of going as scarcely to allow us to believe an animal could be so metamorphosed. A racing suckling certainly in a general way has a different natural style of going from colts less highly bred ; but the difference is by no means so great between the two as it afterwards becomes by different education. The riding-school or Newmarket Heath would make him either fit to carry the Marquis of Anglesey at the head of the 7th, or Robinson over the Flat. So will the horse that has not contracted any peculiar style of going easily contract that which will best enable him to carry weight; to do which he must in fact contract himself ; that is, his manner of going. This he will readily do, as he has no acquired habits to undo. Now the horse that has carried a light weight for a season or two has to a certain extent learned to do what the colt sent to Newmarket would do; that is, to extend himself— the very thing that would militate against, nay, prevent his carrying weight. This therefore he would have to undo; and this would of course take time to effect. Good hands will certainly shortly teach a horse to go within himself; but weight will teach it him sooner. In short, he can scarcely extend himself: if he does, he tires ; he soon finds this out, and his sense or instinct makes him alter his gait as soon as his former habits will allow him to do so. The next best thing to getting a horse accustomed to carry weight is to get one that has not been rendered unfit for it by carrying a light one.
À MAN OF WEIGHT IN THE COUNTRY. 55 A farmer who lived near me four years ago then weighed about 20st.; still he always rode on horseback wherever he went, and rode hunting too. The horse that carried him the best in the field was a small light-boned well-bred mare, scarcely looking up to 13st.: I need not say she was no cob : he was too good a judge to ride one while he could find anything else to carry him. I remember seeing this enormous mass of humanity sitting on a strong-looking horse he was trying under the idea of purchasing: he had been riding him merely about the town for two or three hours, or rather, it being the fair time, he had been only sitting on his back. I saw the horse crouch several times : at last he fairly tried to lie down: he was in fact tired to death. Whether this arose from not having been accustomed to carry weight, or that he was not naturally a strong horse though he looked one, I cannot say; but it shows that if he was a weak one we must not judge of strength always by size, as I have before stated; and if he was a strong one, it proves what I have also said, the being accustomed to carry weight is necessary to enable a horse to do so. I am inclined to think, this, and consequently knowing how to carry it, has even more to do in the matter than physical strength; in corroboration of which opinion this person told me he never found a horse that could bear his weight on him for any length of time till he had ridden him nearly twelve months, and then not as he could afterwards do it when more accustomed to such a burthen.
So fully was he aware of this that he had rather a · curious (and I believe novel) way of initiating his new purchases into the art of weight-carrying. He used