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112 “ 1, 2, 3, AND AWAY,” IN DIFFERENT WAYs.
in either case all the support we can give is by the bridle, or, in more sporting phrase, keeping fast hold of their heads. “Keep fast hold of his head, Jem,” is no uncommon direction to an exercise-lad. This is all very well and very proper where it can be done; but I should like to see the lad or man who could do so with a devil carrying his head like No. 1. The rein on the martingal shows where the head should be, and would be if the martingal was used, but where it is, we have no earthly hold of the brute. No. 2. has his head in a position that may enable a man just to guide him; but any support is out of the question: attempt to give it, and his head would go to position No. 1. Now No. 3. has his head just in the place that would enable the rider to give him support, and by throwing his body back, and slightly clapping the spurs to his horse's sides, he would induce him in a drop-leap to throw out his forelegs, or, if in the act of blundering, would prevent his actually coming on his knees.
ured to show that permitting a horse to throw up his head when and as high as he pleases. can in no way be advantageous, and that preventing his doing so can, by no mode of reasoning, be attended by disadvantage. I have not yet done with arguments to prove this. I conceive most men will agree with me that a horse which does not require any martingal is preferable to the one that does. Why does the one require none Simply because he never puts his head in a position to re
HATS OFF. 113
quire one. He does all we can ask a horse to do, carrying his head properly. If he does this, it must be quite clear that an undue elevation of the head is quite unnecessary in any necessary exertion, and that preventing a loose-necked horse doing that which no perfect horse ever attempts, can in no way curtail his powers or action on the road or in the field. In short, he can do every thing at his ease, except look out for the Aurora Borealis; and I conceive his astronomical researches can be dispensed with without prejudice to his value. I have been led to a much greater length than I intended by this subject. I shall therefore only make another remark or two upon it. Let it be remembered, that, if we do confine a horse too much by a martingal, it can only arise, first, from its being put on too short, and, next, from the rider's want of judgment and hands. The man who possesses these always can and will give his horse all the liberty required for his safety and comfort as well as that of his rider, while hunting or on the road. I shall only add, that I would never put a bad rider on a horse of my own without a martingal: for then, give him an easy snaffle, he may keep his hands where he pleases, up to his ears, or in his pockets, my horse's mouth will not be affected by them. God forbid it should ! Finding now that my pen has got her head up, and has for some time been going away with me much farther than I intended she should have done, the reader will, I dare say, be glad to find that I here punish her by clapping on martingal No. 4. This has stopped her career, and affords me the opportunity of very respectfully taking my leave.
VOL. I. I
114 SHARP PRACTICE.
HEADS, HANDS, AND HEELS.
ON reading the heading of the following pages many may indulge in a little satire, and say, “Oh we see HIE'over is driven to extremities.” Now, if I were under any engagement or even promise to supply a certain quantity of pages to my Publisher, I have not a sufficiently good opinion of the fecundity of my brain to doubt for a minute that I should very shortly be driven to extremity; but as this is in no way the case, I beg to assure any one who has made such a remark, that the shaft of his satire falls perfectly innocuous, and though I do select the extremities of the human body as subjects to make a few observations upon, it is not the extremity of the case that induces me to do so. The head, par eacellence, is generally considered as entitled to more respect than those other extremities to which I have alluded; not that I consider it is by any means always entitled to this pre-eminence, for we very often find it to be the least effective part of many people. We have people with weak heads, and shallow heads (and these great people too); nay, we have had such things as even ministers with such heads; and, “infandum Regina jubes renovare dolorem,” we have had kings and queens without any heads at all; though, as I conclude, after the little ceremony of decapitation had been gone through, the sovereignty probably ceased. I must therefore most willingly recall my assertion of there having been kings and
queens without heads, though “when that this body did contain a spirit” it was a sovereign. My humble observations shall not, however, soar so high, but content themselves by merely alluding to that plebeian sort of head that is necessary for common sporting and riding purposes; and for these, let me assure my readers, more head is required to do the thing well than many may imagine. This leads me to mention an anecdote I once overheard. A wicked young dog of a riding-boy in my stables remarked to a regular chaw-bacon of a fellow who was filling a dung cart, that “no one but a born fool would stand filling a dung cart.”—“Wouldn't he 7” says Whapstraw; “why there's twice as much room each side of the cart as there is in it, so a born fool would throw two forkfuls each side and one in ” Now it certainly is not necessary that the calibre of a man's mind should be of extraordinary diameter to fill a dung cart; still, “sic parvis componere magna solebam,” there was a good deal of pith in Whapstraw's remark; and, if we could so far overcome our amour propre as to apply it to ourselves before we undertake a thing, we should much less frequently find ourselves “ nowhere” than we do. But to allude to head as it relates to the management of horses. The first proof of the want of head is exemplified in the breeder: he goes on either making injudicious crosses, or breeds in-and-in till he yearly produces that nondescript sort of animal that we daily see, and which is not calculated for any one useful purpose. He is made, it is true, to do a something, but he only does that something somehow, and can do nothing well. The same trouble and expense would have produced a really good sort of animal
116 VI ET ARMIS.
for at least some purpose, but the breeder wanted a head. Then, to make things worse, the animal (I will not call him a horse) is put into the hands of some Yahoo of a country breaker: he, I will back at twenty (or a hundred if you wish it) to one, wants a head; and consequently it will be found, that, if he gets an awkward ill-disposed colt into his hands, he makes him worse; and, give him a clever promising one, he turns him out of his hands a brute. I fully maintain, that a man to break young horses should be (to a certain extent) a man of education, at least of sufficient education to have learned to think ; but, unfortunately, any totally ignorant fellow who happens to have a firm seat, strong arms, strong nerve, and of course an enormous whip, fancies he possesses all the requisites of a colt-breaker. By opposing brute force to brute force, he certainly generally succeeds in making the colt carry quiet when turned out of his hands, kept down by work, and often by low keep : but he has most probably so far ruined the temper of the horse as to make him fear and hate the very sight of a rider; and, as soon as from proper keep and ordinary work the horse recovers his spirits, we find we have a wilful restive beast on our hands. Most probably he is then sent back to the same breaker, who, by the same means he used before, again puts him into the stable of the owner quiet, with this exception, that his temper is worse than before, which he will not fail to show as soon as he has opportunity and spirits to do so. Now let a trainer for the turf get a colt into his hands, first to break, and then train, how widely different is his management of a young one! These persons have gene