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London for the purpose in the absence of cow-dung. Very useful, too, in such case will be found a stopping composed of one part linseed-meal to two parts bran, wetted, and mixed to a sticking consistency.
The evidence of care in the groomed appearance of the mane and tail looks well. An occasional inspection of the mane by the master may be desirable, by turning over the hairs to the reverse side; any signs of dirt or dandrifF found cannot be creditable to the groom.
Bandaging.—When a hunter comes in from a severe day, it is an excellent plan to put rough bandages (provided for the purpose) on the legs, leaving them on while the rest of the body is cleaning; it will be found that the mud and dirt of the legs will to a great extent fall off in flakes on their removal, thus reducing the time employed in cleaning. When his legs are cleaned and well hand-rubbed, put on the usual-sized flannel bandages. They should never remain on more than four or six hours, and when taken off (not to be again used till the next severe work) the legs should be once more hand-rubbed.
Bandages ought not to be used under other circumstances than the above, except by order of a veterinary surgeon for unsoundness.
In some cases of unsoundness—such as undue distension of the bursas, called "wind-galls," the effect of work — a linen or cotton bandage kept continually saturated with water, salt and water, or vinegar, and not much tightened, may remain on the affected legs; but much cannot be said for the efficacy of the treatment.
For what is called " clap," or supposed distension of the back sinew (which is in reality no distension of the tendon, as that is said to be impossible, though some of its fibres may be injured, but inflammation of the sheath through which the tendon passes), the cold lotion bandaging just described, in connection with the directions given under the head of "Shoeing" (page 82), will be found very serviceable.
Grooms' Requisites are usually understood to comprise the following articles :—- a body-brush, waterbrush, dandriff or "dander" brush, picker, scraper, mane-comb, curry-comb, pitchfork, shovel and broom, manure-basket, chamois-leather, bucket, sponges, dusters, corn-sieve, and measures; leather boot for poultices, clyster syringe (requiring especial caution in use —see page 159, note), drenching-horn, bandages (woollen and linen); a box with a supply of stopping constantly at hand; a small store of tow and tar, most useful in checking the disease called thrush (page 135) before it assumes a chronic form; a lump of rock-salt, ready to replace those which should be always kept in the mangers to promote the general health of the animals as well as to amuse them by licking it; a lump of chalk, ready at any time for use (in the same manner as rock-salt) in the treatment of some diseases, as described, pages 154 and 160.
Singeing, there is little doubt, tends to improve the condition of the animal; so much so, that timid users do well to remember that animals which, before the removal of their winter coat, required perpetual reminders of the whip, will, directly they are divested of that covering, evince a spirit, vigour, and endurance which had remained, perhaps, quite unsuspected previously. In fact, in most cases, the general health and appetite seem to be improved.
Singeing, when severe rapid work is done, enables the horse to perform his task with less distress, and when it is over, facilitates his being made comfortable in the shortest possible space of time.
Singeing, if done early in the winter, requires to be repeated lightly three or four times during the season.
Clipping has exactly the same effect as the above, and is preferable to it only in cases where, the animal's coat being extremely long, extra labour, loss of time, and flame, are avoided by the clipping process. Singeing is best with the lighter coats, but sometimes thin skinned and coated animals are too nervous and excitable to bear the flame near them for this purpose, in which case the cause of alarm ought obviously to be avoided, and clipping resorted to.
It is worth while to employ the best manipulators to perform these operations.
With horses intended for slow and easy work, and liable to continued exposure to the weather, singeing or clipping only the under part of the belly, and the long hairs of the legs, will suffice. Unless neatly and tastily done, this is very unsightly on a gentleman's horse. Clipping, if not done till the beginning of December, seldom requires repetition.
In stony and rough countries, it is the habit of judicious horsemen to leave the hair on their hunters' legs from the knees and hocks down, as a protection to them.
The Head-Stall should fit a horse, and have a proper brow-band; it is ridiculous to suppose that the same sized one can suit all heads. Ordinary head-stalls have only one buckle, which is on the throat-lash near-side; and if the stall be made to fit, that is sufficient. Otherwise there should be three buckles, one on each side of the cheek-straps, besides the one on the throat-lash.
Let the fastening from the head-stall to the log be of rope or leather. Chain fastenings are objectionable, because, besides being heavy, they are very apt to catch in the ring, and they make a fearful noise, especially where there are many horses in the stable. By having rope or leather as a fastener, instead of chain, the log may be lighter (of wood instead of iron), and the less weight there is to drag the creature's head down, the less the distress to him. Poll-evil (page 117), it is said, has frequently resulted from the pressure of the headstall on the poll, occasioned by heavy pendants.
Chains are more durable, and that is all that can be said in their favour, except that they may be necessary for a few vicious devils who are up to the trick of severing the rope or leather with their teeth.
See that the log is sufficiently heavy to keep the rope or leather at stretch, and that the manger-ring is large enough to allow the fastening to pass freely. If the log is too light, or the manger-ring too small, the likely result will be that the log will remain close up under the ring, the fastening falling into a sort of loop, through which the horse most probably introduces his foot, and, in his consequent alarm and efforts to disentangle his legs, chucks up his head, and away he goes on his side, gets "halter-cast," most likely breaks one of his hind legs in his struggles to regain his footing, or at least dislocates one of their joints.
Opinions differ materially as to the amount of clothing that, ought to be used in the stable. My view of the matter is, that a stable being, as it should be, thoroughly ventilated, necessitates the horses in it being to a certain extent kept warm by clothing. An animal that has not been divested of his own coat by clipping or singeing, will require very little covering indeed; for nature's provision, being sufficient to protect him out of doors, ought surely to suffice in the stable, with a very slight addition of clothing. If he has been clipped or singed, covering enough to make up for what he has lost ought to be ample: by going beyond this the horse is only made tender, and more susceptible of the influences of the atmosphere when he comes to be exposed to it with only a saddle on his back.
In parts of North America, I have observed, where the stables are built roughly of wood, with many Assures to admit the weather, horses are seldom, if ever, sheeted. They are certainly rarely divested of their coats; but during work, as occasion may require, it is usual for the rider, when stopping at any place, to leave his horse "hitched" (as they call it) to any convenient post or tree, in all weathers, and for any length of time, and these horses scarcely ever catch cold.
The best Sheet is formed of a rug (sizeable enough to meet across the breast and extend to the quarters), by simply cutting the slope of the neck out of it, and fastening the points across the breast by two straps and buckles.
The Hood need only be used when the horse is at