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walking exercise, or likely to be exposed to weather, or for the purpose of sweating, when a couple of them, with two or three sheets, may be used. —See page 32.
Horse-clothing should be, at least once a-week, taken outside the stable, and well beaten and shaken like a carpet.
Rollers should be looked to from time to time, to see that the pads of the roller do not meet within three or four inches (over the backbone),—in other words, there should be always a clear channel over it, nearly large enough to pass the handle of a broom through, so as to avoid the possibility of the upper part of the roller even touching the sheet over the spinal ridge, which, if permitted, will be sure to cause a sore back, to the great injury of the horse and his master, arousing vicious habits in the former to resent any touch, necessary or unnecessary, of the sore place on so sensitive a part, and rendering him irritable when clothing, saddling, or harnessing, or if a hand even approach the tender place.
This is so troublesome a consequence of not paying attention to the padding of rollers, that a master will do well to examine them himself for his own satisfaction.
Knee-Caps.—On all occasions when a valuable horse is taken by a servant on road or rail, his knees should be protected by caps. The only way to secure them is to fasten them tightly above the knee, where elastic straps are decidedly preferable, leaving the fastening below the knee slack.
A Leather Boot, lined with sponge, or one of felt with a strong leather sole, should be ready in every stable to be used as required, in cases of sudden foot-lameness.
The cavalry allowances are 12 lb. hay, 10 lb. oats, and 8 lb. straw daily, which, I know by experience, will keep a healthy animal in condition with the work required from a dragoon horse, of the severity of which none but those acquainted with that branch of the service have any idea.
Until he is perfectly fit for the ranks, between ridingschool, field-days, and drill, the troop-horse has quite work enough for any beast. I may add that few horses belonging to officers of cavalry get more than the above allowance, unless when regularly hunted, in which case additional corn and beans are given.
With severe work, 14 lb. to 16 lb. of oats, and 12 lb. of hay, which is the general allowance in well-regulated hunting-stables, ought to be sufficient. Beans are also given in small quantity.
Some persons feed their horses three times a-day, but it is better to divide their food into four daily portions, watering them at least half an hour before each feed.
The habit which some grooms have of feeding while they are teazing an animal with the preliminaries of cleaning, is very senseless, as the uneasiness horses are sure to exhibit under anything like grooming causes them to knock about their heads and scatter their food. On a journey, according to the call upon the system by the increased amount of work, so should the horse's feeding be augmented by one-third, one-fourth, or onehalf more than usual. A few beans or pease may well be added under such circumstances.
In stables where the stalls are divided by bales or swinging-bars, the horses when feeding should have their heads so tied as to prevent them from consuming their neighbour's food, or the result would be that the greedy or more rapid eaters would succeed in devouring more than their fair share, while the slower feeders would have to go on short commons.
Oats ought always to be bruised, as many horses, whether from greediness in devouring their food, or from their teeth being incapable of grinding, swallow them whole; and it is a notorious fact that oats, unless masticated, pass right through the animal undigested.
When supplies have been very deficient with forces in the field, the camp-followers have been known to exist upon the grain extracted from the droppings of the horses.
It should be remembered that not more than at the utmost two days' consumption of oats should be bruised at a time, as they soon turn sour in that state, and are thus unfit for the use of that most delicate feeder, the horse. All oats before being bruised should be well sifted, to dispose of the gravel and dust which are always present in the grain as it comes from the farmer. Unbruised oats, if ever used, should be similarly prepared before being given in feed.
Hay ought always to be cut into chaff or may be mixed with the corn, which is the only way to insure the proper proportion being given at a feed. When the hay is not cut but fed from the rack, never more than 3 lb. should be put in the rack at a time. If desirable to give as much as 12 lb. daily, let the rack be filled six times in twenty-four hours.
Beans must be invariably split or bruised. It is better to give a higher price for English beans than to use the Egyptian at any price; the latter are said to be impregnated with the eggs of insects, which adhere to the lining of the horse's stomach, causing him serious injury. In India horses are principally fed on a kind of small pea called “gram”—in the United States their chief food is maize ; the oat-plant not succeeding well in either of those regions.
Bran.—Food should be varied occasionally, and all horses not actually in training ought to have a branmash once a-week. The best time to give this is for the first feed after the work is done, on the day preceding the rest day, whenever that may be.
Even hunters, after a hard day, will eat the bran with avidity, and it is well to give it for the first meal. Its laxative qualities render it a sedative and cooler in the half-feverish state of system induced by the exertion and excitement of the chase ; and according to my experience, if given just after the work is done, the digestive process, relaxed by the bran, has full time to recover itself by the grain-feeding before the next call is made on the horse's powers. If the bran is not liked, a little bruised oats may be mixed through it to tempt the palate. Whole grains of oats should never be mixed with bran, as they must of necessity be bolted with the latter, and passed through the animal entire.
Mash.—When only doing ordinary work, the following mash should be given to each horse on Saturday night after work, supposing your beasts to rest on Sunday:
Put half a pint of linseed in a two-quart pan with an even edge; pour on it one quart of boiling water, cover it close, and leave to soak for four hours.
At the same time moisten half a bucket of bran with a gallon of water. When the linseed has soaked for four hours, a hole must be made in the middle of the bran, and the linseed mass mixed into the bran mass. The whole forms one feed. Should time be an object, boil slowly half a pint of linseed in two quarts of water, and add it to half a bucket of bran which had been previously steeped for half an hour or an hour in a gallon of water.
If a cold is present, or an animal is delicate, the bran can be saturated with boiling water, of which a little more can be added to warm it when given.
Carrots, when a horse is delicate, will be found acceptable, and are both nutritious and wholesome as food. In spring and summer, when vetches or other green food can be had, an occasional treat of that sort conduces to health where the work is sufficiently moderate to admit of soft feeding. When horses are coating in spring or autumn, or weak from fatigue or delicacy, the addition to their food of a little more nutriment may be found beneficial. The English white pea is milder and not so heating as beans, and may be given half a pint twice daily, mixed with the ordinary feeding, for from one to three or four weeks, as may be deemed advisable.
When an animal is “off his feed,” as it is called, attention should be immediately directed to his manger, which is often found to be shamefully neglected, the bottom of it covered with gravel, or perhaps the ends and corners full of foul matter, such as the sour remains of the last bran-mash and other half-masticated leavings.
The introduction of any greasy or fetid matter into