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a horse's food will effectually prevent this dainty creature from touching it. It used to be a common practice at hostelries in the olden time, to rub the teeth of a traveller's horse with a tallow candle or a little oil ; thus causing the poor beast to leave his food untouched for the benefit of his unfeeling attendant.
Again, the oats or hay may be found, on close examination, to be musty, which causes them to be rejected by the beast.
Where no palpable cause for loss of appetite can be discovered, reference should be made to a qualified veterinary surgeon, who will examine the animals mouth, teeth, and general state of health, and probably report that the lining of the cheeks is highly inflamed in some part, owing to undue angularity or decay of the teeth, and he will know how to act accordingly.
When horses are on a journey, or a long ride home after hunting, some people recommend the use of gruel; but, from experience, I prefer giving a handful of wetted hay in half a bucket of tepid water, or ale or porter.—See page 37.
Feeding on Board Ship should be confined to chaff and bran, mixed with about one-fourth the usual quantity of bruised oats.
Though horses generally look well when “full of flesh," there are many reasons why they should not be allowed to become fat after the fashion of a farmer's “stall-feds.” Some really good grooms think this form of condition the pink of perfection. They are mistaken. An animal in such a state is quite unfit to travel at any fast pace or bear continued exertion without injury, and may therefore be considered so far useless.
He is also much more liable to contract disease, and if attacked by such the constitution succumbs more readily.
Moreover, the superfluous weight of the cumbrous flesh and fat tends to increase the wear and tear of the legs; and if the latter be at all light from the knee to the pastern, they are more likely to suffer.
On the other hand, it may be well to observe, by way of caution, that it is by no means good management to let a horse become at any time reduced to actual leanness through overwork or deficient feeding. It is far easier to pull down than to put up flesh.
These hints on feeding may be closed with a remark, that in all large towns contractors are to be found ready and willing to enter into contract for feeding gentlemen's horses by the month or year. This is a very desirable arrangement for masters, but one frequently objected to by servants, who, however, in such cases can easily be replaced by application to the dealer, he having necessarily excellent opportunities of meeting with others as efficient.
Contractors should not be allowed to supply more than two or three days' forage at a time.
Horses are greater epicures in water than is generally supposed, and will make a rush for some favourite spring or rivulet where water may have once proved acceptable to their palate, when that of other drinkingplaces has been rejected or scarcely touched.
The groom's common maxim is to water twice a-day, but there is little doubt that horses should have access
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to water more frequently, being, like ourselves or any other animal, liable from some cause—some slight derangement of the stomach, for instance—to be more thirsty at one time than another; and it is a wellknown fact that, where water is easily within reach, these creatures never take such a quantity at a time as to unfit them for moderate work at any moment. If an arrangement for continual access to water be not convenient, horses should be watered before every feed, or at least thrice a-day, the first time being in the morning, an hour before feeding (which hour will be employed in grooming the beast); and it may be observed that there is no greater aid to increasing their disposition to put up flesh, than giving them as much water as they like before and after every feed.
A horse should never be watered when heated, or on the eve of any extraordinary exertion. Animals that are liable to colic or gripes, or are under the effect of medicines, particularly such as act on the alimentary canal, and predispose to those affections, should get water with the chill off.
Watering in Public Troughs, or places where every brute that travels the road has access, must be strictly avoided. Glanders, farcy, and other infectious diseases may be easily contracted in this way.
The advantage of grazing, as a change for the better in any, and indeed in every, case where the horse may be thrown out of sorts by accident or disease, becomes very questionable, on account of the artificial state in
which he must have been kept, to enable him to meet the requirements of a master of the present day in work. If the change be recommended to restore the feet or legs, this object may be attained, and much better, by keeping the creature in a loose-box without shoes, on a floor covered with sawdust or tan, kept damp as directed (page 10), to counteract whatever slight inflammation may be in the feet and legs, or, best of all, covered with peat-mould, as this does not require to be damped, and the animal can lie down on it; besides, the properties of the peat neutralise the noxious ammonia, and it does not consequently require to be so often renewed. In the loose-box also he can take quite as much exercise as is necessary for an invalid intended to be laid up, and there he can be supplied with whatever grain, roots, or succulent food may be deemed necessary.
As for any other advantage to be derived from a run at grass, unless for the purpose of using the herb as an alterative, I never could see it : and even this end, unless the horse has a paddock to himself, can hardly be gained ; for if there are too many beasts for the production of the ground, the fare must be scanty, and each animal half starved.
The disadvantages of changing a horse to grass from the artificial state of condition are the following : .
1. That condition is sure to be lost (at least as far as it is necessary to fit for work, especially to go across country at a hunting pace, with safety to himself and his rider), and not to be regained for a considerable time, and at great cost.
2. The horse is exceedingly liable to meet with accident from the playfulness or temper of his companions. 3. Worms of the most dangerous and pertinacious description are picked up nowhere but at grass.
4. Many ailments are contracted from exposure and hardship or bad feeding; and owing to the animal being removed from under immediate inspection, such ailments gain ground before they are observed. Moreover, at grass the horse is more exposed to contagious and epidemic diseases.
5. Horses suffer great annoyance from flies in summer time, not having long tails like horned cattle to reach every part of their body; and wherever any superficial sore may be present, the flies are sure to find it out.
As to aged animals, it is sheer cruelty (practised by some masters with the best intentions and worst possible results) to turn them out to grass. Such creatures have probably been accustomed in the earlier part of their lives to warm stables, their food put under their noses, good grooming, and proper care. You might just as well turn out a gentleman in his old age among a tribe of friendly savages, unclad and unsheltered, to exist upon whatever roots and fruits he could pick up, as expose a highly-bred and delicately-nurtured old horse to the vicissitudes and hardships of a life at grass.
The principle of this system is that of overpowering the horse that may in some instances have even become dangerous and useless, from having learned the secret