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out from the pole; the latter way is probably preferable.
Horses left to stand harnessed in the stable should be turned round in the stalls and fastened with the
T's of two pillar-reins passed through the rings of the bridoon of bit. Should there be no pillar-reins in pairs belonging to the stern-posts of each stall, tie the horses' heads up with the rack-rein, so as to prevent their lying down in the harness.
As a maxim, never leave a bridle on in the stable, unless in the case where the head can be sustained by a pair of pillar-reins from the stern-posts. Most serious accidents have occurred through neglect of this rule.
In Yoking or “putting to," the shafts of a vehicle must never be left on the ground while the horse is being backed into them. If the shafts touch him he will probably kick, or he may injure by standing on them. In double harness, especially with spirited animals, to prevent the danger of their backing, and being induced to kick by coming in contact with the splinter-bar when putting to, first confine them to the point of the pole by the pole chains or leathers, so lengthened as to enable the traces to be attached (the outer ones first) to the carriage; which done, tighten the chains or leathers to their working length. Accidents may thus be averted. From the moment horses are “put to” their draught, until they are driven off, some one should stand before their heads, whether they be in single, pair, or four-horse harness.
Traces.—Great care should be taken in adjusting these to prove that they are of an even length, as the least deviation in equality is liable, by pressure on one side, to produce a sore on the neck, under the collar of the horse that happens to be on the side of the shortest trace.—See “ Jibbing,” page 87.
The buckles of all traces and back-bands ought to be provided with detached pieces of leather cut square the width of those straps, and placed under the buckles the tongues of which pass through these bits of leather; the straps, thus protected from being cut by the buckles, will wear nearly thrice as long as otherwise, and there is nothing unsightly in the arrangement.
In all cases draught-horses should be placed close to their work—i.e., the traces should meet as short as will just allow of the animals going down an inclination at a brisk pace without coming in contact with the carriage; the britching for single, and the pole-chains for double harness, being tightened in proportion, to keep the carriage from running on them down-hill.
For Pole-Chains and Swinging-Bars, see page 73.
The Hames.—In order to divide the draught or pressure of the traces on the shoulders a little, the hames might be furnished with scroll draught eyes ; this, however, has become unfashionable from being much used by cabmen, and for rough draught.
Hames Top-Straps.—Care should be taken that these are perfectly sound and strong, especially in double harness, where the strain of stopping and backing the carriage of necessity comes upon them.
Britching and Kicking-Strap.—It is better in single harness to have the britching made with side-straps attached to the buckle or tug of the back-band, and not to pass over the shaft (confined there by a loop or staple as is usual). These side-straps can be tightened or loosened according to the size of the animal, and if
properly adjusted, effectually prevent any carriage from running on the quarters. Across the horses' hips and through these straps, confined by square metal D's, passes the kicking-strap, which is attached to the tugs on the shafts by buckles. This caparison, instead of being unsightly, is positively more elegant than the ordinary-shaped britching, and provides a kicking-strap at all times with the britching.
The kicking-strap for double harness must always be inelegant, nor can it be made as effectual as that for single harness; for which reason, if for no other, a kicking horse should never be used in double harness under a gentleman's carriage.
Britching is not generally used for double harness; but where appearances are not regarded, it finds place amongst various other contrivances available to make kickers, jibbers, bolters, plungers, and runaways, work as placidly as if “they couldn't help it.”*
The Terret-Pad must be left to the taste of the owner and saddler, with an observation, that in single harness it should be ascertained that the back-band has always free play through it; and as a precaution, it is desirable that in single harness the belly-band be always wrapped once round at least one of the shafts before the tug, whether the draught be on four or on a pair of wheels. Neglect in this particular has often occasioned accidents. The terret-pad is generally placed too far forward; the shortening of the crupper remedies this.
In double harness have a care that the terret-pad trace bearing-straps are not buckled too short. I have seen fine tall horses greatly worn by these straps being too
* Any one desiring hints in that line can have the benefit of my experience in dealing with such cattle, by applying to my publisher.
tight, tying the animals across the back, the undue pressure being aggravated with each elevation of the frame in the act of progression.
The Collar.—More care and judgment are necessary in shaping the stuffing of the collar to fit a horse than
Fig. 1.-Front View of a Collar, with the stuffing placed as it should be for wear with ease and safety. a a, rim of collar all round. bb, stuffing projecting
round outside of rim. -C cc, stuffing to project in
side at back of rim, for the purpose of tightening the collar,on the neck in that situation, and thus obviate abrasion.
for any other part of the barness. The collar should not press either on the mane or on the under part of the neck round the gullet ; the pressure should be on each side of the neck at cc in figure. Collars to fit the ordinary run of horses ought to be shaped thus, by the padding exclusive of the rim. The shape of the rim is comparatively immaterial, but it must be strong to retain the collar in shape. Any collar, be it ever so wel! shaped, should be tried on the horse's neck before it is taken into wear, to make sure that it is neither too large nor too small.
Some horses' heads are large in proportion with the size of collar they require; in such cases, out of compassion for the poor animal over whose head the small collar has to be forced at the risk of injuring his eyes, the collar, which is generally closed, should be made open at the top, to fasten with buckle and strap.
Under ordinary circumstances the open collars are not preferable, as the opening and closing weakens the rim, and is likely to put them out of shape ; but as grooms have a fashion of putting the collar on with the rigid hames tightly buckled round it, the whole process of forcing a small closed collar over a beast's larger head is so repulsive to him that in time he learns to dread the very sight of a collar. The plan of putting on the collar with the hames attached to it should never be permitted.
Saving-Collar, and description of make.—This is generally formed by harness -makers of basil with quilted padding. More serviceable than this will be found the saving-collar cut of single leather, from the soft or belly part of the cow-hide. A breast-strap is placed at the bottom of the collar with a loop and buckle at the end, through which the belly-band of the terret-pad passes to confine the collar.
Every owner of harness should be provided with one or two saving-collars of this description to be used where severe work is expected, on long journeys, or with animals new to harness. They should be open at the top, to fasten there with two buckles and narrow straps, the tightening or lengthening of the latter enabling it to be fitted to the horse's size. Some care is necessary to observe that the regular collar does not rub the buckles of the saving-collar against the horse's neck and make a sore.
The saving-collar should be always kept well moistened with grease or oil, and carefully looked to after use, the crusted sweat and dandriff being scraped off it. In the absence of a saving-collar, the collar itself should be watched in the same respect.