« ForrigeFortsett »
of the north of England, a plainer-bred and closer-set animal does best.
In countries where the fences are height jumps—a constant succession of timber, or stone walls—one must look for a certain angularity of hip, not so handsome in appearance, but giving greater leverage to lift the hind legs over that description of fence.
A hunter should be all action; for if the rider finds he can be carried safely across country, he will necessarily have more confidence, and go straighter, not therefore requiring so much pace to make up for roundabout "gating" gaps and "craning." *
If you propose purchasing from a dealer, take care to employ none but a respectable man. It is also well to get yourself introduced to such a one, by securing the good offices of some valuable customer of his for the purpose; for such an introduction will stimulate any dealer who values his character to endeavour by his dealings to sustain it with his patron.
Audim.—An auction is a dangerous place for the uninitiated to purchase at. If, however, it should suit you to buy in that manner, the best course to pursue is to visit the stables on the days previous to the sale, for in all well-regulated repositories the horses are in
* The racer not coming within the province of this little work, I will only offer one maxim with reference to such horses in general —viz., never race any horse unless you make up your mind to have most probably a fretful, bad-tempered animal ever after. The course of training and the excitement of contest will induce such a result.
for private inspection from two to three days before the auction-day. Taking, if possible, one good judge with you, eschewing the opinions of all grooms and others—in fact, fastening the responsibility of selection on the one individual—make for yourself all the examination you possibly can, in or out of stable, of the animal you think likely to suit you. There is generally a way of finding out some of the antecedents of the horses from the men about the establishment.
Fairs.—To my mind it is preferable to purchase at fairs rather than at an auction: indeed, a judge will there have much more opportunity of comparison than elsewhere.
Private Purchase.—In buying from a private gentleman or acquaintance, it is not unusual to get a horse on trial for three or four days. Many liberal dealers, if they have faith in the animal they want to dispose of, and in the intending purchaser, will permit the same thing.
Warranty.—As observed under the head of "Selecting," it is never wise to conclude the purchase of a horse without having him examined by a professional veterinary surgeon, and getting a certificate of his actual state. If the animal be a high-priced one, a warranty should be claimed from the seller as a sine qua non; and if low-priced, a professional certificate is desirable, stating the extent of unsoundness, for your own satisfaction.*
* If you happen to buy a low-priced animal, and depend upon your own opinion as to soundness, it is well to feel and look closely at the back part of the fore leg, above the fetlock, and along the pasterns, for cicatrices left after the performance of the operation of unnerving, by means of which a horse will go perhaps apparently sound while navicular disease is progressing in his foot, to
Ventilation is a matter of the first importance in a stable. The means of ingress and egress of air should be always three or four feet higher than the range of the horses' heads, for two simple reasons: first, when an animal comes in warm, it is not well to have cold air passing directly on the heated surface of his body; and, in the second place, the foul air, being the lightest, always ascends, and you give it the readiest mode of exit by placing the ventilation high up. The common louver window, which can never be completely closed, is the best ordinary ventilator.
Drainage ought to be closely investigated. The drains should run so as to remove the traps or grates outside the stable, or as far as possible from the horses, in order to keep the effluvium away from them. All foul litter and mass should be removed frequently during the day; straw and litter ought not to be allowed to remain under a horse in the daytime, unless it be considered expedient that he should rest lying down, in which case let him be properly bedded and kept as quiet as possible. In many cases the practice of leaving a small quantity of litter in the stall is a fine cloak for deposit and urine left unswept underneath, emitting that noxious ammonia with which the air of most stables is so disagreeably impregnated that on entering them from the fresh air you are almost stifled.
Masters who object to their horses standing on the
terminate in most serious consequences.—See "Navicular Disease," page 134.