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Title: Notes on Stable Management in India and the Colonies
Author: Nunn, Joshua A.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Notes on Stable Management in India and the Colonies" ***

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  VETY.-CAPT. J. A. NUNN, F.R.C.V.S., C.I.E., D.S.O.,




  [_All rights reserved._]



The first edition of these notes, which was written in India, having been
sold out in a much shorter space of time than I ever anticipated when I
wrote it, I am induced to offer this to the public. The scope of the
original pamphlet has been adhered to, and all that is aimed at is to give
the new arrival in the East some idea as to the management of his horses,
especially those who are setting up a stable for the first time. The first
edition was written in India for Anglo-Indians, who are familiar with
native terms; but to this, being published in England, I have added a
glossary of the more ordinary Hindustani words likely to be of use. The
spelling of these will be probably found fault with by the Oriental
scholar; but I have endeavoured to bring it as near the sound as possible,
as it is only intended for persons in absolute ignorance of the
vernacular. There appearing to be a demand for the book in the colonies,
at the suggestion of the publishers I have added a few remarks on
Australia and South Africa. The entire work has been rewritten, and the
matter contained is the result of my own personal observations during
eighteen years' service in India and the colonies at both military and
civil duties.


    _March_, 1897.


The following notes on Stable Management were originally delivered in a
lecture to the Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Troopers of the
Punjab Light Horse, and as they were considered by the members of the
corps to be useful, at their request I have put them on paper. There is no
attempt at anything beyond the most elementary rudiments of horse-keeping
in India, and all they are intended for is to give volunteers of mounted
corps, who have not previously owned horses, some slight idea as to what
should be done for the care of their chargers, and not leave them entirely
in the hands of native syces and horse-keepers.


    _December_, 1895.




  Gram                                                     1
  Barley                                                   6
  Bran                                                     7
  Bran Mash                                                9
  Oats                                                     9
  Maize                                                   11
  Wheat                                                   13
  Rice                                                    14
  Millet                                                  15
  Pulses                                                  15
  Linseed                                                 16
  Linseed Cake                                            17
  Black Gram                                              18
  Preparation of Food                                     18
  Horses refusing Food                                    19
  Times of Feeding                                        20
  Bolting Food                                            21
  Spilling Food on Ground                                 22
  Grass                                                   22
  Churrie                                                 25
  Bhoosa                                                  25
  Bamboo Leaves                                           27
  Oat Hay Forage                                          28
  Hay                                                     29
  Green Food                                              32
  Green Gram                                              33
  Carrots                                                 34
  Lucerne                                                 34
  Guinea Grass                                            38
  Sugar Cane                                              38
  Turnips                                                 39
  Salt                                                    39
  Tonics                                                  40
  Horses not Feeding                                      41
  Damaged Food                                            42
  Irregular Teeth                                         42
  Young Horses Cutting Teeth                              44
  Quidding                                                44
  Indigestion                                             45
  Lampas                                                  45
  Nose-bags                                               46
  Mangers                                                 47
  Worms                                                   48
  Rubbing the Tail                                        49
  Scouring                                                49


  Water                                                   51
  Times of Watering                                       52
  Watering Troughs                                        53
  Watering on a Journey                                   53
  Watering after a Journey                                54
  Watering Bridles                                        54
  Leeches                                                 55
  Wells                                                   56


  Stables                                                 58
  Chicks                                                  60
  Stable Floors                                           61
  Charcoal                                                62
  Picketing                                               62
  Bedding                                                 63
  Sawdust                                                 64
  Shavings                                                65
  Sand                                                    65
  Horses eating Bedding                                   65
  Exercise                                                66


  Heel Ropes                                              69
  Head Ropes                                              72
  Fetlock Picketing                                       73
  Picketing Posts                                         73
  Ringing                                                 74
  Rheims                                                  75
  Knee-haltering                                          75
  Shackles                                                75
  Picketing-pegs                                          76
  Leading-ropes                                           77
  Brushes and Gear                                        78
  Curry-combs                                             78
  Buckets                                                 79
  Dusters                                                 79
  Hoof-picker                                             80
  Clothing                                                80
  Hoods                                                   81
  Body-rollers                                            82
  Bandages                                                83
  Summer Clothing                                         84
  Eye Fringes                                             84
  Fly Whisks                                              85
  Cleaning Horse Clothing, and Storing it in the Summer   85
  Numdahs                                                 86
  Grooming                                                87
  Wisps and Grooming Pads                                 89
  Hand-rubbing                                            90
  Washing                                                 91
  Uneven Manes                                            91
  Hogged Manes                                            92
  Ragged Legs                                             93
  Trimming Tails                                          94
  Clipping                                                94
  Cleaning the Sheath                                     95
  Lights in Stable                                        96
  Fires in Verandahs                                      96


  Saddles and Harness                                     97
  Saddle Covers                                           98
  Bridles                                                 99
  Harness                                                 99
  Carriages                                              100
  Servants                                               101

SHOEING                                                  106



Gram (_chunnah_).

In the north of India the chief food on which horses are fed is gram, the
seed of one of the pea tribe of plants. It is a crop that ripens in the
beginning of the summer, when it is harvested, and the grain thrashed out
by driving cattle over it in a circle. The dry stalks, that are broken up
into small pieces, are used for feeding cattle on, and are known as "missa
bhoosa," in contradistinction to the stalks of the wheat when submitted to
the same process, and which is known as "suffaid," or white bhoosa. The
price of gram varies very greatly, according to the locality and season,
and is a subject of much speculation and gambling amongst the native
community. I have known it as high as 7 seers (14 lbs. weight), and as low
as a maund (80 lbs. weight), per rupee. It also varies greatly in
quality, depending on the locality in which it is grown and the conditions
under which it has been harvested, and is by native grain-sellers known as
first and second class gram. Good gram, when a small quantity is taken up
and examined in the palm of the hand, should be free from sand, dirt,
small pieces of stick, straws, or other sorts of seeds; in fact, it
should, what is known in the trade, "run clean." Each individual grain
should be round and plump, as if the husk was well filled. It should not
be shrivelled up and wrinkled, and be free from worm or weevil marks,
which can be told by there being a small round hole in it, and the grain,
when cracked, being found hollowed out and eaten away. Generally the
weevil (kirim) will be found in the cavity, but if not, it will be full of
a fine powder. Weevil-eaten gram cannot be mistaken, and denotes that the
grain is old, and has been badly stored. In most samples of gram, unless
quite new, a small proportion of worm-eaten grains will be found, and this
is not of any consequence; but if there are a large number, there will be
a larger proportion of husk (which has no nourishing properties) than
grain, and a larger quantity will have to be given. When a grain of gram
is crushed between the teeth it should impart the taste of a dry pea in
the mouth, and be devoid of all mustiness, which is present if it has got
wet or mouldy, as it is very apt to do. In new gram the husk at the point
is of a slightly greenish shade, that disappears with keeping. It is
generally supposed that new gram is not so good as when it is a few months
old; but myself, I have never seen any ill effects from its use. The only
thing to be careful about is that it is perfectly ripe, for natives have a
great trick of cutting and plucking every grain, fruit, and vegetable
before they have arrived at full maturity. Gram should be crushed or
bruised, not _ground_, so as to break the outer husk and allow the juices
of the stomach to act on the kernel. It should be crushed or bruised only,
as if ground into a fine powder a good deal goes to waste. It is
sufficient if each seed is so crushed that it is split in two. Gram,
wheat, and all other grains in the East are ground by the women of the
family between two stones, one of which revolves on the top of the other
by means of a wooden handle fixed in it. To crush gram the stones require
to be sharper set than if they are to grind any other grain into flour.
Gram can be got ready crushed from the corn-dealer (baniah) at a small
increased charge per maund (80 lbs.), or what I generally do is to pay my
head groom (syce) the regular bazaar rate (nirrick), and get the women of
his family to crush it, they providing their own mill (chuckie). The only
disadvantage of this plan is that it is necessary to weigh the grain a
second time after it has been crushed, otherwise it will be short, as
natives eat it themselves. But I found in the long run the syces would not
steal it; natives are sharp enough to see when any profit can be made, and
it was not to their advantage to give back short weight. Excellent
gram-crushing machines, working with fluted rollers, are sold by several
firms in India, and are adjustable so as to take any grain. They are made
to fit into a box for travelling, which, when in use, forms a stand for
the crusher to work on. They are, however, somewhat expensive, and
although admirable for a large stud of horses, are hardly required for a
private stable. If, however, expense is no object, they are certainly
preferable to the native mill, as they are cleaner, bits of grit not
coming off the stone, and each individual grain being crushed, which even
the best native mills will not do. Crushed grain is much quicker digested
than whole, particularly by old horses whose teeth are not in good order,
and who cannot masticate their food properly. It is a common mistake to
give too much gram or other grain, there being a prevailing idea that the
more that is given the more work the horse will do. There is no greater
error; it is like putting more coal into the furnace of an engine that can
only consume a certain amount; the extra quantity only goes to waste, and
upsets the digestive functions of the stomach. What is required is a
judicious admixture of food given at a proper time; not a large quantity
improperly given of an improper quality. Gram should be given in the
proportion of one part of bran to two of gram; or what is better, one part
each of bran (choker), gram, and parched barley (adarwah), or oats (jai),
by weight. These can be purchased separately from the corn-dealer and
mixed together, and thus cannot be eaten by any of the servants, like pure
gram can be. If the horse is not digesting his food properly, whole grains
will be found in his droppings that have passed through the bowels
unaltered. There will be always a few of these found, especially if the
horse is getting parched barley or oats, as the husks of both these grains
are very indigestible. If the horse begins to get thin, and fall away in
condition as well, it is then time to take some measures to remedy
matters, otherwise no notice need be taken.

Barley (_jow_).

In many parts of Northern India, especially on the Afghan frontier, whole,
uncrushed barley is used. It does not seem to hurt country-breds, but with
old animals that are not used to it, and particularly Australians, the
practice is dangerous. During the Afghan War, on one occasion there being
no other grain available, whole barley was supplied to the horses of the
battery of artillery to which I then belonged. A number of them were
attacked with colic, and several died from the irritation caused by the
pointed awns or ends of the beards to the bowels. No doubt horses, and
particularly young ones, will get used to feeding on most grains if the
change is brought about gradually, but a sudden change from any one to
another is dangerous. At the best, whole barley is not an economical food.
The husk resists the digestive action of the stomach and intestines, and a
quantity is always passed out of the body whole. Barley ought certainly
always to be crushed, or, better still, parched, and turned into
"adarwah." This is done by professional grain parchers in the bazaar; but
sometimes, though rarely, some of the women of the servants' families can
do it. It consists of half filling a wide shallow iron pan with sand, and
placing it over a fire till nearly red hot. A couple of handfuls of the
grain is then thrown into the sand with a peculiar turn of the wrist which
scatters it over the hot surface, about which it is stirred for a few
seconds with an iron spoon or small shovel pierced with holes like a
fish-ladle. The grain is partially baked, swells up and becomes brittle,
the husk cracking, when it is scraped up and lifted out with the ladle,
the sand being riddled through back into the pan. A good parcher will turn
out a "maund" (80 lbs.) in a wonderfully short space of time, the whole
process being gone through with a dexterity only acquired by long
practice. In India barley usually runs very light, there being a great
deal of husk. Boiled barley is a most useful diet for a sick horse. It
requires well boiling for at least half an hour, and the water then
drained off. I have known horses drink this barley-water when they won't
look at anything else.

Bran (_choker_).

In most of the large stations in India there are flour-mills in which
wheat is ground with the latest machinery, and when obtained from them,
bran differs but little from what is seen in England; but in smaller
places wheat is ground by native mills, and then the bran is not so clean.
When native-made bran is run over the hand, it will be seen that there is
a large amount of flour in it, which adheres to the skin like a white
powder, and which makes it much more nourishing than the cleaner prepared
article. The scales also of native-made bran are much more irregular in
size than the European manufactured article. Bran should have a clean,
fresh smell about it, and the newer it is the better; if kept long it is
likely to get mouldy. This is particularly the case during the rainy
season, when the atmosphere being saturated with moisture, a good deal is
absorbed by the bran, and if kept in this state for any time will get
mouldy. On this account, if it is necessary to store bran during the rainy
season, it should be kept in tin boxes. The inside lining of old packing
cases, in which perishable goods are brought out from England, do well for
this purpose, and plenty can be got for a small sum in the bazaar shops;
or, if not, any native tinsmith will make a box out of old kerosine oil
tins for a small sum.

Bran Mash.

It is a good plan, particularly in warm weather, in any country to give
horses a bran mash once a week, and if one particular evening is fixed
upon, syces get into the habit of giving it regularly without special
orders. I generally used to give a standing order to give it on Saturday
night, for, as a rule, the horses are not required on Sunday. Bran has a
slightly relaxing effect, that in warm climates is particularly
beneficial. Bran mash is made by simply putting the necessary quantity of
bran into a bucket, pouring boiling water gradually on to it, at the same
time stirring it round with a stick until the whole is moist and mixed
together. The bran should only be damped sufficiently to make it stick
together, and should not be sloppy and wet. Some horses at first will not
eat bran, but they can be tempted to by mixing a handful of whatever grain
they have been used to with it.

Oats (_jai_).

Oats are now largely grown over the Punjab, Northern India, and in
Tirhoot, and are sold at nearly the same price as barley. In the seaport
towns Australian oats can usually be obtained; and as good oats are grown
in the colonies as any part of the world. They are more expensive than
the native article, and are generally only used for training race-horses
on. The Indian oat, compared with the English, Australian, or South
African, is a poor article, running very light, with a great amount of
husk; but if properly crushed, and mixed with gram and bran in proportions
of one part of each, they are greatly superior to barley. The oat in India
is a winter crop, and is harvested in the spring. Both colonial and Indian
oats are always white. I have never seen the black or tawny variety which
is so common in Ireland. A demand having arisen for them by Europeans, it
is sometimes possible in Northern India to buy them in the bazaar; but
generally it is necessary to make a special arrangement with the grower,
as natives do not use them as a feeding grain for their own animals. They
grow the crop round the wells, and cut it green in the straw as forage for
the well and plough bullocks in the spring, when they are working hard.
Arrangements can generally be made with the cultivator to purchase so much
from him by weight, thrashed and delivered at your own stable, or else to
purchase so many acres of the standing crop as it is growing; but the
former plan is the most satisfactory, as it is astonishing the heavy crop
that will be produced; and, on the contrary, you will be equally
astonished to find with the other plan how light it is. The negotiations
for the supply of oats should be entered into in good time in the
spring--say about the beginning of March--as it is astonishing how slow
such matters progress in the East, and they had better be left in the
hands of your head syce. No doubt you will be cheated out of a small
amount, but you must make up your mind for this before arriving in the
East; but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that if you tried to
carry on negotiations yourself you would be cheated out of more. I have
tried both plans, and found that the syce could drive a better bargain for
both of us than when I attempted to deal direct with the cultivator.

Maize (_makkai_).

Although grown all over India, maize is not much used for feeding horses;
but in South Africa, where it is known as "mealies," it is the staple food
grain for both man and beast. In India it is said to make horses fat and
soft, but no animal in the world does harder work than a South African
post-cart horse. In all probability the reason they do well on maize is
that in the oat-hay forage they get there is a considerable quantity of
grain; and although I have never seen it used, the experiment of feeding
on oats and maize would be worth while trying in India. In South Africa
maize is usually given whole, but in any of the towns it can be obtained
crushed, and it is better to give it in this state. During the Afghan War
maize was plentiful in some parts of the country, and I gave it to some of
the horses that I had charge of. I had it parched on hot sand, in the same
way as barley (adarwah) is parched, making it into American pop-corn. With
certain somewhat thin and debilitated animals it had a marked effect in
getting flesh on them, and all horses eat it greedily. In India maize is a
summer crop, ripening in the autumn, when the ears or cobs are picked off
the stalks. It is stored in the cob, and the individual grains knocked off
as required by rapping them against a stick; but they must be turned over
in the heap occasionally, as rats and mice are likely to cause damage,
particularly the musk rat, that taints everything it comes into contact
with. Horses have frequently been brought to me, said to be off their
feed, and on inquiry I have found this only to be caused by the grain
being tainted by musk rats, and that when a clean feed is offered to them
they devour it ravenously. There are in South Africa and America a number
of varieties of maize, but in India I only know of two sorts, in one of
which the seeds are white and the other yellow, or a deep red colour. I
don't think that there is much difference in them as far as horse food
goes, but each individual grain should be plump, and fill out the husk
well; they should be free from weevils, worms, or the marks of attacks
from rats and mice. The husk should be well filled out, and have a
shining, pearl-like, glistening appearance, and when let fall on a stone
or other hard substance give off a metallic sound. When broken open, the
grain inside should be of a pure white colour, and of a pleasant, mealy
smell, like fresh flour. If it is discoloured, it denotes that it has been
wet and fermented. Maize can be crushed by most grain-crushing machines,
also in the native mill (chuckie) if the stones are properly set; but both
in South Africa and India the natives pound it in a large wooden mortar
made out of the trunk of a tree.

Wheat (_ghehun_).

Although it is not to be recommended as a food, still I have seen wheat
used when no other grain could be obtained, and it was a choice of it or
nothing at all; and in parts of Australia, and, I believe, America, it is
regularly used as a horse food. It is commonly supposed that wheat is
almost a rank poison to horses, and will cause fever in the feet; and no
doubt with stabled animals in England it will do so, especially as the
majority of cases of this nature are from accidents--horses getting loose
and gorging themselves with wheat during the night, or when unobserved.
With animals standing out in the open and working hard, as they do in
India and the colonies, it is not so dangerous. I should not suddenly
change a horse's feed from oats or gram to a full ration of wheat; but
when nothing else can be got, it can be given in a small quantity without
much fear of danger; but as soon as any other grain could be obtained, it
should be used.

Rice (_dhan_).

In Eastern Bengal and Assam horses are fed on unhusked rice and will do
well on it. During the expedition into the Lushai Hills in 1879-80, in
many places nothing else could be got to feed the transport mules on. Gram
is not grown in that part of the country, and what little there is has to
be imported, and is at a prohibitive price. I found that animals did well
enough on an equal mixture of gram and rice, although at first some of
them refused it. In Japan rice is the only grain horses get, and the pack
ponies of that country are hardy beasts, and appear to work well on it. If
the rice can be crushed, it is all the better; and in Bengal and Assam
there is no difficulty in getting this done, as it is the food of the
people, and they grind it for their own use.

Millet (_bajara_).

The various millets, known in South Africa as "Kaffir-corn," are not often
used in India as horse food, but in the Cape it sometimes is. In India the
millet is a summer crop harvested in the autumn. The seeds are small, and
of a dark or greyish colour. It requires to be crushed before use, as the
husk is very hard.

Pulses (_dhal_).

The various species of pulse grains enter largely into the food of the
natives of India. Two, known as "mung" and "mote," or "moat," are
excellent for getting flesh on thin, debilitated animals. They are both
small oblong seeds of an olive green colour, with a very hard husk, and
can be obtained in any bazaar. I prefer the mote to the mung. They both
require to be well boiled to the consistency of a jelly before use, and
then being well mixed in with the food, about a pound in weight of the raw
seed being enough for each feed, so that the horse gets three pounds
daily, a corresponding quantity of the other grain being withdrawn. I have
seen most excellent results in weak animals recovering from a debilitating
illness from its use, but great care must be taken that it is boiled

Linseed (_ulsie_).

Linseed can be obtained all over India. In fact, a good deal of what is on
the English market comes from the East. Under certain conditions it is
useful in putting on flesh, and as a diet for convalescents; but care must
be exercised in its use, as it contains a great deal of oil, and in cases
of sickness with liver complications, which are common in a hot climate,
especially in English and Australian horses, it is to be avoided. It has
to be boiled to a jelly before use, or, better still, soak it in cold
water for some hours until soft, and then boil it. In the hot weather,
however, I prefer to use either the "mote" or "mung" to linseed.

Linseed Cake (_rhal_ or _khal_).

Linseed cake can be obtained in nearly every large town, and is the
residue left after the oil is expressed; but as this process is
imperfectly performed, a good deal of oil is left--much more than in the
steam-pressed English cake. It is sold by the "seer" (2 lbs. weight), but
in irregular lumps, not moulded into cakes as in Europe. Care must be
taken in buying it, as it is very likely to be musty, and adulterated with
mustard or rape seed. Both these can be easily detected by the taste or
smell, leaving a pungent odour and a sharp burning taste behind. The best
plan is to crush a small quantity of the cake and drop it into some
boiling water, when the sharp smell and taste characteristic of the
mustard and rape oil will be given off. A small quantity of linseed cake
in the food will fatten horses tremendously, but makes them soft in
condition. It is one of the articles used by native dealers to fatten
horses for sale, and at this they are most expert. When crushed it can be
mixed with the food, or boiled to make linseed tea for sick horses; and
for this latter purpose I prefer it to linseed, as there is less oil in
it, the smell of which sometimes nauseates an animal and causes him to
refuse it.

Black Gram (_cooltee_).

In the Madras Presidency and Southern India black gram is used, the Bengal
white gram not being grown there. This has to be boiled before use.
Military horses are fed on it, but it is said that it makes them soft. I
have, however, no personal experience of black gram.

Preparation of Food.

In India it is the custom to damp the food before it is given. It should
not be saturated so as to turn it into a sloppy paste, but just damped
sufficiently to make the particles stick together. Grooms (syces)
generally deal out each feed into a bucket dry from the corn-bin, and then
damp it; but a better plan is to weigh out the whole of the amount
required for all the horses, and put it into a wide-mouthed earthen bowl
called a "naund," that can be purchased for a few pence, or a box, such as
an old wine case, and damp the whole amount together, then portioning it
out for each animal. The reason of this is that, if the grain is damped in
the buckets, they are at once taken away, and, the probabilities are,
never cleaned; but if they have to be brought forward for each feed to be
put into them, and the owner takes the trouble now and again to inspect
them, "syces," who are creatures of habit, get into the way of cleaning
them before they bring them forward. The box, or naund, in which the grain
is damped being stationary, can be looked at any time. It is necessary to
be very careful about this, as the particles of food left very quickly
ferment in a hot climate, and get sour, and quickly taint all the rest. As
a rule, about ten minutes is long enough to damp grain; and this should be
done as soon before feeding as possible, otherwise, if left long standing,
it will get sour. If a horse refuses his feed, it should be at once thrown
away, and on no account be kept till the next meal, by which time it is
pretty certain to have fermented.

Horses refusing Food.

Some horses are delicate feeders naturally, and take a long time in
eating, or refuse their food altogether. In the case of a delicate or slow
feeder, the food should be given in small quantities and often, rather
than in the usual somewhat rather large feeds three times a day; and the
horse should be fed by himself. This is easily done in India, as nearly
all stables are loose boxes; but if the animal is picketed out with others
that are likely to teaze him, he should be taken away and fed out of a
bucket in the "compound" (garden or enclosure round the house). "Syces,"
like all natives of India, have no idea of the value of time; and if he
has his "hooka" (pipe), and a friend to talk to about the price of
food-stuffs, rates of wages, and other such-like interesting bazaar
topics, he is perfectly content to sit holding the bucket before the horse
all day long, if necessary. If the animal refuses his food altogether,
then it should be taken away, for if left standing in front of him he
breathes on it, and if it remains any considerable time it becomes sour
and fermented, and he gets disgusted with it; whereas, if taken away and
nothing more given till next feeding-time, the appetite often returns, and
the food is consumed with a relish; especially in the warm weather, if he
is first led out and exercised, or picketed out under a tree. On no
account should the feed that has been refused be kept over till the next
feeding-time; a fresh one should be prepared, as in a hot climate wet
grain ferments and turns sour in a very short space of time.

Times of Feeding.

The stomach of the horse is very small in proportion to the size of his
body, and he requires to be fed often, and in small quantities. In
England hunters are fed four, or even five, times a day. In India it is
the usual custom to feed three times, and perhaps it is often enough. In
all military stations a gun is fired at noon, and the midday feed is given
at that hour; but the morning and evening one varies with the season of
the year. I usually give only half a feed in the evening about five
o'clock, and the remainder the last thing at night, about eight or nine,
according to the season of the year; but, unless carefully watched,
"syces" will not do this, as it is the custom only to feed three times
daily, and "dastour" (custom) is a thing it is impossible to make a native
break through.

Bolting Food.

Some horses have a trick of bolting their food without masticating it
properly, especially if another is being fed in their company. It is a
good plan to feed such horses apart from any others, which can easily be
done in an Indian stable, as they are all loose boxes, or, if picketed out
in the open, by moving him a short distance away from the others. A small
quantity of chaff, grass, straw, or what is known as "bhoosa," which is
wheat straw that is crushed and broken into small pieces in the process
of treading out the grain by bullocks, mixed in with the feed, will
usually make them masticate it properly.

Spilling Food on Ground.

Horses have also a trick sometimes of throwing their food out of the
bucket or manger, and spilling a quantity on the ground. Not only is a
large amount wasted, but when the animal has finished what is left, and
tries at his leisure to gather up what is on the ground, he eats a large
amount of earth and dirt with it, which is injurious. The best way I know
to prevent this is to feed the horse on a cloth on the ground; any bit of
old sacking about four feet square will answer for the purpose.


In India hay is not often seen, and horses are fed on grass; even
race-horses are trained on it. This may at first sound strange, but Indian
grass is very different to English meadow grass, and chiefly consists of
the roots and runners, the actual blade of grass not being more than about
an inch long. The best grass is what is known as "dhoob." It is a short
grass, with long roots and suckers, which is dug up out of the ground with
a short iron hoe or trowel, called a "kurpa," which is used with a
scraping motion of the hand, the process being called "cheeling." A
considerable quantity of earth is taken up with it, which ought to be
knocked off against the hoe; but as the grass is sold by weight, and the
usual quantity a private "grass-cutter" is supposed to bring in daily is
20 seers (40 lbs. weight), it is not to his advantage to clean it. If
horses eat dirty grass for any length of time, the sand and dirt, besides
damaging the teeth, is likely to accumulate in the intestines and give
rise to what is known as sand colic. When the "grass-cutter" brings in his
bundle of grass that he has collected, which he generally does at midday,
it should be spread out and cleaned; sticks and thorns should be picked
out, as they are likely to lodge in the horse's throat and choke him, and
it should be well beaten with a stick to get rid of the sand and dirt. A
good plan is to fasten a net between the wooden framework of a "charpoy,"
or native bedstead, lay the grass on it, and beat it there with a stick,
and it is surprising what a quantity of rubbish will fall through. An old
lawn tennis net, if the meshes are not too big, answers well for this
purpose. Grass-cutters are fond of wetting the grass to make it weigh. If
it is brought in fresh, and damped with clean water beyond the actual
loss in weight, I do not know that it does much harm; but it is
exceedingly likely that the water has been obtained from some stagnant
dirty puddle, and the bundle has been left standing for some time so that
fermentation has set in, giving it an unpleasant smell. It is therefore
best to have the bundles at once opened out and spread in the sun to dry
as soon as they are brought in, and not allow the "grass-cutters" to take
them away to their own houses. In parts of the foot hills of the Himalayas
("hurriarie," or "hurrialie") grass is obtained. It is not found in the
plains, or in the very high mountains where it is cold. It is a long
grass, running to about three feet high, and is cut with a curved sickle.
When young and green it is a capital fodder grass; but when the seed is
shed, and it gets dry, it is unfit for any other purpose than bedding, as
the stalks get very hard and brittle, and so dry that there is little or
no nourishment in it. It should not then be allowed into the stable for
any other purpose than bedding; but being much easier to collect than
"dhoob" grass, the "grass-cutters" will bring it as long as they are
allowed to, even when it resembles nothing more than a bundle of sticks. I
have frequently heard owners of horses in the hills complain of their
animals getting thin and out of condition, the cause of which on inquiry
was simply due to the bad dry hurrialie grass that was brought for them to


This is the dried stalk of one of the shorgum tribe of plants, which is
also known as the Chinese sugar-cane. It is a summer crop cut in the
autumn. It grows to five or six feet high, and is cut and stored by the
natives as a fodder for the cattle. It would to the new-comer appear to be
a most unsuitable article of food, but is full of saccharine matter,
tasting quite sweet when chewed in the mouth, so much so that in parts a
rough sugar is extracted from it, but to look at is like a bundle of dried
reeds. Animals of all sorts are very fond of it, and I have frequently fed
my horses on it for days together in out-of-the-way places where no grass
was to be obtained. It is not used as a regular horse fodder, but it does
well for it on a pinch.


In the East all grain is threshed out by the primitive process of putting
it in a circle and driving bullocks round on it, and in this process the
grain is trodden out of the ear, the straw being split and broken up by
the animals' feet into small fragments from one-eighth to two or three
inches in length, which is called "bhoosa." This is the staple food of the
working cattle, and is also used for horses. It is a most important item
of the crop, and in the rural economy of an Indian village almost as much
is thought of it as the grain itself. Wheat and barley straw makes what is
called "white bhoosa," and gram and the various pulses "missa bhoosa."
Both these can be used as horse food; in fact, on the Afghan frontier they
get nothing else, and many natives feed their animals entirely on it,
never giving them grass; but although they will eat it, and for a time
keep condition, it is not to be recommended. If it has to be used, and it
is possible to obtain any grass, they should be mixed together. A small
quantity of "bhoosa" mixed in the feed will make a greedy feeder masticate
it. "White bhoosa" looks like badly chopped straw-chaff. "Missa bhoosa" is
of a dark colour, the particles not being straight-like sticks, but bent
about, and frequently there are a quantity of the leaves of the plant
mixed with it. Care should be taken that both sorts are not mouldy, which
is very apt to be the case, as the native farmers store it in large
quantities during the winter, and when the new crop comes on, if there is
any of last year's left, it is what they try and sell. Being stacked in
the open, it is exceedingly likely to get damaged by the rain. "Bhoosa"
should have a clean, fresh smell like sweet straw, not be discoloured or
have any patches of mould about it, and be free from impurities such as
sticks, thorns, or pieces of mud or stones.

Bamboo Leaves (_bāns_).

In Eastern Bengal, Assam, and parts of Burma, the green leaves and young
shoots of the bamboo are used for forage. During the Chin-Lushai
Expedition in 1889-90, the animals with the force got nothing else for
nearly eight months. I had three ponies of my own that were worked
moderately hard the whole time, and they remained in good condition. The
transport mules, which were worked very hard indeed in a very trying
climate, did not fall away nearly as much as I expected. The young shoots
and leaves are cut with a sort of a billhook, called a "dah," and care
must be taken that only the young green leaves and soft tender shoots are
given, the old leaves and the edges of the dry stumps of the bamboo
cutting like a razor. I have seen some bad wounds on the lips, tongue, and
angles of the mouth from this cause. It is best to make the "syces" and
"grass-cutters" pluck the leaves off the branches altogether, and not
leave them about the stable, for fear of wounding the horses. This they
will readily do, as they use the _débris_ for fuel. I have seen some bad
cuts and injuries in both men and animals from the edges of the split
bamboo, which are very sharp--so much so that the savage tribes on the
eastern frontier use a properly split piece of bamboo for a knife in
skinning animals; and the sap of the green bamboo appears to have a
peculiarly irritating or poisonous action, a wound caused by it festering
and suppurating in both man and beast, whereas one inflicted with a dry
bamboo will heal up healthy. Horses require a larger amount of bamboo
leaves than grass. If an animal is getting 20 lbs. of green "dhoob" grass
daily, he will require 30 lbs. of bamboo leaves to keep him in condition.
Although at first horses may refuse them, they take to them kindly after a
little while.

Oat Hay Forage.

In the South African colonies grass hay is almost unknown. The oat is cut
when about half ripe, dried, and given in the straw, in which condition it
is known as forage, and is excellent feeding. It is usually sold in
bundles, wholesale at so much per hundred, and retail at hotels and
livery stables at so many bundles for a shilling. Some years ago, when I
was travelling in the Dutch part of South Africa, in the more
out-of-the-way parts of which there are no hotels, it was the custom to
ask the owner of the farmhouse where you arrived permission to
"off-saddle" if you were riding, or "out-span" if driving, for the night
or a couple of hours, as the case might be. This was a roundabout way of
asking if he could put you and your animals up for the night. When leaving
in the morning, it would have been a great breach of good manners to ask
for your bill, but you inquired what you were indebted to his head-boy for
the forage your horses had consumed--a polite way of asking for your
account; the number of bundles per shilling varying according to the time
you remained, and the accommodation you had received; but, notwithstanding
this fiction, I did not, as a rule, find the total any less than in a
regular hotel where you get your bill.


Hay, as is known in Europe and Australia, is never seen in India. In some
parts, what is called hay can be obtained; but, compared to English meadow
hay, it is at the best but poor stuff. No doubt hay of a very tolerable
quality can be made in India; in fact, I have done so, but usually the
grass is cut after the plant has flowered, the seed ripened and shed, when
it is what is known as "the sap being down," and then it is dry and with
little nourishment in it. It is generally also allowed to lie out too long
after it has been cut in a hot, powerful sun, which utterly bakes it up.
The grass should be cut when the seed is green and the sap well up in it,
and should not be allowed to remain too long drying. I have generally
found that from eight to ten hours of the Indian sun was enough, so that
grass cut in the morning should be stacked at night; it will then not be
utterly dried up, and in the stack will undergo the process of
fermentation that gives the characteristic smell to English hay. There is
a certain amount of difficulty in doing this. The grass flowers and seeds
at the end of the hot weather, about September, when the monsoon rains are
on, and these sometimes last for days together. It is, therefore,
sometimes difficult to get a fine day to cut and save the hay in before
the seed is shed; and before the dry weather again sets in the sap has
gone down, and there is but little nutriment left in the grass. It is not
a bad plan to sprinkle some salt over each layer of hay as the stack is
made up; horses eat this cured hay with great relish. In making up the
stack, a bundle or two of straw, put on end from the bottom upwards,
should be built into the centre of it as it is being raised up, to act as
a chimney or ventilator to carry off the heat while the stack is
fermenting. If this is not done, there is danger of its catching fire; and
even if it should not heat to such a degree, part is likely to get
discoloured--what is termed "mow-burned." This chimney can be made with
bundles of sticks, boards, or even stones; but sick horses will often eat
the straw from the centre of a haystack when they won't look at anything
else, and it sometimes comes in useful, and in any event, is not wasted.
The stack should be built on a foundation of brambles, stones, or a mud
platform--the latter being the best--to raise it and protect it from
damage by the rains, which at times come in a regular flood, and also to
keep out rats, mice, and other vermin. When the stack gets down to the
bottom, care should be exercised in handling it, as it is a great refuge
for snakes, and I have seen one fatal accident from snake bite from this
cause. It, then, is a good plan to make the men remove the hay in small
quantities at a time with a hay-fork, which is easily made by fastening a
couple of short sticks converging from each other on to a long bamboo;
but natives are such fatalists that, no matter how much warned of the
danger they are incurring, they will not take the commonest precautions as
to their safety if it gives them a little extra trouble. A somewhat larger
quantity of dry grass is required than green "dhoob" by weight, the
proportion being about 15 to 20 lbs. respectively.

Green Food (_khawid_, or _khasil_).

In the spring of the year in India it is common to give horses green
wheat, oats, or barley. This is cut in the straw from the time it is about
a foot high until the grain begins to ripen, a period that lasts about a
month or six weeks in the Punjab--from the middle of February till the end
of March. This green food is called by the natives "khawid," or "khasil."
It has an excellent effect on the system, and is what is used by the
native dealers to get their horses into condition for sale. Too large a
quantity should not be given at first, as it is likely to cause
diarrhœa; about 4 lbs. daily being sufficient at first, but it may be
increased up to double this amount if it agrees with the animal. Care
should be taken that the green food is only given when young and the straw
tender, for when it gets ripe, and the straw woody and hard, it is very
indigestible, and a common cause of intestinal obstruction and colic. In
some parts green barley is given in the same manner, and when it is young
it is as good as wheat or oats; but when it begins to ripen it should be
stopped, as the awns or beards begin to get hard, and not only are they
likely to choke the horse, but to cause dangerous intestinal obstruction.
Oats can be given much longer than barley or wheat; in fact, as I have
said, ripe oats are cut in the straw, and used as hay in many parts of the
world. The green crop must be purchased standing from a cultivator, and
this is best arranged through your head "syce." It is sold by measurement,
a patch in the field being marked out; or else the grass-cutters go and
cut as much as is required daily, the whole amount used being afterwards
measured up and paid for at the fixed bazaar rate, or, as it is termed,
the "nirrick."

Green Gram.

Natives are very fond of giving horses green gram, but it is a most
dangerous custom. It is most indigestible, the stalk when green being full
of a strong tough fibre. The sap and leaves have a peculiar irritating or
almost corrosive property, and in the spring of the year many fatal cases
of intestinal disease are caused by it.

Carrots (_gajar_).

Carrots are plentiful all over Northern India. They come on in the spring,
and are an excellent green food. They can be bought very cheaply, and if
kept in a cool, dry place, can be stored for a considerable time; but they
require to be turned almost daily, or they will get rotten. When used they
should either be washed to remove the earth, or, as in the East this is
quite dry, knocked with a stick to remove it. They should be given whole,
or else cut into long slices, not across into lumps. This latter practice
is dangerous, as horses are thus inclined to bolt them whole, and the
short round lump is likely to stick in the throat and cause choking.


Lucerne grows well all over Northern India, and although not cultivated by
the natives for their own use, they know perfectly well what it is, and
call it by the English name. In most of the towns where there are any
Europeans collected together, it is usual to grow it in the Government or
station garden, from where it can be purchased retail. Some native corps,
who remain some time in the one place, also grow it for the benefit of the
regiment, and sometimes it is possible to obtain some from them; but as a
rule they only have enough for their own use. Round the large military
cantonments in some places, the neighbouring farmers, finding that there
is a demand for it, have taken to growing it for sale, and it can be
bought in the bazaar; but as the supply is not certain, it is better to
enter into a contract with one of the growers to supply the quantity by
weight daily required. In making this bargain it is best to use the agency
of the head "syce," as if it falls short, or is not forthcoming, he can be
made responsible; and natives being erratic creatures, it is quite
possible that some morning you may be told that there is no more, or that
the grower has sold his crop to some one else, perhaps at even a smaller
price than you are giving. Whenever there is a well in the compound, and I
have been long enough in one place, I have always grown as much as I could
for myself. It is easily done, and there is no more useful crop in
connection with an Indian stable. In the dry, hot weather the difference
in the condition of horses that are getting a fairly liberal supply of
green food, and those that are only getting the burned-up grass that is
then procurable, is most marked. The only difficulty about growing lucerne
is that at first a large supply of water is necessary until the roots
strike. If you have a garden, then, of course, you have to keep a pair of
bullocks to raise water from the well for irrigation purposes; but if you
do not run to this luxury, then a pair of bullocks can be hired for two or
three days in the week. The landlord of the house has to keep the well and
the Persian wheel, by which the water is raised, in order, and find the
first pair of ropes for it. The tenant has to find the earthen pots, or
"chatties," that are fastened on to it, by which the water is raised up.
These "chatties" are cheap things enough, but they are easily broken. I
always found that the best plan was to provide the first lot myself, and
then give a small sum monthly to the gardener to keep them going; and it
saved money in the end, as I found that not nearly so many were smashed
under this system as when I paid for what were required. If a gardener is
regularly employed, it is, of course, part of his business to look after
the lucerne bed; but for an ordinary stable of, say, four or five animals,
an acre of lucerne will be ample, and a man exclusively for this is not
necessary. A gardener can be got for about Rs. 10 a month, but a man can
be got to come two or three times a week and look after it for half this.
I found, however, that if I gave it to one of the syces, that the women
and children of his family would attend to it, as, when once started, it
only requires weeding, and that the work was better done than by a
professional gardener, unless one was regularly employed. The best seed is
the acclimatized English, or the Cabul brought down from Afghanistan. The
English seed can be obtained from any seedsman, or the Government
Horticultural Gardens at Lahore or Saharunpore, at about a rupee a pound,
and this is enough to sow about an acre with, which should be done at the
end of the cold weather. If only a small quantity is grown, it is best to
sow it on ridges, as it then, no doubt, can be kept free from weeds, and
the cost of weeding, on an acre or two, is but trifling; but it is an
error to suppose that lucerne cannot be sown broadcast. At the cattle farm
at Hissar, in the Punjab, several hundred acres were grown in this way, as
the cost of making ridges on such a large quantity of land would have been
prohibitive. Of course, this lucerne was not so clean as if it had been
grown on ridges, but the cattle picked it out from the weeds when it was
put before them. Fresh seed will have to be sown about every three years,
and the crop may be cut about five or six times during the season. About 4
lbs. is enough for a horse, but it is best to begin with half this
quantity and gradually increase it, as if too large an amount is given at
once it is likely to cause colic.

Guinea Grass.

Some years ago this was a very favourite grass forage to grow for horses,
but lately lucerne has supplanted it, and, I think, rightly. The advantage
of guinea grass is that it lasts through the hottest months of the year,
which lucerne does not, but it requires a great deal of water. It grows in
separate tufts, and they should be planted some distance apart, or
otherwise they will crowd each other out.

Sugar Cane (_gunna_).

Sugar cane is not often used as an actual food, but horses are very fond
of it, and on my visits to the stable I usually had some pieces carried
after me in a basket when it was in season. It ripens at the end of the
summer, and lasts into the winter. It is sold in long sticks, and should
be chopped up into pieces; but the servants will steal it, as they eat it
themselves as a sweetmeat.

Turnips (_shalgham_).

The ordinary white turnip grows all over the Punjab in the winter, and
when carrots are not to be procured, I have used them in their place,
preparing them in the same manner. Horses soon learn to eat and relish

Salt (_nimmuk_).

Salt is required by all animals in a certain quantity in their food to
keep them in health. There are three different varieties sold in the
native shops. Rock salt ("putter ke nimmuk"); ordinary salt, which is
merely the rock salt crushed and powdered; and black salt ("kali nimmuk").
On the coast sea salt can also be obtained, but it is not to be found far
inland. The common custom in India is to give powdered salt in the food,
the usual daily allowance being about an ounce. I prefer to leave a lump
of rock salt in the manger for the horse to lick when he likes. Some
owners have a lump of it hung by a string to the wall, but I do not think
this is advisable, as I have known more than one horse turn a wind-sucker
from getting into the habit of licking and playing with it.


It is a common supposition, deeply rooted in the minds of horsemen, that,
when a horse loses condition, he at once requires a tonic; and an immense
number of these and "condition powders" are advertised. There is no better
paying speculation in the world than the sale of these articles, as the
majority of them consist of a few cheap and simple ingredients, that are
retailed to the public at a hundred per cent. their original cost; and the
best that can be said about these nostrums is that some of them are
innocent and do no harm, while they serve to amuse the owner. The action
of a tonic is to stimulate the appetite, and if the horse is feeding well
they are certainly useless, if not actually harmful. If the horse feeds,
and continues to fall off in condition, the chances are that there is
something wrong in the stable management, which should be carefully
inquired into. If this only occurs once with one animal, the inference is
that medical advice is required, but if several are in the same state, or
it is a matter of constant occurrence, then in most cases a change of
"syce" is required, and it will be usually found better and cheaper than
having recourse to any of these various advertised "cure-alls."

Horses not Feeding.

Horses refuse their food from a variety of causes. It is usually the first
symptom noticed in the majority of attacks of illness, and I cannot too
strongly urge that in such cases the sooner professional advice is
obtained the better, there being nothing in which the old proverb, "a
stitch in time saves nine," more applies to. On the other hand, horse
owners are inclined to get very anxious without cause about horses not
feeding, and to imagine that because he refuses to feed, or does not
finish it up with a good appetite, that the animal is in a dangerous
state. Horses are much like ourselves, and we all know that we sometimes
do not feel inclined to do justice to a "square" meal, and that if we dine
off a plate of soup we feel ready for a good breakfast in the morning. If
the horse refuses his feed, or only plays about with it, have it at once
removed; at the next only give him a little hay or grass, and the
probabilities are that at the next he will eat up his grain with a hearty
appetite. If he does not, then the sooner professional advice is called in
the better, as you may be certain that something is wrong.

Damaged Food.

Damaged, mouldy, or sour food, the horse, of course, will not eat unless
he is very hungry, and then only sufficient to stay his appetite. Damaged
grain there is no excuse for, and can only be given through carelessness
or indifference on the part of the owner or his servants. Sour food, or
food that has fermented, is, with the best intentions, likely to be placed
before the animal, as it is surprising how soon fermentation will set up
in damp grain in a hot climate. The food should not be damped more than
twenty minutes or half an hour at the most before it is given, and a dirty
bucket will easily contaminate it. In the hot weather in India,
particularly during the rains, when both man and beast are down below par,
very little will put both off their feed. If the food, however, is at all
sour it ought to be at once detected, as the smell is unmistakable.

Irregular Teeth.

In old horses the back teeth get irregular and worn in such a fashion that
the food cannot be masticated and crushed, and is not then properly
digested. The upper jaw of the horse is wider than the lower one, so that
the upper teeth overlap the lower ones at the outside, and the lower ones
the upper at the inside. By continually wearing, the upper back teeth get
worn down more on the inside than the outside, and the lower ones more on
the outside than the inside, or, in other words, the grinding surface of
the teeth, instead of being horizontal, is at an angle or slope. The horse
masticates his food with a sideways motion of the jaws, crushing the food
between the back teeth like mill-stones, so that if the grinding surfaces
of the teeth are not level, but sloped at an angle, they become locked,
and prevent sufficient sideways play of the jaws. If this is suspected,
the back teeth can be easily inspected by turning the horse with his tail
to the sun, grasping the tongue with the left hand and opening the mouth,
while the light is reflected into it by a small looking-glass held in the
right. They can also be felt by putting one's hand on the outside of the
cheek, where the outer edge of the upper teeth can be easily felt, and
pushing the finger inwards and upwards, so as to get on the grinding
surface when the horse opens his mouth, and the angle they are at can be
at once detected through the cheek. This is, of course, only a rough
method of examination, but it gives one a fair idea of the state the
molars are in. If a tooth is broken or deficient, the corresponding one
in the other jaw from not being worn down will become over-grown and fill
up the vacant space, even growing so long as to damage the gum or bone in
the jaw above or below it, as the case may be, and preventing the horse
feeding. If it is one of the front molars, it is possible that the growth
may be detected from outside, but the probabilities are that a more
careful examination will be necessary, and, at all events, professional
skill required to set matters right. Horses also suffer from decayed
teeth; and, in fact, the whole matter of equine dentistry is much more
important than is usually supposed, many animals remaining poor and thin
simply because their teeth are not properly attended to.

Young Horses Cutting Teeth.

Young horses sometimes have great trouble when cutting their teeth, and if
they go off their feed they should be attended to; but this requires
professional skill.


When young horses begin to what is called "quid" their food, it is almost
a certain indication that there is something wrong with the mouth.
"Quidding" is gathering up a mouthful of hay or grass, rolling it about
in the mouth, and half masticating it till it gets into a lump or ball,
and then spitting it out without swallowing it. Sometimes a dozen or more
of these "quids" will be found in the manger or on the stable floor.

Indigestion (_bud hazmie_).

Indigestion, or dyspepsia, which horses suffer from more commonly than the
public imagine, will put them off their feed; but this is a matter for
professional advice and treatment, and it is exceedingly dangerous for the
owner to go trying domestic remedies. I have had many fatal cases of bowel
diseases brought to me that have arisen solely from this cause.


This is a disorder that is firmly fixed in every groom's mind, both
European and native, and is supposed to consist of a swelling or
inflammation of the palate, or "barbs," just behind the upper incisor
teeth. I do not deny for a moment the existence of such a thing, but what
I do maintain is that in 75 per cent. of the cases brought to one, it
exists only in the imagination of the attendant. The popular remedy some
years ago was to cauterize the part with a hot iron, and I have no
hesitation in saying that any one doing this should be indicted for
cruelty to animals. Lately, the popular treatment has been more merciful
in having the part scarified with a lancet, but even this is useless.
Where lampas does exist, there is more or less enlargement and swelling of
the membrane of the entire alimentary canal, but the "barbs" of the mouth
being the only part visible, it is popularly supposed to be a local
affection. Under these conditions, it will be readily understood how
utterly useless lancing or scarifying one small part of the affected canal
will be. A small dose of aperient medicine, or even putting the horse on a
laxative diet of bran mash for a few days, will do all that is required,
without having recourse to heroic measures.

Nose-bags (_tobra_).

Nose-bags are sadly neglected by "syces," and unless looked after by the
owner, they never dream of cleaning them, so that, particularly with
leather ones, they get into a very filthy condition, and frequently horses
refuse to eat out of such dirty things. Both mangers and nose-bags should
frequently be washed and scrubbed out with soap, or sand and water.
Nose-bags are, at the best, a necessary evil, and if they have to be used
at all, canvas ones are better than leather, being more easily cleaned. I
only allowed nose-bags to be used when on the march, or out in camp; when
in the stable the horses were fed out of an ordinary bucket, or else a
manger, and even then they were not fastened on the head, but held on the

Mangers (_kurlie_).

In the stable a manger should be used. In an Indian stable one is easily
made out of a shallow, wide-mouthed earthen vessel ("gumalo"), built up
with mud, about three feet high, in the corner. The "syces" can do this
themselves, and the gumalo only costs a few pence in the bazaar. I always
had two built in opposite corners, one for food and the other for water.
If for any reason the manger cannot be built, or there is not one in the
stable, then the horse should be fed out of a tin or zinc bucket, or else
off a feeding-sheet. An old gunney-bag, spread out opened at the seams,
answers admirably. The "syce" should hold the bucket or sheet while he is
feeding, or the horse is very likely to knock the first over, or tear the
sheet, by pawing at it with his fore feet.

Worms (_kirim_).

Parasites, or worms, in the intestines cause horses to lose condition very
quickly. The most common are long white ones, like ordinary earthworms,
about five to eight inches long; and small, very thin thread-like ones,
about three inches long. They cause the horse to become very unthrifty and
thin, the coat being dull, without the natural gloss that is seen in
health, or as it is termed, "hide-bound." The horse is also apt to back up
against any projection, or into a corner, and rub his tail against the
wall, breaking off the hair, and giving it an unsightly appearance. If
worms are suspected, the "syce" should be instructed to look for them in
the horse's droppings in the morning, where the long ones are most likely
to be found; also to examine under his dock, where the small ones will
leave a yellowish incrustation under the root of the tail. An enema of
common salt and water, made by dissolving about a table-spoonful of salt
in a quart of luke-warm water, generally suffices to get rid of the small
ones. The large ones, however, require medical treatment, which should be
left in professional hands. If there are any worms passed, the litter,
droppings, etc., should be carefully burned, and the floor of the stable
scraped and the _débris_ burned, and a new floor laid down.

Rubbing the Tail.

Although commonly due to parasites in the intestines, "particularly the
small thread-worms," with some horses it is a trick; neglect also, and the
irritation caused by dirt, will often cause it. In India it is more often
seen in coarse-bred horses, such as many Australians are, than in
country-breds and Arabs. If it is from dirt, washing the tail well with
soap and water will stop it; if it is a trick, keeping the tail in a
tail-case, which is merely a piece of leather, with buckles and straps to
fasten it on with; or an ordinary roller bandage put round from the tip to
the root will generally stop it.

Scouring (_dāst_).

Scouring, or diarrhœa, is usually seen in nervous horses when they get
excited, and, as a rule, disappears when they get quiet again. It is more
commonly seen in light-coloured, or what the horseman calls "washey,"
chestnuts and blacks, than any other colour. Some horses will always scour
after a draught of cold water, and with such the chill should be taken off
either by adding a little warm water, or standing the bucket out in the
sun for a couple of hours before it is used. If the scouring persists,
after returning to the stable, let the next feed consist of dry bran, not
"bran mash," and this generally stops it. If a horse that is not in the
habit of doing so suddenly begins scouring, it is a mistake to try and
stop it too suddenly, as frequently it is an effort of nature to throw off
something deleterious to the system. If, however, the diarrhœa should
continue persistent, then professional advice should be obtained.


Water (_pani_).

Horses prefer soft to hard water, and are particularly partial to
rain-water. Many horses refuse to drink at all from a running stream,
unless very thirsty, and even then will not take as much as is necessary.
Mules, which in other respects are hardy animals, are very dainty and
particular about their water. Such horses should be watered either out of
a bucket or a still pool. In mountain and quick running streams there is
often a large quantity of sand and small gravel held in suspension, that
sinks to the bottom in places where the current runs slow. I have seen
more than one death caused by constantly watering horses in such streams,
by the animal swallowing a quantity of such sand; it accumulates in large
masses in the intestines, and causes "sand colic." If it is necessary to
water horses from such places for any length of time, if a suitable pool
cannot be found where the water is still and the sand and gravel can
settle, one should be made by building a dam.

Times of Watering.

Horses should be watered half an hour before feeding, or, if this cannot
be managed, at least two hours should elapse after the feed before he is
allowed to drink his fill. The reason of this is that the hard grain the
horse eats is only partly crushed and broken by the teeth, and it is in
the stomach where it is principally softened before passing on into the
intestines. If, when the stomach is full of partly digested food, a large
quantity of water is given, some of it will be washed into the intestine,
and, being hard, and not properly softened, irritate it and set up colic.
The best plan is to always have water in front of the horse, so that he
can drink when he likes, and I have found that they take much less this
way than when watered at regular times. In India this can be easily done
by building up in mud a wide-mouthed, shallow, earthen vessel, called a
"gumalo," in one corner of the stable, in the same way that a manger is
made. It should be high enough for the horse to conveniently reach it, and
be kept constantly full.

Watering Troughs.

When horses are watered at a trough or stream, as is necessarily the case
with military animals, if they are thirsty they push their noses deep into
it and drink greedily. They then lift their heads and look round them, and
many persons think they have finished. This is not the case, as the horse
is merely recovering his breath after his draught, and he should not be
taken away until he either turns round and will drink no more, or until he
begins to splash the water about with his nose and play with it, which
shows he does not want any more.

Watering on a Journey.

It is commonly supposed that when on a journey horses should not be
watered, but, in a warm climate, as long as only a steady pace is
maintained and only a moderate quantity given, it does not do any harm,
and, to judge from one's own experiences, certainly is refreshing. Of
course, this must be done in moderation, like everything; and it
undoubtedly would be dangerous to allow a horse to drink his fill and then
give him a hard gallop directly afterwards; but, in both the South African
and Australian colonies, I have travelled some hundreds of miles in
post-carts and coaches, and the drivers at pretty nearly every stream they
cross pull up and allow the horses to drink a few mouthfuls. I have never
heard of any harm coming from this practice, and at the end of the journey
they drink far less water than if they had been deprived of it while at
work. In Norway, the carriole drivers water their ponies in the same way,
and it is icy-cold coming from the glaciers.

Watering after a Journey.

When the journey is completed, it is advisable to walk the horse about for
a short time, to allow him to get cool before watering; or, better still,
and what every practical horseman will do, is to pull up and allow him to
walk the last mile, so that he arrives at his stable fairly cool, and not
reeking with perspiration. Grooming also will be greatly facilitated by

Watering Bridles (_kazai_).

Watering bridles are generally very much neglected, "syces" (grooms) never
seeming to think that they require any care or attention. They are
generally a mass of rust and dirt, and having one of these filthy things
put into the mouth, is a much more common cause of horses going off their
feed than is generally supposed. They are frequently thrown out on the
heap of bedding, and left in the sun all day, and when put into the
horse's mouth the iron of the bit is burning hot. I consider that this is
one of the chief reasons of the sores that so frequently form at the
angles of the mouth in the summer months, and which are most troublesome
to cure. The bit of the watering bridle should be scrubbed daily with sand
until it is polished, and the leather-work cleaned with soap (sabon) or
dubbing (momrogan); if this is not done, it very soon perishes with the
heat and becomes rotten, and if a horse is at all fresh and plays about,
it breaks, the animal gets loose, and a serious accident is the result of
the want of a little forethought.

Leeches (_jonk_).

In India leeches frequently get into the nose while the horse is drinking,
especially out of ponds and streams, and although they are not absolutely
dangerous, they cause troublesome bleeding, and make the animal cough and
sneeze. They are sometimes very difficult to get rid off, and the best
plan is to place some water in a bucket before the horse and splash it
about. The leech is attracted by this, and comes down the nostril, when
it can be caught if the operator is quick enough. A handkerchief is
necessary, as the leech is too slippery to hold in the fingers. It is
generally best to let one of the "syces" do this, promising him a small
reward when the nuisance is got rid of, as some of them are wonderfully
expert at it, and have untiring patience.


In some Indian towns there is a water supply laid on to the houses by
pipes, but in the majority it is obtained from a well (khua) in the
compound. In these cases a water-carrier ("bheestie") has to be kept to
draw and carry water for the household and stables, which he brings in a
leather bag; "mussuk," the small leather bucket that he uses to fill the
bag with, being called a "dholl." These water-bags should be renewed twice
a year, as they get very foul inside if kept much longer, and they are
only worth about Rs. 2 each. Very few people ever think of cleaning out
the well, but it should be done at least once a year, as it is surprising
the amount of rubbish, such as dead leaves and vegetation, gets into it.
The landlord of the house should undertake this, but it is generally
difficult to get him to do it without the tenant threatening to do it
himself and deduct the cost out of the rent. There are professional
well-cleaners in Northern India, who will do the work by contract. As a
rule, it takes about three days, as the well has to be pumped dry by
working the lifting wheel with relays of bullocks day and night, when a
man goes down and removes the accumulation of rubbish from the bottom.
Care should be taken to first lower down a lighted candle, or throw a
bundle of lighted straw down before any one is allowed to descend, as
there is frequently an accumulation of foul gas at the bottom, and I have
known more than one accident from neglect of this precaution. Unless I had
very good reason for knowing that the well had been lately cleaned, I
always had this done on going into a new house. If this is neglected, the
water during the rainy season is apt to get very foul, and I have known
severe outbreaks of illness from this cause both in men and animals.



Nothing is worse for horses than close, ill-ventilated stables, and in
India, where they are made out of such cheap material as mud and sun-dried
brick, there is no excuse for their being too small. In some of the newer
houses, stables are made out of burned brick; but I prefer the older ones
of mud or sun-dried brick, as the walls are generally thicker, and this
makes them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It is also of
importance that they should not be too low, but of the two evils I should
prefer a small stable with a lofty roof to a larger one with a low one,
provided there was ventilation in the top. Every stable should have a good
deep verandah round it; it not only keeps off the sun in the summer, but
is useful to put bedding, etc., in during the rain. If there is no
verandah, one can be easily made with the flat straw screens used by
natives, called "jamps," and bamboo supports. The doorways should be high
and wide, so that there is no danger of the horse hitting his hips or head
against it in going in and out. A fractured hip-bone is frequently caused
by horses rushing through narrow doorways, and a troublesome disease known
as "poll evil" is generally caused by striking the head against too low a
one. It is also well to have the sides of the door-posts rounded off, not
left at an angle. If there is no window at the back of the stable,
opposite the door, one should be made above the horse's head, and another
smaller one on a level with the floor, so as to allow the air to circulate
freely. If possible, avoid a draught, but always remember that it is
better to have plenty of fresh air and a draught than a stuffy stable
without one, as the horse can always be kept warm with extra clothing,
bandages, and bedding. Thatched roofs are much cooler in summer and warmer
in winter than the flat earthen ones that are generally used in Northern
India. Indian stables are almost always divided off into loose boxes, the
partition walls being continued up to the roof. I think they should be
only built high enough to prevent the horses teasing each other over them,
as if continued right up they interfere with the free circulation of the
air. If this cannot be done, on account of the partitions helping to
support the roof, a window should be knocked through in each. In South
Africa stables are usually simply a long shed with a manger running down
the back wall, without any partitions between the standings, and the
horses are simply tied up to a ring in the manger with the head rope. Cape
horses are, however, exceedingly quiet, and will stand still all day long.
They never seem to think of kicking or biting at each other like the
Indian country-bred does.


The plague of flies in the East, particularly during the rains, cannot be
realized in England, and if not protected against them, they will almost
worry horses to death. For this reason the doors and windows of the stable
should be fitted with "chicks," or mats, made out of split bamboos or
reeds, with interspaces between them, which allow of light and air passing
through, but which will keep the flies out. They are not very costly
articles, and add most materially to the comfort of the horse. If
carefully looked after, and not let flap about in the wind, they will last
for years with a very small annual expenditure for repairs.

Stable Floors.

The stable floor should be made of wet clay beaten down, and left to
thoroughly dry. This can be carried out by the "syces," and if thoroughly
done, they will last a good many months. I always make it a practice to
dig up the floors of stables in a new house, before they are occupied, a
foot and a half deep, and thoroughly renew it, and usually it is
astounding the amount of foul earth that has to be removed. I also have
the whole of the floor picked up and renewed once a year--for choice, at
the end of September or beginning of October, after the rains have
stopped. Any moisture should be at once removed, before it has time to
soak into the floor; or, if it has, the moist earth should be swept away
with a broom (jaru), made out of a number of pliable twigs tied together,
and fresh dry earth sprinkled over the top of it. A supply of dry powdered
earth should be kept outside each stable door in a box ready for use when
required. The ordinary earth that is in the compound will not do to make
floors out of, although "syces" will use it if allowed, as it is less
trouble to get than clay (kicher ke muttee), but it will not bind, and
when trodden on breaks up and wears into dust.

Charcoal (_khoalie_).

Although it looks dirty, powdered charcoal sprinkled over the floor has a
powerful effect as a deodorizer. The ashes of a wood fire do nearly as
well as charcoal for this purpose, and can be obtained anywhere, as wood
is universally used for fuel all over India. In some stables earthenware
vessels (chatties) are buried under the floor to catch the urine. This is
an abominable, filthy custom, and should never be permitted, as there is
no more certain cause of disease. Diseases of the feet, such as foul
smelling, suppurating frogs, thrush, and canker, are in the majority of
cases caused by horses standing on wet, filthy floors.


In the hot season horses should, if possible, be picketed out at night as
soon as it gets cool in the evening. It is the greatest relief to an
animal to be brought out of a hot stable into the open air, even if the
actual temperature is no less than indoors. If the flies or mosquitos are
troublesome, the nets sold for the purpose will keep them off. If the net
is not sufficient, a fire made out of the stable litter on the windward
side will drive them away, and horses do not mind smoke. It is as well to
have a regular standing made with mud, in the same way as the stable
flooring, as otherwise the ground soon gets broken up and foul. The
standing should be swept clean every morning, and mended in the same way
as the stable floors are.

Bedding (_bechalie_).

There is nothing better than clean straw for bedding, and it is a great
mistake to stint horses in it. If a good deep bed is given, they will lie
down and rest themselves, whereas, if there is not enough, and the floor
feels hard through it, they will walk about over it, and far more will be
wasted than if the horse was lying down on it. The bedding should be taken
up every morning, and any soiled straw removed. It should be well shaken
up and spread out in the sun to dry and air, and at night, when again put
down for use, a small quantity of fresh straw added to it. In wet weather
the bedding can be aired and dried in the verandah. All soiled straw and
droppings should be at once removed in a basket (tokrie), which should be
provided for the purpose; and it is wonderful, if this plan is adopted,
how little fresh straw is required to keep the horse constantly supplied
with a good bed; and nothing is more saving to the wear and tear of the
legs and feet than to get the animal to lie down at night. In Australia
and South Africa wheat or oat straw can be obtained, but in India rice
straw is generally used, or else the long elephant grass that grows on the
banks of rivers and swampy places. Both are good enough for the purpose,
only they are brittle, and more is required than when wheat straw is used,
as they quickly break up.

Sawdust (_burradah_).

In the north of India the deodar, or Himalayan cedar sawdust, can always
be obtained from any of the timber depôts on the banks of the large
rivers, almost for the expense of carting it away. It makes a good bed if
straw cannot be obtained, but is liable to stick to the horse and get in
under his coat if at all long, and gives much more work grooming. It is
also more troublesome to remove in the morning to air, and if any wind is
blowing a good deal gets wasted. If used, it is best to have it spread out
in one stall and leave it there, only using it at night, putting the horse
into another during the daytime. Any sawdust that gets damp or soiled
should be at once removed, as it very soon begins to smell badly.


Shavings of deodar or pine can also be obtained, but they require to be
carefully sorted out, as there are likely to be splinters in them, and in
lying down the horse may give himself a bad wound.

Sand (_ret_).

Sand can be obtained anywhere along the banks of the rivers; but it is
hard, and does not form a very yielding bed, and I should not use it if
anything else could be got. It requires to be sifted, to get rid of the
pebbles and stones it contains. If straw is scarce and sand has to be
used, the best plan is to put a layer of about a foot of sand over the
floor, and a thin layer of straw over it; this will make a much softer bed
than the sand alone.

Horses eating Bedding.

This is a trick some horses have, and from which they seldom can be cured.
It is generally the custom to put a muzzle (chik-na) on them at night; but
this, of course, stops their feeding at all. I prefer to bed them down
with sand, sawdust, or shavings, and leave them free to feed at night. If
a muzzle is used, it should be a wire one, not leather, as these get very
foul and dirty, and interfere with the horse's breathing, which the wire
one does not.


In India it is usual to exercise ordinary hacks, polo ponies, and harness
horses, not doing any special work, twice a day--morning and evening. The
length of time they are out, and the amount of ground they cover, is very
variable--in most cases depending on whether the "syce" is in a mood to
take exercise or not himself. They usually take horses out on the road to
the bazaar, or some favourite meeting-place; and it is not an uncommon
thing to see a couple of dozen horses, belonging to various people,
standing about, while their respective "syces" are sitting about, smoking
and discussing their masters and various bazaar topics of interest. Under
these circumstances the horses do not get much exercise; and many a
mysterious injury, that cannot be accounted for, is inflicted by their
kicking at each other while standing about in this manner. If the compound
is large enough, it is a good plan to make a ring with the stable litter
and have the horses exercised round it. You can then be certain they are
getting a fair amount of work; but a large ring is necessary, and if there
is a garden it spoils the compound. Furthermore, horses get into a very
careless, slovenly way of walking when led round and round in this
monotonous fashion daily. "Syces" generally lead horses at exercise, and
most horse-owners will not allow them to ride; but I think this is a
mistake, and if they can ride, I always allow them to do so. If they lead
the horse, he will go along in a listless fashion, and walk with his head
down, stumbling at every step; whereas, if he is ridden, he will carry his
head up and go in a much more lively and collected fashion, and it being
much pleasanter for the "syce" to ride than walk, the full amount of
exercise is more likely to be taken. "Syces" nearly always ride at
exercise bare-backed; but they should be made use a folded blanket as a
pad, kept in its place by a body-roller, as the anatomy of the native of
India is such that, without any protection, he is likely to give the horse
a sore back. They should also only be let use a snaffle bridle, as few
know how to handle a double one. When at exercise knee-caps should be
worn. These should be bought from a European saddler, and care be taken
that the top strap is fitted with a piece of indiarubber in the middle,
to allow of its giving with the motion of the limb. If there is not this
indiarubber spring, when the top strap is buckled tight enough to prevent
the cap slipping down, the motion will cause it to rub the skin at the
back of the knee; and I have seen some bad abrasions, that caused
temporary lameness, from this cause. If the top strap is buckled loose
enough to avoid this chafing, then the knee-cap won't stay up in its
proper place, if it has no spring. The country-made knee-caps sold by the
native saddlers seldom are fitted with it; and if they are they cannot be
relied on, as generally the indiarubber is bad and perished. The lower
strap of the knee-cap should be buckled quite loose, it being only
required to keep it down and prevent it flapping about; but "syces" are
very apt to draw it tight also, and if they do, it is pretty certain to
cut the skin.


Heel Ropes (_pecharie_).

If possible, horses should be left loose, which generally can be done in
India, as most of the stables are loose boxes. Sometimes it is necessary
to fasten them up, such as when picketed out at night in the hot weather
or on the march. There are several plans of picketing, each having its
advantages and disadvantages; but as these generally apply to military
animals, I will merely mention those commonly used in private stables. The
most common plan is to fasten the horse up with head and heel ropes, to
wooden pegs driven into the ground. Heel ropes (pecharie) consist of
either two ropes about twelve feet long, ending in a single one, so as to
be Y-shaped, the single one being fastened to a wooden peg (make) driven
into the ground, and the two arms to the horse's hind fetlocks by means of
leather straps, called "muzzumas." These straps are loops of rope covered
with leather, to one end of which the heel rope is tied, and into which
the hind foot is slipped, being secured by a flat leather thong wound
round the middle of it behind the fetlock joint to prevent its slipping
off. The strap is then of a fig. 8, or hour-glass shape, the heel rope
being tied in one loop, the foot placed in the other, the thong forming
the neck or constriction. These, I think, are the best form of leather
foot strap; but in buying them care should be taken that the stitching of
the leather is on the outside, as if it is on the inside, where natives
often put it, it is very likely to rub the skin and cause a bad cracked
heel. Another form of "muzzuma" is made out of stiff flat leather lined
with felt. This has a slip loop going round it, with a buckle on one side
and a strap on the other, that runs along the centre. The heel rope is
tied to one end, the foot put into the other, and when the strap is
buckled tightly, the running loop is drawn close up to the heel, so as to
keep the whole arrangement in its place. This form of "muzzuma" is the
usual kind sold; but it is objectionable, as the edges get stiff and hard,
and are likely to cut the heel, which the round ones do not. Both sorts of
leather "muzzumas" require to be kept soft and pliable with dubbing
(momrogan), which "syces" never think necessary. I, however, prefer those
made out of plaited hemp or tow. They are merely a band of loosely plaited
tow, about eighteen inches long, the heel rope being fastened to one end,
and secured by a string or tape just behind the fetlock; they are much
softer than the leather ones, and quite as strong. The disadvantage,
however, is that they soon wear out, but they are very cheap; in fact, the
"syces" can make them themselves out of the raw hemp or tow (sun). They
are used by many of the native cavalry regiments in India in preference to
the leather ones. The heel ropes can be made out of one long rope doubled,
a "muzzuma" fastened to each free end, and the doubled portion to a
tent-peg. When heel ropes are used, one should be put on each hind leg; it
is dangerous to only put on one, and I have seen more than one fractured
thigh caused by this. If the heel ropes are on both hind legs, and the
horse kicks, he has to do so straight into the air, as there is equal
restraint on both; but if there is only one, the unequal check of the
single rope is likely to cause a fracture. If allowed, "syces" will always
pull the heel ropes so tight as to stretch the horse out; they should be
loose enough to allow him to stand in a natural position.

Head Ropes (_aghari_).

Head ropes should be fastened to the ring on the head collar (nukta) under
the chin. There should either be two separate ropes, one end of each
fastened to the ring, or one long one doubled in the middle, the central
portion fastened to the ring, and the two ends to two wooden pegs driven
into the ground about three or four feet on each side of the horse's head.
If only a single rope is used, it must, naturally, be fastened to a peg
straight in front, and, to allow the horse to move his head up and down,
must be loose. When fastened in this way he is exceedingly likely to get
his fore leg over the rope and get hung up in it, a nasty wound in the
heel or at the back of the knee being the result, if nothing worse;
whereas, if the ropes are pegged out on each side, he can move about
freely, and it would be difficult for him to get his leg over them. Both
head and heel ropes should be made of hemp; the cotton rope used in India
for most purposes is not strong enough, and soon breaks and wears out. In
Peshawur and along the north-west frontier, a rope is made of goat hair
that is very strong, and is excellent for this purpose. It is somewhat
more expensive than ordinary rope, but with care will last a long time,
and will amply repay itself. Both head and heel ropes should be tied to
the pegs in a slipknot, so that with a single pull horses can be set free
when necessary. "Syces" will usually tie them in a jam-knot, and horses
struggling to get loose when frightened very often badly injure themselves
before they can be set free.

Fetlock Picketing.

A method of picketing horses was introduced into the Indian army some
years ago, by dispensing with head ropes and using a short chain shackle
about three feet long, buckled round one of the fore fetlocks, and
fastened to a peg driven into the ground. This was chiefly done with the
object of reducing the weight carried, and with animals used for military
purposes, doubtless fulfilled the purpose, but in a private stable I fail
to see its advantages over the other plan.

Picketing Posts.

When horses are picketed outside the stable, and there is space enough,
picketing posts are the most preferable method, as they allow greater
freedom than any other. A stout smooth post, about five or six inches in
diameter, is driven several feet into the ground, so that it is five or
six feet above the surface, a strong iron ring is slipped over it, and to
this the head rope is made fast; no heel ropes are used, and the horse can
move round it as he pleases. The post must be smooth, so that there is
nothing for the ring to catch in, and when put into the ground the point
should be put into the fire and charred, or covered with kerosene oil, to
keep off the white ants. It will also have to be examined occasionally to
see that it is not damaged or rotten. The only drawback to this plan is
that, if there are several horses, a considerable space is necessary, as
they must be far enough apart to prevent their kicking at each other.


In South Africa and the colonies horses are picketed by the method known
as "ringing," the head rope of one being fastened to the head collar of
the next, and so on, till the head rope of the last is in its turn
fastened to the head collar of the first, their heads forming a ring
looking inwards. Colonial horses will stand like this for hours together;
but they are very quiet, and behave in a different way to the Indian
country-bred. I have seen the same plan used in a cavalry regiment of the
Italian army on the march near Milan.


In South Africa head ropes are made of prepared raw hide called "rheims."
They are prepared by the Kaffir women out of raw ox hide, and are very
strong and supple, and are excellent for the purpose.


Knee-haltering is also a South African plan of securing horses when turned
out to graze. The fore leg is lifted up, so that the forearm from the
elbow to the knee is parallel to the ground. The head rope, or "rheim," is
then fastened above the knee, the head being pulled a little downwards.
The horse is then turned out to graze on the veldt, and when his head is
down feeding he can use his limbs and walk about as he likes, but as soon
as he puts up his head to trot or gallop the fore leg is pulled up, and he
has only three to go on, and can easily be caught.

Shackles (_bheri_).

The natives of India use iron shackles, much like handcuffs, to fasten
with a key round both fore fetlocks of horses when turned out loose; but
they are not a desirable invention, and in young animals are very likely
to cause ringbones. But this, I think, is on account of their clumsy shape
and being constantly worn, as I believe shackles made out of round iron
that shut with a spring were used by the Canadian mounted police at one
time when turning their horses out, and they found they did not chafe and
rub so much as leather ones did. It was found that even moving through the
wet grass the steel hobbles were polished, kept bright, and required no
attention, whereas the leather ones perished and became hard, and gave
constant trouble unless carefully looked after. I have never tried this
plan myself, for I have found the Cape system of knee-haltering when
turning animals out to graze the best I have yet come across.

Picketing-pegs (_make_).

Picketing-pegs should be made out of hard wood about eighteen inches to
two feet long; iron ones are dangerous. They should be driven into the
ground in a slanting direction, the point towards and the head away from
the animal, to resist the strain on it. If there are no tent-pegs, or the
ground is so soft that there is no holding for them, a hole a couple of
feet deep can be dug, and a bundle of straw or a couple of tent-pegs tied
crossways buried in it, the earth trodden down, and the rope brought out
at the surface. This will give ample holding, and may be practically
tested, for although a vertical pull will easily bring it up, the
strongest man will fail to move it if the strain is horizontal.

Leading-ropes (_bagh durie_).

Leading-ropes are things that ruin half the horses' mouths in India, and I
never let such a thing into the stable. If they are used as they were
originally intended to be, that is, buckled into the ring of the snaffle
or watering bridle to lead the horse with, they do no harm; but it is
impossible to prevent "syces" from passing them over the head and then
back through both rings, so as to form a gag, and this they hang on to. I
always make them use a leading-chain, which is a leather strap with about
a foot of chain and a snap-hook at the end of it. The hook fastens into
the ring of the snaffle, and they cannot well pass the strap over the head
to turn it into a gag. It seems impossible to teach a "syce" how to lead a
horse in a watering bridle, and I find these chains the best compromise.

Brushes and Gear.

The grooming utensils required in an Indian stable are very simple: a
horse-brush, curry-comb, bucket, some dusters, and a hoof-picker, being
the sum total; but only one of these last is required among five or six
horses. It is best to get English bristle brushes, they last out two of
the native fibre ones, and are very little more expensive. Good
horse-brushes are made by several firms in Cawnpore, and, of course, when
a large number are used, the saving is considerable if the country-made
article is bought, but where only a small number are required, this is a
false economy.


These an Indian "syce" cannot get on without, and although he only uses it
to wear out the brush, still, after all, it does not do so very much harm;
but a bad, lazy man, if he is not prevented, will use it to scrape the
dirt off the horse with. Country-breds are generally very thin-skinned,
and feel the comb very much if scarified with it, as the "syce" is very
fond of doing; and I am positive that this practice in many cases has to
account for much of the proverbial bad temper of these animals. The
curry-comb should never be put on the horse's body at all, and in reality
it is useless. If it can be managed, it is best not to give the "syces"
such things, the only use of them being to clean the brush with, and this
can be done just as well with the palm of the left hand, and the brush
does not wear out so quickly; but it is the custom to use the comb, and it
is hard to prevent it.

Buckets (_balti_).

Buckets can be bought anywhere. Zinc ones are better than tin, although
perhaps a little more expensive; one should be provided for each horse.

Dusters (_jharans_).

Dusters are things that native servants of every sort seem to consume in
enormous quantities, and unless some check is put on it, the number used
at the end of the month will be astonishing. Either the old one should be
produced before another is given, or else some contract be given to them
to provide them for themselves; but the former plan is the best; if the
contract system is adopted, filthy rags will be used. They are luckily
exceedingly cheap, and are made nearly everywhere.

Hoof-picker (_sum khodna_).

A hoof-picker can be made out of almost any piece of rod-iron, and one
should be hung up in every stable. One for every four or five horses is

Clothing (_gurdaine_).

In Northern India, if horses are not clipped they require in the winter at
least two thick rugs, and if they are clipped an extra one, as the climate
from November to the end of February is bitterly cold. The ordinary
country clothing, made out of "mundah," and sold in the bazaars, called
"jhools," keeps horses warm and answers its purpose, and is cheap--a rug
of this material costing about Rs. 3; but I think myself that it is false
economy to get it, and that the horse-clothing made at the Muir or Elgin
mills at Cawnpore, or the Egerton mills at Dhariwal, in the Punjab,
although perhaps at first somewhat more expensive, will in the end be
found the cheapest, as with care one suit of this will last many years,
whereas the country clothing is seldom much good after a second winter's
wear. This clothing is made in all sorts of colours, and turned out in
suits, and is every bit as good as English manufactured. Country blankets
(kumbal) can also be got; and the condemned soldiers' blankets, that are
periodically sold by the military authorities, make excellent horse-rugs.
I always think it best to get regular horse-clothing shaped and pieced out
at the neck to buckle across the chest, or, at all events, to have one rug
like this, even if the rest are ordinary square blankets, as the shaped
clothing protects the front of the chest, which the square blanket will
not do. The blanket can be used in the daytime, and the rug on the top at
night, buckling across the chest, as leaving this part of the body exposed
is a fruitful source of coughs and colds. Aprons, breast-pieces, and
quarter-cords are seldom seen in India, except on race horses, and then
only as a fancy matter.

Hoods (_khansilla_).

Hoods with hacks, harness horses, and polo ponies are not often required;
but if horses are sensitive to cold, particularly if they are standing out
at night, they are no doubt a great protection. They are made up of the
same material as the country "jhool," and they also can be got to match
the clothing made at any of the woollen mills. In any case it is a good
thing to have a spare hood in the stable, even if it is not habitually
used, as when a horse begins to cough if at once put on a severe cold is
often averted.

Body-rollers (_paities_, or _farakis_).

Body-rollers are sold in the bazaar shops of native manufacture, but are
most flimsy, and I strongly advise that either English ones, or else those
made by any of the manufacturers of leather goods at Cawnpore, which are
nearly as good as English ones, be used, although they may at first be a
little more expensive. The common country rollers are always breaking, and
never being properly stuffed, the webbing in the centre of the two pads
presses on the ridge of the spine when the roller is buckled up. There is
no more fruitful cause of sore backs than this, especially if horses are
at all thin and standing out in the open. "Syces" have a trick of pulling
up the straps of the roller as tight as possible, and if it gets wet with
the dew or rain it shrinks up, and the tight webbing cuts and pinches the
skin over the backbone, causing a sore back. With a properly made roller
the pressure is taken on the sides of the back by the two pads, and the
webbing does not come in contact with the skin at all. In any case, if the
horses are standing out in the open at night, it is always advisable to go
round the last thing and let the roller out a hole or two. If country
rollers are used, direct pressure of the webbing on the spine can be taken
off by putting a folded up duster or a handful of straw under it. If the
back has been pinched or rubbed the roller should be left off, and the
blankets or clothing kept in their place by a couple of tapes or pieces of
string stitched to the edge of each and tied under the body.

Bandages (_puttie_).

Woollen bandages on the legs greatly add to the horse's comfort when
standing out on a cold night. The ordinary ones sold in the bazaar answer
well enough, only they are generally a little too wide and not long
enough. The bandage should be put on commencing from below and finishing
under the knee or hock, and not in the reverse direction, commencing
above, as is often done. The tapes should be tied in a bow outside. What
is known as the Newmarket bandage, made out of a semi-elastic woollen
material, is an excellent one. It stretches somewhat when put on the leg,
and gives it support. They, however, are somewhat expensive--about Rs. 4
a set--but with ordinary care will outlast several pairs of country ones.
A good bandage is made by the Muir Mills Company at Cawnpore out of the
cotton webbing called "newar"; they are very cheap and good, but are not
so warm as the cotton ones.

Summer Clothing.

This is rather a superfluity, and, unless with race horses, is not usually
indulged in, for at the time it could be worn it generally is so hot that
the less the horse has on him the better. Usually one of the blankets used
in the winter is kept to throw over him when standing about, or when
walking back from work. Drill summer clothing can be obtained at any of
the woollen mills in India in a variety of patterns, or a native tailor
(durzie) will make it up in your own verandah if you give him a pattern.
At least two suits per horse are required, as it very soon gets dirty in
the warm season and requires washing.

Eye Fringes (_makieara_).

Eye fringes are absolutely necessary in India, and are used in parts of
Australia to protect the eyes from the flies. They are fastened on to the
cheek strap of the head collar with a small tab and button-hole in place
of a brow band, and have a fringe of either leather or cotton cords that
hang down over the eyes halfway to the nose. I prefer the cord ones; the
fringes are always flat and in contact with the face, whereas the leather
ones are liable to curl up at the ends and allow the flies to get
underneath. The cotton ones are easier mended than the leather.

Fly Whisks (_chaurie_).

I always give each "syce" a fly whisk to keep flies off the horse while at
exercise, or when he is holding him anywhere. They are very cheap, last a
long time, and if not provided, the "syce" will arm himself with a dirty
duster or rag of some sort for the purpose. I may, perhaps, be too
sensitive on this point, but to see a dirty rag flourished about an
otherwise well-turned-out animal is to me a great eyesore.

Cleaning Horse Clothing, and Storing it in the Summer.

It never enters the head of a "syce" that clothing requires to be cleaned.
It should be frequently hung out in the sun and well beaten with a stick,
like a carpet is, and then well brushed on both sides with a stiff
clothes-brush. If necessary, it should be laid out flat and scrubbed with
a brush and soap and water, rinsed out with cold water, as hot will make
it shrink, and then, when dry again, beaten and brushed. The straps on
pieced rugs should have some dubbing (momrogan) now and again rubbed into
them, to prevent their getting hard and the leather perishing. Summer
clothing should be sent to the washerman (dhobie) to be washed. During the
summer months woollen clothing should be first cleaned, and then folded up
and put away, some camphor, pepper, and leaves of the "neem" tree, that
grows in every garden in Northern India, being placed between the folds to
keep off the moths. They should be folded away on the top of a box, board,
or table, or somewhere raised off the ground, to be out of the way of the
white ants, and once a week be unfolded and hung out in the sun to air for
a few hours, folded up, and stored away again. There is no occasion to
waste the spices that are with them; if they are carefully unfolded over
some newspapers, the whole can be collected and used again.


If used at all, felt numdahs should have a plain edge, and not be bound
with coloured tape, as they so often are; particularly the cheaper ones,
that are sold by native saddlers. I have frequently seen sore backs
caused by this tape binding, as well as the hair in white horses
discoloured by the edge. When put on, the numdah should be well pulled up
into the arch of the saddle, particularly in front. The common practice is
to put the numdah flat on the back, and then the saddle on the top of it,
so that when the weight comes on it, the numdah gets tight and is
stretched, and is a common cause of sore backs and galled withers. When
taken off the horse's back, the numdah should be spread out in the sun to
dry; it should then be beaten with a stick and brushed with a hard brush
to get the dry caked perspiration out of it, and to bring the nap of the
felt up again. If this is not done it will get as hard as a board, and
neglected numdahs are certain to give sore backs. If the saddle is
properly stuffed and fitted to the horse's back, a numdah is not required,
the only use of it being to save the lining of the saddle, and for this
purpose I prefer a leather one.

Grooming (_malish_).

Grooming is an art that native grooms excel in. They have infinite
patience, and their long supple fingers are peculiarly adapted for the
work. They, furthermore, are used to it, for every Oriental is an adept
at shampooing or massage, constantly doing it to their own limbs and those
of their friends. When the horse comes in from work the bridle should be
taken off him, hung up on a peg, and a watering bridle put into his mouth,
the stirrup irons run up to the top of the leathers, and the girths
slackened. If there is a breast-plate it can be taken off, but the saddle
should not be removed till the back gets cool. According to the season of
the year, a light or warm rug should be thrown over the quarters, and the
horse walked about till he gets cool. If there is much mud sticking on
him, it can be rubbed off with a wisp of straw before the brush is used.
Horses should not be washed, or, if they are, only under very exceptional
circumstances, when specially ordered. It is, however, a favourite
practice among "syces," as it saves a good deal of trouble; and it is much
easier to wash off mud and dirt than to remove it with the brush, as ought
to be done; they are also very apt to use the curry-comb for this purpose.
When the horse is cool he should be gone over with the brush, to remove
what dirt is remaining, and when this is finished the process should be
repeated with the hands, the palm and bend of the wrist being used for
this purpose. If it is the hot weather, the grooming had best be done
out-of-doors; but in winter it is best to do it in the stable, as in
Northern India there is a cold wind blowing even in the middle of the day,
and if exposed to it horses are liable to catch cold. As soon as the
grooming is finished, which with a clipped horse can be done in about half
an hour, the clothing and bandages should be put on, and, if it is
evening, the bed put down. Even if not worked, this process of grooming
should take place twice a day--before the morning and evening feed.

Wisps and Grooming Pads.

Straw wisps or leather pads are particularly useful in developing the
muscle of a thin animal, or bringing the skin into order when it has been
neglected. The wisps are made by twisting some of the bedding straw
together into a rope about three feet long. This is then doubled in the
middle and again twisted, so as to form a flat pad. Two of these wisps are
used, one in each hand, and they are alternately brought down with a
slight slap and drawing motion in the direction of the hair, the whole
body being massaged with them. It is sometimes a good plan, if there is
much dirt in the coat, to cover the pad with a damp duster; the dirt
seems to stick to it. This is particularly useful when horses are changing
their coats; the hair sticks to the damp cloth, and the old coat is
brought out quicker than it otherwise would be. The grooming pads are used
in the same way. They are two circles of leather about four or five inches
in diameter, joined together with a strip of chamois leather about three
inches wide, so as to form a pad or cushion, that is stuffed with tow. On
one side a piece of leather or webbing is stitched at each end,
sufficiently loose to allow the hand to be slipped under it in the same
way as the horse brush. Two of these pads are used, and the skin beaten or
massaged by each hand alternately. Although, perhaps, at first horses are
fidgety, when they get used to it they appear to enjoy it; and it has the
advantage of letting the owner know, if he is not in sight, that the
"syce" is working by the noise he makes.


If horses are inclined to get filled on swollen legs, the tendons should
be well hand-rubbed for five minutes at each grooming hour. This
hand-rubbing should commence from the lower portion of the limb and be
continued upwards, not in the reverse direction, which is the usual
practice. The limb should be lifted up, and the fingers worked with a
kneading motion behind the tendons.


The feet, mane and tail are the only parts that should ever be washed,
unless specially ordered, and then as seldom as possible. When the feet
are washed, great care should be taken that they are carefully dried
afterwards, and bandages put on, as leaving the legs wet is one of the
chief causes of cracked heels, more especially in the winter months, if
there is a dry cold wind blowing. If soap is used, it should be soft-soap;
or, better still, the soap nut, or "reita." This is a berry, the shell or
outer covering of which, when soaked in water, swells up into a sticky
mass, that lathers like soap, and by natives of India is used for washing

Uneven Manes.

When the mane gets ragged and uneven, it should be carefully brushed down
four or five times a day with a damp water brush, to make it lie flat. The
long hairs on the under side next the neck should be pulled out, so that
the mane is thinned, and the lower part lies in a perfect curve along the
neck. Some horses object, and are a little troublesome during this
process; but, if it is done gradually, it can be easily accomplished. The
long hairs in the mane should never be cut, unless it is intended to clip
it off altogether, and make it into a "hogged" mane. If the mane will not
lie down flat with an even sweep, it can be covered with a cake of mud for
four or five days, when it should be removed, and renewed if necessary.
Being dry, it will crack, and the pieces can be easily knocked off, and
the dust brushed out. The mud cake generally has the desired effect after
having been applied four or five times.

Hogged Manes.

The manes of polo ponies and cobs it is the fashion to "hog," or cut off
close to the neck. It is best to leave the forelock, as it gives a certain
protection against the flies and glare of the sun; also, to leave a lock
of hair on the wither, to grasp with the hand when mounting. The best
implement to hog a mane with is a pair of ordinary horse-clippers, but
don't use a new pair, or they will get spoiled; old ones that are no use
for the rest of the body, do well enough. It is best to sit on the
animal's back when the mane is being hogged, and to cut forwards; the
hair will be cut much smoother, and a neater job made of it than when
standing on the ground at the side.

Ragged Legs.

If the horse is not clipped, the long hairs at the back of the legs look
very unsightly. They should be pulled out, not cut off. If a little
powdered resin is rubbed on the finger and thumb, the hair will stick to
it, and come out much more easily, and the legs will have a smooth, even
appearance, which can never be attained if they are cut off with scissors,
no matter how carefully this is done; there will always be jagged ridges
left. The long hairs under the jowl can be singed off by passing a lighted
candle under the jaw once or twice. If the horse is at all frightened at
the candle, he can be blindfolded; but the operation is so quick, that
generally it is all over before he is aware of what is being done. The
long hairs on the muzzle and chin can be clipped off with a pair of
ordinary scissors. If the horse is not clipped all over, attention to
these one or two little details make all the difference in his appearance,
and in his being turned out smart, or the reverse.

Trimming Tails.

The tail should be grasped close to the root with one hand, which is run
down so that the hairs are all gathered together, and a string or tape
tied round below the fleshy part at the tip. The tail should then be drawn
out straight, and the hair cut off with a single sweep of a sharp knife
just below where the string is tied. The blade of the knife must be long
enough to give a drawing sweep, which an ordinary pocket-knife will not
do. There is nothing better for this than a sharp native sword, or
"tulwar," as it is long enough to cut through all the hair at one stroke;
or, failing a sword, a sharp carving-knife will do, the longer in the
blade the better. Any uneven ends of hair that remain can afterwards be
trimmed off with a pair of scissors; or, better still, by a pair of sheep
shears. Tail-cutting machines are sold with an arrangement to fix the hair
of the tail with a clamp, on which there is a sliding cutting-blade. These
cut the hair off very smoothly and evenly; the only drawback is that they
are somewhat expensive, costing about Rs. 16 in Calcutta or Bombay.


Arabs and many country-breds carry such fine coats that they do not
require clipping, but most Australians and colonials do; and if the coat
is at all inclined to get long and thick, it certainly should be taken
off, for horse-clothing is so cheap that an extra rug can always be got.
Horses should not be clipped till the coat has "set," _i.e._ till the long
winter coat has grown, and no more hairs will come off when the hand is
rubbed over the skin. This is generally about the beginning of October in
Northern India. They will generally require clipping twice or three times
during the winter, or up to the middle of March. There are generally some
professional clippers in every station, who bring their own
clipping-machines, and charge about two or three rupees for a pony, and an
extra rupee for a horse each time; or, if there is not such an individual
about, permission can generally be obtained to have it done by any of the
cavalry regiments in the station. It should be remembered that horses
having just lost their coats will require an extra rug that night.

Cleaning the Sheath.

The owner must himself occasionally see that the horse's sheath is washed
out. "Syces" never think this necessary, and the part gets into a filthy,
dirty state, that in the summer months is likely to give rise to a
troublesome sore, called a "bursattee" ulcer. Some horses are very
troublesome to do this with, and it may be necessary to put on a twitch
("kinch mhal"); but this should always be done in the owner's presence.

Light in Stables.

With a new-comer, "syces" usually ask for oil to burn in a native
earthenware lamp (charragh) at night, but it is a thing I never allow. In
the first place, even if the lamp was kept burning, it is not required;
horses rest better in the dark. In the second, it is dangerous with so
much inflammable material about. In the third, the lamp will not be used
in the stable, but the "syce's" own house. If a light is ever required,
which is only on rare occasions, it is better to bring a lantern out of
the house; and in India there is always a hurricane-lantern to be found in
every house.

Fires in Verandahs.

"Syces" are very fond of lighting fires and making cooking places in the
verandah of the stable, but this I never allow, as it litters the place up
with cooking pots, and makes a great mess; also, it is dangerous. I always
make them carry on their cooking operations in the verandahs of their own


Saddles (_zin_) and Harness (_saz_).

Saddles, harness, and all leatherwork requires a good deal more care and
attention in India than in England, especially during the hot season, when
the fierce dry heat will dry up and perish all sorts of leather; and in
the rains, especially in Southern India, where the atmosphere is so loaded
with moisture that leather, put on one side and neglected for a very few
days, soon becomes covered with mildew. There are no saddle rooms in
Indian stables, and it is usual to keep them in a corner of a room in the
house on a wooden saddle-stand, called by natives a "ghorra" horse. In the
rains, a pan or brazier of burning charcoal should be kept in the room for
a few hours daily, if there is not a fire-place. Saddles are cleaned in
the same way as in England, and excellent saddle soap and dubbing is made
by the North-west Province Soap Works at Meerut, and can be obtained
almost anywhere. If this is not used, the "syces" can always make up
dubbing of their own, called "momrogan." Some people give their head
"syce" a monthly allowance to provide dubbing, soap, bathbrick, oil, etc.;
but as they frequently put lime and bleaching materials with it, I prefer
to buy it myself, and let them get the other articles. They require a
chamoise leather and a burnisher for steel-work, but one of each will do
for a stable of half a dozen horses, and very good country-made leathers
(sabur) can be got for from one to one and a half rupees. The soap is put
on to and rubbed into leather-work with the hands; but the great fault
they have is that they will put on too much, and won't work it in enough,
and one's breeches and hands will get into a great mess.

Saddle Covers (_buk bund_).

A sheet, made out of a description of coarse country cloth (karwah), is
necessary for each saddle or set of harness, to wrap it up in, and keep
the dust and dirt off. It should be sufficiently large to wrap the saddle
up in completely, and in the summer the "syce" can bring it with him to
act as a horse-cloth to throw over the quarters when standing about.
These saddle-sheets can be made by any tailor in a few hours.


Bridles, double (dahna), snaffle (kazai), can be hung up on the walls, but
a piece of cloth or a few sheets of paper should be fastened up behind
them; and they should be frequently taken down if not in daily use, as the
white ants are most destructive. It is best to have one or two extra
saddle-stands made with pegs on them, and to hang the bridles on them in
the middle of the room, away from the walls. This may be a little more
expensive, but a saddle-stand can be brought for Rs. 5 that will hold a
couple of dozen bridles, worth Rs. 20 apiece. At one time plated bits were
used in India, but I think steel ones are the best. "Syces" never can tell
the difference, and I have more than once found a plated bit being
industriously scrubbed and polished with sand.


Unless particularly desired, brown harness with brass mounts is the
best--for India, at all events--for pony-harness, and it is this class of
animal that is generally used in an up-country station. Not one "syce" in
a hundred knows how to clean black harness properly, and if this is not
done nothing looks worse, whereas almost any native can clean brown
leather after a fashion, and even if it does not stand close inspection,
it will pass muster at a little distance. Fairly good brown harness is
made out of country leather, and it does well enough for rough work, but
it never has the finish of English. Country leather reins and country bits
should never be used; they are not reliable, and are most dangerous; these
should always be English.


The ordinary two-wheeled pony-trap or dogcart, used in an up-country
Indian station, is best varnished, not painted. The hot weather ruins
paint, and, unless in some of the very large towns, it is nearly
impossible to get them properly repainted again. Any native workman can,
however, varnish a trap with white or copal varnish. Before allowing new
varnish to be put on, the trap should be produced for inspection with the
old scraped off, as it is a favourite trick to daub new varnish over the
old, when it cannot properly set, and the first hot sun cracks and
blisters it. In the hot weather a large earthen basin, called a "naund,"
should be kept full of water under the carriage in the coach-house; the
evaporation of the water will keep the woodwork moist, and prevent its
cracking with the heat. A matting made of the fibres of the "khus khus,"
or lemon grass, should also be put round the nave of the wheel, and kept
wet, for the same purpose, as it is exceedingly likely to crack with the
heat. The shafts of the trap should not be left resting on the ground, as
they will warp and bend; they should be supported either by a wooden
trestle, or else by a couple of ropes from the beams of the roof. The
whip, when not in use, should be hung by a string at the upper part to a
nail in the wall, and a weight, such as a brick, tied to the butt end to
keep it straight; otherwise, in a very short time, it will get crooked.


Indian "syces" are different to English grooms, as the new arrival will
soon find. They have peculiar customs of their own, which, like all
Orientals, they cling to tenaciously, and will not give up. If they are
understood they are easily managed, and work well; but if not, the
horse-owner's life is a burden to him, for no European can overcome the
passive resistance of the Oriental. In the first place, I never let any
of the house servants interfere with the stable. Many persons,
particularly those new to the country, do everything through their head
servant, or "bearer"; but I make him stick to his own work, which is the
control of the house and the house servants. I pick out one of the best
and sharpest of the "syces," changing him till I get a good man, making
him the head or "jemedar syce," and paying him a rupee a month more wages
than the rest; and he is responsible for everything connected with the
horses, and any small bills I pay to him, and him alone. The wages I pay
myself to each man regularly on the seventh of the month, for the month
previously. I never lift my hand to a servant, or fine him under any
pretext, as the fine will only be made up out of the horse's grain, but,
if fault has to be found, I do so in the presence of the head man; on the
second occasion a warning is given, and on the third the offender is
dismissed on the spot. I always keep a "syce" and a "grass-cutter" for
each horse. It is possible to get a "syce" and two "grass-cutters" to look
after two horses, by paying the "syce" a rupee a month more; but the
arrangement is not satisfactory, although many do it. If the "syce" gets
ill, which they often do, there is no one to do his work, whereas, if
there is a man to each horse, they will arrange the extra work among
themselves. In Northern India "syces" and "grass-cutters" should be
provided with warm woollen clothes in the winter. An excellent cloth for
the purpose is made by the various woollen mills, and at most of them
servant's clothes can be bought ready made up; but it is best to give the
men the materials and let them get them made up themselves, otherwise
there is certain to be something wrong with them. A "syce's" coat costs
about Rs. 4, and a "grass-cutter's," which is made out of a coarse
blanketing, Rs. 3; and these coats should last for two winters' wear. In
addition, I used to give each man a "coolie" blanket that cost Rs. 3, and
which would last three winters; and, if they had to go out much into camp,
such as taking horses out to meet me on shooting or pig-sticking
expeditions, a pair of woollen leg-bandages, or "putties." It is a mistake
not to give servants warm clothes, and a false economy, as, if they are
not properly protected against the cold, which is very severe in Northern
India, they are everlastingly getting fever; and I know no greater
nuisance than having your head man laid up for two or three days at a
stretch. In the second place, if they have not warm clothes themselves,
you can never tell if in the night they will not take the clothing off the
horses to wrap themselves up in. A constant source of squabbling amongst
Indian servants is the allotment of their huts or houses. In the older
Indian bungalows there is usually enough of both these and stabling, but
in the newer ones there is not. It is best, however, not to listen to any
such complaints, and somehow the disputants settle the knotty point
themselves. Every now and again it is advisable to see who is living in
your compound, as a most enormous number of relations will turn up, who
are known as brothers (bhai); and if you don't look out, you will find you
are giving shelter on your premises to several hundred individuals. Indian
servants are always asking leave to attend weddings, funerals, and
religious ceremonies; and I always allow them to go, provided some
arrangement is made to carry on their work. They are clannish in the
extreme, and a substitute was always forthcoming. In the hills
"grass-cutters" are not required, as grass can be bought in the bazaars.
The country people look on the sale of this as a vested right, and
naturally resent any outsider cutting it or interfering with them; and, if
they do, there is pretty certain to be a disturbance and unpleasantness.
If "grass-cutters" are preferred to purchasing the daily supply, local
hillmen should be employed, who will arrange the matter with their
neighbours, and not men brought up from the plains of India. In most hill
stations passes or licences have to be obtained to cut grass. In every
Indian station there is an official price-list of country produce
published, and should any dispute arise as to the rates charged, it is as
well to obtain it from the native magistrate (tehsildar), whose decision
in such matters is usually accepted as final, and which generally saves an
immense amount of trouble.


Shoeing (_nāl bundie_).

Shoeing is a subject on which a volume might be written of itself, far
beyond the scope of this little work, and for further information on the
art I would refer the reader to the treatises by Dr. Flemming and W.
Hunting, Esq.; but as both these deal with European practice, I will only
mention a few differences in the art as performed by the native smith, or
"nāl bund." In most large military stations where there are European
troops, permission can generally be obtained to have horses shod at the
regimental forge, but in out-of-the-way places the native artist has to be
employed. All horses require shoeing at least once a month, and some
oftener, as with some the horn grows quicker than others, and the hoof
requires to be shortened oftener. In these cases, if the shoe is not worn
out at the toe, it can be replaced after the foot is shortened; this is
what the English smith calls "a remove," the native "khol bundi." It is
advisable after work to lift up the foot and look if the shoes (nāl)
have shifted or not, also to examine the clench or point of the nail
(preg) where it has been turned over, as it sometimes gets turned up and
sticks out. If this happens on the inside of the hoof it is likely to cut
the opposite fetlock (mawah lagna), and make a bad wound that may leave a
permanent scar or blemish. Some horses, from bad formation, move their
limbs so closely together that they always rub the fetlock joints when
they move. This sometimes can be corrected by what is known as a brushing
shoe; but some badly-shaped animals will always do it, no matter what sort
of shoe is put on. Various forms of pads or brushing boots are sold to
prevent this and protect the part; but, in my opinion, what is known as
the Irish boot is the best. It consists of a thick piece of blanket, or
"mundah," about six inches wide and the length of the circumference of the
leg. This is fastened round the fetlock with a tape or string so that the
ends are in the middle line of the leg behind, the upper half being
doubled over the string so that there are two thicknesses to protect the
fetlock joint. I have found this far better than the more elaborate
contrivances sold; it is cheap--any one can make one in a few minutes--it
does not collect mud and dirt like the others do, and it does not become
hard like those boots made out of leather, which, unless carefully looked
to and kept soft with soap (sabon) or dubbing (momrogan), are liable to
cut horses badly. The only care required in putting on the Irish boot is
not to tie it too tight, or the tapes may cut the skin. Some pieces of
horn hanging loose, that are being cast off from the sole and frog in the
natural process of growth, are often seen. These are very likely to
collect dirt and moisture, and if they do they should be removed, but
otherwise be left alone. They can generally be pulled off with the
fingers, a piece of stick, or the hoof-picker. As a rule, in the plains of
India the majority of horses do not require shoes on their hind feet,
unless the roads are mended with stone, or the climate is very damp and
the horn gets soft. In the rainy season, if much work is being done, they
perhaps then require shoeing behind, but in the dry season the majority go
just as well without. In the hills, where the paths are rocky and stony,
horses, of course, require shoeing behind. Unlike the European, the native
smith shoes what is called "cold," that is, he has a number of shoes in
sizes from which he selects one as near a fit as possible, which he
hammers into shape on a small anvil without heating it. Native shoes are
generally perfectly plain, _i.e._ flat on both sides, and, unless
specially made, are never "seated," _i.e._ sloped on the foot surface, or
"bevelled," _i.e._ sloped on the ground surface. As a rule, the nail-holes
are what the smith calls too fine, _i.e._ they are too near the outer rim
of the iron, and to get a hold the shoe has to be brought back so that the
horn projects over the iron. To obviate this the smith removes the toe
with the rasp, thus weakening the horn at the very place where it is
required to be strong. The shoes are generally somewhat too small also,
and to get the nail to take hold they have to be set back in the same way
as when the nail-holes are too fine. A native smith, unless he has been
shown how, never knows how to turn down the point of the nail after it has
been driven through the hoof to form the clench; he never cuts off the
superfluous part, but turns it round in a curl with the pincers, and,
needless to say, this is exceedingly likely to cause brushing. Another
great fault is his fondness of pairing and slicing away the frog and sole,
which he will have to be stopped in doing. I have seldom seen a horse
pricked in shoeing by a native, but if left to themselves they never get
the bearing true, and as a result corns are of common occurrence. Of
course, such light shoes as those of native manufacture have not a great
lot of wear in them, and in heavy, holding ground would pull off, but on
the hard level plains of India they last well enough, and the native
smith, if his faults are known and corrected, is not a bad workman after
his own lights.


ADARWAH, _parched barley_.

AGHARI, _a head rope_.

AKH-TA, _a gelding_.

BAD HAZMIE, _indigestion_, _dyspepsia_.

BAGH, _rein_.

BAGH DORIE, _leading-rope_.

BAJARA, _millet seed_.

BALTI, _bucket_.

BANIAH, _corn-dealer_.

BĀNS, _bamboo_.

BHAI, _brother_, _relative_.

BHERIE, _iron shackles for horse's legs_.

BHESTIE, _water carrier_.

BICHALIE, _bedding straw_.

BUK BUND, _saddle sheet_.

BURRADAH, _sawdust_.

CHARPOY, _native bedstead_.

CHARRAGH, _native oil lamp_.

CHATTIE, _earthen pot_.

CHAURIE, _fly-whisk_.

CHEIL, _to dig up grass_.

CHICK, _split bamboo window blind_.

CHICK-NA, _muzzle_.

CHOKER, _bran_.

CHUCKIE, _hand-mill_.

CHUNNA, _gram_.

CHURRIE, _dried shorgum stalk used for cattle fodder_.

COMPOUND, _enclosure round an Indian house_.

CULTEE, _the black gram used as horse food in Madras_.

DAH, _a bill-hook_.

DAH-NA, _a double bridle_.

DAST, _diarrhœa_.

DASTOUR, _custom_, _percentage_, _perquisites_.

DHAN, _unhusked rice_.

DHA NAH, _grain_.

DHOOB, _an Indian grass on which horses are fed_.

DHOOL, _a small leather bucket used for drawing water_.

DURZIE, _a tailor_.

FARAKIE, _body-roller_.

GAJAR, _carrots_.

GEHUN, _wheat_.

GHORRA, _horse_.

GHORRIE, _mare_.

GUDDA, _donkey_.

GUMALO, _earthen vessel shaped like a milk pan, holding about a gallon_.

GUNNA, _sugar-cane_.

GURDAINE, _horse-rug_.

HAWAH, _air_.

HOOKHA, _a pipe_.

HURRIALIE, _a species of grass_.

JAI, _oats_.

JAMP, _a straw screen_.

JARU, _a broom_.

JHARAN, _duster_.

JHOOL, _country horse clothing made out of felt_.

JONK, _leech_.

JOW, _barley_.

KALI NIMUK, _black salt_.

KAR WAH, _a sort of cotton cloth_.

KAZAI, _watering or snaffle bridle_.

KHAL, _linseed cake_.

KHANSILLA, _hood_.

KHASIL, _green food_.

KHAWID, _green food_.

KHOALIE, _charcoal_.

KHOL BUNDIE, _a remove in horse shoeing_.

KHUA, _a well_.

KHUS KHUS, _lemon grass_.


KINCH MHAL, _twitch_.

KIRIM, _worm_, _weevil_.

KUMBAL, _blanket_.

KURLIE, _manger_.

KURPA, _a short iron hoe, used to dig grass with_.

KUTCHER, _mule_.

MALISH, _grooming_.

MAKE, _a wooden tent-peg_.

MAKIE-ARA, _eye-fringe to keep off flies_.

MAUND, _80 lbs. weight_.

MAWAH LAGNA, _brushing of the fetlocks_.

MISSA BHOOSA, _grain stalks crushed in thrashing_.

MOAT, _pulse grain_.

MOMROGAN, _dubbing_.

MOTE, _pulse grain_.

MUNG, _pulse grain_.

MUSSUK, _leather water-bag_.

MUTTIE, _earth_.

MUZZUMA, _leather heel-strap_.

NĀL, _a horseshoe_.

NĀL BUND, _a shoeing-smith_.

NAUND, _a large wide-mouthed earthen vessel holding several gallons_.

NEWAR, _cotton webbing_.

NIMMUK, _salt_.

NIRRICK, _the official price list_.

NUKTA, _head stall_.

NUMDAH, _felt pad for putting under a saddle_.

PAITE, _body-roller_.

PANI, _water_.

PECHARIE, _heel ropes_.

PREG, _nail_.

PUTTER KE NIMMUK, _rock salt_.

PUTTIE, _a roller bandage_.

RET, _sand_.

REITA, _soap nuts_.

RHAL, _linseed cake_.

ROLL KERNA, _to exercise_.

SABON, _soap_.

SABUR, _chamois leather_.

SAN, _a stallion_.

SAZ, _harness_.

SEER, _a two-pound weight_.

SHALGHAM, _turnip_.

SUFFAID BHOOSA, _wheat straw that has been crushed and broken in

SUM KHODNA, _hoof-picker_.

SUN, _tow or hemp_.

SYCE, _a groom_.

TOBRA, _a nose-bag_.

TOKAR, _to trip or stumble_.

TOKRIE, _a basket_.

TULWAR, _a curved native sword_.

ULSIE, _linseed_.

ZIN, _a saddle_.



  No. 78.

  Telegrams: "MOFUSSIL, LONDON."

  Established 1819.







How to Choose a Dog, and How to Select a Puppy. With Notes on the
Peculiarities and Characteristics of each Breed. By VERO SHAW, Author of
"The Illustrated Book of the Dog," late Kennel Editor of the "Field."
Crown 8vo., sewed, 1_s._ 6_d._

_The Stock Keeper._--"The price is within everybody's means, and needless
to say the work is not of a pretentious nature. On the other hand, the
text keeps the promise of the title, and the advice that is given is good.
Each breed of dog has a chapter to itself, which opens with a few
introductory remarks of a general nature: then follow the points briefly
and plainly; next come average of the pup from six weeks old until he
attains maturity. A couple of pages at the end of the work are devoted to
the relation, and a few useful hints on buying, feeding, and breeding.
Needless to add that like all Mr. Vero Shaw's writings on canine subjects
the information is founded on practical experience and imparted in easy
excellent English."


Notes on Stable Management in India and the Colonies. Second Edition,
revised and enlarged, with a Glossary. Crown 8vo., cloth, 3_s._ 6_d._

CONTENTS.--Food, Water, Air, and Ventilation. Grooming, Gear, etc.


The Rod in India: being Hints how to obtain Sport, with remarks on the
Natural History of Fish and their Culture. By HENRY SULLIVAN THOMAS,
F.L.S. (Madras Civil Service, retired), Author of "Tank Angling in India."
Third Edition. Demy 8vo., cloth. [_In the Press._

_Land and Water._--"A book to read for pleasure at home, as well as to use
as a handbook of exceeding value to the angler who may be already there,
or intending to visit India."



Veterinary Notes for Horse-Owners. An Illustrated Manual of Horse Medicine
and Surgery, written in simple language. Fifth Edition. This Edition is
revised throughout, considerably enlarged, and incorporates the substance
of the Author's "Soundness and Age of Horses." Thick crown 8vo., buckram,

_Saturday Review._--"Captain Hayes' work is a valuable addition to our
stable literature; and the illustrations, tolerably numerous, are
excellent beyond the reach of criticism."

_Times._--"A necessary guide for horse-owners, especially those who are
far removed from immediate professional assistance."

_Field._--"Of the many popular veterinary books which have come under our
notice, this is certainly one of the most scientific and reliable. If some
painstaking student would give us works of equal merit to this on the
diseases of the other domestic animals, we should possess a very complete
veterinary library in a very small compass."

_Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News._--"Simplicity is one of the most
commendable features in the book. What Captain Hayes has to say he says in
plain terms, and the book is a very useful one for everybody who is
concerned with horses."

_Lancet._--"The usefulness of the manual is testified to by its
popularity, and each edition has given evidence of increasing care on the
part of the author to render it more complete and trustworthy as a book of
reference for amateurs."


Indian Racing Reminiscences. Profusely Illustrated. Impl. 16mo., 3_s._


Points of the Horse. A familiar Treatise on Equine Conformation. Second
Edition. Revised and enlarged. This edition has been thoroughly revised
and contains numerous additions, including specially written Chapters on
the Breeds of English and Foreign Horses. Illustrated by 200 reproductions
of Photographs of Typical "Points" and Horses, and 205 Drawings by J. H.
OSWALD BROWN. Super-royal 8vo., cloth, gilt top, 34_s._

Also a _LARGE PAPER EDITION_, strictly limited to One Hundred and Fifty
Copies for England and the Colonies, numbered and signed by the Author.
Demy 4to., art cloth, top edges gilt, uncut, 63s. net. [_Nearly all sold._

Press Opinions on the Second Edition.

_Times, Feb., 1897._--"The intrinsic value of the book, and high
professional reputation of its author, should ensure this new edition a
cordial welcome from Sportsmen and all lovers of the horse."

_Field._--"A year or two ago we had to speak in terms of praise of the
first edition of this book, and we welcome the second and more complete
issue. The first edition was out of print in six months, but, instead of
reprinting it, Capt. Hayes thought it better to wait until he had enough
material in hand to enable him to make to the second edition those
additions and improvements he had proposed to himself to add. The result
is in every way satisfactory, and in this handsome book the searcher after
sound information on the make and shape of the horse will find what will
be of the utmost use to him. Those who have been, or who contemplate being
at no distant date, in the position of judges at horse shows, will derive
great benefit from a careful perusal of Capt. Hayes's pages."


Illustrated Horsebreaking. Second Edition. This Edition has been entirely
re-written; the amount of the letterpress more than doubled, and 75
reproductions of Photographs have been added. Impl. 16mo., buckram, 21_s._

_Field._--"It is a characteristic of all Captain Hayes' books on horses
that they are eminently practical, and the present one is no exception to
the rule. A work which is entitled to high praise as being far and away
the best reasoned-out one on breaking under a new system we have seen."

_Veterinary Journal._--"The work is eminently practical and readable."


Riding: on the Flat and Across Country. A Guide to Practical Horsemanship.
Impl. 16mo., cloth gilt., 10_s._ 6_d._

_Times._--"Captain Hayes' hints and instructions are useful aids, even to
experienced riders, while for those less accustomed to the saddle, his
instructions are simply invaluable."

_Standard._--"Captain Hayes is not only a master of his subject, but he
knows how to aid others in gaming such a mastery as may be obtained by the
study of a book."

_Field._--"We are not in the least surprised that a third edition of this
useful and eminently practical book should be called for. On former
occasions we were able to speak of it in terms of commendation, and this
edition is worthy of equal praise."

_Baily's Magazine._--"An eminently practical teacher, whose theories are
the outcome of experience, learned not in the study, but on the road, in
the hunting field, and on the racecourse."


Training and Horse Management in India. Fifth Edition. Crown 8vo., cloth,
7_s._ 6_d._

_Saturday Review._--"A useful guide in regard to horses anywhere. Concise,
practical, and portable."

_Veterinary Journal._--"We entertain a very high opinion of Captain Hayes'
book on 'Horse Training and Management in India,' and are of opinion that
no better guide could be placed in the hands of either amateur horseman or
veterinary surgeon newly arrived in that important division of our

_Field._--"We have always been able to commend Captain Hayes' books as
being essentially practical and written in understandable language. As
trainer, owner, and rider of horses on the flat and over country, the
author has had a wide experience, and when to this is added competent
veterinary knowledge, it is clear that Captain Hayes is entitled to
attention when he speaks."

HAYES, Mrs. Edited by CAPT. M. H. HAYES.

The Horsewoman. A Practical Guide to Side-Saddle Riding. With 4 Collotypes
from Instantaneous Photographs, and 48 Drawings after Photographs, by J.
H. OSWALD BROWN. Square 8vo., cloth gilt, 10_s._ 6_d._

_Times._--"A large amount of sound, practical instruction, very
judiciously and pleasantly imparted."

_Field._--"This is the first occasion on which a practical horseman and a
practical horsewoman have collaborated in bringing out a book on riding
for ladies. The result is in every way satisfactory, and, no matter how
well a lady may ride, she will gain much valuable information from a
perusal of 'The Horsewoman.' The book is happily free from self-laudatory

_The Queen._--"A most useful and practical book on side-saddle riding,
which may be read with real interest by all lady riders."

MILLER, E. D. Edited by CAPT. M. H. HAYES.

Modern Polo. A Practical Guide to the Science of the Game, Training of
Ponies, Rules, etc. By Mr. E. D. MILLER, late 17th Lancers. Edited by M.
H. HAYES, F.R.C.V.S. With Sixty-four Illustrations from Photographs. Impl.
16mo., cloth extra, 12_s._ 6_d._

A practical and exhaustive description of the Science of the game, duties
of players, selection, breaking, training, and management of ponies,
various breeds of ponies in all parts of the world. Polo in India;
Hurlingham, Indian, and American Rules, etc. Beautifully illustrated with
sixty-four reproductions of Photographs showing the various "points" of
the game, famous ponies, players, etc.

CONTENTS.--Chapter I. First Steps at Polo.--Chapter II. Theory and
Practice of Polo.--Chapter III. Polo Appliances.--Chapter IV. Choosing a
Polo Pony.--Chapter V. Training the Polo Pony.--Chapter VI. Polo Pony
Gear.--Chapter VII. Polo Pony Management.--Chapter VIII. Various Breeds of
Polo Ponies.--Chapter IX. Polo in India.--Chapter X. Polo Pony
Breeding.--Chapter XI. Veterinary Advice to Polo Players.--Appendix.
Tournaments, Laws and Bye-Laws, etc.


Friedberger and Frœhner's Veterinary Pathology. Translated from the
original German of the recently published Fourth Edition, and Annotated.
[_In the press._


Dairy Cows. A Practical Guide in the Choice and Management of Dairy
Cattle, etc. By HAROLD LEENEY, M.R.C.V.S.

The Best Breeds of British Stock. Edited by JOHN WATSON, F.L.S.

Thacker's Veterinary Year Book.

CONTENTS.--Events of the Year--List of Officers--President and
Council--New Members Qualified during the Year--Privileges of
Members--Students who have passed A and B Classes--The Number of
Rejections in England and Scotland--A Review of all the Veterinary Medical
Societies--Digest of Papers Read, with Names of Speakers and
Extracts--Horse Fairs and Markets--Auction Sales and Laws--New
Instruments--New Drugs--New Shoes--Posological Tables--Original Articles
by well-known Authors, etc.

It has long been felt that a Veterinary Year Book was needed for use by
the large and increasing profession of Veterinary Surgeons, and it is
hoped that this work will meet the necessary requirements.


Friedberger and Frœhner's Veterinary Pathology. Translated from the
original German of the recently published Fourth Edition, and Annotated by
Capt. M. H. HAYES, F.R.C.V.S., Author of "Points of the Horse," etc. Royal
8vo., cloth.


Stable Management in England.


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