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Title: A New Illustrated Edition of J. S. Rarey's Art of Taming Horses - With the Substance of the Lectures at the Round House, and - Additional Chapters on Horsemanship and Hunting, for the - Young and Timid
Author: Rarey, J. S. (John Solomon), 1827-1866
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "A New Illustrated Edition of J. S. Rarey's Art of Taming Horses - With the Substance of the Lectures at the Round House, and - Additional Chapters on Horsemanship and Hunting, for the - Young and Timid" ***

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

Transcriber's Note

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of corrections
is found at the end of the text. Inconsistencies in spelling and
hyphenation have been maintained. A list of inconsistently spelled
and hyphenated words is found at the end of the text.

Oe ligatures have been expanded.

[Illustration: Zebra strapped up.]


                A New Illustrated Edition of

                       J. S. RAREY'S

                   ART OF TAMING HORSES;

                   WITH THE SUBSTANCE OF
                  FOR THE YOUNG AND TIMID.

                      BY THE SECRETARY


                     FARRINGDON STREET.

         [_The right of Translation is reserved._]




  Mr. Rarey's pamphlet first published in Ohio.--Experience of
    old system.--Compiled and invented new.--Tying up the
    fore-leg known many years ago, _see_ Stamford
    Almanack.--Forgotten and not valued.--Reference to Captain
    Nolan's and Colonel Greenwood's works on horsemanship.--Dick
    Christian missed the discovery.--Baucher's plan of laying
    down a horse explained.--Mademoiselle Isabel's whip-and-spur
    plan.--Account of the Irish whisperer Dan Sullivan.--Usual
    modes of taming vicious horses.--Starving.--Physic.--Sleepless
    nights.--Bleeding.--Biting the ear.--Story of Kentish
    coachman.--The Ellis system.--Value of the Rarey system as
    compared with that of ordinary horse-tamers.--Systems of
    Australia and Arabia compared.--The South American plan
    explained.--A French plan.--Grisoné the Neapolitan's
    advice.--The discovery of Mr. Rarey by Mr. Goodenough.--Visit
    to Canada.--To England.--Lord Alfred Paget.--Sir Richard
    Airey.--System made known to them.--To Mr. Jos.
    Anderson.--Messrs. Tattersall.--Sir Matthew Ridley's black
    horse tamed.--Subscription list of 500 opened.--Stafford
    tamed.--Description of.--Teaching commenced with Lords
    Palmerston, Granville, &c.--Cruiser tamed.--History
    of.--Enthusiastic crowd at Cruiser exhibition.--System
    approved by the Earl of Jersey and Sir Tatton Sykes.--Close
    of first subscription list.--Anecdote of Mr. Gurney's
    colt--Personal sketch of Mr. Rarey                                1


  Mr. Rarey's Introduction.--Remarks on                              26


  The three fundamental principles of the Rarey Theory.--Heads
    of the Rarey Lectures.--Editor's paraphrase.--That any horse
    may be taught docility.--That a horse should be so handled
    and tied as to feel inferior to man.--That a horse should be
    allowed to see, smell, and feel all fearful objects.--Key
    note of the Rarey system                                         32


  How to drive a colt from pasture.--How to drive into a
    stable.--The kind of halter.--Experiment with a robe or
    cloak.--Horse-taming drugs.--The Editor's remarks.--Importance
    of patience.--Best kind of head-stall.--Danger of approaching
    some colts.--Hints from a Colonel of the Life Guards             39


  Powell's system of approaching a colt.--Rarey's remarks
    on.--Lively high-spirited horses tamed easily.--Stubborn
    sulky ones more difficult.--Motto, "Fear, love and
    obey."--Use of a whalebone gig-whip.--How to frighten and
    then approach.--Use kind words.--How to halter and lead a
    colt.--By the side of a horse.--To lead into a stable.--To
    tie up to a manger.--Editor's remarks.--Longeing.--Use and
    abuse of.--On bitting.--Sort of bit for a colt.--Dick
    Christian's bit.--The wooden gag bit                             51


  Taming a colt or horse.--Rarey's directions for strapping up
    and laying down detailed.--Explanations by Editor.--To
    approach a vicious horse with half door.--Cartwheel.--No. 1
    strap applied.--No. 2 strap applied.--Woodcuts of.--How to
    hop about.--Knot up bridle.--Struggle described.--Lord B.'s
    improved No. 2 strap.--Not much danger.--How to steer a
    horse.--Laid down, how to gentle.--To mount, tied up.--Place
    and preparations for training described                          67


  The Drum.--The Umbrella.--Riding-habit.--How to bit a colt.--How
    to saddle.--To mount.--To ride.--To break.--To harness.--To
    make a horse follow and stand without holding.--Baucher's
    plan.--Nolan's plan                                              90


  Value of good horsemanship to both sexes.--On teaching
    children.--Anecdote.--Havelock's opinion.--Rarey's plan to
    train ponies.--The use of books.--Necessity of regular
    teaching for girls; boys can be self-taught.--Commence
    without a bridle.--Ride with one pair of reins and two
    hands.--Advantage of hunting-horn on side-saddle.--On the
    best plan for mounting.--Rarey's plan.--On a man's
    seat.--Nolan's opinion.--Military style.--Hunting style.--Two
    examples in Lord Cardigan.--The Prussian style.--Anecdote by
    Mr. Gould, Blucher, and the Prince Regent.--Hints for men
    learning to ride.--How to use the reins.--Pull right for
    right, and left for left.--How to collect your horse            111


  On bits.--The snaffle.--The use of the curb.--The Pelham.--The
    Hanoverian bit described.--Martingales.--The gentleman's
    saddle to be large enough.--Spurs.--Not to be too sharp.--The
    Somerset saddle for the timid and aged.--The Nolan saddle
    without flaps.--Ladies' saddle described.--Advantages of the
    hunting-horn crutch.--Ladies' stirrup.--Ladies' dress.--Hints
    on.--Habit.--Boots.--Whips.--Hunting-whips.--Use of the
    lash.--Gentleman's riding costume.--Hunting dress.--Poole,
    the great authority.--Advantage of cap over hat in
    hunting.--Boot-tops and Napoleons.--Quotation from
    Warburton's ballads                                             135


  Advantage of hunting.--Libels on.--Great men who have
    hunted.--Popular notion unlike reality.--Dick Christian and
    the Marquis of Hastings.--Fallacy of "lifting" a horse
    refuted.--Hints on riding at fences.--Harriers
    discussed.--Stag-hunting a necessity and use where time an
    object.--Hints for novices.--"Tally-ho!" expounded.--To feed
    a horse after a hard ride.--Expenses of horse-keep.--Song by
    Squire Warburton, "A word ere we start"                         154


  The Fitzwilliam.--Brocklesby.--A day on the Wolds.--Brighton
    harriers.--Prince Albert's harriers                             176


  Hunting Terms                                                     199


  The origin of Fox-hunting                                         210


  The wild ponies of Exmoor                                         218

POSTSCRIPT                                                          232


                                                                TO FACE
  1. ZEBRA STRAPPED UP Drawn by Louis Huard, Esq.            Title-page
  2. HORSE WITH STRAP NO. 1               Ditto                 "    67
  3. HORSE WITH STRAPS NOS. 1 AND 2       Ditto                 "    76
  4. THE HORSE STRUGGLING                 Ditto                 "    79
  5. THE HORSE EXHAUSTED                  Ditto                 "    80
  6. THE HORSE TAMED                      Ditto                 "    82
  7. SECOND LESSON IN HARNESS             Ditto                 "   100
  8. RAILS AND DOUBLE DITCH               Ditto                 "   153


  WILD HORSE'S HEAD                                                  25
  HALTER OR BRIDLE                                                   39
  WOODEN GAG BIT                                                     66
  STRAP NO. 1                                                        74
  STRAP NO. 2                                                        76
  LORD B.'S IMPROVED NO. 2                                           77
  SURCINGLE STRAP FOR NO. 2                                          78
  SIDE SADDLE, AND LADY'S SEAT ON                                   111
  SIDE SADDLE, OFFSIDE VIEW OF                                      135
  CURB, OR HARD AND SHARP                                           136
  PLAIN SNAFFLE                                                     137
  PELHAM                                                            138
  HANOVERIAN                                                        139
  SITZ, OR HUNTSMAN'S BATH                                          232
  HOT-AIR OR INDIAN BATH                                            235



     Mr. Rarey's pamphlet first published in Ohio.--Experience of old
     system.--Compiled and invented new.--Tying up the fore-leg known
     many years ago, _see_ Stamford Almanack.--Forgotten and not
     valued.--Reference to Captain Nolan's and Colonel Greenwood's works
     on horsemanship.--Dick Christian missed the discovery.--Baucher's
     plan of laying down a horse explained.--Mademoiselle Isabel's
     whip-and-spur plan.--Account of the Irish whisperer Dan
     Sullivan.--Usual modes of taming vicious
     horses.--Starving.--Physic.--Sleepless nights.--Bleeding.--Biting
     the ear.--Story of Kentish coachman.--The Ellis system.--Value of
     the Rarey system as compared with that of ordinary
     horse-tamers.--Systems of Australia and Arabia compared.--The South
     American plan explained.--A French plan.--Grisoné the Neapolitan's
     advice.--The discovery of Mr. Rarey by Mr. Goodenough.--Visit to
     Canada.--To England.--Lord Alfred Paget.--Sir Richard
     Airey.--System made known to them.--To Mr. Jos. Anderson.--Messrs.
     Tattersall.--Sir Matthew Ridley's black horse tamed.--Subscription
     list of 500 opened.--Stafford tamed.--Description of.--Teaching
     commenced with Lords Palmerston, Granville, &c.--Cruiser
     tamed.--History of.--Enthusiastic crowd at Cruiser
     exhibition.--System approved by the Earl of Jersey and Sir Tatton
     Sykes.--Close of first subscription list.--Anecdote of Mr. Gurney's
     colt.--Personal sketch of Mr. Rarey.

Mr. Rarey is a farmer from Ohio, in the United States. Five years ago he
wrote the little book which forms the _text_ of the following complete
account of his system, with pictorial illustrations, which are
essential for explaining the means he now employs for subduing the most
refractory animals. Without these explanations, it would be extremely
difficult for any one who had not enjoyed the advantage of hearing Mr.
Rarey's explanations, to practise his system successfully, or even
safely. The original work contains a mere outline of the art, since
perfected by five years' further study and practice. The author did not
revise his first sketch, for very obvious reasons.

He was living in obscurity, teaching his system for a few dollars in
Ohio and Texas. He never taught in the great cities or seabord states of
the United States. When he had imparted his art to a pupil, he bound him
to secrecy, and presented him with a copy of his pamphlet. He did not
dream, then, of becoming the great Lion of the London Season, and
realising from English subscribers nearly 20,000_l._ It will be
observed, that in the original American edition, the operation of tying
up the foot is described in one chapter, and, at an interval of some
pages, that of laying a horse down, in another; and that neither the
difficulties nor the necessary precautions, nor the extraordinary
results, are described with the clearness their importance requires.

Mr. Rarey has now very properly released his subscribers from the
contract which bound them to secrecy; and it is now in every point of
view important that this valuable system of rendering horses docile and
affectionate, fit for hacks or chargers, ladies' pads or harness, or the
safe conveyance of the aged, crippled, and sick, should be placed within
the reach of the thousands whose business it is to deal with horses, as
well as of that large class of gentlemen who are obliged to observe
economy while keeping up their equestrian tastes. After all, it is to
the horse-breeding farmers and grooms to whom Mr. Rarey's art will be of
the most practical use.

As it is, enough of the system has oozed out to suggest to the ignorant
new means of cruelty. A horse's leg is strapped up, and then the
unlearned proceed to bully the crippled animal, instead of--to borrow an
expressive Americanism--"to gentle him."

Before entering into the details for practising the Rarey system, it may
be interesting to give a sketch of the "facts" that have placed Mr.
Rarey in his present well-deserved position, as an invincible
Horse-Tamer, as well as a Reformer of the whole modern system of
training horses--a position unanimously assigned to him by all the first
horsemen of the day.

Mr. Rarey has been a horse-breaker in the United States from his
earliest youth, and had frequently to break in horses five or six years
old, that had run wild until that mature undocile age.

At first he employed the old English rough-rider method, and in the
course of his adventures broke almost every bone in his body, for his
pluck was greater than his science. But he was not satisfied with
following old routine; he inquired from the wandering horsemen and
circus trainers into their methods (it may be that he was at one time
attached to a circus himself), and read every book he could lay his
hands on. By inquiry and by study--as he says in one of his
advertisements--"he thought out" the plan and the principles of his
present system.

The methods he uses for placing a colt or horse completely in his power
are not absolutely new, although it is possible that he has re-invented
and has certainly much improved them. The Russian (_i. e._ Courland)
Circus Riders have long known how, single-handed, to make a horse lie
down by fastening up one fore-leg, and then with a rope suddenly pulling
the other leg from under him. The trick was practised in England more
than forty years ago, and forgotten. That no importance was attached to
this method of throwing a horse is proved by the fact, that in the works
on horsemanship, published during the last twenty years, no reference is
made to it. When Mr. Starkey, of Wiltshire, a breeder and runner of
race-horses,[4-*] saw Mr. Rarey operate for the first time, he said,
"Why I knew how to throw a horse in that way years ago, but I did not
know the use of it, and was always in too great a hurry!" Lord Berners
made nearly the same remark to me. Nimrod, Cecil, Harry Hieover,
Scrutator--do not appear to have ever heard of it. The best modern
authority on such subjects (British Rural Sports), describes a number of
difficulties in breaking colts which altogether disappear under the
Rarey system--especially the difficulty of shoeing.

Captain Nolan, who was killed at Balaklava, served in an Hungarian
regiment, in the Austrian service, afterwards in our own service in
India, and visited Russia, France, Denmark, and South Germany, to
collect materials for his work on the "History of Cavalry and on the
Training of Horses," although he set out with the golden rule laid down
by the great Greek horseman, Xenophon, more than a thousand years
refers incidentally to a plan for throwing a horse down, in an extract
from Baucher's great work, which will presently be quoted, but attaches
no importance to it, and was evidently totally ignorant of the
foundation of the Rarey system.

The accomplished Colonel Greenwood, who was equally learned in the
_manége_ of the _Haute Ecole_, and skilled in the style of the English
hunting-fields, gives no hint of a method which reduces the time for
taming colts from months to hours, and makes the docility of five horses
out of six merely a matter of a few weeks' patience.

The sporting newspapers of England and America were so completely off
the true scent when guessing at the Rarey method, that they put faith in
recipes of oils and scents for taming horses.

Dick Christian--a genius in his way--when on horseback unmatched for
patience and pluck, but with no taste for reading and no talent for
generalizing, used to conquer savages for temporary use by tying up one
fore-foot, and made good water-jumpers of horses afraid of water by
making them smell it and wade through it; so that he came very near the
Rarey methods, but missed the chain of reasoning that would have led him
to go further with these expedients.[5-*]

Mons. Baucher, of Paris (misprinted Faucher in the American edition),
the great modern authority in horse-training and elaborate school
equitation, under whom our principal English cavalry generals have
studied--amongst others, two enthusiastic disciples of Mr. Rarey, Lord
Vivian and General Laurenson, commanding the cavalry at
Aldershott--admitted Mr. Rarey's system was not only "most valuable,"
but "quite new to him."

After Mr. Rarey had taught five or six hundred subscribers, some of whom
of course had wives, Mr. Cooke, of Astley's, began to exhibit a way of
making a horse lie down, which bore as much resemblance to Mr. Rarey's
system, as Buckstone's or Keeley's travestie of Othello would to a
serious performance by a first-rate tragedian. Mr. Cooke pulling at a
strap over the horse's back, was, until he grew, by practice, skilful,
more than once thrown down by the extension of the off fore-leg.

Indeed, the proof that the circus people knew neither the Rarey plan,
nor the results to be obtained from it, is to be found in the fact, that
they continually failed in subduing unruly horses sent to them for that

A friend of mine, an eminent engineer, sent to Astley's, about two years
ago, a horse which had cost him two hundred pounds, and was useless from
a habit of standing still and rearing at the corner of streets; he was
returned worse rather than better, and sold for forty pounds. Six
lessons from Mr. Rarey would have produced, at least, temporary

Monsieur Baucher, in his _Méthode d'Equitation_, says, _speaking of the
surprise created by the feats_ he performed with trained
horses,--"According to some, I was a new 'Carter,'[6-*] taming my horses
by depriving them of rest and nourishment: others would have it, that I
tied ropes to their legs, and suspended them in the air; some again
supposed that I fascinated them by the power of the eye; and part of the
audience, seeing my horses (Partisan, Capitaine, Neptune, and Baridan)
work in time to my friend Monsieur Paul Cuzent's charming music,
seriously argued that the horses had a capital ear for music, and that
they stopped when the clarionets and trombones ceased to play, and that
the music had more power over the horse than I had. That the beast
obeyed an '_ut_' or a '_sol_' or '_staccato_,' but my hands and legs
went for nothing.

"Could any one imagine that such nonsense could emanate from people who
passed for horsemen?

"Now from this, although in some respects the same class of nonsense
that was talked about Mr. Rarey, it does not seem that any Parisian
veterinary surgeon staked his reputation on the efficacy of oils and

M. Baucher then proceeds to give what he calls sixteen "_Airs de
Manége_," which reflect the highest credit on his skill as a rational
horseman, using his hands and legs. But he proceeds to say--"It is with
regret I publish the means of making a horse kneel, limp, lie down, and
sit on his haunches in the position called the '_Cheval Gastronomie_,'
or 'The Horse at Dinner.' This work is degrading to the poor horse, and
painful to the trainer, who no longer sees in the poor trembling beast
the proud courser, full of spirit and energy, he took such pleasure in

"To make a horse kneel, tie his pastern-joint to his elbow, make fast a
longer line to the other pastern-joint, have this held tight, and strike
the leg with the whip; the instant he raises it from the ground, pull at
the longeing line to bend the leg. He cannot help it--he must fall on
his knees. Make much of the horse in this position, and let him get up
free of all hindrance.

"As soon as he does this without difficulty, leave off the use of the
longeing line, and next leave both legs at liberty: by striking him on
the shins with the whip, he will understand that he is to kneel down.

"When on his knees, send his head well to the off-side, and, supporting
him with the left rein, pull the right rein down against his neck till
he falls to the near side; when down at full length, you cannot make
too much of him; _have his head held that he may not get up too
suddenly_, or before you wish him. You can do this by placing your right
foot on the right reins; this keeps the horse's nose raised from the
ground, and thus deprives him of the power of struggling successfully
against you. Profit by his present position to make him sit up on his
haunches, and in the position of the 'Cheval Gastronomie.'"

The difference between this and Rarey's plan of laying down a horse is
as great as between Franklin's kite and Wheatstone's electrical
telegraph; and foremost to acknowledge the American's merits was M.

So little idea had cavalry authorities that a horse could be trained
without severity, that, during the Crimean war, a Mademoiselle Isabel
came over to this country with strong recommendations from the French
war minister, and was employed at considerable cost at Maidstone for
some months in spoiling a number of horses by _her system_, the
principal features of which consisted in a new dumb jockey, and a severe
spur attached to a whip!

It is true that Mademoiselle Isabel's experiment was made contrary to
the wishes and plans of the head of the Cavalry Training Department, the
late General Griffiths; but it is not less true that within the last two
years influential cavalry officers were looking for an improvement in
training horses from an adroit use of the whip and spur.

From the time of Alexander the Great down to the Northumberland
Horse-Breaker, there have been instances of courageous men who have been
able to do extraordinary things with horses. But they may be divided
into two classes, neither of which have been able to originate or impart
a system for the use of ordinary horsemen.

The one class relied and relies on personal influence over lower
animals. They terrify, subdue, or conciliate by eye, voice, and touch,
just as some wicked women, not endowed with any extraordinary external
charms, bewitch and betray the wisest men.

The other class rely on the infliction of acute pain, or, stupefaction
by drugs, or other similar expedients for acquiring a temporary

In a work printed in 1664, quoted by Nolan, we have a melancholy account
of the fate of an ingenious horse-tamer. "A Neapolitan, called Pietro,
had a little horse, named Mauroço, doubtless a Barb or Arab, which he
had taught to perform many tricks. He would, at a sign from his master,
lie down, kneel, and make as many courvettes (springs on his hind-legs
forward, like rearing), as his master told him. He jumped over a stick,
and through hoops, carried a glove to the person Pietro pointed out, and
performed a thousand pretty antics. He travelled through the greater
part of the Continent, but unfortunately passing through Arles, the
people in that 'age of faith,' took him for a sorcerer, and burned him
and poor Mauroço in the market-place." It was probably from this
incident that Victor Hugo took the catastrophe of La Esmeralda and her

Dan Sullivan, who flourished about fifty years ago, was the greatest
horse-tamer of whom there is any record in modern times. His triumph
commenced by his purchasing for an old song a dragoon's horse at Mallow,
who was so savage "that he was obliged to be fed through a hole in the
wall." After one of Sullivan's lessons the trooper drew a car quietly
through Mallow, and remained a very proverb of gentleness for years
after. In fact, with mule or horse, one half-hour's lesson from Sullivan
was enough; but they relapsed in other hands. Sullivan's own account of
the secret was, that he originally acquired it from a wearied soldier
who had not money to pay for a pint of porter he had drunk. The landlord
was retaining part of his kit as a pledge, when Sullivan, who sat in the
bar, vowed he would never see a hungry man want, and gave the soldier so
good a luncheon, that, in his gratitude, he drew him aside at parting,
and revealed what he believed to be an Indian charm.

Sullivan never took any pupils, and, as far as I can learn, never
attempted to train colts by his method, although that is a more
profitable and useful branch of business than training vicious horses.
It is stated in an article in "Household Words" on Horse-Tamers, that he
was so jealous of his gift that even the priest of Ballyclough could not
wring it from him at the confessional. His son used to boast how his
reverence met his sire as they both rode towards Mallow, and charged him
with being a confederate of the wicked one, and how the "whisperer" laid
the priest's horse under a spell, and forthwith led him a weary chase
among the cross roads, till he promised in despair to let Sullivan alone
for ever. Sullivan left three sons: one only practised his art, with
imperfect success till his death; neither of the others pretended to any
knowledge of it. One of them is to this day a horse-breaker at Mallow.

The reputation of Mr. Rarey brought to light a number of provincial
horse-tamers, and, amongst others, a grandson of Sullivan has opened a
list under the auspices of the Marquis of Waterford, for teaching his
grandfather's art of horse-taming. It is impossible not to ask, why, if
the art is of any value, it has not been taught long ago?

In Ireland as in England, the accepted modes of taming a determined
colt, or vicious horse, are either by a resolute rider with whip and
spur, and violent longeings, or by starving, physic, and sleepless
nights. It was by these means combined that the well-known horseman,
Bartley the bootmaker, twenty years ago, tamed a splendid thorough-bred
horse, that had defied all the efforts of all the rough-riders of the
Household Cavalry regiments.

Bleeding a vicious horse has been recommended in German books on
equitation. In the family Robinson Crusoe, paterfamilias conquers the
quagga by biting its ear, and every farrier knows how to apply a twitch
to a horse's ear or nose to secure his quietness under an operation. A
Mr. King, some years since, exhibited a learned horse, which he said he
subdued by pinching a nerve of its mouth, called "_the nerve of

The writer in the "Household Words" article, to which I have already
referred, tells how "a coachman in Kent, who had been quite mastered by
horses, called in the assistance of a professed whisperer. After his
ghostly course the horses had the worst of it for two months, when their
ill-humour returned, and the coachman himself immediately darkened his
stable, and held what he termed a little conversation with them, which
kept them placid till two more months had passed. He did not seem
altogether to approve of the system, and plainly confessed that it was
cruel." Putting shot in the ear is an old stupid and fatal trick of
ignorant carters to cure a gibbing horse--it cures and kills him too.

The latest instantaneous system which acquired a certain degree of
temporary popularity was that introduced from the western prairies, by
Mr. Ellis, of Trinity College, Cambridge, which consisted in breathing
into the nostrils of a colt, or buffalo colt, while its eyes were
covered. But although on some animals this seemed to produce a soothing
effect, on others it totally failed.

There can be very little doubt that most of the mysterious
"horse-whisperers" relied for their power of subduing a vicious horse
partly on the special personal influence already referred to, and partly
on some one of those cruel modes of intimidating the animal. It has been
observed that idiots can sometimes manage the most savage horses and
bulls, and conciliate the most savage dogs at first sight.

The value of Mr. Rarey's system consists in the fact that it may be
taught to, and successfully practised by, a ploughboy of thirteen or
fourteen for use on all except extremely vicious and powerful horses.

It requires patience--it requires the habit of dealing with horses as
well as coolness; but the real work is rather a matter of skill than
strength. Not only have boys of five or six stone become successful
horse-tamers, but ladies of high rank have in the course of ten minutes
perfectly subdued and reduced to death-like calmness fiery blood-horses.

Therefore, in dealing with Mr. Rarey's plan we are not wasting our time
about a trick for conquering these rare exceptions--incurably-savage
horses--but considering the principles of a universally applicable
system for taming and training horses for man's use, with a perfection
of docility rarely found except in aged pet horses, and with a rapidity
heretofore quite unknown.

The system of Arabia and Australia are the two extremes. In Australia,
where the people are always in a hurry, the usual mode of breaking in
the bush horses is _to ride them quiet_; that is, to let the man fight
it out with the horse until the latter gives in; for the time, at any
rate. The result is, that nine-tenths of the Australian horses are
vicious, and especially given to the trick of "buck-jumping." This vile
vice consists in a succession of leaps from all-fours, the beast
descending with the back arched, the limbs rigid, and the head as low
down between the legs as possible. Not one horseman in a hundred can sit
three jumps of a confirmed buck-jumper. Charles Barter, who was one of
the hardest riders in the Heythrope Hunt, in his "Six Months in Natal,"
says, "when my horse began buck-jumping I dismounted, and I recommend
every one under the same circumstances to do the same."

The Guachos on the South American Pampas lasso a wild horse, throw him
down, cover his head with one of their ponchos, or cloaks, and, having
girthed on him one of their heavy demi-piqued saddles, from which it is
almost impossible to be dislodged, thrust a curb-bit, capable of
breaking the jaw with one tug, into the poor wretch's mouth, mount him
with a pair of spurs with rowels six inches long, and ride him over the
treeless plains until he sinks exhausted _in a fainting state_. But
horses thus broken are almost invariably either vicious or stupid; in
fact, idiotic. There is another milder method sometimes adopted by these
Pampas horsemen, on which, no doubt, Mr. Rarey partly founded his
system. After lassoing a horse, they blind his eyes with a poncho, tie
him fast to a post, and girth a heavy saddle on him. The animal
sometimes dies at once of fright and anger: if not, he trembles, sweats,
and would, after a time, fall down from terror and weakness. The Guacho
then goes up to him, caresses him, removes the poncho from his eyes,
continues to caress him; so that, according to the notion of the
country, the horse becomes grateful and attached to the man for
delivering him from something frightful; and from that moment the
process of training becomes easy, and, with the help of the long spurs,
is completed in a few days. This plan must spoil as many horses as it
makes quiet, and fail utterly with the more nervous and high-spirited;
for the very qualities that render a horse most useful and beautiful,
when properly trained, lead him, when unbroken, to resist more
obstinately rough violent usage.

In a French newspaper article on Mr. Rarey's system, it is related that
a French horse-breaker, in 1846, made a good speculation by purchasing
vicious horses, which are more common in France than in England, and
selling them, after a few days' discipline, perfectly quiet. His remedy
lay in a loaded whip, freely applied between the ears when any symptom
of vice was displayed. This expedient was only a revival of the method
of Grisoné, the Neapolitan, called, in the fifteenth century, the
regenerator of horsemanship, predecessor of the French school, who
says--"In breaking young horses, put them into a circular pit; be very
severe with those that are sensitive, and of high courage; beat them
between the ears with a stick." His followers tied their horses to the
pillars in riding-schools, and beat them to make them raise their
fore-legs. We do not approve of Grisoné's maxims at the present day in
print, but we leave our horses too much to ignorant colt-breakers, who
practise them.

The Arabs alone, who have no need to hurry the education of their
horses, and who live with them as we do with our pet dogs, train their
colts by degrees, with patient gentleness, and only resort to severe
measures to teach them to gallop and stop short. For this reason Arabs
are most docile until they fall into the hands of cruel grooms.

It was from considering the docility of the high-bred Arab horse and
intractableness of the quibly, roughly broken prairie or Pampas horse,
that Mr. Rarey was led to think over and perfect the system which he has
repeatedly explained and illustrated by living examples in his lectures,
and very imperfectly explained in his valuable, original, but crude
little book.

It is very fortunate that this book did not find its way to England
before Mr. Rarey himself came and conquered Cruiser, and in face-to-face
interviews gained the confidence and co-operation of all our
horse-loving aristocracy. For had the book appeared unsupported by
lectures (or such explanations written and pictorial as this edition
will supply), there would have been so many accidents and so many
failures, that Mr. Rarey would have had great difficulty in obtaining a
hearing, and for many years our splendid colts would have been left to
the empirical treatment of ignorant rough-riders.

An accident withdrew the great reformer of horse-training from

In the course of his travels as a teacher of horse-taming he met with
Mr. Goodenough, a sharp, hard-fisted New Englander, of the true "Yankee"
breed, so well-described by Sam Slick, settled in the city of Toronto,
Canada, as a general dealer. In fact, a "sort of Barnum." Mr. Goodenough
saw that there was money to be made out of the Rarey system--formed a
partnership with the Ohio farmer--conducted him to Canada--obtained an
opportunity of exhibiting his talents before Major Robertson,
Aide-de-camp to General Sir William Eyre, K.C.B., Commander of the
forces, and, through the Major, before Sir William himself, who is (as I
can say from having seen him with hounds) an accomplished horseman and
enthusiastic fox-hunter. From these high authorities the partners
obtained letters of introduction to the Horse Guards in England, and to
several gentlemen attached to the Court; in one of the letters of
introduction, General Eyre said, "that the system was new to him, and
valuable for military purposes." On arriving in England, Mr. Rarey made
known his system, and was fortunate enough to convert and obtain the
active assistance of Sir Richard Airey, Quarter-Master General, Lord
Alfred Paget,[16-*] and Colonel Hood, the two first being noted for
their skill as horsemen, and the two latter being attached to the Court.
From these gentlemen of high degree, Mr. Rarey proceeded, under good
advice, to make known his art to Mr. Joseph Anderson of Piccadilly, and
his prime minister, the well-known George Rice--tamed for them a black
horse that had been returned by Sir Matthew White Ridley, as unridable
from vice and nervousness. The next step was an introduction to Messrs.
Tattersall of Hyde Park, whose reputation for honour and integrity in
most difficult transactions is world wide and nearly a century old.
Introduced at Hyde Park Corner with the strongest recommendations and
certificates from such authorities as Lord Alfred Paget, Sir Richard
Airey, Colonel Hood, &c., &c., Messrs. Tattersall investigated Mr.
Rarey's system, and became convinced that its general adoption would
confer an invaluable benefit on what may be called "the great horse
interest," and do away with a great deal of cruelty and unnecessary
severity now practised on the best-bred and most high-spirited animals
through ignorance of colt-breakers and grooms. They, therefore, decided,
with that liberality which has always distinguished the firm, to lend
Mr. Rarey all the assistance in their power, without taking any
commission, or remuneration of any kind.

As the methods used by Mr. Rarey are so exceedingly simple, the question
next arose of how Mr. Rarey was to be remunerated when teaching in a
city where hundreds live by collecting and retailing news. His previous
lessons had been given to the thinly-populated districts of Ohio and
Texas, where each pupil was a dealer in horses, and kept his secret for
his own sake. Had he been the inventor of an improved corkscrew or
stirrup-iron, a patent would have secured him that limited monopoly
which very imperfectly rewards many invaluable mechanical inventions.
Had his countrymen chosen to agree to a reciprocity treaty for copyright
of books, he might have secured some certain remuneration by a printed
publication of his Lectures. But they prefer the liberty of borrowing
our copyrights without consulting the author, and we occasionally return
the compliment. In this instance the author cannot say that the British
nation has not paid him handsomely.

After a consultation with Mr. Rarey's noble patrons, it was decided that
a list should be opened at Hyde Park Corner for subscribers at £10
10_s._ each, paid in advance, the teaching to commence as soon as five
hundred subscriptions had been paid, each subscriber signing an
engagement, under a penalty of £500, not to teach or divulge Mr. Rarey's
method, and Messrs. Tattersall undertaking to hold the subscriptions in
trust until Mr. Rarey had performed his part of the agreement.[17-*] To
this fund, at the request of my friends Messrs. Tattersall, I agreed to
act as Secretary. My duties ceased when the list was filled, and the
management of the business passed from those gentlemen to Mr. Rarey's
partner, Mr. Goodenough, on the 3rd of May, 1858.

This list was opened the first day at Mr. Jos. Anderson's, after Mr.
Rarey had exhibited, not his method, but the results of his method on
the celebrated black, or rather iron-gray, horse already mentioned.

Leaving the list to fill, Mr. Rarey went to Paris, and there tamed the
vicious and probably half-mad coaching stallion, Stafford.[18-*] It is
not generally known that having omitted the precautions of gagging this
wild beast with the wooden bit, which forms one of the vignettes of this
book, he turned round suddenly, while the tamer was soothing his legs,
caught his shoulder in his mouth, and would have made an end of the
Rarey system if assistance had not been at hand in the shape of Mr.
Goodenough and a pitchfork.

Intense enthusiasm was created in Paris by the conquest of Stafford, but
250 francs was too large a sum to found a long subscription list in a
city so little given to private horsemanship, and a French experiment
did not produce much effect in England.

In fact, the English list, which started so bravely under distinguished
patronage, after touching some 250 names, languished, and in spite of
testimonials from great names, only reached 320, when Mr. Rarey, at the
pressing recommendation of his English friends, returned from Paris, and
fixed the day for commencing his lessons in the private riding-school of
the Duke of Wellington, the use of which had been in the kindest manner
offered by his Grace as a testimony of his high opinion of the value of
the new system.

The course was commenced on the 20th March, by inviting to a private
lesson a select party of noblemen and gentlemen, twenty-one in all,
including, amongst other accomplished horsemen and horse-breeders, Lord
Palmerston, the two ex-masters of the Royal Buckhounds, Earls Granville
and Bessborough, the Marquis of Stafford, Vice-President of the
Four-Horse Driving Club, and the Honourable Admiral Rous, the leading
authority of the Jockey Club on all racing matters. The favourable
report of these, perhaps, among the most competent judges of anything
appertaining to horses in the world, settled the value of Mr. Rarey's
lessons, and the list began to fill speedily; many of the subscribers,
no doubt, being more influenced by the prevailing fashion and curiosity,
than by an inclination to turn horse-tamers.

But early in April, when it became known that Mr. Rarey had tamed
Cruiser,[20-*] the most vicious stallion in England, "who could do more
fighting in less time than any horse in the world," and that he had
brought him to London on the very day after, that he first backed him
and had ridden him within three hours after the first interview, slow
conviction swelled to enthusiasm. The list filled up rapidly.

The school in Kinnerton Street, to which Mr. Rarey was obliged to
remove, was crowded, the excitement increasing with each lesson. On the
day that Cruiser was exhibited for the first time, long before the doors
were open, the little back street was filled with a fashionable mob,
including ladies of the highest rank. An admission by noble
non-subscribers with notes, gold, and cheques in hands, was begged for
with a polite insinuating humility that was quite edifying. A hatful of
ten-guinea subscriptions was thrust upon the unwilling secretary at the
door with as much eagerness as if he had been the allotter of shares in
a ten per cent railway in the day of Hudsonian guarantees. And it must
be observed that this crowd included among the mere fashion-mongers
almost every distinguished horseman and hunting-man in the three

It is quite too late now to attempt to depreciate a system the value of
which has been repeatedly and openly acknowledged by authorities above
question. As to the "secret," the subscribers must have known that it
was impossible that a system that required so much space, and involved
so much noise, could long remain a secret.

The Earl of Jersey, so celebrated in this century as a breeder of
race-horses, in the last century as a rider to hounds, _stood_ through
a long lesson, and was as much delighted as his son the Honourable
Frederick Villiers, Master of the Pytchley Hounds. Sir Tatton Sykes of
Sledmere, perhaps the finest amateur horseman that ever rode a race,
whose equestrian performances on the course and in the hunting-field
date back more than sixty years, was as enthusiastic in his approval as
the young Guardsman who, fortified by Mr. Rarey's lessons, mastered a
mare that had defied the efforts of all the farriers of the Household

In a word, the five-hundred list was filled, and overflowed, the
subscribers were satisfied, and the responsibility of Messrs. Tattersall
as stakeholders for the public ceased, and the Secretary and Treasurer
to the fund, having wound up the accounts and retired, the connection
between Mr. Rarey and the Messrs. Tattersall resolved itself into the
use of an office at Hyde Park Corner.

The London subscription list had passed eleven hundred names, and, in
conjunction with the subscription received in Yorkshire, Liverpool,
Manchester, Dublin, and Paris, besides private lessons at £25 each, had
realised upwards of £20,000 for Mr. Rarey and his partner, when the
five-hundred secrecy agreement was extinguished by the re-publication of
the little American pamphlet already mentioned.

It was high time that it should, for, while Mr. Rarey had been
handsomely paid for his instruction, the more scrupulous of his
subscribers were unable to practise his lessons for want of a place
where they could work in secrecy.

But although the re-publication of Mr. Rarey's American pamphlet
virtually absolved his subscribers from the agreement which he gave up
formally a few days later in his letter to the _Times_, it is quite
absurd to assert that the little pamphlet teaches the Art of
Horse-Taming as now practised by Mr. Rarey. Certainly no one but a
horseman skilled in the equitation of schools could do much with a horse
without great danger of injuring the animal and himself, if he had no
other instruction than that contained in Mr. Rarey's clever, original,
but vague chapters.

In the following work I shall endeavour to fill up the blanks in Mr.
Rarey's sketch, and with the help of pictures and diagrams, show how a
cool determined man or boy may break in any colt, and make him a docile
hack, harness horse, or hunter; stand still, follow, and obey the voice
almost as much as the reins.

To say that written or oral instructions will teach every man how to
grapple with savages like Stafford, Cruiser, Phlegon, or Mr. Gurney's
gray colt, would be sheer humbug--that must depend on the man; but we
have an instance of what can be done that is encouraging. When Mr. Rarey
was so ill that he was unable to sit Mr. Gurney's gray colt, the
boasting Mr. Goodenough tried his hand, and was beaten pale and
trembling out of the circus by that equine tiger; but Mr. Thomas Rice,
the jobmaster of Motcombe Street, who had had the charge of Cruiser in
Mr. Rarey's absence up to that time, although he had never before tried
his hand at Rareyfying a horse, stuck to the gray colt, laid down, made
him fast, and completely conquered him in one evening, so that he was
fit to be exhibited the next day, when Mr. Goodenough, _more suo_,
claimed the benefit of the victory.

Several ladies have succeeded famously in horse-taming; but they have
been ladies accustomed to horses and to exercise, and always with
gentlemen by, in case a customer proved too tough.

Before concluding this desultory but necessary introductory sketch of
the rise, progress, and success of the Rarey system, it will be as well,
perhaps, for the benefit of lady readers, to give a personal sketch of
Mr. Rarey, who is by no means the athletic giant that many imagine.

Mr. Rarey is about thirty years of age, of middle height, and
well-proportioned figure, wiry and active rather than muscular--his
complexion is almost effeminately fair, with more colour than is usually
found in those of his countrymen who live in the cities of the
sea-coast. And his fair hair, large gray eyes, which only light up and
flash fire when he has an awkward customer to tackle, give him
altogether the appearance of a Saxon Englishman. His walk is remarkably
light and springy, yet regular, as he turns round his horse; something
between the set-up of a soldier and the light step of a sportsman.
Altogether his appearance and manners are eminently gentlemanly.
Although a self-educated and not a book-educated man, his conversation,
when he cares to talk, for he is rather reserved, always displays a good
deal of thoughtful originality, relieved by flashes of playful humour.
This may be seen in his writing.

It may easily be imagined that he is extremely popular with all those
with whom he has been brought in contact, and has acquired the personal
friendship of some of the most accomplished noblemen and gentlemen of
the day.

Mr. Rarey's system of horse-training will infallibly supersede all
others for both civil and military purposes, and his name will take rank
among the great social reformers of the nineteenth century. May we have
many more such importations from America!



[4-*] Owner of Fisherman.

[5-*] See "The Post and the Paddock," by "The Druid."

[6-*] Carter, one of the Van Amburgh showmen.

[16-*] Son of the late Marquis of Anglesea, one of the finest horsemen
of his day, even with one leg, after he left the other at Waterloo.

[17-*] The list itself is one of the most extraordinary documents ever
printed, in regard to the rank and equestrian accomplishments of the

[18-*] "Stafford is a half-bred carriage stallion, six years old. For
three years he has formed one of the breeding-stud at Cluny, where he
has acquired the character of being a most dangerous animal. He was
about to be withdrawn from the stud and destroyed, in consequence of the
protests of the breeders--for a whole year he had obstinately refused to
be dressed, and was obliged to be closely confined in his box. He rushed
at every one who appeared with both fore-feet, and open mouthed. Every
means of subduing and restraining him was adopted; he was muzzled,
blindfolded, and hobbled. In order to give Mr. Rarey's method a trial,
Stafford was sent to Paris, and there a great number of persons,
including the principal members of the Jockey Club, had an opportunity
of judging of his vicious disposition.

"After being alone with Stafford for an hour and a half, Mr. Rarey rode
on him into the Riding School, guiding him with a common snaffle-bridle.
The appearance of the horse was completely altered: he was calm and
docile. His docility did not seem to be produced by fear or constraint,
but the result of perfect confidence. The astonishment of the spectators
was increased when Mr. Rarey unbridled him, and guided the late savage
animal, with a mere motion of his hands or indication with his leg, as
easily as a trained circus-horse. Then, dashing into a gallop, he
stopped him short with a single word.

"Mr. Rarey concluded his first exhibition by beating a drum on
Stafford's back, and passing his hand over his head and mouth. Stafford
was afterwards ridden by a groom, and showed the same docility in his
hands as in those of Mr. Rarey.

"Mr. Rarey succeeded on the first attempt in putting him in harness with
a mare, although he had never had his head through a collar before; and
he went as quietly as the best-broken carriage-horse in Paris. Mr Rarey
concluded by firing a six-chambered revolver from his back."--_Paris
Illustrated Journal._

[20-*] "Cruiser was the property of Lord Dorchester, and was a good
favourite for the Derby in Wild Dayrell's year, but broke down before
the race. Like all Venison horses, his temper was not of the mildest
kind, and John Day was delighted to get rid of him. When started for
Rawcliffe, he told the man who led him on no account to put him into a
stable, as he would never get him out. This injunction was of course
disregarded, for when the man wanted some refreshment, he put him into a
country public-house stable, and left him, and to get him out, the roof
of the building had to be pulled off. At Rawcliffe, he was always
exhibited by a groom with a ticket-of-leave bludgeon in his hand, and
few were bold enough to venture into his yard. This animal, whose temper
has depreciated him perhaps a thousand pounds in value, I think would be
'the right horse in the right place' for Mr. Rarey. Phlegon and Vatican
would also be good patients. I am sorry to hear that the latter has been
blinded: if leathern blinds had been put on his eyes, the same effect
would have been produced."--_Morning Post_, March 2, 1858.

"Mr. Rarey, when here, first subjugated a two-year old filly, perfectly
unbroken. This he accomplished under half an hour, riding on her,
opening an umbrella, beating a drum upon her, &c. He then took Cruiser
in hand, and in three hours Mr. Rarey and myself mounted him. He had not
been ridden for nearly three years, and was so vicious that it was
impossible even to dress him, and it was necessary to keep him muzzled
constantly. The following morning Mr. Rarey led him behind an open
carriage, on his road to London. This horse was returned to me by the
Rawcliffe and Stud Company on account of his vice, it being considered
as much as a man's life was worth to attend to him.

"Greywell, April 7." "DORCHESTER."


     Mr. Rarey's Pamphlet.--Introduction.

Mr. Rarey's American Pamphlet would make about fifty pages of this type,
if given in full; but, in revising my Illustrated Edition, I have
decided on omitting six pages of Introduction, which, copied from Mr.
Rollo Springfield, an American author, do not contain any reliable facts
or useful inferences.

The speculations of the American author, as to the early history of the
horse, are written without sufficient information. So far from the
"polished Greeks" having, as he states, "ridden without bridles," we
have the best authority in the frieze of the Parthenon for knowing that,
although they rode barebacked on their compact cobby ponies, they used
reins and handled them skilfully and elegantly.

To go still further back, the bas-reliefs in the British Museum,
discovered by Mr. Layard in the Assyrian Palace of Nimroud, contain
spirited representation of horses with bridles, ridden in hunting and in
pursuit of enemies, as well as driven in war-chariots. These horses are
Arabs, while those of the Elgin Marbles more resemble the cream-coloured
Hanoverians which draw the state carriage of our sovereigns. In one of
the Nimroud bas-reliefs, we have cavalry soldiers standing with the
bridles of their horses in their hands, "waiting," as Mr. Bonomi tells
us, "for the orders to mount;" but, as they stand on the left side, with
the bridles in their left hands, it is difficult to understand how they
could obey such an order with reasonable celerity.

The Arabian stories, as to the performances of Arab horses and their
owners, must be received with considerable hesitation, for the horse is
one of the subjects on which Orientals love to found their poetical
fireside stories. This is certain, that the Arab horse being highly
bred, is very intelligent, being reared from its birth in the family of
its master, extremely docile, and, being always in the open air and fed
on a moderate quantity of dry food, very hardy.

If we lived with our horses, as we do with our dogs, they would be
equally affectionate and tractable.

In Norway, in consequence of the severity of the climate, the ponies are
all housed during the winter, and thus become so familiar with their
owner that there is scarcely any difficulty in putting them into
harness, even the first time.

English thoroughbred horses, when once acclimatized and bred in the open
air on the dry pastures of Australia and South Africa, are found, if not
put to work too early, as enduring as the Arab. Experiments in the
Indian artillery have proved that the Australian horse and the
Cape[27-*] horse, which has also been improved by judicious crosses
with English blood, are superior for strength and endurance to the
Eastern horses bred in the stud establishments of the East India

The exaggerated idea that long prevailed of the value of the Arab horse,
as compared with the English thorough-bred, which is an Eastern horse
improved by long years of care and ample food, has been to a great
extent dissipated by the large importation of Arabs that took place
after the Crimean war--in fact, they are on the average pretty ponies of
great endurance, but of very little use in this country, where size is
indispensable for profit. In the East they are of great value for
cavalry; they are hardy and full of fire and spirit. "But," says Captain
Nolan, "no horse can compare with the English--no horse is more easily
broken in to anything and everything--there is no quality in which the
English horse does not excel--no performance in which he cannot beat all
competition;" and Nolan was as familiar with the Eastern, Hungarian, and
German crosses with the Arab as with the English thorough-bred.

We spoil our horses, first by pampering them in hot stables under warm
clothing; next, by working them too young; and, lastly, by entrusting
their training to rude, ignorant men, who rely for leading colt the way
he should go on mere force, harsh words, a sharp whip, and the worrying
use of the longeing rein. Rarey has shown how easily, quietly, and
safely horses may be tamed; but we must also train men before we can
obtain full benefit from our admirable breeds of horses.

Proof that our horses have become feeble from pampering may be found in
Devonshire. There the common hacks of the county breed on the moors,
and, crossed with native ponies, are usually undersized and coarse and
heavy about the shoulders, like most wild horses, and all the inferior
breeds of Arabs, but they are hardy and enduring to a degree that a
Yorkshire breeder would scarcely believe. Mean-looking Galloways will
draw a heavy dog-cart over the Devonshire hills fifty miles a-day for
many days in succession.

A little common sense has been introduced into the management of our
cavalry, since the real experience of the Crimean war. General Sir
Charles Napier was not noticed when, nearly ten years ago, he wrote,
"The cavalry charger, on a Hounslow Heath parade, well fed, well
groomed, goes through a field-day without injury, although carrying more
than twenty stone weight; he and his rider presenting together, a kind
of alderman centaur. But if in the field, half starved, they have, at
the end of a forced march, to charge an enemy! The biped full of fire
and courage, transformed by war-work to a wiry muscular dragoon, is able
and willing, but the overloaded quadruped cannot gallop--he staggers."

Our poor horses thus loaded, are expected to bound to hand and spur,
while the riders wield their swords worthily. They cannot; and both man
and horse appear inferior to their Indian opponents. The Eastern
warrior's eye is quick, but not quicker than the European's; his heart
is big, yet not bigger than the European's; his arm is strong, but not
so strong as the European's; the swing of his razor-like scimitar is
terrible, but an English trooper's downright blow splits the skull. Why
then does the latter fail? The light-weighted horse of the dark
swordsman carries him round his foe with elastic bounds, and the strong
European, unable to deal the cleaving blow, falls under the activity of
an inferior adversary!

Since the war, light men with broad chests have been enlisted for Indian
service. The next step, originally suggested by Nolan, that every
cavalry soldier should train his own horse, will be made easy by the
introduction of the Rarey system. Country horse-breakers are too
ignorant, too prejudiced, and too much interested in keeping up a
mystery that gives them three months employment, instead of three weeks,
to adopt it. The reform will probably commence in the army and in racing

       *       *       *       *       *

In the following pages, I have given the text of the American edition of
Mr. Rarey's pamphlet, and added the information I have derived from
hearing his lectures, seeing his operations on "Cruiser," and other
difficult horses, and from the experience of my friends and self in
taming horses. Thus, in Chap. VI. to Mr. Rarey's five pages I have added
sixteen, and nine woodcut illustrations. In Chap. VII. the directions
for the drum, umbrella, and riding habit are in print for the first
time, as well as the directions for mounting with slack girths. Chaps.
VIII. to XIV. have been added, in order to make this little work a
complete manual for those who wish to benefit in riding as well as
training horses from the experience of others.

In my opinion, the Rarey system is invaluable for training colts,
breaking horses into harness, and curing kickers and jibbers. I do not
profess to be a horse-tamer, my pursuits are too sedentary during the
greater part of the year, but I have succeeded with even colts. I tried
my hand on two of them wild from the Devonshire moors, in August last,
and succeeded perfectly in an hour. I made them as affectionate as pet
ponies, ready to follow me everywhere, as well as to submit to be
mounted and ridden.

As to curing vicious horses, all that can be safely said is, that it
puts it into the power of a _courageous, calm-tempered horseman_ to
conquer any horse. "Cruiser" was quiet in the hands of Mr. Rarey and Mr.
Rice, but when insulted in the circus of Leicester Square by a violent
jerk, he rushed at his tormentor with such ferocity that he cleared the
ring of all the spangled troupe, yet, in the midst of his rage, he
halted and ran up on being called by Rarey.

From this we learn that such a horse won't be bullied and must not be
feared. But such vicious horses are rare exceptions. It is curious, that
Mr. Rarey should have made his reputation by the least useful exercise
of his art.


[27-*] The Cape horse has recently come into notice, in consequence of
the publication of "Papers relating to the Purchase of Horses at the
Cape for the Army of India." It seems that not less than 3300 have been
purchased for that purpose; that Cape horses purchased by Colonel
Havelock arrived from India in the Crimea in better condition than any
other horses in the regiment; and that in the Caffre War Cape horses
condemned by the martinets of a Remount Committee, carried the 7th
Dragoons, averaging, in marching order, over nineteen stone, and no
privation or fatigue could make General Cathcart's horses succumb. These
horses are bred between the Arabs introduced by the Dutch and the
English thoroughbred. I confess I see with, surprise that Colonel
Apperley, the remount agent, recommends crosses with Norfolk trotting
and Cleveland stallions. No such cross has ever answered in this
country. Had he recommended thoroughbred weight-carrying stallions in
preference to Arabs, I could have understood his condemnation of the
latter. I should have hesitated to set my opinion against Colonel
Apperley, had I not found that he differs entirely from the late General
Sir Walter Gilbert, the greatest horseman, take him for all in all, as a
cavalry officer, as a flat and steeple-chase rider, and rider to hounds
of his day.--_See Napier's Indian Misgovernment_, p. 286 _et seq._


     The three fundamental principles of the Rarey Theory.--Heads of the
     Rarey Lectures.--Editor's paraphrase.--That any horse may be taught
     docility.--That a horse should be so handled and tied as to feel
     inferior to man.--That a horse should be allowed to see, smell, and
     feel all fearful objects.--Key note of the Rarey system.

FIRST.--That he is so constituted by nature that he will not offer
resistance to any demand made of him which he fully comprehends, if made
in a way consistent with the laws of his nature.

SECOND.--That he has no consciousness of his strength beyond his
experience, and can be handled according to our will without force.

THIRD.--That we can, in compliance with the laws of his nature, by which
he examines all things new to him, take any object, however frightful,
around, over, or on him, that does not inflict pain--without causing him
to fear.

To take these assertions in order, I will first give you some of the
reasons why I think he is naturally obedient, and will not offer
resistance to anything fully comprehended. The horse, though possessed
of some faculties superior to man's, being deficient in reasoning
powers, has no knowledge of right or wrong, of free will and independent
government, and knows not of any imposition practised upon him, however
unreasonable these impositions may be. Consequently, he cannot come to
any decision as to what he should or should not do, because he has not
the reasoning faculties of man to argue the justice of the thing
demanded of him. If he had, taking into consideration his superior
strength, he would be useless to man as a servant. Give him _mind_ in
proportion to his strength, and he will demand of us the green fields
for his inheritance, where he will roam at leisure, denying the right of
servitude at all. God has wisely formed his nature so that it can be
operated upon by the knowledge of man according to the dictates of his
will; and he might well be termed an unconscious, submissive servant.
This truth we can see verified in every day's experience by the abuses
practised upon him. Any one who chooses to be so cruel can mount the
noble steed and run him till he drops with fatigue, or, as is often the
case with the more spirited, falls dead beneath his rider. If he had the
power to reason, would he not rear and pitch his rider, rather than
suffer him to run him to death? Or would he condescend to carry at all
the vain impostor, who, with but equal intellect, was trying to impose
on his equal rights and equally independent spirit? But, happily for us,
he has no consciousness of imposition, no thought of disobedience except
by impulse caused by the violation of the law of his nature.
Consequently, when disobedient, it is the fault of man.

Then, we can but come to the conclusion that, if a horse is not taken in
a way at variance with the laws of his nature, he will do anything that
he fully comprehends, without making any offer of resistance.

Second--The fact of the horse being unconscious of the amount of his
strength can be proven to the satisfaction of any one. For instance,
such remarks as these are common, and perhaps familiar to your
recollection. One person says to another, "If that wild horse there was
conscious of the amount of his strength, his owner would have no
business with him in that vehicle: such light reins and harness, too--if
he knew, he could snap them asunder in a minute, and be as free as the
air we breathe;" and, "That horse yonder, that is pawing and fretting to
follow the company that is fast leaving him--if he knew his strength, he
would not remain long fastened to that hitching post so much against his
will, by a strap that would no more resist his powerful weight and
strength than a cotton thread would bind a strong man." Yet these facts,
made common by every-day occurrence, are not thought of as anything
wonderful. Like the ignorant man who looks at the different phases of
the moon, you look at these things as he looks at her different changes,
without troubling your mind with the question, "Why are these things
so?" What would be the condition of the world if all our minds lay
dormant? If men did not think, reason, and act, our undisturbed,
slumbering intellects would not excel the imbecility of the brute; we
should live in chaos, hardly aware of our existence. And yet, with all
our activity of mind, we daily pass by unobserved that which would be
wonderful if philosophized and reasoned upon; and with the same
inconsistency wonder at that which a little consideration, reason, and
philosophy, would make but a simple affair.

Third--He will allow any object, however frightful in appearance, to
come around, over, or on him, that does not inflict pain.

We know, from a natural course of reasoning, that there has never been
an effect without a cause; and we infer from this that there can be no
action, either in animate or inanimate matter, without there first being
some cause to produce it. And from this self-evident fact we know that
there is some cause for every impulse or movement of either mind or
matter, and that this law governs every action or movement of the animal
kingdom. Then, according to this theory, there must be some cause before
fear can exist; and if fear exists from the effect of imagination, and
not from the infliction of real pain, it can be removed by complying
with those laws of nature by which the horse examines an object, and
determines upon its innocence or harm.

A log or stump by the road-side may be, in the imagination of the horse,
some great beast about to pounce upon him; but after you take him up to
it, and let him stand by it a little while, and touch it with his nose,
and go through his process of examination, he will not care anything
more about it. And the same principle and process will have the same
effect with any other object, however frightful in appearance, in which
there is no harm. Take a boy that has been frightened by a false face,
or any other object that he could not comprehend at once; but let him
take that face or object in his hands and examine it, and he will not
care anything more about it. This is a demonstration of the same

With this introduction to the principles of my theory, I shall next
attempt to teach you how to put it into practice; and whatever
instructions may follow, you can rely on as having been proven
practically by my own experiments. And knowing, from experience, just
what obstacles I have met with in handling bad horses, I shall try to
anticipate them for you, and assist you in surmounting them, by
commencing with the first steps to be taken with the colt, and
accompanying you through the whole task of breaking.

These three principles have been enlarged upon and explained in a fuller
and more familiar manner by Mr. Rarey in his Lectures, of which the
following are the heads.

"Principles on which horses should be treated and educated--not by fear
or force--By an intelligent application of skill with firmness and
patience--How to approach a colt--How to halter--How teach to lead in
twenty minutes--How to subdue and cause to lie down in fifteen
minutes--How to tame and cure fear and nervousness--How to saddle and
bridle--How to accustom to be mounted and ridden--How to accustom to a
drum--to an umbrella--to a lady's habit, or any other object, in a few
minutes--How to harness a horse for the first time--How to drive a horse
unbroken to harness, and make go steady, single or double, in a couple
of hours--How to make any horse stand still until called--How to make a
horse follow his owner."

       *       *       *       *       *

In plain language, Mr. Rarey means, that--

1st. That any horse may be taught to do anything that a horse can do if
taught in a proper manner.

2nd. That a horse is not conscious of his own strength until he has
resisted and conquered a man, and that by taking advantage of man's
reasoning powers a horse can be handled in such a manner that he shall
not find out his strength.

3rd. That by enabling a horse to examine every object with which we
desire to make him familiar, with the organs naturally used for that
purpose, viz. _seeing_, _smelling_, and _feeling_, you may take any
object around, over, and on him that does not actually hurt him.

Thus, for example, the objects which affright horses are the feel of
saddles, riding-habits, harness, and wheeled carriages; the sight of
umbrellas and flags; loaded waggons, troops, or a crowd; the sound of
wheels, of drums, of musketry. There are thousands of horses that by
degrees learn to bear all these things; others, under our old imperfect
system, never improve, and continue nervous or vicious to the end of
their lives. Every year good sound horses are drafted from the cavalry,
or from hunters' barbs and carriage-horses, into omnibuses and Hansom
cabs, because they cannot be made to bear the sound of drums and
firearms, or will not submit to be shod, and be safe and steady in
crowded cities, or at covert side. Nothing is more common than to hear
that such a horse would be invaluable if he would go in harness, or
carry a lady, or that a racehorse of great swiftness is almost valueless
because his temper is so bad, or his nervousness in a crowd so great
that he cannot be depended on to start or to run his best.

All these varieties of nervous and vicious animals are deteriorated in
value, because they have not been educated to confide in and implicitly
obey man.

The whole object of the Rarey system is, to give the horse full
confidence in his rider, to make him obedient to his voice and gestures,
and to impress the animal with the belief that he could not successfully
resist him.

Lord Pembroke, in his treatise on Horsemanship, says, "His hand is the
best whose indications are so clear that his horse cannot mistake them,
_and whose gentleness and fearlessness_ alike induce obedience to them."
"The noblest animal," says Colonel Greenwood, "will obey such a rider;
and it is ever the noblest, most intelligent horses, that rebel the
most. In riding a colt or a restive horse we should never forget that he
has the right to resist, and that as far as he can judge we have not the
right to insist. The great thing in horsemanship is to get the horse to
be your party, not to obey only, but to obey willingly. For this reason
the lessons cannot be begun too early, or be too progressive."

The key-note to the Rarey system is to be found in the opening sentence
of his early lectures in England: "Man has reason in addition to his
senses. A horse judges everything by SEEING, SMELLING, and FEELING." It
must be the business of every one who undertakes to train colts that
they shall _see_, _smell_, and _feel_ everything that they are to wear
or to bear.



     How to drive a colt from pasture.--How to drive into a stable.--The
     kind of halter.--Experiment with a robe or cloak.--Horse-taming
     drugs.--The Editor's remarks.--Importance of patience.--Best kind
     of head-stall.--Danger of approaching some colts.--Hints from a
     Colonel of the Life Guards.


Go to the pasture and walk around the whole herd quietly, and at such a
distance as not to cause them to scare and run. Then approach them very
slowly, and if they stick up their heads and seem to be frightened,
stand still until they become quiet, so as not to make them run before
you are close enough to drive them in the direction you want them to go.
And when you begin to drive, do not flourish your arms or halloo, but
gently follow them off, leaving the direction open that you wish them to
take. Thus taking advantage of their ignorance, you will be able to get
them into the pound as easily as the hunter drives the quails into his
net. For, if they have always run in the pasture uncared for (as many
horses do in prairie countries and on large plantations), there is no
reason why they should not be as wild as the sportsman's birds, and
require the same gentle treatment, if you want to get them without
trouble; for the horse, in his natural state, is as wild as a stag, or
any of the undomesticated animals, though more easily tamed.


The next step will be, to get the horse into a stable or shed. This
should be done as quietly as possible, so as not to excite any suspicion
in the horse of any danger befalling him. The best way to do this, is to
lead a broken horse into the stable first and hitch (tie) him, then
quietly walk around the colt and let him go in of his own accord. It is
almost impossible to get men who have never practised on this principle
to go slowly and considerately enough about it. They do not know that
in handling a wild horse, above all other things, is that good old adage
true, that "haste makes waste;" that is, waste of time--for the gain of
trouble and perplexity.

One wrong move may frighten your horse, and make him think it necessary
to escape at all hazards for the safety of his life--and thus make two
hours' work of a ten minutes' job; and this would be all your own fault,
and entirely unnecessary--_for he will not run unless you run after him,
and that would not be good policy unless you knew that you could outrun
him, for you will have to let him stop of his own accord after all_. But
he will not try to break away unless you attempt to force him into
measures. If he does not see the way at once, and is a little fretful
about going in, do not undertake to drive him, but give him a little
less room outside, by gently closing in around him. Do not raise your
arms, but let them hang at your side, for you might as well raise a
club: _the horse has never studied anatomy, and does not know but that
they will unhinge themselves and fly at him_. If he attempts to turn
back, walk before him, but do not run; and if he gets past you, encircle
him again in the same quiet manner, and he will soon find that you are
not going to hurt him; and then you can walk so close around him that he
will go into the stable for more room, and to get farther from you. As
soon as he is in, remove the quiet horse and shut the door. This will be
his first notion of confinement--not knowing how he got into such a
place, nor how to get out of it. That he may take it as quietly at
possible, see that the shed is entirely free from dogs, chickens, or
anything that would annoy him. Then give him a few ears of corn, and let
him remain alone fifteen or twenty minutes, until he has examined his
apartment, and has become reconciled to his confinement.


And now, while your horse is eating those few ears of corn, is the
proper time to see that your halter is ready and all right, and to
reflect on the best mode of operations; for in horse-breaking it is
highly important that you should be governed by some system. And you
should know, before you attempt to do anything, just what you are going
to do, and how you are going to do it. And, if you are experienced in
the art of taming wild horses, you ought to be able to tell, within a
few minutes, the length of time it would take you to halter the colt,
and teach him to lead.


Always use a leather halter, and be sure to have it made so that it will
not draw tight around his nose if he pulls on it. It should be of the
right size to fit his head easily and nicely; so that the nose-band will
not be too tight or too low. Never put a rope halter on an unbroken
colt, under any circumstances whatever. Rope halters have caused more
horses to hurt or kill themselves than would pay for twice the cost of
all the leather halters that have ever been needed for the purpose of
haltering colts. It is almost impossible to break a colt that is very
wild with a rope halter, without having him pull, rear, and throw
himself, and thus endanger his life; and I will tell you why. It is just
as natural for a horse to try to get his head out of anything that hurts
it, or feels unpleasant, at it would be for you to try to get your hand
out of a fire. The cords of the rope are hard and cutting; this makes
him raise his head and draw on it, and as soon as he pulls, the slip
noose (the way rope-halters are always made) tightens, and pinches his
nose, and then he will struggle for life, until, perchance, he throws
himself; and who would have his horse throw himself, and run the risk of
breaking his neck, rather than pay the price of a leather halter? But
this is not the worst. _A horse that has once pulled on his halter can
never be as well broken as one that has never pulled at all._

But before we attempt to do anything more with the colt, I will give you
some of the characteristics of his nature, that you may better
understand his motions. Every one that has ever paid any attention to
the horse, has noticed his natural inclination to smell everything which
to him looks new and frightful. This is their strange mode of examining
everything. And when they are frightened at anything, though they look
at it sharply, they seem to have no confidence in their eyesight alone,
but must touch it with their nose before they are entirely satisfied;
and, as soon as they have done that, all seems right.


If you want to satisfy yourself of this characteristic of the horse, and
to learn something of importance concerning the peculiarities of his
nature, &c., turn him into the barn-yard, or a large stable will do, and
then gather up something that you know will frighten him--a red blanket,
buffalo robe, or something of that kind. Hold it up so that he can see
it, he will stick up his head and snort. Then throw it down somewhere in
the centre of the lot or barn, and walk off to one side. Watch his
motions, and study his nature. If he is frightened at the object, he
will not rest until he has touched it with his nose. You will see him
begin to walk around the robe and snort, all the time getting a little
closer, as if drawn up by some magic spell, until he finally gets within
reach of it. He will then very cautiously stretch out his neck as far as
he can reach, merely touching it with his nose, as though he thought it
was ready to fly at him. But after he has repeated these touches a few
times, for the first time (though he has been looking at it all the
while) he seems to have an idea what it is. But now he has found, by the
sense of feeling, that it is nothing that will do him any harm, and he
is ready to play with it. And if you watch him closely, you will see him
take hold of it with his teeth, and raise it up and pull at it. And in a
few minutes you can see that he has not that same wild look about his
eye, but stands like a horse biting at some familiar stump.

Yet the horse is never so well satisfied when he is about anything that
has frightened him, as when he is standing with his nose to it. And, in
nine cases out of ten, you will see some of that same wild look about
him again, as he turns to walk from it. And you will, probably, see him
looking back very suspiciously as he walks away, as though he thought it
might come after him yet. And in all probability, he will have to go
back and make another examination before he is satisfied. But he will
familiarize himself with it, and, if he should run in that field a few
days, the robe that frightened him so much at first will be no more to
him than a familiar stump.

We might very naturally suppose from the fact of the horse's applying
his nose to everything new to him, that he always does so for the
purpose of smelling these objects. But I believe that it is as much or
more for the purpose of feeling, and that he makes use of his nose, or
muzzle (as it is sometimes called), as we would of our hands; because it
is the only organ by which he can touch or feel anything with much

I believe that he invariably makes use of the four senses, SEEING,
HEARING, SMELLING, and FEELING, in all of his examinations, of which the
sense of feeling is, perhaps, the most important. And I think that in
the experiment with the robe, his gradual approach and final touch with
his nose was as much for the purpose of feeling as anything else, his
sense of smell being so keen that it would not be necessary for him to
touch his nose against anything in order to get the proper scent; for it
is said that a horse can smell a man at a distance of a mile. And if the
scent of the robe was all that was necessary he could get that several
rods off. But we know from experience, that if a horse sees and smells a
robe a short distance from him he is very much frightened (unless he is
used to it) until he touches or feels it with his nose; which is a
positive proof that feeling is the controlling sense in this case.


It is a prevailing opinion among horsemen generally that the sense of
smell is the governing sense of the horse. And Baucher, as well as
others, has with that view got up receipts of strong smelling oils, &c.,
to tame the horse, sometimes using the chestnut of his leg, which they
dry, grind into powder, and blow into his nostrils, sometimes using the
oils of rhodium, origanum, &c., that are noted for their strong smell;
and sometimes they scent the hand with the sweat from under the arm, or
blow their breath into his nostrils, &c., &c. All of which, as far as
the scent goes, have no effect whatever in gentling the horse, or
conveying any idea to his mind; _though the acts that accompany these
efforts--handling him, touching him about the nose and head, and patting
him, as they direct you should, after administering the articles, may
have a very great effect, which they mistake for the effect of the
ingredients used_. And Baucher, in his work, entitled "The Arabian Art
of Taming Horses," page 17, tells us how to accustom a horse to a robe,
by administering certain articles to his nose; and goes on to say that
these articles must first be applied to the horse's nose, before you
attempt to break him, in order to operate successfully.

Now, reader, can you, or any one else, give one single reason how scent
can convey any idea to the horse's mind of what we want him to do? If
not, then of course strong scents of any kind can be of no use in taming
the unbroken horse. For, everything that we get him to do of his own
accord, without force, must be accomplished by conveying our ideas to
his mind. I say to my horse, "Go-'long!" and he goes; "Ho!" and he
stops, because these two words, of which he has learned the meaning by
the tap of the whip and the pull of the rein that first accompanied
them, convey the two ideas to his mind of _go_ and _stop_.

It is impossible to teach the horse a single thing by the means of scent
alone; and as for affection, that can be better created by other means.

How long do you suppose a horse would have to stand and smell a bottle
of oil, before he would learn to bend his knee and make a bow at your
bidding, "Go yonder and bring my hat," or "Come here and lie down?" The
absurdity of trying to break or tame the horse by the means of receipts
for articles to smell at, or of medicine to swallow, is self-evident.

The only science that has ever existed in the world, relative to the
breaking of horses, that has been of any value, is that method which,
taking them in their native state, improves their intelligence.


The directions for driving colts from the pasture are of less importance
in this country where fields are enclosed, and the most valuable colts
wear headstalls, and are handled, or ought to be, from their earliest
infancy; but in Wales, and on wastes like Exmoor[47-*] or Dartmoor, the
advice may be found useful.

Under all circumstances it is important that the whole training of a
colt (and training of the boy who is to manage horses) should be
conducted from first to last on consistent principles; for, in the mere
process of driving a colt from the field to the fold-yard, ideas of
terror may be instilled into the timid animal, for instance, by idle
drumming on a hat, which it will take weeks or months to eradicate.

The next step is to get the colt into a stable, barn, or other building
sufficiently large for the early operations, and secluded from those
sights and sounds so common in a farm-yard, which would be likely to
distract his attention. In training a colt the squeaking of a litter of
pigs has lost me the work of three hours. An outfield, empty barn, or
bullock-shed, is better than any place near the homestead.

It is a good plan to keep an intelligent old horse expressly for the
purpose of helping to train and lead the young colts. I have known
horses that seemed to take a positive pleasure in helping to subdue a
wild colt when first put in double harness.

The great point is not to force or frighten a colt into the stable, but
to edge him into it quietly, and cause him to glide in of his own
accord. In this simple operation, the horse-trainer will test himself
the indispensable quality of a horse trainer--_patience_. A word I shall
have to repeat until my readers are almost heartily sick of the
"_damnable iteration_." There is a world of equestrian wisdom in two
sentences of the chapter just quoted, "he will not run unless you run
after him," and "the horse has not studied anatomy."

The observations about rope halters are very sound, and in addition I
may add, that the mouths of hundreds of horses are spoiled by the
practice of passing a looped rope round the lower jaw of a fiery horse,
which the rider often makes the stay for keeping himself in his seat.

The best kind of head-stall for training colts is that delineated at the
head of this chapter,[48-*] called the Bush Bridle, to which any kind of
bit may be attached, and by unbuckling the bit it is converted into a
capital halter, with a rope for leading a colt or picketing a horse at

The long rope is exactly what Mr. Rarey recommends for teaching a colt
to lead. Every one of any experience will agree that "a horse that has
once pulled on his halter can never be so well broken as one that has
never pulled at all."

The directions for stroking and patting the body and limbs of a colt
are curious, as proving that an operation which we have been in the
habit of performing as a matter of course without attaching any
particular virtue to it, has really a sort of mesmeric effect in
soothing and conciliating a nervous animal. The directions in Chapter V.
for approaching a colt deserve to be studied very minutely, remembering
always the maxim printed at p. 57--_Fear and anger, a good horseman
should never feel._

It took Mr. Rarey himself two hours to halter a savage half-broken colt
in Liverpool, but then he had the disadvantage of being surrounded by an
impatient whispering circle of spectators. At Lord Poltimore's seat in
Devonshire, in February last (1858), Lord Rivers was two hours alone
with a very sulky biting colt, but finally succeeded in haltering and
saddling him. Yet his lordship had only seen one lesson illustrated on a
very difficult horse at the Duke of Wellington's school. But this
operation is much more easily described than executed, because some
colts will smell at your hand one moment, and turn round as quick as
lightning, and plant their heels in your ribs if you are not very
active, and don't stand very close to them. On the directions for using
the whip, p. 55, with colts of a stubborn disposition, I can say
nothing, never having seen it so employed; but it is evident, that it
must be employed with very great discretion.

The directions for haltering are very complete, but to execute them with
a colt or horse that paws violently, even in play, with his fore-feet,
requires no common agility. But I may mention that I saw Mr. Rarey alone
put a bridle on a horse seventeen bands high that was notoriously
difficult to bridle even with two men assisting in the operation.

In reference to the hints for treating a colt in a little work from
which I have already quoted, a colonel in the Life Guards says, "The
great thing in horsemanship is to get your horse to be of your party;
not only to obey, but to obey willingly. For this reason, a young horse
cannot be begun with too early, and his lessons cannot be too gradually
progressive. He should wear a head-stall from the beginning, be
accustomed to be held and made fast by the head, to give up all four
feet, to bear the girthing of a roller, to be led, &c." But if all this
useful preliminary education, in which climbing through gaps after an
old hunter, and taking little jumps, be omitted, then the Rarey system
comes in to shorten your domesticating labours.

"A wild horse, until tamed, is just as wild and fearful as a wild stag
taken for the first time in the toils.

"When a horse hangs back and leads unwillingly, the common error is to
get in front of him and pull him. This may answer when the man is
stronger than the horse, but not otherwise.

"In leading you should never be further forward than your horse's
shoulder: with your right-hand hold his head in front of you by the
bridle close to his mouth or the head-stall, and with your left hand
touch him with a whip as far back as you can; if you have not a whip you
can use a stirrup-leather."


[47-*] See page 215--"The Wild Ponies of Exmoor."

[48-*] Made by Stokey, North Street, Little Moorfields, London.


     Powell's system of approaching a colt.--Haley's remarks on.--Lively
     high-spirited horses tamed easily.--Stubborn sulky ones more
     difficult.--Motto, "Fear, love and obey."--Use of a whalebone
     gig-whip.--How to frighten and then approach.--Use kind words.--How
     to halter and lead a colt.--By the side of a horse.--To lead into a
     stable.--To tie up to a manger.--Editor's remarks.--Longeing.--Use
     and abuse of.--On bitting.--Sort of bit for a colt.--Dick
     Christian's bit.--The wooden gag bit.

But, before we go further, I will give you Willis J. Powell's system of
approaching a wild colt, as given by him in a work published in Europe,
about the year 1814, on the "Art of Taming Wild Horses."[51-*] He says,
"A horse is gentled by my secret in from two to sixteen hours." The time
I have most commonly employed has been from four to six hours. He goes
on to say, "Cause your horse to be put in a small yard, stable, or room.
If in a stable or room, it ought to be large, in order to give him some
exercise with the halter before you lead him out. If the horse belongs
to that class which appears only to fear man, you must introduce
yourself gently into the stable, room, or yard, where the horse is. He
will naturally run from you, and frequently turn his head from you; for
you must walk about extremely slow and softly, so that he can see you
whenever he turns his head towards you, which he never fails to do in a
short time, say in a quarter or half an hour. I never knew one to be
much longer without turning towards me.

"At the very moment he turns his head, hold out your left hand towards
him, and stand perfectly still, keeping your eyes upon the horse,
watching his motions, if he makes any. If the horse does not stir for
ten or fifteen minutes, advance as slowly as possible, and without
making the least noise, always holding out your left hand, without any
other ingredient in it than what nature put in it." He says, "I have
made use of certain ingredients before people, such as the sweat under
my arm, &c., to disguise the real secret, and many believed that the
docility to which the horse arrived in so short a time was owing to
these ingredients: but you see from this explanation that they were of
no use whatever. The implicit faith placed in these ingredients, though
innocent of themselves, becomes 'faith without works.' And thus men
remained always in doubt concerning the secret. If the horse makes the
least motion when you advance towards him, stop, and remain perfectly
still until he is quiet. Remain a few moments in this condition, and
then advance again in the same slow and almost imperceptible manner.
Take notice--if the horse stirs, stop, without changing your position.
It is very uncommon for the horse to stir more than once after you begin
to advance, yet there are exceptions. He generally keeps his eyes
steadfast on you, until you get near enough to touch him on the
forehead. When you are thus near to him, raise slowly and by degrees
your hand, and let it come in contact with that part just above the
nostrils, as lightly as possible. If the horse flinches (as many will),
repeat with great rapidity these light strokes upon the forehead, going
a little farther up towards his ears by degrees, and descending with
the same rapidity until he will let you handle his forehead all over.
Now let the strokes be repeated with more force over all his forehead,
descending by lighter strokes to each side of his head, until you can
handle that part with equal facility. Then touch in the same light
manner, making your hands and fingers play around, the lower part of the
horse's ears, coming down now and then to his forehead, which may be
looked upon as the helm that governs all the rest.

"Having succeeded in handling his ears, advance towards the neck, with
the same precautions, and in the same manner; observing always to
augment the force of the strokes whenever the horse will permit it.
Perform the same on both sides of the neck, until he lets you take it in
your arms without flinching.

"Proceed in the same progressive manner to the sides, and then to the
back of the horse. Every time the horse shows any nervousness, return
immediately to the forehead, as the true standard, patting him with your
hands, and thence rapidly to where you had already arrived, always
gaining ground a considerable distance farther on every time this
happens. The head, ears, neck, and body being thus gentled, proceed from
the back to the root of the tail.

"This must be managed with dexterity, as a horse is never to be depended
on that is skittish about the tail. Let your hand fall lightly and
rapidly on that part next to the body a minute or two, and then you will
begin to give it a slight pull upwards every quarter of a minute. At the
same time you continue this handling of him, augment the force of the
strokes as well as the raising of the tail, until you can raise it and
handle it with the greatest ease, which commonly happens in a quarter of
an hour in most horses, in others almost immediately, and in some much
longer. It now remains to handle all his legs; from the tail come back
again to the head, handle it well, as likewise the ears, breast, neck,
&c., speaking now and then to the horse. Begin by degrees to descend to
the legs, always ascending and descending, gaming ground every time you
descend, until you get to his feet.

"Talk to the horse in Latin, Greek, French, English, or Spanish, or in
any other language you please; but let him hear the sound of your voice,
which at the beginning of the operation is not quite so necessary, but
which I have always done in making him lift up his feet. 'Hold up your
foot'--'Lève le pied'--'Alza el pié'--'Aron ton poda,' &c.; at the same
time lift his foot with your hand. He soon becomes familiar with the
sounds, and will hold up his foot at command. Then proceed to the hind
feet, and go on in the same manner; and in a short time the horse will
let you lift them, and even take them up in your arms.

"All this operation is no magnetism, no galvanism; it is merely taking
away the fear a horse generally has of a man, and familiarizing the
animal with his master. As the horse doubtless experiences a certain
pleasure from this handling, he will soon become gentle under it, and
show a very marked attachment to his keeper."


These instructions are very good, but not quite sufficient for horses of
all kinds, and for haltering and leading the colt; but I have inserted
them here because they give some of the true philosophy of approaching
the horse, and of establishing confidence between man and horse. He
speaks only of the kind that fear man.

To those who understand the philosophy of horsemanship, these are the
easiest trained; for when we have a horse that is wild and lively, we
can train him to our will in a very short time--for they are generally
quick to learn, and always ready to obey. But there is another kind that
are of a stubborn or vicious disposition; and although they are not
wild, and do not require taming, in the sense it is generally
understood, they are just as ignorant as a wild horse, if not more so,
and need to be taught just as much: and in order to have them obey
quickly, it is very necessary that they should be made to fear their
master; for, in order to obtain perfect obedience from any horse, we
must first have him fear us, for our motto is, "_Fear, love and obey_;"
and we must have the fulfilment of the first two before we can expect
the latter; for it is by our philosophy of creating fear, love, and
confidence, that we govern to our will every kind of horse whatever.

Then, in order to take horses as we find them, of all kinds, and to
train them to our liking, we should always take with us, when we go into
a stable to train a colt, a long switch whip (whalebone buggy-whips are
the best), with a good silk cracker, so as to cut keenly and make a
sharp report. This, if handled with dexterity, and rightly applied,
accompanied with a sharp, fierce word, will be sufficient to enliven the
spirits of any horse. With this whip in your right hand, with the lash
pointing backward, enter the stable alone. It is a great disadvantage,
in training a horse, to have any one in the stable with you; you should
be entirely alone, so as to have nothing but yourself to attract his
attention. If he is wild, you will soon see him on the opposite side of
the stable from you; and now is the time to use a little judgment. I
should not require, myself, more than half or three-quarters of an hour
to handle any kind of colt, and have him running about in the stable
after me; though I would advise a new beginner to take more time, and
not be in too much of a hurry. If you have but one colt to gentle, and
are not particular about the length of time you spend, and have not had
any experience in handling colts, I would advise you to take Mr.
Powell's method at first, till you gentle him, which, he says, takes
from two to six hours. But as I want to accomplish the same, and, what
is more, teach the horse to lead, in less than one hour, I shall give
you a much quicker process of accomplishing the same end. Accordingly,
when you have entered the stable, stand still, and let your horse look
at you a minute or two, and as soon as he is settled in one place,
approach him slowly, with both arms stationary, your right hanging by
your side, holding the whip as directed, and the left bent at the elbow,
with your hand projecting. As you approach him, go not too much towards
his head or croup, so as not to make him move either forward or
backward, thus keeping your horse stationary; if he does move a little
either forward or backward, step a little to the right or left very
cautiously; this will keep him in one place. As you get very near him,
draw a little to his shoulder, and stop a few seconds. If you are in his
reach he will turn his head and smell your hand, not that he has any
preference for your hand, but because that is projecting, and is the
nearest portion of your body to the horse. This all colts will do, and
they will smell your naked hand just as quickly as they will of anything
that you can put in it, and with just as good an effect, however much
some men have preached the doctrine of taming horses by giving them the
scent of articles from the hand. I have already proved that to be a
mistake. As soon as he touches your hand with his nose, caress him as
before directed, always using a very light, soft hand, merely touching
the horse, always rubbing the way the hair lies, so that your hand will
pass along as smoothly as possible. As you stand by his side, you may
find it more convenient to rub his neck or the side of his head, which
will answer the same purpose as rubbing his forehead. Favour every
inclination of the horse to smell or touch you with his nose. _Always
follow each touch or communication of this kind with the most tender and
affectionate caresses, accompanied, with a kind look, and pleasant word
of some sort_, such as, "Ho! my little boy--ho! my little boy!" "Pretty
boy!" "Nice lady!" or something of that kind, constantly repeating the
same words, with the same kind, steady tone of voice; for the horse soon
learns to read the expression of the face and voice, and will know as
well when fear, love, or anger prevails, as you know your own feelings;


If your horse, instead of being wild, seems to be of a stubborn or
_mulish_ disposition; if he lays back his ears as you approach him, or
turns his heels to kick you, he has not that regard or fear of man that
he should have, to enable you to handle him quickly and easily; and it
might be well to give him a few sharp cuts with the whip, about the
legs, pretty close to the body. It will crack keenly as it plies around
his legs, and the crack of the whip will affect him as much as the
stroke; besides, one sharp cut about his legs will affect him more than
two or three over his back, the skin on the inner part of his legs or
about his flank being thinner, more tender, than on his back. But do
not whip him much--just enough to frighten him; _it is not because we
want to hurt the horse that we whip him_--we only do it to frighten vice
and stubbornness out of him. But whatever you do, do quickly, sharply,
and with a good deal of fire, but always without anger. If you are going
to frighten him at all, you must do it at once. Never go into a pitched
battle with your horse, and whip him until he is mad and will fight you;
it would be better not to touch him at all, for you will establish,
instead of fear and respect, feelings of resentment, hatred, and
ill-will. It will do him no good, but harm, to strike him, unless you
can frighten him; but if you can succeed in frightening him, you can
whip him without making him mad; _for fear and anger never exist
together in the horse_, and as soon as one is visible, you will find
that the other has disappeared. As soon as you have frightened him, so
that he will stand up straight and pay some attention to you, approach
him again, and caress him a good deal more than you whipped him; thus
you will excite the two controlling passions of his nature, love and
fear; he will love and fear you, too; and, as soon as he learns what you
require, will obey quickly.


As soon as you have gentled the colt a little, take the halter in your
left hand, and approach him as before, and on the same side that you
have gentled him. If he is very timid about your approaching closely to
him, you can get up to him quicker by making the whip a part of your
arm, and reaching out very gently with the butt end of it, rubbing him
lightly on the neck, all the time getting a little closer, shortening
the whip by taking it up in your hand, until you finally get close
enough to put your hands on him. If he is inclined to hold his head from
you, put the end of the halter-strap around his neck, drop your whip,
and draw very gently; he will let his neck give, and you can pull his
head to you. Then take hold of that part of the halter which buckles
over the top of his head, and pass the long side, or that part which
goes into the buckle, under his neck, grasping it on the opposite side
with your right hand, letting the first strap loose--the latter will be
sufficient to hold his head to you. Lower the halter a little, just
enough to get his nose into that part which goes around it; then raise
it somewhat, and fasten the top buckle, and you will have it all right.
The first time you halter a colt you should stand on the left side,
pretty well back to his shoulder, only taking hold of that part of the
halter that goes around his neck; then with your two hands about his
neck you can hold his head to you, and raise the halter on it without
making him dodge by putting your hands about his nose. You should have a
long rope or strap ready, and as soon as you have the halter on, attach
this to it, so that you can let him walk the length of the stable
without letting go of the strap, or without making him pull on the
halter, for if you only let him feel the weight of your hand on the
halter, and give him rope when he runs from you, he will never rear,
pull, or throw himself, yet you will be holding him all the time, and
doing more towards gentling him than if you had the power to snub him
right up, and hold him to one spot; because he does not know anything
about his strength, and if you don't do anything to make him pull, he
will never know that he can. In a few minutes you can begin to control
him with the halter, then shorten the distance between yourself and the
horse by taking up the strap in your hand.

As soon as he will allow you to hold him by a tolerably short strap, and
to step up to him without flying back, you can begin to give him some
idea about leading. But to do this, do not go before and attempt to pull
him after you, but commence by pulling him very quietly to one side. He
has nothing to brace either side of his neck, and will soon yield to a
steady, gradual pull of the halter; and as soon as you have pulled him a
step or two to one side, step up to him and caress him, and then pull
him again, repeating this operation until you can pull him around in
every direction, and walk about the stable with him, which you can do in
a few minutes, for he will soon think when you have made him step to the
right or left a few times, that he is compelled to follow the pull of
the halter, not knowing that he has the power to resist your pulling;
besides, you have handled him so gently that he is not afraid of you,
and you always caress him when he comes up to you, and he likes that,
and would just as lief follow you as not. And after he has had a few
lessons of that kind, if you turn him out in a field, he will come up to
you every opportunity he gets.

You should lead him about in the stable some time before you take him
out, opening the door, so that he can see out, leading him up to it and
back again, and past it.

See that there is nothing on the outside to make him jump when you take
him out, and as you go out with him, try to make him go very slowly,
catching hold of the halter close to the jaw with your left hand, while
the right is resting on the top of the neck, holding to his mane. After
you are out with him a little while, you can lead him about as you

Don't let any second person come up to you when you first take him out;
a stranger taking hold of the halter would frighten him, and make him
run. There should not even be any one standing near him, to attract his
attention or scare him. If you are alone, and manage him rightly, it
will not require any more force to lead or hold him than it would to
manage a broken horse.


If you should want to lead your colt by the side of another horse, as is
often the case, I would advise you to take your horse into the stable,
attach a second strap to the colt's halter, and lead your horse up
alongside of him. Then get on the broken horse and take one strap around
his breast, under his martingale (if he has any on), holding it in your
left hand. This will prevent the colt from getting back too far;
besides, you will have more power to hold him with the strap pulling
against the horse's breast. The other strap take up in your right hand
to prevent him from running ahead; then turn him about a few times in
the stable, and if the door is wide enough, ride out with him in that
position; if not, take the broken horse out first, and stand his breast
up against the door, then lead the colt to the same spot, and take the
straps as before directed, one on each side of his neck, then let some
one start the colt out, and as he comes out, turn your horse to the
left, and you will have them all right. This is the best way to lead a
colt; you can manage any kind of colt in this way, without any trouble;
for if he tries to run ahead, or pull back, the two straps will bring
the horses facing each other, so that you can very easily follow up his
movements without doing much holding, and as soon as he stops running
backward you are right with him, and all ready to go ahead; and if he
gets stubborn and does not want to go, you can remove all his
stubbornness by riding your horse against his neck, thus compelling him
to turn to the right; and as soon as you have turned him about a few
times, he will be willing to go along. The next thing after you have got
through leading him, will be to take him into a stable, and hitch him in
such a way as not to have him pull on the halter; and as they are often
troublesome to get into a stable the first few times, I will give you
some instructions about getting him in.


You should lead the broken horse into the stable first, and get the
colt, if you can, to follow in after him. If he refuses to go, step unto
him, taking a little stick or switch in your right hand; then take hold
of the halter close to his head with your left hand, at the same time
reaching over his back with your right arm so that you can tap him on
the opposite side with your switch; bring him up facing the door, tap
him slightly with your switch, reaching as far back with it as you can.
This tapping, by being pretty well back, and on the opposite side, will
drive him ahead, and keep him close to you; then by giving him the right
direction with your left hand you can walk into the stable with him. I
have walked colts into the stable this way in less than a minute, after
men had worked at them half an hour, trying to pull them in. If you
cannot walk him in at once in this way, turn him about and walk him
around in every direction, until you can get him up to the door without
pulling at him. Then let him stand a few minutes, keeping his head in
the right direction with the halter, and he will walk in in less than
ten minutes. Never attempt to pull the colt into the stable; that would
make him think at once that it was a dangerous place, and if he was not
afraid of it before he would be then. Besides, we do not want him to
know anything about pulling on the halter. Colts are often hurt and
sometimes killed, by trying to force them into the stable; and those who
attempt to do it in that way go into an up-hill business, when a plain
smooth road is before them.

If you want to tie up your colt, put him in a tolerably wide stall,
which should not be too long, and should be connected by a bar or
something of that kind to the partition behind it; so that, after the
colt is in he cannot go far enough back to take a straight, backward
pull on the halter; then by tying him in the centre of the stall, it
would be impossible for him to pull on the halter, the partition behind
preventing him from going back, and the halter in the centre checking
him every time he turns to the right or left. In a stall of this kind
you can break any horse to stand tied with a light strap, anywhere,
without his ever knowing anything about pulling. For if you have broken
your horse to lead, and have taught him the use of the halter (which you
should always do before you hitch him to anything), you can hitch him in
any kind of a stall, and if you give him something to eat to keep him up
to his place for a few minutes at first, there is not one colt in fifty
that will pull on his halter.


Mr. Rarey says nothing about "longeing," which is the first step of
European and Eastern training. Perhaps he considers his plan of pulling
up the leg to be sufficient; but be that as it may, we think it well to
give the common sense of a much-abused practice.

Ignorant horse-breakers will tell you that they _longe_ a colt to supple
him. That is ridiculous nonsense. A colt unbroken will bend himself with
most extraordinary flexibility. Look at a lot of two-years before
starting for a run; observe the agility of their antics: or watch a colt
scratching his head with his hind foot, and you will never believe that
such animals can require suppling. But it is an easy way of teaching a
horse simple acts of obedience--of getting him to go and stop at your
orders: but in brutal hands more horses are spoiled and lamed by the
longe than any other horse-breaking operation. A stupid fellow drags a
horse's head and shoulders into the circle with the cord, while his
hind-quarters are driven out by the whip.

"_A colt should be longed at a walk only, until he circles without

"He should never be compelled to canter in the longe, though he may be
permitted to do it of himself.

"He must not be stopped by pulling the cord, which would pull him
across, but by meeting him, so that he stops himself straight. A skilful
person will, single-handed, longe, and, by heading him with the whip,
change him without stopping, and longe him in the figure of 8. No man is
fit to be trusted with such powerful implements as the longe-cord and
whip who cannot do this.

"The snaffle may be added when he goes freely in the head-stall."

A colt should never be buckled to the pillar reins by his bit, but by
the head-stall; for if tightly buckled to the bit, he will bear
heavily--even go to sleep: raw lip, which, when cured, becomes callous,
is the result. Yet nothing is more common than to see colts standing for
hours on the bit, with reins tightly buckled to the demi-jockey, under
the ignorant notion of giving him a mouth, or setting up his head in the
right place. The latter, if not done by nature, can only be done, if
ever, by delicate, skilful hands.

A colt's bit should be large and smooth snaffle, with players to keep
his mouth moist.

Dick Christian liked a bit for young horses as thick as his thumb--we
don't know how thick that was--and four and a half inches between the
cheeks; and there was no better judge than Dick.

The Germans use a wooden bit to make a horse's mouth, and good judges
think they are right, as it may not be so unpleasant as metal to begin
with; but wood or iron, the bridle should be properly put on, a point
often neglected, and a fertile source of restiveness. There is as much
need to fit a bridle to the length of a horse's head, as to buckle the
girths of the saddle.

For conquering a vicious, biting horse, there is nothing equal to the
large wooden gag-bit, which Mr. Rarey first exhibited in public on the
zebra. A muzzle only prevents a horse from biting; a gag, properly used,
cures; for when he finds he cannot bite, and that you caress him and rub
his ears kindly with perfect confidence, he by degrees abandons this
most dangerous vice. Stafford was driven in a wooden gag the first
time. Colts inclined to crib-bite, should be dressed with one on.

[Illustration: WOODEN GAG BIT.]

Our woodcut is taken from the improved model produced by Mr. Stokey; no
doubt Mr. Rarey took the idea of his gag-bit from the wooden gag, which
has been in use among country farriers from time immemorial, to keep a
horse's mouth while they are performing the cruel and useless operation
of firing for lampas.

[Illustration: Leg strapped up.]


[51-*] Is there such a work? I cannot find it in any English


     Taming a colt or horse.--Rarey's directions for strapping up and
     laying down detailed.--Explanations by Editor.--To approach a
     vicious horse with half door.--Cartwheel.--No. 1 strap
     applied.--No. 2 strap applied.--Woodcuts of.--How to hop
     about.--Knot up bridle.--Struggle described.--Lord B.'s improved
     No. 2 strap.--Not much danger.--How to steer a horse.--Laid down,
     how to gentle.--To mount, tied up.--Place and preparations for
     training described.

In this chapter I change the arrangement of the original work, and unite
two sections which Mr. Rarey has divided, either because when he wrote
them he was not aware of the importance of what is really the cardinal
point, the mainstay, the foundation of his system, or because he wished
to conceal it from the uninitiated. The Rarey system substitutes for
severe longeing, for whipping and spurring, blinkers, physic, starving,
the twitch, tying the tail down, sewing the ears together, putting shot
in the ears, and all the cruelties hitherto resorted to for subduing
high-spirited and vicious animals (and very often the high-spirited
become, from injudicious treatment, the most vicious), a method of
laying a horse down, tying up his limbs, and gagging, if necessary, his
mouth, which makes him soon feel that man is his superior, and yet
neither excites his terror or his hatred.

These two sections are to be found at pp. 48 and 51 and at pp. 59 and
60, _orig. edit._, under the titles of "How to drive a Horse that is
very wild, and has any vicious Habits," and "How to make a Horse lie
down." It is essential to unite these sections, because, if you put a
well-bred horse in harness with his leg up, without first putting him
down, it is ten to one but that he throws himself down violently, breaks
the shafts of the vehicle, and his own knees.

The following are the sections verbatim, of which I shall afterwards
give a paraphrase, with illustrative woodcuts:--

"Take up one fore-foot and bend his knee till his hoof is bottom
upwards, and nearly touching his body; then slip a loop over his knee,
and up until it comes above the pastern-joint, to keep it up, being
careful to draw the loop together between the hoof and pastern-joint
with a second strap of some kind to prevent the loop from slipping down
and coming off. This will leave the horse standing on three legs; you
can now handle him as you wish, for it is utterly impossible for him to
kick in this position. There is something in this operation of taking up
one foot, that conquers a horse quicker and better than anything else
you can do to him. There is no process in the world equal to it to break
a kicking horse, for several reasons. First, there is a principle of
this kind in the nature of the horse; that by conquering one member, you
conquer, to a great extent, the whole horse.

"You have perhaps seen men operate upon this principle, by sewing a
horse's ears together to prevent him from kicking. I once saw a plan
given in a newspaper to make a bad horse stand to be shod, which was to
fasten down one ear. There were no reasons given why you should do so;
but I tried it several times, and thought that it had a good
effect--though I would not recommend its use, especially stitching his
ears together. The only benefit arising from this process is, that by
disarranging his ears we draw his attention to them, and he is not so
apt to resist the shoeing. By tying up one foot we operate on the same
principle to a much better effect. When you first fasten up a horse's
foot, he will sometimes get very mad, and strike with his knee, and try
every possible way to get it down; but he cannot do that, and will soon
give up.

"This will conquer him better than anything you could do, and without
any possible danger of hurting himself or you either, for you can tie up
his foot and sit down and look at him until he gives up. When you find
that he is conquered, go to him, let down his foot, rub his leg with
your hand, caress him, and let him rest a little; then put it up again.
Repeat this a few times, always putting up the same foot, and he will
soon learn to travel on three legs, so that you can drive him some
distance. As soon as he gets a little used to this way of travelling,
put on your harness, and hitch him to a sulky. If he is the worst
kicking horse that ever raised a foot, you need not be fearful of his
doing any damage while he has one foot up, for he cannot kick, neither
can he run fast enough to do any harm. And if he is the wildest horse
that ever had harness on, and has run away every time he has been
hitched, you can now hitch him in a sulky, and drive him as you please.
If he wants to run, you can let him have the lines, and the whip too,
with perfect safety, for he can go but a slow gait on three legs, and
will soon be tired, and willing to stop; only hold him enough to guide
him in the right direction, and he will soon be tired and willing to
stop at the word. Thus you will effectually cure him at once of any
further notion of running off. Kicking horses have always been the dread
of everybody; you always hear men say, when they speak about a bad
horse, 'I don't care what he does, so he don't kick.' This new method is
an effectual cure for this worst of all habits. There are plenty of ways
by which you can hitch a kicking horse, and force him to go, though he
kicks all the time; but this doesn't have any good effect towards
breaking him, for we know that horses kick because they are afraid of
what is behind them, and when they kick against it and it hurts them,
they will only kick the harder; and this will hurt them still more and
make them remember the scrape much longer, and make it still more
difficult to persuade them to have any confidence in anything dragging
behind them ever after.

"But by this new method you can harness them to a rattling sulky,
plough, waggon, or anything else in its worst shape. They may be
frightened at first, but cannot kick or do anything to hurt themselves,
and will soon find that you do not intend to hurt them, and then they
will not care anything more about it. You can then let down the leg and
drive along gently without any further trouble. By this new process a
bad kicking horse can be learned to go gentle in harness in a few hours'


"Everything that we want to teach the horse must be commenced in such a
way as to give him an idea of what you want him to do, and then be
repeated till he learns it perfectly. To make a horse lie down, bend
his left fore-leg and slip a loop over it, so that he cannot get it
down. Then put a surcingle around his body, and fasten one end of a long
strap around the other fore-leg, just above the hoof. Place the other
end under the before-described surcingle, so as to keep the strap in the
right direction; take a short hold of it with your right hand; stand on
the left side of the horse, grasp the bit in your left hand, pull
steadily on the strap with your right; bear against his shoulder till
you cause him to move. As soon as he lifts his weight, your pulling will
raise the other foot, and he will have to come on his knees. Keep the
strap tight in your hand, so that he cannot straighten his leg if he
rises up. Hold him in this position, and turn his head towards you; bear
against his side with your shoulder, not hard, but with a steady, equal
pressure, and in about ten minutes he will lie down. As soon as he lies
down, he will be completely conquered, and you can handle him as you
please. Take off the straps, and straighten out his legs; rub him
lightly about the face and neck with your hand the way the hair lies;
handle all his legs, and after he has lain ten or twenty minutes, let
him get up again. After resting him a short time, make him lie down as
before. Repeat the operation three or four times, which will be
sufficient for one lesson. Give him two lessons a day, and when you have
given him four lessons, he will lie down by taking hold of one foot. As
soon as he is well broken to lie down in this way, tap him on the
opposite leg with a stick when you take hold of his foot, and in a few
days he will lie down from the mere motion of the stick."


Although, as I before observed, the tying up of the fore-leg is not a
new expedient, or even the putting a horse down single-handed, the two
operations, as taught and performed by Mr. Rarey, not only subdue and
render docile the most violent horses, but, most strange of all, inspire
them with a positive confidence and affection after two or three lessons
from the horse-tamer. "How this is or why this is," Mr. Langworthy, the
veterinary surgeon to Her Majesty's stables, observed, "I cannot say or
explain, but I am convinced, by repeated observation on many horses,
that it is a fact."

If, however, a man, however clever with horses, were to attempt to
perform the operations without other instruction than that contained in
the American pamphlet, he would infallibly break his horse's knees, and
probably get his toes trodden on, his eyes blacked, and his arm
dislocated--for all these accidents have happened within my own
knowledge to rash experimentalists; while under proper instructions, not
only have stout and gouty noblemen succeeded perfectly, but the
slight-built, professional horsewoman, Miss Gilbert, has conquered
thorough-bred colts and fighting Arabs, and a young and beautiful
peeress has taken off her bonnet before going to a morning _féte_, and
in ten minutes laid a full-sized horse prostrate and helpless as a sheep
in the hands of the shearer.

Having, then, in your mind Mr. Rarey's maxim that a horseman should know
neither fear nor anger, and having laid in a good stock of patience, you
must make your approach to the colt or stallion in the mode prescribed
in the preceding chapters. In dealing with a colt, except upon an
emergency, he should be first accustomed to be handled and taught to
lead; this, first-rate horse-tamers will accomplish with the wildest
colt in three hours, but it is better to give at least one day up to
these first important steps in education. It will also be as well to
have a colt cleaned and his hoof trimmed by the blacksmith. If this
cannot be done the operation will be found very dirty and disagreeable.

In approaching a spiteful stallion you had better make your first
advances with a half-door between you and him, as Mr. Rarey did in his
first interview with Cruiser: gradually make his acquaintance, and teach
him that you do not care for his open mouth; but a regular biter must be
gagged in the manner which will presently be described.

Of course there is no difficulty in handling the leg of a quiet horse or
colt, and by constantly working from the neck down to the fetlock you
may do what you please. But many horses and even colts have a most
dangerous trick of striking out with their fore-legs. There is no better
protection against this than a cart-wheel. The wheel may either be used
loose, or the animal may be led up to a cart loaded with hay, when the
horse-tamer can work under the cart through one of the wheels, while the
colt is nibbling the load.

Having, then, so far soothed a colt that he will permit you to take up
his legs without resistance, take the strap No. 1[73-*]--pass the tongue
through the loop under the buckle so as to form a noose, slip it over
the near fore-leg and draw it close up to the pastern-joint, then take
up the leg as if you were going to shoe him, and passing the strap over
the fore-arm, put it through the buckle, and buckle the lower limb as
close as you can to the arm without hurting the animal.

[Illustration: STRAP NO. 1.]

Take care that your buckle is of the very best quality, and the leather
sound. It is a good plan to stretch it before using it. The tongues of
buckles used for this purpose, if not of the very best quality, are very
likely to come out, when all your labour will have to be gone over
again. Sometimes you may find it better to lay the loop open on the
ground, and let the horse step into it. It is better the buckle should
be inside the leg if you mean the horse to fall toward you, because then
it is easier to unbuckle when he is on the ground.

In those instances in which you have had no opportunity of previously
taming and soothing a colt, it will frequently take you an hour of
quiet, patient, silent perseverance before he will allow you to buckle
up his leg--if he resists you have nothing for it but _patience_. You
must stroke him, you must fondle him, until he lets you enthral him. Mr.
Rarey always works alone, and disdains assistance, and so do some of his
best pupils, Lord B., the Marquis of S., and Captain S. In travelling in
foreign countries you may have occasion to tame a colt or wild horse
alone, but there is no reason why you should not have assistance if you
can get it, and in that case the process is of course much easier. But
it must never be forgotten that to tame a horse properly no unnecessary
force must be employed; it is better that he should put down his foot
six times that he may yield it willingly at last, and under no
circumstances must the trainer lose patience, or give way to temper.

The near fore-leg being securely strapped, and the horse, if so
inclined, secured from biting by a wooden bit, the next step is to make
him hop about on three legs. This is comparatively easy if the animal
has been taught to lead, but it is difficult with one which has not. The
trainer must take care to keep behind his horse's shoulder and walk in a
circle, or he will be likely to be struck by the horse's head or
strapped-up leg.

Mr. Rarey is so skilful that he seldom considers it necessary to make
his horses hop about; but there is no doubt that it saves much
after-trouble by fatiguing the animal; and that it is a useful
preparation before putting a colt or kicking horse into harness. Like
every other operation it must be done very gently, and accompanied by
soothing words--"Come along"--"Come along, old fellow," &c.

A horse can hop on three legs, if not severely pressed, for two or three
miles; and no plan is more successful for curing a kicker or jibber.

When the horse has hopped for as long as you think necessary to tire
him, buckle a common single strap roller or surcingle on his body
tolerably tight. A single strap surcingle is the best.

It is as well, if possible, to teach colts from a very early age to bear
a surcingle. At any rate it will require a little management the first

You have now advanced your colt so far that he is not afraid of a man,
he likes being patted and caressed, he will lead when you take hold of
the bridle, and you have buckled up his leg so that he cannot hop faster
than you can run.

[Illustration: NO. 2 STRAP, FOR OFF FORE-LEG.]

Shorten the bridle (the bit should be a thick plain snaffle) so that the
reins, when laid loose on his withers, come nearly straight. This is
best done by twisting the reins twice round two fore-fingers and passing
the ends through in a loop, because this knot can be easily untied. Next
take strap No. 2, and, making a loop, put it round the off fore-leg.
With a very quiet horse this can easily be done; with a wild or vicious
horse you may have to make him step into it; at any rate, when once the
off fore-leg is caught in the noose it must be drawn tight round the
pastern-joint. Then put a stout glove or mitten on your right hand,
having taken care that your nails have been cut short, pass the strap
through the belly part of the surcingle, take a firm short hold of it
with your gloved right hand, standing close to the horse behind his
shoulders, and with your left hand take hold of the near rein; by
pulling the horse gently to the near side he will be almost sure to hop;
if he will not he must be led, but Mr. Rarey always makes him hop
alone. The moment he lifts up his off fore-foot you must draw up strap
No. 2 tightly and steadily. The motion will draw up the off leg into the
same position as the near leg, and the horse will go down on his knees.
Your object is to hold the strap so firmly that he will not be able to
stretch his foot out again. Those who are very confident in their skill
are content to hold the strap only with a twist round their hand, but
others take the opportunity of the horse's first surprise to give the
strap a double turn round the surcingle.

[Illustration: Horse with Straps Nos. 1 and 2.]

Another way of performing this operation is to use with difficult
violent horses the strap invented by Lord B----h, which consists first
of the loop for the off fore-leg shown in our cut. A surcingle strap, at
least seven feet long, with a buckle, is thrown across the horse's back;
the buckle end is passed through the ring; the tongue is passed through
the buckle, and the moment the horse moves the Tamer draws the strap
tight round the body of the horse, and in buckling it makes the leg so
safe that he has no need to use any force in holding it up.

[Illustration: LORD B.'S IMPROVED STRAP NO. 2.]

As soon as a horse recovers from his astonishment at being brought to
his knees, he begins to resist; that is, he rears up on his hind-legs,
and springs about in a manner that is truly alarming for the spectators
to behold, and which in the case of a well-bred horse in good condition
requires a certain degree of activity in the Trainer. (See page of Horse

[Illustration: SURCINGLE FOR LORD B.'S STRAP NO. 2.]

You must remember that your business is not to set your strength against
the horse's strength, but merely to follow him about, holding the strap
just tight enough to prevent him from putting out his off fore-leg. As
long as you keep _close to him_ and _behind his shoulders_ you are in
very little danger. The bridle in the left hand must be used like
steering lines: by pulling to the right or left as occasion requires,
the horse, turning on his hind-legs, maybe guided just as a boat is
steered by the rudder lines; or pulling straight, the horse may be
fatigued by being forced to walk backwards. The strap passing through
the surcingle keeps, or ought to keep, the Trainer in his right
place--he is not to pull or in any way fatigue himself more than he can
help, but, standing upright, simply follow the horse about, guiding
him with the bridle away from the walls of the training school when
needful. It must be admitted that to do this well requires considerable
nerve, coolness, patience, and at times agility; for although a
grass-fed colt will soon give in, a corn-fed colt, and, above all, a
high-couraged hunter in condition, will make a very stout fight; and I
have known one instance in which a horse with both fore-legs fast has
jumped sideways.

[Illustration: The Horse struggling.]

The proof that the danger is more apparent than real lies in the fact
that no serious accidents have as yet happened; and that, as I before
observed, many noblemen, and some noble ladies, and some boys, have
succeeded perfectly. But it would be untrue to assert that there is no
danger. When held and guided properly, few horses resist more than ten
minutes; and it is believed that a quarter of an hour is the utmost time
that any horse has ever fought before sinking exhausted to the earth.
But the time seems extremely long to an inexperienced performer; and it
is a great comfort to get your assistant to be tune-keeper, if there is
no clock in a conspicuous situation, and tell you how you are getting
on. Usually at the end of eight minutes' violent struggles, the animal
sinks forward on his knees, sweating profusely, with heaving flanks and
shaking tail, as if at the end of a thirty minutes' burst with
fox-hounds over a stiff country.

Then is the time to get him into a comfortable position for lying down;
if he is still stout, he may be forced by the bit to walk backwards.
Then, too, by pushing gently at his shoulder, or by pulling steadily the
off-rein, you can get him to fall, in the one case on the near side, on
the other on the off side; but this assistance should be so slight that
the horse must not be able to resist it. The horse will often make a
final spring when you think he is quite beaten; but, at any rate, at
length he slides over, and lies down, panting and exhausted, on his
side. If he is full of corn and well bred, take advantage of the moment
to tie up the off fore-leg to the surcingle, as securely as the other,
in a slip loop knot.

Now let your horse recover his wind, and then encourage him to make a
second fight. It will often be more stubborn and more fierce than the
first. The object of this tying-up operation is, that he shall
thoroughly exhaust without hurting himself, and that he shall come to
the conclusion that it is you who, by your superior strength, have
conquered him, and that you are always able to conquer him.

Under the old rough-riding system, the most vicious horses were
occasionally conquered by daring men with firm seats and strong arms,
who rode and flogged them into subjection; but these conquests were
temporary, and usually _personal_; with every stranger, the animal would
begin his game again.

One advantage of this Rarey system is, that the horse is allowed to
exhaust himself under circumstances that render it impossible for him to
struggle long enough to do himself any harm. It has been suggested that
a blood-vessel would be likely to be broken, or apoplexy produced by the
exertion of leaping from the hind legs; but, up to the present time, no
accident of any kind has been reported.

When the horse lies down for the second or third time thoroughly beaten,
the time has arrived for teaching him a few more of the practical parts
of horse-training.

[Illustration: The Horse exhausted.]

When you have done all you desire to the horse tied up,--smoothed his
ears, if fidgety about the ears--the hind-legs, if a kicker--shown
him a saddle, and allowed him to smell it, and then placed it on his
back--mounted him yourself, and pulled him all over--take off all the
straps. In moving round him for the purpose of gentling him, walk slowly
always from the head round the tail, and again to the head: scrape the
sweat off him with a scraper; rub him down with a wisp; smooth the hair
of his legs, and draw the fore one straight out. If he has fought hard,
he will lie like a dead horse, and scarcely stir. You must now again go
over him as conscientiously as if you were a mesmeric doctor or
shampooer: every limb must be "_gentled_," to use Mr. Rarey's expressive
phrase; and with that operation you have completed your _first_ and
_most_ important lesson.

You may now mount on the back of an unbroken colt, and teach him that
you do not hurt him in that attitude: if he were standing upright he
might resist, and throw you from fright; but as he is exhausted and
powerless, he has time to find out that you mean him no harm. You can
lay a saddle or harness on him, if he has previously shown aversion to
them, or any part of them: his head and his tail and his legs are all
safe for your friendly caresses; don't spare them, and speak to him all
the time.

If he has hitherto resisted shoeing, now is the time for handling his
fore and hind legs; kindly, yet, if he attempts to resist, with a voice
of authority. If he is a violent, savage, confirmed kicker, like
Cruiser, or Mr. Gurney's gray colt, or the zebra, as soon as he is down
put a pair of hobbles on his hind-legs, like those used for mares during
covering. (Frontispiece of Zebra.) These must be held by an assistant on
whom you can depend; and passed through the rings of the surcingle. With
his fore-legs tied, you may usefully spend an hour, in handling his
legs, tapping the hoofs with your hand or hammer--all this to be done in
a firm, measured, soothing manner; only now and then, if he resist,
crying, as you paralyze him with the ropes, "_Wo ho!_" in a determined
manner. It is by this continual soothing and handling that you establish
confidence between the horse and yourself. After patting him as much as
you deem needful, say for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, you may
encourage him to rise. Some horses will require a good deal of helping,
and their fore-legs drawing out before them.

It may be as well to remark, that the handling the limbs, of colts
particularly, requires caution. A cart colt, tormented by flies, will
kick forward nearly up to the fore-legs.

If a horse, unstrapped, attempts to rise, you may easily stop him by
taking hold of a fore-leg and doubling it back to the strapped position.
If by chance he should be too quick, don't resist; it is an essential
principle in the Rarey system, never to enter into a contest with a
horse unless you are certain to be victorious.

In all these operations, you must be calm, and not in a hurry.

Thus, under the Rarey system, all indications are so direct, that the
horse must understand them. You place him in a position, and under such
restraint, that he cannot resist anything that you chose to do to him;
and then you proceed to caress him when he assents, to reprove him when
he _thinks_ of resisting--resist, with all his legs tied, he
cannot--repeated lessons end by persuading the most vicious horse that
it is useless to try to resist, and that acquiescence will be followed
by the caresses that horses evidently like.

[Illustration: The Horse tamed.]

The last instance of Mr. Rarey's power was a beautiful gray mare, which
had been fourteen years in the band of one of the Life Guards regiments,
and consequently at least seventeen years old; during all that time she
would never submit quietly to have her hind-legs shod; the farriers had
to put a twitch on her nose and ears, and tie her tail down: even then
she resisted violently. In three days Mr. Rarey was able to shoe her
with her head loose. And this was not done by a trick, but by proving to
her that she could not resist even to the extent of an inch, and that no
harm was meant her; her lessons were repeated many times a day for three
days. Such continual impressive perseverance is an essential part of the

When you have to deal with a horse as savage a kicker as Cruiser, or the
zebra, a horse that can kick from one leg as fiercely as others can from
two, in that case, to subdue and compel him to lie down, have a leather
surcingle with a ring sewed on the belly part, and when the hobbles are
buckled on the hind-legs, pass the ropes through the rings, and when the
horse rises again, by buckling up one fore-leg, and pulling steadily,
when needful, at the hind-legs, or tying the hobble-ropes to a collar,
you reduce him to perfect helplessness; he finds that he cannot rear,
for you pull his hind-legs--or kick, for you can pull at all three legs,
and after a few lessons he gives in in despair.

These were the methods by which Cruiser and the zebra were subdued. They
seem, and are, very simple; properly carried out they are effective for
subduing the most spirited colt, and curing the most vicious horse. But
still in difficult and exceptional cases it cannot be too often repeated
that a MAN is required, as well as a method. Without nerve nothing can
be attempted; without patience and perseverance mere nerve will be of
little use; all the quackery and nonsense that has been talked and
written under the inspiration of the Barnum who has had an interest in
the success of the silent, reserved, practical Rarey, must be dismissed.
Horse-training is not a conjuror's trick. The principles may certainly
be learned by once reading this book; a few persons specially organised,
accustomed to horses all their lives, may succeed in their first
attempts with even difficult horses. The success of Lord Burghersh,
after one lesson from Rarey, with a very difficult mare; of Lord Elvers,
Lord Vivian, the Hon. Frederick Villiers, and the Marquess of Stafford,
with colts, is well known in the sporting world. Mr. Thomas Rice, of
Motcombe Street, who has studied everything connected with the horse, on
the Continent as well as in England, and who is thoroughly acquainted
with the Spanish school, as well as the English cross-country style of
horsemanship, succeeded, as I have already mentioned, the very first
time he took the straps in hand in subduing Mr. Gurney's gray colt--the
most vicious animal, next to Cruiser, that Mr. Rarey tackled in England.
This brute tore off the flaps of the saddle with his teeth.

But it is sheer humbug to pretend that a person who knows no more of
horses than is to be learned by riding a perfectly-trained animal now
and then for an hour or two, can acquire the whole art of horse-taming,
or can even safely tackle a violent horse, without a previous
preparation and practice.

As you must not be nervous or angry, so you must not be in a hurry.

Many ladies have attended Mr. Rarey's lessons, and studied his art, but
very few have tried, and still fewer have succeeded. It is just one of
those things that all ladies fond of horses should know, as well as
those who are likely to visit India, or the Colonies, although it is not
exactly a feminine occupation; crinoline would be sadly in the way--

    "Those little hands were never made
        To hold a leather strap."

But it may be useful as an emergency, as it will enable any lady to
instruct a friend, or groom, or sailor, or peasant, how to do what she
is not able to do herself, and to argue effectively that straps will do
more than whips and spurs.

At the Practice Club of noblemen and gentlemen held at Miss Gilbert's
stables, it has been observed that every week some horse more determined
than the average has been too much for the wind, or the patience, of
most of the subscribers. One only has never been beaten, the Marquess of
S----, but then he was always in condition; a dab hand at every athletic
sport, extremely active, and gifted with a "calmness," as well as a
nerve, which few men of his position enjoy.

In a word, the average horse may be subdued by the average horseman, and
colts usually come within the average; but a fierce, determined, vicious
horse requires a man above the average in temper, courage, and activity;
activity and skill in _steering_ being of more importance than strength.
It is seldom necessary to lay a colt down more than twice.

Perhaps the best way is to begin practising the strap movements with a
donkey, or a quiet horse full of grass or water, and so go on from day
to day with as much perseverance as if you were practising skating or
walking on a tight rope; until you can approach, halter, lead, strap
up, and lay down a colt with as much calmness as a huntsman takes his
fences with his eye on his hounds, you are not perfect.

Remember you must not hurry, and you must _not chatter_. When you feel
impatient you had better leave off, and begin again another day. And the
same with your horse: you must not tire him with one lesson, but you
must give him at least one lesson every day, and two or three to a
nervous customer; we have a striking example of patience and
perseverance in Mr. Rarey's first evening with Cruiser. He had gone
through the labour of securing him, and bringing him up forty miles
behind a dog-cart, yet he did not lose a moment, but set to work the
same night to tame him limb by limb, and inch by inch, and from that day
until he produced him in public, he never missed a day without spending
twice a day from two to three hours with him, first rendering him
helpless by gag-bit, straps and hobbles, then caressing him, then
forcing him to lie down, then caressing him again, stroking every limb,
talking to him in soothing tones, and now and then, if he turned
vicious, taking up his helpless head, giving it a good shake, while
scolding him as you would a naughty boy. And then again taking off the
gag and rewarding submission with a lock of sweet hay and a drink of
water, most grateful after a tempest of passion, then making him rise,
and riding him--making him stop at a word.

I mention these facts, because an idea has gone abroad that any man with
Mr. Rarey's straps can manage any horse. It would be just as sensible to
assert that any boy could learn to steer a yacht by taking the tiller
for an hour under the care of an "old salt."

The most curious and important fact of all in connection with this
strapping up and laying down process, is, that the moment the horse
rises _he seems to have contracted a personal friendship for the
operator_, and with a very little encouragement will generally follow
him round the box or circus; this feeling may as well be encouraged by a
little bit of carrot or bread and sugar.


It is almost impossible to train or tame a horse quickly in an open
space. As his falls are violent, the floor must be very soft. The best
place is a space boarded off with partitions six or seven feet high, and
on the floor a deep layer of tan or sand or saw-dust, on which, a thick
layer of straw has been spread; but the floor must not be too soft; if
it is, the horse will sink on his knees without fighting, and without
the lesson of exhaustion, which is so important. To throw a horse for a
surgical operation, the floor cannot be too soft: the enclosure should
be about thirty feet from side to side, of a square or octagonal shape;
but not round if possible, because it is of great advantage to have a
corner into which a colt may turn when you are teaching him the first
haltering lesson. A barn may be converted into a training-school, if the
floor be made soft enough with straw. But in every case, it is extremely
dangerous to have pillars, posts, or any projections against which the
horse in rearing might strike; as when the legs are tied, a horse is apt
to miscalculate his distance. And if the space is too narrow, the
trainer, in dealing with a violent horse, may get crushed or kicked. It
is of great advantage that the training-school should be roofed, and if
possible, every living thing, that might distract the horse's attention
by sight or sound, should be removed. Other horses, cattle, pigs, and
even dogs or fowls moving about or making a noise, will spoil the
effect of a good lesson.

In an emergency, the first lesson may be given in an open straw-yard.
Lord Burghersh trained his first pupil on a small space in the middle of
a thick wood; Cruiser was laid down the first time in a bullock-yard.
But if you have many colts to train, it is well worth while to dig out a
pit two feet deep, fill it with tan and straw, and build round it a shed
of rough poles, filled in with gorse plastered with clay, on the same
plan as a bullock feeding-box. The floor should not be too deep or soft,
because if it is, the colt will sink at once without fighting, and a
good lesson in obedience is lost.

This may be done for from 30_s._ to 2_l._ on a farm. In a riding-school
it is very easy to have lofty temporary partitions. It is probable that
in future every riding-school will have a Rarey box for training hacks,
as well as to enable pupils to practise the art.

It is quite out of the question to attempt to do anything with a
difficult horse while other horses can be seen or heard, or while a
party of lookers-on are chattering and laughing.

As to the costume of the trainer, I recommend a close cap, a stout pair
of boots, short trousers or breeches of stout tweed or corduroy, a short
jacket with pockets outside, one to hold the straps and gloves, the
other a few pieces of carrot to reward the pupil. A pocket-handkerchief
should be handy to wipe your perspiring brow. A trainer should not be
without a knife and a piece of string, for emergencies. Spare straps,
bridles, a surcingle, a long whalebone whip, and a saddle, should be
hung up outside the training inclosure, where they can be handed, when
required, to the operator as quickly and with as little delay and fuss
as possible. A sort of dumb-waiter, with hooks instead of trays, could
be contrived for a man who worked alone.

If a lady determines to become a horse-trainer, she had better adopt a
Bloomer costume, without any stiff petticoats, as long robes would be
sure to bring her to grief. To hold the long strap No. 2, it is
necessary to wear a stout glove, which will be all the more useful if
the tips of the fingers are cut off at the first joint, so as to make it
a sort of mitten.


[70-*] I should not recommend this plan with a well-bred horse without
first laying him down, as he would be likely to throw himself

[73-*] All these straps may be obtained from Mr. Stokey, saddler, North
Street, Little Moorfields, who supplied Mr. Rarey, and has patterns of
the improvements by Lord B---- and Colonel R----.


     The Drum.--The Umbrella.--Riding-habit.--How to bit a colt.--How to
     saddle.--To mount.--To ride.--To break.--To harness.--To make a
     horse follow and stand without holding.--Baucher's plan.--Nolan's

It is an excellent practice to accustom all horses to strange sounds and
sights, and of very great importance to young horses which are to be
ridden or driven in large towns, or used as chargers. Although some
horses are very much more timid and nervous than others, the very worst
can be very much improved by acting on the first principles laid down in
the introduction to this book--that is, by proving that the strange
sights and sounds will do them no harm.

When a railway is first opened, the sheep, the cattle, and especially
the horses, grazing in the neighbouring fields, are terribly alarmed at
the sight of the swift, dark, moving trains, and the terrible snorting
and hissing of the steam-engines. They start away--they gallop in
circles--and when they stop, gaze with head and tail erect, until the
monsters have disappeared. But from day to day the live stock become
more accustomed to the sight and sound of the steam horse, and after a
while they do not even cease grazing when the train passes. They have
learned that it will do them no harm. The same result may be observed
with respect to young horses when first they are brought to a large
town, and have to meet great loads of hay, omnibuses crowded with
passengers, and other strange or noisy objects--if judiciously treated,
not flogged and ill-used, they lose their fears without losing their
high courage. Nothing is more astonishing in London than the steadiness
of the high-bred and highly-fed horses in the streets and in Hyde Park.

But until Mr. Rarey went to first principles, and taught "the reason
why" there were horses that could not be brought to bear the beating of
a drum, the rustling of an umbrella, or the flapping of a riding-habit
against their legs--and all attempts to compel them by force to submit
to these objects of their terror failed and made them furious. Mr.
Rarey, in his lectures, often told a story of a horse which shied at
buffalo-robes--the owner tied him up fast and laid a robe on him--the
poor animal died instantly with fright. And yet nothing can be more

_To accustom a horse to a drum._--Place it near him on the ground, and,
without forcing him, induce him to smell it again and again until he is
thoroughly accustomed to it. Then lift it up, and slowly place it on the
side of his neck, where he can see it, and tap it gently with a stick or
your finger. If he starts, pause, and let him carefully examine it. Then
re-commence, gradually moving it backwards until it rests upon his
withers, by degrees playing louder and louder, pausing always when he
seems alarmed, to let him look at it and smell, if needful. In a very
few minutes you may play with all your force, without his taking any
notice. When this practice has been repeated a few times, your horse,
however spirited, will rest his nose unmoved on the big drum while the
most thundering piece is played.

_To teach a horse to bear an umbrella_, go through the same cautious
forms, let him see it, and smell it, open it by degrees--gain your
point inch by inch, passing it always from his eyes to his neck, and
from his neck to his back and tail; and so with a riding-habit, in half
an hour any horse may be taught that it will not hurt him, and then the
difficulty is over.

_To fire off a horse's back._--Begin with caps, and, by degrees, as with
the drum, instead of lengthening the reins, stretch the bridle hand to
the front, and raise it for the carbine to rest on, with the muzzle
clear of the horse's head, a little to one side. Lean the body forward
without rising in the stirrups. _Avoid interfering with the horse's
mouth, or exciting his fears by suddenly closing your legs either before
or after firing--be quiet yourself and your horse will be quiet._ The
colt can learn, as I have already observed, to bear a rider on his bare
back during his first lessons, when prostrate and powerless, fast bound
by straps. The surcingle has accustomed him to girths--he leads well,
and has learned that when the right rein is pulled he must go to the
right, and when the left rein to the left. You may now teach him to bear
the BIT and the SADDLE--if you have not placed it upon his back while on
the ground, and for this operation I cannot do better than return, and
quote literally from Mr. Rarey.


"You should use a large, smooth, snaffle bit, so as not to hurt his
mouth, with a bar to each side, to prevent the bit from pulling through
either way. This you should attach to the head-stall of your bridle, and
put it on your colt without any reins to it, and let him run loose in a
large stable or shed some time, until he becomes a little used to the
bit, and will bear it without trying to get it out of his mouth. It
would be well, if convenient, to repeat this several times, before you
do anything more with the colt; as soon as he will bear the bit, attach
a single rein to it. You should also have a halter on your colt, or a
bridle made after the fashion of a halter, with a strap to it, so that
you can hold or lead him about without pulling on the bit much. (See
Woodcut, p. 39.) He is now ready for the saddle.


"Farmers often put bitting harness on a colt the first thing they do to
him, buckling up the bitting as tight as they can draw it, to make him
carry his head high, and then turn him out in a field to run a half-day
at a time. This is one of the worst of punishments that they could
inflict on the colt, and very injurious to a young horse that has been
used to running in pasture with his head down. I have seen colts so
injured in this way that they never got over it.

"A horse should be well accustomed to the bit before you put on the
bitting harness, and when you first bit him you should only rein his
head up to that point where he naturally holds it, let that be high or
low; he will soon learn that he cannot lower his head, and that raising
it a little will loosen the bit in his mouth. This will give him the
idea of raising his head to loosen the bit, and then you can draw the
bitting a little tighter every time you put it on, and he will still
raise his head to loosen it; by this means you will gradually get his
head and neck in the position you want him to carry it, and give him a
nice and graceful carriage without hurting him, making him mad, or
causing his mouth to get sore.

"If you put the bitting on very tight the first time, he cannot raise
his head enough to loosen it, but will bear on it all the time, and paw,
sweat, and throw himself. Many horses have been killed by falling
backward with the bitting on; their heads being drawn up strike the
ground with the whole weight of the body. Horses that have their heads
drawn up tightly should not have the bitting on more than fifteen or
twenty minutes at a time.


"The first thing will be to tie each stirrup-strap into a loose knot to
make them short, and prevent the stirrups from flying about and hitting
him. Then double up the skirts and take the saddle under your right arm,
so as not to frighten him with it as you approach. When you get to him
rub him gently a few times with your hand, and then raise the saddle
very slowly, until he can see it, and smell and feel it with his nose.
Then let the skirt loose, and rub it very gently against his neck the
way the hair lies, letting him hear the rattle of the skirts as he feels
them against him; each time getting a little farther backward, and
finally slipping it over his shoulders on his back. Shake it a little
with your hand, and in less than five minutes you can rattle it about
over his back as much as you please, and pull it off and throw it on
again, without his paying much attention to it.

"As soon as you have accustomed him to the saddle, fasten the girth. Be
careful how you do this. It often frightens the colt when he feels the
girth binding him, and making the saddle fit tight on his back. You
should bring up the girth very gently, and not draw it too tight at
first, just enough to hold the saddle on. Move him a little, and then
girth it as tight as you choose, and he will not mind it.

"You should see that the pad of your saddle is all right before you put
it on, and that there is nothing to make it hurt him, or feel unpleasant
to his back. It should not have any loose straps on the back part of it,
to flap about and scare him. After you have saddled him in this way,
take a switch in your right hand to tap him up with, and walk about in
the stable a few times with your right arm over your saddle, taking hold
of the reins on each side of his neck with your right and left hands,
thus marching him about in the stable until you teach him the use of the
bridle and can turn him about in any direction, and stop him by a gentle
pull of the rein. Always caress him, and loose the reins a little every
time you stop him.

"You should always be alone, and have your colt in some light stable or
shed, the first time you ride him; the loft should be high, so that you
can sit on his back without endangering your head. You can teach him
more in two hours' time in a stable of this kind, than you could in two
weeks in the common way of breaking colts, out in an open place. If you
follow my course of treatment, you need not run any risk, or have any
trouble in riding the worst kind of horse. You take him a step at a
time, until you get up a mutual confidence and trust between yourself
and horse. First teach him to lead and stand hitched; next acquaint him
with the saddle, and the use of the bit; and then all that remains is to
get on him without scaring him, and you can ride him as well as any


"First gentle him well on both sides, about the saddle, and all over
until he will stand still without holding, and is not afraid to see you
anywhere about him.

"As soon as you have him thus gentled, get a small block, about one foot
or eighteen inches in height, and set it down by the side of him, about
where you want to stand to mount him; step up on this, raising yourself
very gently: horses notice every change of position very closely, and,
if you were to step up suddenly on the block, it would be very apt to
scare him; but, by raising yourself gradually on it, he will see you,
without being frightened, in a position very nearly the same as when you
are on his back.

"As soon as he will bear this without alarm, untie the stirrup-strap
next to you, and put your left foot into the stirrup, and stand square
over it, holding your knee against the horse, and your toe out, so as
not to touch him under the shoulder with the toe of your boot. Place
your right hand on the front of the saddle, and on the opposite side of
you, taking hold of a portion of the mane and the reins, as they hang
loosely over his neck, with your left hand; then gradually bear your
weight on the stirrup, and on your right hand, until the horse feels
your whole weight on the saddle: repeat this several times, each time
raising yourself a little higher from the block, until he will allow you
to raise your leg over his croup and place yourself in the saddle.

"There are three great advantages in having a block to mount from.
First, a sudden change of position is very apt to frighten a young horse
who has never been handled: he will allow you to walk up to him, and
stand by his side without scaring at you, because you have gentled him
to that position; but if you get down on your hands and knees and crawl
towards him, he will be very much frightened; and upon the same
principle, he would be frightened at your new position if you had the
power to hold yourself over his back without touching him. Then the
first great advantage of the block is to gradually gentle him to that
new position in which he will see you when you ride him.

"Secondly, by the process of leaning your weight in the stirrups, and on
your hand, you can gradually accustom him to your weight, so as not to
frighten him by having him feel it all at once. And, in the third place,
the block elevates you so that you will not have to make a spring in
order to get on the horse's back, but from it you can gradually raise
yourself into the saddle. When you take these precautions, there is no
horse so wild but what you can mount him without making him jump. I have
tried it on the worst horses that could be found, and have never failed
in any case. When mounting, your horse should always stand without being
held. _A horse is never well broken when he has to be held with a tight
rein when mounting_; and a colt is never so safe to mount as when you
see that assurance of confidence, and absence of fear, which cause him
to stand without holding." [Mr. Rarey's improved plan is to press the
palm of the right hand on the off-side of the Saddle, and as you rise
lean your weight on it; by this means you can mount with the girths
loose, or without any girths at all.--EDITOR.]


"When you want him to start do not touch him on the side with your heel,
or do anything to frighten him and make him jump. But speak to him
kindly, and if he does not start pull him a little to the left until he
starts, and then let him walk off slowly with the reins loose. Walk him
around in the stable a few times until he gets used to the bit, and you
can turn him about in every direction and stop him as you please. It
would be well to get on and off a good many times until he gets
perfectly used to it before you take him out of the stable.

"After you have trained him in this way, which should not take you more
than one or two hours, you can ride him anywhere you choose without ever
having him jump or make any effort to throw you.

"When you first take him out of the stable be very gentle with him, as
he will feel a little more at liberty to jump or run, and be a little
easier frightened than he was while in the stable. But after handling
him so much in the stable he will be pretty well broken, and you will be
able to manage him without trouble or danger.

"When you first mount him take a little the shortest hold on the left
rein, so that if anything frightens him you can prevent him from jumping
by pulling his head round to you. This operation of pulling a horse's
head round against his side will prevent any horse from jumping ahead,
rearing up, or running away. If he is stubborn and will not go, you can
make him move by pulling his head round to one side, when whipping would
have no effect. And turning him round a few times will make him dizzy,
and then by letting him have his head straight, and giving him a little
touch with the whip, he will go along without any trouble.

"Never use martingales on a colt when you first ride him; every movement
of the hand should go right to the bit in the direction in which it is
applied to the reins, without a martingale to change the direction of
the force applied. You can guide the colt much better without it, and
teach him the use of the bit in much less time. Besides, martingales
would prevent you from pulling his head round if he should try to jump.

"After your colt has been ridden until he is gentle and well accustomed
to the bit, you may find it an advantage, if he carries his head too
high or his nose too far out, to put martingales on him.

"_You should be careful not to ride your colt so far at first as to
heat, worry, or tire him._ Get off as soon as you see he is a little
fatigued; gentle him and let him rest; this will make him kind to you,
and prevent him from getting stubborn or mad.


"Take him in a light stable, as you did to ride him; take the harness
and go through the same process that you did with the saddle, until you
get him familiar with it, so that you can put it on him, and rattle it
about without his caring for it. As soon as he will bear this, put on
the lines, caress him as you draw them over him, and drive him about in
the stable till he will bear them over his hips. The _lines_ are a great
aggravation to some colts, and often frighten them as much as if you
were to raise a whip over them. As soon as he is familiar with the
harness and lines, take him out and put him by the side of a gentle
horse, and go through the same process that you did with the balking
horse. _Always use a bridle without blinkers when you are breaking a
horse to harness._

"Lead him to and around a light gig or phaeton; let him look at it,
touch it with his nose, and stand by it till he does not care for it;
then pull the shafts a little to the left, and stand your horse in front
of the off-wheel. Let some one stand on the right side of the horse, and
hold him by the bit, while you stand on the left side, facing the sulky.
This will keep him straight. Run your left hand back, and let it rest on
his hip, and lay hold of the shafts with your right, bringing them up
very gently to the left hand, which still remains stationary. Do not let
anything but your arm touch his back, and as soon as you have the shafts
square over him, let the person on the opposite side take hold of one of
them, and lower them very gently to the shaft-bearers. Be very slow and
deliberate about hitching; the longer time you take the better, as a
general thing. When you have the shafts placed, shake them slightly, so
that he will feel them against each side. As soon as he will bear them
without scaring, fasten your braces, &c., and start him along very
slowly. Let one man lead the horse, to keep him gentle, while the other
gradually works back with the lines till he can get behind and drive
him. After you have driven him in this way a short distance, you can get
into the sulky, and all will go right. It is very important to have your
horse go gently when you first hitch him. After you have walked him
awhile, there is not half so much danger of his scaring. Men do very
wrong to jump up behind a horse to drive him as soon as they have him
hitched. There are too many things for him to comprehend all at once.
The shifts, the lines, the harness, and the rattling of the sulky, all
tend to scare him, and he must be made familiar with them by degrees. If
your horse is very wild, I would advise you to put up one foot the first
time you drive him."

[Illustration: Second Lesson in Harness.]

With the leg strapped up, the lighter the break or gig the better, and
four wheels are better than two.


The directions make simple what have hitherto been among the mysteries
of the circus. I can assert from personal observation that by the means
described by Mr. Rarey a very nervous thorough-bred mare, the property
of the Earl of Derby, was taught to stand, answer to her name, and
follow one of his pupils in less than a week.

No hack, and certainly no lady's horse, is perfect until he has been
taught to stand still, and no hunter is complete until he has learned to
follow his master. Huntsmen may spend a few hours in the summer very
usefully in teaching their old favourites to wait outside cover until

Turn him into a large stable or shed, where there is no chance to get
out, with a halter or bridal on. Go to him and gentle him a little, take
hold of his halter, and turn him towards you, at the same time touching
him lightly over the hips with a long whip. Lead him the length of the
stable, rubbing him on the neck, saying in a steady tone of voice as you
lead him, "Come along, boy!" or use his name instead of "boy," if you
choose. Every time you turn, touch him slightly with the whip, to make
him step up close to you, and then caress him with your hand. He will
soon learn to hurry up to escape the whip and be caressed, and you can
make him follow you around without taking hold of the halter. If he
should stop and turn from you, give him a few sharp cuts about the hind
legs, and he will soon turn his head towards you, when you must always
caress him. A few lessons of this kind will make him run after you, when
he sees the motion of the whip--in twenty or thirty minutes he will
follow you about the stable. After you have given him two or three
lessons in the stable, take him out into a small field and train him;
and from thence you can take him into the road and make him follow you
anywhere, and run after you.

To make a horse stand without holding, after you have him well broken to
follow you, place him in the centre of the stable--begin at his head to
caress him, gradually working backwards. If he move, give him a cut with
the whip, and put him back to the same spot from which he started. If he
stands, caress him as before, and continue gentling him in this way
until you can get round him without making him move. Keep walking around
him, increasing your pace, and only touch him occasionally. Enlarge your
circle as you walk around, and if he then moves, give him another cut
with the whip, and put him back to his place. If he stands, go to him
frequently and caress him, and then walk around him again. Do not keep
him in one position too long at a time, but make him come to you
occasionally, and follow you around the stable. Then make him stand in
another place, and proceed as before. You should not train your horse
more than half an hour at a time.

The following is Baucher's method of making a horse stand to be mounted,
which, he says, may be taught in two lessons, of half an hour each. I
do not know any one who has tried, but it is worth trying.

"Go up to him, pat him on the neck (_i. e._ gentle him), and speak to
him; then taking the curb reins a few inches from the rings with the
left hand, place yourself so as to offer as much resistance as possible
to him when he tries to break away. Take the whip in the right hand with
the point down, raise it quietly and tap the horse on the chest; he will
rein back to avoid punishment; resist and follow him, continuing the
tapping of the whip, but without anger or haste. The horse, soon tired
of running back, will endeavour to avoid the infliction by rushing
forward; then stop and make much of him. This repeated once or twice
will teach the horse that, to stand still, is to avoid punishment, and
will move up to you on a slight motion of the whip."

I doubt whether high-spirited horses would stand this treatment.

_To teach a horse to stand in the field._--Nolan's plan was, to draw the
reins over the horse's head and fasten them to the ground with a peg,
walk away, return in a few minutes and reward him with bread, salt, or
carrot; in a short time the horse will fancy himself fast whenever the
reins are drawn over his head. It may be doubted whether, in the
excitement of the hunting-field, either Rarey's or Nolan's plan would
avail to make a huntsman's horse stand while hounds were running.
Scrutator gives another method which is not within everyone's means to

"In my father's time we had a large field, enclosed by a high wall,
round which the lads used to exercise their horses, with a thick rug
only, doubled, to sit upon. A single snaffle and a sharp curb-bit were
placed in the horse's mouth; the former to ride and guide by. To the
curb was attached a long single rein, which was placed in the boy's
hand, or attached to his wrist. When the horse was in motion, either
walking, trotting, or cantering, the lad would throw himself off,
holding only the long rein attached to the curb, the sudden pull upon
which, when the lad was on the ground, would cause the horse's head to
be turned round, and stop him in his career. The boy would then
gradually shorten the rein, until the horse was brought up to him, then
patting and caressing him, he would again mount. After a very few
lessons of this kind, the horse would always stop the instant the boy
fell, and remain stationary beside him. The lads, as well as the horses,
were rewarded by my father for their proper performance of this rather
singular manoeuvre, but I never saw or knew any accident occur. The
horses thus trained proved excellent hunters, and would never run away
from their riders when thrown, always standing by them until re-mounted.
From the lads constantly rubbing and pulling their legs about, we had no
kickers. When a boy of only fifteen, I was allowed to ride a fine mare
which has been thus broken in, in company with the hounds. Being nearly
sixteen hands high, I had some difficulty in clambering up and down; but
when dislodged from my seat, she would stand quietly by until
re-mounted, and appeared as anxious for me to get up again as I was

"It may be said that all this was time and trouble thrown away, and that
the present plan of riding a young four-year-old, straight across
country at once, will answer the same purpose. My reply is, that a good
education, either upon man, horse, or dog, will never be thrown away;
and, notwithstanding the number of horses now brought into the
hunting-field, there are still few well-trained hunters to be met with.
The horse, the most beautiful and useful of animals to man, is seldom
sufficiently instructed or familiarised, although certainly capable of
the greatest attachment to his master when well used, and deserving to
be treated more as a friend than a slave. It is a general remark how
quiet some high-spirited horses will become when ridden by ladies. The
cause of this is, that they are more quietly handled, patted, and
caressed by them, and become soon sensible of this difference of
treatment, from the rough whip-and-spur system, too generally adopted by


Horses are taught the dangerous vice of baulking, or jibbing, as it is
called in England, by improper management. When a horse jibs in harness,
it is generally from some mismanagement, excitement, confusion, or from
not knowing how to pull, but seldom from any unwillingness to perform
all that he understands. High-spirited free-going horses are the most
subject to baulking, and only so because drivers do not properly
understand how to manage this kind. A free horse in a team may be so
anxious to go, that when he hears the word he will start with a jump,
which will not move the load, but give him such a severe jerk on the
shoulders that he will fly back and stop the other horse. The teamster
will continue his driving without any cessation, and by the time he has
the slow horse started again, he will find that the free horse has made
another jump, and again flown back. And now he has them both badly
baulked, and so confused that neither of them knows what is the matter,
or how to start the load. Next will come the slashing and cracking of
the whip, and hallooing of the driver, till something is broken, or he
is through with his course of treatment. But what a mistake the driver
commits by whipping his horse for this act! Reason and common sense
should teach him that the horse was willing and anxious to go, but did
not know how to start the load. And should he whip him for that? If so,
he should whip him again for not knowing how to talk. A man that wants
to act with reason should not fly into a passion, but should always
think before he strikes. It takes a steady pressure against the collar
to move a load, and you cannot expect him to act with a steady,
determined purpose while you are whipping him. There is hardly one
baulking horse in five hundred that will pull truly from whipping: it is
only adding fuel to fire, and will make him more liable to baulk another
time. You always see horses that have been baulked a few times turn
their heads and look back as soon as they are a little frustrated. This
is because they have been whipped, and are afraid of what is behind
them. This is an invariable rule with baulked horses, just as much as it
is for them to look around at their sides when they have the
bots.[106-*] In either case they are deserving of the same sympathy and
the same kind, rational treatment.

When your horse baulks, or is a little excited, if he wants to start
quickly, or looks around and doesn't want to go, there is something
wrong, and he needs kind treatment immediately. Caress him kindly, and
if he doesn't understand at once what you want him to do, he will not be
so much excited as to jump and break things, and do everything wrong
through fear. As long as you are calm, and keep down the excitement of
the horse, there are ten chances that you will make him understand you,
where there would not be one under harsh treatment; and then the little
_flare up_ will not carry with it any unfavourable recollections, and he
will soon forget all about it, and learn to pull truly. Almost every
wrong act the horse commits is from mismanagement, fear, or excitement:
one harsh word will so excite a nervous horse as to increase his pulse
ten beats in a minute.

When we remember that we are dealing with dumb brutes, and reflect how
difficult it must be for them to understand our motions, signs, and
language, we should never get out of patience with them because they
don't understand us, or wonder at their doing things wrong. With all our
intellect, if we were placed in the horse's situation, it would be
difficult for us to understand the driving of some foreigner, of foreign
ways and foreign language. We should always recollect that our ways and
language are just as foreign and unknown to the horse as any language in
the world is to us, and should try to practise what we could understand
were we the horse, endeavouring by some simple means to work on his
understanding rather than on the different parts of his body. All
baulked horses can be started true and steady in a few minutes' time:
they are all willing to pull as soon as they know how, and I never yet
found a baulked horse that I could not teach to start his load in
fifteen, and often less than three, minutes' time.

Almost any team, when first baulked, will start kindly if you let them
stand five or ten minutes as though there was nothing wrong, and then
speak to them with a steady voice, and turn them a little to the right
or left, so as to get them both in motion before they feel the pinch of
the load. But if you want to start a team that you are not driving
yourself, that has been baulked, fooled, and whipped for some time, go
to them and hang the lines on their hames, or fasten them to the waggon,
so that they will be perfectly loose; make the driver and spectators (if
there are any) stand off some distance to one side, so as not to attract
the attention of the horses; unloose their check-reins, so that they can
get their heads down if they choose; let them stand a few minutes in
this condition until you can see that they are a little composed. While
they are standing, you should be about their heads, gentling them: it
will make them a little more kind, and the spectators will think that
you are doing something that they do not understand, and will not learn
the secret. When you have them ready to start, stand before them, and,
as you seldom have but one baulky horse in a team, get as near in front
of him as you can, and, if he is too fast for the other horse, let his
nose come against your breast: this will keep him steady, for he will go
slow rather than run on you. Turn them gently to the right, without
letting them pull on the traces as far as the tongue will let them go:
stop them with a kind word, gentle them a little, and then turn them
back to the left, by the same process. You will then have them under
your control by this time; and as you turn them again to the right,
steady them in the collar, and you can take them where you please.

There is a quicker process that will generally start a baulky horse, but
not so sure. Stand him a little ahead, so that his shoulders will be
against the collar; and then take up one of his fore feet in your hand,
and let the driver start them, and when the weight comes against his
shoulders he will try to step: then let him have his foot, and he will
go right along. If you want to break a horse from baulking that has long
been in that habit, you ought to set apart a half-day for that purpose.
Put him by the side of some steady horse; have driving reins on them;
tie up all the traces and straps, so that there will be nothing to
excite them; do not rein them up, but let them have their heads loose.
Walk them about together for some time as slowly and lazily as possible;
stop often, and go up to your baulky horse and gentle him. Do not take
any whip about him, or do anything to excite him, but keep him just as
quiet as you can. He will soon learn to start off at the word, and stop
whenever you tell him.

As soon as he performs rightly, hitch him in an empty waggon; have it
standing in a favourable position for starting. It would be well to
shorten the trace-chain behind the steady horse, so that, if it is
necessary, he can take the weight of the waggon the first time you start
them. Do not drive more than a few rods at first; watch your jibbing
horse closely, and if you see that he is getting excited, stop him
before he stops of his own accord, caress him a little, and start again.
As soon as they go well, drive them over a small hill a few times, and
then over a larger one, occasionally adding a little load. This process
will make any horse true to pull.

The following anecdote from Scrutator's "Horses and Hounds," illustrates
the soundness of Mr. Rarey's system:--"A gentleman in our neighbourhood
having purchased a very fine carriage horse, at a high price, was not a
little annoyed, upon trial, to find that he would not pull an ounce, and
when the whip was applied he began plunging and kicking. After one or
two trials the coachman declared he could do nothing with him, and our
neighbour, meeting my father, expressed his grievances at being thus
taken in, and asked what he had better do. The reply was 'Send the horse
to me tomorrow morning, and I will return him a good puller within a
week.' The horse being brought, was put into the shafts of a wagon, in a
field, with the hind wheels tied, and being reined up so that he could
not get his head between his legs, was there left, with a man to watch
him for five or six hours, and, of course, without any food. When my
father thought he had enough of standing still, he went up to him with a
handful of sweet hay, let down the bearing rein, and had the wheels of
the wagon released. After patting the horse on the neck, when he had
taken a mouthful or two of hay, he took hold of the bridle and led him
away--the wagon followed--thus proving stratagem to be better than
force. Another lesson was scarcely required, but, to make sure, it was
repeated, and, after that, the horse was sent back to the owner. There
was no complaint ever made of his jibbing again. The wagon to which he
was attached was both light and empty, and the ground inclined rather
towards the stable."


[106-*] A much more severe disease in America than in England.--EDIT.



     Value of good horsemanship to both sexes.--On teaching
     children.--Anecdote.--Havelock's opinion.--Rarey's plan to train
     ponies.--The use of books.--Necessity of regular teaching for
     girls, boys can be self-taught.--Commence without a bridle.--Ride
     with one pair of reins and two hands.--Advantage of hunting-horn on
     side-saddle.--On the best plan for mounting.--Rarey's plan.--On a
     man's seat.--Nolan's opinion.--Military style.--Hunting style.--Two
     examples in Lord Cardigan.--The Prussian style.--Anecdote by Mr.
     Gould, Blucher, and the Prince Regent.--Hints for men learning to
     ride.--How to use the reins.--Pull right for right, and left for
     left.--How to collect your horse.

You cannot learn to ride from a book, but you may learn how to do some
things and how to avoid many things of importance. Those who know all
about horses and horsemanship, or fancy they do, will not read this
chapter. But as there are riding-schools in the City of London, where an
excellent business is done in teaching well-grown men how to ride for
health or fashion, and as papas who know their own bump-bump style very
well often desire to teach their daughters, I have collected the
following instructions from my own experience, now extending over full
thirty years, on horses of all kinds, including the worst, and from the
best books on the subject, some of the best being anonymous
contributions by distinguished horsemen, printed for private
circulation. Every man and woman, girl and boy, who has the opportunity,
should learn to ride on horseback. It is almost an additional sense--it
is one of the healthiest exercises--it affords amusement when other
amusements fail--relaxation from the most severe toil, and often, in
colonies or wild countries, the only means of travelling or trading.

A man feels twice a man on horseback. The student and the farmer meet,
when mounted, the Cabinet Minister and the landlord on even terms--good
horsemanship is a passport to acquaintances in all ranks of life, and to
make acquaintances is one of the arts of civilised life; to ripen them
into use or friendship is another art. On horseback you can call with
less ceremony, and meet or leave a superior with less form than on
foot. Rotten Row is the ride of idleness and pleasure, but there is a
great deal of business done in sober walks and slow canters, commercial,
political, and matrimonial.

For a young lady not to be able to ride with a lover is a great loss;
not to be able to ride with a young husband a serious privation.

The first element for enjoying horse exercise is good horsemanship.
Colonel Greenwood says very truly:--"_Good_ riding is worth acquiring by
those whose pleasure or business it is to ride, because it is soon and
easily acquired, and, when acquired, it becomes habitual; and it is as
easy, nay, much more easy, and infinitely more safe, than bad riding."
"Good riding will last through age, sickness, and decrepitude, but bad
riding will last only as long as youth, health, and strength supply
courage; _for good riding is an affair of skill, but bad riding is an
affair of courage_."

A bold bad rider must not be merely brave; he must be fool-hardy; for he
is perpetually in as much danger as a blind man among precipices.

In riding, as in most other things, danger is for the timid and the
unskilful. The skilful rider, when apparently courting danger in the
field, deserves no more credit for courage than for sitting in an
arm-chair, and the unskilful no more the imputation of timidity for
backwardness than if without practice he declined to perform on the
tight-rope. Depend upon it, the bold bad rider is the hero.

There is nothing heroic in good riding, when dissected. The whole thing
is a matter of detail--a collection of trifles--and its principles are
so simple in theory and so easy in practice that they are despised.

It is an accomplishment that may, to a certain extent, be acquired late
in life. I know instances in both sexes of a fair firm seat having been
acquired under the pressure of necessity after forty years of age (I
could name lawyers, sculptors, architects, and sailors), but it may be
acquired with ease and perfection in youth, and it is most important
that no awkward habits should be acquired.

Children who have courage may be taught to ride almost as soon as they
can walk. On the Pampas of South America you may see a boy seven years
old on horseback, driving a herd of horses, and carrying a baby in his

I began my own lessons at four, when I sat upon an old mare in the stall
while the groom polished harness or blacked his boots. Mr. Nathaniel
Gould, who, at upwards of seventy years, and sixteen stone weight, can
still ride hunting for seven or eight hours at a stretch, mentions, in
his observations on horses and hunting,[114-*] that a nephew of his
followed the Cheshire fox-hounds at seven years of age. "His manner of
gathering up his reins was most singular, and his power of keeping his
seat, with his little legs stretched horizontally along the saddle,
quite surprising." The hero Havelock, writing to his little boy, says,
"You are now seven years old, and ought to learn to ride. I hope to hear
soon that you have made progress in that important part of your
education. Your uncle William (a boy-hero in the Peninsula) rode well
before he was seven years old." The proper commencement for a boy is a
pony in which he can interest himself, and on which he may learn to sit
as a horseman should.

I particularly warn parents against those broad-backed animals which,
however suitable for carrying heavy old gentlemen, or sacks to market,
are certainly very uncomfortable for the short legs of little boys, and
likely to induce rupture. On a narrow, well-bred pony, of 11 or 12 hands
high, a boy of six can sit like a little man. It is cruel to make
children ride with bare legs.

Before Rarey introduced his system, there was no satisfactory mode of
training those ponies that were too small for a man to mount, unless the
owner happened to live near some racing stable, where he could obtain
the services of a "feather-weight doll," and then the pony often learned
tricks more comic than satisfactory.

By patiently applying the practices explained in the preceding chapters,
the smallest and most highly-bred pony may be reduced to perfect
docility without impairing its spirit, and taught a number of amusing

Young ladies may learn on full-sized horses quite as well as on ponies,
if they are provided with suitable side-saddles.

A man, or rather a boy, may learn to ride by practice and imitation, and
go on tumbling about until he has acquired a firm and even elegant seat,
but no lady can ever learn to ride as a lady should ride, without a good
deal of instruction; because her seat on horseback is so thoroughly
artificial, that without some competent person to tell her of her
faults, she is sure to fall into a number of awkward ungraceful tricks.
Besides, a riding-school, with its enclosed walls and trained horses,
affords an opportunity of going through the preliminary lessons without
any of those accidents which on the road, or in a field, are very likely
to occur with a raw pupil on a fresh horse. For a young lad to fall on
the grass, is not a serious affair, but a lady should never be allowed
to run the chance of a fall, because it is likely to destroy the nerve,
without which no lessons can be taught successfully. All who have
noticed the performances of Amazones in London, or at Brighton, must
have in remembrance the many examples of ladies who, with great courage,
sit in a manner that is at once fearful and ridiculous to behold;
entirely dependent on the good behaviour of horses, which they, in
reality, have no power of turning, and scarcely of stopping.

Little girls who learn their first lessons by riding with papa, who is
either absorbed in other business, or himself a novice in the art of
horsemanship, get into poky habits, which it is extremely difficult to
eradicate when they reach the age when every real woman wishes to be

Therefore, let everyone interested in the horsemanship of a young lady
commence by placing her, as early as possible, under the tuition of a
competent professional riding-master, unless he knows enough to teach
her himself. There are many riding-schools where a fair seat is acquired
by the lady pupils, but in London, at any rate, only two or three where
they learn to use the reins, so as to control an unruly horse.

Both sexes are apt to acquire the habit of holding on by the bridle. To
avoid this grave error, the first lessons in walking and cantering
should be given to the pupil on a led horse, without taking hold of the
bridle; and this should be repeated in learning to leap. The
horsemanship of a lady is not complete until she has learned to leap,
whether she intends to ride farming or hunting, or to confine herself to
Rotten Row canters; for horses will leap and bound at times without

I have high authority for recommending lessons without holding the
bridle. Lady Mildred H----, one of the most accomplished horsewomen of
the day, taught her daughter to walk, trot, canter, gallop, and leap,
without the steadying assistance of the reins.

A second point is, that every pupil in horsemanship should begin by
holding the rein or reins (one is enough to begin with) in both hands,
pulling to the right when they want to go to the right, and to the left
when they wish to go to the left, that is the proper way of riding every
strange horse, every colt, and every hunter, that does not perfectly
know his business, for it is the only way in which you have any real
command over your horse. But almost all our riding-school rules are
military. Soldiers are obliged to carry a sword in one hand, and to
rely, to a great extent, on the training of their horses for turning
right or left. Ladies and gentlemen have no swords to carry, and neither
possess, nor can desire to possess, such machines as troop-horses.
Besides other more important advantages which will presently be
described by commencing with two-handed riding, a lady is more likely to
continue to sit squarely, than when holding the reins with one hand, and
pretending to guide a horse who really guides himself. A man has the
power of turning a horse, to a certain extent, with his legs and spurs;
a woman must depend on her reins, whip, and left leg. As only one rein
and the whip can be well held in one hand, double reins, except for
hunting, are to a lady merely a perplexing puzzle. The best way for a
lady is to knot up the snaffle, and hang it over the pommel, and ride
with a light hand on the curb.

In order to give those ladies who may not have instruction at hand an
idea of a safe, firm, and elegant seat, I have placed at the head of
this chapter a woodcut, which shows how the legs should be placed. The
third or hunting-horn pommel must be fitted to the rider, as its
situation in the saddle will differ, to some extent, according to the
length of the lady's legs. I hope my plain speaking will not offend
American friends.

The first step is to sit well down on the saddle, then pass the right
leg over the upstanding pommel, and let it hang straight down,--a little
back, if leaping; if the foot pokes out, the lady has no firm hold. The
stirrup must then be shortened, so as to bring the bent thigh next to
the knee of the left leg firmly against the under side of the
hunting-horn pommel. If, when this is done, an imaginary line were drawn
from the rider's backbone, which would go through the centre of the
saddle, close to the cantle, she is in her proper place, and leaning
rather back than forward, firm and close from the hips downwards,
flexible from her hips upwards, with her hands holding the reins apart,
a little above the level of her knee, she is in a position at once
powerful and graceful. This is a very imperfect description of a very
elegant picture. The originals, few and far between, are to be found for
nine months of the year daily in Rotten Row. A lady in mounting, should
hold the reins in her left hand, and place it on the pommel, the right
hand as far over the cantle as she can comfortably reach. If there is no
skilful man present to take her foot, make any man kneel down and put
out his right knee as a step, and let down the stirrup to be shortened
afterwards. Practise on a high chest of drawers!

After all the rules of horsemanship have been perfectly learned, nothing
but practice can give the instinct which prepares a rider for the most
sudden starts, leaps, and "kickings up behind and before."

The style of a man's seat must, to a certain extent, be settled by his
height and shape. A man with short round legs and thighs cannot sit down
on his horse like tall thin men, such as Jim Mason, or Tom Oliver, but
men of the most unlikely shapes, by dint of practice and pluck, go well
in the hunting-field, and don't look ridiculous on the road.

There are certain rules laid down as to the length of a man's
stirrup-leathers, but the only good rule is that they should be short
enough to give the rider full confidence in his seat, and full power
over a pulling horse. For hunting it is generally well to take them up
one hole shorter than on the road.

The military directions for mounting are absurd for civilians; in the
first place, there ought to be no right side or wrong side in mounting;
in both the street and hunting-field it is often most convenient to
mount on what is called the wrong side. In the next place horses trained
on the Rarey plan (and very soon all horses will be), will stand without
thinking of moving when placed by the rider, so that the military
direction to stand before the stirrup becomes unnecessary.

The following is Mr. Rarey's plan of mounting for men, which is
excellent, but is not described in his book, and indeed is difficult to
describe at all.

_To mount with the girths slack without bearing on the stirrup._--Take
up the reins and a lock of the mane, stand behind the withers looking at
your horse's head, put your foot in the stirrup, and while holding the
reins in one hand on the neck, place the other open and flat on the
other side of the saddle as far down as the edge of the little flap,
turn your toe out, so as not to touch the horse's belly, and rise by
leaning on your flat hand, thus pressing hard on the side of the saddle
opposite to that on which you are mounting. The pressure of your hands
will counterbalance your weight, and you will be able to mount without
straining the girths, or even without any girths at all. If you are not
tall enough to put your foot fairly in the stirrup, use a horse-block,
or, better still, a piece of solid wood about eighteen inches high, that
can be moved about anywhere.

Young men should learn to leap into the saddle by placing both hands on
the cantle, as the horse moves. I have seen Daly, the steeplechaser, who
was a little man, do this often in the hunting-field, before he broke
his thigh.

With respect to the best model for a seat, I recommend the very large
class who form the best customers of riding-school masters in the great
towns of England, I mean the gentlemen from eighteen to
eight-and-twenty, who begin to ride as soon as they have the means and
the opportunity, to study the style of the first-class steeplechase
jockeys and gentlemen riders in the hunting-field whenever they have the
opportunity. Almost all riding-masters are old dragoons, and what they
teach is good as far as it goes, as to general appearance and carriage
of the body, but generally the military notions about the use of a
rider's arms and legs are utterly wrong.

On this point we cannot have a better authority then that of the late
Captain Nolan, who served in the Austrian, Hungarian, and in the English
cavalry in India, and who studied horsemanship in Russia, and all other
European countries celebrated for their cavalry. He says--

"The difference between a school (viz. an ordinary military horseman)
and a real horseman is this, the first depends upon guiding and managing
his horse for maintaining his seat; the second depends upon his seat for
controlling and guiding his horse. At a _trot_ the school rider, instead
of lightly rising to the action of the horse, bumps up and down,
falling heavily on the horse's loins, and hanging on the reins to
prevent the animal slipping from under him, whilst he is thrown up in
his seat."

It is a curious circumstance that the English alone have two styles of
horsemanship. The one, natural and useful, formed in the hunting-field;
the other, artificial and military, imported from the Continent. If you
go into Rotten Row in the season you may see General the Earl of
Cardigan riding a trained charger in the most approved military
style--the toes in the stirrups, long stirrup-leathers, heels down, legs
from the knee carefully clear of the horse's sides--in fact, the balance
seat, handed down by tradition from the time when knights wore complete
armour and could ride in no other way, for the weight of the armour
rendered a fall certain if once the balance was lost; a very grand and
graceful style it is when performed by a master of the art of the length
of limb of the Earl, or his more brilliant predecessor, the late
Marquess of Anglesea. But if you go into Northamptonshire in the hunting
season, you may see the same Earl of Cardigan in his scarlet coat,
looking twice as thick in the waist, sailing away in the first flight,
sitting down on the part intended by nature for a seat, with his knees
well bent, and his calves employed in distributing his weight over the
horse's back and sides. In the one case the Earl is a real, in the other
a show, horseman.

Therefore, when a riding-master tells you that you must ride by balance,
"with your body upright, knee drawn back, and the feet in a
perpendicular line with the shoulder, and your legs from the knee
downward brought away to prevent what is called _clinging_," listen to
him, learn all you can--do not argue, that would be useless--and then
take the first opportunity of studying those who are noted for combining
an easy, natural seat with grace--that is, if you are built for
gracefulness--some people are not. In Nolan's words, "Let a man have a
roomy saddle, and sit close to the horse's back; let the leg be
supported by the stirrup in a natural position, without being so short
as to throw back the thigh, and the nearer the whole leg is brought to
the horse the better, so long as the foot is not bent below the

Soon after the battle of Waterloo, by influence of the Prince Regent,
who fancied he knew something about cavalry, a Prussian was introduced
to teach our cavalry a new style of equitation, which consisted in
entirely abandoning the use of that part of the person in which his
Royal Highness was so highly gifted, and riding on the fork like a pair
of compasses on a rolling pin, with perfectly straight legs. For a
considerable period this ridiculous drill, which deprived the soldiers
of all power over their horses, was carried on in the fields where
Belgrave Square now stands, and was not abandoned until the number of
men who suffered by it was the cause of a serious remonstrance from
commanding officers. It is a pity that the reverse system has never been
tried, and a regiment of cavalry taught riding on English fox-hunting
principles, using the snaffle on the road, and rising in the trot. But
it must be admitted that since the war there has been a great
improvement in this respect, and there will probably be more as the
martinets of the old school die off.

It was not for want of examples of a better style that the continental
military style was forced upon our cavalry. Mr. Nathaniel Gould relates
in his little book as an instance of what determined hunting-men can
do, that--

"When, in the year 1815, Blucher arrived in London and drove at once to
Carlton House, I was one of a few out of an immense concourse of
horsemen who accompanied his carriage from Shooter's Hill, riding on
each side; spite of all obstacles we forced ourselves through the Horse
Guards gate and the troop of guardsmen, in like manner through the Light
Cavalry and gate at Carlton House, as well as the posse of constables in
the court-yard, and drove our horses up the flight of stone steps into
the salon, though the guards, beefeaters, and constables arrayed
themselves against this irruption of Cossacks, and actually came to the
charge. The Prince, however, in the noblest manner waved his hand, and
we were allowed to form a circle round the Regent while Blucher had the
blue ribbon placed on his shoulders, and was assisted to rise by the
Prince in the most dignified manner. His Royal Highness then slightly
acknowledged our presence, we backed to the door, and got down the steps
again with only one accident, that arising from a horse, which, on being
urged forward, took a leap down the whole flight of stairs."

But to return to the subject of a man's seat on horseback. Nolan,
quoting Baucher, says, "When first put on horseback, devote a few
lessons to making his limbs supple, in the same way that you begin drill
on foot with extension motions. Show him how to close up the thigh and
leg to the saddle, and then work the leg backwards and forwards, up and
down, _without stirrups_; _make him swing a weight round in a circle
from the shoulder as centre_; the other hand placed on the thigh, thence
to the rear, change the weight to the opposite hand, and same."

"_Placing one hand on the horse's mane_, make him lean down to each side
in succession, till he reaches to within a short distance of the
ground." "These exercises give a man a firm hold with his legs, on a
horse, and teach him to move his limbs without quitting his seat. Then
take him in the circle in the longe, and, by walking and trotting
alternately, teach him the necessity of leaning with the body to the
side the horse is turning to. This is the necessary balance. Then put
him with others, and give him plenty of trotting, to shake him into his
seat. By degrees teach him how to use the reins, then the leg."

These directions for training a full-grown trooper may be of use to


Presuming that you are in a fair way to obtain a secure seat, the next
point is the use of the reins and the employment of your legs, for it is
by these that a horseman holds, urges, and turns his horse. To handle a
horse in perfection, you must have, besides instruction, "good hands."
Good or light hands, like the touch of a first-rate violinist, are a
gift, not always to be acquired even by thought and practice. The
perfection of riding is to make your horse understand and obey your
directions, as conveyed through the reins--to halt, or go fast or slow;
to walk, trot, canter, or gallop; to lead off with right or left leg, to
change leg, to turn either way, and to rise in leaping at the exact
point you select. No one but a perfect horseman, with naturally fine
hands, can do this perfectly, but every young horseman should try.

The golden rule of horsemanship is laid down by Colonel Greenwood, in a
sentence that noodles will despise for its "trite simplicity:"--"When
you wish to turn to the right, pull the right rein stronger than the
left." This is common sense. No horse becomes restive in the
colt-breaker's hands. The reason is, that they ride with one bridle and
two hands, instead of two bridles and one hand. "When they wish to go to
the left, they pull the left rein stronger than the right. When they
wish to go to the right, they pull the right rein stronger than the
left. If the colt does not obey these indications, at least he
understands them, even the first time he is mounted, and the most
obstinate will not long resist them. Acting on these plain principles, I
saw, in August last, a three-year-old colt which, placed absolutely raw
and unbridled in Mr. Rarey's hands, within seven days answered every
indication of the reins like an old horse--turned right or left, brought
his nose to the rider's knee, and backed like an old trooper.

"But it takes a long time to make a colt understand that he is to turn
to the right when the left rein is pulled;" and if any horse resists,
the rider has no power one-handed, as the reins are usually held, to
compel him.

The practice of one-handed riding originated in military schools; for a
soldier has to carry a sword or lance, and depends chiefly on his
well-trained horse and the pressure of his legs. No one ever attempts to
turn a horse in harness with one hand, although there the driver has the
assistance of the terrets, and it is equally absurd to attempt it with a
colt or horse with a delicate mouth. Of course, with an old-trained hack
even the reins are a mere form; any hint is enough.

The advantage of double-handed riding is, that, in a few hours, any
colt and any pupil in horsemanship may learn it.

To make the most of a horse, the reins must be held with a smooth, even
bearing, not hauling at a horse's mouth, as if it were made of Indian
rubber, nor yet leaving the reins slack, but so feeling him that you can
instantaneously direct his course in any direction, "as if," to use old
Chifney's phrase, "your rein was a worsted thread." Your legs are to be
used to force your horse forward up to the bit, and also to guide him.
That is, when you turn to the right pull the right rein sharpest and
press with the left leg; when to the left, _vice versâ_. Unless a horse
rides up to the bit you have no control over him.

A good horseman chooses his horse's ground and his pace for him. "To
avoid a falling leaf a horse will put his foot over a precipice. When a
horse has made a stumble, or is in difficulties at a fence, you cannot
leave him too much at liberty, or be too quiet with him." Don't believe
the nonsense people talk about holding a horse up _after_ he has

The pupil horseman should remember to drop his hands as low as he can on
each side the withers, without stooping, when a horse becomes restive,
plunging or attempting to run away. The instinct of a novice is to do
exactly what he ought not to do--raise his hands.

By a skilful use of the reins and your own legs, with or without spurs,
you collect, or, as Colonel Greenwood well expresses it, you condense
your horse, at a stand, that is, you make him stand square, yet ready to
move in any direction at any pace that you require; this is one use of
the curb bit. It is on the same principle that fashionable coachmen "hit
and hold" their high-bred horses while they thread the crowded streets
of the West end in season, or that you see a hard rider, when starting
with three hundred companions at the joyful sound of Tally-ho, pricking
and holding his horse, to have him ready for a great effort the moment
he is clear of the crowd.

By a judicious use of the curb rein, you collect a tired horse; tired
horses are inclined to sprawl about. You draw his hind-legs under him,
throw him upon his haunches, and render him less liable to fall even on
his weary or weak fore-legs. But a pull at the reins when a horse is
falling may make him hold up his head, but cannot make him hold up his

"When a horse is in movement there should be a constant touch or feeling
or play between his mouth and the rider's hands." Not the hold by which
riders of the foreign school retain their horses at an artificial parade
pace, which is inconceivably fatiguing to the animal, and quite contrary
to our English notions of natural riding; but a gradual, delicate firm
feeling of the mouth and steady indications of the legs, which keep a
fiery well-broken horse always, to use a school phrase, "between your
hands and legs."

You cannot take too much pains to acquire this art, for although it is
not exercised on an old hack, that you ride with reins held any how, and
your legs dangling anywhere, it is called into action and gives
additional enjoyment to be striding the finest class of high-couraged
delicate-mouthed horses--beautiful creatures that seem to enjoy being
ridden by a real horseman or light-handed Amazone, but which become
frantic in ignorant or brutal hands.

"A horse should never be turned without being made to collect himself,
without being retained by the hands and urged by the legs, as well as
guided by both; that is, in turning to the right both hands should
retain him, and the right hand guide him, by being used the strongest;
in turning to the left, both legs should urge him, and the left guide
him by being pressed the strongest. Don't turn into the contrary
extreme, slackening the left rein, and hauling the horse's head round to
the right."

The same rules should be observed for making a horse canter with the
right leg, but the right rein should be only drawn enough to develop his
right nostril.

_Reining Back._--You must collect a horse with your legs before you rein
him back, because if you press him back first with the reins he may
throw all his weight on his hind legs under him, stick out his nose, hug
his tail, and then he cannot stir--you must recover him to his balance,
and give him power to step back. This rule is often neglected by carters
in trying to make the shaft-horse back.

_Rearing._--Knot the snaffle rein--loose it when the horse rears--put
your right arm round the horse's neck, with the hand well up and close
under the horse's gullet; press your left shoulder forward so as to
bring your chest to the horse's near side, for, if the horse falls, you
will fall clear; the moment he is descending, press him forward, take up
the rein, which, being knotted, is short to your hands, and ply the
spurs. But a horse, after being laid down and made walk, tied up like
the zebra a few times, will seldom persist, because the moment he
attempts to rise you pull his off hind leg under him and he is

_Leaping._--The riding-school is a bad place to teach a horse to leap.
The bar, with its posts, is very apt to frighten him; if a colt has not
been trained to leap as it should be by following its dam before it is
mounted, take it into the fields and let it follow well-trained horses
over easy low fences and little ditches, slowly without fuss, and, as
part of the ride, not backwards and forwards--always leap on the
snaffle. Our cavalry officers learn to leap, not in the school, but
"across country." Nolan tells a story that, during some manoeuvres in
Italy, an Austrian general, with his staff, got amongst some enclosures
and sent some of his aide-de-camps to find an outlet. They peered over
the stone walls, rode about, but could find no gap. The general turned
to one of his staff, a Yorkshireman, and said, "See if you can find a
way out of this place." Mr. W----k, mounted on a good English horse,
went straight at the wall, cleared it, and, while doing so, turned in
his saddle and touched his cap and said, "This way, general;" but his
way did not suit the rest of the party.

There is a good deal taught in the best military schools, well worth
time and study, which, with practice in horse-taming, would fill up the
idle time of that numerous class who never read, and find time heavy on
their hands, when out of town life.

"But a military riding-school," says Colonel Greenwood, "is too apt to
teach you to sit on your horse as stiff as a statue, to let your right
hand hang down as useless as if God had never gifted you with one, to
stick your left hand out, with a stiff straight wrist like a boltsprit,
and to turn your horse invariably on the wrong rein." I should not
venture to say so much on my own authority, but Captain Nolan says
further, speaking of the effect of the foreign school (not Baucher's),
on horses and men, "The result of this long monotonous course of study
is, that on the uninitiated the school rider makes a pleasing
impression, his horse turns, prances, and caracoles without any visible
aid, or without any motion in the horseman's upright, imposing
attitude. But I have lived and served with them. I have myself been a
riding-master, and know, from experience, the disadvantages of this
foreign seat and system."

There is nothing that requires more patience and firmness than a shying
horse. Shying arises from three causes--defective eyesight,
skittishness, and fear. If a horse always shies from the same side you
may be sure the eye on that side is defective.

You may know that a horse shies from skittishness if he flies one day
snorting from what he meets the next with indifference; dark stables
also produce this irregular shying.

Nervousness, which is often increased by brutality, as the horse is not
only afraid of the object, but of the whipping and spurring he has been
accustomed to receive, can be alleviated, to some extent, by the
treatment already described in the horse-training chapter. But horses
first brought from the country to a large town are likely to be alarmed
at a number of objects. You must take time to make them acquainted with
each. For instance, I brought a mare from the country that everything
moving seemed to frighten. I am convinced she had been ill-used, or had
had an accident in harness. The first time a railway train passed in her
sight over a bridge spanning the road she was travelling, she would turn
round and would have run away had I not been able to restrain her; I
could feel her heart beat between my legs. Acting on the principles of
Xenophon and Mr. Rarey, I allowed her to turn, but compelled her to
stand, twenty yards off, while the train passed. She looked back with a
fearful eye all the time--it was a very slow luggage train--while I
soothed her. After once or twice she consented to face the train,
watching it with crested neck and ears erect; by degrees she walked
slowly forwards, and in the course of a few days passed under the bridge
in the midst of the thunder of a train with perfect indifference.

If you can distinctly ascertain that a horse shies and turns round from
mere skittishness, correct him when he turns, not as long as he faces
the object: he will soon learn that it is for turning that he is visited
with whip and spurs. A few days' practice and patience essentially alter
the character of the most nervous horses.

Books contain very elaborate descriptions of what a hack or a hunter
should be in form, &c. To most persons these descriptions convey no
practical ideas. The better plan is to take lessons on the proportions
and anatomy of a horse from some intelligent judge or veterinary
surgeon. You must study, and buy, and lose your money on many horses
before you can safely, if ever, depend on your own judgment in choosing
a horse. And, after all, a natural talent for comparison and eye for
proportion are only the gift of a few. Some men have horses all their
lives, and yet scarcely know a good animal from a bad one, although they
may know what they like to drive, or ride or hunt. The safe plan is to
distrust your own judgment until you feel you have had experience enough
to choose for yourself.

Hacks for long distances are seldom required in England in these railway
days. A town hack should be good-looking, sure-footed, not too tall, and
active, for you are always in sight, you have to ride over slippery
pavement, to turn sharp corners, and to mount and dismount often.
Rarey's system of making the horse obey the voice, stand until called,
and follow the rider, may easily be taught, and is of great practical
value thus applied. A cover or country hack must be fast, but need not
be so showy in action or handsome as a town hack--his merit is to get
over the ground.

Teach your hack to walk well with the reins loose--no pace is more
gentlemanly and useful than a good steady walk. Any well-bred screw can
gallop; it is the slow paces that show a gentleman's hack.

If on a long journey, walk a quarter of a mile for every four you trot
or canter, choosing the softest bits of road or turf.

Do not permit the saddle to be removed for at least half an hour after
arriving with your horse hot. A neglect of this precaution will give a
sore back.

A lady's horse, beside other well-known qualifications of beauty and
pace, should be up to the lady's weight. It is one of the fictions of
society that all ladies eat little and weigh little. Now, a saddle and
habit weigh nearly three stone, a very slim lady will weigh nine, so
there you reach twelve stone, which, considering how fond young girls
are of riding fast and long over hard roads, is no mean weight. The best
plan is to put the dear creatures into the scales with their saddles,
register the result, and choose a horse calculated to be a good stone
over the gross weight. How few ladies remember, as for hours they canter
up and down Rotten Row, that that famous promenade is a mile and a
quarter in length, so ten turns make twelve miles and a half.

The qualifications of a hunter need not be described, because all those
who need these hints will, if they have common sense, only take hunters
like servants, with established characters of at least one season.

Remember that a horse for driving requires "courage," for he is always
going fast--he never walks. People who only keep one or two horses
often make the same mistake, as if they engaged Lord Gourmet's cook for
a servant of all work. They see a fiery caprioling animal, sleek as a
mole, gentle, but full of fire, come out of a nobleman's stud, where he
was nursed like a child, and only ridden or driven in his turn, with
half-a-dozen others. Seduced by his lively appearance, they purchase
him, and place him under the care of a gardener-groom, or at livery,
work him every day, early and late, and are surprised to find his flesh
melt, his coat lose its bloom, and his lively pace exchanged for a dull
shamble. This is a common case. The wise course is to select for a horse
of all work an animal that has been always accustomed to work hard; he
will then improve with care and regular exercise.

Horses under six years' old are seldom equal to very hard work: they are
not, full-grown, of much use, where only one or two are kept.

Make a point of caressing your horse, and giving him a carrot or apple
whenever he is brought to you, at the same time carefully examine him
all over, see to his legs, his shoes, and feet; notice if he is well
groomed; see to the condition of his furniture, and see always that he
is properly bitted. Grooms are often careless and ignorant.

As to _Shoeing_. In large towns there are always veterinary surgeons'
forges, where the art is well understood, and so, too, in hunting
districts; but where you have to rely on ignorant blacksmiths you cannot
do better than rely on the rather exaggerated instructions contained in
"Miles on the Horse's Foot," issued at a low price by the Royal
Agricultural Society. Good shoeing prolongs the use of a horse for

_Stables._--Most elaborate directions are given for the construction of
stables; but most people are obliged to put up with what they find on
their premises. Stables should be so ventilated that they never stink,
and are never decidedly warm in cold weather, if you wish your horses to
be healthy. Grooms will almost always stop up ventilation if they can.
Loose boxes are to be preferred to stalls, because in them a tired horse
can place himself in the position most easy to him. Sloping stalls are
chambers of torture.

Hunters should be placed away from other horses, where, after a
fatiguing day, they can lie at length, undisturbed by men or other
horses in use. Stables should be as light as living rooms, but with
louvers to darken them in summer, in order to keep out the flies. An
ample supply of cold and hot water without troubling the cook is
essential in a well-managed stable.

Large stables are magnificent, but a mistake. Four or five horses are
quite as many as can be comfortably lodged together. I have seen hunters
in an old barn in better condition than in the grandest temples of
fashionable architects.

It takes an hour to dress a horse well in the morning, and more on
return hot from work. From this hint you may calculate what time your
servant must devote to his horses if they are to be well dressed.

If you are in the middle class, with a small stud, never take a swell
groom from a great stable--he will despise you and your horses. Hunting
farmers and hunting country surgeons train the best class of grooms.

When you find an honest, sober man, who thoroughly knows his business,
you cannot treat him too well, for half the goodness of a horse depends,
like a French dish, on the treatment.


[114-*] "Hints on Horses and Hunting," by Senex.

[Illustration: SIDE SADDLE.]



     On bits.--The snaffle.--The use of the curb.--The Pelham.--The
     Hanoverian bit described.--Martingales.--The gentleman's saddle
     to be large enough.--Spurs.--Not to be too sharp.--The Somerset
     saddle for the timid and aged.--The Nolan saddle without
     flaps.--Ladies' saddle described.--Advantages of the hunting-horn
     crutch.--Ladies' stirrup.--Ladies' dress.--Hints
     on.--Habit.--Boots.--Whips.--Hunting whips.--Use of the
     lash.--Gentleman's riding costume.--Hunting dress.--Poole, the
     great authority.--Advantage of cap over hat in hunting.--Boot-tops
     and Napoleons.--Quotation from Warburton's ballads.

If you wish to ride comfortably, you must look as carefully to see that
your horse's furniture fits and suits him as to your own boots and

[Illustration: CURB-BIT.]

When a farmer buys a team of oxen, if he knows his business he asks
their names, because oxen answer to their names. On the same principle
it is well to inquire what bit a horse has been accustomed to, and if
you cannot learn, try several until you find out what suits him. There
are rare horses, "that carry their own heads," in dealers' phrase,
safely and elegantly with a plain snaffle bridle; but except in the
hands of a steeple-chase jock, few are to be so trusted. Besides, as
reins, as well as snaffles, break, it is not safe to hunt much with one
bit and one bridle-rein. The average of horses go best on a double
bridle, that is to say, the common hard and sharp or curb, with a
snaffle. The best way is to ride on the snaffle, and use the curb only
when it is required to stop your horse suddenly, to moderate his speed
when he is pulling too hard, or when he is tired or lazy to collect him,
by drawing his nose down and his hind-legs more under him, for that is
the first effect of taking hold of the curb-rein. There are many horses
with good mouths, so far that they can be stopped easily with a plain
snaffle, and yet require a curb-bit, to make them carry their heads in
the right place, and this they often seem to do from the mere hint of
the curb-chain dangling against their chins, without the rider being
obliged to pull at the reins with any perceptible force.

[Illustration: PLAIN SNAFFLE.]

The Pelham-bit (see cut), which is a sort of snaffle-bit with cheeks and
a curb-chain, is a convenient style for this class of horse. A powerful
variation of the Pelham, called the Hanoverian, has within the last few
years come very much into use. It requires the light hands of a
practised horseman to use the curb-reins of the Hanoverian on a
delicate-mouthed horse; but when properly used no bit makes a horse bend
and display himself more handsomely, and in the hunting-field it will
hold a horse when nothing else will, for this bit is a very powerful
snaffle, as well as curb, with rollers or rings, that keep the horse's
mouth moist, and prevent it from becoming dead (see cut). For hunting,
use the first; if the Hanoverian it should not be too narrow.

[Illustration: PELHAM-BIT.]

The Chifney is a curb with, a very powerful leverage, and one of the
best for a pulling horse, or a lady's use.

A perfect horseman will make shift with any bit. Sir Tatton Sykes and
Sir Charles Knightley, in their prime, could hold any horse with a plain
snaffle; but a lady, or a weak-wristed horseman, should be provided with
a bit that can stop the horse on an emergency; and many horses,
perfectly quiet on the road, pull hard in the field at the beginning of
a run. But it should be remembered, that when a horse runs away, it is
useless to rely on the curb, as, when once he has fully resisted it, the
longer he runs the less he cares for it. The better plan is to keep the
snaffle moving and sawing in his mouth, and from time to time take a
sharp pull at the curb.

[Illustration: HANOVERIAN-BIT.]

It is of great importance, especially with a high-spirited horse, that
the headpiece should fit him, that it is neither too tight nor too low
down in his mouth. I have known a violently restive horse to become
perfectly calm and docile when his bridle had been altered so as to fit
him comfortably. The curb-bit should be placed so low as only just to
clear the tushes in a horse's mouth, and one inch above the corner teeth
in a mare's. There should be room for at least one finger between the
curb-chain and the chin. If the horse is tender-skinned, the chain may
be covered with leather.

When you are learning to ride, you should take pains to learn everything
concerning the horse and his equipments. In this country we are so well
waited upon, that we often forget that we may at some time or other be
obliged to become our own grooms and farriers.

For the colonies, the best bridle is that described in the chapter on
training colts, which is a halter, a bridle, and a gag combined.

Bridle reins should be soft, yet tough; so long, and no longer, so that
by extending your arms you can shorten them to any desired length; then,
if your horse pokes out his head, or extends himself in leaping, you
can, if you hold the reins in each hand, as you ought, let them slip
through your fingers, and shorten them in an instant by extending your
arms. A very good sportsman of my acquaintance has tabs sewn on the
curb-reins, which prevents them from slipping. This is a useful plan for
ladies who ride or drive; but, as before observed, in hunting the
snaffle-reins should slip through the fingers.

Some horses require martingales to keep their heads down, and in the
right place. But imperfect horsemen are not to be trusted with running
martingales. Running martingales require tabs on the reins, to prevent
the rings getting fixed close to the mouth.

For hacks and ladies' horses on the road, a standing martingale, buckled
to the nose-band of the bridle, is the best. It should be fixed, as Mr.
Rarey directs, not so short as to bring the horse's head exactly where
you want it--your hands must do that--but just short enough to keep his
nose down, and prevent him from flinging his poll into your teeth. If
his neck is rightly shaped, he will by degrees lower his head, and get
into the habit of so arching his neck that the martingale may be
dispensed with; this is very desirable, because you cannot leap with a
standing martingale, and a running one requires the hands of a
steeplechase jock.

The saddle of a gentleman should be large enough. In racing, a few
pounds are of consequence; but in carrying a heavy man on the road or
in the field, to have the weight evenly distributed over the horse's
back is of more consequence than three or four pounds. The common
general fitting saddle will fit nine horses out of ten. Colonial horses
usually have low shoulders; therefore colonial saddles should be narrow,
thickly stuffed, and provided with cruppers, although they have gone out
of fashion in this country, because it is presumed that gentlemen will
only ride horses that have a place for carrying a saddle properly.

On a journey, see to the stuffing of your saddle, and have it put in a
draft, or to the fire, to dry, when saturated with sweat; the neglect of
either precaution may give your horse a sore back, one of the most
troublesome of horse maladies.

Before hunting, look to the spring bars of the stirrup-leathers, and see
that they will work: if they are tight, pull them down and leave them
open. Of all accidents, that of being caught, after your horses fall, in
the stirrup, is the most dangerous, and not uncommon. I have seen at
least six instances of it. When raw to the hunting-field, and of course
liable to falls, it is well to use the spring-bar stirrups which open,
not at the side, but at the eye holding the stirrup-leather; the same
that I recommend for the use of ladies.

Spurs are only to be used by those who have the habit of riding, and
will not use them at the wrong time. In most instances, the sharp points
of the rowels should be filed or rubbed off, for they are seldom
required for more than to rouse a horse at a fence, or turn him suddenly
away from a vehicle in the street. Sharp spurs may be left to jockeys.
Long-legged men can squeeze their horses so hard, that they can dispense
with spurs; but short-legged men need them at the close of a run, when
a horse begins to lumber carelessly over his fences, or with a horse
inclined to refuse. Dick Christian broke difficult horses to leaping
without the spur; and when he did, only used one on the left heel.
Having myself had falls with horses at the close of a run, which rushed
and pulled at the beginning, for want of spurs, I have found the
advantage of carrying one in my sandwich-bag, and buckling it on, if
needed, at a check. Of course, first-rate horsemen need none of these
hints; but I write for novices only, of whom, I trust, every prosperous
year of Old England will produce a plentiful crop from the fortunate and
the sons of the fortunate.

A great many persons in this country learn, or relearn, to ride after
they have reached manhood, either because they can then for the first
time afford the dignity and luxury, or because the doctor prescribes
horse exercise as the only remedy for weak digestion, disordered liver,
trembling nerves--the result of overwork or over-feeding. Thus the
lawyer, overwhelmed with briefs; the artist, maintaining his position as
a Royal Academician; the philosopher, deep in laborious historical
researches; and the young alderman, exhausted by his first year's
apprenticeship to City feeding, come under the hands of the

Now although for the man "to the manner bred," there is no saddle for
hard work and long work, whether in the hunting-field or Indian
campaign, like a broad seated English hunting saddle, there is no doubt
that its smooth slippery surface offers additional difficulties to the
middle-aged, the timid, and those crippled by gout, rheumatism or
pounds. There can be very little benefit derived from horse exercise as
long as the patient travels in mortal fear. Foreigners teach riding on a
buff leather demi-pique saddle,--a bad plan for the young, as the
English saddle becomes a separate difficulty. But to those who merely
aspire to constitutional canters, and who ride only for health, or as a
matter of dignity, I strongly recommend the Somerset saddle, invented
for one of that family of cavaliers who had lost a leg below the knee.
This saddle is padded before the knee and behind the thigh to fit the
seat of the purchaser, and if provided with a stuffed seat of brown
buckskin will give the quartogenarian pupil the comfort and the
confidence of an arm-chair. They are, it may be encouraging to mention,
fashionable among the more aristocratic middle-aged, and the front roll
of stuffing is much used among those who ride and break their own colts,
as it affords a fulcrum against a puller, and a protection against a
kicker. Australians use a rolled blanket, strapped over the pommel of
the saddle, for the same purpose. To bad horsemen who are too conceited
to use a Somerset, I say, in the words of the old proverb, "Pride must
have a fall."

The late Captain Nolan had a military saddle improved from an Hungarian
model, made for him by Gibson, of Coventry Street, London, without
flaps, and with a felt saddle cloth, which had the advantage of being
light, while affording the rider a close seat and more complete control
over his horse, in consequence of the more direct pressure of the legs
on the horse's flanks. It would be worth while to try a saddle of this
kind for hunting purposes, and for breaking in colts. Of course it could
only be worn with boots, to protect the rider's legs from the sweat of
the horse's flanks.

With the hunting-horn crutch the seat of a woman is stronger than that
of a man, for she presses her right leg down over the upright pommel,
and the left leg up against the hunting-horn, and thus grasps the two
pommels between her legs at that angle which gives her the most power.

Ladies' saddles ought invariably to be made with what is called the
hunting-horn, or crutch, at the left side. The right-hand pommel has not
yet gone out of fashion, but it is of no use, and is injurious to the
security of a lady's seat, by preventing the right hand from being put
down as low as it ought to be with a restive horse, and by encouraging
the bad habit of leaning the right hand on it. A flat projection is
quite sufficient. The security of the hunting-horn saddle will be quite
clear to you, if, when sitting in your chair, you put a cylinder three
or four inches in diameter between your legs, press your two knees
together by crossing them, in the position of a woman on a side-saddle;
when a man clasps his horse, however firmly, it has a tendency, to raise
the seat from the saddle. This is not the case with the side-saddle
seat: if a man wishes to use a lance and ride at a ring, he will find
that he has a firmer seat with this kind of side-saddle than with his
own. There is no danger in this side-pommel, since you cannot be thrown
on it, and it renders it next to impossible that the rider should be
thrown upon the other pommel. In case of a horse leaping suddenly into
the air and coming down on all four feet, technically, "_bucking_,"
without the leaping-horn there is nothing to prevent a lady from being
thrown up. But the leaping-horn holds down the left knee, and makes it a
fulcrum to keep the right knee down in its proper place. If the horse in
violent action throws himself suddenly to the left, the upper part of
the rider's body will tend downwards, to the right, and the lower limbs
to the left: nothing can prevent this but the support of the
leaping-horn. The fear of over-balancing to the right causes many ladies
to get into the bad habit of leaning over their saddles to the left.
This fear disappears when the hunting-horn pommel is used. The
leaping-horn is also of great use with a hard puller, or in riding down
a steep place, for it prevents the lady from sliding forward.

But these advantages render the right-hand pommel quite useless, a
slight projection being all sufficient (see woodcut); while this
arrangement gives the habit and figure a much better appearance. Every
lady ought to be measured for this part of the saddle, as the distance
between the two pommels will depend partly on the length of her legs.

When a timid inexperienced lady has to ride a fiery horse it is not a
bad plan to attach a strap to the outside girth on the right hand, so
that she may hold it and the right hand rein at the same time without
disturbing her seat. This little expedient gives confidence, and is
particularly useful if a fresh horse should begin to kick a little. Of
course it is not to be continued, but only used to give a timid rider
temporary assistance. I have also used for the same purpose a broad tape
passed across the knees, and so fastened that in a fall of the horse it
would give way.

Colonel Greenwood recommends that for fastening a ladies' saddle-flaps
an elastic webbing girth, and not a leather girth, should be used, and
this attached, not, as is usually the case, to the small, but to the
_large flap_ on the near side. This will leave the near side small flap
loose, as in a man's saddle, and allow a spring bar to be used. But I
have never seen, either in use or in a saddler's shop, although I have
constantly sought, a lady's saddle so arranged with a spring bar for the
stirrup-leather. This mode of attaching a web girth to the large flap
will render the near side perfectly smooth, with the exception of the
stirrup-leather, which he recommends to be a single thin strap as broad
as a gentleman's, fastened to the stirrup-leg by a loop or slipknot, and
fixed over the spring bar of the saddle by a buckle like that on a man's
stirrup-leather. This arrangement, which the Colonel also recommends to
gentlemen, presumes that the length of the stirrup-leather never
requires altering more than an inch or two. It is a good plan for short
men when travelling, and likely to ride strange horses, to carry their
stirrup-leathers with them, as nothing is more annoying than to have to
alter them in a hurry with the help of a blunt pen-knife.

"The stirrup for ladies should be in all respects like a man's, large
and heavy, and open at the side, or the eyelet hole, with a spring." The
stirrups made small and padded out of compliment to ladies' small feet
are very dangerous. If any padding be required to protect the front of
the ankle-joint, it had better be a fixture on the boot.

It is a mistake to imagine that people are dragged owing to the stirrup
being too large, and the foot passing through it; such accidents arise
from the stirrup being too small, and the foot clasped by the pressure
of the upper part on the toe and the lower part on the sole.

Few ladies know how to dress for horse exercise, although there has been
a great improvement, so far as taste is concerned, of late years. As to
the head-dress, it may be whatever is in fashion, provided it so fits
the head as not to require continual adjustment, often needed when the
hands would be better employed with the reins and whip. It should shade
from the sun, and if used in hunting protect the nape of the neck from
rain. The recent fashions of wearing the plumes or feathers of the
ostrich, the cock, the capercailzie, the pheasant, the peacock, and the
kingfisher, in the riding-hats of young ladies, in my humble opinion,
are highly to be commended.

As to the riding-habit, it may be of any colour and material suitable to
the wearer and the season of year, but the sleeves must fit rather
closely; nothing can be more out of place, inconvenient, and ridiculous,
than the wide, hanging sleeves which look so well in a drawing-room. For
country use the skirt of a habit may be short, and bordered at the
bottom a foot deep with leather. The fashion of a waistcoat of light
material for summer, revived from the fashion of last century, is a
decided improvement, and so is the over-jacket of cloth, or sealskin,
for rough weather. There is no reason why pretty young girls should not
indulge in picturesque riding costume so long as it is appropriate.

Many ladies entirely spoil the sit of the skirts by retaining the usual
_impedimenta_ of petticoats[147-*]. The best-dressed horsewomen wear
nothing more than a flannel chemise with long coloured sleeves, under
their trousers.

Ladies' trousers should be of the same material and colour as the habit,
and if full flowing like a Turk's, and fastened with an elastic band
round the ankle, they will not be distinguished from the skirt. In this
costume, which may be made amply warm by the folds of the trousers,
plaited like a Highlander's kilt (fastened with an elastic band at the
waist), a lady can sit down in a manner impossible for one encumbered by
two or three short petticoats. It is the chest and back which require
double folds of protection during, and after, strong exercise.

There is a prejudice against ladies wearing long Wellington boots; but
it is quite absurd, for they need never be seen, and are a great
comfort and protection in riding long distances, when worn with the
trousers tucked inside. They should, for obvious reasons, be large
enough for warm woollen stockings, and easy to get on and off. It would
not look well to see a lady struggling out of a pair of wet boots with
the help of a bootjack and a couple of chambermaids. The heels of
riding-boots, whether for ladies or gentlemen, should be low, but
_long_, to keep the stirrup in its place.

The yellow patent leather recently introduced seems a suitable thing for
the "Napoleons" of hunting ladies. And I have often thought that the
long leather gaiters of the Zouave would suit them.

Whips require consideration. By gentlemen on the road or in the park
they are rather for ornament than use. A jockey whip is the most
punishing, but on the Rarey system it is seldom necessary to use the
whip except to a slug, and then spurs are more effective.

A lady's whip is intended to supply the place of a man's right leg and
spur; it should therefore, however ornamental and thin, be stiff and
real. Messrs. Callow, of Park Lane, make some very pretty ones, pink,
green and amber, from the skin of the hippopotamus, light but severe. A
loop to hang it from the wrist may be made ornamental in colours and
gold, and is useful, for a lady may require all the power of her little
hand to grasp the right rein without the encumbrance of the whip, which
on this plan will still be ready if required at a moment's notice.
Hunting-whips must vary according to the country. In some districts the
formidable metal hammers are still required to break intractable horses,
but such whips and jobs should be left to the servants and hard-riding

As a general rule the hunting-whip of a man who has nothing to do with
the hounds may be light, but it should have a good crook and be stiff
enough to stop a gate. A small steel stud outside the crook prevents the
gate from slipping; flat lashes of a brown colour have recently come
into fashion, but they are mere matters of fashion like the colour of
top boots, points to which only snobs pay any attention--that is, those
asses who pin their faith in externals, and who, in the days of
pigtails, were ready to die in defence of those absurd excrescences.

The stock of a whip made by Callow for a hunting nobleman to present to
a steeple-chasing and fox-hunting professional, was of oak, a yard long,
with a buck-horn crook, and a steel stud; but then the presentee is six
feet high.

Every hunting-whip should have a lash, but it need not be long. The lash
may be required to rouse a hound under your horse's feet, or turn the
pack; as for whipping off the pack from the fox in the absence of the
huntsman, the whips and the master, that is an event that happens to one
per cent of the field once in a lifetime, although it is a common and
favourite anecdote after dinner. But then Saint Munchausen presides over
the mahogany where fox-hunting feats are discussed. One use of a lash is
to lead a horse by putting it through the rings of the snaffle, and to
flip him up as you stand on the bank when he gets stuck fast, or dead
beat in a ditch or brook. I once owed the extrication of my horse from a
brook with a deep clay bottom entirely to having a long lash to my whip;
for when he had plumped in close enough to the opposite bank for me to
escape over his head, I was able first to guide him to a shelving spot,
and then make him try one effort more by adroit flicks on his rump at a
moment when he seemed prepared to give in and be drowned. In leading a
horse, always pass the reins through the ring of the snaffle, so that if
he pulls he is held by the mouth, not by the top of his head.

The riding costume of a gentleman should be suitable without being
groomish. It is a fact that does not seem universally known, that a man
does not ride any better for dressing like a groom.

It has lately been the fashion to discard straps. This is all very well
if the horse and the rider can keep the trousers down, which can only be
done by keeping the legs away from the horse's sides; but when the
trousers rise to the top of the boot, and the stocking or bare leg
appears, the sooner straps or knee-breeches are adopted the better.

For hunting, nothing will do but boots and breeches, unless you
condescend to gaiters--for trousers wet, draggled and torn, are
uncomfortable and expensive wear. Leathers are pleasant, except in wet
weather, and economical wear if you have a man who can clean them; but
if they have to go weekly to the breeches-maker they become expensive,
and are not to be had when wanted; besides, wet leather breeches are
troublesome things to travel with. White cord breeches have one great
convenience; they wash well, although not so elastic, warm, and
comfortable as woollen cords. It is essential for comfort that
hunting-breeches should be built by a tailor who knows that particular
branch of business, _and tried on sitting down_ if not on horseback, for
half your comfort depends on their fit. Many schneiders who are
first-rate at ordinary garments, have no idea of riding clothes. Poole,
of Saville Row, makes hunting-dress a special study, and supplies more
hunting-men and masters of hounds than any tailor in London, but his
customers must be prepared to pay for perfection.

In the coats, since the modern shooting jacket fashion came in, there is
great scope for variety. The fashion does not much matter so long as it
is fit for riding--ample enough to cover the chest and stomach in wet
weather, easy enough to allow full play for the arms and shoulders, and
not so long as to catch in hedgerows and brambles. Our forefathers in
some counties rode in coats like scarlet dressing-gowns. There is one
still to be seen in Surrey. For appearance, for wear, and as a universal
passport to civility in a strange country, there is nothing like
scarlet, provided the horseman can afford to wear it without offending
the prejudices of valuable patrons, friends or landlords. In
Lincolnshire, farmers are expected to appear in pink. In
Northamptonshire a yeoman farming his own 400 acres would be thought
presumptuous if he followed the Lincolnshire example. Near London you
may see the "pals" of fighting men and hell-keepers in pink and velvet.
A scarlet coat should never be assumed until the rider's experience in
the field is such that he is in no danger of becoming at once
conspicuous and ridiculous.

A cap is to be preferred to a hat because it fits closer, is less in the
way when riding through cover, protects the head better from a bough or
a fall, and will wear out two or three hats. It should be ventilated by
a good hole at the top.

Top-boots are very pretty wear for men of the right height and right
sort of leg when they fit perfectly--that is difficult on fat
calves--and are cleaned to perfection, which is also difficult unless
you have a more than ordinarily clever groom.

For men of moderate means, the patent black leather Napoleon, which
costs from 3_l._ 10_s._ to 4_l._ 4_s._, and can be cleaned with a wet
sponge in five minutes, is the neatest and most economical boot--one in
which travelling does not put you under any obligation to your host's

I have often found the convenience of patent leather boots when staying
with a party at the house of a master of hounds, while others, as the
hounds were coming out of the kennel, were in an agony for tops
entrusted two or three days previously to a not-to-be-found servant. In
this point of the boots I differ from the author of "A Word ere we
Start;" but then, squires of ten thousand a-year are not supposed to
understand the shifts of those who on a twentieth part of that income
manage to enjoy a good deal of sport with all sorts of hounds and all
sorts of horses.

There is a certain class of sporting snobs who endeavour to enhance
their own consequence or indulge their cynical humour by talking with
the utmost contempt of any variation from the kind of hunting-dress in
use, in their own particular district. The best commentary on the
supercilious tailoring criticism of these gents is to be found in the
fact that within a century every variety of hunting clothes has been in
and out of fashion, and that the dress in fashion with the Quorn hunt in
its most palmy days was not only the exact reverse of the present
fashion in that flying country, but, if comfort and convenience are to
be regarded, as ridiculous as brass helmets, tight stocks, and
buttoned-up red jackets for Indian warfare. It consisted, as may be seen
in old Alken's and Sir John Dean Paul's hunting sketches, of a
high-crowned hat, a high tight stock, a tight dress coat, with narrow
skirts that could protect neither the chest, stomach, or thighs, long
tight white cord breeches, and pale top-boots thrust low down the leg,
the tops being supposed to be cleaned with champagne. Leather breeches,
caps, and brown top-boots were voted slow in those days. But the men
went well as they do in every dress.

    "Old wiseheads, complacently smoothing the brim,
    May jeer at my velvet, and call it a whim;
    They may think in a cap little wisdom there dwells;
    They may say he who wears it should wear it with bells;
        But when Broadbrim lies flat,
        I will answer him pat,
      Oh! who but a crackskull would ride in a hat!"


[Illustration: Rails and Double Ditch.]


[147-*] At an inquest on a young lady killed at Totnes in September
last, it appeared that she lost her seat and hung by a _crinoline
petticoat_ from the right hand _pommel_!



    "The sailor who rides on the ocean,
      Delights when the stormy winds blow:
    Wind and steam, what are they to horse motion?
      Sea cheers to a land Tally-ho?
    The canvas, the screw, and the paddle,
      The stride of the thorough-bred hack,
    When, fastened like glue to the saddle,
      We gallop astern of the pack."


     Advantage of hunting.--Libels on.--Great men who have
     hunted.--Popular notion unlike reality.--Dick Christian and the
     Marquis of Hastings.--Fallacy of "lifting" a horse refuted.--Hints
     on riding at fences.--Harriers discussed.--Stag-hunting a necessity
     and use where time an object.--Hints for novices.--Tally-ho!
     expounded.--To feed a horse after a hard ride.--Expenses of horse
     keep.--Song by Squire Warburton, "A word ere we start."

Every man who can ride, and, living within a couple of hours' distance
of a pack of hounds, can spare a day now and then, should hunt. It will
improve his horsemanship, enlarge his circle of acquaintance, as well as
his tastes and sympathies, and make, as Shakspeare hath it--

    "Good digestion wait on appetite, and health on both."

Not that I mean that every horseman should attempt to follow the hounds
in the first flight, or even the second; because age, nerves, weight, or
other good reasons may forbid: but every man who keeps a good hack may
meet his friends at cover side, enjoy the morning air, with a little
pleasant chat, and follow the hounds, if not in the front, in the rear,
galloping across pastures, trotting through bridle gates, creeping
through gaps, and cantering along the green rides of a wood, thus
causing a healthy excitement, with no painful reaction: and if,
unhappily, soured or overpressed by work and anxious thoughts, drinking
in such draughts of Lethe as can no otherwise be drained.

Hunting has suffered as much from overpraise as from the traditionary
libels of the fribbles and fops of the time of the first Georges, when a
fool, a sot, and a fox-hunter were considered synonymous terms. Of late
years it has pleased a sportsman, with a wonderful talent for
picturesquely describing the events of a fox-hunt, to write two sporting
novels, in which all the leading characters are either fools or rogues.

"In England all conditions of men, except bishops, from ratcatchers to
Royalty, are to be found in the hunting-field--equalised by
horsemanship, and fraternising under the influence of a genial sport.
Among fox-hunters we can trace a long line of statesmen, from William of
Orange to Pitt and Fox. Lord Althorp was a master of hounds; and Lord
Palmerston we have seen, within the last few years, going--as he goes
everywhere--in the first flight." This was before the French fall of the
late Premier. Cromwell's Ironsides were hunting men; Pope, the poet,
writes in raptures of a gallop with the Wiltshire Harriers; and
Gladstone, theologian, politician, and editor of Homer, bestrides his
celebrated white mare in Nottinghamshire, and scurries along by the side
of the ex-War Minister, the Duke of Newcastle.

"The progress of agriculture is indelibly associated with fox-hunting;
for the three great landlords, who did more to turn sand and heath into
corn and wool, and make popular the best breeds of stock and best course
of cultivation--Francis, Duke of Bedford; Coke, Earl of Leicester; and
the first Lord Yarborough--were all masters of hounds.

"When indecency formed the staple of our plays, and a drunken debauch
formed the inevitable sequence of every dinner-party, a fool and a
fox-hunter were synonymous. Squire Western was the representative of a
class, which, however, was not more ridiculous than the patched,
perfumed Sir Plumes, whom Hogarth painted, and Pope satirised.
Fox-hunters are not a class now--roads, newspapers, and manufacturing
emigration have equalised the condition of the whole kingdom; and
fox-hunters are just like any other people, who wear clean shirts, and
can afford to keep one or more horses.

"It is safe to assert that hunting-men, as a class, are temperate. No
man can ride well across a difficult country who is not. We must,
however, admit that the birds who have most fouled their own nest have
been broken-down sportsmen, chiefly racing men, who have turned writers
to turn a penny. These unfortunate people, with the fatal example of
'Noctes Ambrosianæ' before them, fill up a page, whenever their memory
or their industry fails them, in describing in detail a breakfast, a
luncheon, a dinner, and a supper. And this has been repeated so often,
that the uninitiated are led to believe that every fox-hunter must, as a
matter of course, keep a French cook, and consume an immense cellar of
port, sherry, madeira, hock, champagne, with gallons of strong ale, and
all manner of liqueurs.

"The popular notion of a fox-hunt is as unlike the reality as a girl's
notion of war--a grand charge and a splendid victory.

"Pictures always represent exciting scenes--hounds flying away with a
burning scent; horses taking at a bound, or tumbling neck and crop over,
frightful fences. Such lucky days, such bruising horsemen, such burning
scents and flying foxes are the exception.

"At least two-thirds of those who go out, even in the most fashionable
counties, never attempt brooks or five-barred gates, or anything
difficult or dangerous; but, by help of open gates and bridle-roads,
which are plentiful, parallel lanes, and gaps, which are conveniently
made by the first rush of the straight riders and the dealers with
horses to sell, helped by the curves that hounds generally make, and a
fair knowledge of the country, manage to be as near the hounds as the
most thrusting horseman. Among this crowd of skirters and road-riders
are to be found some very good sportsmen, who, from some cause or other,
have lost their nerve; others, who live in the county, like the
excitement and society, but never took a jump in their lives; young
ladies with their papas; boys on ponies; farmers educating
four-year-olds; surgeons and lawyers, who are looking for professional
practice as well as sport. On cold scenting days, with a ringing fox,
this crowd keeps on until nearly dark, and heads many a fox. Many a
beginner, in his first season, has been cheated by a succession of these
easy days over an easy part of the county into the idea that there was
no difficulty in riding to hounds. But a straight fox and a burning
scent over a grass country has undeceived him, and left him in the third
or fourth field with his horse half on a hedge and half in a ditch, or
pounded before a 'bulfinch,' feeling very ridiculous. There are men who
cut a very respectable figure in the hunting-field who never saw a pack
of hounds until they were past thirty. The city of London turns out many
such; so does every great town where money is made by men of pluck,
bred, perhaps, as ploughboys in the country. We could name three--one an
M.P.--under these conditions, who would pass muster in Leicestershire,
if necessary. But a good seat on horseback, pluck, and a love of the
sport, are essential. A few years ago a scientific manufacturer, a very
moderate horseman, was ordered horse exercise as a remedy for mind and
body prostrated by over-anxiety. He found that, riding along the road,
his mind was as busy and wretched as ever. A friend prescribed hunting,
purchased for him a couple of made hunters, and gave him the needful
elementary instruction. The first result was, that he obtained such
sound, refreshing sleep as he had not enjoyed since boyhood; the next,
that in less than two seasons he made himself quite at home with a
provincial pack, and now rides so as to enjoy himself without attracting
any more notice than one who had been a fox-hunter from his youth

The illustration at the commencement of this chapter gives a very fair
idea of the seat of good horsemen going at a fence and broad ditch,
where pace is essential. A novice may advantageously study the seats of
the riders in Herring's "Steeplechase Cracks," painted by an artist who
was a sportsman in his day.

A few invaluable hints on riding to hounds are to be found in the
Druid's account of Dick Christian.

The late Marquis of Hastings, father of the present Marquis, was one of
the best and keenest fox-hunters of his day; he died young, and here is
Dick's account of his "first fence," for which all fox-hunters are under
deep obligations to the Druid.

"The Marquis of Hastings was one of my pupils. I was two months at his
place before he came of age. He sent for me to Donnington, and I broke
all his horses. I had never seen him before. He had seven rare nice
horses, and very handy I got them. The first meet I went out with him
was Wartnaby Stone Pits. I rode by his side, and I says, 'My lord, we'll
save a bit of distance if we take this fence.' So he looked at me and he
laughed, and says, 'Why, Christian, I was never over a fence in my
life.' 'God bless me, my lord! you don't say so?' And I seemed quite
took aback at hearing him say it. 'Its true enough, Christian, I really
mean it.' 'Well, my lord,' says I, 'you're on a beautiful fencer, he'll
walk up to it and jump it. Now I'll go over the fence first. _Put your
hands well down on his withers and let him come._' It was a bit of a
low-staked hedge and a ditch; he got over as nice as possible, and he
gave quite a hurrah like. He says, 'There, I'm over my first
fence--that's a blessing!' Then I got him over a great many little
places, and he quite took to it and went on uncommonly well. _He was a
nice gentleman to teach--he'd just do anything you told him. That's the
way to get on!_"

In another place Dick says, "A quick and safe jumper always goes from
hind-legs to fore-legs. I never rode a steeple-chase yet but I steadied
my horse on to his hind-legs twenty yards from his fence, and I was
always over and away before the rushers. Lots of the young riders think
horses can jump anything if they can only drive them at it fast enough.
They force them too much at their fences. If you don't feel your
horse's mouth, you can tell nothing about him. You hold him, he can
make a second effort; if you drop him, he won't."

Now, Dick does not mean by this that you are to go slowly at every kind
of fence. He tells you that he "sent him with some powder at a
bullfinch;" but whatever the pace, you so hold your horse in the last
fifty yards up to the taking-off point, that instead of spreading
himself out all abroad at every stroke, he feels the bit and gets his
hind-legs well under him. If you stand to see Jim Mason or Tom Oliver in
the hunting-field going at water, even at what they call "forty miles an
hour," you will find the stride of their horses a measured beat, and
while they spur and urge them they collect them. This is the art no book
can teach; _but it can teach that it ought to be learned_. Thousands of
falls have been caused by a common and most absurd phrase, which is
constantly repeated in every description of the leaps of a great race or
run. "_He took his horse by the head and lifted him_," &c.

No man in the world ever lifted a horse over anything--it is a
mechanical impossibility--but a horseman of the first order can at a
critical moment so rouse a horse, and so accurately place his head and
hind-legs in the right position, that he can make an extraordinary
effort and achieve a miraculous leap. This in metaphorical language is
called lifting a horse, because, to a bye-stander, it looks like it. But
when a novice, or even an average horseman, attempts this sort of _tour
de force_, he only worries his horse, and, ten to one, throws him into
the fence. Those who are wise will content themselves with keeping a
horse well in hand until he is about to rise for his effort, and to
collecting him the moment he lands. The right hold brings his hind legs
under him; too hard a pull brings him into the ditch, if there is one.
By holding your hands with the reins in each rather wide apart as you
come towards your fence, and closing them and dropping them near his
withers as he rises, you give him room to extend himself; and if you
stretch your arms as he descends, you have him in hand. But the perfect
hunter, as long as he is fresh, does his work perfectly, so the less you
meddle with him when he is rising the better.

Young sportsmen generally err by being too bold and too fast. Instead of
studying the art in the way the best men out perform, they are hiding
their nervousness by going full speed at everything, or trying to rival
the whips in daring. Any hard-headed fool can ride boldly. To go well
when hounds are running hard--to save your horse as much as possible
while keeping well forward, for the end, the difficult part of a long
run--these are the acts a good sportsman seeks to acquire by observation
and experience.

For this reason young sportsmen should commence their studies with
harriers, where the runs are usually circling and a good deal of hunting
is done slowly. If a young fellow can ride well in a close, enclosed
hedge, bank, and ditch country, with occasional practice at stiles and
gates, pluck will carry him through a flying country, if properly

Any horse that is formed for jumping, with good loins, hocks, and
thighs, can be taught to jump timber; but it is madness to ride at a
gate or a stile with a doubtful horse. A deer always slacks his pace to
a trot to jump a wall or park rails, and it is better to slacken to a
trot or canter where there is no ditch on either side to be cleared,
unless you expect a fall, and then go fast, that your horse may not
tumble on you.

A rushing horse is generally a dangerous fencer; but it is a trick that
can only be cured in private lessons, and it is more dangerous to try to
make a rusher go slowly than to let him have his own way.

The great error of young beginners is to select young horses under their

It was the saying of a Judge of the old school, that all kinds of wine
were good, but the best wine of all was "two bottles of port!" In the
same style, one may venture to say that all kinds of hunting are good,
but that the best of all is fox-hunting, in a grass scent-holding
country, divided into large fields, with fences that may be taken in the
stride of a thorough-bred, and coverts that comprise good gorse and open
woods--that is, for men of the weight, with the nerve, and with the
horses that can shine in such a country. But it is not given to all to
have or retain the nerve or to afford a stud of the style of horses
required for going across the best part of Leicestershire and
Northamptonshire. In this world, the way to be happy is to put up with
what you can get. The majority of my readers will be obliged to ride
with the hounds that happen to live nearest their dwelling; it is only
given to the few to be able to choose their hunting country and change
their stud whenever the maggot bites them. After hard brain-work and
gray hairs have told on the pulse, or when the opening of the
nursery-door has almost shut the stable, a couple of hours or so once a
week may be made pleasant and profitable on a thirty-pound hack for the
quartogenarian, whom time has not handicapped with weight for age. I can
say, from the experience of many years, that as long as you are under
twelve stone, you may enjoy very good sport with such packs as the
Bramham Moor in Yorkshire, the Brocklesby in Lincolnshire, the
Heythrope in Oxfordshire, the Berkley or the Beaufort in
Gloucestershire, without any enormous outlay for horses, for the simple
reason that the average runs do not present the difficulties of grass
countries, where farmers are obliged to make strong fences and deep
ditches to keep the bullocks they fatten within bounds. Good-looking
little horses, clever jumpers, equal to moderate weights, are to be had,
by a man who has not too much money, at moderate prices; but the sixteen
hands, well-bred flyer, that can gallop and go straight in such
countries as the Vale of Aylesbury, is an expensive luxury. Of course I
am speaking of sound horses. There is scarcely ever a remarkable run in
which some well-ridden screw does not figure in the first flight among
the two hundred guinea nags.

When an old sportsman of my acquaintance heard any of the
thousand-and-one tales of extraordinary runs with fox-hounds, "after
dinner," he used to ask--"Were any of the boys or ponies up at the
kill?" If the answer was "Yes," he would say, "Then it was not a severe
thing;" and he was generally right. Men of moderate means had better
choose a hunting county where the boys can live with the hounds.

"As to harriers, the people who sneer at them are ludicrously ignorant
of the history of modern fox-hunting, which is altogether founded on the
experience and maxims of hare-hunters. The two oldest fox-hound packs in
England--the Brocklesby and the Cheshire--were originally formed for
hare-hunting. The best book ever written on hounds and hunting, a
text-book to every master of hounds to this day, is by Beckford, who
learned all he knew as master of a pack of harriers.

"The great Meynell and Warwickshire Corbett both entered their young
hounds to hare, a practice which cannot, however, be approved. The late
Parson Froude, in North Devon, than whom a keener sportsman never
holloaed to hounds, and the breeder of one of the best packs for showing
sport ever seen, hunted hare, fox, deer, and even polecats, sooner than
not keep his darlings doing something; and, while his hounds would
puzzle out the faintest scent, there were among the leaders several
that, with admirable dash, jumped every gate, disdaining to creep. Some
of this stock are still hunting on Exmoor. There are at present several
very good M.F.H. who began with hare-hounds.

"The intense pretentious snobbishness of the age has something to do
with the mysterious manner in which many men, blushing, own that they
have been out with harriers. In the first place, as a rule, harriers are
slow; although there are days when, with a stout, well-fed,
straight-running hare, the best men will have enough to do to keep their
place in the field: over the dinner-table that is always an easy task;
but in this fast, competitive age, the man who can contrive to stick on
a good horse can show in front without having the least idea of the
meaning of hunting. To such, harriers afford no amusement. Then again,
harrier packs are of all degrees, from the perfection of the Blackmoor
Vale, the Brookside, and some Devon or Welsh packs with unpronounceable
names, down to the little scratch packs of six or seven couple kept
among jovial farmers in out-of-the-way places, or for the amusement of
Sheffield cutlers running afoot. The same failing that makes a
considerable class reverently worship an alderman or a city baronet
until they can get on speaking terms with a peer, leads others to boast
of fox-hunting when the Brighton harriers are more than they can
comfortably manage."

The greater number of what are called harriers now-a-days are dwarf
fox-hounds, or partake largely of fox-hound blood.

If Leicestershire is the county for "swells," Devonshire is the county
of sportsmen; for although there is very little riding to hounds as
compared with the midland counties, there is a great deal of hunting.
Every village has its little pack; every man, woman, and child, from the
highest to the humblest, takes an interest in the sport; and the science
of hunting is better understood than in the hard-riding, horse-dealing
counties. To produce a finished fox-hunter, I would have him commence
his studies in Devonshire, and finish his practice in Northamptonshire.
On the whole, I should say that a student of the noble science, whose
early education has been neglected, cannot do better than go through a
course of fox-hunting near Oxford, in the winter vacation, where plenty
of perfect hunters are to be hired, and hounds meet within easy reach of
the University City, six days in the week, hunting over a country where
you may usually be with them at the finish without doing anything
desperate, if content to come in with the ruck, the ponies, and the old
farmers; or where, if so inclined, you may have more than an average
number of fast and furious runs, and study the admirable style of some
of the best horsemen in the world among the Oxfordshire and Berkshire

Stag-hunting from a cart is a pursuit very generally contemned in print,
and very ardently followed by many hundred hard-riding gentlemen every
hunting day in the year. A man who can ride up to stag-hounds on a
straight running day must have a perfect hunter, in first-rate
condition, and be, in the strongest sense of the term, "a horseman." But
it wants the uncertainties which give so great a charm to fox-hunting,
where there are any foxes. There is no find, and no finish; and the
checks generally consist in whipping off the too eager hounds. As a
compensation, when the deer does not run cunning, or along roads, the
pace is tremendous.

The Surrey stag-hounds, in the season of 1857, had some runs with the
Ketton Hind equal in every respect to the best fox-hunts on record; for
she repeatedly beat them, was loose in the woods for days, was drawn for
like a wild deer, and then, with a burning scent, ran clear away from
the hounds, while the hounds ran away from the horsemen. But, according
to the usual order of the day, the deer begins in a cart, and ends in a

But stag-hunting may be defended as the very best mode of obtaining a
constitutional gallop for those whose time is too valuable to be
expended in looking for a fox. It is suited to punctual, commercial,
military, or political duties. You may read your letters, dictate
replies, breakfast deliberately, order your dinner, and invite a party
to discuss it, and set off to hunt with the Queen's, the Baron's, or any
other stag-hound pack within reach of rail, almost certain of two hours'
galloping, and a return by the train you fixed in the morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are a few hints to which pupils in the art of hunting may do well
to attend.

"Don't go into the field until you can sit a horse over any reasonable
fence. But practice at real fences, for at the leaping-bar only the
rudiments of fencing are to be learned by either man or horse. The
hunting-field is not the place for practising the rudiments of the art.
Buy a perfect hunter; no matter how blemished or how ugly, so that he
has legs, eyes, and wind to carry him and his rider across the country.
It is essential that one of the two should perfectly understand the
business in hand. Have nothing to say to a puller, a rusher, or a
kicker, even if you fancy you are competent; a colt should only be
ridden by a man who is paid to risk his bones. An amateur endangers
himself, his neighbours, and the pack, by attempting rough-riding. The
best plan for a man of moderate means--those who can afford to spend
hundreds on experiments can pick and choose in the best stables--is to
hire a hack hunter; and, if he suits, buy him, to teach you how to go.

"Never take a jump when an open gate or gap is handy, unless the hounds
are going fast. Don't attempt to show in front, unless you feel you can
keep there. Beginners, who try to make a display, even if lucky at
first, are sure to make some horrid blunder. Go slowly at your fences,
except water and wide ditches, and don't pull at the curb when your
horse is rising. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the horse will
be better without your assistance than with it. Don't wear spurs until
you are quite sure that you won't spur at the wrong time. Never lose
your temper with your horse, and never strike him with the whip when
going at a fence; it is almost sure to make him swerve. Pick out the
firmest ground; hold your horse together across ploughed land; if you
want a pilot, choose not a scarlet and cap, but some well-mounted old
farmer, who has not got a horse to sell: if he has, ten to one but he
leads you into grief.

"In going from cover to cover, keep in the same field as the hounds,
unless you know the country--then you can't be left behind without a
struggle. To keep in the same field as the hounds when they are running,
is more than any man can undertake to do. Make your commencement in an
easy country, and defer trying the pasture counties until you are sure
of yourself and your horse.

"If you should have a cold-scenting day, and any first-rate steeplechase
rider be in the field, breaking in a young one, watch him; you may learn
more from seeing what he does, than from hours of advice, or pages of

"Above all, hold your tongue until you have learnt your lesson; and talk
neither of your triumphs nor your failures. Any fool can boast; and
though to ride boldly and with judgment is very pleasant, there is
nothing for a gentleman to be specially proud of, considering that two
hundred huntsmen, or whips, do it better than most gentlemen every
hunting day in the season."

When you meet the pack with a strange horse, don't go near it until sure
that he will not kick at hounds, as some ill-educated horses will do.

Before the hounds begin to draw, you may get some useful information as
to a strange country from a talkative farmer.

When hounds are drawing a large cover, and when you cannot see them,
keep down wind, so as to hear the huntsman, who, in large woodlands,
must keep on cheering his hounds. When a fox breaks cover near you, or
you think he does, don't be in a hurry to give the "Tally-a-e-o!" for,
in the first place, if you are not experienced and quick-eyed, it may
not be a fox at all, but a dog, or a hare. The mistake is common to
people who are always in a hurry, and equally annoying to the huntsman
and the blunderer; and, in the next place, if you halloo too soon, ten
to one the fox heads back into cover. When he is well away through the
hedge of a good-sized field, halloo, at the same time raising your cap,
"Tally-o aw-ay-o-o!" giving each syllable very slowly, and with your
mouth well open; for this is the way to be heard a long distance. Do
this once or twice, and then be quiet for a short spell, and be ready to
tell the huntsman, when he comes up, in a few sentences, exactly which
way the fox is gone. If the fox makes a short bolt, and returns, it is
"Tally-o _back_!" with the "_back_" loud and clear. If the fox crosses
the side of a wood when the hounds are at check, the cry should be
"Tally-o over!"

_Foxes._--Study the change in the appearance of the fox between the
beginning and the end of a run; a fresh fox slips away with his brush
straight, whisking it with an air of defiance now and then; a beaten fox
looks dark, hangs his brush, and arches his back as he labours along.

With the hounds well away, it is a great point to get a good start; so
while they are running in cover, cast your eyes over the boundary-fence,
and make up your mind where you will take it: a big jump at starting is
better than thrusting with a crowd in a gap or gateway--always presuming
that you can depend on your horse.

Dismiss the moment you start two ideas which are the bane of sport,
jealousy of what others are doing, and conceit of what you are doing
yourself; keep your eyes on the pack, on your horse's ears, and the next
fence, instead of burning to beat Thompson, or hoping that Brown saw how
cleverly you got over that rasper!

Acquire an eye to hounds, that is, learn to detect the moment when the
leading hound turns right or left, or, losing the scent, checks, or,
catching it breast high, races away mute, "dropping his stem as straight
as a tobacco-pipe."

By thus studying the leading hounds instead of racing against your
neighbours' horses, you see how they turn, save many an angle, and are
ready to pull up the moment the hounds throw up their heads.

Never let your anxiety to be forward induce you to press upon the hounds
when they are hunting; nothing makes a huntsman more angry, or spoils
sport more.

Set the example of getting out of the way when the huntsman, all
anxious, comes trotting back through a narrow road to make his cast
after a check.

Attention to these hints, which are familiar to every old sportsman,
will tend to make a young one successful and popular.

When you are well up, and hounds come to a check, instead of beginning
to relate how wonderfully the bay horse or the gray mare carried you,
notice every point that may help the huntsman to make his cast--sheep,
cattle, magpies, and the exact point where the scent began to fail. It
is observation that makes a true sportsman.

As soon as the run has ended, begin to pay attention to the condition of
your horse, whose spirit may have carried him further than his strength
warranted; it is to be presumed, that you have eased him at every check
by turning his nose to the wind, and if a heavy man, by dismounting on
every safe opportunity.

The first thing is to let him have just enough water to wash his mouth
out without chilling him. The next to feed him--the horse has a small
stomach, and requires food often.

At the first roadside inn or cottage get a quart of oatmeal or
wheat-flour _boiled_ in half a pail of water--mere soaking the raw
oatmeal is not sufficient. I have found the water of boiled linseed used
for cattle answer well with a tired horse. In cases of serious distress
a pint of wine or glass of spirits mixed with water may be administered
advantageously; to decide on the propriety of bleeding requires some
veterinary experience; quite as many horses as men have been killed by
bleeding when stimulants would have answered better.

With respect to the treatment of hunters on their return, I can do
nothing better than quote the directions of that capital sportsman and
horseman, Scrutator, in "Horses and Hounds."

"When a horse returns to the stable, either after hunting or a journey,
the first thing to be done to him is to take off the bridle, but to let
the saddle _remain on_ for some time at least, merely loosening the
girths. The head and ears are first to be rubbed dry, either with a wisp
of hay or a cloth, and then by the hand, until the ears are warm and
comfortable; this will occupy only a few minutes, and the horse can then
have his bit of hay or feed of corn, having previously, if returned from
hunting, or from a long journey, despatched his bucket of thick gruel:
the process of washing his legs may now be going on, whilst he is
discussing his feed of corn in peace; as each leg is washed, it should
be wrapped round with a flannel or serge bandage, and by the time the
four legs are done with, the horse will have finished his feed of corn.
A little hay may then be given, which will occupy his attention while
the rubbing his body is proceeded with. I am a great advocate for plenty
of dry clean wheat straw for this purpose; and a good groom, with a
large wisp in each hand, will in a very short space of time make a
clean sweep of all outward dirt and wet. It cannot, however, be properly
done without a great deal of _elbow grease_ as well, of which the
present generation are inclined to be very chary. When the body of the
horse is dry, a large loose rug should be thrown over him, and the legs
then attended to, and rubbed thoroughly dry by the hand; I know the
usual practice with idle and knowing grooms is to let the bandages
remain on until the legs become dry of themselves, but I also know that
there cannot be a worse practice; for horses' legs, after hunting, the
large knee-bucket should be used, with plenty of warm water, which will
sooth the sinews after such violent exertion, and allay any irritation
proceeding from cuts and thorns. The system of bandaging horses' legs,
and letting them remain in this state for hours, must tend to relax the
sinews; such practices have never gained favour with me, but I have
heard salt and water and vinegar highly extolled by some, with which the
bandages are to be kept constantly wet, as tending to strengthen the
sinews and keep them cool; if, however, used too long or allowed to
become dry, I conceive more injury likely to result from their use than
benefit. It is generally known that those who have recourse to belts for
support in riding, cannot do well without them afterwards, and although
often advised to try these extra aids, I never availed myself of them;
cold water is the best strengthener either to man or horse, and a
thorough good dry rubbing afterwards. After severe walking exercise, the
benefit of immersing the feet in warm water for a short time must be
fully appreciated by all who have tried it; but I very much question if
any man would feel himself stronger upon his legs the next morning, by
having them bandaged with hot flannels during the night. Very much may
be done by the judicious use of hot and cold water--in fact, more than
by half the prescriptions in general use; but the proper time must be
attended to as well, for its application. When a horse has had a long
and severe day's work, he should not be harassed more than is absolutely
necessary, by grooming and dressing; the chief business should be to get
him dry and comfortable as quickly as possible, and when that has been
effected, a slight wisping over with a dry cloth will be sufficient for
that night."

The expenses of horse-keep vary according to the knowledge of the master
and the honesty of his groom; but what the expense ought to be may be
calculated from the fact that horses in first-rate condition cannot
consume more than thirteen quarters of oats and two and a half tons of
hay in a year; that is, as to oats, from three to six quarterns a day,
according to the work they are doing. But in some stables, horses are
supposed to eat a bushel a day every day in the year: there is no doubt
that the surplus is converted into beer or gin.

"Upon our return from hunting, every horse had his bucket of thick gruel
directly he came into the stable, and a little hay to eat whilst he was
being cleaned. We never gave any corn until just before littering down,
the last thing at night. The horse's legs were plunged into a high
bucket of warm water, and if dirty, soft soap was used. The first leg
being washed, was sponged as dry as possible, and then bandaged with
thick woollen bandages until the others were washed; the bandages were
then _removed entirely_, and the legs rubbed by hand until quite dry. We
used the best old white potato oats, weighing usually 45 lbs. per
bushel, but so _few beans_ that a quarter lasted us _a season_. The oats
were bruised, and a little sweet hay chaff mixed with them. We also
gave our horses a few carrots the day after hunting, to cool their
bodies, or a bran mash or two. They were never coddled up in hoods or
half a dozen rugs at night, but a single blanket sufficed, which was
never so tight but that you might thrust your hand easily under it. This
was a thing I always looked to myself, when paying a visit to the stable
the last thing at night. A tried horse should have everything
comfortable about him, but carefully avoid any tight bandage round the
body. In over-reaches or wounds, warm water was our first application,
and plenty of it, to clean all dirt or grit from the wound; then Fryer's
balsam and brandy with a clean linen bandage. Our usual allowance of
corn to each horse per diem was four quarterns, but more if they
required it, and from 14 lbs. to 16 lbs. of hay, eight of which were
given at night, at racking-up time, about eight o'clock. Our hours of
feeding were about five in the morning, a feed of corn, bruised, with a
little hay chaff; the horse then went to exercise. At eight o'clock, 4
lbs. of hay; twelve o'clock, feed of corn; two o'clock, 2 lbs. of hay;
four o'clock, corn; at six o'clock, another feed of corn, with chaff;
and at eight o'clock, 8 lbs. of hay; water they could always drink when
they wanted it."

I cannot conclude these hints on hunting more appropriately than by
quoting another of the songs of the Squire of Arley Hall, Honorary
Laureate of the Tarporley Hunt Club:--


    "The order of march and due regulation
      That guide us in warfare we need in the chase;
    Huntsman and whips, each his own proper station--
      Horse, hound, and fox, each his own proper place.

    "The fox takes precedence of all from the cover;
      The horse is the animal purposely bred,
    _After_ the pack to be ridden, not _over_--
      Good hounds are not reared to be knocked on the head.

    "Buckskin's the only wear fit for the saddle;
      Hats for Hyde Park, but a cap for the chase;
    In tops of black leather let fishermen paddle,
      The calves of a fox-hunter white ones encase.

    "If your horse be well bred and in blooming condition,
      Both up to the country and up to your weight,
    Oh! then give the reins to your youthful ambition,
      Sit down in the saddle and keep his head straight.

    "Eager and emulous only, not spiteful,
      Grudging no friend, though ourselves he may beat;
    Just enough danger to make sport delightful,
      Toil just sufficient to make slumbers sweet!"



     The Fitzwilliam.--Brocklesby.--A day on the Wolds.--Brighton
     harriers.--Prince Albert's harriers.

The following descriptions of my own sport with fox-hounds and harriers
will give the uninitiated some idea of the average adventures of a



    How eagerly forward they rush;
      In a moment how widely they spread;
    Have at him there, Hotspur. Hush, hush!
      'Tis a find, or I'll forfeit my head.
    Now fast flies the fox, and still faster
      The hounds from the cover are freed,
    The horn to the mouth of the master,
      The spur to the flank of his steed.
    With Chorister, Concord, and Chorus,
      Now Chantress commences her song;
    Now Bellman goes jingling before us,
      And Sinbad is sailing along.

The Fitzwilliam pack was established by the grandfather of the present
Earl between seventy and eighty years ago; they hunt four days a week
over a north-east strip of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire--a wide,
wild, thinly-populated district, with some fine woodlands; country that
was almost all grass, until deep draining turned some cold clay pastures
into arable. It holds a rare scent, and the woodland country can be
hunted, when a hot sun does not bake the ground too hard, up to the
first week in May, when, in most other countries, horns are silenced.
The country is wide enough, with foxes enough, to bear hunting six days
a week. "Bless your heart, sir," said an old farmer, "there be foxes as
tall as donkeys, as fat as pigs, in these woods, that go and die of old

The Fitzwilliam are supposed to be the biggest-boned hounds now bred,
and exquisitely handsome. If they have a fault, they are, for want of
work, or excess of numbers, rather too full of flesh; so that at the end
of the year, when the days grow warm, they seem to tire and tail in a
long run.

Many of the pasture fences are big enough to keep out a bullock; the
ditches wide and full of water; bulfinches are to be met with, stiff
rails, gates not always unlocked; so, although a Pytchley flyer is not
indispensable, on a going day, nothing less than a hunter can get along.

Tom Sebright, as a huntsman and breeder of hounds, has been a celebrity
ever since he hunted the Quorn, under Squire Osbaldeston, six-and-thirty
years ago. Sebright looks the huntsman, and the huntsman of an
hereditary pack, to perfection; rather under than over the middle
height; stout without being unwieldy; with a fine, full, intelligent,
and fresh-complexioned oval countenance; keen gray eyes; and the decided
nose of a Cromwellian Ironside. A fringe of white hair below his cap,
and a broad bald forehead, when he lifts his cap to cheer his hounds,
tell the tale of Time on this accomplished veteran of the chase.

"The field," with the Fitzwilliam, is more aristocratic than
fashionable; it includes a few peers and their friends from neighbouring
noble mansions, a good many squires, now and then undergraduates from
Cambridge, a very few strangers by rail, and a great many first-class
yeoman farmers and graziers. Thus it is equally unlike the fashionable
"cut-me-down" multitude to be met at coverside in the "Shires" _par
excellence_, and the scarlet mob who rush, and race, and lark from and
back to Leamington and Cheltenham. For seeing a good deal of sport in a
short time, the Fitzwilliam is certainly the best, within a hundred
miles of London. You have a first-rate pack, first-rate huntsman, a good
scenting country, plenty of foxes, fair fences to ride over, and though
last not least, very courteous reception, if you know how to ride and
when to hold your tongue and your horse.

My fortunate day with the Fitzwilliam was in their open pasture,
Huntingdon country. My head-quarters were at the celebrated "Haycock,"
which is known, or ought to be known, to every wandering fox-hunter,
standing as it does in the middle of the Fitzwilliam Hunt, within reach
of some of the best meets of the Pytchley and the Warwickshire, and not
out of reach of the Cottesmore and Belvoir. It is much more like a
Lincolnshire Wolds farmhouse than an inn. The guests are regular
_habitués_; you find yourself in a sort of fox-hunting clubhouse, in a
large, snug dining-room; not the least like Albert Smith's favourite
aversion, a coffee-room; you have a first-rate English dinner,
undeniable wine, real cream with your tea, in a word, all the comforts
and most of the luxuries of town and country life combined. If needful,
Tom Percival will provide you with a flyer for every day in the week,
and you will be sure to meet with one or two guests, able and willing,
ready to canter with you to cover, explain the chart of the country,
and, if you are in the first year of boots and breeches, show you as
Squire Warburton sings, how "To sit down in your saddle and put his head

The meet, within four miles of the inn, was in a park by the side of a
small firwood plantation. Punctual to a minute, up trotted Sebright on a
compact, well-bred chestnut in blooming condition, the whips equally
well mounted on thoroughbreds, all dressed in ample scarlet coats and
dark cord breeches--a style of dress in much better taste than the
tight, short dandified costume of the fashionable hunt, where the
huntsman can scarcely be distinguished from the "swell."

Of the Earl's family there were present a son and daughter, and three
grandsons, beautiful boys, in Lincoln green loose jackets, brown cord
breeches, black boots, and caps; of these, the youngest, a fair, rosy
child of about eight or nine years old, on a thorough-bred chestnut
pony, was all day the admiration of the field; he dashed along full of
genuine enthusiasm, stopping at nothing practicable.

Amongst others present was a tall, lithe, white-haired,
white-moustached, dignified old gentleman, in scarlet and velvet cap,
riding forward on a magnificent gray horse, who realised completely the
poetical idea of a nobleman. This was the Marquess of H----, known well
forty years ago in fashionable circles, when George IV. was Prince, now
popular and much esteemed as a country gentleman and improving landlord.
There was also Mr. H----, an M.P., celebrated, before he settled into
place and "ceased his hum," as a hunter of bishops--a handsome, dark
man, in leathers and patent Napoleons; with his wife on a fine bay
horse, who rode boldly throughout the day.

In strange countries I usually pick out a leader in some well-knowing
farmer; but this day I made a grand mistake, by selecting for my guide a
slim, quiet-looking, young fellow, in a black hat and coat, white cords,
and boots, on a young chestnut--never dreaming that my quiet man was
Alec ----, a farmer truly, but also a provincial celebrity as a

The day was mild, cloudy, with a gentle wind. We drew several covers
blank, and found a fox, about one o'clock, in a small spinney, from
which he bolted at the first summons. A beautiful picture it was to see
gallant old Sebright get his hounds away, the ladies racing down a
convenient green lane, and the little Fitzwilliam, in Lincoln green,
charging a double flight of hurdles. In half-an-hour's strong running I
had good reason to rejoice that Percival had, with due respect for the
fourth estate, put me on an unmistakable hunter. Our line took us over
big undulating fields (almost hills), with, on the flats or valleys, a
large share of willow-bordered ditches (they would call them brooks in
some counties), with thick undeniable hedges between the pollards. At
the beginning of the run, my black-coated friend led me--much as a dog
in a string leads a blind man--at a great pace, into a farm-yard, thus
artfully cutting off a great angle, over a most respectable stone wall
into a home paddock, over a stile into a deep lane, and then up a bank
as steep as a gothic roof, and almost as long; into a fifty-acre
pasture, where, racing at best pace, we got close to the hounds just
before they checked, between a broad unjumpable drain and a willow
bed--two fine resources for a cunning fox. There I thought it well,
having so far escaped grief, to look out for a leader who was less of a
bruiser, while I took breath. In the meantime Sebright, well up, hit our
friend off with a short cast forward, and after five minutes' slow
hunting, we began to race again over a flat country of grass, with a few
big ploughed fields, fences easier, ladies and ponies well up again.
After brushing through two small coverts without hanging, we came out on
a series of very large level grass fields, where I could see the gray
horse of the marquis, and the black hat of my first leader sailing in
front; a couple of stiff hedges and ditches were got over comfortably;
the third was a regular bulfinch, six or seven feet high, with a gate so
far away to the right that to make for it was to lose too much time, as
the hounds were running breast high. Ten yards ahead of me was Mr. Frank
G----, on a Stormer colt, evidently with no notion of turning; so I
hardened my heart, felt my bay nag full of going, and kept my eye on Mr.
Frank, who made for the only practicable place beside an oak-tree with
low branches, and, stooping his head, popped through a place where the
hedge showed daylight, with his hand over his eyes, in the neatest
possible style. Without hesitating a moment I followed, rather too fast
and too much afraid of the tree, and pulled too much into the hedge. In
an instant I found myself torn out of the saddle, balanced on a
blackthorn bough (fortunately I wore leathers), and deposited on the
right side of the hedge on my back; whence I rose just in time to see
Bay Middleton disappear over the next fence. So there I was alone in a
big grass field, with strong notions that I should have to walk an
unknown number of miles home. Judge of my delight as I paced slowly
along--running was of no use--at seeing Frank G---- returning with my
truant in hand. Such an action in the middle of a run deserves a Humane
Society's medal. To struggle breathless into my seat; to go off at
score, to find a lucky string of open gates, to come upon the hounds at
a check, was my good fortune. But our fox was doomed--in another quarter
of an hour at a hand gallop we hunted him into a shrubbery, across a
home field into an ornamental clump of laurels, back again to the
plantation, where a couple and a half of leading hounds pulled him down,
and he was brought out by the first whip dead and almost stiff, without
a mark--regularly run down by an hour and twenty minutes with two very
short checks. Had the latter part of the run been as fast as the first,
there would have been very few of us there to see the finish.


I started to meet Lord Yarborough's hounds, from the house of a friend,
on a capital Wold pony for cover hack. It used to be said, before
non-riding masters of hounds had broadcasted bridle-gates over the Quorn
country, that a Leicestershire hack was a pretty good hunter for other
counties. We may say the same of a Lincolnshire Wolds pony--his master,
farming not less than three hundred and more likely fifteen hundred
acres, has no time to lose in crawling about on a punchy half-bred
cart-horse, like a smock-frocked tenant--the farm must be visited before
hunting, and the market-towns lie too far off for five miles an hour
jog-trot to suit. It is the Wold fashion to ride farming at a pretty
good pace, and take the fences in a fly where the gate stands at the
wrong corner of the field. Broad strips of turf fringe the road,
offering every excuse for a gallop, and our guide continually turned
through a gate or over a hurdle, and through half a dozen fields, to
save two sides of an angle. These fields contrast strangely with the
ancient counties--large, and square, and clean, with little ground lost
in hedgerows. The great cop banks of Essex, Devon, and Cheshire are
almost unknown--villages you scarcely see, farmhouses rarely from the
roadside, for they mostly stand well back in the midst of their acres.
Gradually creeping up the Wold--passing through, here vast
turnip-fields, fed over by armies of long-woolled Lincoln sheep; there,
stubble yielding before from a dozen to a score of pair-horse ploughs,
silent witnesses of the scale of Lincolnshire farming--at length we see
descending and winding along a bridle-road before us, the pied pack and
the gleam of the huntsman's scarlet. Around, from every point of the
compass the "field" come ambling, trotting, cantering, galloping, on
hacks, on hunters, through gates or over fences, practising their
Yorkshire four-year-olds. There are squires of every degree,
Lincolnshire M.P.'s, parsons in black, in number beyond average;
tenant-farmers, in quantity and quality such as no other county we have
ever seen can boast, velvet-capped and scarlet-coated, many with the
Brocklesby hunt button, mounted on first-class hunters, whom it was a
pleasure to see them handle; and these were not young bloods, outrunning
the constable, astonishing their landlords and alarming their fathers;
but amongst the ruck were respectable grandfathers who had begun hunting
on ponies when Stubbs was painting great-grandfather Smith, and who had
as a matter of course brought up their sons to follow the line in which
they had been cheered on by Arthur Young's Lord Yarborough. There they
were, of all ages, from the white-haired veteran who could tell you when
every field had been inclosed, to the little petticoated orphan boy on a
pony, "whose father's farm had been put in trust for him by the good

Of the ordinary mob that crowd fox-hound meets from great cities and
fashionable watering-places, there were none. The swell who comes out to
show his clothes and his horse; the nondescript, who may be a fast
Life-Guardsman or a fishmonger; the lot of horse-dealers; and, above
all, those _blasé_ gentlemen who, bored with everything, openly express
their preference for a carted deer or red-herring drag, if a straight
running fox is not found in a quarter of an hour after the hounds are
thrown into cover. The men who ride on the Lincolnshire Wolds are all
sportsmen, who know the whole country as well as their own gardens, and
are not unfrequently personally acquainted with the peculiar appearance
and habits of each fox on foot. Altogether they are as formidable
critics as any professional huntsman would care to encounter.

There is another pleasant thing. In consequence, perhaps, of the rarity,
strangers are not snubbed as in some counties; and you have no
difficulty in getting information to any extent on subjects agricultural
and fox-hunting (even without that excellent passport which I enjoyed of
a hunter from the stables of the noble Master of the Hounds), and may be
pretty sure of more than one hospitable and really-meant invitation in
the course of the return ride when the sport is ended.

But time is up, and away we trot--leaving the woods of Limber for the
present--to one of the regular Wolds, artificial coverts, a square of
gorse of several acres, surrounded by a turf bank and ditch, and outside
again by fields of the ancient turf of the moorlands. In go the hounds
at a word, without a straggler; and while they make the gorse alive with
their lashing sterns, there is no fear of our being left behind for want
of seeing which way they go, for there is neither plantation nor hedge,
nor hill of any account to screen us. And there is no fear either of the
fox being stupidly headed, for the field all know their business, and
are fully agreed, as old friends should be, on the probable line.

A very faint Tally-away, and cap held up, by a fresh complexioned,
iron-gray, bullet-headed old gentleman, of sixteen stone, mounted on a
four-year-old, brought the pack out in a minute from the far end of the
covert, and we were soon going, holding hard, over a newly-ploughed
field, looking out sharp for the next open gate; but it is at the wrong
corner, and by the time we have reached the middle of fifty acres, a
young farmer in scarlet, sitting upright as a dart, showed the way over
a new rail in the middle of a six-foot quickset. Our nag,
"Leicestershire," needs no spurring, but takes it pleasantly, with a
hop, skip, and jump; and by the time we had settled into the pace on the
other side, the senior on the four-year-old was alongside, crying, "Push
along, sir; push along, or they'll run clean away from you. The fences
are all fair on the line we're going." And so they were--hedges thick,
but jumpable enough, yet needing a hunter nevertheless, especially as
the big fields warmed up the pace amazingly; and, as the majority of the
farmers out were riding young ones destined for finished hunters in the
pasture counties, there was above an average of resolution in the style
of going at the fences. The ground almost all plough, naturally drained
by chalk sub-subsoil, fortunately rode light; but presently we passed
the edge of the Wolds, held on through some thin plantations over the
demesne grass of a squire's house, then on a bit of unreclaimed heath,
where a flock of sheep brought us to a few minutes' check. With the help
of a veteran of the hunt, who had been riding well up, a cast forward
set us agoing again, and brought us, still running hard, away from the
Wolds to low ground of new inclosures, all grass, fenced in by ditch and
new double undeniable rails. As we had a good view of the style of
country from a distance, we thought it wisest, as a stranger, on a
strange horse, with personally a special distaste to double fences, to
pull gently, and let half-a-dozen young fellows on half-made,
heavy-weight four or five years old, go first. The results of this
prudent and unplucky step were most satisfactory; while two or three,
with a skill we admired, without venturing to imitate, went the "in and
out" clever, the rest, some down and some blundering well over, smashed
at least one rail out of every two, and let the "stranger" through
comfortably at a fair flying jump. After three or four of these
tremendous fields, each about the size of Mr. Mechi's farm, a shepherd
riding after his flock on a pony opened a gate just as the hounds, after
throwing up their heads for a minute, turned to the right, and began to
run back to the Wolds at a slower rate than we started, for the fox was
no doubt blown by the pace; and so up what are called hills there (they
would scarcely be felt in Devonshire or Surrey), we followed at a hand
gallop right up to the plantations of Brocklesby Park, and for a good
hour the hounds worked him round and round the woods, while we kept as
near them as we could, racing along green rides as magnificent in their
broad spread verdures and overhanging evergreen walls of holly and
laurel as any Watteau ever painted. The Lincolnshire gentry and
yeomanry, scarlet coated and velvet capped, on their great blood horses
sweeping down one of the grand evergreen avenues of Brocklesby Park, say
toward the Pelham Pillar, is a capital untried subject, in colour,
contrast, and living interest, for an artist who can paint men as well
as horses.

At length when every dodge had been tried, Master Reynard made a bolt in
despair. We raced him down a line of fields of very pretty fencing to a
small lake, where wild ducks squatted up, and there ran into him, after
a fair although not a very fast day's sport: a more honest hunting, yet
courageous dashing pack we never rode to. The scarcity of villages, the
general sparseness of the population, the few roads, and those almost
all turf-bordered, and on a level with the fields, the great size of the
enclosures, the prevalence of light arable land, the nuisance of flocks
of sheep, and yet a good scenting country, are the special features of
the Wolds. When you leave them and descend, there is a country of water,
drains, and deep ditches, that require a real water-jumper. Two points
specially strike a stranger--the complete hereditary air of the pack,
and the attendants, so different from the piebald, new-varnished
appearance of fashionable subscription packs. Smith, the huntsman, is
fourth in descent of a line of Brocklesby huntsmen; Robinson, the head
groom, had just completed his half century of service at Brocklesby; and
Barnetby, who rode Lord Yarborough's second horse, was many years in the
same capacity with the first Earl. But, after all, the Brocklesby
tenants--the Nainbys, the Brookes, the Skipwiths, and other Woldsmen,
names "whom to mention would take up too much room," as the "Eton
Grammar" says--tenants who, from generation to generation, have lived,
and flourished, and hunted under the Pelham family--a spirited,
intelligent, hospitable race of men--these alone are worth travelling
from Land's End to see, to hear, to dine with; to learn from their
sayings and doings what a wise, liberal, resident landlord--a lover of
field sports, a promoter of improved agriculture--can do in the course
of generations toward "breeding" a first-class tenantry, and feeding
thousands of townsfolk from acres that a hundred years ago only fed
rabbits. We should recommend those M.P.'s who think fox-hunting folly,
to leave their books and debates for a day's hunting on the Wolds. We
think it will be hard to obtain such happy results from the mere
pen-and-ink regulations of chamber legislators and haters of field
sports. Three generations of the Pelhams turned thousands of acres of
waste in heaths and Wolds into rich farm-land; the fourth did his part
by giving the same district railways and seaport communication. When we
find learned mole-eyed pedants sneering at fox-hunters, we may call the
Brocklesby kennels and the Pelham Pillar as witnesses on the side of the
common sense of English field sports. It was hunting that settled the
Pelhams in a remote country and led them to colonise a waste.

There is one excellent custom at the hunting-dinners at Brocklesby Park
which we may mention, without being guilty of intrusion on private
hospitality. At a certain hour the stud-groom enters and says, "My Lord,
the horses are bedded up;" then the whole party rise, make a procession
through the stables, and return to coffee in the drawing-room. This
custom was introduced by the first Lord Yarborough some half-century
ago, in order to break through the habit of late sitting over wine that
then was too prevalent.


Long before hunting sounds are to be heard, except the early morning
cub-hunters routing woodlands, and the autumn stag-hunters of Exmoor,
harrier packs are hard at work racing down and up the steep hillside and
along the chalky valleys of Brighton Downs, preparing old sportsmen for
the more earnest work of November--training young ones into the meaning
of pace, the habit of riding fast down, and the art of climbing quickly,
yet not too quickly, up hill--giving constitutional gallops to wheezy
aldermen, or enterprizing adults fresh from the riding-school--affording
fun for fast young ladies and pleasant sights for a crowd of foot-folks
and fly-loads, halting on the brows of the steep combs, content with the
living panorama.

The Downs and the sea are the redeeming features of Brighton, considered
as a place of change and recreation for the over-worked of London.
Without these advantages one might quite as well migrate from the City
to Regent Street, varying the exercise by a stroll along the Serpentine.
To a man who needs rest there is something at first sight truly
frightful in the townish gregariousness of Brighton proper, with its
pretentious common-place architecture, and its ceaseless bustle and
rolling of wheels. But then comes into view first the sea, stretching
away into infinite silence and solitude, dotted over on sunny days with
pleasure-boats; and next, perpetually dashing along the league of
sea-borded highway, group after group of gay riding-parties of all ages
and both sexes--Spanish hats, feathers, and riding-habits--_amazones_,
according to the French classic title, in the majority. First comes Papa
Briggs, with all his progeny, down to the little bare-legged imitation
Highlander on a shaggy Shetland pony; then a riding-master in
mustachios, boots, and breeches, with a dozen pupils in divers stages of
timidity and full-blown temerity; and then again loving pairs in the
process of courtship or the ecstasies of the honeymoon, pacing or racing
along, indifferent to the interest and admiration that such pairs always
excite. Besides the groups there are single figures, military and civil,
on prancing thorough-bred hacks and solid weight-carrying cobs,
contrasted with a great army of hard-worked animals, at half-a-crown an
hour which compose the bulk of the Brighton cavalry, for horse-hiring
at Brighton is the rule, private possession the exception; nowhere else,
except, perhaps, at Oxford, is the custom so universal, and nowhere do
such odd, strange people venture to exhibit themselves "a-horseback." As
Dublin is said to be the car-drivingest, so is Brighton the
horse-ridingest city in creation; and it is this most healthy, mental
and physical exercise, with the summer-sea yacht excursions, which
constitute the difference and establishes the superiority of this marine
offshoot of London over any foreign bathing-place. Under French auspices
we should have had something infinitely more magnificent, gay, gilded,
and luxurious in architecture, in shops, in restaurants, cafés,
theatres, and ball-rooms; but pleasure-boat sails would have been
utterly unknown, and the horse-exercise confined to a few daring
cavaliers and theatrical ladies.

It is doubtless the open Downs that originally gave the visitors of
Brighton (when it was Brighthelmstone, the little village patronised by
the Prince, by "the Burney," and Mrs. Thrale) the habit of
constitutional canters to a degree unknown in other pleasure towns; and
the traditional custom has been preserved in the face of miles of brick
and stucco. With horses in legions, and Downs at hand, a pack of hounds
follows naturally; hares of a rare stout breed are plentiful; and the
tradesmen have been acute enough to discover that a plentiful and varied
supply of hunting facilities is one of the most safe, certain, and
profitable attractions they can provide. Cheltenham and Bath has each
its stag-hounds; Brighton does better, less expensively, and pleases
more people, with two packs of harriers, hunting four days (and, by
recent arrangements, a pack of fox-hounds filling up the other two days)
of the week; so that now it may be considered about the best place in
the country for making sure of a daily constitutional gallop from
October to March at short notice, and with no particular attention to
costume and a very moderate stud, or no stud at all.

With these and a few other floating notions of air, exercise, and change
of scene in my head--having decided that, however tempting to the
caricaturist, the amusement of hundreds was not to be despised--I took
my place at eight o'clock, at London-bridge station, in a railway
carriage--the best of hacks for a long distance--on a bright October
morning, with no other change from ordinary road-riding costume than one
of Callow's long-lashed, instead of a straight-cutting, whips, so saving
all the impediments of baggage. By ten o'clock I was wondering what the
"sad sea waves" were saying to the strange costumes in which it pleases
the fair denizens of Brighton to deck themselves. My horse, a little,
wiry, well-bred chestnut, had been secured beforehand at a dealer's,
well known in the Surrey country.

The meet was the race-course, a good three miles from the Parade. The
Brighton meets are stereotyped. The Race-course, Telscombe Tye, the
Devil's Dyke, and Thunders Barrow are repeated weekly. But of the way
along the green-topped chalk cliffs, beside the far-spreading sea, or up
and down the moorland hills and valleys, who can ever weary? Who can
weary of hill and dale and the eternal sea?

To those accustomed to an inclosed country there is something extremely
curious in mile after mile of open undulating downs lost in the distant
horizon. My day was bright. About eleven o'clock the horsemen and
_amazones_ arrived in rapidly-succeeding parties, and gathered on the
high ground. Pleasure visitors, out for the first time--distinguished
by their correct costume and unmistakably hired animals--caps and white
breeches, spotless tops and shining Napoleons--were mounted on hacks
battered about the legs, and rather rough in the coat, though hard and
full of go; but trousers were the prevailing order of the day. Medical
men were evident, in correct white ties, on neat ponies and superior
cobs; military in mufti, on pulling steeplechasers; some farmers in
leggings on good young nags for sale, and good old ones for use. London
lawyers in heather mixture shooting-suits and Park hacks; lots of little
boys and girls on ponies--white or cream-coloured being the favourites;
at least one master of far distant fox-hounds pack, on a blood-colt,
master and horse alike new to the country and to the sport.
Riding-masters, with their lady pupils tittupping about on the live
rocking-horses that form the essential stock of every riding-master's
establishment, with one or two papas of the pupils--"worthy" aldermen,
or authorities of the Stock Exchange, expensively mounted, gravely
looking on, with an expression of doubt as to whether they ought to have
been there or not; and then a crowd of the nondescripts, bankers and
brewers trying to look like squires, neat and grim, among the well and
ill dressed, well and ill mounted, who form the staple of every
watering-place,--with this satisfactory feature pervading the whole
gathering, that with the exception of a few whose first appearance it
was in saddle on any turf, and the before-mentioned grim brewers, all
seemed decidedly jolly and determined to enjoy themselves.

The hounds drew up; to criticise them elaborately would be as unfair,
under the circumstances, as to criticise a pot-luck dinner of beans and
bacon put before a hungry man. They are not particularly
handsome--white patches being the prevailing colour; and they certainly
do not keep very close; but they are fast enough, persevering, and,
killing a fair share of hares, show very good sport to both lookers-on
and hard riders. The huntsman Willard, who has no "whip" to help him,
and often more assistance than he requires, is a heavy man, but
contrives, in spite of his weight, to get his hounds in the fastest

The country, it may be as well to say for the benefit of the thousands
who have never been on these famous mutton-producing "South Downs," is
composed of a series of table-lands divided by basin-like valleys, for
the most part covered with short turf, with large patches of gorse and
heather, in which the hares, when beaten, take refuge. Of late years,
high prices and Brighton demand, with the new system of artificial
agriculture, have pushed root crops and corn crops into sheltered
valleys and far over the hills, much to the disgust of the ancient race
of shepherds.

It is scarcely necessary to observe, that on Brighton Downs there are no
blank days, but the drawing is a real operation performed seriously
until such a time as the company having all assembled, say at half-past
seven o'clock, when, if the unaided faculties of the pack have not
brought them up to a form, a shepherd appears as the _Deus ex machinâ_.
In spite of all manner of precautions, the hounds will generally rush up
to the point without hunting; loud rises the joyful cry; and, if it is
level ground, the whole meet--hacks, hobbie-horses, and hunters--look as
if their riders meant to go off in a whirlwind of trampling feet. There
is usually a circle or two with the stoutest hare before making a long
stretch; but, on lucky days like that of our first and last visit, the
pace mends the hounds settle, the riding-masters check their more
dashing pupils, the crowd gets dispersed, and rides round, or halts on
the edges, or crawls slowly down the steep-sided valleys; while the hard
riders catch their nags by the head, in with the spurs, and go down
straight and furious, as if they were away for ever and a day; but the
pedestrians and constitutional cob-owners are comforted by assurances
that the hare is sure to run a ring back. But, on our day, Pussy, having
lain _perdu_ during a few minutes' check, started up suddenly amid a
full cry, and rather too much hallooing. A gentleman in large mustachios
and a velvet cap rode at her as if he meant to catch her himself. Away
we all dashed, losing sight of the dignity of fox-hunters--all mad as
hatters (though why hatters should be madder than cappers it would be
difficult to say). The pace becomes tremendous; the pack tails by twos
and threes; the valleys grow steeper; the field lingers and halts more
and more at each steeper comb; the lads who have hurried straight up the
hillsides, instead of creeping up by degrees blow their horses and come
to a full stop; while old hands at Devonshire combs and Surrey steeps
take their nags by the head, rush down like thunder, and slily zigzag up
the opposite face at a trot; and so, for ten minutes, so straight, that
a stranger, one of three in front, cried, "By Jove, it must be a fox!"
But at that moment the leading hounds turned sharp to the right and then
to the left--a shrill squeak, a cry of hounds, and all was over. The sun
shone out bright and clear; looking up from the valley on the hills,
nine-tenths of the field were to be seen a mile in the distance,
galloping, trotting, walking, or standing still, scattered like a pulk
of pursuing Cossacks. The sight reminded me that, putting aside the
delicious excitement of a mad rush down hill at full-speed, the
lookers-on, the young ladies on ponies, and old gentlemen on cobs, see
the most of the sport in such a country as the Brighton Downs; while in
a flat inclosed, or wooded country, those who do not ride are left alone
quite deserted, five minutes after the hounds get well away.

We killed two more hares before retiring for the day, but as they ran
rings in the approved style, continually coming back to the slow,
prudent, and constitutional riders, there was nothing to distinguish
them from all other hare-hunts. After killing the last hare there was
ample time to get back to Brighton, take a warm bath, dress, and stroll
on the Esplanade for an hour in the midst of as gay and brilliant crowd,
vehicular, equestrian, and pedestrian, as can be found in Europe, before
sitting down to a quiet dinner, in which the delicious Southdown haunch
was not forgotten. So ended a day of glorious weather and pleasant
sport, jolly--if not in the highest degree genteel.

Tempted to stay another day, I went the next morning six miles through
Rottingdean to Telscombe Tye, to meet the Brookside; and, after seeing
them, have no hesitation in saying that every one who cares to look at a
first-rate pack of harriers would find it worth his while to travel a
hundred miles to meet the Brookside, for the whole turnout is
perfection. Royalty cannot excel it.

A delicious ride over turf all the way, after passing Rottingdean, under
a blue sky and a June-like sun, in sight of the sea, calm as a lake,
brought us to the top of a hill of rich close turf, enveloped in a cloud
of mist, which rendered horses and horsemen alike invisible at the
distance of a few yards; and when we came upon three tall shepherds,
leaning on their iron-_hooked_ crooks, in the midst of a gorse covert,
it was almost impossible to believe that we were not in some remote
Highland district instead of within half an hour of a town of 70,000

The costumes of the field, more exact than the previous day, showed that
the master was considered worthy of the compliment; and when, the mist
clearing, the beautiful black-and-tan pack, all of a size, and as like
as peas, came clustering up with Mr. Saxby, a white-haired, healthy,
fresh-coloured, neat-figured, upright squire, riding in the midst on a
rare black horse, it was a picture that, taking in the wild heathland
scenery, the deep valleys below, bright in sun, the dark hills beyond
it, was indeed a bright page in the poetry of field sports.

The Brookside are as good and honest as they are handsome; hunting, all
together, almost entirely without assistance. If they have a fault they
are a little too fast for hare-hounds. After killing the second hare, we
were able to leave Brighton by the 3.30 P.M. train. Thus, under modern
advantages, a man troubled with indigestion has only to order a horse by
post the previous day, leave town at eight in the morning, have a day's
gallop, with excitement more valuable than gallons of physic, and be
back in town by half-past five o'clock. Can eight hours be passed more
pleasantly or profitably?


The South-Western Rail made a very good hack up to the Castle station.

That Prince Albert should never have taken to the Royal stag-hounds is
not at all surprising. It requires to be "to the manner born" to endure
the vast jostling, shouting, thrusting mob of gentlemen and horse
dealers, "legs" and horse-breakers, that whirl away after the uncarted
deer. Without the revival of the old Court etiquette, which forbade any
one to ride before royalty, his Royal Highness might have been ridden
down by some ambitious butcher or experimental cockney horseman on a
runaway. If the etiquette of the time of George III had been revived,
then only Leech could have done justice to the appearance of the field,
following impatiently at a respectful distance--not the stag, as they do
now very often, or the hounds, as they ought to do--but the Prince's
horse's tail.

Prince Albert's harriers are in the strictest sense of the term a
private pack, kept by his Royal Highness for his own amusement, under
the management of Colonel Hood. The meets are not advertised. The fields
consist, in addition to the Royal and official party from the Castle, of
a few neighbouring gentlemen and farmers, the hunting establishment of a
huntsman and one whip, both splendidly mounted, and a boy on foot. The
costume of the hunt is a very dark green cloth double-breasted coat,
with the Prince's gilt button, brown cords, and velvet cap.

The hounds were about fifteen couple, of medium size, with considerable
variety of true colours, inclining to the fox-hound stamp, yet very
honest hunters. In each run the lead was taken by a hound of peculiar
and uncommon marking--black and tan, but the tan so far spreading that
the black was reduced to merely a saddle.

The day was rather too bright, perhaps, for the scent to lie well; but
there was the better opportunity for seeing the hounds work, which they
did most admirably, without any assistance. It is one of the advantages
of a pack like this that no one presumes to interfere and do the
business of either the huntsman or hounds. The first hare was found on
land apparently recently inclosed near Eton; but, after two hours'
perseverance, it was impossible to make anything of the scent over
ploughed land.

We then crossed the railway into some fields, partly in grass, divided
by broad ditches full of water, with plenty of willow stumps on the
banks, and partly arable on higher, sloping ground, divided by fair
growing fences into large square inclosures. Here we soon found a stout
hare that gave us an opportunity of seeing and admiring the qualities of
the pack. After the first short burst there was a quarter of an hour of
slow hunting, when the hounds, left entirely to themselves, did their
work beautifully. At length, as the sun went behind clouds, the scent
improved; the hounds got on good terms with puss, and rattled away at a
pace, and over a line of big fields and undeniable fences, that soon
found out the slows and the nags that dared not face shining water.
Short checks of a few minutes gave puss a short respite; then followed a
full cry, and soon a view. Over a score of big fields the pack raced
within a dozen yards of pussy's scent, without gaining a yard, the
black-tanned leading hound almost coursing his game; but this was too
fast to last, and, just as we were squaring our shoulders and settling
down to take a very uncompromising hedge with evident signs of a broad
ditch of running water on the other side, the hounds threw up their
heads; poor puss had shuffled through the fence into the brook, and sunk
like a stone.

There is something painful about the helpless finish with a hare. A fox
dies snarling and fighting.


[176-*] This sketch was written in 1857.



Hunting terms are difficult to write, because they are often rather sung
than said. I shall take as my authority one of the best sportsmen of his
day, Mr. Thomas Smith, author of the "Diary of a Huntsman," a book which
has only one fault, it is too short; and give some explanations of my


  On throwing off.--_Cover hoick!_ i. e. _Hark into cover!_

     Also--_Eloo in!_

  Over the fence.--_Yoi over!_

  To make hounds draw.--_Edawick!_

     Also--_Yoi, wind him! Yoi, rouse him, my boys!_

     And to a particular hound--_Hoick, Rector! Hoick, Bonny Lass!_

     The variety of Tally-ho's I have given in another place.

  To call the rest when some hounds have gone away.--_Elope forward,

  If they have hit off the scent.--_Forrid, hoick!_

  When hounds have overrun the scent, or he wants them to come back to

  When the hounds are near their fox.--_Eloo, at him!_


  _Billet._--The excrement of a fox.

  _Burst._--The first part of a run.

  _Burning scent._--When hounds go so fast, from the goodness of the
     scent, they have no breath to spare, and run almost mute.

  _Breast high._--When hounds do not stoop their heads, but go a racing

  _Capping._--To wave your cap to bring on the hounds. Also to subscribe
     for the huntsman, by dropping into a cap after a good run with
     fox-hounds. At watering places, before a run with harriers.

  _Carry a good head._--When hounds run well together, owing to the
     scent being good, and spreading so wide that the whole pack can
     feel it. But it usually happens that the scent is good only on the
     line for one hound to get it, so that the rest follow him; hence
     the necessity of keeping your eyes on the leading hounds, if you
     wish to be forward.

  _Challenge._--When drawing a fox, the first hound that gives tongue,

  _Changed._--When the pack changed from the hunted fox to a fresh one.

  _Check._--When hounds stop for want of scent in running, or over-run

  _Chopped a fox._--When a fox is killed in cover without running.

  _Crash._--When in cover, every hound seems giving tongue at the same
     moment: that is a crash of hounds.

  _Cub._--Until November, a young fox is a cub.

  _Drawing._--The act of hunting to find a fox in a cover, or covert, as
     some term it.

  _Drag._--The scent left by the footsteps of the fox on his way from
     his rural rambles to his earth, or kennel. Our forefathers rose
     early; and instead of drawing, hunted the fox by "dragging" up to

  _Dwelling._--When hounds do not come up to the huntsman's halloo till
     moved by the whipper-in, they are said to dwell.

  _Drafted._--Hounds drawn from the pack to be disposed of, or _hung_,
     are drafted.

  "_Earths are drawn._"--When a vixen fox has drawn out fresh earth, it
     is a proof she intends to lay up her cubs there.

  _Eye to hounds._--A man has a good eye to hounds who turns his horse's
     head with the leading hounds.

  _Flighty._--A hound that is not a steady hunter.

  _Feeling a scent._--You say, if scent is bad, "The hounds could
     scarcely feel the scent."

  _Foil._--When a fox runs the ground over which he has been before, he
     is running his foil.

  _Headed._--When a fox is going away, and is met and driven back to
     cover. Jealous riders, anxious for a start, are very apt to head
     the fox. It is one of the greatest crimes in the hunting-field.

  _Heel._--When hounds get on the scent of a fox, and run it back the
     way he came, they are said to be running heel.

  _Hold hard._--A cry that speaks for itself, which every one who wishes
     for sport will at once attend to when uttered by the huntsman.

  _Holding scent._--When the scent is just good enough for hounds to
     hunt a fox a fair pace, but not enough to press him.

  _Kennel._--Where a fox lays all day in cover.

  _Line holders._--Hounds which will not go a yard beyond the scent.

  _Left-handed._--A hunting pun on hounds that are not always _right_.

  _Lifting._--When a huntsman carries the pack forward from an
     indifferent, or no scent, to a place the fox is hoped to have more
     recently passed, or to a view halloo. It is an expedient found
     needful where the field is large, and unruly, and impatient,
     oftener than good sportsmen approve.[202-*]

  _Laid up._--When a vixen fox has had cubs she is said to have laid up.

  _Metal._--When hounds fly for a short distance on a wrong scent, or
     without one, it is said to be "all metal."

  _Moving scent._--When hounds get on a scent that is fresher than a
     drag, it is called a moving scent; that is, the scent of a fox
     which has been disturbed by travelling.

  _Mobbing a fox._--Is when foot passengers, or foolish jealous
     horsemen so surround a cover, that the fox is driven into the teeth
     of the hounds, instead of being allowed to break away and show

  _Mute._--When the pace is great hounds are mute, they have no breath
     to spare; but a hound that is always mute is as useless as a rich
     epicure who has capital dinners and eats them alone. Hounds that do
     not help each other are worthless.

  _Noisy._--To throw the tongue without scent is an opposite and equal
     fault to muteness.

  _Open._--When a hound throws his tongue, or gives tongue, he is said
     to open.

  _Owning a scent._--When hounds throw their tongues on the scent.

  _Pad._--The foot of a fox.

  _Riot._--When the hounds hunt anything beside fox, the word is "Ware

  _Skirter._--A hound which is wide of the pack, or a man riding wide of
     the hounds, is called a skirter.

  _Stroke of a fox._--Is when hounds are drawing. It is evident, from
     their manner, that they feel the scent of a fox, slashing their
     stern significantly, although they do not speak to it.

  _Sinking._--A fox nearly beaten is said to be sinking.

  _Sinking the wind._--Is going down wind, usually done by knowing
     sportsmen to catch the cry of the hounds.

  _Stained._--When the scent is lost by cattle or sheep having passed
     over the line.

  _Stooping._--Hounds stoop to the scent.

  _Slack._--Indifferent. A succession of bad days, or a slack huntsman,
     will make hounds slack.

  _Streaming._--An expressive word applied to hounds in full cry, or
     breast high and mute, "streaming away."

  _Speaks._--When a hound throws his tongue he is said to speak; and
     one word from a sure hound makes the presence of a fox certain.

  _Throw up._--When hounds lose the scent they "throw up their heads." A
     good sportsman always takes note of the exact spot and cause, if he
     can, to tell the huntsman.

  _Tailing._--The reverse of streaming. The result of bad scent, tired
     hounds, or an uneven pack.

  _Throw off._--After reaching the "meet," at the master's word the pack
     is "thrown into cover," hence "throw off."

There are many other terms in common use too plain to need explanation,
and there are a good many slang phrases to be found in newspaper
descriptions of runs, which are both vulgar and unnecessary. One of the
finest descriptions of a fox-hunt ever written is to be found in the
account of Jorrocks' day with the "Old Customer," disfigured,
unfortunately, by an overload of impossible cockneyisms, put in the
mouth of the impossible grocer. Another capitally-told story of a
fox-hunt is to be found in Whyte Melville's "Kate Coventry." But the
Rev. Charles Kingsley has, in his opening chapter of "Yeast," and his
papers in Fraser on North Devon, shown that if he chose he could throw
all writers on hunting into the shade. Would that he would give us some
hunting-songs, for he is a true poet, as well as a true sportsman!

Another clergyman, under the pseudonym of "Uncle Scribble," contributed
to the pages of the _Sporting Magazine_ an admirable series of
photographs--to adopt a modern word--of hunting and hunting men, as
remarkable for dry wit and common sense, as a thorough knowledge of
sport. But "Uncle Scribble," as the head of a most successful Boarding
School, writes no more.

I may perhaps be pardoned for concluding my hints on hunting, by
re-quoting from _Household Words_ an "Apology for Fox-hunting," which,
at the time I wrote it, received the approbation, by quotation, of
almost every sporting journal in the country. It will be seen that it
contains a sentence very similar to one to be found in Mr. Rarey's
"Horse Training"--"A bad-tempered man cannot be a good horseman."


"Fox-hunting, I maintain, is entitled to be considered one of the fine
arts, standing somewhere between music and dancing. For 'Tally-ho!' like
the favourite evening gun of colonising orators, has been 'carried round
the world.' The plump mole-fed foxes of the neutral ground of Gibraltar
have fled from the jolly cry; it has been echoed back from the rocky
hills of our island possessions in the Mediterranean; it has startled
the jackal on the mountains of the Cape, and his red brother on the
burning plains of Bengal; the wolf of the pine forests of Canada has
heard it, cheering on fox-hounds to an unequal contest; and even the
wretched dingoe and the bounding kangaroo of 'Australia have learned to
dread the sound.

"In our native land 'Tally-ho!' is shouted and welcomed in due season by
all conditions of men; by the ploughman, holding hard his startled colt;
by the woodman, leaning on his axe before the half-felled oak; by
bird-boys from the tops of leafless trees; even Dolly Dumpling, as she
sees the white-tipped brush flash before her market-cart in a
deep-banked lane, stops, points her whip and in shrill treble screams

"And when at full speed the pink, green, brown, and black-coated
followers of any of the ninety packs which our England maintains, sweep
through a village, with what intense delight the whole population turn
out! Young mothers stand at the doors, holding up their crowing babies;
the shopkeeper, with his customers, adjourns to the street; the windows
of the school are covered with flattened noses; the parson, if of the
right sort, smiles blandly, and waves his hand from the porch of the
vicarage to half-a-dozen friends; while the surgeon pushes on his
galloway and joins for half-an-hour; all the little boys holla in
chorus, and run on to open gates without expecting sixpence. As for the
farmers, those who do not join the hunt criticise the horseflesh,
speculate on the probable price of oats, and tell 'Missis' to set out
the big round of beef, the bread, the cheese, and get ready to draw some
strong ale,--'in case of a check, some of the gentlemen might like a bit
as they come back.

"It is true, among the five thousand who follow the hounds daily in the
hunting season, there are to be found, as among most medleys of five
thousand, a certain number of fools and brutes--mere animals, deaf to
the music, blind to the living poetry of nature. To such men hunting is
a piece of fashion or vulgar excitement, but bring hunting in comparison
with other amusements, and it will stand a severe test. Are you an
admirer of scenery, an amateur or artist? Have you traversed Greece and
Italy, Switzerland and Norway, in search of the picturesque? You do not
know the beauties of your own country, until, having hunted from
Northumberland to Cornwall, you have viewed the various counties under
the three aspects of a fox-hunter's day--the 'morning ride,' 'the run,'
and 'the return home.'

"The morning ride, slowly pacing, full of expectation, your horse as
pleased as yourself; sharp and clear in the gray atmosphere the leafless
trees and white farmhouses stand out, backed by a curtain of mist
hanging on the hills in the horizon. With eager eyes you take all in;
nothing escapes you; you have cast off care for the day. How pleasant
and cheerful everything and everyone looks! Even the cocks and hens,
scratching by the road-side, have a friendly air. The turnpike-man
relaxes, in favour of your 'pink,' his usual grimness. A tramping woman,
with one child at her back and two running beside her, asks charity; you
suspect she is an impostor, but she looks cold and pitiful; you give her
a shilling, and the next day you don't regret your foolish benevolence.
To your mind the well-cultivated land looks beautiful. In the monotony
of ten acres of turnips, you see a hundred pictures of English farming
life, well-fed cattle, good wheat crops, and a little barley for beer.
Not less beautiful is the wild gorse-covered moor--never to be
reclaimed, I hope--where the wiry, white-headed, bright-eyed huntsman
sits motionless on his old white horse, surrounded by the pied pack--a
study for Landseer.

"But if the morning ride creates unexecuted cabinet pictures and
unwritten sonnets, how delightful 'the find,' 'the run' along
brook-intersected vales, up steep hills, through woodlands, parks, and
villages, showing you in byways little gothic churches, ivy-covered
cottages, and nooks of beauty you never dreamed of, alive with startled
cattle and hilarious rustics.

"Talk of epic poems, read in bowers or at firesides, what poet's
description of a battle could make the blood boil in delirious
excitement, like a seat on a long-striding hunter, clearing every
obstacle with firm elastic bounds, holding in sight without gaining a
yard on the flying pack, while the tip of Reynard's tail disappears
over the wall at the top of the hill!

"And, lastly,--tired, successful, hungry, happy,--the return home, when
the shades of evening, closing round, give a fantastic, curious,
mysterious aspect to familiar road-side objects! Loosely lounging on
your saddle, with half-closed eyes, you almost dream--the gnarled trees
grow into giants, cottages into castles, ponds into lakes. The maid of
the inn is a lovely princess, and the bread and cheese she brings
(while, without dismounting, you let your thirsty horse drink his
gruel), tastes more delicious than the finest supper of champagne, with
a _pâté_ of tortured goose's liver, that ever tempted the appetite of a
humane, anti-fox hunting, poet-critic, exhausted by a long night of
opera, ballet, and Roman punch.

"Are you fond of agriculture?--You may survey all the progress and
ignorance of an agricultural district in rides across country; you may
sound the depth of the average agricultural mind while trotting from
cover to cover. Are you of a social disposition?--What a fund of
information is to be gathered from the acquaintances made, returning
home after a famous day, 'thirty-five minutes without a check.' In a
word, fox-hunting affords exercise and healthy excitement without
headaches, or heartaches, without late hours, without the 'terrible next
morning' that follows so many town amusements. Fox-hunting draws men
from towns, promotes a love of country life, fosters skill, courage,
temper; for a bad-tempered man can never be a good horseman.

"To the right-minded, as many feelings of thankfulness and praise to the
Giver of all good will arise, sitting on a fiery horse, subdued to
courageous obedience for the use of man, while surveying a pack of
hounds ranging an autumnal thicket with fierce intelligence, or looking
down on a late moorland, broken up to fertility by man's skill and
industry, as in a solitary walk by the sea-shore or over a Highland

    Oh, give me the man to whom nought comes amiss,
    One horse or another--that country or this;
    Through falls and bad starts who undauntedly still
    Bides up to this motto, "Be with them I will!"
    And give me the man who can ride through a run,
    Nor engross to himself all the glory when done;
    Who calls not each horse that o'ertakes him a screw;
    Who loves a run best when a friend sees it too.

    WARBURTON of Arley Hall.


[202-*] The late Sir Richard Sutton, Master of the Quorn, used to say
that he liked "to stick to the band and keep hold of the bridle," that
is to say, make his pack hold to the line of the fox as long as they
could; but there were times when he could not resist the temptation of a
sure "holloa," and off he would start at a tremendous pace, for he was
always a bruising rider, with a blast or two upon his "little
merry-toned horn" which he had the art of blowing better than other
people. To his intimate friends he used to excuse himself for these
occasional outbreaks by quoting a saying of his old huntsman Goosey
(late the Duke of Rutland's)--for whose opinion on hunting matters he
had a great respect--"I take leave to say, sir, a fox is a very quick
animal, and you must make haste after him during some part of the day,
or you will not catch him."--_Letter from Captain Percy Williams, Master
of the Rufford Hounds, to the Editor._



The origin of modern fox-hunting is involved in a degree of obscurity
which can only be attributed to the illiterate character of the
originators, the Squire Westerns, who rode all day, and drank all the
evening. We need the assistance of the ingenious correspondent of _Notes
and Queries_:--

"It is quite certain that the fox was not accounted a noble beast of
chase before the Revolution of 1688; for Gervase Markham classes the fox
with the badger in his 'Cavalrie, or that part of Arte wherein is
contained the Choice Trayning and Dyeting of Hunting Horses whether for
Pleasure or for Wager. The Third Booke. Printed by Edw. Allde, for
Edward White; and are to be sold at his Shop, neare the Little North
Door of St. Paule's Church, at the signe of the Gun. 1616.' He says:--

"'The chase of the foxe or badger, although it be a chase of much more
swiftness (than the otter), and is ever kept upon firm ground, yet I
cannot allow it for training horses, because for the most part it
continues in woody rough grounds, where a horse can neither conveniently
make foorth his way nor can heed without danger of stubbing. The chase,
much better than any of these, is hunting of the bucke or stag,
especially if they be not confined within a park or pale, but having
liberty to chuse their waies, which some huntsmen call "hunting at
force." When he is at liberty he will break forth his chase into the
winde, sometimes four, five, and six miles foorth right: nay, I have
myself followed a stag better than ten miles foorth right from the place
of his rousing to the place of his death, besides all his windings,
turnings, and cross passages. The time of the year for these chases is
from the middle of May to middle of September.' He goes on to say,
'which being of all chases the worthiest, and belonging only Princes and
men of best quality, there is no horse too good to be employed in such a
service; yet the horses which are aptest and best to be employed in this
chase is the Barbary jennet, or a light-made English gelding, being of a
middle stature.' 'But to conclude and come to the chase which is of all
chases the best for the purpose whereof we are now entreating; it is the
chase of the hare, which is a chase both swift and pleasant, and of long
endurance; it is a sport ever readie, equally distributed, as well to
the wealthie farmer as the great gentleman. It hath its beginning
contrary to the stag and bucke; for it begins at Michaelmas, when they
end, and is out of date after April, when they first come into season.'

"This low estimate of the fox, at that period, is borne out by a speech
of Oliver St. John, to the Long Parliament, against Strafford, quoted by
Macaulay, in which he declares--'Strafford was to be regarded not as a
stag or hare, but as a fox, who was to be snared by any means and
knocked on the head without pity.' The same historian relates that red
deer were as plentiful on the hills of Hampshire and Gloucestershire, in
the reign of Queen Anne, as they are now in the preserved deer-forests
of the Highlands of Scotland.

"When wild deer became scarce, the attention of sportsmen was probably
turned to the sporting qualities of the fox by the accident of harriers
getting upon the scent of some wanderer in the clicketing season, and
being led a straight long run. We have more than once met with such
accidents on the Devonshire moors, and have known well-bred harriers run
clear away from the huntsmen, after an on-lying fox, over an unrideable

"Fox-hunting rose into favour with the increase of population attendant
on improved agriculture. In a wild woodland country, with earths
unstopped, no pack of hounds could fairly run down a fox.

"I have found in private records two instances in which packs of hounds,
since celebrated, were turned from hare-hounds to fox-hounds. There are,
no doubt, many more. The Tarporley, or Cheshire Hunt, was established in
1762 for Hare-hunting, and held its first meeting on the 14th November
in that year. 'Those who kept harriers brought them in turn.' It is
ordered by the 8th Rule, 'that if no member of the society kept hounds,
or that it were inconvenient for masters to bring them, a pack be
borrowed at the expense of the society.'

"The uniform was ordered to be 'a blue frock with plain yellow mettled
buttons, scarlet velvet cape, and double-breasted flannel waistcoat. The
coat sleeve to be cut and turned. A scarlet saddle-cloth, bound singly
with blue, and the front of the bridle lapt with scarlet.' The third
rule contrasts oddly with our modern meets at half-past ten and
half-past eleven o'clock:--'The harriers shall not wait for any member
after eight o'clock in the morning.'

"As to drinking, it was ordered 'that three collar bumpers be drunk
after dinner, and the same after supper; after that every member might
do as he pleased in regard to drinking.'

"By another rule every member was 'to present on his marriage to each
member of the hunt, a pair of well-stitched leather breeches,'[213-*]
then costing a guinea a pair.

"In 1769, the club commenced Fox-hunting. The uniform was ordered to be
changed to 'a red coat, unbound, with small frock sleeve, a green velvet
cape, and green waistcoat, and that the sleeve have no buttons; in every
other form to be like the old uniform; and the red saddle-cloth to be
bound with green instead of blue, the fronts of the saddles to remain
the same.'

"At the same time there was an alteration in regard to drinking
orders--'That instead of three collar bumpers, only one shall be drunk,
except a fox be killed above ground, and then one other collar glass
shall be drunk to "Fox-hunting." Among the names of the original members
in 1762, we recognise many whose descendants have maintained in this
generation their ancestral reputation as sportsmen. For instance, Crewe,
Mainwaring, Wilbraham, Smith, Barry, Cholmondeley, Stanley, Grosvenor,
Townley, Watkin Williams Wynne, Stanford. But, although the Tarporley
Hunt Club has been maintained and thriven through the reigns of George
III., George IV., William IV., and Victoria, the pack of hounds,
destroyed or removed by various accidents, have been more than once
renewed. But the Brocklesby pack has been maintained in the family of
the present Earl of Yarborough more than 130 years without break or
change of blood; and a written pedigree of the pack has been kept for
upwards of 100 years; and it is now the oldest pack in the kingdom. The
Cottesmore, which was established before the Brocklesby, has been
repeatedly dispersed and has long passed out of the hands of the family
of the Noels--by whom it was first established 200 years ago."

By the kindness of Lord Yarborough, I was permitted to examine all the
papers connected with his hounds. Among them is a memorandum dated April
20, 1713: it is agreed "between Sir John Tyrwhitt, Charles Pelham, Esq.,
and Robert Vyner, Esq. (another name well known in modern hunting
annals), that the foxhounds now kept by the said Sir John Tyrwhitt and
Mr. Pelham shall be joyned in one pack, and the three have a joint
interest in the said hounds for five years, each for one-third of the
year." And it was agreed that the establishment should consist of
"sixteen couple of hounds, three horses, and a huntsman and a boy." So
apparently they only hunted one day a week. It would seem that, under
the terms of the agreement, the united pack soon passed into the hands
of Mr. Pelham, and down to the present day the hounds have been branded
with a P. I also found at Brocklesby a rough memoranda of the kennel
from 1710 to 1746; after that date the Stud Book has been distinctly
kept up without a break. From 1797 the first Lord Yarborough kept
journals of the pedigree of hounds in his own handwriting; and since his
time by the father, the grandfather, and great-grandfather of the
present huntsman.

In the time of the first Lord Yarborough, his country extended over the
whole of the South Wold country, part of the now Burton Hunt, and part
of North Nottinghamshire; and he used to go down into both those
districts for a month at a time to hunt the woodlands. There were, as he
told his grandson when he began hunting, only three or four fences
between Horncastle and Brigg, a distance of at least thirty miles.

Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt kept harriers at his Manor House of Aylsby, at the
foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds, before he turned them into fox-hounds. A
barn at Aylsby was formerly known as the "Kennels." The Aylsby estate
has passed, in the female line, into the Oxfordshire family of the
Tyrwhitt Drakes, who are so well known as masters of hounds, and
first-rate sportsmen; while a descendant of Squire Vyner, of
Lincolnshire, has, within the last twenty years, been a master of
fox-hounds in Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Mr. Meynell, the father
of modern fox-hunting, and founder of the Quorn Hunt, formed his pack
chiefly of drafts from the Brocklesby.

Between the period that fox-hunting superseded hare-hunting in the
estimation of country squires, and that when the celebrated Mr. Meynell
reduced it to a science, and prepared the way for making hunting in
Leicestershire almost an aristocratic institution, a great change took
place in the breed of the hounds and horses, and in the style of
horsemanship. Under the old system, the hounds were taken out before
light to hunt back by his drag the fox who had been foraging all night,
and set on him as he lay above his stopped-earth, before he had digested
his meal of rats or rabbits. The breed of hounds partook more of the
long-eared, dew-lapped, heavy, crock-kneed southern hound, or of the
bloodhound. Well-bred horses, too, were less plentiful than they are

But the change to fast hounds, fast horses, and fast men, took place at
a much more distant date than some of our hard-riding young swells of
1854 seem to imagine. A portrait of a celebrated hound, Ringwood, at
Brocklesby Park, painted by Stubbs, the well-known animal painter in
1792, presents in an extraordinary manner the type and character of some
of the best hounds remotely descended from him, although the Cheshire
song says:--

    "When each horse wore a crupper, each squire a pigtail,
    Ere Blue Cap and Wanton taught greyhounds to scurry,
    With music in plenty--oh, where was the hurry?"

But it is more than eighty years since Blue Cap and Wanton ran their
race over Newmarket Heath, which for speed has never been excelled by
any modern hounds.

And it is a curious fact, that although Somerville, the author of The
Chase, died in 1742, his poem contains as clear and correct directions
for fox-hunting, with few exceptions, as if it were written yesterday.
So that the art must have arrived at perfection within sixty or seventy
years. In the long reign of George III. the distinction between town and
country was much broken down, and the isolation in which country squires
lived destroyed. Packs of hounds, kept for the amusement of a small
district, became, as it were, public property. At length the meets of
hounds began to be regularly given in the country newspapers.

With every change sportsmen of the old school have prophesied the total
ruin of fox-hunting. Roads and canals excited great alarm to our
fathers. In our time every one expected to see sport entirely destroyed
by railroads; but we were mistaken, and have lived to consider them
almost an essential auxiliary of a good hunting district.

Looking back at the manner in which fox-hunting has grown up with our
habits and customs, and increased in the number of packs, number of
hunting days, and number of horsemen, in full proportion with wealth and
population, one cannot help being amused at the simplicity with which
Mrs. Beecher Stowe, who comes from a country where people seldom amuse
themselves out of doors (except in making money), tells in her "Sunny
Memories," how, when she dined with Lord John Russell, at Richmond, the
conversation turned on hunting; and she expressed her astonishment
"that, in the height of English civilisation, this vestige of the savage
state should remain." "Thereupon they only laughed, and told stories
about fox-hunters." They might have answered with old Gervase Markham,
"Of all the field pleasures wherewith Old Time and man's inventions hath
blessed the hours of our recreations, there is none so excellent as the
delight of hunting, being compounded like an harmonious concert of all
the best partes of most refined pleasures, as music, dancing, running
and ryding."

Mrs. Stowe's distinguished countryman, Washington Irving, took a sounder
view of our rural pleasures; for he says in his charming "Sketch

"The fondness for rural life among the higher classes of the English has
had a great and salutary effect upon national character. I do not know a
finer race of men than the English gentlemen. Instead of the softness
and effeminacy which characterizes the men of rank of most countries,
they exhibit a union of elegance and strength, of robustness of frame
and freshness of complexion, which I am inclined to attribute to their
living so much in the open air, pursuing so eagerly the invigorating
recreations of the country."


[213-*] I think this is a mistake. In a copy of the rules forwarded to
me by a Cheshire squire, one of the hereditary members of the club, it
is a pair of _gloves_. But in the notes, the songs and ballads by R.
Egerton Warburton, Esq., of Arley Hall, it is printed "breeches."



In England there are so few wild horses, that the following description
of a visit I made to Exmoor a few years ago in the month of September,
may be doubly interesting, since Mr. Rarey has shown a short and easy
method of dealing with the principal produce of that truly wild region.

The road from South Molton to Exmoor is a gradual ascent over a
succession of hills, of which each descent, however steep, leads to a
still longer ascent, until you reach the high level of Exmoor. The first
six miles are through real Devonshire lanes; on each side high banks,
all covered with fern and grass, and topped with shrubs and trees; for
miles we were hedged in with hazels, bearing nuts with a luxuriance
wonderful to the eyes of those accustomed to see them sold at the
corners of streets for a penny the dozen. In spring and summer, wild
flowers give all the charms of colour to these game-preserving
hedgerows; but a rainy autumn had left no colour among the rich green
foliage, except here and there a pyramid of the bright red berries of
the mountain ash.

So, up hill and down dale, over water-courses--now merrily trotting,
anon descending, and not less merrily trudging up, steep ascents--we
proceed by a track as sound as if it had been under the care of a model
board of trustees--for the simple reason that it rested on natural rock.
We pushed along at an average rate of some six miles an hour, allowing
for the slow crawling up hills; passing many rich fields wherein fat
oxen of the Devon breed calmly grazed, with sheep that had certainly not
been bred on mountains. Once we passed a deserted copper-mine; which,
after having been worked for many years, had at length failed, or grown
unprofitable, under the competition of the richer mines of Cuba and
South Australia. A long chimney, peering above deserted cottages, and a
plentiful crop of weeds, was the sole monument of departed glories--in
shares and dividends--and mine-captain's promises.

At length the hedges began to grow thinner; beeches succeeded the
hazels; the road, more rugged and bare showed the marks where winter's
rains had ploughed deep channels; and, at the turn of a steep hill, we
saw, on the one hand, the brown and blue moor stretching before and
above us; and on the other hand, below, like a map, the fertile vale lay
unrolled, various in colour, according to the crops, divided by
enclosures into every angle from most acute to most obtuse. Below was
the cultivation of centuries; above, the turnip--the greatest
improvement of modern agriculture--flourished, a deep green, under the
protection of fences of very recent date.

One turnpike, and cottages at rare intervals, had so far kept up the
idea of population; but now, far as the horizon extended, not a place of
habitation was to be seen; until, just in a hollow bend out of the
ascending road, we came upon a low white farm-house, of humble
pretensions, flanked by a great turf-stack (but no signs of corn; no
fold-yard full of cattle), which bore, on a board of great size, in long
letters, this imposing announcement, "The Poltimore Arms." Our driver
not being of the usual thirsty disposition of his tribe, we did not test
the capabilities of the one hostelry and habitation on Lord Poltimore's
Moorland Estate, but, pushing on, took the reins while our conductor
descended to open a gate in a large turf and stone wall. We passed
through--left Devon--entered Somerset; and the famous Exmoor estate of
20,000 acres, bounded by a wall forty miles in length, the object of our
journey, lay before us.

Very dreary was this part of our journey, although, contrary to the
custom of the country, the day was bright and clear, and the September
sun defeated the fogs, and kept at a distance the drizzling rains which
in winter sweep over Exmoor. We had now left the smooth, rocky-floored
road, and were travelling along what most resembled the dry bed of a
torrent: turf banks on each side seemed rather intended to define than
to divide the property. As far as the eye could reach, the rushy tufted
moorland extended, bounded in the distance by lofty, round-backed hills.
Thinly scattered about were horned sheep and Devon red oxen. For about
two miles we jolted gently on, until, beginning to descend a hill, our
driver pointed in the valley below to a spot where stacks of hay and
turf guarded a series of stone buildings, saying, "There's the Grange."
The first glance was not encouraging--no sheep-station in Australia
could seem more utterly desolate; but it improved on closer examination.
The effects of cultivation were to be seen in the different colours of
the fields round the house, where the number of stock grazing showed
that more than ordinary means must have been taken to improve the

We started on Exmoor ponies to ride to Simon's Bath.

Exmoor, previous to 1818, was the property of the Crown, and leased to
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, who has an estate of a similar character close
adjoining. He used its wild pasture (at that time it was without roads)
for breeding ponies and feeding Exmoor sheep. There are no traces of any
population having ever existed on this forest since Roman times. The
Romans are believed to have worked iron-mines on the moor, which have
recently been re-opened.

Exmoor consists of 20,000 acres, on an elevation varying from 1000 to
1200 feet above the sea, of undulating table-land, divided by valleys,
or "combes," through which the River Exe--which rises in one of its
valleys--with its tributary, the Barle, forces a devious way, in the
form of pleasant trout-streams, rattling over and among huge stones, and
creeping through deep pools--a very angler's paradise. Like many similar
districts in the Scotch Highlands, the resort of the red deer, it is
called a forest, although trees--with the exception of some very
insignificant plantations--are as rare as men. After riding all day with
a party of explorers, one of them suddenly exclaimed, "Look, there is a
man!" A similar expression escaped me when we came in sight of the first
tree--a gnarled thorn, standing alone on the side of a valley.

The sides of the steep valleys, of which some include an acre, and
others extend for miles, are usually covered with coarse herbage,
heather, and bilberry plants, springing from a deep black or red soil:
at certain spots a greener hue marks the site of the bogs which impede,
and at times almost engulph, the incautious horseman. These bogs are
formed by springs, which, having been intercepted by a pan of sediment,
and prevented from percolating through the soil, stagnate, and cause, at
the same time, decay and vicious vegetation. They are seldom deep, and
can usually be reclaimed by subsoiling or otherwise breaking the pan,
and so drying the upper layers of bog. Bog-turf is largely employed on
Exmoor as fuel. On other precipitous descents, winter torrents have
washed away all the earth, and left avalanches of bare loose stones,
called, in the western dialect, "crees." To descend these crees at a
slapping pace in the course of a stag-hunt, requires no slight degree of
nerve; but it is done, and is not so dangerous as it looks.

Exmoor may be nothing strange to those accustomed to the wild, barren
scenery. To one who has known country scenes only in the best-cultivated
regions of England, and who has but recently quitted the perpetual roar
of London, there is something strangely solemn and impressive in the
deep silence of a ride across the forest. Horses bred on the moors, if
left to themselves, rapidly pick their way through pools and bogs, and
canter smoothly over dry flats of natural meadow; creep safely down the
precipitous descents, and climb with scarcely a puff of distress these
steep ascents; splash through fords in the trout-streams, swelled by
rain, without a moment's hesitation, and trot along sheep-paths,
bestrewed with rolling stones, without a stumble: so that you are
perfectly at liberty to enjoy the luxury of excitement, and follow out
the winding valleys, and study the rich brown and purple herbage.

It was while advancing over a great brown plain in the centre of the
moor, with a deep valley on our left, that our young quick-eyed guide
suddenly held up his hand, whispering, "Ride on without seeming to take
notice; there are the deer." A great red stag, lying on the brown grass,
had sprung up, and was gazing on our party--too numerous and too
brightly attired to be herdsmen, whom he would have allowed to pass
without notice. Behind him were clustered four hinds and a calf. They
stood still for some minutes watching our every movement, as we tried to
approach them in a narrowing circle. Then the stag moved off slowly,
with stately, easy, gliding steps, constantly looking back. The hinds
preceded him: they reached the edge of the valley, and disappeared. We
galloped up, and found that they had exchanged the slow retreat for a
rapid flight, clearing every slight or suspicious obstacle with a grace,
ease, and swiftness it was delightful to witness. In an incredibly short
time they had disappeared, hidden by undulations in the apparently flat

These were one of the few herds still remaining on the forest. In a
short time the wild deer of Exmoor will be a matter of tradition; and
the hunt, which may be traced back to the time of Queen Elizabeth, will,
if continued, descend to the "cart and calf" business.

A sight scarcely less interesting than the deer was afforded by a white
pony mare, with her young stock--consisting of a foal still sucking, a
yearling, and a two-year-old--which we met in a valley of the Barle. The
two-year-old had strayed away feeding, until alarmed by the cracking of
our whips and the neighing of its dam, when it came galloping down a
steep combe, neighing loudly, at headlong speed. It is thus these ponies
learn their action and sure-footedness.

It was a district such as we had traversed--entirely wild, without
inclosures, or roads, or fences--that came into the hands of the father
of the present proprietor. He built a fence of forty miles around it,
made roads, reclaimed a farm for his own use at Simon's Bath, introduced
Highland cattle on the hills, and set up a considerable stud for
improving the indigenous race of ponies, and for rearing full-sized
horses. These improvements, on which some three hundred thousand pounds
were sunk, were not profitable; and it is very doubtful whether any
considerable improvements could have been prosecuted successfully, if
railways had not brought better markets within reach of the district.

Coming from a part of the country where ponies are the perquisites of
old ladies and little children, and where the nearer a well-shaped horse
can be got to sixteen hands the better, the first feeling on mounting a
rough little unkemped brute, fresh from the moor, barely twelve hands
(four feet) in height, was intensely ridiculous. It seemed as if the
slightest mistake would send the rider clean over the animal's head. But
we learned soon that the indigenous pony, in certain useful qualities,
is not to be surpassed by animals of greater size and pretensions.

From the Grange to Simon's Bath (about three miles), the road, which
runs through the heart of Exmoor proper, was constructed, with all the
other roads in this vast extra-parochial estate, by the father of the
present proprietor, F. Knight, Esq., of Wolverly House, Worcestershire,
M.P. for East Worcestershire (Parliamentary Secretary of the Poor Law
Board, under Lord Derby's Government). In the course of a considerable
part of the route, the contrast of wild moorland and high cultivation
may be found only divided by the carriage-way.

At length, descending a steep hill, we came in sight of a view--of which
Exmoor and its kindred district in North Devon affords many--a deep
gorge, at whose precipitous base a trout-stream rolled along, gurgling
and plashing, and winding round huge masses of white spar. The far bank
sometimes extended out into natural meadows, where red cattle and wild
ponies grazed, and sometimes rose precipitously. At one point, where
both banks were equally steep and lofty, the far side was covered by a
plantation with a cover of under-wood; but no trees of sufficient
magnitude to deserve the name of a wood. This is a spot famous in the
annals of a grand sport that soon will be among things of the past--Wild
Stag Hunting. In this wood more than once the red monarch of Exmoor has
been roused, and bounded over the rolling plains beyond, amid the shouts
of excited hunters and the deep cry of the hounds, as with a burring
scent they dashed up the steep breast of the hill.

But there was no defiant stag there that day; so on we trotted on our
shaggy sure-footed nags, beneath a burning sun--a sun that sparkled on
the flowing waters as they gleamed between far distant hills, and threw
a golden glow upon the fading tints of foliage and herbage, and cast
deep shadows from the white overhanging rocks.

Next we came to the deep pool that gives the name to Simon's Bath, where
some unhappy man of that name, in times when deer were more plentiful
than sheep, drowned himself for love, or in madness, or both--long
before roads, farms, turnip crops, a school, and a church were dreamed
of on Exmoor. Here fences give signs of habitation and cultivation. A
rude, ancient bridge, with two arches of different curves, covered with
turf, without side battlements or rails, stretches across the stream,
and leads to a small house built for his own occupation by the father of
Mr. Knight, pending the completion of a mansion of which the unfinished
walls of one wing rise like a dismantled castle from the midst of a
grove of trees and ornamented shrubs.

A series of gentle declivities, plantations, a winding, full-flowing
stream, seem only to require a suitable edifice and the hand of an
artist gardener to make, at comparatively trifling expense, an abode
unequalled in luxuriant and romantic beauty. We crossed the stream--not
by the narrow bridge, but by the ford; and, passing through the
straggling stone village of Simon's Bath, arrived in sight of the field
where the Tattersall of the West was to sell the wild and tame horse
stock bred on the moors. It was a field of some ten acres and a half,
forming a very steep slope, with the upper path comparatively flat, the
sloping side broken by a stone quarry, and dotted over with huge blocks
of granite. At its base flowed an arm of the stream we had found
margining our route. A substantial, but, as the event proved, not
sufficiently high stone fence bounded the whole field. On the upper
part, a sort of double pound, united by a narrow neck, with a gate at
each end, had been constructed of rails, upwards of five feet in height.
Into the first of these pounds, by ingenious management, all the ponies,
wild and tame, had been driven. When the sale commenced, it was the duty
of the herdsmen to separate two at a time, and drive them through the
narrow neck into the pound before the auctioneer. Around a crowd of
spectators of every degree were clustered--'squires and clergymen,
horse-dealers and farmers, from Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, as
well as South Devon, and the immediate neighbourhood.

These ponies are the result of crosses made years ago with Arab,
Dongola, and thorough-bred stallions, on the indigenous race of Exmoors,
since carefully culled from year to year for the purpose of securing the
utmost amount of perfection among the stallions and mares reserved for
breeding purposes. The real Exmoor seldom exceeds twelve hands; has a
well-shaped head, with very small ears; but the thick round shoulder
peculiar to all breeds of wild horses, which seem specially adapted for
inclemencies of the weather; indeed, the whole body is round, compact,
and well ribbed. The Exmoor has very good quarters and powerful hocks;
legs straight, flat, and clean; the muscles well developed by early
racing up and down steep mountain sides while following their dams. In
about forty lots the prevailing colours were bay, brown, and gray;
chestnuts and blacks were less frequent, and not in favour with the
country people, many of whom seemed to consider that the indigenous race
had been deteriorated by the sedulous efforts made and making to improve
it--an opinion which we could not share after examining some of the best
specimens, in which a clean blood-like head and increased size seemed to
have been given, without any diminution of the enduring qualities of the

The sale was great fun. Perched on convenient rails, we had the whole
scene before us. The auctioneer rather hoarse and quite matter-of-fact;
the ponies wildly rushing about the first enclosure, were with
difficulty separated into pairs to be driven in the sale section; when
fairly hemmed in through the open gate, they dashed and made a sort of
circus circuit, with mane and tail erect, in a style that would draw
great applause at Astley's. Then there was the difficulty of deciding
whether the figures marked in white on the animal's hind-quarters were 8
or 3 or 5. Instead of the regular trot up and down of Tattersall's, a
whisk of a cap was sufficient to produce a tremendous caper. A very
pretty exhibition was made by a little mare, with a late foal about the
size of a setter dog.[228-*]

The sale over, a most amusing scene ensued: every man who had bought a
pony wanted to catch it. In order to clear the way, each lot, as sold,
as wild and nearly as active as deer, had been turned into the field. A
joint-stock company of pony-catchers, headed by the champion wrestler of
the district--a hawk-nosed, fresh-complexioned, rustic Don Juan--stood
ready to be hired, at the moderate rate of sixpence per pony caught and
delivered. One carried a bundle of new halters; the others, warmed by a
liberal distribution of beer, seemed as much inspired by the fun as the
sixpence. When the word was given, the first step was to drive a herd
into the lowest corner of the field in as compact a mass as possible.
The bay, gray, or chestnut, from that hour doomed to perpetual slavery
and exile from his native hills, was pointed out by the nervous anxious
purchaser. Three wiry fellows crept cat-like among the mob, sheltering
behind some tame cart-horses; on a mutual signal they rushed on the
devoted animal; two--one bearing a halter--strove to fling each one arm
round its neck, and with one hand to grasp its nostrils--while the
insidious third, clinging to the flowing tail; tried to throw the poor
quadruped off its balance. Often they were baffled in the first effort,
for with one wild spring the pony would clear the whole lot, and flying
with streaming mane and tail across the brook up the field, leave the
whole work to be recommenced. Sometimes when the feat was cleverly
performed, pony and pony-catchers were to be seen all rolling on the
ground together; the pony yelling, snorting, and fighting with his fore
feet, the men clinging on like the Lapithæ and the Centaurs, and how
escaping crushed ribs or broken legs it is impossible to imagine. On one
occasion a fine brown stallion dashed away, with two plucky fellows
hanging on to his mane: rearing, plunging, fighting with his fore feet,
away he bounded down a declivity among the huge rocks, amid the
encouraging cheers of the spectators: for a moment the contest was
doubtful, so tough were the sinews, and so determined the grip of Davy,
the champion; but the steep bank of the brook, down which the brown
stallion recklessly plunged, was too much for human efforts (in a moment
they all went together into the brook), but the pony, up first, leaped
the opposite bank and galloped away, whinnying in short-lived triumph.

After a series of such contests, well worth the study of artists not
content with pale copies from marbles or casts, the difficulty of
haltering these snorting steeds--equal in spirit and probably in size to
those which drew the car of Boadicea--was diminished by all those
uncaught being driven back to the pound; and there, not without furious
battles, one by one enslaved.

Yet even when haltered, the conquest was by no means concluded. Some
refused to stir, others started off at such a pace as speedily brought
the holder of the halter on his nose. One respectable old gentleman, in
gray stockings and knee-breeches, lost his animal in much less time than
it took him to extract the sixpence from his knotted purse.

Yet in all these fights there was little display of vice; it was pure
fright on the part of the ponies that made them struggle so. A few
days' confinement in a shed, a few carrots, with a little salt, and
gentle treatment, reduces the wildest of the three-year-olds to
docility. When older they are more difficult to manage. It was a pretty
sight to view them led away, splashing through the brook--conquered, but
not yet subdued.

In the course of the evening a little chestnut stallion, twelve hands,
or four feet in height, jumped, at a standing jump, over the bars out of
a pound upward of five feet from the ground, only just touching the top
rail with his hind feet.

We had hoped to have a day's wild stag hunting, but the hounds were out
on the other side of the country. However, we had a few runs with a
scratch pack of harriers after stout moorland hares. The dandy school,
who revel in descriptions of coats and waistcoats, boots and breeches,
and who pretend that there is no sport without an outfit which is only
within the reach of a man with ten thousand a year, would no doubt have
been extremely disgusted with the whole affair. We rose at five o'clock
in the morning and hunted puss up to her form (instead of paying a
shilling to a boy to turn her out) with six couples, giving tongue most
melodiously. Viewing her away we rattled across the crispy brown moor,
and splattered through bogs with a loose rein, in lunatic enjoyment,
until we checked at the edge of a deep "combe." Then--when the old
yellow Southerner challenged, and our young host cheered him with "Hark
to Reveller, hark!"--to hear the challenge and the cheer re-echoed again
from the opposite cliff; and--as the little pack in full cry again took
up the running, and scaled the steep ascent--to see our young huntsman,
bred in these hills, go rattling down the valleys, and to follow by
instinct, under a vague idea, not unmixed with nervous apprehensions of
the consequences of a slip, that what one could do two could, was vastly
exciting, and amusing, and, in a word, decidedly jolly. So with many
facts, some new ideas, and a fine stock of health from a week of open
air, I bade farewell to my hospitable hosts and to romantic Exmoor.


[228-*] According to tradition, the Exmoor ponies are descended from
horses brought from the East by the Phoenicians, who traded there with
Cornwall for metals.

[Illustration: SITZ BATH.]



Without health there can be no sport. A man at the commencement of the
hunting often requires condition more than his horse, especially if
engaged in sedentary occupations, and averse to summer riding or
walking. Of course the proper plan is to train by walking or riding. I
remember, some years ago, when three months of severe mental occupation
had kept me entirely out of the saddle, going out in Northamptonshire,
fortunately admirably mounted, when the hounds were no sooner in cover
than they were out of it, "running breast high," five minutes after I
had changed from my seat in a dog-cart to the saddle. We had thirty-five
minutes' sharp run, without a check, and for the latter part of the run
I was perfectly beaten, almost black in the face, and scarcely able to
hold my horse together. I did not recover from this too sudden exertion
for many days. Those who are out of condition will do well to ride,
instead of driving to cover.

In changing from town to country life, between the different hours of
rising and hearty meals--the result of fresh air and exercise--the
stomach and bowels are very likely to get out of order. It is as well,
therefore, to be provided with some mild digestive pills: violent purges
are as injurious to men as to horses, and more inconvenient.

The enema is a valuable instrument, which a hunting man should not be
without, as its use, when you are in strong exercise, is often more
advisable than medicine.

But one of the most valuable aids to the health and spirits of a
hard-riding man is the Sitz Bath, which, taken morning and evening, cold
or tepid, according to individual taste, has even more advantageous
effects on the system than a complete bath. It braces the muscles,
strengthens the nerves, and tends to keep the bowels open. Sitz baths
are made in zinc, and are tolerably portable; but in a country place you
may make shift with a tub half-filled with water. In taking this kind of
bath, it is essential that the parts not in the water should be warm and
comfortable. For this end, in cold weather, case your feet and legs in
warm stockings, and cover your person and tub with a poncho, through the
hole of which you can thrust your head. In default of a poncho, a plaid
or blanket will do, and in warm weather a sheet. If you begin with
tepid water, you will soon be able to bear cold, as after the first
shock the cold disappears. The water must not reach higher than your
hips, rather under than over. The time for a Sitz bath varies from ten
to twenty minutes, not longer, during which you may read or smoke; but
then you will need sleeves, for it is essential that you should be
covered all the time. I often take a cup of coffee in this bath, it
saves time in breakfasting. In the illustration, the blanket has been
turned back to show the right position.


In case of an attack of cold or influenza, or a necessity for sweating
off a few pounds, or especially after a severe fall, there is no bath so
effective and so simple as the hot-air or Indian bath. This is made with
a wooden-bottomed kitchen chair, a few blankets, a tin cup, and a
claret-glass of spirits of wine. For want of spirits of wine you might
use a dozen of Price's night lights.

Take a wooden-bottomed chair, and place it in a convenient part of the
bedroom, where a fire should be previously lighted. Put under the chair
a narrow metal cup or gallipot, if it will stand fire filled with
spirits of wine. Let the bather strip to his drawers, and sit down on
the chair with a fold of flannel under him, for the seat will get
extremely hot--put on his knees a slop-basin, with a sponge and a little
cold water. Then take four blankets or rugs, and lay them, one over his
back, one over his front, and one on each side, so as to cover him
closely in a woollen tent, and wrap his head up in flannel or silk--if
he is cold or shivering put his feet in warm water, or on a hot brick
wrapped in flannel. Then light the spirits of wine, which will very soon
make a famous hot-air bath. By giving the patient a little _cold water_
to drink, perspiration will be encouraged; if he finds the air
inconveniently hot before he begins to perspire, he can use the sponge
and slop-basin to bathe his chest, &c.

[Illustration: INDIAN BATH.]

When the perspiration rolls like rain from his face, and you think he
has had enough, have a blanket warmed at the fire, strip him, roll him
in it, and tumble him into bed. In five or ten minutes, you can take
away the blanket and put on his night shirt--give him a drink of white
wine whey, and he will be ready to go to sleep comfortably.

This bath can be administered when a patient is too ill to be put in a
warm bath, and is more effective. I have seen admirable results from it
on a gentleman after a horse had rolled over him.

It can also be prepared in a few minutes, in places where to get a warm
bath would be out of the question.

In the illustration, the blanket is turned back, to show the proper
position, and by error the head is not covered.

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  =30. The King's Own.= By Captain Marryat.
  =31. Mr. Midshipman Easy.= By Captain Marryat.
  =32. Newton Forster.= By Captain Marryat.
  =33. The Pacha of Many Tales.= By Captain Marryat.
  =34. Rattlin the Reefer.= Edited by Captain Marryat.
  =35. The Poacher.= By Captain Marryat.
  =36. The Phantom Ship.= By Captain Marryat.
  =37. The Dog Fiend.= By Captain Marryat.
  =38. Percival Keene.= By Captain Marryat.
  =39. Hector O'Halloran.= By W. H. Maxwell.
  =40. The Pottleton Legacy.= By Albert Smith.
  =41. The Pastor's Fireside.= By Miss Porter.
  =42. My Cousin Nicholas.= By Ingoldsby.
  =43. The Black Dragoons.= By James Grant.

Transcriber's Note

The following typographical errors were corrected.

Page   Error
  iii  Mr. Rarey's Introduction changed to Mr. Rarey's Introduction.
    v  snaffle.--the changed to snaffle.--The
  vii  struogling changed to struggling
   10  under the auspicies changed to under the auspices
   11  violent loungings changed to violent longeings
  fn 20-*  April 7.' changed to April 7."
   23  shere humbug changed to sheer humbug
   26  omiting changed to omitting
   30  scimetar changed to scimitar
   31  spangled troope changed to spangled troupe
   31  horse wont changed to horse won't
   64  suppleing changed to suppling
   88  long wholebone whip changed to long whalebone whip
   95  any horse changed to any horse.
  128  round to the right. changed to round to the right." (based on
       comparison to another edition of the book)
  129  gotamongst changed to got amongst
  129  aid-de-camps changed to aide-de-camps
  159  of my pupils changed to of my pupils.
  173  white potatoe oats changed to white potato oats
  173  45lbs. changed to 45 lbs.
  185  distance, we though changed to distance, we thought
  202  Mobbing a fox changed to Mobbing a fox.
  210  danger of stubbing changed to danger of stubbing.
  216  distinction bewteen changed to distinction between
  Ads 2  Bancrofts changed to Bancroft's

  bullfinch / bulfinch
  farm-house / farmhouse
  fox-hounds / foxhounds
  jibbing / gibbing
  off-side / offside
  over-run / overrun
  practice / practise (and other forms of the word also vary)
  road-side / roadside
  steeple-chase / steeplechase
  thorough-bred / thoroughbred

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