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Title: Small Horses in Warfare
Author: Gilbey, Sir Walter
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 "Small Horses in Warfare" ***

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    SMALL HORSES IN WARFARE

    [Illustration: _Frederick Taylor, pinxt._ ON THE ALERT.]



    SMALL HORSES IN WARFARE

    BY

    SIR WALTER GILBEY, BART.


    ILLUSTRATED

    VINTON & CO., LTD.

    9, NEW BRIDGE STREET, LONDON, E.C.

    1900



    CONTENTS.


    HORSES IN THE CRIMEAN WAR
    CAPE HORSES
    PONIES IN THE SOUDAN
    BURNABY'S RIDE TO KHIVA
    POST HORSES IN SIBERIA
    PONIES IN INDIA
    PONIES IN NORTHERN AFRICA
    PONIES IN MOROCCO
    PONIES IN EASTERN ASIA
    PONIES IN AUSTRALIA
    PONIES IN AMERICA AND TEXAS
    ARMY HORSES OF THE FUTURE
    BREEDING SMALL HORSES
    APPENDIX



    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


    ON THE ALERT
    BASHI BAZOUK
    ONE OF REMINGTON'S HORSE
    SIX ORIGINAL PENCIL SKETCHES BY HENRY ALKEN
    GIMCRACK


_The present seems an appropriate time to put forward a few facts which
go to prove the peculiar suitability of small horses for certain
campaigning work which demands staying power, hardiness and independence
of high feeding. The circumstance that the military authorities have
been obliged to look to foreign countries for supplies of such horses
for the war in South Africa has suggested the propriety of pointing out
that we possess in England foundation stock from which we may be able to
raise a breed of small horses equal to, or better than, any we are now
obliged to procure abroad._

_Elsenham Hall, Essex, May, 1900._



SMALL HORSES IN WARFARE.


The campaign in South Africa has proved beyond doubt the necessity for a
strong force similar to that of the Boers. Their rapidity of movement
has given us an important lesson in the military value of horses of that
useful type which is suitable for light cavalry and mounted infantry.

Since the war broke out we have seen that we possess numbers of men able
to ride and shoot, who only need a little training to develop them into
valuable soldiers, but our difficulty throughout has been to provide
horses of the stamp required for the work they have to perform. The
experience we have gained in South Africa goes to confirm that acquired
in the Crimea, where it was found that the horses sent out from England
were unable to withstand the climate, poor food, and the hardships to
which they were subjected, while the small native horses and those bred
in countries further East suffered little from these causes. It was
then proved beyond dispute that these small horses are both hardy and
enduring, while, owing to their possession like our English
thoroughbreds of a strong strain of Arab blood, they were speedy enough
for light cavalry purposes.

Breeders of every class of horse, saving only those who breed the
Shetland pony and the few who aim at getting ponies for polo, have for
generations made it their object to obtain increased height. There is
nothing to be urged against this policy in so far as certain breeds are
concerned; the sixteen-hand thoroughbred with his greater stride is more
likely to win races than the horse of fifteen two; the sixteen-hand
carriage horse, other qualities being equal, brings a better price than
one of less stature; and the Shire horse of 16.2 or 17 hands has
commonly in proportion greater strength and weight, the qualities most
desirable in him, than a smaller horse. Thus we can show excellent
reason for our endeavours to increase the height of our most valuable
breeds; and the long period that has elapsed since we were last called
upon to put forward our military strength has allowed us to lose sight
of the great importance of other qualities.

Breeders and horsemen are well aware, though the general public may not
know or may not realise the fact, that increased height in the horse
does not necessarily involve increased strength in all directions, such
as greater weight-carrying power and more endurance. Granting that the
saying, "a good big horse is better than a good little one," is in the
main correct, we have to consider that the merits which go to make a
useful horse for campaigning are infinitely more common in small horses
than in big ones.

All the experience of campaigners, explorers and travellers goes to
prove that small compact animals between 13.2 and 14.2 hands high are
those on which reliance can be placed for hard and continuous work on
scanty and innutritious food.



HORSES IN THE CRIMEAN WAR.


During the Crimean War I was located for a short time at Abydos in Asia
Minor, on the shores of the Dardanelles, and had daily opportunities of
seeing the horses and studying the manoeuvres of some 3,000 mounted
Bashi Bazouks and Armenian troops who were encamped there under General
Beatson in readiness for summons to the Crimea, whither they were
eventually dispatched.

The horses on which these troops were mounted ranged from 14 hands to
14.3; all had a strong strain of Arab blood, and had come with the
troops from the Islands of the Archipelago. They were perfect horses for
light cavalry work. The economy with which they were fed was surprising:
their feed consisted principally of chopped straw with a small daily
ration of barley when the grain was procurable, which was not always the
case; and on this diet they continued in condition to endure long
journeys which would have speedily broken down the best English charger
in the British army.



CAPE HORSES.


The universal opinion of residents in South Africa is against the
introduction of imported horses for general work, inasmuch as they
cannot withstand the climate, hard living, bad roads and rough usage
which make up the conditions of a horse's life in the Colony.

In past years, before the present war, large numbers of English
horses have been sent to Natal for military service, but the results
were not satisfactory; all became useless, and the large majority died;
the change from English stables and English methods of management to
those in vogue in the Colony almost invariably proved fatal.

  [Illustration: BASHI BAZOUK]

Some five years ago, when discussing with Mr. Cecil Rhodes the
advisability of introducing into Cape Colony English sires to improve
the stamp of horse bred in South Africa, he gave his opinion against
such measures. He pointed out that highly bred and large horses were
unsuitable for the work required in the Colony; they needed greater care
in housing, feeding, and grooming than the conditions of life in South
Africa would allow owners to bestow upon them. The hardships attendant
upon long journeys over rough country, the extremes of heat and cold
which horses must endure with insufficient shelter or none at all, must
inevitably overtax the stamina which has been weakened by generations of
luxurious existence in England.

Mr. Rhodes considered that no infusion of English blood would enhance
the powers of the small colonial bred horse to perform the work required
of him under local conditions; that though thoroughbred blood would
improve him in height and speed, these advantages would be obtained at
the cost of such indispensable qualities as endurance and ability to
thrive on poor and scanty fare.

It is however permissible to suppose that a gradual infusion of good
blood carefully chosen might in course of time benefit the Cape breed.
The use only of horses which have become acclimatised would perhaps
produce better results than have hitherto been obtained. The progeny
reared under the ordinary conditions prevailing in the Colony would
perpetuate good qualities, retaining the hardiness of the native breed.



PONIES IN THE SOUDAN.


The late Colonel P. H. S. Barrow furnished a most interesting and
suggestive Report to the War Office on the Arabs which were used by his
regiment, the 19th Hussars, during the Nile campaign of 1885. This
report is published among the Appendices to Colonel John Biddulph's
work, _The XIXth and their Times_ (1899).

Experience, in the words of Colonel Biddulph, had shown that English
horses could not stand hard work under a tropical sun with scarcity of
water and desert fare. It was therefore decided before leaving Cairo to
mount the regiment entirely on the small Syrian Arab horses used by the
Egyptian cavalry. Three hundred and fifty of these little horses had
been sent up in advance and were taken over by the regiment on arrival
at Wady Halfa. Colonel Barrow thus describes these horses:

"Arab stallion. Average height, 14 hands; average age, 8 years to 9
years; some 15 per cent. over 12 years; bought by Egyptian Government in
Syria and Lower Egypt; average price, £18."

About half of the ponies had been through the campaign in the Eastern
Soudan with the regiment in February and March, 1884, and had returned
in a very exhausted state. In September of that year they were marched
up from Assouan to Wady Halfa, 210 miles; and when handed over to the
19th again in November, all except some 10 per cent. of the number were
"in very fair marching condition." From Wady Halfa the regiment
proceeded to Korti, a distance of 360 miles, at a rate of about 16 miles
per day, halts, one of one day and one of two days not included; their
feed consisted of about 6 lbs. of barley or dhoora[1] and 10 lbs. of
dhoora stalk; and on this rather scanty ration the horses reached Korti
in very good condition. Here they remained for eighteen days, receiving
8 lbs. of green dhoora stalk daily instead of 8 lbs. dry; the rest and
change to green food produced improvement in their condition.

[1] Dhoora is a kind of millet cultivated throughout Asia and introduced
into the south of Europe; called also Indian millet and Guinea corn.

While the main body rested at Korti, a detachment of fifty went to
Gakdul, 100 miles distant, on reconnaissance; they performed the march
in sixty-three hours, had fifteen hours rest at Gakdul, and returned in
the same time. Six of the party returned more rapidly, covering the 100
miles in forty-six hours, the last 50 being covered in seven and a-half
hours. During these marches the horses were ridden for eighty-three
hours, the remaining fifty-eight hours of the time occupied being
absorbed by halts.

The reconnaissance party having returned on the 5th, the regiment,
numbering 8 officers and 127 men, with 155 horses, started, on January
8, to march with General Sir Herbert Stewart's column across the desert
to Gubat. This march, 336 miles, occupied from January 8 to February 20,
4 miles only being covered in the hour they were moving on the last
date. They halted on the 13th at Gakdul; whereby the average day's
journey works out at nearly 26 miles per day, or, if we ignore the march
(4 miles in one hour) of January 20, at nearly 28 miles per day. The
hardest day was the 16th, when the regiment travelled 40 miles in 11-1/2
hours, from 4.30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the horses receiving each half-a-gallon
of water and 4 lbs. of food grain. Their ability to work on scanty diet
was put to the test on this fortnight's march. The average daily ration
for the first ten days was from 5 to 6 lbs. of grain and 2 gallons of
water; the horses covering an average of 31 miles per day exclusive of
the halt at Gakdul on the 13th.

When the final advance to the Nile was made, the horses went fifty-five
hours with no water at all, and only 1 lb. of grain; some 15 or 20
horses were upwards of seventy hours without water. During their halt at
Gubat from January 20 to February 14, they had received but one ration
of grain, 6 lbs. given them two days before they had to start for the
Nile. During this period they performed out-post and patrol duty
averaging about 8 miles daily.

On the return march, the journey between Dongola and Wady Halfa, 250
miles, was performed on an average rate of 16 miles per day, with one
two-days' halt. On this march the regiment usually travelled at night
for the sake of coolness, but the scanty shade available generally
compelled exposure to the hot sun all day.

Colonel Barrow remarks, "I think it may be considered a most remarkable
circumstance that out of 350 horses, during nine months on a hard
campaign, only twelve died from disease." Colonel Biddulph sums up the
work of the horses in a few words: "The performance of the small Arab
horses, both with the river and desert columns, carrying a heavy weight,
on scanty fare and less water, is a marvel of endurance." The former
officer attributes the small percentage of loss from disease to the
facts (1) that the climate of the Soudan is most suitable for horses,
(2) that the Syrian horse has a wonderful constitution, and is admirably
suited for warfare in an Eastern climate. Colonel Barrow's opinion on
the suitability of the Eastern climate for horses must not be read as
meaning for horses of all breeds. On the contrary, Colonel Biddulph, in
words quoted on a previous page, states that experience had shown that
English horses could not withstand the conditions of campaigning in the
Soudan.

Sir Richard Green Price, writing over the familiar pen-name of
"Borderer," in _Baily's Magazine_, has urged the formation of a regiment
of Lilliputian horse, to consist of men under five feet, or five feet
six inches, weighing not over eleven stone, of good chest measurement:
these he would mount on ponies not over 14.2 and equip with light arms
and accoutrements. As he points out, increase in our cavalry is an
admitted necessity, and this branch of it in particular appeals to the
common sense of the people as a quick and handy service:

     "After many years of practical experience of what ponies can
     and do accomplish, especially well-bred ones hardily reared, I
     do not hesitate to say that they will beat moderate horses of
     double their size, and that very few of our present cavalry
     horses could live with them in a campaign--they are more easily
     taught, handled and mounted than bigger horses, and with twice
     their constitution and thrice their sense--with riders to suit
     them, where are the drawbacks to their employment?"

Sir Richard, in brief, urges the creation of a regiment of scouts or
mounted infantry whose horses shall be of much the same type of those
described by Colonel Barrow.

The special correspondent of the _Times_ with the Modder River force, in
course of an article on this arm, which appears likely to play a large
part in the wars of the future, writes thus of the animals used by the
Colonists and Boers:--

     "Here in South Africa the country-bred pony, tractable, used to
     fire, and taught to remain where he is left if the reins be
     dropped from the bit, is already a half-trained animal for
     these purposes, and the work of training has been slight in
     consequence; but in Afghanistan, and other places where the
     mounted infantry man has been tried in a lesser degree, the
     chief cause of trouble has been found in his mount."

The South African ponies ridden by the Colonial scouts and mounted
infantry have acquired their education as shooting ponies on the veldt
under conditions very similar to those prevailing in warfare. There is
radical difference between animals so trained and ill-broken Indian
country-breds whose tempers have been far too frequently spoiled by
rough usage in native hands. The mounted infantry in Afghanistan might
well find trouble with such ponies.

  [Illustration: ONE OF REMINGTON'S HORSE.
  _Showing type of horse used by mounted infantry and scouts in the South
  African War._
  (By permission of the Proprietors of the "Daily Graphic.")]



BURNABY'S RIDE TO KHIVA.


Captain Burnaby, in his well-known book, _A Ride to Khiva_, describes
the animals brought up for his inspection at Kasala, in Turkestan, when
his wish to buy a horse was made known:--

     "The horses were for the most part of the worst description,
     that is to say, as far as appearance was concerned.... Except
     for their excessive leanness, they looked more like huge
     Newfoundland dogs than as connected with the equine race, and
     had been turned out in the depth of winter with no other
     covering save the thick coats which nature had given them....
     At last, after rejecting a number of jades which looked more
     fit to carry my boots than their wearer, I selected a little
     black horse. He was about 14 hands in height, and I eventually
     became his owner, saddle and bridle into the bargain, for the
     sum of £5, this being considered a very high price at Kasala."

The reader may be reminded that the winter of 1876-7, during which
Captain Burnaby accomplished his adventurous journey, was an
exceptionally severe one even for that part of the world, where long and
severe winters are the rule. On the day of his departure from Kasala the
thermometer stood at eight degrees below zero. The traveller was by no
means favourably impressed with the powers of the horse he had selected
as the least bad of a very poor lot, and the native guides started
apparently satisfied that it would break down under its heavy rider clad
to resist the penetrating cold.

After his second march, Captain Burnaby began to acquire a certain
measure of respect for this pony:--

     "What had surprised me most during our morning's march was the
     extreme endurance of our horses. The guide frequently had been
     obliged to dismount and to clean out their nostrils, which were
     entirely stuffed with icicles; but the little animals had
     ploughed their way steadily through the snow.... The one I
     rode, which in England would not have been considered able to
     carry my boots, was as fresh as possible after his march of
     seventeen miles. In spite of the weight on his back--quite
     twenty stone--he had never shown the least sign of fatigue."

Again, a few days later, the conditions of the journey having been no
less trying:--

     "From Jana Darya we rode forty miles without a halt. I must say
     that I was astonished to see how well the Kirghiz horses stood
     the long journeys. We had now gone 300 miles; and my little
     animal, in spite of his skeleton-like appearance, carried me
     quite as well as the day he left Kasala, this probably being
     owing to the change in his food from grass to barley. We are
     apt to think very highly of English horses, and deservedly as
     far as pace is concerned; but if it came to a question of
     endurance, I much doubt whether our large and well fed horses
     could compete with the little half-starved Kirghiz animals.
     This is a subject which must be borne in mind in the event of
     future complications in the East."

It is clear that Captain Burnaby was somewhat puzzled by the qualities
displayed by a steed which looked so unpromising; he seeks to explain
its performance by the better food it had enjoyed while on the march,
and begins to compare the staying power of English horses with those of
the Kirghiz pony with doubts as to the superiority of the former. At a
later date he records without surprise that his party travelled forty
miles in six hours, the horses having gone all the time at a slow steady
trot. On his return journey, while staying at Petro-Alexandrovsk, he was
given a mount on a little bay, hardly 14 hands high, for a day's
hunting; and records that it "danced about beneath me as if he had been
carrying a feather-weight jockey for the Cambridgeshire." The Kirghiz
and Bokharans who accompanied him evidently thought his weight would
prove too much for the pony, and when there was a ditch to be jumped
looked round to see how the bay would manage it. "Never a stumble ...
the hardy little beast could have carried Daniel Lambert if that worthy
but obese gentleman had been resuscitated for the occasion."

Finally, Captain Burnaby sums up the performance of this fourteen-hand
pony:--

     "We had ridden 371 miles in exactly nine days and two hours,
     thus averaging more than 40 miles a day! At the same time it
     must be remembered that, with an interval of in all not more
     than nine days' rest, my horse had previously carried me 500
     miles. In London, judging by his size, he would have been put
     down as a polo pony. In spite of the twenty stone he carried,
     he had never been either sick or lame during the journey, and
     had galloped the last 17 miles through the snow to Kasala in
     one hour and twenty-five minutes."

The same author describes a remarkable forced march made in the summer
of 1870 by Count Borkh in Russian Tartary. The Count's mission was to
test the possibility of taking artillery over the steep and difficult
passes in a certain district, and his force consisted of 150 cossacks,
and 60 mounted riflemen and a gun. The troops accomplished their journey
out and back, 266 miles, in six days; the heat was excessive, the
thermometer marking sometimes as much as 117° Fahr. during the day; yet
the ponies were none the worse of their exertions, the "sick list" at
the end comprising only twelve, all of which suffered from sore backs
caused by careless saddling. Other expeditions under similar conditions
are mentioned; these go to prove that the endurance of the Tartar pony
is affected as little by heat as by cold.



POST HORSES IN SIBERIA.


Mr. H. de Windt, in his book _From Pekin to Calais_, bears witness to
the wonderful endurance of the small post-horses supplied to travellers
in Siberia. He describes them as very little beasts ranging from 14.2 to
15 hands. "Though rough and ungroomed, they are well fed, as they need
to be, for a rest of only six hours is allowed between stages." The
speed maintained depends upon the condition of the roads; and the number
of horses furnished for each tarantass is regulated by the same factor;
three horses sufficing in good weather and as many as seven being
required when the roads are heavy from rain or snow.



PONIES IN INDIA.


Captain L. E. Nolan, in _Cavalry History and Tactics_ (1860), gives an
account of an experimental march made by 200 of the 15th Hussars from
Bangalore to Hyderabad and back, 800 miles. The objects of the march
were to test the capabilities of the troop horses and to ascertain if
there were anything to choose between stallions and geldings in respect
of endurance. To arrive at a solution of the latter question, one
hundred of the men were mounted on entires and the other hundred on
horses which had been castrated only six months previously, regardless
of age, for the purpose of making the experiment.

The squadrons marched to their destination, took part in field-days and
pageants, and started to reach Bangalore by forced marches; they
accomplished the last 180 miles at a rate of thirty miles per day,
bringing in only one led horse, the remainder being perfectly sound and
fit for further work. One horse, a 14.3 Persian, carried a corporal who,
with his accoutrements, rode 22 stone 7 lbs. It may be added that there
was nothing to choose between the performances of the stallions and
geldings; though the fact that the latter had so recently been castrated
was held to make their achievement the more creditable.

A forced march such as this has far more value as testimony to staying
power than a more trying feat performed by a single animal; but mention
must be made of Captain Horne's ride. This officer, who belonged to the
Madras Horse Artillery, undertook in 1841 to ride his grey Arab,
"Jumping Jimmy," 400 miles in five days on the Bangalore race-course;
and accomplished his task with three hours and five minutes to spare,
the horse doing the last 79 miles 5 furlongs in 19 hours 55 minutes, and
being quite ready for his corn when pulled up. General Tweedie, in his
work on _The Arabian Horse_ (1894), quotes the above particulars from
the _Bengal Sporting Magazine_, in whose pages full details are given.

Captain Nolan, in the work from which quotation has been made above,
sums up the shortcomings of the cavalry trooper of his day in the
following pithy sentences:--

     "Our cavalry horses are feeble; they measure high, but they do
     so from length of limb, which is weakness, not power. The blood
     they require is not that of our weedy race-horse (an animal
     more akin to the greyhound and bred for speed alone), but it is
     the blood of the Arab and Persian, to give them that compact
     form and wiry limb in which they are wanting."

The great value of the pony in India was insisted on by Mr. J. H. B.
Hallen, formerly the General Superintendent of the Horse Breeding
Department, in a memorandum published at Meerut in 1899. Pointing out
the many spheres of utility open to the pony, he urged the local
authorities and agricultural societies to foster and develop pony
breeding by providing suitable stallions for public use. As proving the
value of the pony, Mr. Hallen points out that in the two-wheeled cart
called an _ekka_, used by the natives of Northern India, a pony will
draw a load of from 4-1/2 to 6 cwt. over long distances at a rate of 5
or 6 miles an hour.

Ponies all over India are equally in request for riding and driving, and
in the northern parts for pack purposes. Indeed, adds Mr. Hallen, "the
pony may be said to be all round the most useful animal." The supply is
not equal to the demand.

Captain H. L. Powell, R.H.A., writing in _Baily's Magazine_ of March,
1900, says:--

     "I am a great believer in the Arab for officers' chargers,
     light cavalry and mounted infantry in this campaign. The Arab
     is a hardy little beast, and will thrive and do well on what
     would be starvation rations for an ordinary troop-horse. As a
     rule the Arab is rather light of bone, but his bone is twice as
     strong as that of an underbred horse. I have an Arab pony about
     14.2 which I am looking after for his owner who went out to the
     war, and who is now, I am sorry to say, enjoying Mr. Kruger's
     hospitality in Pretoria. The pony carries my 15 stone as if it
     was a feather, and never seems to tire."

The superiority of the Arab over the Indian country-bred is reflected
in their respective cost. Mr. Hallen, in the memorandum before referred
to, says stallions of the country-bred class can be obtained at from
about £6 10s. to £13, while suitable Arab pony stallions cost from £16
10s. to £33.



PONIES IN NORTHERN AFRICA.[2]


The best authority on the breeds used by the Arabs of Northern Africa is
probably General E. Daumas, who held high commands in Algeria and was
for a time the French Consul at Mascara. The Chasseurs d'Afrique are
mounted on Barbs, and thus the capabilities of these horses were of
practical importance to this officer; moreover, he took a very keen
personal interest in all matters relating to the horse, and spared no
endeavour to inform himself concerning the breed of the country in which
he resided. Hence the description in General Daumas' book, _The Horses
of the Sahara: with Commentaries by the Emir Abd El Kadr_ (1863) is
accepted as the standard on the Barb.

[2] The Barb, there is no possible doubt, is of pure Arab origin: in the
seventh century, when the Fatimite sect of Mohammedans held sway in
Egypt, numerous Arab tribes migrated to Africa and gradually spread over
the whole of the northern portion of the continent; the horses they
brought with them spread in like manner.

The letters of the famous Emir to General Daumas, containing categorical
replies to questions put by the latter, show that the Barbs possess
endurance in a very remarkable degree. Their average height is nowhere
mentioned in this work, but they are, as we believe, somewhat smaller
than the Arab in his native country and in India. There is a suggestive
hint of their small size in a remark by General Daumas: he says that
inexperienced horsemen with their spurs "sometimes prick the animal on
the knee-pan and so lame him if the wound be deep." Assuming that the
average height of the horseman be 5 feet 6 inches, and making due
allowance for the "straight-legged" seat of the cavalry man, the
General's remark points to a horse certainly not over 14 hands.

In answer to General Daumas' enquiry as to the amount of work a Barb can
do, the Emir replies:--

     "A horse sound in every limb and eating as much barley as his
     stomach can contain can do whatever his rider can ask of him.
     For this reason the Arabs say, 'give barley and over-work him,'
     but without tasking him over much a horse can be made to do
     about sixteen _parasangs_ (equal to about fifty English miles)
     a day, day after day. It is the distance from Mascara to
     Koudiat Aghelizan on the Oued-Mina: it has been measured in
     cubits. A horse performing this journey every day, and having
     as much barley as it likes to eat, can go on without fatigue
     for three or four months without lying by a single day."

The Arabs on their _razzias_, or cattle-stealing expeditions, of
necessity travel with as little encumbrance as possible: on such
expeditions, which may require twenty or twenty-five days' rapid travel,
each horseman carries only enough barley to give his mount eight feeds.
In some parts of the Sahara green food is never given; frequent watering
is recommended by all Arab horsemen.

An Arab of the Arbâa tribe gave General Daumas full particulars of a
ride he once undertook to save a highly prized mare from the hands of
the Turks. In twenty-four hours he rode her eighty leagues, and during
the journey she obtained nothing to eat but leaves of the dwarf palm,
and was watered once.

More directly bearing on our present enquiry are the particulars
furnished by Colonel Duringer of the weights carried in most of the
expeditions by the horses of the Chasseurs d'Afrique. These details were
ascertained by the Colonel at the moment of departure of a
column:--Horseman, 180 lbs.; equipment, 53 lbs.; pressed hay for five
days, 55 lbs.; barley for same period, 44 lbs. The man's own provisions
brought up the total burden to about 350 lbs. English = 25 stone! Daily
consumption of hay and grain would reduce this colossal burden
gradually; but the horse would never carry less than 16 stone 9 lbs. at
the end of his journey, starting with the load described.

As regards forced marches of comparatively short duration, Colonel
Duringer states that

     "A good horse in the desert ought to accomplish for five or six
     days, one after the other, distances of 25 to 30 leagues. After
     a couple of days' rest, if well fed he will be quite fresh
     enough to repeat the feat. It is no very rare occurrence to
     hear of horses doing 50 or 60 leagues in twenty-four hours."



PONIES IN MOROCCO.


Mr. T. E. Cornwell, who has had twenty years' experience of travel and
residence in Morocco, gives the ponies in common use in that country a
high character as weight carriers and for endurance on scanty food; they
are also very sure-footed. These horses he describes as Barbs, very
hardy with thick shoulders; they average 14 hands 2 inches, rarely
attaining a height of 15 hands. They generally receive a feed of
rough straw in the morning and a ration of barley, from 6 to 7 lbs., at
night; they are watered (when water can be obtained) once a day. Grass
can be had at some seasons of the year, but the horses, being tethered
during halts, cannot graze, and as the task of cutting grass would
entail delay it is never used.

  [Illustration: _Here they come!_
  _There they are!_
  _On the Look Out._
  _On the Look Out._
  _Charging on them._
  _Receiving the Charge._
  _From original pencil sketches by Henry Alken._]

Mr. Cornwell, a 14 stone man, has ridden one of these ponies for
thirty-two consecutive days, with only one day's rest, covering an
average of thirty miles per day.

General Maclean, who for a long period was the "Kaid" or
Commander-in-Chief of the Sultan's forces in Morocco, once tried the
experiment of stabling his horses instead of picketing out in the open,
which is the usual practice. The experiment did not answer, for on his
next expedition every horse died; shelter for a period had no doubt
rendered them susceptible to maladies brought on by exposure at night.
These ponies could be purchased at a figure ranging from £8 to £11 per
head. An export duty of £3 10s., which is levied on every horse sent out
of Morocco, must be added to these rates by foreign purchasers.

Mr. Cornwell states that an infusion of English blood does nothing to
improve these hardy Morocco ponies. Blood horses from England have been
imported and crossed with the native mares, but the produce have always
been leggy and less capable of continued hard work than the native
breed.



PONIES IN EASTERN ASIA.


The pony commonly used in China is bred in the northern part of the
country. According to a writer in _Baily's Magazine_, immense droves of
ponies run on the plains three or four hundred miles from Pekin, and the
breeders bring them down every year for sale in the more populous
districts. They average about 13.1 in height, and though in very
wretched condition when brought to market, pick up rapidly on good food.
They are usually short and deep in the barrel, have good legs and feet,
and fairly good shoulders. Speed is not to be expected from their
conformation; but they can carry heavy weights, are of robust
constitution and possess great endurance.

The Burmese ponies are smaller than the Chinese, averaging about 12
hands 2 inches, a thirteen-hand pony being considered a big one. They
are generally sturdy little beasts with good shoulders, excellent bone
and very strong in the back; sound, hardy and enduring, capable of doing
much continuous hard work under a heavy weight on indifferent food. Like
the Chinese ponies, they are somewhat slow, but they are marvellous
jumpers.

Before the annexation of Upper Burma in 1885 the lower province was
dependent upon the breeders of the Shan Hills and on the breeders in
independent Burma for its ponies, as the export of stallions and mares
was forbidden.

Since the annexation the Indian Government have sought to improve the
native breed by the introduction of Arab pony stallions; the superior
size and good looks of the "Indo-Burman," as the cross-bred is called,
are, the writer understands, steadily leading to the disappearance of
the pure Burmese. The half-bred Arab has much to recommend him over the
pure Burmese pony in greater docility and speed; but these advantages
appear to have been gained at some sacrifice of weight-carrying power
and endurance.

Captain M. H. Hayes, in _The Points of the Horse_, states that the
ponies of Sumatra, averaging about 12 hands 2 inches, are the strongest
for their size he has ever seen. He describes them as "simply balls of
muscle," and notes the beauty of their heads, which would seem to
distinguish them as a breed from the ponies found on the mainland. The
Corean pony is the smallest of Eastern breeds, but his extraordinary
weight-carrying power makes him a marvel: averaging about ten hands in
height and slight of build, he is nevertheless able to carry a
full-grown man, on a saddle secured over a pile of rugs to atone for his
small size, and to do a long day's work under a burden wholly
disproportionate to his inches.



PONIES IN AUSTRALIA.


The Australian "mail-man," or mounted postman, whose duty it is to
distribute and collect letters at the remote and scattered "stations"
far from railway centres, prefers small horses for his arduous work,
which demands endurance and speed. Thus they are described by
"Australian Native" in the _Field_ of June 11, 1892:--

     "The mail-man's riding horse is of an entirely different class
     [from the pack horse which carries the bags], and is probably
     best described as a 'big little' animal, or a symmetrical,
     typical English three-quarter bred hunter of 16 to 16.2 focused
     into 13.2 or 13.3, with slightly higher withers, which gives
     the appearance of a somewhat low back."

     "Bearing in mind the character of mail-men's duty, it becomes
     evident that of necessity their horses must possess combined
     stamina, high courage and speed. The stamp described have these
     qualities in a marked degree, and, in addition, their natural
     paces of jog--not an amble--and daisy-cutting canter not only
     enable them to get over the ground with great ease to
     themselves but also to their riders. Moreover, these small
     animals are not readily knocked up, but when they do get stale
     and leg-weary through extra hard work on little food, a few
     days on good grass is sufficient for them to regain their
     vitality. In Australian parlance, they are 'cut-and-come-again
     customers,' and unlike big horses, which, when they knock up,
     knock up for an indefinitely long period.

     "The smartest stock horses, those in use for drafting cattle,
     are also small, handy and well up to 12 stone, and as their
     prices are the same as mail-men's nags, from £4 to £8 per head,
     the evidence in favour of small horses for utilitarian
     purposes, and also on the score of economy, preponderates.
     Would such small animals, withal tough and wiry, be suitable
     for light cavalry?"

The answer to the concluding query is undoubtedly "Yes."



PONIES IN AMERICA AND TEXAS.


The ponies of North-West America are famed for their powers of
endurance, which are the more remarkable in view of their make and
shape. These animals are without doubt the descendants of stock
introduced by the Spaniards when they invaded Mexico early in the 16th
century; the offspring of these Spanish horses in course of time spread
over the whole continent.

Colonel Richard Irving Dodge remarks, in his work _Our Wild Indians_
(1882), that the horses introduced by the Spaniards must have been very
inferior in size, or the race has greatly degenerated; as compared with
the American horse, the Indian pony is very small. As the subsequent
observations of Colonel Dodge prove, these ponies, if they have lost
size have lost absolutely nothing in working qualities; they have become
adapted to their conditions of life and have probably gained in
hardiness of constitution and endurance. He writes:--

     "Averaging scarcely fourteen hands in height, the Indian pony
     is rather slight in build, though always having powerful
     fore-quarters, good legs, short, strong back, and full barrel.
     He has not the slightest appearance of 'blood,' though his
     sharp, nervous ears and bright, vicious eye indicate unusual
     intelligence and temper. But the amount of work he can do and
     the distance he can make in a specified (long) time put him
     fairly on a level with the Arabian or any other of the animal
     creation.... Treated properly, the pony will wear out two
     American horses, but in the hands of the Indian he is so abused
     and neglected that an energetic cavalry officer will wear him
     out."

The North-West American Indian, though a marvellous horseman as a "trick
rider," has apparently no idea whatever of saving his mount, whatever
the distance he has to travel. According to Colonel Dodge, who has
enjoyed many opportunities of informing himself on Indian usages, more
especially as an enemy, he will gallop his pony till it drops from sheer
exhaustion.

As showing what a good pony can do in the hands of a man who knows how
to make the most of him, Colonel Dodge states that he once tried to buy
an animal which pleased his eye, offering forty dollars for it;
whereupon the owner replied that the price was six hundred dollars.
Repeating the incident to someone who knew the pony, he was informed
that the owner had not been actuated by any boastful spirit; that he had
good reason for attaching a very high value to it. The man, it appeared,
had been employed to carry the mail bags between Chehuahua and El Paso,
nearly 300 miles apart, during a period of six months, when the roads
were closed for ordinary travel by marauding bands of Apache Indians on
the watch for white men.

He had to make the perilous journey once a week, and he performed it on
the pony, riding all night for three successive nights, and hiding by
day. The Indians, it may be added, are deterred by superstition from
risking death by night; hence an additional good reason for the express
rider's choice of time to travel. For six months the pony carried him
between ninety and a hundred miles on three consecutive nights in each
week; he went one week and returned the next in the same way. And
Colonel Dodge adds that this tax upon his powers "had not diminished the
fire and flesh of that pony."

Writing of the breed in another work, _The Hunting Grounds of the Great
West_, Colonel Dodge observes that civilisation spoils this pony;
accustomed on the ranche and prairie to pick up his own living when
turned out after a long day's work in summer, and used to
semi-starvation in winter, when stabled, shod, and fed on corn, his
character undergoes a change. He either becomes morose, ill-tempered,
hard to manage and dangerous, or he degenerates into a fat, lazy,
short-winded cob, "only fit for a baby or an octogenarian." The latter
change is the more usual. We can well understand that such would be the
result.

Colonel Dodge has no doubt but that the Indian pony is identical with
the Texan mustang or wild horse, concerning whose qualities we may take
the evidence of a contributor to the _Field_. "C. E. H." writes, in an
article on "A Texas Fair," published in 1891:--

     "The native stock for endurance and soundness of constitution
     cannot be surpassed. We have owned many of these animals of
     from fourteen to fifteen hands, and never had an unsound one
     yet. They will carry one 70 miles a day without tiring; and we
     sold a horse aged 8 years ten years ago, which was lately
     disposed of for only £3 less than the sum we then received for
     him."

The horses raised on the plains of Uruguay, on the River Plate, have
much in common with the mustang, but retain to a greater degree the
characteristics of their remote Spanish ancestry in the small lean head
and well-turned limbs. They are somewhat higher than the mustang,
varying between 14 and 15 hands, seldom exceeding the latter height; but
the natives attach no importance to hands and inches, it being an
acknowledged fact that the smallest horses are in many instances the
best. Accustomed to run at large until between four and five years old,
these horses are sound and hardy, capable of carrying fourteen or
fifteen stone all day without tiring and able to perform hard and
continuous work on little food.



ARMY HORSES OF THE FUTURE.


Let it not be supposed for a moment that in urging the merits of small
horses the writer seeks to asperse the value of heavy cavalry. Weight in
men and size in horses are indispensable for such work as our heavy
cavalry are called upon to perform; even the civilian mind can
appreciate the mysteries of tactics so far as to recognise that a charge
of heavy cavalry can effect infinitely greater results upon an enemy
than men mounted on ponies of fourteen hands or fourteen hands two
inches.

Authorities on military affairs seem agreed that the great improvements
made in small arms of precision since the Crimean War have done much to
impair the former value of heavy cavalry for direct attack; it needs no
trained intelligence to recognise that cavalry advancing in close rank
might well be shot down to a man in attempting to charge a foe, not
necessarily under cover, over a thousand yards of fairly open ground on
which such a manoeuvre is possible to cavalry. For artillery and
transport, however, we shall always need powerful horses, and the
draught power required is only to be obtained with height.

When it was made evident that very much larger numbers of mounted
infantry were required for the South African campaign than had been
anticipated, the remount agents were instructed to purchase cobs, and to
obtain these in quantity it was necessary to go to foreign countries,
the United States, Argentina, and Hungary, where they could be procured.
Had the demand been made for ponies, a very large proportion of our
Army's need could have been bought cheaply and quickly in this country.
For in the ponies of Exmoor, Wales, the New Forest and other districts,
we possess large numbers of animals whose small size bears no relation
to their weight carrying power, and whose mode of life is the best
possible preparation for "roughing it" in South Africa. Very different
is the case with the animals shipped from England.

For generations, now, horses for the saddle and lighter draught work
have been very largely bred less as necessaries than luxuries; the
conditions of their lives are artificial in a high degree, and the
constitution which could formerly withstand exposure, hard and
continuous work and scanty feed, has been softened by pampering. To take
such horses out of their stables where the temperature is regulated,
where they are warmly clothed and regularly fed, and despatch them to
endure the hardships of campaigning in countries where hay and oats are
unknown or unprocurable, and the forage obtainable is unsuited to
English chargers--in short, to most severely tax their powers under a
set of conditions entirely opposed to those to which they are
accustomed--is to invite heavy mortality.

The sacrifice of useful qualities to the "god of inches" is deplored
only in so far as it applies to horses for mounted infantry and light
cavalry. The utility of large and powerful horses is not, and never has
been, questioned. In point of fact it is their value for the work in
which they are employed that has done something to blind us to the very
real value--for special tasks--of ponies: and if the foregoing pages do
anything to prove that there is in modern warfare a place of the highest
importance which can only be filled by the small horse of 14.2 or
thereabouts, their object has been fulfilled.



BREEDING SMALL HORSES.


Assuming that the peculiar suitability of horses between 14 hands and 14
hands 3 inches for mounted infantry and light cavalry purposes is
acknowledged by the authorities, and that these forces will in future
form a larger proportion of our standing army, it behoves us to turn our
attention to the task of breeding. The high prices obtainable for
first-class polo ponies have given a stimulus to pony-breeding, and it
may be said the foundations of the industry have been laid. What the
present remount market is to the breeder of hunters, so may the market
for mounted infantry cobs be to the breeder of polo ponies; but with
this difference, that the latter, being handicapped by the height limit
of 14 hands 2 inches, and the exceedingly high standard of merit[3]
required by polo players, will have a larger proportion of "misfits." To
compensate for the paucity of valuable prizes he may hope to draw in the
lottery of breeding, both stock and maintenance will be cheaper, if the
business be conducted on the lines which seem best calculated to result
in production of the horse desired.

[3] See _Ponies Past and Present_, by Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart. Vinton &
Co., Ltd.

What is required is an animal between 14.0 and 14.3 hands; it must be
stout and able to carry weight, capable of covering long distances at
fair speed, able to subsist on coarse or poor food for weeks together
without losing condition, strong of constitution to withstand the
exposure inevitable on a campaign, and the more tractable the better. To
get small horses endowed with these qualifications we must look to the
breeds which possess them in marked degree, to the ponies of the Welsh
Hills, Exmoor, the New Forest, the Fell districts, and West of Ireland.
In these we have ponies ranging in height from 12.2 to 13.3 or 14 hands;
they are compact, sturdy, and untiring; they can carry weights which are
out of all ratio to their size; they live on grass, and the open-air
life they lead, year in year out, has made them completely independent
of the luxurious "coddling" bestowed upon other horses.

These ponies lack only the size required in our mounted infantry horse,
and these essentials we can obtain from the sire we shall select.
Keeping ever in mind that an animal of the polo-pony stamp--a hunter in
miniature--is required, what sire is more likely to get the desired pony
than the Arab? We might use a small Thoroughbred with excellent results,
but having regard to the rarity with which we find good bone and sound
constitution in the Thoroughbred, and also having regard to the inherent
soundness and stoutness of the Eastern horse, we shall probably obtain
more satisfactory young stock from Forest and Moorland dams if we use
the Arab sire. Blood, it is truly urged, gives the superior speed and
courage required in the polo-pony, but let us not forget that Arabs were
the sires from which all our modern race-horses are descended. The best
horses on the Turf to-day may be traced to one of the three famous
sires--the Byerly Turk imported in 1689, the Darley Arabian in 1706, and
the Godolphin Arabian in 1730: all of them, it may be remarked, horses
under 14 hands.

By going back to the original strain we shall obtain all the useful
qualities our Thoroughbreds possess without those undesired
characteristics, greatly increased size, great speed, delicacy of
constitution and complete inability to lead a natural life which man's
long-maintained endeavours to breed race horses have implanted in them.
In a word, we shall obtain a natural and not an artificial horse; the
modern race-horse is practically everything the mounted infantry cob
must not be, saving only in respect of speed, and speed for only a
short distance is of no great use to mounted infantry. By using the Arab
we may expect to obtain the qualities our race horses boasted a century
and a half or two centuries ago, when they stood 14 hands to 14.3--the
famous Gimcrack is said to have measured 14 hands 0-1/4 inch.

There is much to be said in favour of the policy of returning to the
original Eastern stock to find suitable sires for our proposed breed of
ponies. While we have been breeding the Thoroughbred for speed and speed
only, Arab breeders have continued to breed for stoutness, endurance and
good looks. By going to Arab stock for our sires we might at the
beginning sacrifice some measure of speed: but what was lost in that
respect would be more than compensated by the soundness of constitution
and limb which are such conspicuous traits in the Eastern horse.
Furthermore, the difficulty of size which confronts us in the
Thoroughbred sire is much diminished if we adopt the Arab as our
foundation sire.

By crossing the Arab on mares of our forest and moorland breeds we shall
obtain the increased size and speed required, while it will be possible
to preserve the valuable qualities of the dam. Those qualities, the
hardiness, robustness of constitution, sureness of foot, and ability to
thrive on poor feed, are the natural outcome of the conditions under
which they have lived for centuries; and to preserve them in the young
stock, it will be necessary to rear the cross-bred foals under
conditions as nearly natural as their constitution will allow. What
those conditions should be circumstances must determine; but it is
possible to combine large measure of liberty with a certain amount of
shelter from the rigours of winter, such as the foal with Arab blood in
his veins would require. To take up the young stock as soon as weaned,
stable and feed them artificially, though this course would preserve
them from the risks of exposure, would produce failure in other
directions. It would encourage undue physical development while
undermining that capacity for endurance of hardship which is so
essential.

  [Illustration: _From a drawing on stone by Gauci._ GIMCRACK]

Whether, by careful attention to mating and management, it would be
possible to establish a breed of small horses as a fixed type is a
question only prolonged experience will be able to answer. It is quite
certain that we shall never be able to reckon on getting stock which,
when fully grown and furnished, will neither exceed nor fall short of
the limit of 14 hands 2 inches, at which the breeder will aim with the
prizes of the polo pony market in his mind's eye. But there is sound
reason to think that we can build upon an Arab and Forest or Moorland
pony foundation a breed of small horses such as we need for mounted
infantry.

There are difficulties in the way; and not the least is the peculiar
care and watchfulness that must be exercised in order to hit the "happy
medium" between artificial life, with its attendant drawbacks of
probable overgrowth and certain delicacy of constitution, and the free,
natural existence, which may prove fatal to the cross-bred youngsters
and will certainly check their growth.

Having shown the great utility of small horses for work requiring
endurance, hardiness, and weight-carrying power, as proved by the
writings of authorities who, in several instances, employed them merely
because they could procure no other animals, and learned what their
qualities are by experience, we may briefly summarise what has been said
in regard to the foundation stock we possess.

(1) The pony dams of our Forest and Moorland breeds cannot be surpassed.

(2) The sire chosen should be a _small_ thoroughbred or an Arab. If a
half-breed sire is used his dam should be one not less than three parts
thoroughbred.

(3) Inasmuch as the forest and moorland ponies owe their small size and
soundness to the hardships of the free and natural conditions in which
they live, their half-bred produce should--

(_a_) Lead a similarly free and natural life as far as climate permits,
in order to inure them to the hardships of warfare and general work:

(_b_) Should exist, as far as possible, on natural herbage: as in all
cases artificial feeding tends to render them less hardy and enduring.



APPENDIX.


Since this little book was placed in the printers' hands, a work
published in 1836 has come under the writer's notice. This is entitled
_A Comparative View of the Form and Character of the English Racer and
Saddle Horse during the Past and Present Centuries_.[4] It was written
with the view of showing that the natural qualities of the
horse--endurance, weight-carrying power and speed maintained over long
distances, are found at their best in the horse which has been reared
under natural conditions and whose stature has not been increased by
"selection" in breeding and by artificial conditions of life. In the
opening words of the Introductory chapter;

[4] Illustrated by eighteen plates of horses.--Anon. Published by Thomas
Hookham, London.

     "The main object of these pages is to investigate the results
     of that structural enlargement of animals which is unnatural,
     to point out those properties which may be acquired by certain
     of them when fully reclaimed, and those which they are likely
     to lose in this condition.

     "The natural stature both of horses and cattle is small
     compared with that which they acquire when domesticated. The
     enlargement of their structure is effected by grass made by art
     unnaturally rich, or by food yet more foreign to their nature.
     Supplied plentifully with either throughout the year, horses
     acquire an increase of stature in muscular power which enables
     them to carry or drag a heavier weight...."

The author proceeds to observe that in enlarging the structure we seem
to modify rather than improve the vital powers of the animal; and by way
of illustrating his meaning points out with great truth that--

     "In the human race any extent of skeleton or amount of muscle
     which is unusually large is rarely allied with a full amount of
     vital power. Still, the man who has most muscle can make the
     greatest muscular exertion. If we change the nature of the
     trial and render it one of time or privations, the greater
     vital power of smaller but well-formed men is apparent."

Our author then proceeds to examine the properties which animals derive
from nature, comparing these with those they derive from art. In this
connection I have been much interested to observe that he cites the
greater strength, staying power and activity of the hare of the downs
over the hare of the park and low pasture-land. The same comparison was
made by me[5] as proof of the advantages to an animal of life-conditions
that compel the free use of limbs.

[5] "Young Race Horses," pp. 21-2, by Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart. Vinton &
Co., Limited, 1898.

Nature, observes this author, erects her own standard for measuring the
constitutional power of her creatures, and the individuals who no longer
come up to this perish prematurely. In other words, the constitutional
strength of animals is so regulated by, and adjusted to, the conditions
of feed and climate under which those animals pass their lives, that
they thrive vigorously. We do not, for instance, find the ponies of the
Welsh hills or of Exmoor, a feeble and delicate race; the feeble
individuals die off without perpetuating their weaknesses, and those
which come up to the standard of vitality Nature has prescribed survive
to reproduce their kind.

The following, which has direct bearing on the subject matter of the
foregoing pages, must be noted:--

     "Many facts have been recorded showing the extraordinary power
     of ponies for travelling fast and far, but these are so well
     known as to make it unnecessary to specify them here."

Nevertheless on a subsequent page we find recorded a very striking
example of endurance, which compares favourably with any of those quoted
in the foregoing pages and in my little work on Ponies:[6]

[6] "Ponies: Past and Present." By Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart Vinton & Co.,
Ltd.

     "The late Mr. Allen of Sudbury, in Suffolk, often during the
     course of his life rode from that place to London and back (112
     miles) in the course of a day upon a pony. This task was
     performed by several which Mr. Allen had in succession. When he
     returned home from these expeditions he was in the habit of
     turning the little animal he had ridden at once into the lanes
     without giving it a grain of corn. Mr. Allen, whose weight was
     very light, rode at a smart canter. He always selected Welsh
     ponies, saying that no others were so stout."

The author adds that if any one of our enlarged horses could be found
capable of performing this task it would certainly not be on a grass
diet; which is undoubtedly true.

At the date this book was published, 1836, the deterioration which our
race horses had undergone through the abolition of long-distance races
was a subject of comment. The author deplores the altered conditions of
the Royal Plates and the feebleness of the horses bred only for speed,
on the ground that the change was producing ill effects upon all
saddle-horses.

The author puts the whole case for a changed method of breeding in a
nutshell when he writes that "we want a class of horses bred under a
system which holds the balance even between speed, stoutness and
structural power." As proving that the balance can be struck, he points
to the uniformity of speed and stoutness which distinguishes a good pack
of foxhounds. None are markedly faster than the others; the aim is to
get the hounds as even in all respects as possible, and there are
numerous packs which prove to us that this aim can be achieved with
wonderful completeness. It goes without saying, however, that it is
infinitely easier to build up a level pack of hounds than it would be to
develop a given number of horses all of which shall be alike!

It is exceedingly interesting to find that sixty-four years ago this
author, with the improvement of horses in view, should advocate adoption
of the step which has been urged in the chapter (p. 36 and _seq._) on
"Breeding Small Horses." He is in favour of a National Establishment or
breeding stud, but that is a detail; he explains that his only reason
for making it a Government department is to secure that continuity of
policy which is otherwise unattainable. The nucleus of his scheme is to
"obtain from the East a considerable number of well selected ponies. The
better portion would be found to possess much natural speed, stoutness
under severe exertion, with limbs and feet peculiarly adapted for moving
rapidly on a hard surface." The persons commissioned to buy these ponies

     "Would search in vain for these properties which are acquired
     under a system of continued selection. Looking only for natural
     qualities, they should select animals as nearly in a state of
     nature as they could find them; having good symmetry, a full
     amount of muscle and whatever natural speed the best animals of
     the best race are found to possess."

He would have these horses tested for speed when brought home, the
standard being a natural degree of speed and not that of the Turf.

     "The offspring of these small horses should be tried in each
     succeeding generation; and we should be satisfied for a few
     years to see the natural speed of the race gradually augment,
     retaining only for breeding such as went through their trials
     satisfactorily."

On a later page he suggests the propriety of crossing these Eastern
sires with our Forest and Moorland ponies. He cannot doubt that the
immediate offspring of the first cross will prove suitable for the
saddle:

     "The best saddle horses we possess being now occasionally
     produced by crossing the race horse with a pony mare. This
     experiment often succeeding with one of the parents so ill
     fitted for taking part in it as the modern racer, there is
     every reason to conclude that, with parents properly
     constituted on both sides, the breeding of the best class of
     saddle horses might be accompanied with little uncertainty."

Thus far we find that the suggestions for breeding small horses set out
on pp. 36-43 were anticipated over sixty years ago. We must, before
taking leave of the author, glance at his plan for "renovating" our half
wild breeds of ponies. If it were practicable to carry out the
experiment he outlines, the results would be of undoubted interest.

     "To experiment properly in this matter it is necessary that a
     public establishment should appropriate some extensive district
     of unreclaimed and bad pasturage to the maintenance of a large
     body of ponies. These should be interfered with only to the
     extent of severe selection, founded on annual trials; taking
     the animals for this purpose from their pasturage for a few
     days during the summer, and tying them to pickets. Here they
     should be closely inspected, and after the best formed had
     been selected from the rest, they should be taken ten or twenty
     at a time by rough riders of light weight, and submitted to a
     trial of some hours' duration. The animals which went through
     this satisfactorily should be divided into two portions: one
     should be returned to their old pasturage to remain at their
     then stature; while the other portion should be made to occupy
     a somewhat better pasturage in order that their offspring might
     acquire greater stature, the rest to be drafted and sold. When
     old enough the enlarged stock should be tried, and such as went
     through it well should be kept, and turned out into a little
     better pasturage than that in which they had been reared, while
     those rejected should be drafted and sold. It is only in this
     very gradual manner that the stature of a race can be increased
     to the point required. Ponies of a pure race being so vigorous
     as to be wholly unfitted for rich pasturage, they become upon
     it balls of fat. None of our native ponies under the plan now
     proposed would be enlarged or withdrawn from their miserable
     pasturage unless their form and action were good; the only
     change then effected would be a pasturage a little better. Any
     further enlargement would be made to depend upon the manner in
     which they had been found to bear the preceding one."

His plan has at all events the great merit that it proposes to seek the
limit of enlargement in the half-wild ponies without risking loss of
hardiness and other valuable qualities by pampering.


WORKS BY SIR WALTER GILBEY, BART.

Animal Painters of England
     from the year 1650. Illustrated. Two vols., quarto, cloth gilt,
     Two Guineas net on subscription. Prospectus free.

The Great Horse or War Horse
     From the Roman Invasion till its development into the Shire
     Horse. New and Revised Edition, 1899. Seventeen Illustrations.
     Octavo, cloth gilt, price 2s.

Harness Horses
     The scarcity of Carriage Horses and how to breed them. 3rd
     Edition. Twenty-one Chapters. Seven full-page Illustrations.
     Octavo, cloth gilt, 2s.

Young Race Horses--suggestions
     for rearing, feeding and treatment. Twenty-two Chapters. With
     Frontispiece and Diagrams. Octavo, cloth gilt, price 2s.

Life of George Stubbs, R.A.
     Ten Chapters. Twenty-six Illustrations and Headpieces. Quarto,
     whole Morocco, gilt, price £3 3s.

Small Horses in Warfare
     Arguments in favour of their use for light cavalry and mounted
     infantry. Illustrated, 2s.


Will be published Shortly.

Horses Past and Present
     A sketch of the History of the Horse in England from the
     earliest times.

Ponies Past and Present
     The breeds of the British Islands, New Forest, Welsh, Exmoor,
     Dartmoor, Westmoreland, Cumberland, Scottish, Shetland,
     Connemara. With Illustrations. Octavo, cloth gilt.

VINTON & CO.,

9, NEW BRIDGE STREET, LONDON, E.C.





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