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Title: Riding for Ladies - With Hints on the Stable
Author: O'Donoghue, Mrs. Power
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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   CHAP.                                                  PAGE

          INTRODUCTION                                      xi

      I.--OUGHT CHILDREN TO RIDE                             1

     II.--FOR MOTHERS AND CHILDREN                          11

    III.--FIRST HINTS TO A LEARNER                          24

     IV.--SELECTING A MOUNT                                 32

      V.--THE LADY’S DRESS ON HORSEBACK                     43

     VI.--THE LADY’S DRESS ON HORSEBACK--(_continued_)      54

    VII.--BITTING                                           63

   VIII.--SADDLING                                          81

          TO CANTER, AND TO TROT                            92

      X.--REINS, VOICE, AND WHIP                           105

     XI.--RIDING ON THE ROAD                               122

    XII.--PACES, VICES, AND FAULTS                         135

   XIII.--A LESSON IN LEAPING                              146

    XIV.--MANAGING REFUSERS                                158

     XV.--FALLING                                          166

    XVI.--HUNTING OUTFIT CONSIDERED                        179

   XVII.--ECONOMY IN RIDING DRESS                          188

  XVIII.--HACKS AND HUNTERS                                203

    XIX.--IN THE HUNTING-FIELD                             217

     XX.--SHOEING                                          231

    XXI.--FEEDING                                          241

   XXII.--STABLING                                         250

  XXIII.--DOCTORING                                        262

   XXIV.--BREEDING                                         280

    XXV.--TRAINING                                         292

   XXVI.--A BUDGET OF “TIPS”                               307

          INDEX                                            339



The work to which these few lines are meant to form a preface does not
aspire to the dignity of containing anything resembling an exhaustive
treatise on each, or any of the numerous minor subjects connected with
the principal one of Equitation. It is simply a collection of useful
and practical hints on matters that pertain to the horse and his
management--no study of things abstruse being brought into requisition,
or any complicated theories put forward for guidance. The instructions
given are of the plainest and easiest description, and are the result
of an experience which has in some instances been rather dearly bought;
the experiments described have been duly tested, the recipes tried, the
systems explored, and the rules set forth rigidly investigated before
being recommended.

The unexpected success which attended the publication of “Ladies on
Horseback” induced the Messrs. Ingram, proprietors of the _Lady’s
Pictorial_, to commission me, some little time ago, to write for them
a set of articles of a prepared in part from very rough sketches made
by my own hand, I think I shall have said enough to form a suitable
“preliminary canter” to this volume, and may prepare to go up to the
starting-point, and begin my race.

N. P. O’D.

[Illustration: ASSISTING HIM.

_See p. 175._]


  Going up hill, Whip me not.
  Going down hill, Hurry me not.
  On level road, Spare me not.
  Of hay and corn, Rob me not.
  Of pure water, Stint me not.
  Of fresh air, Deprive me not.
  To damp bed, Subject me not.
  With brush and sponge, Neglect me not.
  Home from grass, Physic me not.
  Tired or hot, Wash me not.
  Sick or cold, Chill me not.
  With bit and reins, Jerk me not.
  When you are vexed, Strike me not.
  When old and grey, Despise me not.
  When past my labour, Work me not.
  When sick and dying, Leave me not.
  And, when dead--

          FORGET ME NOT.





The “Common Sense of Riding,” which formed the title under which these
writings were first furnished to the public in the columns of a London
journal, supplied a fitting heading for the articles at the time, very
little concerning stable or general horse management being appended to
the instructions offered to equestrians. The expediency of adding to
the work formed a necessity for altering the title; but the original
one, if used here, would set forth precisely the manner in which I am
about to deal with the subject that I have taken in hand.

To discard preamble, and plunge at once _in medias res_, is usually the
wisest and most common-sense manner of coming at and coping with the
difficulties surrounding crotchety questions: and surely one of the
foremost in the category of such is the often-heard inquiry, “How shall
I best learn to ride?”

To offer instruction on any subject to persons who fancy they have no
need of it, is at all times mere waste of time and trouble. My remarks,
therefore--embracing, as it is meant they shall, a variety of matters
especially interesting to ladies--will be addressed throughout to those
only who really feel their need of friendly counsel, who are _anxious_
to learn, and are willing to benefit by such hints and instructions as
my varied experiences of horses and horse-management enable me to give

Before entering fully upon my pleasant task, I would say that although
many men, and very many youths, may learn a useful lesson or two from
matters upon which I shall touch, or possibly deal with in detail, my
observations will be directed chiefly to _ladies_, my desire being to
take each separately, as it were, into my confidence, and speak to her
less as teacher to pupil than as friend to friend.

It seems to me that to adopt the homely pronouns “you” and “I” will
be more convenient and concise than adhering to the stereotyped and
old-fashioned terms “the reader,” and “the author”--modes of expression
which are as a rule unnecessarily formal, and most uncomfortably cold.
When, therefore, I begin my subject, I shall suppose that you are a
novice, with but a very shadowy idea of the subject on which you wish
to be enlightened; but when I say “novice,” I do not necessarily mean
a child. Indeed, I hope that you are not one, for it is widely known
that I object very strongly to children riding, my reasons for doing so
being founded on the surest and most common-sense principles. The point
is one which has of late years led me into discussions with very many
high-class authorities on equitation, but I have never for a moment
swerved from my fixed opinions, and many of my keenest opponents have,
from time to time, ranged themselves on my side.

It is indeed a matter of surprise to me that anybody possessed of even
moderate reasoning capacity can advocate infantile equestrianism. The
two arguments which defenders of it make their strong points, namely,
that it is “splendid exercise,” and that it imparts a courage which is
beneficial in after life, can, while admitted, be counterbalanced by
so many genuine drawbacks and objections, that their boasted efficacy
runs considerable risk of being regarded as a thing of nought. Before,
however, dealing with the _con’s_ of the case, let us take up the
_pro’s_ in rotation. It is splendid exercise. Granted; but rolling hoop
is quite as good, while ball-playing, tennis, badminton, and every
other game that sets the blood in motion and calls the muscles into
active play, may be styled equally beneficial. All the advantages which
are derivable from exercise--and they are many--can be had without
riding; this is an admitted fact; and, being so, it serves to sweep
away suppositious inferences respecting the superiority of _equine_
practice, or training, over that of any other sort. So much for the
oft-quoted plea of “exercise.”

With regard to the question of courage, it cannot be denied that a
certain and useful amount of _confidence_ is imparted to all young
persons who participate largely in pursuits which have a smack of
daring or danger about them. Watch, for example, the peasant girls who
inhabit the country districts of Ireland. They climb steep mountains,
descend jagged cliffs, run barefooted along sharp ledges and high
rugged walls, without thought of danger, or trace of fear. And why?
Because from childhood they have been accustomed to it. It goes, then,
without saying that early practice does impart an amount of bravado,
which may in later life be found useful on occasion; but, having
acknowledged this, I feel that I have done my entire duty towards
the advocates of a system to which I strongly object, and I shall,
therefore, proceed, in all fairness, to demolish their theories by a
clear and simple setting forth of the evils which are, in my opinion,
attendant upon early equestrian pursuits.

Few persons will be found to dispute the fact that a child on
horseback, especially a girl, runs at least as many risks as a grown
person. She may at any moment be jerked off, run away with, overpowered
by the strength or temper of her mount, cannoned against by awkward
or reckless riders, or subjected to the unpleasantness of discovering
that the animal she herself is riding is given to slipping, stumbling,
falling completely under her, or behaving in some unseemly manner that
is entirely beyond her powers to check or control. To these dangers and
discomforts--as well as to many others with which equestrians, old and
young, are uncomfortably familiar--she is at all times liable to be
exposed, and, this being an admitted truth, I ask whether it can for
a moment be asserted that a child is as capable as an adult of coping
with such risks? The answer _must_ be “No.” The perils are the same for
both--while the weaker side is absolutely unable to grapple with them
when they arise. I speak from experience, and strive to teach from it
also. Having been largely associated with juvenile riders, especially
in country parts of England, the knowledge which I have picked up from
_their_ absolute want of it has proved most fitting and serviceable
to me when offering hints and instructions to others of similar age.
Five years ago I had the unhappiness of seeing a pretty child who was
riding with me seriously hurt, through her horse falling under her
while traversing an extremely rutty road. He made what is called a
double stumble, and had her hands possessed the cunning, or her arms
the strength, to have pulled him together after he had made the first
blunder, he would undoubtedly not have gone down; but he was a slovenly
animal,--one that wanted “collecting” and keeping well in hand: two
things of which my tender little companion knew nothing whatever; nor
was she capable of putting them in practice, even had it been otherwise.

About the same time I saw another bright-eyed little maiden run away
with over the “breezy downs.” Her horse, fresh and frolicsome, started
with mine at a light canter, and for awhile we kept nicely together;
but presently--after a quarter of a mile or so--her mount began to romp
with his head, and finally breaking into a gallop, made off at terrific
speed, lashing the damp turf from beneath his flying hoofs, and laying
back his wicked ears until they rested flat upon his neck. I knew that
the youngster he was carrying had abundance of pluck, even without any
very distinct knowledge of the art of riding, so I shouted to her with
all my might to sit close and leave him his head (we were going up hill
at the time), and to give him the whip when he tired, which I knew he
very soon would do, with a long, heavy incline in front of him. I might
as well have spoken to the wind. Terror, and consciousness of her own
ignorance robbed the child of her wits: she gripped the pommel with her
right hand, tugged at the reins with her left, and, after swaying about
in a manner that makes me sick to think of, finally fell off, and was
picked up bruised and bleeding, and so entirely unnerved as to render
it a matter of extreme difficulty to persuade her ever to ride again.
As for the horse, he was not personally any the worse of his escapade,
but, having conquered his rider, he was ever afterwards rightfully
considered an unsafe animal for a lady to mount.

I have seen children over and over again subjected to the most fearful
risks through riding horses that were too much for them. It is so
easy for a girl to be overpowered,--and, once she is so, good-bye for
ever to all or any pleasure in riding the animal who has been her
conqueror. He will always remember his victory, and presume upon it.

Horses are not simpletons; their wisdom, on the contrary, is
astonishing. Allow them to vanquish you once, and they will pursue
their advantage to their lives’ end.

There are other reasons, also, on which I ground my objections to
children riding. Little girls are exceedingly apt to grow crooked. It
is all sheer nonsense to say “they will not if they _sit straight_,”
inasmuch as young riders never do, as a rule, fall into the desired
method; or, if for awhile it is a thing accomplished, they very
speedily fall out of it again, when fatigue overpowers them, or the
groom has shortened their stirrup-leather too much, or when a large
amount of pressure upon it during a long ride has stretched it to an
uncomfortable length. It is the merest sophistry to argue that such
things _ought_ not to occur, seeing that they do, and are in fact
happening every day around us. One child out of five hundred may,
perhaps, be an habitual straight-sitter, but to counterbalance her
perfection in this particular, the remaining 499 will be either hanging
to one side or the other (usually the near, or left side), or sitting
square enough, it may be, yet with the right shoulder thrust forward
and upward, thus sowing the seeds of a deformity which in ten years’
time, when the little one of eight shall have grown into a belle of
eighteen, will have become an incurable disfigurement, one which all
the arts of the most skilful _modiste_ cannot by any possibility cover,
or the most seraphic charms of face and manner serve to put out of

The frame of a child, even the most robust, is too weakly and
delicate--too liable to grow “out of form”--to render equestrian
exercise a fitting pursuit for persons of tender age. Nature has
not ruled that her frail handiwork shall be roughly or unfairly
strained, and when it is, the penalty is certain to follow, in
disarranged system, weakened or injured muscular development, misplaced
shoulder-blades, undue tension of the tendons of the left leg--or
contraction of them, which is worse--accompanied by an unnatural
languor and a constant craving for permission “to go and lie down,”
which, in so many cases, children are observed to manifest.

The absurd assertion that no girl can excel as a horsewoman unless
she begins to practise the art when a child has been so often and
substantially refuted that to attempt further contradiction of it
would be merely to entail loss of time. Suffice it to say that some of
the finest equestrians the world has ever produced have been entirely
ignorant of riding until after their arrival at womanhood, or, at all
events, until childish days had been left far in the rear. Of these a
foreign Empress is a noteworthy example, while many others, whose names
in park and hunting-field are familiar as household words, might go to
swell the list.

“Well, but really”--I fancy I hear some unconvinced matron saying--“I
cannot see that my children are anything the worse for riding every
day. I myself rode when I was their age, and it never seemed to do me
any harm.” Granted, madam; but question yourself, whether you have a
right, because _you_ have had the good fortune to escape the evils
usually consequent upon a prejudicial system, to encourage your
offspring to go in the way of contracting them. As well might you boast
of having escaped contagion during an attendance on a fever patient,
and then (presuming on your own lucky chance) thrust your children
deliberately into an infected house. No; if you are a wise parent, or
guardian, advocate early instruction in pianoforte-playing and its
study, also in drawing, painting, and such branches of education as
will expand and benefit the understanding, without unduly straining
the yet undeveloped resources of the body; encourage likewise such
exercises as are of a healthful and suitable nature--but compel the
young folks of whom you have charge to leave riding alone, at all
events until the fourteenth year has been well got over: because,
just as in singing the vocal organs are weak, and the voice apt to
alter and break about that period (which is the case with girls as
with boys, although very many fail to know or believe it), so, in like
manner, the frame of a young girl is delicate and unstrung, and is
absolutely _incapable_ of enduring strain or fatigue without incurring
consequences which, even if not made much account of at the time, will
most likely in after life cause themselves to be dismally felt.

About fifteen, or from that to twenty, is an excellent time for a
girl to learn to ride--by which I mean that she ought not to attempt
it before the first-mentioned age while the last will not be one
whit too late. Boys may begin whenever they choose; their position
on horseback obviates the possibility of growing shoulder-crooked,
while custom which enables them to ride with a leg on each side of
the saddle, equalises their seat, and fairly distributes the amount
of _stress_ which pressure on the stirrups entails upon both nether
limbs. Moreover, they are infinitely stronger, even from babyhood--can
bear any amount of knocking about, and so far from being injured by an
occasional spill or two, are immensely benefited by making moderate
acquaintance with mother earth. It is not so with girls, and around
them all my sympathies entwine.

[Illustration: CONQUERED HIS RIDER.]



It is a rare thing to take up a cookery book in which the reader is
not solemnly warned against the evils attendant upon frying chops and
steaks in the pan, the deterrent paragraph usually winding up with:
“Nevertheless, for the benefit of those who will not be brought to
acknowledge the superiority of the gridiron as a cooking utensil, we
append a few instructions.” It is as though the writer of the volume
meant solemnly to say, “I have told you how to avoid the horrors of
dyspepsia; but, if you _will_ go in for them, I may as well show you
the least objectionable way of doing it.”

On this principle, or something bearing a close resemblance to it, I
have, as in duty bound, made known my objections to girls of immature
age being permitted to indulge in equestrian exercise; and having
eased my conscience by doing so, I shall lay down a few rules for the
guidance of those who pay no heed to friendly warnings, but prefer
taking their own way, and who, in short, _will_ have the pan, in
preference to the gridiron.

First, then, I will surmise that the child to be instructed is at
least five years old. There are, I am aware, mothers of families
who actually put their infant children into panniers, because they
“look pretty” in them, and send them out on ponies for an hour’s
jolting, with their poor little heads bobbing pitifully about, and
brain and spine alike suffering from the so-called exercise. There
are fathers, too, who think that their boys ought to ride before they
are well capable of walking, and who in consequence of this belief
clap them on to wide-backed, rough-actioned animals, regardless of the
dangers to which, by so doing, they are exposing the feeble frames of
their hapless offspring. To aid such persons by offering any sort of
instruction as a help to their objectionable practices would be like
assisting at a murder, or showing a torturer how to get on with his

I was choosing some articles at the establishment of a fashionable
saddler a short time ago, when the proprietor stepped forward and
requested me to look at an instrument (I can call it by no other name)
which he had just completed to order. It was a child’s saddle, with
a contrivance not unlike a brazier, arising from the centre of it,
well furnished with padding and straps. This unique appliance was,
it appeared, the invention of the father of the unfortunate infant
for whose benefit it had been manufactured, and his pride in its
appearance, and in his own cleverness, was quite unbounded. Determined
that his son, aged three, should begin his lessons in horsemanship at
that early period of life, and resolved to secure him from tumbling
off (the only thing in the shape of danger to which he gave a moment’s
thought), he conceived the idea of buckling the infant into the
“brazier,” which was meant to come right up under the armpits, and by
this means avert all possibility of a fall. It had apparently never
struck this intelligent inventor of curiosities that the _pony_ might
fall as well as the boy, and that if it did, the little rider could
scarcely fail to be seriously if not fatally injured, owing to the
impossibility of his falling clear of the prostrate animal.

If a child of tender years _must_ ride, by order of an ill-judging
parent or caretaker, let it do so upon a safety-pad, fitted with a
well-stuffed back, in order to prevent that of the child from becoming
fatigued by remaining too long unsupported.

The pad-pony should be a light, elastic walker, and of necessity
perfectly docile and quiet. He must, of course, be led: his paces
being properly regulated, and his head kept quite straight. A good
contrivance for this--and indeed for leading any description of
horse--is a stout bamboo cane, fitted with a swivel snaphook.

The pad-pony should be ridden with a mild snaffle bridle, with loops
somewhat large--and I am a great advocate for _flap-reins_: by which I
mean a straight but not over-tightened band, extending from the flap of
the saddle to the loop or ring of the bit, on either side--an admirable
contrivance, which keeps the pony’s head in position, and also serves
as a check against restiveness or starting. The girths should be broad
and strong, and not too slack, and the pad should be made without a
tree, and be composed of some soft roughened material, ornamented or
not--according to fancy, and the outlay to be involved in the matter.

The advantage of having a strap in front is apparent for a very young
child. It should, however, be used _only_ when the pony is led, and
when he cannot therefore possibly make off or fall down. In such
case, and such only, it may be approved, inasmuch as it imparts a
certain amount of confidence to an infant learner, and is likewise of
assistance in ensuring an upright seat; but I should like to see it
discontinued after the first few lessons, and the back of the pad also
removed when a trifle more experience has been gained.

[Illustration: PONY WITH FLAP-REINS.]

About eight years old is the very earliest age at which a girl should,
under any circumstances, be permitted to ride on a side-saddle, or
to mount the back of an unled animal. I prefer a small horse to a
pony for the initiatory lessons, as being generally better paced and
better broken. The child should not at first be allowed to touch the
bridle at all. She should sit perfectly square and erect, her figure
well balanced, her shoulders thrown back, and her arms folded upon
her breast, while an attendant walks alongside her horse and keeps
his paces evenly regulated. This is the correct method of teaching a
child how to ride _from balance_,--an accomplishment most desirable
for every class of rider. The ordinary fashion of putting a little one
up, and giving her the reins to hold on by, is about as efficient a
plan of instruction as teaching the same child to play the piano by ear
only--thus ignoring the very first principles of the art--or running-up
a building without laying a foundation-stone. Circus-children, the
most beautiful balance-riders in the world, are taught to ride at
first without ever touching the reins; and nothing else that could be
suggested would ever be capable of giving the same firmness of seat.

If the learner be a boy, he should be taught his first lessons without
stirrups; but I would not deny the assistance of such support to a
little girl, as her position on the saddle would otherwise entail much
extra fatigue upon the left leg. Be it understood, however, that the
stirrup should be taken away after the first few lessons, and the child
be instructed to ride for at least an hour a day without any such aid;
otherwise she will trust to it, when riding, for the remainder of her
life, and to ride _from_ the stirrup is one of the most objectionable
practices into which a young person can possibly fall.

When a firm and even seat has been obtained, without the help of reins
or stirrup, the former (of the very lightest description, and _single_)
may be entrusted to the little learner’s hands, but the flap-reins must
not by any means be discarded.

[Illustration: YOUNG CHILD’S SADDLE.]

When the child is perfectly at home on her horse, and has learned to
treat his mouth with the utmost gentleness, and not on any account
to pull at the bridle, a canter may be indulged in, by the attendant
attaching a long rein to a cavesson and urging the horse to a gentle
pace, making him lead _always_ with the right leg, and pulling him up
directly he changes to the left. The child should be most carefully
watched during the exercise, and any tendency to hang over on one side
or the other, or to lift one shoulder, or poke the neck, be at once

The saddle should be level-seated--covered with buckskin, for a
beginner--and should have no off-pommel. This latter appendage is
happily almost obsolete, except with the most old-fashioned saddles,
and is entirely unnecessary, as well as unsightly, for it affords no
additional safety to the rider, and youthful learners are especially
apt to lay hold upon it in any imaginary danger--an excessively bad
practice to acquire.

As the term “level seat” applied to side saddles may not be generally
understood, I will give a few words of explanation:--The ordinary
side saddle, being made with the arch of the tree raised to clear the
withers, is necessarily much higher in front than behind, and as a
consequence the knee is thrown up in a cramped and fatiguing position;
it is difficult thus to keep the figure erect, an aching back ensues
to the rider, and frequently torture to the horse. The level-seated
saddle has the steel front-part cut quite away over the withers, and
replaced by a pad of soft leather, giving that horizontal shape from
front to rear so much desired, yet so seldom found. These saddles were
introduced and perfected by Messrs. Nicholls and Co., of 2, Jermyn
Street, London, who have carefully studied the comfort of both horse
and rider, and assisted by the experience and suggestions of that
well-known authority, Mr. Wilson of Albington Manor, late master of the
Vale of White Horse Hounds, have produced really admirable side saddles.

Trotting must be taught when the pupil has been perfected in the
canter. It is not an easy thing either to teach or learn, but I shall
come at the principles of it by-and-by. Trotting should be practised
on soft, springy ground, never on a road, and the horse on which the
lessons are taken should be very light of action, and of _even paces_.
Otherwise, the punishment to the learner will be great, and the
teacher’s difficulties equally trying.

Little girls learning to ride should be dressed in neat skirts, just
long enough to cover the feet; loose-fitting jackets--(jerseys are
excellent)--hair left flowing, never fastened up; and soft hats or
caps, _well_ secured under the chin, in such a manner as to prevent
the possibility of their coming off. Whips should not on any account
be allowed until some degree of proficiency has been attained, and the
proper use of them should then be strictly pointed out, and as strictly
adhered to. With this matter I shall likewise hereafter deal, as also
with the question of spurs--articles which, I may here observe, should
never, under _any_ pretext whatever, be granted for children’s use.

A child should be taught to mount her horse with ease when assisted,
as also the expediency of being able to do so without any help at
all: this latter by simply letting down the stirrup-leather--taking
it up, of course, to the required length, or rather shortness, when
seated securely on the saddle. She should likewise practice dismounting
without assistance. No active child should ever think of requiring a
helping hand. To lift the right leg deftly over the up-crutch, take
the left foot from the stirrup, gather the skirt well together with
the right hand--making certain that no portion of it is in any way
caught upon the pommels--and then to jump lightly down, is the proper
method of dismounting. To be lifted--except for very young pupils--is
extremely babyish.

How long a child should be permitted to ride at a stretch is a question
very often asked me, and one to which I find some difficulty in giving
a satisfactory reply. Some children are strong, and can both endure
and enjoy an amount of exercise that would knock a delicate child
completely up. Again, some are passionately fond of the art, while
others care but little about it, and (as is well known) the things
that one likes are seldom liable to cause fatigue, except when carried
beyond the ordinary limits of moderation.

The counsel I would give is this: Watch carefully for any sign of
lassitude, or display of weariness on the part of the pupil, and stop
the riding as soon as such appears. What I mean to convey is, that if
a child complains of feeling tired during her lesson, she should at
once be permitted to dismount; or if after, say, an hour’s ride on the
road she is conscious of fatigue, the time should on the next occasion
be shortened to three-quarters, or even to half, and subsequently
increased, according as the pupil gains experience and strength.

Nothing should be left undone to inspire confidence in the breast of a
child-rider. Her mount should be the gentlest, her teacher the kindest,
all her appliances (saddle, &c.) new, comfortable, and reliable.
Girths that are apt to break, for instance, give a child uncomfortable
impressions,--and early ideas or opinions on _any_ subject are certain
to influence the entire of the later life. Be it remembered, however,
that although everything should be done to make the youthful learner
feel at ease, while striving at the same time to impart proficiency,
no approach to self-conceit, or desire to “show off,” should be for an
instant encouraged. Modesty of demeanour is quite as charming out of
doors as within. The child who pays attention to her seat, her hands,
her horse--in short, to what she is doing--will make a better and more
reliable horsewoman (even though she may be awkward at first) than will
she who looks about for admiration, while neglecting the principles
on which she has been taught. It is like the plodding student and
the flippant-tongued. One will answer every question with tolerable
smartness, out of the shallow depths of a superficial knowledge, while
the other, though missing, may nevertheless be engaged in laying up a
store of learning, which will in after life stand her in good stead.


_page 21._]

Now, a word specially addressed to children, and I shall close my
chapter. Be uniformly kind to animals, especially to the horses that
carry you. Let humanity be a portion of your religion. Discipline,
properly exercised, is just and right, and is as far removed from
_cruelty_ as is light from darkness, or bitter from sweet; but, hand
in hand with it, _gentleness_ should ever go. A hasty temper will
induce cutting with the whip, dragging with the bridle, kicking or
rasping with the heel, and uttering rough words, which, although not
thoroughly understood by the animal, yet carry a tone with them which
has a meaning for him of no pleasurable sort. On the other hand, a
child of cold and dogged disposition will take its turn out of the
willing slave at its command, and think no more about it than if it
were a mere machine. This is pitiably wrong. You, _as_ a child, ought
to teach your horses to love you. You _can_ do so, and it is well worth
the time employed in the pursuit. I need not tell you how to do it:
instinct will teach you. There are a thousand little ways and means,
all of which you can try. For instance, always pet your horse in his
stall, and when saddled for your use; make much of him when you are on
his back, patting his neck, and stroking him gently with your hand,
speaking soothingly to him all the while. Accustom him to the sound
of your voice; give him scraps of bread, sugar, apple, or carrot when
you dismount, or while he waits for you at the door; and when you do
this, allow him to take the morsel quietly off the palm of your hand,
not showing any fear; he will not bite you, if he is fit to be your
pet. You should never offer him a bit between your fingers, or pull
your hand away before he has taken the morsel up. This will, or at
least _may_, induce him to snap: just as it would provoke a dog to do,
if tantalised. You can feed him, too, if you like, when seated on his
back; there is nothing more charming than sympathy between the human
and the brute creation. Horse and rider should be on the best of terms,
and all will then go right.

In a former work of mine on equitation, I made repeated mention of
a hunter I once possessed, called “Pleader.” I gave him that name
because his sire was “The Lawyer,” a very famous horse. “Pleader” and
his mistress were on the most affectionate terms--brother and sister
we were, that horse and I; certainly no two ever loved one another
better--and this despite the fact that I had given him many a good
whipping, for I trained him myself, and he was a rare hard one to bring
to his manners; but he knew quite as well as I did that it was for his
good, and so he loved me none the less. I rode him subsequently to
hounds for three seasons, without ever giving him so much as a warning
touch. When we fell together--and how often we did!--he waited for me
to get up; and when he was the first on his legs, although trembling
with excitement to scurry away with the rest, he would stand patiently
for me to remount him. That horse’s training was not thrown away. He
carried me in the first flight through two long and trying runs, the
very day previous to that on which I met the accident that deprived
me of the power of ever riding him again, and he is now carrying in
similar splendid style a noble and popular master of hounds, the Earl
of Eglinton and Winton, gaining honourable mention in the _Field_ and
other sporting papers. I sold him to a good master and a good home, and
when he shall have finished his work (if I am spared to see it) he has
been promised to me again, that the last of his days may be spent in
quiet happy idleness, and that the hands that trained him may lay him
to his rest.

I have spoken thus of “Pleader,” not altogether because I love him so
dearly, as to encourage my young readers to make much of the animals
that carry them, and to establish a bond of _mutual sympathy_, which is
as beautiful as it is good. The greatest horsewoman in the world, Her
Imperial Majesty the Empress of Austria, frequently feeds her horses
with bread or biscuit while seated upon their backs. She is one of the
rare few who seem to grasp the meaning of that peculiar “sympathy”
of which I have spoken, and which is indeed so very difficult to

  “There are mysteries deep that we cannot unravel,
    And bonds of affinity ever unguess’d,
  While the Road to RESEARCH is a hard one to travel,
    And many’s the query, and weary the quest.
  There are circuits of THOUGHT, growing fainter and wider,
    Like circles in water when pebbles are thrown,
  _And the links that exist ’twixt the horse and his rider,
    Our shallow philosophy never has known._”




Having already pointed out my objections to children’s riding, and
appended a chapter of instructions for the benefit of those whose
prejudices in favour of it will not be overruled, I shall in the
present one assume that you, my reader, are not a child in years,
although you may be one in experience. Surmising, then, that I am
addressing a young lady of sixteen, or thereabouts--although the fact
of your being much older will not in any way tell against you--the
first point for consideration will be, whether you are resident in town
or country. If the former, or that you even come up for a temporary
visit now and again, the wisest counsel that I can give you will
be to place yourself under the care of the very best riding-master
within reach of you, being careful to select one according to reliable
recommendation, for some are as incompetent as others are the reverse.
I shall not occupy space or provoke jealousies by naming any in
particular, but shall here take occasion to say, that readers desirous
of receiving private hints or information on any subject strictly
connected with horses, riding, or stable-management, can receive such
by addressing their inquiries to me, care of my publishers, by whom
all communications will be at once sent forward. This plan I have
found to work very well upon former occasions, a few rules being of
necessity laid down. For example: ask all questions as briefly as
possible; write clearly; do not cross your letters; and wait patiently
for answers, accepting the assurance that no unnecessary delay will be

Having, then, advised you, if a city belle, to secure the services of a
competent riding-master (though it shall be my aim by-and-by to teach
you how to ride very well without one), I would follow up this counsel
by saying, when you do so, leave yourself entirely in his hands, and do
precisely what he tells you. This is not by any means an unnecessary
admonition, for at least one-half the awkward riders whose deficiencies
pain our critical eyes in the Row and elsewhere, have learned in
good schools, but have been too wilful, or too conceited, to give up
their own entirely erroneous ideas on certain subjects connected with
equitation, and, as a consequence, failure--not to say fiasco--has of
course followed.

It is precisely the same with regard to every other art. The pupil
should submit her own opinions to those of her teacher. If he is not
competent to instruct her, why go to him at all? And, on the other
hand, if he is, why not follow his advice?

To illustrate my meaning: I rode with a girl, one day, to a meet of
hounds at Courtown Gate--starting from Kilcock Station, to which point
we had railed our horses from Dublin, and trotting the two miles,
or thereabouts, at a brisk pace, for we were a trifle behind time.
From the moment that we settled in our saddles, until we saw the
tails of the “beauties” in full wag at the entrance to Capt. Davis’s
demesne, that girl never for an instant removed her left hand from
her thigh--(pardon plain speaking; it was neither on her hip nor her
knee that she placed it when we started), the fingers pointing in the
direction of the up-pommel, causing, of course, the elbow to be shot
out entirely from the side, the joint turning outwards in singularly
ugly fashion. Should any of my readers have a desire to picture to
themselves this position, with more clearness than words--or lack of
them--have enabled me to depict it, they have only to seat themselves
for a moment upon a make-believe horse, and adopt the pose which I have
just described. I wish they _would_ do it; it would be an excellent
future warning. As I had a tolerably close acquaintance with the
young lady--who had, I was aware, been taught by a really first-rate
master--I ventured upon asking her whether the peculiarity on which she
seemed to pride herself had met with his approval?

“Oh, dear, no!” she replied. “Old _Prosey_ liked me to put both hands
to the bridle, or if only one, the left; but I like this style myself;
it’s so _chic_!”

I was not her teacher, nor did she inquire my opinion,--in fact she
would in all probability have dubbed _me_ “Old Prosey” also, had
I offered one; so I wisely kept silent--and no doubt my companion
believed that I was admiring her original attitude very much, for she
rather intensified it as we proceeded, and took care to canter _in
advance_ of me, whenever we came to a patch of grass by the roadside,
as though to give me full opportunity for feasting my eyes upon her

Ah me! How often have I seen the same thing since that well-remembered
day; seen it--been sorry for it--and yet smiled to myself because of
the vanity and the folly. Would that we all--each one of us--could “see
ourselves as others see us!” but, unfortunately, we never can.

To return, however, to the subject-matter in hand.

Should it happen that you are chiefly resident in the country, or that
you enjoy the luxury of complete immunity from city life for even a
portion of the year, defer riding until that time of times comes round,
and then _teach yourself_, by simply following a trustworthy code of
instructions laid down by some reliable authority.

This may sound as though I had, after all, but little real faith
in riding-masters. It is certainly not so meant. I would not for a
passing moment cast the smallest slur upon a painstaking and often
much-maligned body of men, many of whom are capable of bringing a pupil
forward in an almost marvellous manner, by the excellence of their
method, and that ready observance of so-called “trifles,” in other
words, a quick eye, and rapid detection of anything that is amiss,
which are the riding-master’s most valuable attributes. Nevertheless,
despite the good opinion in which I hold many instructors of the
art, I am a very strong believer in the efficacy of self-help, and
just as a novice at skating will, in spite of many sore falls and
painful bruises, acquire skill if left to himself, long in advance
of his brother-learner who is trusting to somebody to bring him
along (being pretty certain to come down with a run whenever that
“somebody” considers it expedient to let go), so, in like manner, I
shall be ready to back my pupil, although I may never have seen her,
to hold her position across country, in the park, by lane, street, or
roadway, against the city demoiselle, who in a fashionable school has
been taught to ride upon a carpet of tan, and who would be as much at
sea in a crowded thoroughfare, or endeavouring to cross an intricate
hunting-country, as an inexperienced vocalist would be if called upon
to interpret the difficulties of Wagner or Bach.

Let me here especially impress upon you that, if you value your
prospects as a future good rider, you should not suffer anything to
induce you to accept the services as instructor of John the coachman,
or James the groom. It is lamentable to see the manner in which parents
and guardians of the present day give up the teaching of their charges
to this class of persons, not one of whom has any more idea of how a
lady ought to manage a horse, than of instructing her in the etiquette
of the dinner-table, or the intricacies of the valse. On the evils of
the system, I need not now enlarge; they ought to be apparent to even
the most obtuse; suffice it to say, that fathers and mothers who permit
their daughters to be taught by studgrooms ought not to wonder when
these personages impart another and different style of knowledge to the
pupils whom they have been unwisely privileged to instruct.

To provide yourself with a suitable horse will be the first thing
necessary. It is a cruel injustice to a pupil for a master to expect
her to learn upon any chance animal that may happen to come in her
way. Never attempt such a thing. Respect your rights, and exercise
your privilege by selecting an appropriate mount. If it is not within
your power to do so at the time, put off your practice until it is. I
cannot sufficiently urge upon you the importance of this advice. It
is the very direst mistake for a beginner to attempt to learn upon
an indifferent animal. Bear in mind that first impressions are never
forgotten, that you will take all your future ideas of riding from
the sensations which you derive from your elementary practice of the
art, and, believe me, if you make your opening venture upon the back
of a happy-go-lucky beast, one who is sometimes well-conducted, but
oftener not, or who shies, or goes upon his shoulders, or indulges in
cross-legged movements, or throws up his head, or bores (which is a
still more objectionable habit), or if you are called upon to gain your
first experience upon a rough trotter, or a loose galloper, who, to use
a stable term, goes “slummucking” all over the place, you will care but
little for riding during the remainder of your life. The discomforts
which such things entail will dwell unpleasantly in your memory, and
in fact create an ineffaceable impression; so much so, that even if,
later on, you happen to be suitably mounted, a long time will have to
elapse before those early impressions can be eradicated, or induced to
fade even partially away, and a still longer one will go by before you
can acquire that _confidence_ which is one of the first and chiefest
necessities of a good and easy rider.

While on this subject, I may say that a timid horsewoman will never be
a successful one. She may just as well give up the pursuit at once,
for her rides will always be a punishment to her. With some, timidity
is a natural weakness which cannot be got over, but with the majority
it is the result of early impressions--an uncomfortable, unfading
recollection of having learnt upon an unsuitable mount.

To illustrate what I say: most children are fond of driving, because
they have never associated the pastime with other than pleasurable
sensations. Neither risk nor discomfort is, as a rule, connected with
the simple carriage exercise to which so many young persons are from
babyhood accustomed; but, give a child his first experience of it by
driving him in an open phaeton, behind a shying, kicking, or backing
horse--one that winds up a long list of vagaries by spilling the
vehicle and its occupants into an unpleasant dyke, and if that child
does not carry his primary impressions through many a long course of
after drives, I am a less sapient observer of human nature than I am
generally accredited with being.

A lady’s horse, to be suitable, should be perfect in temper and
training. Beauty may be dispensed with, decided acquisition though
it undoubtedly is, but disposition and education may not. They are
absolute necessities which cannot be done without, although a really
_skilled_ horsewoman may, without undue risk, ride any animal that is
fit for a man to ride, provided he be not fidgetty in mounting, or a
decidedly hard-mouthed puller: two points with which I shall have to
deal by-and-by.

[Illustration: AN “ORIGINAL” ATTITUDE.]



The purchase of a saddle horse requires a grave amount of
consideration, especially as ignorant persons are apt to think that
“anything will do for a beginner.” Every second person to whom you
make known your requirement will be ready to put you in the way of
securing “the nicest little horse in the world.” Gentlemen friends from
every quarter will have something cut and dried for you to invest in;
amateur dealers will persecute you; professionals will harry your life
out; John, the coachman, will make himself odious by recommending some
highly undesirable animal and stolidly determining to see no virtue in
any other. You won’t know at first what his object can possibly be, but
by-and-by you will find out that he and the owner of the property have
come to an agreement concerning a certain little “tip” to be made over
to John, in the event of his inducing you to become the possessor of
the decided acquisition in horseflesh on which his own affections are
set; and then, when you decline to be victimised, John will assume a
stony appearance, and obstinately refuse to be interested in any other

You should be slow to select a horse, with a view to buying him,
unless you can command the aid of a competent and disinterested judge.
Do not take the _onus_ upon yourself, for I grieve to say there is not
any species of trade in which there is so much dishonesty and such a
terrible amount of deception. If, however, you should happen to be
thrown altogether upon your own resources, act thus (or get some one
to do it for you): Go to the most respectable of the trade; it is your
best safeguard. In former times, men like Scott and Anderson were so
far above suspicion that the veriest tyro was safe in their hands.
There are others of the present day of whom the same may be said. Find
out one of them, tell him to what price you can go, and see _the best_
that he can give you for it. If he happens to have what pleases you in
price and appearance, get the animal examined by a reliable veterinary
surgeon, and ask for a trial. Buy nothing without it. If refused, rest
assured that something is amiss. Dealers and grooms, even the honestest
of them, have ways of their own for pulling horses together, and making
them step up and show themselves: ay, and for covering their defects,
too, of which ladies, as a rule, know nothing at all. Therefore, when
you fix upon an animal, get him _ridden_ by a friend on whose judgment
you can rely,--not in a hurried manner, in the dealer’s yard, but
for an hour or so upon the road--and also for a turn upon grass. A
correct opinion can then, but not otherwise, be formed concerning his
paces, and the amount of training and discipline to which he has been

A lady’s horse should, as I have said, possess perfect manners. If he
romps with his head, pulls heavily against the hand, leans weightily
upon the bit, crosses his legs, goes clumsily upon his shoulders, or,
in short, renders his rider in any way uncomfortable or unsafe, he is
as unsuitable for you as though he were addicted to some actual vice.
To be brief, he is not fitted for his office.

If, on the contrary, he can be ridden upon grass with a common snaffle
and a single rein--not pulling, and going well up to his bridle--the
making of his mouth has at least been properly attended to; he is fit
to be a lady’s horse. I do not consider that any animal is so who
requires a curb; but the subject of bitting is of too great importance
to be merely touched upon here. I shall give some practical advice
about it in a future chapter.

In the event of your purchasing a horse from a friend, adopt precisely
the same rules as though buying him from a dealer, unless the animal
be one with whom you are perfectly well acquainted. In such a case
his price will be the only question; but if there is nothing amiss
with him, and your friend is a person of honesty and good sense,
he will freely grant you both a trial and an opinion, and will be
rather pleased than otherwise that you should demand them, as the
responsibility of the sale will then be lifted from his shoulders.

In selecting a horse, discard anything that is too large. A lady who
is not a welter-weight does not require a weight-carrier, nor does she
look well upon one either. See that he has good fore-legs, and has not
any tendency to being what is termed “over at the knees,” for if he
has an inclination that way he will be very likely to come down, and a
sure-footed horse is positively essential to the comfort and safety of
a lady rider. Bent knees denote a weakness of the muscles and tendons
of the back of the leg, and are therefore to be reckoned as fatal to
a roadster, although, strange to say, they are not thought nearly so
objectionable in a racer, his price being in some instances not very
materially lessened by them. This is owing to the fact that in the
gallop they do not tell against an animal, while in the trot they do,
very materially. “Diamond,” who was, some years ago, the winner of many
important races, was so marred in appearance by this defect, that when
standing still he always looked ready to topple over upon his knees;
yet sportsmen know what a brilliant cross-country performer he was,
and what a price Joe Anderson--dear old man! still living, and hearty,
though deaf as any post--gave for him after his win at La Marche.

I have not the objection that most persons have to a hollow-backed
horse, especially when designed to carry a lady’s saddle. It is
infinitely preferable to anything approaching a roach-back, and animals
distinguished by it are, strange to say, generally possessed of a
variety of excellent points--extreme good temper and docility being
among the most prominent. An unduly marked sinking of the spine is
certainly not to be desired, but an animal who has what grooms term “a
touch of a dip,” need not on any account be rejected for it.

A wise purchaser will always make a careful examination of the angles
of the lips. A decided hardness about them, although an unfavourable
symptom, need not condemn the animal; it may have been occasioned by
abuse of the bit, or by the use of an improper one. A cicatrix on the
mouth is a defect, as showing that the true skin has been removed from
its place, and if a decided induration, or anything like a lump can be
felt in the vicinity of it, evidence is afforded that the animal is a
puller. He ought not to be purchased for a lady’s use.


A good foot is an indispensable adjunct. I am not in favour of over
long, or excessively sloping pasterns, although they are preferable to
those that are either too much shortened, or unduly _upright_. Where
the latter defect exists, it indicates, in my opinion, a thickening
and rigidity of the flexor muscles, and produces an unsafe method of
planting the feet, particularly in walking. A light, supple pliant
pastern is a great beauty. I have often watched a thoroughbred racer
trotting over turf. The fetlock actually _tips the ground_, or seems to
do so, at every step, and if elasticity and slenderness of this portion
of a horse’s anatomy were to be regarded as indications of weakness,
very few finely-bred animals would ever pass the post at all.

[Illustration: HOOFS.]

Strong _high_ hoofs, with broad, firm, well-shaped heels, are most
desirable; though I know that in saying this I am challenging a large
array of contrary opinions. I have heard many persons found their
liking for low hoofs on the ground that an excess of horny substance
checks expansion, and pinches the internal substance. This is, with
all due respect, a fallacy. The hoof _cannot_ press upon or injure the
internal portion of the foot, any more than a well-developed skull
can bruise or hamper the healthy brain which it has been created to
protect. I cannot believe in the excellence of short, straight hoofs,
with narrow heels, nor can I forego my opinion, although once or twice
I have had to fight for it, that the best bred and safest horses have
their feet standing close together, with the toes pointing _forwards_,
in preference to a tendency to point either outwardly or in. The leg
should be straight and firm, the knee-joint flat and broad, the shin
hard, the forearm lengthy, and the limbs large and well-developed
where they emerge from, or rather join, the trunk. The thorax should
be wide; a narrow one is invariably accompanied by low withers (a
great defect), and by upright shoulders, which is another. As it is,
moreover, sacred to the purposes of respiration and circulation, its
proper dimensions should be regarded as an all-important point.

A nice horse, in colour, for a lady to ride is a dark chestnut or
bay. Browns and blacks are generally serviceable also, but greys and
roans are objectionable, owing to the hairs coming off upon the habit.
About fifteen-two is a good height for a horse which is to carry
a rider of average proportions. He should have well-set _sloping_
shoulders--oblique pasterns--clean, shapely legs--firm feet--and long,
easy, _swinging_ action, which is vastly better and more comfortable
than that chin-knocking motion which lovers of what is showy run after
and affect. The lady’s horse should carry his head handsomely, being
neither a star-gazer nor a borer, and his back should be somewhat
longer than might be thought altogether desirable in a horse intended
for a man to ride, in order to give ample room for the side-saddle.
He should have a moderately high forehand, be firm and flexible in
all his movements, and be at least 20 lb. above the weight he is
meant to carry; by which I mean that if you are, say, 8½ st., or from
that to 9 st., and that your saddle and appurtenances (including
your riding gear) weigh 2 st. extra, or a trifle over, you should
select for your use an animal well up to 13 st. or thereabouts. To
overweight a horse is both cruel and unwise, especially when a lady is
the aggressor--which sounds strange, as female equestrians generally
ride with tolerably light hands, and rarely stop out for any great
length of time together, except on particular occasions. Nevertheless,
their position on horseback, sitting far back and in a side attitude,
entails a good deal of additional fatigue upon an animal; nor has
the lady’s horse the advantage (a great one) which pertains to that
of a man--namely, being eased now and again by the rider standing in
the stirrups when galloping, or jumping off for a moment or two when
opportunity offers.


I have always thought it a pity that ladies do not select their saddle
horses with a view to their being somewhat in keeping with their own
style of appearance. It would be an immense advantage if they did.
A slender, willowy figure will always look best on a light-limbed
animal--one of spirit and breeding, full of quality, and as nearly as
possible thoroughbred--whereas a rider of more matronly build should
select an animal of medium height, with broad, strong back, powerful
quarters, big, healthy hocks, and stoutly-built forelegs. She will look
infinitely better on him, and be more safely carried, than if mounted
upon a slender weed.

So much for appearance. Now a brief word about other matters.

Do not buy a horse that is not a good walker, however perfect he may
seem to be in other respects. I have always attached great importance
to an animal’s walking powers. It is a pace more generally adopted than
any other when out for a pleasure ride, and if you really want to enjoy
this last-named recreation, have nothing to do with an indifferent
walker, though he be offered you for a song.

About four and a half miles an hour is a good walking pace--excellent,
indeed, when _leaving_ stable. The horse that accomplishes it will
generally walk at the rate of five miles an hour when coming home. A
good walker will neither stumble, drop, shuffle, nor break. Everybody
knows what the first and third mentioned of these defects signify.
“Dropping” is a most uncomfortable fault: a sort of inclination to
_duck downwards_ in front, or indeed more generally with the hinder
part of the body. Few young horses that are not overweighted are apt to
do it, and when they do, it is a sign of weakness of the muscles; they
are unsafe to ride. “Breaking” is an inclination to get into a canter,
or trot, and is one of the symptoms of defective training. I like to
see a horse walk steadily down hill, with head well up, and feet firmly
planted. It is an excellent test.

“Brushing” is a dangerous drawback, and so is “cutting.” The first
means striking one ankle against the other: the second is hitting the
shoe against the other leg--a practice which involves considerable
wounding and bleeding. Fast trotters frequently do it--therefore, if
selecting one, look out for its signs. A horse that cuts or brushes
with the _fore_-legs is thoroughly unfit for saddle use: he may come
down like a shot at any moment.

The training of a lady’s horse should render him steady in every
respect: perfectly quiet to mount, light mouthed, and ready to obey the
smallest touch of the rein, without showing skittishness. An animal
that bounces about when his mouth is felt, or whilst waiting to be
mounted, is anything but a treasure to possess. He should not be a
puller, though ridden in any description of bridle--nor should his
action when trotting be rough or _jerky_. If this latter be not looked
to, his rider will constantly suffer from undue fatigue.

That a lady’s horse should be sound and healthy is nothing short of
a necessity--nor ought he to have any glaring defects, or blemishes,
visible about his person--although a single one, if it be trifling--the
result, say, of a former wound, blister, or scar--need not cause him to
be rejected; in fact, it often happens that some excellent animals can
be had quite cheap at the end of a hard hunting season, because they
have got a little bit knocked about, although in many cases it does not
tell against them in the smallest degree.

Very many persons--Irish at all events--will remember the beautiful
“Adonis” who created so marked a sensation in the parade of
prize-takers before the Lord-Lieutenant at one of the last of the
Dublin Horse Shows, that was held in the grounds of the Royal Dublin
Society in Kildare Street. He had a conspicuous blemish on the right
side of his chest, the result of a car-shaft that had been driven
through his body only five months previous to the show; yet his
patching up had been almost perfect, and he commanded an excellent
price, though nothing at all to be compared with the sums I had been
offered for him before the accident occurred. This carries out what I
have said respecting the chances of being sometimes able to secure a
good animal, even a prize-winner, at a comparatively low figure, owing
to some outward blemish, which, although slightly disfiguring, is not
in any way prejudicial to the health, action, or general appearance of
the intended purchase--or to his real value, when considered from a
“useful purpose” point of view.




I think I shall make this a chapter upon Dress. Not that the subject
ought, perhaps, rightfully to come in just here, without first
introducing some more details about the horse--but I know it to be a
popular one with ladies, and it will make a pleasing variety from drier
matter, which can be made to hold over very well until by-and-by.

In the days of Gottfried and the fair Maid of Ghent, ladies rode
upon long-tailed palfreys, attired in embroidered robes of velvet or
brocade. A century later we find them wearing cloth manufactured into
riding gear, but fashioned so extraordinarily as to set us marvelling
how on earth they ever bore the weight, or kept their skirt-tails
even moderately clean. So far down as the first half of the present
century trailing habits were worn, and about that period we find many
allusions to the absurd custom, which would seem to convey something
like admiration of it. For example, Charlotte Bronté, describing the
return of a riding-party in ‘Jane Eyre,’ says, “Her purple riding-habit
almost swept the ground;” a very questionable grace, in my opinion, and
a highly dangerous one.

Even in the present day our risible faculties are sometimes excited
by the sight of some countrified equestrian, clad in the old-fashioned
attire of our mothers’ or grandmothers’ epoch--skirt six feet long, and
quite four yards in width; bodice with long basque, neck completely
open, displaying a huge expanse of shirt, finished off below the chin
with a red bow, or a blue one, or a green, as the case may be; sleeves
of enormous dimensions, both wide and long, and braiding enough to set
up a regiment of Hussars. There was a girl in the park last season who
wore a habit such as I have described, with the addition of soiled
white kid gloves, and an extraordinarily tall hat, with a very narrow
straight leaf, and evidently much too large to fit her head, for
it went bobbing over her eyes at every step of her ungainly steed.
Thousands of laughing glances were directed towards her, but she never
minded, and only seemed pleased; possibly she thought they were signs
of admiration--and her pleasant, healthy face was aglow with delighted

What a pity, I thought, that she had not the benefit of that
inestimable looking-glass, a friend’s eye. Somebody ought to have told
her what an exhibition she was, yet evidently nobody did; so ready are
we to ridicule others, without offering help.

A learner’s first costume may be as primitive as her knowledge of the
art--yet certain particulars concerning it ought not to be overlooked,
and while considering them I shall adopt my former unceremonious mode
of address, and speak as friend to friend.

To begin, then, with your head. Leave your hair floating, perfectly
loose--untrammelled by so much as a ribbon. The object of this is
that you may not have any temptation to remove your hands from the
position in which the master has placed them, or anything to divert
your mind from the subject with which it is engaged. Were you to take
your riding lessons with hair plaited neatly up in a coil, you would
probably become conscious, after a round or two of jolting, that a
tail was sticking uncomfortably out at one side, while a cold hair-pin
would perhaps make you shudder by sliding down your back. Then, if your
hand was not immediately lifted to rectify it, the tail would rapidly
increase in length and volume, and a perfect _rain_ of hair-pins
would begin to descend upon your shoulders. This is precisely what a
riding-master dreads and detests--for fingers and attention are alike
employed to rectify the damage, which cannot be done in a hurry, but
takes a long time,--and so discomfort reigns paramount until the lesson
is over.

_Always_, while a learner, ride with your hair unbound, and wear a
soft hat or cap upon your head, fastened securely with an elastic
beneath the chin. This latter does not look pretty, but that need not
matter very much; there will not be many to see it, and even were it
otherwise, the sensible among them would applaud your foresight, and
commend you for providing against the discomforts attendant on a hat
that would go rolling off with every motion of the horse you were

Your jacket should be more than easy-fitting: it should be
loose--allowing the figure full play, and giving special liberty to
the arms, which should never be hampered in any way.

The shape of it need not trouble you; beauty and fashion can be
dispensed with till by-and-by. Your skirt should be wide and short; the
make of it will not matter;--as in the case of the jacket, let “cut”
give place to comfort. Do not wear a hard stiff collar, or anything
that would irritate or distract your mind. Never wear petticoats
on horseback, even from the first. To do so is a grave mistake. I
advocate the purchase of proper riding trousers, to be worn from
the very beginning, and they, of course, obviate the necessity for
any such garment. I have heard persons speak in favour of flannel
combinations, made to fit quite loose, and must confess that, having
never tried them, I am not in a position to condemn, but my prejudices
are certainly not in favour of them. If not fitted with elastic below
the knees, they would most assuredly ruck up and make their wearer
miserable; and if so supplied, the legs of them would turn round and
round until the backs were almost twisted to the front, a state of
things terribly uncomfortable, and one that could not be remedied
without getting off. If, however, there is a decided predilection in
favour of these extremely undesirable garments, the twisting process
may in great measure be obviated by attaching a piece of good firm
elastic, long enough to pass under the sole of the foot, to each side
of the leg of the combinations. This answers the purpose of a man’s
trouser strap, but must, if adopted by a lady, be worn under the
boot. It is, I must say, surprising to me that the combination, or
knickerbocker garment, should ever have received the notice of juvenile
riders, inasmuch as it leaves the leg, from the knee down, entirely
uncovered, save by the stocking, except when long boots are worn; and
we all know that the limbs of a learner are far more tender and liable
to abrasion than are those which have become saddle-hardened and inured
to rubs.

Boots should be well-fitting, broad-soled, and made without buttons,
bows, or anything that could possibly catch in the stirrup, or require
disentanglement when about to dismount. High heels should _never_ be

Gloves are of little consequence, provided that they are soft and
large. Of the two I like to see beginners ride without them, except
when the weather is cold. A good strong woollen or cloth pair will then
be found preferable to any kind of leather.

A whip you will not require, therefore I need not speak of it; neither
will you have any need of a spur.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having thus disposed of your requirements as a learner, we come to
consider your more advanced costume, and I shall find need to speak
of every requisite for park, road, and country riding--reserving the
hunting outfit for the last.

If you are a moderate rider, three hats will be sufficient for you; a
silk one, which I prefer low-crowned; a jerry, or melon-shaped; and a
soft felt. These should be all of the finest quality; in fact, I may
here take occasion to warn you against cheap or indifferent articles of
riding apparel; they are, in all instances, by far the dearest in the
end. For my own part I really look with horror upon low-priced articles
of clothing--not from any snobbishness, far from it, but because I have
always found them wear so badly, look so unsightly after short service,
and adapt themselves so indifferently to the wearer, that a perfect
abhorrence of all so-called “bargains” has been the not unnatural

You should have at least two riding-habits--one of heavy, the other
of light material. Wolmershausen and Co., of Curzon-street, Mayfair,
are constantly showing a variety of beautiful stuffs, suitable for
all places, in town and country, and for all weathers likewise. They
are the introducers of the famous “Curzon Red,” in reality a dark
claret-colour of most charming hue, fine texture, and durable quality,
being perfectly impervious to the effects of rain or sun.

I am frequently asked for advice respecting the newest fashion in the
cut of riding habits--the form or shape of the bodice, and so forth.
The very best I can give is to go to a good maker, and leave the matter
entirely in his hands, not hindering him by the setting forth of any
ideas of your own. If he be a master tailor he will know his business,
and will not relish interference. Should you, however, be called upon
to give directions to a provincial or country workman of doubtful
capacity, send for a good pattern of a skirt, and then get your tailor
to cut it out in coarse, rough calico, and to tack it lightly together.
Finally, let him adjust it to your shape _when on horseback_, making
quite certain that the fit of it shall be perfect before attempting
to cut it out in cloth. By this simple process you and he will be
spared much disappointment, and you will be saved unnecessary expense.
A well-cut habit-skirt should fit without wrinkle or fold; it should
be barely long enough to cover the left foot; there should not be a
particle of superfluous cloth about it; the end of the hem should form
a line as nearly as possible horizontal; and the circumference _inside_
the hem should certainly not exceed two and a-half yards, even for the
most matronly rider.

I adhere to the belief that no habit-skirt can be properly adjusted
unless the maker of it can have the advantage of adapting it to
the figure of the intended wearer while she sits on horseback. All
fashionable tailors have model or block horses, on which they mount
their customers, and by no other plan can a perfect fit be secured.
It must be borne in mind that the better shaped a habit-skirt is for
riding the more unsightly it looks when seen on a standing figure, or
when held in the hand; in fact, it is then a seemingly hideous and
“all wrong” thing, full of irregularities, and apparently without form
and void--whereas, when viewed in the saddle, it adapts itself to the
figure of the wearer, and falls into perfectly correct and shapely

All modern habit-bodices are made entirely without perceptible basque,
having merely the coat-tail at the back. Some are made to open at the
throat, and these look smart with a white or pale buff scarf tie.
Others, again, are slightly opened at the waist, or very much so at the
breast, displaying fancy waistcoats of various kinds and patterns,
some of them quite startling in colour and design. The fashion is, in
my opinion, not one to follow. The nicest shaped bodice for a lady is
one made closely buttoned up, almost to the throat, showing merely a
small linen collar above the braid or neck-band, with the addition of a
neat tie of no conspicuous colour. The bodice itself should be entirely
free from ornament of any sort whatever.

I think it a good plan, although some tailors reject it, to have two
large strong hooks attached to the back of the bodice, with eyes of
corresponding size affixed in proper position to the band of the skirt.
When these are fastened there can be no danger of getting “out of gear.”

Bodices which open much at the throat are very apt to give colds and
coughs to the wearers of them. There is an old saying that pride feels
no pain, and certainly ladies who fancy their own appearance in this
particular style of garment are unfortunately only too apt to forget,
or overlook, its tendency to admit the chill blasts and treacherous
breezes which frequently make havoc with the most delicate portion of
the frame. Nobody could condemn the practice of muffling up the throat
more heartily than I do myself, but to leave the chest exposed to harsh
wintry winds--as I frequently see done--with only a trifle of silk or
muslin to serve as a protector, seems to me to be positively suicidal.
I therefore recommend that when open bodices are worn in chilly
weather, a fold of chamois, or warm soft flannel, should be placed
across the chest.

A habit-bodice should fit closely, without crease or wrinkle, but ought
not to be by any means tight; if it be so, all comfort in riding will
be destroyed. I am confidently of opinion that half the ladies who
canter their horses in the park and never attempt to trot them, only
adopt the fashion because they themselves are too tightly laced to
effect the rise in the saddle. This system of compression is a great
mistake. If ladies could only be induced to believe it, it certainly
adds nothing to their charms, for Nature will not allow herself to be
put out of sight, and the figure that is crushed in at the centre by
unduly tightened corsets must bulge out above or below them--sometimes
both--in a manner that is by no means pleasant to contemplate. Putting
aside, therefore, all questions connected with hygienic principles, the
fashion of squeezing the waist is not one to be recommended.

I believe that a great many ladies who are not by any means naturally
stout or clumsy, are made to appear so by wearing cheap and ill-fitting
corsets; while, on the other hand, figures that are inclined to
_embonpoint_ can, with the assistance of a judicious and capable
stay-maker, be invested with an appearance of grace and slimness
that is not by nature their own. To expect a habit-cutter to fit a
bodice over a seven-and-sixpenny corset, with two long bones, bald and
unsoftened, sticking up at the top of the back, hip-pieces too wide,
and front steels long and obtrusive, is as great a piece of injustice
as to expect an artist to paint a picture with broken brushes, or a
cook to furnish a banquet without the proper materials.

I cannot refrain from dwelling a little upon this subject, because it
seems to me that ladies are very often--without meaning it, perhaps--a
trifle unjust, not to say tyrannical, blaming their tailors, and even
speaking against them in influential quarters, for faults in fitting,
which are in reality entirely attributable to their own obstinacy
(combined, perhaps, with a little bit of parsimony), in neglecting the
advice given them: namely, to purchase well-made corsets from an artist
in that particular branch of industry. To lay a good foundation is at
all times, howsoever applied, an excellent rule, and the corset is the
foundation on which the habit-bodice must, as it were, be _built_.
Your figure may be ever so charming in all its outlines and details,
but if that which helps to mould it is in reality only calculated to
disfigure, the effect cannot be otherwise than unsatisfactory and bad.

Habit-sleeves ought not to be too long. To end within two inches of
the hand is the correct thing, the space to be filled up by a spotless
linen cuff. Ample room should be given at the elbows, and at the
setting-in of the sleeves,--otherwise there will be discomfort, and a
continual tendency to run up.

The system of shotting habits at the hem has happily entirely gone
out. According to the present rule of skirt cutting, it certainly
is not required, but for fair equestrians who are unduly nervous
about exposing even the smallest portion of understanding, a good
plan is to have a band of broad elastic affixed to the inside of the
skirt, in such a position as to enable the toe of the right foot to
be thrust through it, while a similar band does duty for the left.
These appliances cannot be properly arranged by even the most skilful
tailor, unless the wearer of the habit is ready to seat herself on
horseback, or on a block horse, for his benefit and assistance. The
necessity for this is obvious, as the precise position of the bands,
or loops, must be regulated by the rider’s length of limb, otherwise
they may be altogether wrongly placed, and, when used, have only the
unsatisfactory effect of dragging the skirt completely out of form.
Some authorities have censured me for advocating this plan at any cost,
declaring it to be highly dangerous in case of a fall. I should like
to know how it is so, seeing that it does not involve the possibility
of dragging, or place a lady in any sort of peril. The theory is about
as sensible as others of the kind, which ignorant persons--or men who
attempt to write for ladies--not unfrequently lay down. For riders who
are, nevertheless, apprehensive of danger from this source, reassurance
may be found by using Nicoll’s patent safety-band for the right foot
opening with a spring--so that, in the event of a fall, the rider is
not kept in a cramped position upon the ground, but can at once make an
effort to regain her feet, without trouble to herself or damage to her

Ladies who ride much in the country, especially in summer weather,
will derive comfort from the possession of a gingham habit, or one of
very lightest dust-coloured summer cloth. I have had one of the latter
myself, and it wore splendidly--bearing a couple of washings into the
bargain when disfigured by dust on which a shower of rain had fallen.
I would have it borne in mind, however, that cheap though the material
may be, it _must_ be tailor-made, otherwise it will not be fit to wear.



No amateur manufacture can possibly look well on horseback. The effect
is like that which is produced when men play cricket or tennis in
home-made flannels, or go to fancy balls, or private theatricals in
costumes manufactured by their wives. Please do not imagine that nobody
ever does such things. To think so would be indeed a fallacy--but the
effect is not a bit more ludicrous than that of amateur tailoring,
especially when a back view of the latter is obtained.


Riding trousers come next for mention. Many ladies prefer them to
breeches, and when worn, they should be made of chamois, with cloth
to match the habit extending from the foot to about midway between
the knee and the hip. Chamois, if of good quality, is soft, elastic,
serviceable, and most pleasant for wear, and side buttons are
preferable to an opening in front. Small, firm, well-adjusted straps
should be affixed to the ends of the legs, to prevent the possibility
of rucking up--an indescribably uncomfortable sensation. These straps
may be made of leather, though many prefer elastic. I do not think it
matters much which of the two is used for ordinary riding, but if the
latter, it should be quite an inch in breadth, and should have a slit
worked in it, button-hole fashion, at each end (leaving a good piece
of the stuff beyond the slit), and by this means be made to fasten to
two buttons, stitched very firmly, one on either side of the hem of
the leg--on the inside, of course. By adopting this arrangement the
straps can be readily changed--a great advantage, for elastic soon gets
worn out; and if you are a wise and methodical manager you will have a
second pair of straps always ready at hand, to provide for unexpected
contingencies. No lady who rides much can possibly do without at least
two pairs of riding-trousers: a pair for each habit being in fact
the correct thing. I think it will be a boon for ladies to know that
Messrs. Tautz have introduced an acceptable novelty in ladies’ riding
and hunting _breeches_, a really beautiful and durable article made
of deer-skin--soft as velvet, and elastic as a glove. Perfection in
fit is secured through the medium of a lady “fitter,” who is specially
relegated to the department, and it is a point in favour of these
breeches that they can be worn quite as readily and comfortably with
leggings or gaiters as with the more sporting “tops.”

The reference to these latter re-introduces the subject of boots: one
on which I have already lightly touched. Never wear them tight--adopt
the very plainest fashion--and let the soles be moderately thick. If
you prefer Wellingtons--which many do--have your trousers cut away at
the instep and buttoned close at the ankle, with a small strap to pass
under the foot when in its stocking; or have the boots drawn over the
trousers, _à la militaire_, so that you can get into both at the same
time. Captain Horace Hayes pointed out to me the utility of this plan,
and I have found it answer excellently for myself--but it is not every
lady who can be brought to see the wisdom of wearing boots large enough
to admit of it.

If a spur be required, select a Sewarrow; but I am against the
indiscriminate use of such an appliance, and always maintain that if a
lady is riding a properly broken horse she can have no possible need
of a spur for ordinary road or park riding. When hunting, it is, in my
opinion, an absolutely necessary adjunct, as also when training young
or vicious horses--but such employment is altogether distinct from
quiet, everyday exercise, and requires, in fact, an entirely different
equipment, of which the spur forms only a part.

Stockings for riding should always, even in summer, be of a heavier
and warmer description than those worn when walking, or in the house.
I would have you remember, also, that to garter them will have a
tendency to make your feet cold--a thing by no means pleasant or
desirable,--therefore use suspenders to keep them up.

Corsets have already been discussed. Never, if at all inclined to
stoutness, use what is called a riding-belt, or stay; in other words,
an abbreviated and thoroughly unsatisfying contrivance, neither high
enough nor sufficiently strong to serve as a support for the figure.
It is only excessively slight and naturally erect women who can at all
indulge in the wearing of such flimsy articles.

Web drawers of very light texture, such as are worn by men, will be
found agreeable for wear, and being so close-fitting I have never found
them move, or cause any discomfort.

Chemises should be made barely long enough to meet the saddle, or if
worn a shade longer they should be fashioned in the form of _trunks_,
extending about midway down the thighs. Nothing that can possibly ruck
up should ever be worn. I like to see chemises made in the form of a
man’s shirt, so far as neck, breast, and sleeves are concerned--but
collars and cuffs should be movable, and all appliances complete
for rendering an immediate change of these articles a matter of no
difficulty whatever.

Ladies who do not adopt the shirt-like form of chemise frequently
complain of the difficulty of keeping their cuffs in right position.
The best way to do this is to attach a little loop of single-cord
_round_ elastic to the inside of the habit-sleeve, and place a small
firm button on the back of the cuff, around which the elastic can be
fastened with perfectly satisfactory results.

Pins should never be employed for any purpose, except about the head.
This sounds strange, but I shall come to it by-and-by. Ribbons ought
not to be used as ties, especially gaudy ones--nor ought _anything_
coloured (including veils and flowers) ever be worn by a lady rider who
desires to lay claim to the possession of even ordinary good taste.
In this I am strongly opposed to the opinions of “Vielle Moustache”
and other well-known authorities; but every man, and of course every
woman, has a full and just right to his and her own views upon all such
matters, and when we put them in print for the benefit of others, it
is with the object of directing and advising by the reasonableness of
them, rather than of _coercing_ by their weight or power.

Gloves should be of doeskin--or strong, fine quality leather. They
should be double-stitched in every part, have at least two buttons, and
be amply large, in order to allow full play for the fingers and the
muscles of the hand, as likewise to admit of circulation going freely
forward--for extremities soon become chilled if cramped up in coverings
in which they cannot be easily and freely moved about. I do not like
white gloves, or yet black; a nice dark shade of tan looks well--and
some black stitching on the backs is a decided improvement.

No ornaments ought to be worn when riding. A small stud should fasten
the collar: never a brooch; ear-rings and bangles should be left
at home; a watch-chain should not be seen crossing the breast of a
habit-bodice, nor should a handkerchief ever be worn protruding from
the front of the bosom. This latter custom is simply an abomination,
which no rider of good taste would ever dream of adopting. Some, I
know, regard it as _chic_: a principle that makes them also keep their
elbows out from their sides--but with the vagaries of such persons I
have happily little to do, and certainly have very little sympathy.

Veils should be of black net, cut just deep enough to cover the tip
of the nose, without reaching below the nostrils, and they ought to
be sufficiently long to twist into the form of a knot at the back of
the hat, where they should be secured with two short steel pins. Those
which have round shiny black heads are the best, being easily seized
upon, even by gloved fingers, when the hand is put back for the purpose
of removing them.

You will observe that I have said the veil should be _twisted_, not
actually knotted, at the back of the leaf of the hat--for when it is
the latter, there is always difficulty in undoing it, and frequently
the hat itself has to come off before the veil can be successfully got
rid of. Dust-veils, of grey or black gauze, are extremely useful in the
country, but ought not to be worn in town--nor should any description
of _white_ veil ever be seen on a lady’s riding-hat, even though she be
exercising in the wilds of Connemara, or in a district as lonely as the
deserts of the East.

Whips are of many sorts and patterns. Select the plainest among those
of good description, and on no account carry one that has a tassel
appended. Never use a hunting-crop except when going out with hounds,
and do not despise a neat little switch if riding in the heart of the

I think I have but one more point to notice before concluding this
portion of my subject. Be certain that your hair is always most
securely put up before setting out to ride; unless, indeed, you are a
juvenile, and wear it loose. Make sure also that your hat is so well
fastened that it cannot, by any possibility, come off, either by the
influence of a high wind, or the sudden action of your horse. A good
deal must, of course, depend upon the manner in which you arrange
your coiffure. If your locks are abundant--sufficient to make into a
stout coil at the back of your head--an elastic loop to pass under it
will be found an advantage. Should your hair, however, happen to be
light-coloured, this will look badly, and I therefore recommend a plan
which I have myself found very effectual. Procure two steel pins such
as I have recommended for veil-fasteners--only much longer; pass them
through the leaf of the hat, about three inches apart; then weave them
securely in and out, in a transverse direction, through the roll or
plait of your hair, keeping the points of them turned well outward. No
danger can possibly accrue from this system of pinning, if properly
performed, even though you may be unfortunate enough to fall upon your
head any number of times in the day.

For girls who wear their hair flowing free, I cannot recommend any
really perfectly safe method of securing a hat, except by an elastic
passed beneath the chin. It is not a pretty way, certainly, but
juveniles need not care much about that.

You will find a warm winter jacket a great comfort in chilly weather.
It ought to be tailor-made, and lined with satin, to ensure its being
easily slipped on and off over the habit bodice. A little braiding will
be a great set-off to this, and a trimming of any good dark fur will
also enhance its appearance. I like astracan myself. The Empress of
Austria, when hunting in Cheshire in 1881, wore a lovely over-jacket of
dark blue cloth, trimmed with a deep bordering of astracan, with collar
and cuffs of the same becoming fur. Large frog buttons, with double
loops of twisted braid, extended down the front. The corners were
rounded, and the shoulders ever so slightly raised at the setting in.
When she took it off one day at luncheon time, I saw that it was lined
with very glossy purple satin, through which ran a tiny yellow stripe.
Nothing could have been prettier or more becoming.

A rain-proof cape, or jacket, will be likewise essential. If you get
the former, attach an elastic the circumference of your waist to the
inside of it at the extreme back--hem the ends of this, and stitch a
hook on one and an eye on the other, to enable them to fasten in front.
This will prevent the wind from getting underneath the cape, and you
can ride quite comfortably, even in squally weather, by bringing the
ends of the elastic _over the fronts_ of the cape before securing them
around your waist.

If you ride much in winter time, when wet days are of frequent
occurrence, you will find a couple of pairs of celluloid cuffs, with
collars to match, extremely useful. They are universally known, and
are now very cheap. All india-rubber houses keep them, and they can
be had, I believe, in every size. Being impervious to wet, they
are an improvement upon even the best starched linen (which they
strongly resemble in appearance), seeing that the latter gets limp and
wretched-looking after even a trifling shower.

I think I have now entered into all particulars respecting your
ordinary riding gear. That for hunting will occupy a chapter later on.
Bear in mind that the more plainly you are dressed, the quieter your
appearance, and the less obtrusive your style, the more ladylike you
will appear, and consequently the more to be commended and admired. It
is only horsebreakers and women of inferior social standing who seek to
attract attention by conspicuous action and costume. A lady shows best
that she is one by neither doing nor wearing anything that is in the
smallest degree calculated to provoke remark.

I have really often thought that the reason why many ladies look so
much better in their riding-habits than in ordinary walking attire, is
that there is so much less opportunity, when so dressed, for wearing
what is unbecoming, or for conforming to silly fashions which only
serve to distort and destroy all the beauties of the human form divine.
On horseback we are spared the unsightlinesses of dress improvers,
high heels, and high shoulders! The natural outline of the figure is
revealed to us, and with it we can find but little fault. “God made man
in His own image,” said a country preacher to whom I listened a short
time since, “but woman makes an image of herself!”



Having now provided yourself with a suitable mount for road and park
purposes, and likewise a supply of riding apparel sufficient to answer
all purposes until you come to hunt, it will be necessary for you to
turn your attention to the interesting subjects of bitting, saddling,
and general turning out. These things ought of necessity to precede the
actual _riding_--for you certainly cannot mount your steed until he has
been saddled and bridled, and to know how to accomplish this yourself
is in the highest degree important.

In the present day, when equestrianism is not only a popular amusement
but amounts almost to a craze, it is astonishing to find the amount
of ignorance that prevails among riders upon subjects with which they
ought to be at least tolerably well acquainted, before laying claim
to the terms “horsemen” and “horsewomen.” In no department that I can
think of, or name, is this lamentable want of knowledge so clearly
displayed as in the important one of bitting. That ladies are not, as
a rule, very conversant with the subject is scarcely to be wondered
at, for most lady-riders give no thought to anything on earth save
the pleasure of the motion, and the fit of their habits and gloves.
They have undergone a certain description of superficial training,
which just enables them to know how to sit, and how to hold the reins
between their fingers, but the real pleasure of being thoroughly _en
rapport_ with their mount--knowing what bit he will go best in, and
feeling conscious that he is not enduring torture from being wrongly
bridled or saddled--are things altogether denied them. It is precisely
the same principle on which ladies execute showy pieces on the piano,
without at the same time having the smallest knowledge of the theory
of music, or any idea of why it is that pressure upon the pedals is
capable of altering the sound. It is a sorry fact, but a certain one,
that nine-tenths of the ladies who ride in the Row--pulling equally,
as they often do, upon both reins--would stare at you in helpless
amazement, or blush “celestial rosy red,” if asked to describe the
difference in action between the curb bit and the snaffle. They do not
know. Nobody has ever told them, because it has never occurred to them
to ask. They are simply aware that there are two leathers, attached
by some unknown means to the horse’s head, and that they are supposed
to hold these nicely between their fingers, and look as charming as
they can; but what the leathers are for, or why there _are_ two of
them, or yet, why some other ladies of their acquaintance ride with
a single rein while they have been given a double one, are things of
which they have not the very faintest notion. Lip-straps, cheek-pieces,
throat-lashes, ports, cannons, &c., terms with which even moderately
skilled horsewomen are familiar--have never been so much as heard of,
or even inquired about. The existence of this species of ignorance
among lady-riders is not hearsay. I speak from practical knowledge,
having proved it upon many different occasions. “Pooh, nonsense; what
do _I_ care about your old leathers!” laughed a merry-hearted Cork
girl to whom I was once striving to explain some necessary matters;
“I just hold on, and let the beast carry me--and what more on earth
do I want?” And away she went, helter-skelter, after the hounds, as
she spoke--holding on, true enough, to both reins, with a good firm
grip; and the beast _did_ carry her, to some purpose too, up to a big
drain--and finding his mouth unfairly dealt with in the taking-off,
landed her deftly into it, and ungallantly galloped away.

With men--those who ride, I mean--ignorance concerning bitting ought
never to exist, yet I have been fairly astounded at finding out how
very little many of them know about the matter. An officer, who was
considered a good man to hounds, and who owned a couple of racers to
boot, looked actually quite puzzled when it was observed to him one
day that he was riding his hunter in a very severe bit (a saw-mouth
bridoon, attached to a snaffle), and said, “By George, I don’t know. I
suppose my confounded servant put some queer thing or another on him,
for the beggar won’t go a yard!” He had actually mounted his horse and
set out for a day’s hunting without so much as casting a _glance_ at
the animal’s head. Nor was his by any means an isolated case.

Now a practical word or two about some of the bridles most generally
in use--beginning with the common, smooth-jointed snaffle, which has
ever been my favourite bit. This, when sufficiently wide and large,
forms an absolutely perfect bridle, and its action is extremely simple,
restraining the horse by pressure on the bars of the mouth when his
head is carried more or less perpendicularly, and on the corners when
the head is lifted or lowered. Owing to the centre of the mouthpiece
being jointed, there is very little pressure on the tongue, which is
one of the many points in favour of this admirable bridle.

[Illustration: COMMON SNAFFLE.]

The common snaffle must not in any wise be confounded with the
ringed-snaffle which has a noseband attached to the inner rings, kept
in place by pieces of leather stitched round them and brought under
the ends of the cheeks. It may be _made_ to act severely by drawing
one pair of reins tight and sharp, thus causing all the pressure to
concentrate upon the horse’s nose--and is then called a Newmarket

I append sketches of a common jointed snaffle, the easiest and
nicest bit that a thoroughly-trained horse can possibly go in,
and also a double-ringed one, such as I have just described. The
latter is frequently used by men when breaking young horses in Irish
hunting-fields, and is very useful when servants have to be entrusted
with the handling of animals, for, severe though it may be made, it
cannot spoil a horse’s mouth so easily as can any description of curb.

[Illustration: RINGED SNAFFLE.]

There is not among the whole range of bits any so mild or suitable to
a learner as the common snaffle. Captain Horace Hayes, writing to me
on the subject, says: “The more imperfect the rider, the greater the
necessity for using a snaffle bridle; but this,” he adds, “goes without
saying. Persons are at times found to express such mad ideas about
horses and bitting that to reply to them is only to encourage their

A big smooth bridoon (with or without horns), and a solid Portmouth bit
and curb, will be found a capital hunting bridle. It has always been
a favourite with me for horses that do not want to get their tongues
over the bit, and where this objectionable habit does not exist, the
common-jointed snaffle or Pelham will be found very nice also. In
using it, however, you must see that the headstall is long enough for
the pressure to lie on the bars of the horse’s mouth. This should
always be looked to by the rider. If it has a tendency to crumple the
lips at the corners, it is wrong, and partakes of the nature of a gag.

[Illustration: JOINTED PELHAM.]

The Pelham bridle finds _many_ advocates: Major Whyte Melville liked
it, for instance,--and for showing off paces (if this alone be
desired), I approve of the _Hanoverian_ Pelham, but not particularly
for anything else. The Newmarket snaffle is a capital bit for pullers,
and the American snaffle with india-rubber mouthpiece is a pleasant
bridle, largely used in the States for trotting purposes. The Segundo,
formerly a great favourite, is a very powerful controller--while
the Melton mouth-bit is deservedly a prime favourite with many
riders. The Liverpool is greatly used for harness, and seems to have
quite superseded the old Buxton, the bottom bar of which made it
uncomfortably liable to catch on the pole-end or shaft.

[Illustration: SEGUNDO.]


I dislike seeing a gag employed, and consider it altogether
unnecessary, except for a buck-jumper, or an animal who determinately
“bores” his head in a downward position; nor am I at all in favour of
the _twisted_ snaffle, which is a very severe bit, and does not answer
any purpose, so far as I have ever been able to make out, that the
chain-snaffle cannot be made to fulfil; for if severity be required,
it can be obtained by twisting the chain before putting it into the
horse’s mouth. I hate to see it, however, and never would permit its
use in my own stables, except in the case of some animal that was
known to be of an unusually fractious, or, I might say, _evil_ temper.
Severity in bitting is, in my opinion, very rarely necessary; and
taking into account the cruelty of it, I dislike it excessively, and
always cry it down.


[Illustration: CAMBRIDGE BIT.]

I saw a man in Cheshire, when the Empress of Austria was hunting
there, riding in a terrible bridle. He had a strong, wiry _rope-bit_
attached to the horns of an ordinary snaffle--and it must have been
frightfully severe, for the horse’s mouth was bleeding at both corners.
I remarked to the Kaiserin that it was no wonder she was anxious to
get away from that part of the country, if her sensitive eyes were
often thus shocked. She looked at the man--at the horse--at the man
again--and then said one word--“BRUTE!” It was certainly expressive,
and concise,--and she spoke it in right sound English too, which I
thought a very good thing.

The ordinary term “bit and bridoon” means simply a curb and a snaffle.
The latter has been already explained. The common curb is merely a
mouthpiece attached to two cheeks, and is curved in the centre, forming
what is called a “port,” while a chain is attached to the cheeks in
such a way that when the curb-reins are drawn tight, the chain presses
upon the _chin_ of the horse, and so restrains him.

There is much variety in the shape of curbs, a Chifney being the
strongest, and therefore the most capable of misuse in unpractised
hands. A really good double bridle for ordinary riding is a Dwyer
curb (which has very short cheeks), and a common smooth snaffle. The
Cambridge bit is also very generally esteemed.

For hunting purposes, I like the _snaffle_ bridle to have half horns
only, as being less likely to be drawn in a scurry through the horse’s
mouth, taking the curb along with it. I have seen this happen once or
twice, with very unpleasant results.


To say that an animal is “hard-mouthed” is a very general expression;
but the notion that he is so constantly arises from his being
improperly bitted. Something or another is thrust into his mouth that
does not go near fitting it, and as a consequence has no more effect in
either checking or guiding him than if it were tied to his tail. When a
horse is badly bitted, and controlled at the same time by incompetent
hands, the double evil is almost too great to be endured; but when a
proper bit is applied, there is far less suffering and inconvenience on
the part of the animal, even though subjected to the hands of a very
unlearned master. Timid riders ought to know, and remember, that as a
horse is governed by his mouth--just as a ship is by her rudder--it
will be wise to devote especial attention to that quarter, in order to
avert the danger that may otherwise ensue. A skilful and experienced
hand at the bridle will always prove the best means of success, and
ensure the greatest amount of safety; but, where this does not exist,
the natural or acquired defect may in great measure be counterbalanced
by the application of a suitable bit.

Persons have positively laughed at me when I have spoken of having a
horse’s mouth measured--and yet there are three interior measurements
which ought to be carefully made before fitting an animal with a
bit: these are, the width of the mouth, taking the measurement from
the chin-groove--the exact width of the channel in which the tongue
rests--and the height of the bars of the mouth, by which I mean from
the surface of them to the _undermost_ point of the chin-groove. If
a bit with a port is to be used, the horse’s tongue ought also to be

It often happens that from improper bitting horses acquire an ugly
trick of working their tongues over the mouthpiece. I had two that did
it, but cured them by riding them for awhile with a snaffle only, and
then carefully fitting them as described with suitable bits.

Correct bitting will ensure complete control, or ought to do so,
without inflicting pain. Anything that involves suffering ought to be
discarded--although I do not wish it to be understood that I object
to such pain in bitting as will compel an unbroken horse to drop his
head to the correct position, or yield to the hands that are training
him. Remember, however, that a curb unduly tightened, or a bit that is
too severe, will often make a horse poke out his chin--and you must
not then drag at him, but rather give him ease. When an animal has a
bit forced into his mouth that he feels will not suit him, he tries
to tell his master so by all the means that lie within his power. He
exhibits restlessness when the bridle is put on: gapes, mouths, flings
his head about, and carries it (when urged into motion) either on one
side, or unduly high or low. There is by nature very little so called
“vice” in horses. Comparatively few of them are _born_ unruly, but many
are made so by improper treatment on the part of those in whose charge
they are at times unfortunately placed.

There should be one established law in bitting: never use _any_ bridle
that your horse after a trial will not face. Were this advice attended
to there would be fewer accidents, and far fewer unsightly exhibitions
of danger and discomfort than we are at present accustomed to see. A
well-placed bit will just clear the tusks in a horse’s mouth, and in
that of a mare will lie one-inch above the corner teeth. A considerate
rider will always look to these things himself before mounting; will
see, for instance, that the throat-lash is not drawn too tight, and
that the pressure of the bit lies _exactly_ on the bars of the mouth.
These bars are formed much like the _tibia_, or human shin-bone, the
minor edge being sharper and more salient than the outer, where it
rounds off. Their shape varies in different horses. In hard-mouthed
animals they are round, low, and furnished abundantly with fleshy
substance; in a tender mouth they are very lean and sharp; and in what
may be styled a good mouth, they are moderately so, without exhibiting
too great an inclination to either of the first-named conditions.

I like to see a good _wide_ mouthpiece used; it is a vast deal better
to have it too wide than too narrow, and I give you the advice in case
you do not go on the principle of measurements, which some ridicule.
Let your mouthpiece be at all events not less than five inches inside
(and even this will be found narrow for many horses), with cheeks
rather short, and set _outwardly_. If a port is used it will be much
better to have it opening laterally, from two to two and a-half inches.

The unsightly habit of lolling out the tongue arises from the pressure
to which it is, or has been, subjected, by the whimsical shapes of
many of the mouthpieces in general use, the ports of which, instead
of being fashioned according to the form of the tongue and mouth,
are so constructed that the first-named is either pinched severely
in the hollow, or pressed between the cannons of the mouthpiece and
the bars of the mouth. The horse, then, in order to relieve himself
from the torture, either hangs out his tongue, or draws it up above
the mouthpiece: an action which compels him to open his mouth in
an unsightly manner. This latter defect is likewise frequently
attributable to the extreme height of the ports of some mouthpieces;
these act, most improperly, on the palate, and when the reins are
pulled, cause such excessive agony that the sufferer gapes, in order to
ease his pain.


It is a common error to suppose that the power of the bit lies in the
mouthpiece, according to its form, and that a high port (one that bears
upon the palate) affords control over the animal thus bitted. The real
power lies in the branches, according to their proportions, and not by
any means in the size or shape of the port, which latter ought to have
the effect of an axis gravitating on the bars of the mouth, in order
that by its influence the branches may act on these only, and not on
either the palate or the tongue.

[Illustration: ANTI-REARING BIT.]

No lady’s horse worth calling one will ever require a rearing-bit, but
such things are useful on occasions, and a gentleman told me some time
ago that he obviated an uncomfortable habit which one of his horses had
contracted, of throwing up his head, by using a round ring bit with
reins attached, in place of a snaffle. I have never tried it myself,
therefore cannot vouch for the general efficacy of the experiment;
but it may be very good. Men do not _mean_ to be cruel to horses when
bitting them improperly, but they are so nevertheless--to a terrible
degree. An animal shows signs of uneasiness, and it is at once set
down to “temper,” and punished accordingly. Temper may at times no
doubt have something to do with intractability, but so it has--very
often--with ourselves, and what better means can be adopted to calm
the irritability of man or his slave than patience, kindness, and an
entire absence of all desire to _fight_?

I do not much care for nosebands; they seem to me to interfere with
the proper action of the bridle, by preventing the headstall from
going forward, and also the cheek of the bit. The only really useful
noseband is one that is detached from the bridle-cheeks and has a
separate crown-strap. This, when worn low on the nose, is effective in
preventing a horse opening his mouth widely, and thus displacing the
bit from the bars. Martingales I simply abhor, for hunting purposes,
although I have heard some good authorities advocate the use of the
_standing_ martingale, even when crossing country. I think it is only
allowable in case of a confirmed “star-gazer,” who goes at his fences
with his head in the air, instead of looking straight before him when
he jumps. A _running_ martingale might be found useful with some horses
for park or road riding, inasmuch as it can be made effectual for
keeping the head of a flippant or unsteady goer properly in place. When
made use of for this purpose it should be adjusted in such a way as to
allow the pull of the reins to be _directly_ in line with the top of
the withers, and should be lengthened for a horse who holds his head
already sufficiently low.

I have seen Irish horsebreakers in the country improvise a martingale,
by putting the reins underneath the horse’s neck, and then passing them
through two rings, kept together by a strap. It answered pretty well
for rough riding, but I cannot recommend the innovation.

Martingales of all sorts and descriptions are, as a rule, undesirable,
except when the rings attached to the reins of them are so small that
they cannot by any possibility slip over those of the bit, and this
will necessitate the stitching of the reins--for buckles will not do.
Stops will otherwise be essential: made of leather, for safety.

I cannot help believing that bitting is generally _much_ too severely
carried out. The most cruel curbs are used by ignorant persons, whereas
there are really very few horses who cannot be done much more with by
dropping the curb rein altogether, and riding on the snaffle only.
Ladies pull and work their horses’ mouths, and then wonder that the
horses pull them in return. It is a great mistake. Hundreds of animals
are made thoroughly unruly by undue use of the curb, and so much evil
have I seen accrue from it, that I strongly recommend all young riders
to _try_ riding with the snaffle only, and to keep the curb rein
hanging loosely over the little finger, so that it may in an instant be
taken up if necessity demands, which I am confident, however, will not
very often be the case.

Some time ago I rode a mare for a friend who was very desirous of
ascertaining whether the animal was a fit one to carry a lady with
safety. I don’t believe she meant to imperil my safety in any way, in
order to secure her own. I simply offered to try the mare, and the
proposal was accepted. Terrible things had been said of the animal’s
want of training, evil temper, and so forth, and the groom who brought
her to me was evidently extremely nervous. He told me, the very first
thing, that the mare had never in her life done any saddle work,
except with “a desperately wild young gentleman,” who had _bitted
her severely_, and yet found her most difficult to manage. Therein
lay the secret, I thought to myself; but I said nothing, and the
maligned quadruped and I started on our trial, the groom most earnestly
imploring me to keep a firm hold of the curb. I found that she hung
desperately upon her bridle, kept her head between her knees with a
strong, determined, heavy pull--a dead one, in fact--upon the bit, and
went along with a rough, jerky action, which had me very soon tired
out. The Editor of the _Sporting and Dramatic News_ had volunteered
to accompany me, in order to see the trial, and when we got into the
Row and set our horses going, the brute nearly dragged my arms out in
her canter. The tug she had upon the bridle was quite terrific, and,
evidently prepared for a fight, she laid back her ears and shook her
wicked head angrily. I rode her from Palace Gate to the Corner in this
manner--not pulling one ounce against her, and yielding very slightly
to her in her stride. By the time we turned she had given up fighting,
and I was enabled for the first time to speak to my companion. I then
dropped the curb, and rode her entirely upon the snaffle. The effect
was magical; she at once lifted her head, ceased pulling altogether,
and went along in a pleasant, joyous canter--going well up to her
bridle, but not attempting any liberties whatever. In less than an
hour’s time I was riding her with one hand, petting and making much of
her with the other--an attention which, as a pleasing novelty, she
evidently much appreciated. Finding her slightly intractable during the
ride homeward, I once more lightly took up the curb. It maddened her in
a moment. She turned wildly round, twisted about with a rotatory motion
most bewildering and unpleasant, ran me against a cart, and behaved
altogether so outrageously that it required my very utmost skill,
confidence, and temper to restore her equanimity, and steer her safely
to our destination. On dismounting I observed to the groom who had come
to fetch her, that considering the amount of excitement through which
she had passed, it was wonderful that she had not sweated. His answer
was that she was always fed upon _cooked food_ (a pet theory of mine,
to which I shall devote a chapter by-and-by), and added that the horse
which he himself was riding--a remarkably fine four-year-old--derived
its chief sustenance from _boiled barley_.

I shall now close my chapter upon bitting. That it has been a horribly
dry one I cannot hope to find contradicted, but I felt that its
instructions ought to come in just where I have introduced them, and
they will be better understood, no doubt, when the pupil shall have
learned thoroughly how to ride. No lady’s education can be called
anything like complete (with regard to equine matters) until she
perfectly understands the _principles_ of bitting, and can, moreover,
saddle and bridle her own horses without the aid of a groom. I shall
give instructions concerning these matters in another chapter.



The choice of a lady’s side-saddle is a most important matter, and
ought not to be treated in any other light; yet with multitudes of
equestrians it seems to be regarded as almost a thing of nought. “Look
out for a second-hand saddle for me, there’s a dear!” writes a country
lady to a town friend; “I am actually going to ride!” And away goes
the town lady on a search through alley and slum, and comes home the
triumphant purchaser of an awful instrument, which gives a sore back
to the bearer of it in no time at all, and is then sent to be stuffed,
coming back to its owner all the worse for the process, owing to the
fact that the stuffing has, in the first instance, been entirely over
done. Articles of this description never give any satisfaction, and
would be dear if purchased at half-a-crown. Economise as you will in
other directions--put up with cheap hats, habits, boots, and gloves,
if you cannot really afford any better,--for, odious though they be,
they can prove injurious to yourself alone,--but let your saddle be
of the best. Go to a first-class maker; get measured as accurately as
a man does for a pair of hunting breeches--tell him that you need the
_best_ materials and very best workmanship--and if he knows his art he
will require no further directions. It is almost superfluous to repeat
that a well-made side-saddle should be level-seated, and should have
no perceptible dip, or sinking, from front to cantle. It ought to be
amply long for the rider, and the points of the tree should fit close
to the horse’s sides behind the shoulder-blades. I object to stitching,
on either near or off side, as being unworkmanlike; but an unpractised
rider may have the seat of her saddle covered with buckskin, which will
afford her a more secure grip than she can obtain from the ordinary
slippery leather. The gullet-plate should either be dispensed with
altogether (as mentioned in a former chapter), or be sufficiently
arched to prevent its pressing on the horse’s withers. I prefer the
former plan, and have found it answer admirably. The up-pommel should
be barely high enough to afford a secure catch for the right leg. When
higher than this it sticks up like a horn beneath the habit, and is
extremely disfiguring.

The leaping-head should be movable. I do not mean that it should merely
turn round and round, or bend downwards with a hinge, but it ought to
be capable of being placed higher or lower, according as the rider may
desire. This can be accomplished by having two, or even three, holes
made for it within varied distances of one another: a plan which will
be found of especial benefit in cases where a saddle is purchased
with a view to more than one lady making use of it--and a tired rider
will frequently find it a great boon. Of course, in such case, the
leaping-head must be a screw one, a thing to which I know many ladies
object on the ground that it gets out of order. It really ought not
to do so,--nor does it, except when entrusted altogether to a groom,
who keeps unscrewing it every day as if for mere pastime. It should
not be touched at all, except when necessary for cleaning purposes,
or to lubricate it with a little oil, and it will be well then to do
it yourself, unless your servant happens to be an exceptionally good
and trustworthy one, or that you are too grand in your ideas to put
your hand to anything in the shape of work. I hope, however, that I
am not writing for any such silly person. You should never be above
looking after _everything_ connected with your own riding gear. It
will not lessen your dignity one whit: rather the contrary--for your
servants will then see that you are not a simpleton, and will respect
you accordingly. The lady who shudders at a duster, and wonders where
puddings grow, is in reality not an atom more to be despised than
is the foolish-minded equestrian who thinks it is inelegant to know
anything about the conduct or management of her own stable. I like to
see a woman able and willing to put her hand to everything that comes
in her way, without feeling in the least lowered by it. One of the most
perfectly ladylike women whom I have ever met, on one occasion groomed
and fed her own hunter, when the stableman who had charge of him was
found tipsy, on her return one wintry evening from a long day with the
hounds; and she did it, too, before ever removing her habit. Sense and
humanity combined.

I may add, before passing to another portion of my subject, that where
a screw-pommel is used it will be found a wise plan to have it made
with the thread of the screw _reversed_; by which I mean that the
pommel should turn from left to right, in place of the ordinary way. By
this arrangement the left knee pressing against it serves to fix it all
the more firmly, instead of, as is usual, misplacing it.

I am often asked what ought to be the weight of a side-saddle, and what
the size. Much must of course depend upon the dimensions of the rider.
About eighteen pounds is, or ought to be, the average weight of an
ordinary saddle, although my own were much lighter. I do not, however,
see that there is very much to be gained by riding in too light a
saddle. A few pounds one way or the other can make little difference
(except in racing) to a good horse, and light saddles are sometimes apt
to give sore backs.

With regard to size, I consider that a lady of moderate height--say
five feet three, or thereabouts--ought not to purchase a saddle _less_
than nineteen inches long. Any good maker will, however, give the
proper proportions.

The stirrup-leather of a lady’s saddle is generally attached to it by
an iron ring, but I greatly prefer the spring-bar attachment, same
as is used with men’s saddles. Many ladies say that it is apt, with
pressure, to come away, and if this be the case, a greater objection
could scarcely be urged against it, but, for my own part, I have never
found it do so.

Peat & Co., of Piccadilly, have brought out and patented a really
first-class article in this line, namely, Born’s saddle-bar, a
contrivance which instantly releases the foot in case of a rider being
either thrown or dragged. I can confidently recommend it.

A very simple way, which some like, is to have the stirrup stitched
to a single leather, which is then passed through a ring, and drawn
downwards to within an inch or two of the end of the flap. It is next
passed round the horse’s belly, and buckled to a single tongue on the
other side. This keeps the flaps of the saddle close, and the rider is
enabled by it to shorten or lengthen her stirrup from the off side--an
advantage not to be overlooked.

Girths are of various kinds. Some are in favour of the elastic webbing;
others like the Fitzwilliam, which is a very excellent kind, and
thoroughly to be depended on for general work. For myself, I strongly
advocate the plaited girths, made of either hide, horsehair, or cord.
Being open-work they admit plenty of air, and are calculated to prevent

I do not, as a rule, care for saddle-cloths, but no doubt they preserve
the inside of a saddle very much. If used at all they ought to be very
thin. To save a sore back, a sheepskin is best A leather saddle-cloth
will keep pliant if in constant use, but if laid by for a while it
should be moistened with a little oil. Cod-liver will be found the most
efficient for the purpose.

I am not in favour of _any_ of the so-called safety stirrups. Nicholl’s
patent is the best of them; but I cannot help regarding them all as
danger-traps, having twice nearly lost my life through using them. I
therefore strongly recommend all lady riders to adopt a perfectly
plain stirrup, such as is used by men, only of course smaller. A neat
little racing stirrup served me faithfully for years, and I cannot
advocate any other. Safety stirrups are perpetually getting out of
order, and my experience of even the best of them is that they are
liable to catch the foot and confine it in a dangerous manner, which
the plain stirrup never does.

To ride with a slipper, even for a very young beginner, is strongly to
be condemned. To allow children to use it is simply to train them to
ride _from_ it--thus sowing the seeds of a most pernicious practice.
It feels so snug and comfortable under the foot that there is an
irresistible desire to rest and dwell upon it: an evil of which I shall
hereafter have occasion to speak.

Having now said all that I consider useful concerning saddles and
bridles, I think it will be expedient to give a few instructions about
putting them on; for, as I have already said, a lady or gentleman who
cannot do this without the aid of a servant has yet (no matter how
accomplished in every other way) something very important to learn.

To bridle a horse, go quietly up to him, holding the headstall in your
hand. Make much of him for a moment or two before putting it on: not at
all because you think that he is going to fight against it--no lady’s
horse would be guilty of doing such a thing--but because it is a nice
and right habit, and one to be put in practice upon every reasonable
occasion. The way in which unthinking grooms drag poor horses’ heads
about, and _force_ heavy bits into their quiet, unresisting mouths,
is enough to make a humane heart feel grieved and angry together.
Gentleness is, however, a woman’s attribute, and the kindness with
which most women usually regard animals is one of their most loveable

When the headstall has been nicely fitted, take a glance over it, and
note that the forehead-band is loose enough, and that the throat-lash
will admit at least two of your fingers between it and the skin. Fit
the snaffle-rein next, by the buckles, and see that it falls about half
an inch below the angle of the mouth. If you are in the habit of riding
with a curb, adjust it very carefully, observing the rule laid down
in my chapter on bitting, of resting the mouth-piece on _the bars_ of
the mouth, just above the chin-groove. I know it occasionally happens
that some irregularity about the teeth renders this a difficult thing
to do, and where such is the case the bit must of course be slightly
moved, but it ought to be placed only just as much above the obstacle
as will be necessary to clear it. You must next hook the curb, taking
the off side first, and leaving a link in reserve. Then come to the
near side, and leave it length enough to afford two links--making
sure also that it lies quite flat on the chin-groove, and has not the
smallest tendency to rise upwards at the draw of the reins. Ascertain
above all things that the chain is sufficiently slack, and that it does
not inconvenience the horse. A good test will be for you to insert the
first and second fingers of your left hand between it and the animal’s
chin: slipping them in, so that the palm of your hand shall go beneath
the under lip of the horse, and the back portion of your two fingers be
exposed to the pressure of the chain; then draw the reins quietly with
your right hand, and if you feel an unpleasant pinching, slacken the
chain a link, and try again until you have it right. I said in my last
chapter that the action of the mouth-piece on the bars of the mouth
was entirely controlled by the branches, which also regulate that of
the curb-chain, both on chin and bars. The pressure which it effects
on these constrains the horse to obey the will of his rider. Now, when
the curb-chain is left to hang in too loose a fashion, the pressure
cannot be effected at all, and the branches go backwards, because they
meet with no resistance from the curb-chain: and thus the action of the
cannons on the bars of the mouth is altogether defeated.

Saddling comes next to be spoken about. Place the saddle clear of the
play of the shoulders, if meant for hunting; when the adjustment is for
ordinary riding, an inch or two further back will do. It is a common
error to place the saddle out of position, in order to make it appear
as if the horse bridled better, or had a finer shoulder than he really
has; but it is a very wrong thing to practice constantly, and can only
deceive the most inexperienced judge’s eye.

If you want a horse to go particularly fast for a short distance, you
may adjust the saddle so that it shall be as far forward as possible
without interfering with his action: as the chief office of the hinder
part of an animal is to propel weight, while that of the fore part is
to bear it up.

When the saddle has been nicely placed, take up the first girth, and
then the hinder one, drawing both well back from the horse’s elbows,
so that they shall neither chafe nor inconvenience him in his action.
Do not girth him up too tightly at first, especially if he has been
recently fed; nor must you on the other hand leave him too much space
for the air to make way through, taking into account that some horses
are terrible rogues, and will actually swell themselves out ever so
much when they feel the girths tightening upon them, which shows that
they are more sensible than many who ride them, inasmuch as they object
to being too tightly laced. I had an arrant rogue once, who used to
present the appearance of a drowned pup whenever I came to girth him
up, and would gradually collapse inward, like an indiarubber ball with
a hole in it, whenever he thought he had me sufficiently gammoned. That
horse’s face would have won a fortune for him as a type of injured
innocence when I let him see one day in a practical manner that I was
up to his tricks; but we continued excellent chums, nevertheless, and
as it was to a male friend I subsequently sold him (who would, of
course, clap a leg each side of him, and so distribute the weight), I
said nothing about his little dodges, but laughed to myself when, a few
days later, I saw the dear old man (his owner) riding his wily purchase
in the Row, with girths so slack that he could have put both feet into
them, stirrups and all, without much inconvenience, and my cunning
friend trotting demurely along under him, with the most lamb-like
countenance in the world.

It is almost unnecessary to say that while tight girthing is for every
reason to be avoided, it will not do at all to leave the girths of a
lady’s saddle too loose. When they are so, the uneven distribution of
weight which a side position necessarily entails will be sure to draw
the saddle on one side, or perhaps even cause it to turn: in which case
the consequences will be both dangerous and unpleasant.

I think it an excellent plan to lead a horse about by the bridle for a
minute or two after girthing, and then try again whether he is tight
enough, by inserting a hand between the girths and the belly, and
seeing whether they need any further looking after.

I must not omit to say that if you are using a saddle-cloth or
sheepskin, you should, before finally girthing up, draw the front part
of it well forward on the withers, in order that the gullet-plate of
the saddle (if that article happens to be made with one) may not press
upon them.

The last thing for you to do before mounting will be to pass your
forefinger under the girths at each side of the horse’s body, and
smooth away any wrinkles that the action of girthing may have caused in
his skin.

It will not be amiss here to say that many ladies have asked me for an
opinion concerning the advisability of riding occasionally on the left
or off side of the horse. I cannot see any objection whatever to it for
ordinary riding, although I cannot advocate it for hunting; and where
young girls find it expedient to ride a good deal, I should be apt to
recommend it highly, as a means of preventing their growing awry. The
saddle necessary for it is a somewhat awkward-looking article to those
unaccustomed to view such things, but it may be satisfactory to know
that the Princess of Wales rarely uses any other kind.

[Illustration: LEARNER, ON OFF-SIDE.]




Being now provided with a fully-caparisoned mount, it is time that
you should begin in good earnest to learn to ride; therefore to this
pleasant task we will apply ourselves, reserving the interesting
subjects of shoeing, feeding, stabling, &c., for future consideration.

To mount well must first be studied, and practised: the latter
assiduously, no matter how great the drudgery may be. It is certainly
disheartening to a learner to feel that one of the most trying portions
of her equine education is after all the only one that involves a very
serious drawback, namely, that of requiring assistance that cannot well
be done without; yet, so it is--and the difficulty is one which must
be considered and met. A lady may saddle and bridle her own horse, may
give him the finishing touches herself, and canter away, independently,
when once she is on his back--but to get there she must, as a rule,
seek for assistance from some source or another, and _animated_
sources (by which I mean men) are generally painfully inefficient. It
certainly is what is expressively termed “hard lines” on a practised
equestrian to be made an exhibition of at door or covert-side by some
inexpert individual, who either sends her clean over the saddle by the
superfluous energy of his action, or leaves her to hang fire midway
while he stoops to pick up his hat, which he manages to lose through
stupidly poking his head forward at the moment at which she is making
her spring. I know exactly what it is, and the mortification that it
entails. Many of us are, unfortunately, familiar with the feeling
that we have done precisely the right thing ourselves, but that some
officious and horribly incompetent assistant--or would-be such--has
frustrated our efforts, and left us a laughing-stock in the centre of
a crowd. It is just like going up to a piano in full possession of all
the difficulties that may mark the song selected to be sung, and being
compelled to undergo the torments inflicted by a bad accompanist, who
handicaps the singer by his own utter unfitness for his task. Half
the people present are not able to discern whether it is the voice or
the piano that is at fault; they only know that the performance is a
failure, and speak of it afterwards as such. So it is with mounting for
a ride. Say that there are a hundred persons present at a lawn meet,
and you emerge from the house to mount your horse, with the result that
you are kept struggling for an awful moment or two betwixt the ground
and the saddle by some blushing booby who has offered to put you up,
and who will neither do so properly nor suffer you to jump quite down.
At least two-thirds of the onlookers will be ready to say the fault
is yours. My advice, therefore, is, never leave yourself open to an
unpleasantness of this description; select your assistant cavalier,
just as you have a right to accept or reject a partner for a dance--and
if nobody in whom you have confidence happens to be present, have
recourse to the groom’s assistance, if you are quite certain that he
knows how to render it, and, if not, lead your horse to a low wall,
should such a thing be near enough, or take him, at all events, out of
sight of the crowd, and utilise _any_ sort of stepping-stone to reach
his back, rather than incur the ridicule or unjust remarks of the more
fortunate among your sex.

It is, of course, in some cases, quite possible for a lady to let
down her stirrup and mount by it, unassisted--drawing it up again to
the required length when seated on her saddle. To little girls riding
ponies I have already recommended this plan; but for grown equestrians
it is far more frequently impracticable than otherwise. A lady rider
may be of diminutive stature, and may yet be called upon to mount a
very tall horse; or her stirrup may not be an easily movable one (say,
for instance, that she is accepting a ride upon a borrowed mount, with
trappings entirely unlike her own), or her habit-bodice, despite all
warnings, may not be loose enough about the waist to enable her to make
the long stretch up to the pommel which unassisted mounting always
requires. Therefore, writers who say that a lady can at _all_ times be
entirely independent of extraneous assistance prove to a certainty that
they have not studied the subject.

The orthodox method of mounting is as follows: Take the reins and whip
in your right hand and lay the fingers of it firmly upon the top of
the up-pommel--grasping it, in fact; then, with your left hand, gather
your skirt away from your left foot, and place this latter in the hand
of your assistant, bending your knee as you do so. When you feel that
his palm is firmly supporting the sole of your foot, take your left
hand from your habit-skirt and place it on his left shoulder--he being
in a slightly stooping position at the time. Then give him the signal:
any pre-arranged word will do--“Ready!” “Go ahead!” “Now!” or, in
short, anything you may choose to fix. As you say the word, straighten
your knee, and make a slight spring upward, your cavalier at the same
instant raising himself to an erect position, without letting his hand
drop in the very smallest degree. By this arrangement you will reach
your saddle with comfort and expertness. It will, as already mentioned,
require some patient practice, for, like many other accomplishments,
it looks wonderfully simple and easy--until you come to try it. In
the event of having to mount by a wall, a big stone, a horse-bucket,
or other article--any one of which you may be glad at some time or
another to make use of on emergency--steady yourself well upon your
stepping-stone, whatever it may be, gather the reins in your _left_
hand, laying it firmly upon the up-pommel or on the horse’s mane, place
your foot in the stirrup, taking care that it is well freed from the
habit-skirt, then seize the cantle firmly with your right hand, and
jump into the saddle. If your skirt is properly cut, you will have no
difficulty in arranging it comfortably over your right knee when the
latter has been placed in position, and you should then lift yourself
slightly, and smooth the seat of the skirt from right to left with your
left hand, first transferring the reins and whip to your right, in
order to enable you to do so.

You should be extremely careful, if wearing a spur, to keep your left
heel _well_ away from the horse’s side when mounting: otherwise, the
consequences may be very disastrous. I once saw a lady thrown heavily
upon her face by a sudden start of her horse, through her spur having
struck him in the flank just as she reached the saddle, before she had
time to secure the support of the pommels.

Be cautious, also, not to touch your horse, when mounting, with your
whip. If you do so he will assuredly start, and may give you an ugly
fall. It is for this reason that I advocate the custom of ladies
when mounting retaining the whip in their right hand and placing it,
together with the reins, on the up-pommel of the saddle, in place
of, as many do, handing it to their assistant cavalier. A man, when
he gets a lady’s whip to hold, naturally tucks it away under his
arm, where a nervous horse keeps looking askance at it, and is often
rendered fidgetty by seeing it, even when it does not actually touch
him--although it very often does. I append two sketches, one showing
the correct position of the hand with whip and reins upon the pommel
when just about to mount, the other demonstrating the precise attitude
in which a lady ought to seat herself upon the saddle.

If properly placed, and sitting erect and even, your seat ought to
be as secure as that of a man, or even more so, although you may have
to depend (which no doubt you will) upon the girths for safety, and
also to submit to the disadvantage of not having a leg on each side of
your horse to guide him or urge him to his paces. A clever rider will,
however, make her whip-handle serve her in great measure for this.

[Illustration: MOUNTING.]

Be careful, when seated, to keep the toe of the right foot from
pointing outward, and the left heel from going back--and look right
between your horse’s ears, to ensure sitting straight.

[Illustration: SEATED.]

When you have once obtained a correct idea of position, you should
seek to acquire what is termed “a good seat”--in other words, an easy
confidence, which will add grace to your pose. I am now surmising
that you are teaching yourself--say, in a large field, or private
school--and that you have not anybody with you, save, perhaps, some
male friend or relative, who may be capable of assisting you if
required--without, however, being able to instruct. I cannot for a
moment advise you to go out _alone_ for the purpose of learning, no
matter how high-couraged you may be. Always enlist the services of a
suitable companion, or attendant, but remember that if the latter is a
servant--even though his service may be of many years’ standing--you
are not on any account to permit him to give you so much as the very
smallest hint on any subject connected with equitation. Coachmen know
nothing at all about riding; and grooms, as a rule, very little: a
fact that is every day testified by their heavy hands and awkward
gait on horseback. Laying all this aside, however, there can be no
doubt that whatever hints servants may be capable of imparting to boy
pupils, they are the very worst possible instructors for girls, while
pretending very often to be the best. I attribute one-half the faults
in style which shock our eyes in park, street, and hunting-field, to
the pernicious teachings of “John the groom”; therefore, the moment
that such persons attempt to open their lips to you, except when spoken
to, shut them up at once, in a manner which (without any rudeness) will
show that you desire them to keep silent except when addressed.

As soon as you are secure upon your saddle, and have learned to feel
at home there, get your horse walked about with the reins looped over
his neck. Do not touch them at all at first, or trouble yourself
about carrying a whip, but rather devote your energies and attention
to acquiring an _even balance_, and learning the proper grip of the
pommels--without which you never can ride well. Do not lean heavily
upon the stirrup, or force yourself to undue muscular action; nor
will it be in all cases wise to thrust the left foot “home,” as it is
called,--better ride from the ball of it. Further reference to this
point will be found in the concluding chapter.

Ascertain before starting that your stirrup-leather is precisely the
right length, in order that you may not be induced to lean to the left
side owing to its being too long, or have your knee uncomfortably
thrust up on account of its shortness. You should sit erect and square,
with chest forward and shoulders well back, yet without any appearance
of stiffness or rigidity of position. Be as firm as a rock _below_ the
waist, but light and flexible as a reed above it. On these two rules
all the beauty, and indeed the safety, of equestrianism depend.

You must practice hard to attain a good, _steady_ seat, for it will not
come to you by magic. On the contrary, you will find yourself at one
moment sitting as stiff as a poker, with your chin thrust forward in
the air--and then, when you catch yourself thus, and strive to rectify
it by assuming a sudden limpness, you will discover that your lower
limbs have grown limp also, in sympathy with the rest of your body, and
are hanging so loosely that a touch will send you out of the saddle.
Again, you will discover that the toe of your right foot has a dreadful
tendency to turn outward from the ankle, while that of the left turns
down, and shows the sole of your boot to those in the rear of you.

All these things will be seemingly against you for a long time after
you have begun to have your horse led about: a process which must
be done first by hand and then with a leading-stick, while you sit
perfectly erect, with your arms crossed upon your bosom, or your hands
lying easily (fingers laid together) in your lap, just below the waist.
Avoid, above all things, sitting too much to the left; it will not
only induce you to lean too hard upon the stirrup, a thing which you
ought not to do at all, but will be pretty certain to give your horse a
tender back from the very beginning.

When you find that you can sit quite straight and steady while your
mount carries you at a walking pace, you may have him led by a
lunging-rein, and cantered slowly in a circle to the right, or in
a figure of 8. Never on any account grip the pommels, or clutch at
the mane, no matter how frightened you may be. A little start will
not upset you, nor will a sudden playful movement have the power
to send you off, provided that you are sitting “square,” with your
right leg well pressed over the up-pommel, and your left against the
leaping-head, while your whole attention is given to your seat, and to
nothing else whatever. This is the true secret of learning to ride from
balance, and once it is yours, nothing can unseat you, so long as your
mount remains upon his legs.

Cantering is not a difficult motion by any means. When attempting it
your attendant should make your horse lead with the off fore-leg,
although, should it be your intention to ride occasionally on the left
side of the saddle, you must accustom him to lead now and again with
the near. Sit well back, and when your mount moves in a circle, lean
just sufficiently to the right to enable you to see his feet.

When you are at home in the canter you must commence to practice the
trot, which will be to you the beginning of sorrows. Do not at first
make any effort at rising in your saddle, but sit very close, and
prepare to bear the unpleasantness of the bumping--for it must be borne
for awhile--until you have become accustomed to the motion. As you
will of course have your hair flowing loosely, and a wide easy-fitting
jacket on, you will suffer fewer discomforts than if differently

To rise in the saddle, you must keep the left heel well down, and
move the leg as little as possible. To sway it like a pendulum will
not help you one bit. Keep your hands perfectly steady--your arms to
your sides--your left foot slightly pressing the stirrup as the horse
throws out his near fore leg, while you lift yourself very slightly at
the precise instant that his other leg is advanced. It will take you a
long while to accomplish this. Over and over again you will sigh with
disappointment, and say involuntarily, “I cannot do it!” But you can,
and will in time, if you will only persevere. Few things that are worth
learning can be acquired in a hurry; a young robust girl, with plenty
of courage and go about her, will often learn how to “stick on” in an
incredibly short space of time--but will look supremely ridiculous
notwithstanding, both then and later; to acquire the _niceties_ of
riding, however, and become an adept at them, is a degree of perfection
to which comparatively few ladies ever attain. The accomplishment of
rising and falling nicely in the saddle, in time to the trot of the
horse, can only be acquired by constant practice; I do not believe
that the fact of having a master riding alongside of you, and saying
“one, two,” “one, two,” until you are half demented, will ever teach
it, although steady perseverance on your own part may, and will.


_page 103._]

There are three things that I want you particularly to avoid. First, an
ugly churning movement, which is hideous to look at and distressing to
the horse; second, a disposition to ride with your elbows extended, or
your left hand on hip or thigh, or placed at the back of your waist;
and third, a habit of stooping forward in the trot and hanging over
to the near side, a fault which is extremely usual with lady riders.
I give an illustration of this unsightly position, by way of warning;
supplemented by one of a figure seated correctly upon the saddle, while
her horse is trotting at the rate of eight or nine miles an hour.

As soon as you are perfectly mistress of the art of riding gracefully
from balance, and can walk, canter, and trot, both fast and slowly,
without any assistance save that which your grip of the pommels and
_slight_ help from the stirrup combine to afford you, the latter
adjunct may be discarded altogether for awhile, and you may ride for
an hour or so every day without it. You will not take very long to
practice this; indeed, the only inconvenience arising from it, at all
worth considering, will be a certain tired feeling in the left leg,
as though the limb wanted dreadfully to have something to support
it--but, believe me, a very few days of steady practice will enable
you to dispense with stirrup aid altogether, and not to feel at all
incommoded by doing so. In a week’s time at furthest you will be able
to ride quite as easily without the stirrup as with it--and surely,
even were it to involve a month’s hard labour, the result would prove
ample remuneration. If you mean to be a huntress, there will assuredly
be days when your hardly-earned accomplishment will stand you in good
stead, for never yet was there a straight-going lady who did not at
some time or another break a stirrup leather, or lose one, or find
herself in some way or another deprived, through accident, of the
support to which so many horsewomen unfortunately trust. It often
happens, too, that the misfortune occurs at a provokingly long distance
from home, and miles away, perhaps, from any place where repairs can be
executed; therefore, the advantage (in this respect alone) of learning
to ride without a stirrup must be at once apparent: to say nothing
of the great benefits derivable from having taught yourself complete
independence of any _support_ from it--a thing which always ensures an
erect and perfect seat.

[Illustration: FAULTS IN STYLE.]



When you have decided to your own satisfaction that you are mistress of
the art of riding from balance--can trot and canter in circles, and in
a figure of 8, without reins or stirrup, with waist pliant and nicely
hollowed, and shoulders well thrown back--you may, with advantage, take
up the reins and learn the uses of them.

Learners, to whom I have endeavoured to expound this theory of
teaching, have asked me once or twice whether there was not some less
difficult way by which they might be taught; and I have no doubt that
many among my lady readers are longing to ask me the same question.
Certainly there is; in fact there are several ways which will be found
very much less difficult than the one that I am striving to teach.
Hosts of riding-masters will engage to perfect you (or very nearly so)
in six lessons--will put you on a horse, give you a stirrup and a stout
pair of reins, and adjure you volubly to “hold on,” taking very little
further trouble about you; and if you are a plucky, intelligent girl
you _will_ hold on, and will canter and trot too, in a sort of way,
within the specified time,--and your instructor will take your money
with a smile, and allow you to go out into the park and make a show of
yourself, until some really kind disinterested friend warns you that
things are entirely wrong, and persuades you to go and unlearn all that
has already been taught you.

There are just two ways of doing everything in this world--the right
and the wrong, and the latter is always, unfortunately, very much the
easier of the two, although so much the more unsatisfying in the end.
I am quite willing to acknowledge that some very nice horsewomen have
learned all that they know of riding without ever having gone through
one-half the labour which I have set forth as necessary; but those
four little words, “all that they know,” contain the whole meaning of
the matter. I am willing to allow, also, that there are prodigies in
the world--at riding as at everything else--who can look nice, and go
straight, and seemingly do nothing amiss, and who yet have never been
taught to ride at all; but these are uncommon creatures, quite beyond
the study of books on horsemanship, or on anything else. They form, in
fact, the exceptions to the rule, that ladies who have learned to ride
in the ordinary way and from ordinary teachers, do _not_ ride well, or
correctly; and that even in cases where their appearance on horseback
is fairly satisfactory, and their park riding quite as good as many
others, the efforts made by them at cross-country riding are miserable,
and dangerous to a degree. Balance-riders can alone negotiate a
difficult country with safety. Hundreds of ladies get serious falls
every season over the difficult doubles of our trying Ward country and
the ragged fences of old Kildare, which they would never get had they
in the first instance been properly taught. Therefore, being desirous,
as I truly am, that all my lady readers shall excel at an art which is
so well worth studying, I have laid down the best practical directions
for their instruction, in the hope that they may accept and profit by
them; and I promise fearlessly that by so doing they will be in the
first flight when others are on the roadside, and in the saddle when
those who trust for safety to rein and stirrup are exploring the slimy
depths of some uncomfortable ditch.

[Illustration: WALL JUMPING.

_page 108._]

Having now arrived at the question of holding the reins, we shall
consider their uses and abuses from a common-sense point of view. You
are not to regard them in any degree as a means of preserving your own
equilibrium--this I have already taught you. To ride from a horse’s
head is one of the gravest faults of which an equestrian can be guilty;
nor must you depend altogether upon the bridle for the management of
your mount, this is a very general error, and one that I want you
strictly to avoid. Horses are controlled by three things: the reins,
the voice, and the legs--and a lady rider must make her whip-handle
serve her for the management and guidance of her mount on the off side,
where a man has the advantage of having his right leg to assist him in
the office. Of this more anon, for I mean to touch lightly upon the
three controlling powers.

First, the reins. Teachers of the _haute école_ style of riding may
possibly have told you wonders about military horsemanship, and how the
movements of an animal may be regulated by certain subtle touches of
the thumb or little finger. I must candidly say that I don’t believe
a word of their efficacy for general-purpose riding. I do not think
that a learner could ever be brought to understand such theories from
printed rules, or to profit by them if understood. Put a girl, for
instance, on a high-mettled hunter, loop the reins over the fingers of
her left hand only--as fashionable riding-masters do in schools--give
her the whip, pointed upwards (another general symptom of defective
teaching) in her right hand, and then send her out, not over the
smooth grass fields and through the convenient gates of beautiful
Leicestershire, where, a few years ago, a whole day’s hunting might be
had without having to jump a single fence, but away over the rugged
plough and trying ridge-and-furrow which take the wind out of our Irish
hunters. The high stone walls of Galway hunting-fields are excellent
tests of skill; so also are the five-barred gates of Meath and Carlow,
and the yawning chasms--sixteen feet wide and twenty deep--at which
we in this hapless yet lovely old country have to steady our horses
when coming up, and support them when over, or else lie gasping at the
bottom, with broken ribs and damaged noses, and dreadful saddle-pommels
making havoc with our frames at every struggle of our engulfed and
terrified steeds. Send, I say, a _haute école_ rider out over Irish
hunting-grounds, and see what good she can accomplish with the little
finger of her left hand! Such teaching is a mere tirade of ornamental
nonsense, for which, I believe, no pupil would in the end feel at all

[Illustration: REINS: TWO HANDS.]

I approve of taking the reins in both hands from the very beginning.
It is a sensible method: one which all colt-breakers adopt, and they
are not bad judges of such matters. Ladies, however, rarely adopt the
practice; it is not allowed in many of the most approved schools--but,
in my opinion, “Put both hands to your bridle” is excellent premonitory
advice. Begin by riding with a bridoon, or snaffle rein, only. Let your
fingers lie above it--not underneath,--the thumbs pointing toward one
another, at a distance of about three or four inches apart, the off
leather resting between the third and little fingers of the right hand,
while the slack of the near passes between the first finger and the
thumb. The illustration will show you what I mean, and demonstrate how
by this rule both hands have equal command upon the bridle.

[Illustration: SHORTENING REINS.]

[Illustration: AT A FENCE.]

To shorten your reins quickly: let go the slack of the _off_ one with
the left hand, and slip it forward on the _near_ leather, until you
have judged (rapidly, of course) of the correct length; then take the
off one between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, and you
establish a _cross-rein_, the right hand quitting its hold _instantly_,
and taking up its original position. I append an illustration of my
meaning, and strongly advise a little practice of it, which can be
readily managed even in the house, by utilising tape or ribbon reins
attached to the back of a chair. The method thus described is an
admirable one for shortening a single bridle when coming up, say, to a
fence at which a horse may require some holding; and I likewise append
a little sketch of how the bridle ought to hang, and the hands be
held, when going over.

When you want to ride leisurely, in park or on road, with the reins
in one hand only--a thing at times not at all to be deprecated--draw
the near rein between the third and little fingers of your left hand,
and bring it out between the first and thumb, while the off one is
made to cross it in the palm of the hand, thus:--


Then turn the hand with the knuckles _upward_, as here represented,


and a correct position will be ensured.

You should avoid working the fingers about when riding, as doing so is
very apt to shift the bit in the horse’s mouth. Your hand may go back
and forth with a “give-and-take” movement, but not from side to side on
any account.


The best method of riding with double reins can, I think, be most
effectually shown by illustration. This represents the reins held
firmly, though not tightly, in both hands; while that on the next page
shows an easy style of going--one that is nice to adopt when proceeding
at a walking pace. When trotting, the reins may be dropped by the right
hand, which should then be lowered to the level of the saddle--the whip
pointing _downwards_.

If you wish to ride with one rein only, though with a double bridle,
hold the snaffle rein in your left hand in the manner already
described, and loop the curb over your little finger, in order that it
may be readily taken up when required.

[Illustration: WALKING PACE.]

I may here say that, despite the directions which I have taken pains
to give on the subject of holding reins I adhere to the belief that so
long as they are held flat and smooth, there need not really be any
_fixed rule_ about the handling of them. If elbows, shoulders, and
wrists are in proper position, it matters comparatively little how
fingers may be held--and beginners are, as a rule, a great deal too
much worried and puzzled about a matter which generally simplifies
itself according as a knowledge of more important things is acquired.
At the same time, there is with this, as with everything else, a right
and a wrong side to the subject; and in order to avoid the wrong, it
will perhaps be as well to adopt the orthodox right method from the
very beginning. There is, however, nothing at all wrong in occasionally
moving the reins about and changing them from one hand to the other.
All good riders do it, and it is vastly better than adopting the stiff,
set style which would-be fine riders sometimes affect: namely, placing
the hands in one position when setting out, and scarcely ever altering
them from it. A good horsewoman will sedulously avoid everything
that is stiff or ungraceful, and will move about in her saddle with
as much pliant ease as though seated at home in an easy chair. The
unsightly rigidity observable about the figures and demeanour of some
lady-riders--especially those whose “teaching” has been too finely
drawn--is certainly not a thing to be copied or admired.

Having now discussed the subject of reins, we come to consider the
“Voice” as a means of controlling and managing the horse.

I have always considered the effect and power of the voice as second
only in usefulness to those of the bridle. Horses are intelligent and
sensitive beyond what most persons can be induced to think or believe.
I know to a certainty that they not only listen to, and are influenced
by, every sound that issues from their riders’ lips, but absolutely
gather his meaning and desires from the various inflexions of his
voice. I know that they love their masters and mistresses, and look to
them for teaching, just as dependent children ask you what it is that
you wish them to do. There is something inexpressibly beautiful in
this loving intelligence on the part of animals--this sympathy between
horse and rider, which, in a former chapter, I strove to say something
about. Horses are in reality the very noblest of God’s created
things--excepting, of course, man _as he ought to be_. They have, so
far as their endowments permit, all the attributes that go to make the
human character lovable and good, supplemented by a rare fidelity,
such as is unhappily seldom met with among those who are fashioned
in the Creator’s own image. I have read, and been told a great deal,
about horses that were “obstinate brutes,” and “wicked devils,” and
“outrageous beasts,” and everything else that was hateful and bad--and
have listened with a bursting and indignant heart to accounts of
thrashings, and starvings, and spurrings, and mouth-burnings, and other
wickednesses, which have made me feel how infinitely superior was the
so-called brute creation to that which it is made to serve. I confess
that it has not been my lot to come across any specimens of this
much-talked-of vicious sort, excepting in one or two rare instances,
where I knew that vice had been engendered by bad and cruel treatment.
I have no doubt that horses, like human beings, are sometimes born
with evil natures--_sometimes_, but not very often. I have not met
with any of them, and the few with whom I have ever had trouble have
invariably been those whom wanton cruelty or rank injustice had in the
first instance spoilt. There are very few horses indeed--even the most
unruly--that cannot be tamed, or made amenable and obedient, by the
hands and _voice_ of a kind and judicious trainer, and for this sort of
work women are especially fitted. I mean, of course, women of courage
and mind; not such as would scream at sight of a spider, or go into
fits if a mouse chanced to cross the floor. A woman’s voice carries
great power along with it, and the touch of her light firm hands can
effect things at which a man’s would utterly fail. Gentleness goes ever
in advance of force, and leading is preferable to driving. Even if you
have to scold, or whip, there is a way of doing both that is temperate
and wise, and that will never create ill-will between you and your
horse. Fight an animal, and he will fight you in return; coax him by
the gentleness of your action and the sound of your voice, and he will
be pretty certain to yield. It is just the difference between “lead”
and “drive.” Such, at least, has been my experience.

I saw a horse some time ago in the west of Ireland, caged like a wild
beast, and fed with a pitchfork through the bars of his door. Nobody
would go near him, he bore such a bad name, and the appellation his
groom bestowed upon him--“A tattherin’ divil!”--was certainly more
expressive than refined. I offered to buy him; his owner said I might
have him for nothing; but I gave what I thought fair, and took the
horse home. The creature was wild from savage treatment. He had known
nothing but blows and threats, and angry epithets: things that he had
learned to understand only too well, and was, seemingly ever expectant
of, and waiting for. I taught him something different--and how?--by
the simple power of my voice. It is not a particularly musical one, by
any means, except in the ears of animals, but to one of these it has
never yet uttered an angry word,--and the horse came to know it, and
to listen for it, and to neigh at the sound of it, and by-and-by we
got to understand one another quite well, and the great, big, foolish
old head, all defaced and disfigured as it was by hard knocks and bad
usage, used to rest lovingly upon my shoulder, while I stroked the ears
that in former days had so often been laid back in angry vindictiveness
against a harsh and cruel task-master. “He’ll take the nose off your
face some day, the treacherous brute!” an ex-attendant upon my new pet
once said to me. But, needless to say, it was a libel: my nose is still
intact. The horse learned to love me, and to caress and obey from that
feeling. I believe he would have died for me. When I hunted him he
jumped the biggest places at a word from my lips. Without whip, curb,
or spur I rode him for many a day, over the difficult Ward country,
and he never once played me a shabby trick. Poor fellow! He had not a
particle of beauty about him; indeed, I think he was ridiculously ugly,
in all save prejudiced eyes; but he had an honest heart, one that would
have broken rather than have grieved or disobeyed his owner; and when
I had to shoot him (he broke his back, leaping a drain with a friend
to whom I had unfortunately lent him for a day’s schooling), he turned
such an eye upon me as I cannot to this day think of without a lump in
my throat that is very seldom there.

The voice, as an instigator and soother, is alike powerful with the
horse, if we only know how to use it; and being so, it is a pity
that it should ever be employed for any other purpose than that
which is good. Teach your horse from the beginning to know the sound
of your voice--the various tones which signify approval, warning,
encouragement, and reproof--and by them you can teach him to obey you,
just as you can with the reins.

I do not altogether approve of speaking to strange horses when mounted
upon them. Were I, for instance, to borrow a hunter for a day’s outing,
I don’t think I should be inclined to talk much to him; I should fear
that he might not understand me, and that mischief might consequently
ensue. I have, in fact, seen men get tremendous falls in the hunting
field through shouting at hired mounts, just when they were rising at
their fences--frightening the animals out of their wits by so doing,
and throwing them completely off their balance.

With your own horses, however, it ought to be quite a different thing.
You should so accustom them to the sound of your voice that, no matter
how it may be raised, it shall have no startling effect upon them. An
intelligent animal will soon come to know and judge of your meaning by
the tone in which you speak to him, and will learn his own name, too,
marvellously quickly, if frequently called by it, a thing that will be
a great aid to you in training him. He will very soon also comprehend
the meaning of such terms, as “Trot,” “Canter,” “Stand,” “Walk,” and so
forth, and will ere long obey every mandate that comes directly and
firmly from your lips.

“Hi, over!” is, for instance, a capital incentive for making a horse
fly his fences without hanging at them,--but you must never trade upon
an animal’s intelligence for the purpose of fooling him, or showing
off. I once knew a man who boasted that by simply saying “go!” he could
make his mare jump fifteen feet of an ordinary field, and he tried it
twice or thrice for the benefit of unbelieving acquaintances; but, when
next he took the animal out to hunt, and raced her at a brook, with the
hitherto magic word screamed loudly in her ear, it proved to be a very
decided case of “go,” and “go in” also, for she just planted her toes
on the brink of it, and, stopping short, sent her over-confident rider
head foremost into the water.

The use of the whip as a means of managing a horse is, unfortunately,
too often entirely misunderstood: to hurt, frighten, or coerce with
it being seemingly the chief object with many riders. Allowing that
all three may at times be necessary--as in the case of vicious horses,
for instance--ladies will very rarely find it to be the case, their
mounts being, generally speaking, of a gentle and docile type. Leaving,
therefore, the abuses of the whip on one side, its uses in the hands of
a competent horsewoman are usually reduced to the part which it may be
made to fill in helping her to guide her mount on the off side--just
as a man’s second leg assists him in doing--and, in like manner, to
press him up to his work. This can, of course, be best accomplished by
the aid of a stout hunting-crop, carried handle uppermost, as a rule:
although there are times when to shift the position of the whip, and
press the heaviest part against the horse’s flank, will be found very
effectual, particularly when negotiating ugly trappy fences, or turning
sharp corners at a brisk trot. For example, when, in the latter case,
the turn is to the right, the rider’s body should be bent slightly to
the off side of her mount, and her leg be pressed lightly but firmly
against his flank on the near side. This preserves an even balance, and
will often save a fast flippant trotter from coming right down. When
the turn is to the left, the body should be inclined a little that way,
while the whip handle is judiciously pressed against the off side, thus
preventing the animal’s quarters from swinging too suddenly round.

I may here take occasion to say that corners ought never to be turned
without both hands being put to the bridle, and a support given to
both sides of the horse; if to the right, the leg the strongest--if
to the left, the whip. When the pace is very quick, and the turn is
a decidedly sharp one, the horse’s hind legs will need to be brought
under him all the quicker, for which reason the body of the rider must
sway _well_ with his motion, while the necessary support is, at the
same time, given on either side.

I shall conclude my observations about the uses of the whip by
saying--use it as little as you can to punish, and as much as you
can to aid. Above all things, _never take it up in anger_, nor for a
moment forget that the creature on whom the stroke is about to fall is
sensitive to its lightest touch, and is fully capable of being ruled
without severity.

The same remarks apply also to the spur--the abuses of which are even
more general and lamentable than are those of the whip.




I have hitherto been surmising that your rides have been upon your
own horse: one specially purchased for you, and perfectly trained
for a lady’s use. If such a state of things could always be ensured,
equestrianism would be a safe and delightful pastime for the gentler
sex--but, unfortunately, it cannot be so. Ladies who are much in the
saddle are called upon often to ride a variety of horses, and under
such circumstances their position is an awkward one, if unaccustomed to
manage any save thoroughly-trained and well-mannered animals. To have
none other for one’s own use is at all times advisable, so far as it
can be done, but occasions may arise when you will have to prove your
claim to a higher title than that of merely a “nice” or “ladylike”
rider. Say, for instance, that you are stopping at a country house,
your invitation to which has not been extended to your horse, or yet
to your groom, and that there are riding parties every day, which
you are invited to join, your host sometimes supplying you with a
mount, and a neighbour occasionally offering to lend you one, it is
scarcely probable that, having a different animal to carry you every
time you go out, you can hope to escape discovering the uncomfortable
effects which pernicious training, or subsequent injudicious handling,
invariably bring about. To be prepared for these--not to be taken
aback by them--to be ready to face every emergency, and overcome every
difficulty in the way of equitation--is the true meaning of the word
“horsewoman.” It shall be my office, then, in this chapter to endeavour
to tell you as concisely as possible how to act (in all cases of
ordinary road-riding), when called upon to control horses with whose
ways you are not altogether familiar.

In the first place, when your mount is led to the door, be ready in
time to go out and inspect him. This you can readily do while the
laggards of the party are preparing for their ride. In using the term
“inspect,” I do not mean that you are to assume a confident, boastful
air, or proceed to make an ostentatious examination, as though nobody
knew anything about horse business save yourself. This would only make
you appear ridiculous, and be calculated to incur dislike. You should
go quietly to your horse’s head, and while affecting to be engaged in
caressing him, run a hasty eye over the following points: that the
saddle is quite clear of the play of the shoulders, and yet not too
far back; that the girths are tight enough, and the surcingle not too
loose, although decidedly easier than the girths; that the headstall is
sufficiently long, and in every way easy-fitting--the curb-chain the
correct length--the lip-strap on--the martingale (if a standing one) of
easy length, and if a running, so arranged that the pull of the reins
shall be in the proper place--namely, at the top of the withers. If you
find nothing to correct, you may account yourself fortunate; if, on the
contrary, you perceive that anything is amiss or out of place, signify
the same quietly to the groom, and then go indoors, or turn aside,
while he rectifies it. There is something positively unkind in standing
staring at a servant while he attends to matters which you have pointed
out to him for correction. Ten to one, if you do so, he will grow
confused beneath your scrutiny, and will leave his task imperfectly
accomplished. Consideration for others ought at all times to be a part
of your religion. Give no unnecessary trouble; do as much for yourself
as you possibly can; never speak harshly to even the humblest; strive
to put everybody at ease; look away from an embarrassed person until he
has recovered his composure; and if you detect a failure or shortcoming
in a servant’s work, tell him gently about it--quietly, and without
impatience--and it will probably be rectified very much sooner than if
you scolded or stormed. For my own part, I have no liking for grooms
at all, and regard most of them as the veriest eye servers; but I know
there are times when they are unjustly blamed. In this matter I once
got a useful lesson at an English country house. My horse was brought
to the door without a lip-strap, and with things in general so very
indifferently turned out that, being in a hurry, I got provoked, and
began to say more than my custom usually was. The groom, whose eyes
were cast down, looked pitifully at me as he answered, “Forgive me
to-day, ma’am, please. My little child died this morning!” And the
great tears rolled down the poor fellow’s cheeks, and I felt grieved
for having spoken impatiently to him when his heart was so sore. It was
a lesson not to be forgotten, for there are times with ourselves when
sickness or trouble prevents us from attending properly to our tasks;
and servants are liable to similar weaknesses.

It will be well, when you are seated comfortably in your saddle
and have felt your horse’s mouth a little, to inquire of your
host (should the animal belong to him) whether or not he has any
peculiarities, or “little tricks,” for which it may be as well you
should be prepared. You will be almost certain to hear “No,” for it
is a strange coincidence that men are quite as infatuated about their
equine possessions as women are about their children, and will never
on any account be induced to believe that such a thing as a fault can
possibly exist in the nature or training of any of their stud. At the
same time, it can be no harm to _ask_, and then, if the owner can be
reluctantly brought to acknowledge that he “wants a bit of rousing,”
you may prepare yourself for the discomforts of riding a slug, or, if
the animal is allowed to be “a trifle skittish,” you can ask for an
ounce or two of diachylon, or the same quantity of birdlime, to stick
yourself well in the saddle!

Joking apart, it is really an unwise thing to be too foolhardy about
riding strange horses. The most courageous equestrian in the world
ought not to fancy herself above asking, in a pleasant off-hand way,
for some information concerning the character of her casual mount;
in fact, the more accomplished the rider, the more necessary it may
be to do so, for there are many owners of horses who know very little
themselves about riding, or of the perils attendant upon supplying
ladies with unsuitable mounts--and the consequence is, that if there
happens to be in the stable a creature whom that Irish groom, already
mentioned, would call a “tattherin’ divil,” he is quietly told off on a
hunting day, or otherwise, for the use of the lady or gentleman who may
be esteemed the most capable of managing him.

A Hungerton farmer--one of a big class--once volunteered to lend me a
magnificent high-flyer to negotiate the big thorn fences with the Quorn
pack. I was foolish enough to accept, without asking anything about the
animal, except whether he could jump; and when I tell you that between
Beeby and Scraptoft he gave me two falls, that he knocked down a boy on
a pony, and damaged a wrecker to the extent of a couple of sovereigns,
besides bringing me home without a hat, and with my face well stuck
over with thorns and a general need of surgical assistance all about
me, it will be readily imagined that the “high-flyer” was not exactly
an eligible beast for a lady to ride. But his owner only stood in the
doorway laughing from ear to ear when he saw me, and uttered a great
“guffaw” on hearing the recital of his property’s misdeeds. “Glory
be to Christmas! I thought you could ride anything!” was all that he
said, fairly doubled in two with merriment at the sight of my forlorn
appearance,--and I answered crossly enough, that had I been as wise
when setting out as I was on returning, I would have seen that the
animal was differently bitted, and have clothed myself in sackcloth--to
say nothing of ashes--instead of in the best hunting-gear of which I
was possessed. “Well, you never asked me a word about him,” his owner
said, still in a roar, “or I’d have told you that he was a rum one when
once he got going!” and as I had nothing to say in reply to this, I
took myself and my rags upstairs out of sight, and spent the next day
in bed, with a leech to my eye, and plasters all over my body.

To return to the subject of road-riding.

Always strive to make your horse start from the door at a walk. If he
is properly trained he will step nicely out, nodding his head as he
goes; but no matter how quiet he may appear, it will not be well to
leave him an entirely loose rein. You should keep a light but firm
hold upon the bridle, so as to be ready at a second’s warning to bring
restraining pressure to bear upon his mouth.

If you want a horse to walk fast, ride him with the snaffle only; but
when in the park, or desirous of showing off, you will best bring out
his action by a light use of the curb. If he is a very highly-mettled
animal, and anxious to get off on first setting out, do not irritate
him by keeping him back with too tight a rein. Allow him to trot away
pretty freely at the beginning, and after awhile he will be almost
certain to settle down and walk collectedly for you with a slack
bridle. To hold a horse in, and then whip or spur him to make him
walk, is but to turn his courage to vice. My counsel is, leave him
his head, and when he attempts to break--namely, to get into a trot
or canter--at a time when it is your wish that he should walk, pull
him gently up and make him begin again. By adopting this method, and
preserving as strict a command over your own temper as over the reins,
you will soon teach almost any horse to walk correctly.

I believe that in no other pace can there be found such true experience
of the meaning of “light hands.” This admirable attribute--which, it
must be confessed, is generally confined to women--signifies absolute
control over an animal with scarcely any display of force--a sort
of elastic touch, by which accomplished riders convey their meaning
to their mounts through the almost imperceptible action of the bit,
acted upon by the reins held lightly with the fingers. This is a poor
explanation, but it will do to serve as a guide, until experience shall
have taught you far better than printed instructions ever can.

I would have you remember that although a very perfect walker may be
permitted to go forward for a good space with a loose rein, he should
never, _if tired_, be allowed to do so, for even one moment. Hold him
with a firm, even hand, keeping a judicious watch upon the bridle, and
drawing his head rather _downward_ and _toward his chest_. By this
means he will be constrained to bring his hind legs well and regularly
under him.

Young riders are often exceedingly incautious when taking beaten horses
home after a hunt, desiring to affect the seemingly careless seat and
equally unstudied handling of the reins which are the prerogatives of
finished horsewomen. These, having complete confidence in themselves,
can afford a certain show of _nonchalance_, but it will not do for
students to follow their “carelessness,” until their own claim to both
“hands” and “seat” shall have become perfectly ensured.

You must, when walking, keep your horse collected: by which I mean that
he is to be kept well on his haunches, and prevented from crossing his
legs. Let him pick his own steps if going over rutty or uneven ground;
move with him as he moves, turn as he turns, so as to be, as it were,
a portion of him, and, when going round a corner, do not pull his head
any further in that direction than will just enable you to see his eye.

Having thus considered the subject of instructing an imperfectly-broken
horse to walk well upon the road--in such a manner as shall gain for
him the reputation of being a good roadster, or covert hack--we will
now say a few words about trotting. When you want an animal to change
from a walk to a trot, signify your wish to him by a light movement
of the bridle in his mouth, a pressure of your leg and whip-handle,
and an indication of your meaning by a slight rising in the stirrup.
When he begins to go, keep him thoroughly well collected, but not on
any account too tightly reined in. Timid equestrians do themselves
and their mounts great injustice by fancying that a tight grip of the
bridle, and consequent shortening of the horse’s head, is in any way
calculated to ensure their safety. It is exactly the contrary way.
Allow somebody to rein back your own head and neck, and then attempt
to walk down an unknown staircase, or go in and out among obstacles
that you cannot see. Ten to one you will make a blunder, and come
down; whereas, had you been left your head, your progress would in
all probability have been perfectly easy and safe. I hope I shall
succeed in making my meaning distinctly understood in this matter,
because it really is a most important one. I just want to illustrate
the difference between permitting an animal to go all abroad (or what
Tom Cannon calls “slummucking”)--and reining him in so very tightly
that he cannot see where he is expected to plant his feet. On your
complete knowledge of this essential subject, one-half, if not more, of
your success as a horsewoman must inevitably depend, and in my anxiety
that you should grasp the meaning of it, I may, perhaps, be found
fault with for referring to it too often, or for speaking of it in too
homely a fashion. This is, I am aware, an age of false refinement:
one in which a writer has to grapple with extraordinary difficulties,
being stigmatised as “coarse” when he ventures to set forth home and
useful truths, and “vulgar” when he writes humorously or introduces a
spice of fun. Now, it is not my way to care in the least whether or
not such terms are applied to me by outsiders (my friends can judge
for themselves)--but I would a good deal rather any day be a “vulgar”
_practical_ writer, doing some good in my generation, than a “refined”
useless one, and I think it necessary to make reference to the matter
in this place, because I have a great deal yet to say on subjects
connected with the one on which I am writing, and if I am to dress up
my sentences in flowers and satin ribbons, instead of suffering the
plain meaning of them to appear, I may go on writing for many months to
come, and yet fail to make myself properly understood in the end.

You must bear in mind that the trot is the horse’s natural pace, and
that when not overpressed he will go further and with less fatigue
to himself when _regulated_ to it, than at either a canter or
gallop. At the same time, he must not on any account be urged beyond
the limit of his powers, for such a course is not only cruel, but
dangerous--inasmuch as an animal going a hard pace cannot, if he makes
a mistake, recover his balance as rapidly as if proceeding at the even
rate of eight, or from that to ten miles an hour. I consider the latter
excellent going indeed; too fast, in fact, unless the remainder of your
party happen to be as well mounted as yourself--for nothing on earth is
more indicative of bad taste than riding perpetually in front of those
who are in company with you.

I am not, as a rule, at all in favour of allowing a horse to break from
a trot to a canter, or from one pace of any kind to another, but there
are times--when going long distances, for instance--at which a humane
rider will permit her mount to do so by way of rest and change, rather
than keep him perpetually going at precisely the same pace, in order to
gain for him the name of an exceptionally fine trotter.

Your rise and fall in the saddle should be light, graceful, straight,
easy, and accurately in time with the movements of your horse’s
forelegs. By attending to this rule when riding on the road, you will
save yourself and your mount a great deal of unnecessary fatigue.

If you find, when trotting, that your horse is going in an
uncomfortable, one-sided manner, giving now and again a strange sort of
cow kick, you may be confident that the saddle is hurting him. In such
a case dismount at once, and if at all close to home, put the bridle
over your arm and lead him the rest of the journey. Should it happen,
however, when you are a long distance away, you must only take him very
quietly indeed, until you are near enough to walk the remainder of the
way yourself.

It is on just such emergencies that the practice, which I have so
staunchly recommended, of wearing comfortable easy-fitting boots, comes
most usefully in. I have seen ladies remain seated upon the backs of
most palpably suffering horses, simply because they were absolutely
incapable of walking even half a mile in the boots which they had
donned for riding.

Never allow your horse to get into a jog-trot when in company with a
riding party, or in the park--but remember that it is a most valuable
pace at which to bring home a tired hunter. A very light easy canter,
wherever the road is soft, or where there is sufficient grass by the
side of it to take the jar off his feet, or else what is known as the
“jog,” will be the most humane way of getting him safely to his stable.

Many lady riders imagine that cantering is a safer as well as a
pleasanter pace at which to travel, than trotting (whether fast or
slow) can ever be. This is really a great mistake; trotting is the
safest pace at which a horse can go, provided that he is sound-footed.
I shall strive to explain the reason in a few words. When cantering,
the off fore and off hind leg are advanced together, leaving the others
in the rear; thus the diagonal legs of the two pairs are not set down
simultaneously. If you listen to a perfectly sound horse trotting on
a road, you will hear four even beats; but in the canter it may be
only two or three, according as the animal’s weight is adjusted. When
trotting he makes his diagonal legs serve him turn about, so that when
one pair is going forward, the other is sustaining his weight in an
equal, or perfectly _even_ manner; not in a one-sided way, as is the
case in the canter. A sound-footed horse, trotting at a regular pace,
always has two diagonal supports under him, and two coming to their
assistance, for which very reason fast trotting is a dangerous pace
when a leg or foot happens to be unsound, or when a slovenly motion is
indulged in.

A horse trotting quickly should never be pulled up in a hurry. You
should bring him to a slow trot by shortening the reins, and then to a
walk by sitting down in the saddle, and talking to him in a language
that he will very readily learn to comprehend.

In reining a horse back, you must keep in mind the fact that he cannot
move at all if you drag him so _suddenly_ backward that he gets both
hind-legs under him together. It is a revolting and heartrending
sight to see the way in which draymen beat unfortunate horses about
the breasts and bellies by way of punishment for not backing heavy
loads far enough, when, in reality, the wretched animals are in such
position that they cannot by any possibility move their extended
hind-legs. I saw a cruel instance of this in Liverpool a few months
ago: a carter savagely beating his horse, a crowd of persons looking
on, and one or two among them abusing the man in no measured terms;
yet not one had the sense to tell him that if he would only lead the
horse quietly _forward_, even a step or two, and _then_ back him, doing
the same thing every time that he came to a stop, the desired object
would very soon be attained--which it was, as soon as the proper method
had been tried. This is just the principle of reining back. The horse
must be collected, and brought _square_ on his legs every time that he
resists, and be again brought under the influence of the bridle, for
backing purposes, when he has come to an even stand.

I fancy it will be almost superfluous to tell you to observe strictly
the rules of the road--namely, to keep to the left, except when you
have to pass anything going your way, in which case you must get by on
the right of it.




Cantering is a very nice pace for park or road riding, when the ground
is soft, and not cut up by stones. A trained horse will start from
a walk to a canter at a very slight indication from his rider, but
surmising (as in the last chapter) that you have accepted the loan of a
somewhat unmannerly or not sufficiently educated mount, you must induce
him to canter by collecting him well on his haunches (from which the
motion is in reality performed), touching him with the whip on the off
side, and drawing his head gently round to the near until he makes a
start. When he does so, balance yourself in time to his movement, and
use the bridle lightly, with a very slight give-and-take motion of
your hands. Do not allow him to get into a gallop; but, at the same
time, remember that it will be cruel to keep him cantering too long,
especially unless you permit him to change his leg, for which purpose
you must pull him quietly up, and reverse the movement by which, in the
first instance, you have urged him to go off. A slow, handsome canter,
collected and dignified, looks extremely well no doubt in the park, but
it is terribly trying to a horse when kept up too long; in fact, a
smart, stirring gallop will not distress him nearly so much.

When cantering keep your knees firmly pressed against the pommels--sit
close to the saddle, like a part of your horse--and throw your
shoulders well back.

The very nice pace called a hand-gallop may be indulged in by
slackening the rein a little, and encouraging your mount by voice or
bridle to go a trifle faster. The hand-gallop never distresses a horse,
even a broken-winded one; it is a joyous, exhilarating motion, in which
both steed and rider find pleasure. Conversation need not be stopped by
it, or even interrupted for a moment, and it will be found a delightful
pace at which to go to covert in the morning, or to travel on to the
next one, when “blank” has been called at the first.

The hand-gallop is only pastime--mere play, without any peril--but
the gallop proper, to which I now come to allude, is a very serious
business indeed for a young rider to take in hand. If your horse is
a trained one, you have only to sit down close when he gallops, and
hold the reins firmly in both hands: your seat secure, your body as
motionless as you can make it, your elbows like hinges, your hands low
on the withers, keeping your horse’s head straight and steady, while
you give-and-take with his every stride, and on no account, or under
any circumstances whatever, keep a dead pull on his mouth.

I shall surmise, however, as before (for the purpose of instructing
you) that your steed is not by any means perfect, and that he will
probably give you a good deal of trouble before you have quite done
with him. He will not be likely to have all the vices, or even one-half
of those for which I am about to prepare you, but you will probably
meet with them in one form or another at different periods of your
career as a horsewoman: therefore a few words about such matters will
not, I think, be amiss.

If called upon to ride a puller, get his head up, and then drop your
hands a little to him, to see whether he will yield to your will. If he
fails to do so, catch the reins short, draw back your foot, give him
one good pull, and then another: in short, a succession of them--but
yield to him always between whiles, and speak to him in a quiet,
soothing manner. Do not attempt to fight him, or he may run away with
you, and that is nasty for a lady. If you think that he has the bit
between his teeth, you may saw at it from side to side until you get
him to release it.

Boring is a very unpleasant vice, if I may call it one. Few horses
have it naturally, and I attribute it in most cases to an undue use of
the curb. I have found that the best method of treating it is to take
up the cheek-pieces of the headstall. If a horse bores to one side
(a most unsightly habit), attach the throat-latch to the ring of the
snaffle-bridle by a small strap on the side opposite to that on which
the head is bent. This is generally effectual, because it brings the
mouthpiece to bear upon the gum.

A kicker is not a pleasant mount for a lady, and the powers which some
animals possess in this especial line are simply astonishing. As a rule
you will perceive, either by the laying back of your horse’s ears, or
a queer wriggle of his body, that he is going to do something that
will stamp him as a villain, and if these indications are accompanied
by a backward turning of a very whitened eye, look out at once for your
life! Many horses will, however, give no warning of any kind, and they
of course are the most dangerous sort. Thoroughbreds are quite dreadful
in this particular. They will kick when going a brisk gallop. I have
twice had my hat _lashed_ by the tails of high kickers--and the most
stunning fall I ever got in my life was through being caught napping
by one of these volatile gentlemen, who pretended to be going up to
his bridle in the most collected manner possible (when exercising one
day in frosty weather, in a wood), and suddenly shot me off like an
arrow from a bow!--so high, too, that to this day I am ready to swear I
saw the tops of the bare elms, while the force of my contact with the
ground, when at length I came down upon it, gave me concussion of the
spine, from which I suffered for several succeeding months.

A horse that kicks must be ridden in a severe bit, except in cases
where it is only an ebullition of spirits. Where this is the case, ride
him hard, and get it out of him; when it amounts to an actual vice, you
must keep him partially in order by using a bit such as I seriously
decry for other forms of misdemeanor, and when he begins his unpleasant
pranks get his head _well_ up, so that he can’t force it between his
knees, and bend him round until you compel him to turn. By doing this a
few times he will probably leave off kicking.

To ride a kicker in the hunting-field is highly injudicious and
unfair. Some excellent hunters, however, though not by any means
confirmed kickers, will lash out dangerously when riders are crowded
together at a gap, and this is about the very worst time at which a
horse can possibly misconduct himself. When riding one of this sort,
you must be content to pay the penalty of his vagaries by isolating
yourself from the rest of the field--a disadvantage, of course, for
all riders naturally make for the best places at which to get out; and
if, in spite of this, you are pressed upon by others, you must put
your hand to the back of your waist, the fingers turning outwards, and
motion slightly with them, in order that those in the rear of you may
know that they are in peril.

Buck-jumping is another most unpleasant vice, although happily not a
very common one in this country. I have only come across one horse who
possessed it. He belonged to a Meath farmer, and I bought him for a
song on account of his failing. He got me off five times the first day
that I attempted to ride him, and so delighted was he with himself when
he succeeded in gaining the odd number, that he actually kept bucking
about, like a playful goat, all around me--squealing and romping, and
flourishing his horrid heels at me--while I lay exhausted upon the
ground, too much bruised to be able to get up without help. After this
I put a gag-snaffle on him, pulled the reins sharply when he attempted
to get his head down, and then, when he lowered it in spite of me, let
the leathers slip through my fingers on to his neck, leaned back as far
as ever I could (still, however, keeping hold of the reins), and the
moment I was able to get a pull at him, turned him round and round
from one side to the other, until both he and I were pretty tired of
the work. All things considered, I cannot conscientiously recommend a
buck-jumper for a lady’s use.

Rearing is a very dangerous vice for a horsewoman to have to contend
against, owing to the side position which she occupies in the saddle.
If ever you are unlucky enough to have to mount a rearer, do not touch
him with a curb at all; ride him on the snaffle only, and when he
attempts to rise up with you, lean well forward and clutch his mane
firmly with your hands, holding the bridle very loosely all the while,
and touching him sharply with your heel. Do not on any account lay your
whip upon him, be it ever so lightly. I myself have found the butt end
of such an article, brought down briskly between the ears of a rearer,
a very efficient mode of bringing him to his senses,--but please bear
in mind that I do not either advocate or recommend it: in fact, rather
than do so, I should prefer to warn you _against_ it, for once, when,
flushed with my own success, I chanced to say something in favour of
the system, my temerity brought thirty-two letters down upon me (most
of them from horrified old gentlemen who declared that their daughters
were practising on the carriage horses!), and the columns of more than
one sporting paper were inundated for a month or two with an inane

I have found a rearing bit most useful at times; but, if taken aback
when riding without one, it will be well to follow the practice of
holding on to the mane with one hand, say the left, while with the
right the reins are pulled in a downward direction, bringing the
horse’s head round ever so little, in order if possible to make him
change his leg. The fact is, there are vicious rearers whom nothing
will cure--cunning ones who know enough never to tumble back upon you,
and are sufficiently amenable in other ways to encourage the hope
that something may be made of them--playful ones who transgress more
from skittishness than vice--and timid ones who, having suffered from
too severe bitting, throw themselves upward as soon as they feel the
touch of the bridle upon their mouths. An accomplished horsewoman will
soon distinguish the differences which mark these various offenders,
and will act with coolness and judgment, according as her training
may point out to her. I believe that to be perfectly cool on all
occasions, never to be flurried, or taken unawares, and above all
things never to lose temper, no matter how trying the circumstances,
will best ensure successful equestrianism, both for men and women.
To expect to ride without encountering difficulties and worries, as
well as risks and dangers, is only to look for something that cannot
possibly be attained. Ride, of course, you may--if to sit calmly on
a slug’s back, and walk him round a grass field, or along a country
road, can be called riding--but the term, in the sense in which I apply
it, means something very different indeed. It is replete with dangers
and anxieties of all sorts, but surely it is worth them. Many a time,
when I have come in fagged, heated, and dirty, after battling with a
young beginner--or ragged and weary after a hard day’s hunting through
bush and briar, it has been said to me, “Surely the pleasure, such as
it is, cannot repay you for the toil.” Utter nonsense, of course! Is
_any_ trouble, or any loss, for an instant remembered in the joyous
burst of music with which hounds rattle their fox out of covert, or the
delight of feeling a hitherto intractable youngster bending at length
submissively to one’s will?

Often and often now, when sitting alone in my quiet study, or watching
the active pleasures from which I am wholly debarred, I feel how truly
I have “had my day”--a most happy one--and how willingly I would go
through the same sufferings, if consequent upon the same joys. _Tempora
mutantur._ Even so, let it pass.

Shying cannot properly be called a vice, though many consider it one.
I think it generally proceeds from defective vision, and where this
is the case the animal may be led quietly up to the object of his
aversion, and shown that it is nothing very dreadful after all. Shying
at a bicycle or road-engine is so extremely natural that the rider--so
far from showing any anger against his mount--ought to soothe and quiet
him by every means in his power. A young, fresh horse will shy at a
bird, a piece of paper--anything--but a clever equestrian should never
be discomposed by such trifles. A steady seat ought to be sufficient
security against all possible disaster.

Stumbling is a very unpleasant weakness, though not a vice. Being
too heavily shod is often a cause of it, and this of course can be
remedied; but there is little chance of effecting any good when the
fault proceeds from defective muscular action, or from malformation
of the feet. Neither can it be cured when it arises from the shoulders
being too straight, or the forelegs shaky. A bad, cramped trotter
without any proper knee action, is extremely likely to stumble and
come down, and all that a rider can possibly do with such a one is to
keep him well collected--I do not mean reined in, but going properly
up to his bridle--and to make him bring his hind legs under him, at
whatever pace he may be going. I greatly dislike the habit, common
among ignorant riders and drivers, of _striking_ a horse when he
stumbles: it cannot then effect any good, and is calculated to give him
an unpleasant habit of prancing about whenever the mishap occurs.

Disquietude in mounting is a very serious fault. Some horses plunge
and dance in a highly dangerous manner--the result of nervousness, or
of having at some time or another been frightened by some mischance.
When this is the case the horse ought to be held for a moment or two by
the snaffle rein _only_, quite close to the cheek, and be spoken to at
the same time in a soothing manner. He should never on any account be
scolded, and by-and-by, when he quiets down a little, the groom should
stand at his head, and hold the snaffle-reins firmly but lightly in
both hands. If you perceive that he (the attendant) is not thoroughly
master of his business, it will be yours to see that he does not by any
movement bring the curb into action, or pinch the horse’s jaw.

Running away is a desperate vice for a lady to have to grapple with,
and my own experiences of it warn me to put others on their guard. If
a horse is _known_ to be a runaway, never be induced to trust yourself
upon his back. He will do it again at some time or another, even though
his first offence may have almost passed out of mind, and it will be
better that you should give him a wide berth. I must candidly say,
however, that I would rather, for my own safety, ride ten practised
runaways--what are called old hands at it--than one mad, frightened
horse that had lost his wits from some real cause of alarm.

The best advice that I can give in either case is this: Do not keep a
dead pull upon the reins, because that will not be a particle of use;
in fact, by doing so you will only be supporting his head, and giving
him stamina to go faster. Try by _a succession_ of strong jerks and
pulls to prevent him getting fully into his stride, for once he does
so you may bid good-bye to any chance of stopping him until he has
run himself clean out. A horse that is not a confirmed runaway may be
checked by sawing his mouth hard with the snaffle, but my advice is,
do not try to stop him at all, if you have fair going ground before
you, or that you can possibly breast him up any sort of incline. In
such case, let him go--sit close down in your saddle--and when you
feel him slacken, take up your whip in earnest, and give it him within
an inch of his life. This _latter_ advice, however, only applies to
“rogues”--animals who habitually run away and endanger their riders. To
whip a really startled horse would be both cruel and unwise; nor is it
ever judicious to do so in cases where the going is not both fair and
_open_ in front of you. If run away with in park or street, you must
endeavour to keep clear of trees and vehicles, and strive to get your
horse stopped as best you can. Happily, such catastrophes do not very
often occur.

I am against the theory that a rider ought in all instances to stick
to a runaway horse. As a _rule_ it is better to do so, but there are
decidedly a few exceptions. A pet idea of my own is to bring him down,
in whatever way it can best be done; but I do not for a moment want to
persuade others to do this. One man’s meat is another man’s poison;
and on this principle a plan which is, or has been, successful in my
own hands might prove a dangerous failure in another’s. I once stopped
a maddened horse that had made away with me at Melton, by letting him
have his head for about a furlong, or something less, and then giving
him one stupendous tug with the reins. The sudden jerk to his mouth
caused him to cross his legs, and he came down a “thundering cropper,”
giving me one, of course, also; but riding, as I always did, in a plain
racing stirrup, without having my foot thrust “home,” I got clear off,
and escaped without any more serious injury than a very severe shaking.
The sensation was not a nice one, I confess, and the peril was great;
but, on the whole, I should prefer it again to enacting Mazeppa, or
something like it, on the back of a wild steed, who would probably not
stop until he had landed his rider at that fatal bourne from whence no
traveller returns.



Surmising that you are now as perfect as possible in park and road
riding, you must qualify yourself as a huntress by learning to jump
every kind of obstacle that will be likely to come in your way.
Indeed, it is advisable for every rider, even though destined to spend
a lifetime without ever hearing the music of the hounds, to acquire
practice in leaping, as a means of improving the seat and securing
immunity from possible danger and inconvenience. I mean to convey, that
to a lady equestrian who knows nothing of sitting over a jump, a long
ride in the country will be likely to prove somewhat embarrassing,
seeing that newly-cut ditches and small sheep-hurdles are frequently to
be met with, and where some members of the party jump them and others
hang back, the difference of opinion will not tell in favour of the
laggards. To be ready for _all_ emergencies is the rule of good riding,
and even if country difficulties have not to be encountered, there
may be times--probably will be--when an animal will bounce suddenly
forwards, or bound into the air from very exuberance of spirits, and
if his rider has not learned to sit over a fence it will be ten to
one against her keeping her position in the saddle. An unprepared
or untaught rider is always thrown forward by a horse’s leap, and
the object to be gained by teaching is to be able to offer suitable
resistance to this--and to do so, no matter how sudden or unexpected
the movement may be.

Some excellent authorities assert that a lady’s first leaping lessons
ought always to be in a school. I object to the word “always” in
this instance, and should like to substitute “generally.” Without in
the very least depreciating the excellence of school teaching--for
it sometimes _is_ excellent, though oftener the reverse--I have
nevertheless undertaken to teach “riding without a master,” and with
this object in view I shall offer a few hints upon the subject in a
simple, common-sense fashion, which I hope may prove profitable to
those who wish to learn.

I think it an excellent plan, if in the country, to begin by practising
over fallen trees--or if a place can be found where two or three of
these have been felled together and are lying at short distances
from one another, so much the better. Such a spot affords capital
schooling-ground. Small ditches too, and cuttings, are very nice--and
so are little streams that don’t call for much exertion on the part
of the rider to enable her to get over them. If, however, your
surroundings are not such as will admit of your practising over natural
obstacles of an easy nature, have one or two artificial ones erected,
in the shape of small hurdles, interwoven with gorse or some such
matter, but strive to avoid taking your first leaps over a bar--a thing
at which many horses are apt to go “slovenly,” owing to the fact that
they see the daylight underneath, and have sense to know quite well
that they are only being humbugged.

When you have acquired a certain amount of confidence over such
trifling obstacles as I have mentioned, it will be well for you to
enlist the services of a good rider, and ask him to pilot you over a
few easy fences, and to show you the way through a gap or two, with
perhaps a small ditch on the off or landing side. You must avoid being
too ambitious, or over-confident, if you happen, fortunately, to get on
well at first. The horse on which you practice should be a steady, easy
jumper, neither too flippant nor at all apt to refuse, and you should
ride him without a spur, until such time as you are qualified to take
him into the hunting-field.

When going straight at a leap, sit firmly in the centre of your saddle,
your head well up, your eyes looking right between your horse’s ears,
the snaffle reins in both hands, with just a slight feeling upon your
mount’s mouth, without _any_ attempt at holding him back or clinging
by the bridle to secure your own safety. Never on any account contract
the habit of clutching short at the reins, or at any part of the
saddle, in order to help you in preserving your balance--nor should
you throw up your hands, which must in all instances be kept low and
steady. When approaching a leap, bend your body slightly backwards from
the waist up, at the same time keeping your seat firmly in the middle
of the saddle, that you may not be disconcerted by the action of the
loin-muscles of the horse. The degree to which this “leaning back”
is to be carried must of course depend altogether upon the size and
nature of the leap to be accomplished; for example, at a big-drop, or
down-jump, a good rider will almost touch the horse’s croup, but you
must never lose sight of the fact that it is the _shoulders_ that are
to be bent flexibly backwards (returning to an upright position on
landing), and not any part of the body that lies below the waist.

The two great secrets of leaping are, to sit like a centaur while your
waist and shoulders adapt themselves pliantly to the movements of your
horse--and never to interfere with his mouth. Plenty of headroom has
always been my cry; I believe that where it is attended to there is
very rarely an accident. Horses, even those that are not very highly
trained, are marvellously clever, and will generally put their feet in
the right places if allowed to see where they _are_ to put them, but a
rider might just as well blindfold a horse at once--tie a thick bandage
across his eyes--and then expect him to fence safely, as draw the reins
so tight when he is rising that even if not absolutely thrown down by
the action, he is prevented from seeing where he is expected to land.
A horse cannot possibly do his work well or generously when compelled
to carry his rider with his mouth--nor can a rider derive the pleasure
that he is seeking while sitting altogether wrongly in the saddle.

It is quite beautiful to see the way in which young horses fence
when their mouths are not interfered with. I have often taken a raw
youngster out over a trappy country, with only leading reins on him, or
long ropes, and have jumped alongside of him over the little ditches,
transported with delight at the manner in which he gathered his
haunches under him, and the clever way in which, on landing, he planted
his feet. It is really charming to watch them, and most sad to think
and know that by-and-by, when some professedly fine, but in reality
totally ignorant rider gets upon their backs, every second fence or so
will witness a cropper, and the young, fleet-limbed, spirited creatures
will be beaten, and pulled at, and called “brutes,” and sworn at too,
as though it were not the clumsy hands at their mouths that were in
reality bringing them to grief.

Good hunters are, times out of number, thrown down by their riders.
A lady, for instance, borrows a mount for a day, and hears from his
owner (who perhaps knows very little indeed about horsemanship) that
he’s a “capital goer, but wants a little _lifting_ at his fences.” I
have heard that idiotic expression made use of hundreds, nay, thousands
of times. Well, out she goes; the animal, fresh and buoyant, starts
away at a nailing pace, and when not interfered with goes skying over
obstacles from which others are turning away,--but the half-frightened
rider on his back has that word “lifting” imprinted upon her sensitive
brain, and the moment the horse takes off at the first big fence, up go
her hands with a sudden haul at the bridle, and the animal, surprised
and thrown off his balance by the action, lands unevenly, if he lands
at all, and very likely gives her a severe fall.

[Illustration: “HI, OVER! MY BEAUTY.”

_page 150._]

There is not one on earth who is more against permitting any
“slummucking,” or romping, or going “abroad,” than I am myself; to keep
a horse well collected has always been my teaching; leave him his head
when coming up to a fence; let him stretch his neck to see what it
is; keep a light, _very_ light, feeling upon the snaffle when he makes
his effort; and, as he lands, but _not_ till then, give him a gentle
support with _both_ hands--especially if the jump is a very big one,
in order that he may not “peck.” Bear in mind, however, that if you
attempt this support too soon--when he is in the air, for instance,
or in fact until he needs it--you will undoubtedly throw him down.
Practice will teach you all these things far better than anything else,
but a careful study of them should not on any account be despised.

Horses do not as a rule like schooling. I believe they abhor it; there
is not any kind of excitement about it--no emulation, no company,
nothing, in short, to keep up the “go,”--therefore I maintain that
more falls are to be had when practising in this way (owing to the
fact that animals will not jump so generously as when actually going
the pace), than are ever to be met with in the hunting-field. Still,
it must occasionally be done, especially where young hunters are to
be kept in practice--and I strongly advise you to undertake the doing
of it yourself, rather than entrust your favourites to a heavy-handed
groom, who will rattle the lives half out of them, and cram them at
their fences in a manner calculated to spoil them utterly for your own
subsequent use.

Never believe anybody who tells you that the best equestrians sit
forward when their horses jump, and backward when they land. Such is
really not the case at all. In some instances they may have begun by
doing so--taught probably by a military riding-master to think it the
proper thing--but one or two sounding knocks upon the nose or in
the middle of the forehead, received through inability to regulate
the precise time for the two distinct movements, have taught them to
discard the theory as nonsensical, which it most certainly is.

I believe a great deal in having _confidence_, and in the power of
imparting the same feeling to your horse; also, in keeping both him
and yourself in perfect good temper. Ride him with judgment, and he
will soon learn to understand exactly what it is that you want of him.
Never take him too fast at wide ditches, or at fences that necessitate
a _rise_; in all such instances suffer him to measure his stride;--give
him time--don’t hustle him--(an unwise and horrid habit), let him
gather his hind legs well under him, and on no account hold him hard
on the curb. Remember, likewise, that you must _always_ leave him
sufficient length of rein to enable him to extend his neck.

I am against going over fast, even at water, unless the place is a
formidably wide one. I think that undue haste _must_ prevent a horse
from measuring his stride, and that this is the reason why animals
so frequently take-off too soon, and consequently either over-jump
themselves, or land short. They have done it with myself, many times,
in the early days of my riding career; there is scarcely a branch of
the Lara in which I have not been ducked, and surely _experientia
docet_. Moreover, a horse cannot possibly last in anything like a fast
run, unless he is kept collected. A sprawler very soon comes to the
end of his tether, while fair-and-easy goes far in the day. This is
particularly the case where ridge and furrow, or marshy ground, have
to be traversed.

You should accustom your horse to do small places slowly; blind fences
and ugly _trappy_ obstacles must be negotiated with deliberation, for
the very worst falls are got through hustling animals at such things as

You should never take your horse’s attention for a moment from his
work. A bad rider comes “fighting up” to a fence: spurring, striking,
and jagging at his horse’s mouth--and somehow the good riders are not
sorry when the fretted animal jerks his tormentor off, and gallops away
without him. A mind at ease and undisturbed is absolutely essential
to a fencer; to strike or spur him at a critical moment will probably
throw him out of his stride, and may be the means also of throwing the
rider out of the saddle.

There are certain varieties of jumps which it will be well to consider
in detail, especially as beginners are apt to think that if they
succeed with tolerable credit in getting over a few small cuttings in
the country, they are fully qualified to take foremost place in the
ranks of fair Dianas.

In timber-jumping, to begin with, you must remember that a horse quite
fresh from his stable will naturally be able to accomplish much more
than when half pumped out; and as a fall over timber is much nastier
for a lady than almost any other description of casualty, I strongly
advise you not to urge an animal that has jumped, say, four feet of
timber with you at the first go off, to do more than three, or three
and a-half, at the second. The reason is simply this: to accomplish
timber safely a horse _must_ rise _well_ at it; this he cannot do if
at all pumped out, and the consequence is that he hits it with his
knees, or chest, and gives himself and his rider a terrific fall. There
are fences that may be taken at a swing, others that can be scrambled
over, and others again that must be negotiated deliberately, requiring
more coolness than courage to accomplish the doing of them safely--but
timber _must_ be got over in thoroughly hunter-like fashion, or a
terrific crash will be the result. High stiff rails, or gates, have
more perils for riders than any other obstacle that can be met with in
the hunting-field, not even excepting walls; for many hunters will go
collectedly and steadily at these latter, when a four or five-barred
gate, with the daylight showing through and letting them see what is on
the other side will be either refused, or done in decidedly slovenly
fashion, in which case the latter state is infinitely worse than the

In taking an up-jump, throw your head and shoulders well back, so that
you may escape being struck in the face, and leave your horse unlimited
headroom, for the danger of a leap of this description is, that the
animal may not get his quarters sufficiently under him to land safely
on his legs, and may in consequence be in danger of going back: in such
case, if he is in the slightest degree trammelled about the mouth, he
will be unable to stretch his neck or make the necessary struggle to
recover himself.

Many ladies have a horror of going over water, the dread of immersion
being no doubt the paramount cause of it; but I have always thought
that a good wide brook, or a narrow branch of a river, was about the
safest of all obstacles to encounter. In saying this, I of course
mean where the banks are sound, for if either the taking-off or
landing-ground happens to be marshy or rotten, there is nothing more
conducive to a ducking.

[Illustration: BROOK JUMPING.

_page 155._]

Horses do not, as a rule, enjoy jumping water; some blood ones don’t
object to it, but most animals hate it, and will refuse if they can,
especially where they have at any time had what is called “a cold
bath.” Should you ever happen to be riding a horse who, on seeing
water, gradually shortens his stride, and “shuts up” as he approaches
it, do not try to get him over, for you may be certain that he will not
have it. All very fine, it may be, to talk about not allowing yourself
to be conquered, but the strongest effort in the world won’t make a
horse jump water safely when he once refuses it, and it will not be
pleasant to stand cudgelling him upon the bank, while he plants his
toes in the sedges every time that you bring him back to it, with an
air as though he were saying, “You may keep me here till doomsday, but
over it I _won’t_ go, unless you hire a skiff to carry me.”

A good water-jumper, going skimming along, ought to clear eighteen or
twenty feet: even five-and-twenty not being over-much accounted of
(with Irish horses, at all events) where the banks are sound; yet, as
a rule, a brimming brook of fourteen feet will generally stop at least
half a large field. There are two reasons for this: firstly, if the
water is visible from a distance, horses slacken, and riders funk; and
secondly, if it runs between banks, they gallop up to look at it, and
then, all is lost.

The better bred a horse is, the better water-jumper he will assuredly
be. Coarse-bred horses who are clever enough at ordinary fences, will
almost always go clumsily at water, if they can be got to go at it
at all; the reason being that clean-bred horses are the only really
good _stayers_, and as deep or wide water is seldom met with at the
beginning of a run, they alone have the stamina to carry them safely
over, after galloping perhaps a stiff line of country for thirty
minutes or so, with scarcely any check. When jumping water, give your
horse a very long rein, and don’t touch him with the curb. Steady him
when coming up to it, and again on landing, in order that he may get
safely away on the other side, and not either peck or sprawl.

If you have to jump a thorn fence, and that it is leaning _towards_
you, be sure there is something ugly on the other side, and go at
it with sufficient determination to give your horse the necessary
impetus for a safe get-over. If, on the other hand, the ditch is on the
taking-off side, and that the hedge leans away from you, take him very
steadily and deliberately--letting him see exactly what he has to do.

Finally, if the horse that you are riding happens to be old, or
what is called “dickey,” namely, shaky on the forelegs, be careful
about jumping him when the ground is hard. This applies likewise to
tender-footed animals. I have ridden horses in February who travelled
delightfully over soft slushy ground, and fenced splendidly when up
to their fetlocks in mud,--yet, when March came round, and lands were
dry and hard, they stood still and shivered at the sight of even an
ordinary sheep-hurdle or small scoured drain. To force a horse to jump,
under such circumstances is inhuman and unwise.




Riding refusers is unprofitable work for ladies, yet nothing seems
to be more general in every hunting-field. I firmly believe that
men ground their well-known objections to ladies hunting chiefly on
this very thing,--nor is it altogether to be wondered at. What, for
instance, can be more annoying to a well-mounted straight-going hunter
than to have a lady get in front of him at a fence--the only negotiable
spot in it, perhaps--and keep him and a number of others back, though
hounds are running in the next field, while she whips, and kicks, and
jags the mouth of a horse that is determined not to have it? Of course
the rule in all such cases is that the rider of the refuser shall at
once pull off and suffer the rest of the field to go by; but ladies
never seem to remember that it applies to them, or ought at least
to do so, quite as much as to their brethren or pilots, and so they
resolutely hold the place, dragging first with one rein and then the
other, and shouting “_Go_ on” with great apparent bravery, while the
horse dances and sidles, and shows every tooth in his head, owing to
the continued drag upon his mouth, and disgusted horsemen turn away
with very naughty expressions scarce checked upon their lips, and
gallop off to seek some other means of getting over.

I have seen this sort of thing scores of times, and have felt angry
and sorry about it together--angry at witnessing the punishment to
the horse, as well as at being kept back myself when I wanted to get
forward, and sorry for the ignorance, and occasionally the _temper_,
which was the cause of it all.

Most riders--ladies especially--seem to have a firmly-rooted conviction
that horses only refuse from vice, and consequently they form an
idea that to whip it out of them will be the very best method of
procedure that they can possibly adopt. A more ignorant theory could
not by any possibility be acted upon. Unskilled riders, or those who
are unpossessed of sufficient bodily strength to pull their horses
well together when coming up to a fence (so as to make the animals
shorten their stride and collect themselves before reaching it), will
frequently meet with refusals; whereas, an accomplished horsewoman,
even though labouring under the disadvantage of being mounted upon
a vastly inferior animal, will be carried safely over, without any
attempt to baulk. The truth is, a horse that is ridden either wildly or
carelessly at his fences will be almost certain to refuse them, because
he feels instinctively that he cannot take the jump with safety, or
knows perhaps that, owing to the non-regulation of his speed, he will
be _compelled_ to take-off too soon, or not soon enough. This is
one reason for refusing. Horses do not like endangering themselves;
they are often more methodical, more cool-headed--shall I say more
sensible?--than their riders; and where an animal feels that he cannot
jump a place with safety to himself, he will generally decline having
anything to do with it at all. There are, of course, some big, bold,
fearless hearts--just as there are among riders--that will go for
everything, houses included, should such happen to come in their way,
and give no thought at all to consequences; but they are not always
the best sort for ladies to ride. Something cool and collected will be
found much better.

Allowing, then, that timidity--or, more properly speaking lack of
_confidence_--is the primary cause of refusals, we have to consider it
in juxtaposition with another, which will be far more difficult to deal
with--namely, obstinacy, or sulk.

I know quite well that when readers arrive at this point they will at
once want to be told how they are to distinguish between the two. I
did, when I found that from time to time I had to contend against both
evils. Well, I am about to tell you all that I know of it.

When you are coming up to something which you know quite well your
horse can easily accomplish, and you nevertheless feel him give a sort
of wriggle under you, while at the same time he begins to stiffen
himself and drop out of his stride, you may know that he means roguery,
and consequently be prepared for his sticking his toes in the ground
when he gets up to it, and assuming a stony aspect, as though he
were indifferent to consequences, and would be quite willing to stop
there for a week, or even a fortnight, without grumbling, provided
that you were obliging enough to carry him his water and corn with
tolerable regularity. If, on the contrary, he gallops boldly up to the
obstacle, throws his head forward, pulls it suddenly back, shivers
slightly, and at once commences a _retrograde_ movement, while signs
of sweating break out upon his skin, you may be certain that he is
refusing from timidity and not from vice. He lacks confidence in his
powers, for some reason or another, unknown perhaps to you, but of
which he himself is perfectly cognisant. He may have weak hocks, and be
afraid to venture upon propelling himself, for fear of falling short.
The hind quarters--hind legs, in fact--are the real _propellers_, the
front ones being chiefly serviceable as supports: and if a horse feels
that he cannot depend upon himself behind, he will naturally hesitate
about rising to a leap. Watch, for example, a dog when recovering from
a fit of sickness. He may, perhaps, be very anxious to get upon some
particular chair, couch, or window cushion, which in the days of his
robust health was a perfectly easy jump for him--yet now he is so weak
on his hind legs that, although a strong desire to take the leap is
palpably present with him, timidity nevertheless keeps him standing
looking at it, and moving uneasily about in front of it; crouching at
one instant as though prepared to make his spring, and the next rising
upwards with a sort of whine, as though he gave it hopelessly up. It
is just because he is timid about propelling himself. The goal cannot
be reached by a mere extension of the body, or by any action of the
forelegs, and the hinder ones are, owing to their weakness, absolutely
unable to accomplish their natural work.

It is precisely so with the horse. Where hocks or hind-quarters are
in a condition that deprives him of proper propelling power, he will
certainly hesitate about exercising or bringing them into muscular
play; nor can we rightfully offer him either chastisement or blame.

Again, an animal’s hesitation about taking a jump may arise from a
terror of experiencing painful concussion on landing. Corns will
cause this, so will splints, or injured or tender ligaments of any
description. It is often the case that when a horse baulks at a fence
his rider is able to remember that he jumped the preceding one only
half generously, and landed perhaps very gingerly after his effort.
Where this is the case the animal should never be pressed. To compel
him to take a leap for which he shows unwillingness may entail a
bad fall for both him and his rider: the former being, under all
circumstances, a good deal the more to be pitied.

When a horse refuses from timidity, and you yet have reason to know
that there is nothing whatever wrong with him, take him back a bit from
the fence, and send him at it again, sitting well down in your saddle,
and catching a determined hold of his head, with the hands held low and
the reins well apart. Speak encouragingly to him at the same time, and
press him up with your leg on the near side, and the handle of your
hunting-crop on the other; but do not on any account cut or spur him,
unless you know him to be a rogue--in which case give him plenty of it,
in a wise and temperate way; but never enter into a determined warfare
with him unless you are absolutely certain that you can come off the

My experience is that once a horse _resolutely_ baulks, with a fixed
determination to continue to do so, no man on earth--and certainly no
woman--can by any possibility conquer him while on his back. Under such
circumstances it will be better to strive to accomplish the desired
purpose in some other way; either get off, if you are in a suitable
place for it, and that your reins and whip are long enough, and by so
doing _make_ him have it, or--which will be better--take him to another
part of the same fence, and don’t _begin_ by fighting him, but rather
leave it to his honour to carry you generously over, and ten to one he
will. I greatly disapprove of punishing a horse severely at one spot;
it is highly calculated to give him a thorough hatred of jumping, and
to spoil his temper also in a way that may not easily be remedied.
Moreover, it is cowardly in the extreme, for the battle is almost
entirely one-sided. Were the dumb combatant able to whip and spur and
swear in return, the rider would have a very small chance of abusing
him for any length of time together; but it is because the creature is
ignorant of his own strength and power that he submits himself a slave
to man’s too cruel rule.

Now, another hint or two before proceeding to a different subject.

Horses will sometimes refuse through feeling themselves “out of
hand,” or being ridden timorously by inexperienced riders. Where this
is likely to be the case, such a bridle as a Pelham, for instance,
ought not to be employed, but rather a good powerful _double_ bridle,
the curb of which may be used when galloping, and the pressure of it
released for that of the snaffle when just coming up to a fence.

I have seen horses, many times, refuse through their riders having
the horrid practice of throwing up the right arm just at the critical
moment of rising: by way, I suppose, of affecting a hard-riding air,
or perhaps of obtaining some imaginary balance of the body. The habit
is a most hateful one, and frequently causes a horse to “rush,” in
cases where he is too bold to baulk or absolutely to refuse. It is also
extremely apt to make him swerve, owing to the fact that the pressure
is retained on one side of his mouth only, in place of being preserved
evenly upon both.

I may say in conclusion that that capital sportsman, Captain Horace
Hayes, once told me of somebody, who, by a very clever expedient,
cured a horse of refusing water-jumping. The animal, it appears, used
always to baulk at water, and then, when pressed, jump right into
the middle of it with a terrific splash. One day a happy thought
struck his owner, and he at once proceeded to put it in practice. An
artificial water-jump was by his direction constructed upon his own
lands, and at the bottom of it, quite sunk from view by weighting, he
placed a quantity of thorny bushes. When the affair was satisfactorily
completed, he had the horse led quietly out, got upon his back, and
rode him boldly at the obstacle. The animal tried to stop as usual,
and ended (as usual also) by jumping slap into the middle; but on this
notable occasion, he scrambled out with astonishing celerity, and ever
afterwards fairly _flew_ every water-jump that he happened to come
across. The thorns, easily picked out, did him no harm in the world,
while the lesson was productive of an immensity of good.

[Illustration: MEANING ROGUERY.]



To be able to fall well is an art in itself--but it is one at which,
unfortunately, very few ladies excel; therefore, not to fall at all
will in their case be much better than to do so in even the most
artistic fashion.

At the same time to dispense with falls must in a measure mean to
dispense with riding also--that is, with riding straight to hounds; and
as this latter enjoyment is, to a keen sportswoman, the very greatest
pleasure that earth can possibly afford, I cannot wish to see any of my
readers deprived of it, and have therefore determined to devote this
chapter to the subject of various kinds of falls--the circumstances
under which they generally happen, the way to avoid meeting them, and
the best method of escaping being injured by them when they chance to

To escape falls will to many ladies be the most interesting portion of
my subject; therefore, we will consider it first.

To begin, then: you should decline riding any save the most perfect
horses. A rusher, refuser, runaway, or anything else associated with
the vices which have already been treated of, should be at once put
beyond the pale of your favour; nothing short of positive perfection
should ever tempt you to mount. Secondly, you must never on any
account be in a hurry, nor allow others to hustle you. Though hounds
may be in full cry within a field of you, and only a single small
fence dividing, you must take your time, deliberately, and without
flurry. Thirdly, you must never under any circumstances make for the
fastest _route_, nor jump a big place to get on terms with the pack;
on the contrary, you must let the hard-riding fraternity go by on all
occasions, and then, warned by their mishaps, calmly pick your own
places, and get through gaps and gates as best you can. Fourthly, you
must watch the very first signs of tiring that are visible in your
horse, and on perceiving them give in at once, and either ride or rail
him quietly home. Fifthly, you must be decidedly wealthy, to allow of
your purchasing marvels that can never by any chance contrive to put a
foot astray. Sixthly, you must be a first-class judge of horseflesh, to
enable you to find out such unheard-of acquisitions: and seventhly, you
must possess a calmness of temperament very rarely to be met with among
horsewomen--coupled with a wisdom to which that of Solomon, or Minerva,
was a mere bagatelle.

I fancy, having got thus far, that I hear some lady asking rather
disconsolately _why_ I thus jest about serious matters, and whether it
is really not possible, except on the conditions I have named, for an
equestrian to ride to hounds without receiving falls,--and I at once
answer that, according to my ideas of straight riding, it certainly is
not. Whenever I hear a lady boast that she can ride two, three, or four
days a week without ever getting a tumble, I at once surmise that she
must be a very mild goer indeed; that she never rides hard except on
exceptional days, when a country with which she is perfectly familiar
happens to be traversed, and that the click of her horse’s hoofs is
heard far oftener upon the roads than is the thunder of them on the
broad fields, where bullfinch and yawning chasm offer difficulties with
which the “cautious ones” do not care to meddle.

There is no denying the fact that if you mean to harden your heart and
go straight, not stopping to take mental measurements of any obstacle
that you may chance to encounter, falls will assuredly be your portion,
and probably a good many of them, too; for you must remember that no
matter how perfect may be your skill in the saddle, or how admirable
the training of your steed, such things cannot afford you complete
immunity from danger, so long as the hunting-field is flooded (which
it unfortunately is) with ignorant horsemen, mounted on all kinds of
animals--rough-riders, who care little about jostling and cannoning,
provided that they themselves succeed in getting foremost places--and
children, chiefly young boys, whose parents indulge them with mounts
(no matter of what sort, provided they have four legs to carry them)
during the long Christmas vacation, and who, with the fearlessness of
ignorance, dash hither and thither, without any regard whatever for
their own safety, much less for that of others.

One of the very worst falls I ever got in my life was caused by a
schoolboy on a pony. The little chap burst wildly through a hedge close
to Notley Abbey, where I happened to be waiting quietly, in hopes that
the fox might break that way--and, cannoning right against me, caught
my horse on the quarters, and turned him a complete somersault, burying
me beneath his weight. Fortunately there were not many out, for it was
a Chilton day, and the weather was very boisterous; had things been
otherwise I could not have escaped being ridden over, for the game
broke at the precise instant of my fall, and the field, such as it was,
came streaming right over the fatal fence. On another occasion, when
down at the bottom of a deep drain, a horsebreaker on a colossal mount
tumbled crash on top of me, and neither of us looked handsome when
dragged out--nor for a good many days after.

It is, therefore, manifest that however valuable skill and good
horseflesh may undoubtedly be, we are largely dependent upon others for
our safety, or its reverse, when we go to hunt, and as Carlyle’s theory
of “mostly fools” is never in any place so clearly set forth as in the
hunting-field, it will be well not to go thither with an over-confident
feeling respecting our own powers, but rather to adopt the pithy prayer
of the old Hobb’s Hill huntsman, “From all bad riders and wild horses,
good Lord deliver us!”

I would have you bear in mind that it will be a grand help to you upon
all occasions to keep cool, to avoid flurry and fuss, and above all
things to steer clear of “funk,” which is as bad as panic, or a trifle
worse. It is the least flurried riders who always come off the best,
in two senses of the word,--therefore, while falls are not by any
means to be made light of, they should be taken as coolly as possible,
nor should demonstration of any sort ever be made over them. I saw
a lady get two falls one day with Sir Bache Cunard’s pack at Holt
Wood, and although her face was a sorry sight when turning homewards
after the last one, she made infinitely less fuss about it than did
an irrepressible damsel who had merely scraped her cheek against a

You should never jump off at once when a horse bungles, but keep steady
in the middle of your saddle and give him plenty of rein. Time enough
for a _man_ to show his quickness when his knee touches the ground,
and for a lady in a similar predicament the best course will be to sit
still, deal him out unlimited rope, grip his mane firmly--leaving his
_mouth_ alone--and ten to one he will recover himself. Of course I am
speaking now of the plan to be pursued in case of a slow fall: one that
is preceded by a scramble--in fact, a “bungle” as I have chosen to call
it. When an animal comes down a weighty cropper, there is seldom much
time for reflection, or choice of action either; the great point then
is to come off as best you can.

To roll clear of the horse is the secret in most heavy falls, and this
can only be done where the foot is absolutely free from the stirrup,
and the habit from the pommels of the saddle. For this reason I again
most strongly advocate the use of a plain racing-stirrup for ladies
in the hunting-field, as it has not any sort of machinery that can
_possibly_ get out of order, and is therefore independent of the
variable attentions bestowed upon such matters by unthinking grooms.
A good plain stirrup, made large enough to release the foot, even
if thrust “home,” is the safest and best in which an equestrian can
ever ride. I approve (as already stated) of the spring-bar attachment,
and think that every lady before setting out to hunt ought to _see
for herself_ that the spring is open. I know that this theory is not
a popular one among horsewomen, as they think it is apt to entail
the loss of a stirrup in a quick run; but this is an error, for the
stirrup-leather will seldom or never come away if properly treated (by
which I mean not leant upon)--except in case of strong pressure being
brought to bear upon it, as, for instance, in the event of a fall. An
accomplished horsewoman will never ride from the stirrup, but will use
it merely as a support for the foot, and will be altogether independent
of it, even if entirely taken away.

With untrained riders it is, of course, different, and to their
churning motion in the saddle, and heavy hang upon the stirrup-leather,
one half the sore backs and other sufferings to which ladies’ horses
are liable, are altogether attributable.

A habit-skirt, if properly constructed, cannot possibly catch upon the
pommels when the wearer receives a fall. I have already given suitable
instructions concerning the cut of habits, and would here take occasion
to say that a marvellously improved plan, introduced by Thomas & Sons,
of South Molton Street, has been lately shown me. It consists of
cutting the skirt with one seam less than usual, and making it without
any hem around the bottom. Of this latter I greatly approve. It has
frequently happened that a skirt, when caught on the pommel, has torn
downwards as far as the hem, and been there arrested, owing to the
resistance offered by the strength of the doubled cloth. Where the hem
is done away with, this danger ceases to exist, and the skirt looks if
anything better than those that are finished in the ordinary way. I
strongly recommend the innovation.

The most dangerous fall that a lady can get is one into a deep ditch,
or drain, with her horse on top of her; the least dangerous is when he
comes down with her on the flat, and gives her a chance to roll clear
of him. The best course to pursue in the first instance is to remain
perfectly quiet, provided the horse does so also, until rescued. If
your head happens to get under water, or that you are in any physical
suffering entailed by the position in which you are placed, it will of
course be incumbent upon you to endeavour to extricate yourself from
it, but even in so awful a moment you should strive to remember that a
prostrate horse will be far less likely to injure you than a struggling
one, and that if you begin to move, or to pull his head about (as I
have seen some frightened ladies do), he will probably make violent
efforts to get upon his feet, and may hurt you very severely before
help arrives.

If the place is very deep, and narrow at the bottom, and that you are
partially under the horse, strive for your life to keep his head down,
in order that he may not attempt to rise, and so trample you in his
endeavours. He cannot get up so long as you can prevent his lifting his
head; therefore, if you can contrive to throw a leg across it, or an
arm, or any other portion of your body, do so, but never drag at the
rein when in such a position. Strive if possible, however, to retain a
light hold of it, in order that, in the event of the animal managing to
regain his feet without mischief, he may not get altogether away from
you. Coolness and courage will be the best companions upon so trying an

When a thoroughly practised horsewoman gets a fall of this description,
it is generally through riding a beaten horse at a place that is too
big for his exhausted powers to carry him safely over--an error into
which almost all enthusiastic riders are apt to be led; or it may
occur through the landing-ground being rotten, or broken away. When
this latter is the case, the horse’s hind legs slip from beneath him,
and he hangs for a dreadful moment, half-in, half-out of the ravine,
beating a frantic tattoo with his fore-feet upon the brink, while the
hinder ones struggle to find something that may serve as an assistance
against the otherwise inevitable going back. A moment like this is
supremely dreadful for both horse and rider. The latter, if a man, may
swing himself off in the twinkling of an eye, and jump on to the bank,
keeping a hold of the bridle all the while, and by it may assist his
mount to regain _terra firma_ when he is safely landed there himself; I
have seen it done by smart horsemen over and over again,--but no lady
that ever entered a hunting-field can possibly do it without a hand
being stretched from the bank to assist her.

I recall instances, and think of them with horror, of finding myself
hanging over an abyss--for such it always seems to an excited
fancy--watching my horse’s forelegs striving to plant themselves,
feeling the struggling quarters seeking some help from below, seeing
the scarlet nostril laid level with the earth, the eager neck
outstretched, the panting muscles brought strongly into play--hearing
the anxious snort, dealing out abundant rein, and uttering words of
encouragement in the vain hope that the horse may succeed in righting
himself--conscious, nevertheless, that he is sinking lower and lower,
seeing then a friendly hand outstretched to assist me, feeling the
welcome grip of it, clutching strongly at it as it drags me to the
bank, knowing that I have never let go the bridle during that terrible
moment of suspense, making use of it then to draw my brave horse to a
place of safety, looking down with a shudder into the chasm from which
we have both escaped, and finally, with a laugh, and a _Laus_ also,
jumping merrily into the saddle again, and scurrying away in the hope
of picking up the hounds.

But there came an instance of misadventure which ended less
happily--when there was no strong hand to rescue or help--when the
awful backward crash occurred only too surely, and oblivion followed,
to be succeeded in time by a consciousness that for ever and ever
the sight of happy hunting-fields, and the sound of huntsman’s horn
and hounds’ joyful opening-out were gone away, to be known no more
on earth. Such things are sad awakenings from sweet fitful dreams.
I pray that all my young readers may be spared them; and with more
than one fate to warn, I urge that discretion may at all times usurp
the place of valour or ambition, and that no feat may be _attempted_
which will be likely to involve dire, if not fatal results. Better be a
live dog than a dead lion; and a few who are now disabled would rather
have their bodies intact to-day, than have ever known the uncertain
pleasures that are attendant upon being Kings and Queens of an hour.
I do not say that it is so with myself. A short life and a merry one
is much more suited to my elastic temperament; but there are others,
young, beautiful women, whose feet have only touched the threshold of
life’s loveliest and brightest doorway, who are nevertheless looking
back--with tears.

To resume, however. The second description of fall on which I have
touched: namely, one on the flat, is only dangerous according as the
horse may or may not attempt to roll when down. If he falls fairly on
his knees and nose, you may manage (as I have explained) to retain
your seat in the saddle, and may even assist him to get upon his legs;
many fine horsewomen do it: but if you try the experiment you must not
forget to sit _well_ back, not only in order to take the weight off
his shoulders, but to save yourself from getting knocked in the face.
If you watch the movements of a fallen animal, you will perceive that
at the instant that he steadies himself on his knees when rising, he
instinctively _flings up his head_, a motion absolutely necessary for
the restoration of his balance; if at such a moment you happen to be
leaning forward in the saddle, you will be certain to receive severe
punishment, and perhaps be disabled for the remainder of the day.

If, in falling, the horse turns over upon his side, you cannot do
any better than strive to get clear of him; but do not on any account
let go the rein if you can possibly help it. So long as you can keep
hold of it you will not only prevent your mount from getting away over
the country, but will save yourself from possible contact with his
heels, for it stands to reason that he cannot have both his back and
fore-quarters turned to you at one and the same time, and if you have
a hold of his head he certainly cannot twist himself round to kick at
you. I know quite well that there is an ignorant idea abroad relative
to the danger of holding on to the bridle of a fallen horse. “Let him
go! let him go!” shrieks the multitude, when any mishap is witnessed;
and the poor, unlearned, frightened rider follows the foolish advice,
and away goes the steed, with reins and stirrups flying--lashing out,
perhaps, in his exuberance at finding himself free--and is perhaps not
brought back until the wearied owner has had to relinquish all hope of
catching up the hunt, and been compelled also to walk some miles of the
road homewards.

No, never if you can help it, relinquish your hold of the bridle when
you and your horse are together making the acquaintance of mother
earth, but remember the rule, “a long rein,” even when not upon his

Should a horse peck with you, a very nasty kind of fall, I tell you
candidly that you will be almost certain to come off over his head,
unless you are sitting glued to your saddle and very far back indeed;
but, as this is a sort of tumble which does not often happen, except
when riding a deep drop, or crossing something very wide, you may
prepare yourself for possible contingencies when going at the jump
by allowing your body, from the waist upwards, to lie back almost to
the croup, while you deal out unlimited rein, and keep your seat as
firmly as any rock. In this way you cannot possibly be pulled over
the animal’s head, and by leaving him plenty of bridle you will still
further stave off the probability of mischance.

When a horse falls with you into water, stick to him if you possibly
can, and clutch firmly by his mane, while leaving him the entire length
of the bridle. If you happen to come right off, keep alongside of
him as well as you are able, retaining a light hold of the rein, and
assisting yourself by the saddle, the stirrup, or any other thing that
may present itself, provided it does not in any respect hamper his
movements or interfere with his mouth. I strongly advocate keeping the
bridle in your hand if you can possibly manage it, but you should not
on any account make use of it as a means of support. To do so will be
to drag your horse’s head under water, a thing involving very serious
results. So long as you leave an animal abundant room to stretch his
neck he will not drown, even in the deepest river, and if you keep a
cool head, and assist yourself by the saddle until you can lay hold of
some side bushes, or until assistance shall arrive, neither will you,
however near it you may fancy yourself to be.

When a horse falls with you into a ditch and immediately regains his
footing without unseating you, do not allow him to essay getting out at
the same spot at which he bungled, for probably the bank may be rotten,
or broken away by the hoofs of other horses, and may thus occasion him
to go back again. You should rather urge him forward a little distance,
in whichever direction his head is turned, and as soon as your eye
detects a sound spot in the bank, collect him for his effort, throw him
the reins, and sit well back while he struggles up the side. I do not
mean that you are to _hang_ back, this will only impede him, but keep
your head well away from him, or his may strike you a blow that will
take you a long time to forget.

Do not neglect, however, in the event of walking a horse along a
ditch which is skirted by thorn or hedge, to look out for protruding
brambles, and push them aside with your hand as you go forward, lest
your face suffer. On no account neglect this precaution.

The instructions given in the present chapter will be found especially
applicable to ladies who are fond of cutting out a line of country for
themselves, or whose pilots may either have got lost in the fray, or
may not be sufficiently quick in turning to the rescue to prove of any
immediate assistance in case of need.

In a forthcoming chapter on “hunting,” I shall have something to say on
each of these subjects.




It is time that we should now consider the additions and alterations
which will be necessary for your wardrobe before it can be pronounced a
complete one for a lady who intends to hunt.

A very great deal must, of course, depend upon whether you mean to be
an inveterate huntress, or only to enjoy the pleasures of an occasional
day out. Following the hounds thrice a week, and sometimes oftener,
I have found the following outfit sufficient: two silk hats, two
jerry ditto, and two soft felt; two Melton cloth riding habits; one
thoroughly rainproof ditto; one ordinary cloth, for mild days, such as
are to be met with even in winter time; two pairs of hunting breeches;
six chemises; six pairs of web drawers; six web vests; two corsets;
two pairs of Wellingtons; six pairs of fine wool stockings; six pairs
of silk ditto; one Latchford spur; three pairs of strong leather
gloves; one hunting crop, with long lash attached; three net veils; one
celluloid collar, with cuffs to match; six linen collars and cuffs; two
woollen neck-mufflers; two silk ditto; one rainproof cape or jacket;
one warm, lined jacket, to fit over habit-bodice; and one Newmarket
overcoat, to wear when driving to and from covert.

It will be only necessary to notice a few of these articles in detail,
having already given advice concerning most of them. To begin, then,
with stockings. Wear woollen ones if you want to have your feet always
dry and comfortable, with a pair of silk drawn over. Nobody who has
not tried this plan can possibly realise the warmth and comfort of
it--especially when the outer stocking is of _spun_ silk; a material in
itself almost as warm as wool. If the sensation of wearing wool next
the skin is objected to, the silk may be worn underneath. As a rule,
however, it is only cheap wool stockings that “tickle”; the finer kinds
seldom do, and I cannot recommend the “cheap and nasty” in any article
of riding gear, no matter how comparatively unimportant it may seem to

Your breeches for hunting should be especially well-made; large enough
in the seat not to burst in case of a fall, and long enough in the
thigh not in any way to hamper the knees. Nothing save a garment of
this description can be worn with top boots, nor will anything else do
so well for hunting, or be half so comfortable. They should be carried
below the calf of the leg, in order to check the tendency to work up,
and ought to have the last four or five inches made of silk, or better
still, good serviceable satin, by which I certainly do _not_ mean the
abomination known as cotton-back, which in reality gives no wear at
all. This arrangement will prevent the top of the boot (a Wellington,
of course), from being overcrowded or bulky, and is in fact, for many
reasons, a desirable one. The legs of the breeches should button from
the knee down--four buttons being ample to allow--and the fastening of
the right leg should be on the inside, while that of the left is on the
outside, in order to prevent rubs. These breeches, if made of cloth,
should be lined with chamois; but I prefer deer-skin to any other kind.

With regard to securing perfection in the fit of them--a thing
indispensable where comfort is desired--it will not be at all necessary
to submit to a tailor’s measurements. Very few ladies indeed would
like to do so, and it is pleasant to know that nothing of the kind
is required. Application to any _first-class_ house will bring back
the necessary directions, simply given, for self-measurement, and by
paying attention to these and forwarding the precise particulars, a
perfect fit will be ensured. In saying this, I would draw attention
to the words printed in italics, for there is no other article of
ladies’ riding apparel which can be, and so frequently is, utterly
and completely ruined by incompetent cutters. I have heard ladies say
that they made their own hunting-breeches and found them answer very
well. No doubt they may do so, by ripping up an old tailor-made pair,
and proceeding to cut out exactly by them; but that they can succeed
in the first instance without a pattern to go by, I cannot bring
myself to believe, any more than I can credit the expediency of home
millinery and dressmaking, except when attempted by unusually clever
and competent hands.

I do not like riding _trousers_ for hunting, although many are wedded
to a firm belief in them. If adopted, they must, of absolute necessity,
be the exact colour of the habit, must be made long enough to allow
even fuller freedom to the knees than in ordinary riding, and be
fastened beneath the arch of the foot with a _leather_ strap (always
leather for hunting purposes), although elastic is in some respects
not to be despised, inasmuch as it yields easily with pressure, and is
consequently not altogether undesirable when the trousers have been
made too short in the legs. It very soon wears out, however, as stated
in a former chapter, requires constant renewing, and is unpleasantly
apt to give way when least expected to behave badly--very often on
hunting days, or when a long distance from home--and then good-bye to
everything save extreme discomfort, for the trouser-leg will assuredly
ruck up, and a good many lady riders--and, indeed, gentlemen also--have
a disagreeable knowledge of what that means.

I now come to speak again of boots, a subject on which I have
already given some advice. The so-called fashionable boot--an awful
invention, utterly misshapen, with toe narrow and pointed, and long
heel protruding like a spike from almost the centre of the sole--must
be altogether discarded. It is to be hoped that this will not go hard
with sensible girls, or women. Nobody can ride with comfort who is
not prepared to lay aside _all_ cherished prejudices in favour of
cramped feet, hour-glass waists, and gloves that are two sizes too
small for the hands they are meant to protect. I do not believe that
anybody really admires a stuffed doll on horseback. The elegance of
the figure depends upon its flexibility, and a supple foot is in its
own way quite as much to be commended. If the boots are too tight,
the feet will be cold; nothing on earth conduces so largely to that
oft-complained-of evil as wearing boots that are disproportionately
small and close-fitting. The foot should be able to move freely within
its covering, even though clad in the double stocking which I have so
confidently recommended. A broad sole, wide toe, and flat broad heel,
placed properly back, as far as the natural heel, are the requisites
for a comfortable riding-boot.

I have already drawn attention to the fact that a considerable distance
has sometimes to be walked in boots that have been made, ostensibly,
for riding in alone. For example, a horse may get away from his rider
after a fall, and leave her to walk across several fields--over very
rough ground perhaps--ay, and to climb fences, and get through rutty
gaps too, before arriving at a point at which he can be brought up for
her to remount him; while, in addition to all this, a gentle-hearted
equestrian will often of her own accord like to get off, when taking
a tired horse home to his stable, and will walk alongside of him with
the bridle thrown over her arm, a piece of humanity which eases her own
limbs as well as his. To have comfortable pliant boots, and everything
else proportionately easy-fitting, will be found both healthy and wise.
In short, a lady dressed for riding ought to be able _when_ dressed to
take down or put up her hair, draw off her boots and put them on again,
and walk a mile or two _with_ them on, if required, without feeling any
desire whatever to remove them after the exercise. This--if it will
only be believed--can be accomplished without any unsightly clumsiness,
or necessity for making feet or figure look in the least degree larger
than if tortured and compressed into unnatural proportions. Well-made
clothing, composed of pliant materials and properly put on, will never
impart an appearance of bulk, even if worn sufficiently easy-fitting
to be slipped on and off at a moment’s notice; while ill-cut garments,
unnaturally strained and tightened, will make figure and extremities
look absolutely larger than they really are. Who, for instance, that
has ever seen a No. 6 glove stretched upon a hand that ought to take
at least four sizes larger has ever been deceived into believing that
there was not something painfully amiss? Straining seams, fingers only
half drawn on, and ominous gaps, yawning and wide, where the first
buttons ought to fasten, attest the “vanity of vanities” against which
we have been warned. With boots and corsets it is just the same,--and
yet, despite the uncontrovertible evidence brought to bear upon the
matter, ladies still persist in destroying the symmetry of their
appearance, undermining their health, and leaving themselves exposed
to disparaging observations, rather than give up the follies into
which an undue desire to appear “slim” have by degrees drawn them.
After all, when we come to consider the subject, is it really worth
while to undergo suffering and inconvenience in order that one or two
persons may, perhaps, say, “That girl has small feet”; or “What a
slender waist that lady has?” Ten to one the utterers of such remarks
never think a second time about them, but turn away to make their
comments upon the next person who chances to come in their path--and
for this trifling gratification, distress and pain are borne, and the
seeds of inward disease are in some instances suffered to take root. If
anything that I can say, in this or future chapters, shall have even a
trifling influence in deterring my sisters from destroying the natural
attributes which a wise Creator has apportioned to them, I shall deem
myself happy in having written it, and feel that my efforts have not
been altogether in vain.

The Newmarket coat, for going to covert, is, I think, the only article
of which I have not now fully spoken. The nicest of these are made of
dark strong melton, or beaver cloth--the latter wears splendidly--and
are lined all through with _good_ satin, being well quilted about the
bodice to keep out the cold. Some ladies affect the coachmen’s garment,
a drab coat, with double capes, but I have a strong objection to it
myself. The collar should be made pretty deep, so as to be capable of
turning up about the neck in wet or chilly weather, and the skirts
should come quite down to the feet. It is almost superfluous to say
that an overcoat of this description should be cut so as to fit very
easily over the habit, nor need I add that the task of fitting should
be entrusted to none save a really first-class tailor.

Ladies have frequently inquired of me, by letter and otherwise, what
ought to be the price of various articles of riding apparel. Indeed,
to judge by the number of communications which have from time to time
reached me, a great and stirring interest appears to be centred in the
matter, and the fact that I at times delay answering the multitude of
writers who ask questions and beg for immediate replies is not really
attributable to any discourtesy, but is rather the result of over-work,
coupled with a sense of difficulty in detailing the average cost of a
variety of articles which are manufactured in every quality--good, bad,
and indifferent--the cheapest, or lowest priced, being in all cases the
dearest in the end. A thoroughly good article will look respectable
to the very last bit, while a cheap one can never be made to do so at
all. I can, for my own part, see no virtue in the so-called “bargains”
in which many ladies are so curiously fond of investing. I use the
word “curiously” advisedly, for to me it is most strange how sensible
practical women, who on most subjects have their wits well about them,
are nevertheless afflicted with a positive craze for bargain-hunting,
and are willing to bear any amount of pushing and trampling upon, in
slummy shops with “Selling off” emblazoned in large letters all over
the windows, for the very doubtful satisfaction of carrying home some
three or four pairs of half-soiled gloves at one shilling per pair, or
a few yards of mildewed ribbon at something very much too dear for it.

The _average_ cost of riding gear, every article being of the best and
finest description, may be thus set down. Silk hats, from £1 1_s._
each; jerry ditto, 14_s._; soft felt, 12_s._ 6_d._; melton riding
habits, £12 12_s._ each; rainproof ditto, £10 10_s._; ordinary cloth,
£10 10_s._; summer cloth, £8 8_s._; gingham or holland, £5 5_s._;
riding breeches, £4 4_s._ per pair; buckskin, £6 6_s._ to £8 8_s._;
trousers (chamois lined), from £2 2_s._ to £3 3_s._ Chemises, 8_s._
each. Web drawers (silk), £1 10_s._ per pair; (cotton), 7_s._ 6_d._;
vests (silk), £1 1_s._ each; (cotton), 5_s._ Corsets (satin), £4 4_s._;
sateen (red), £2 10_s._; sateen (white), £2 2_s._ Wellington boots, £3
3_s._ per pair. Wool stockings, 3_s._ 6_d._; pure silk, ditto, 16_s._;
spun silk, 6_s._ 6_d._ Latchford spur (plated), £1 1_s._; japanned,
9_s._ 6_d._ Gloves, 5_s._ 6_d._ per pair. Celluloid collar and cuffs,
4_s._ Rainproof jacket, £2 2_s._ Cape, £1. Warm over-jacket, with
braiding, £6 6_s._ Newmarket covert-coat, from £10 to £12. It would be
impossible to lay down any rule for the price of whips, as much must
necessarily depend upon the mounting; but I have always thought that
with them, as with all other articles of riding apparel, the plainer
they are the better. A good hunting-whip with long lash attached
averages from £1 10_s._ upwards.

Every article that I have named may be had at a very much lower price;
in fact for half (or even less) the ordinary cost that I have set down,
but the question of course remains, “Are cheap things, as a rule, worth



To economise well is a great art, and unfortunately very few persons
understand it. The public mind wavers as a rule between two views
of the matter--excessive parsimony, or continual hunting after
cheap things. When I say “cheap,” I mean low-priced; for brummagem
articles, no matter of what description, are always the very reverse of
_cheap_. “I have got such a bargain,” says one dear friend to another,
displaying some trumpery thing which would have been dear at half the
price given for it; and away goes the friend and invests in a similar
treasure, only to regret her want of wisdom when too late to retract.

The true secrets of economising are: first never to buy anything that
you do not absolutely require; second, to purchase every article of the
very best description; and third, to take care of your things when you
have got them. These three rules will go far if attended to, but, like
the Siamese twins, separate them and they will die. A word, then, about
each--taking them in rotation as named.

Buy nothing that you do not want. It is a general weakness with ladies
to infringe this rule. They are fond of shopping, and shopmen know it,
and pander to the familiar infirmity--not only detaining them twice
as long as is necessary at every counter, but showing them an endless
variety of articles, by way of tempting them to buy. The artifice
succeeds only too often, and the consequences are a lightened purse,
and an unnecessarily burdened wardrobe.

To have too large a stock of clothes is in every way a mistake. They
become old-fashioned before they are half worn out; they encourage and
engender moths; they form a cumbrous baggage if compelled to move;
and they are a source of embarrassment and trouble if taken away
with one on visits--seeing that in this age a lady rarely enjoys the
luxury of a wardrobe in her bedroom, except in her own house. Most
of us consider such a commodity a necessity when at home, but when
we go visiting it is a luxury absolutely denied us. I do not mean to
say that there is not an imposing piece of furniture so styled in the
sleeping apartment allotted to us; there almost always is; it looks
quite magnificent, generally, with its shining panels and tempting
mirrored centre--but, alas, it is a delusion and a snare! We find that
the doors are immovable: they are locked; the hostess has it filled
with her own fineries, and has either forgotten to remove them, or has
said to herself that it would be too great a trouble to do so: the
visitor can manage very well without it--has she not got her imperials,
and the bed-rail--and the drawers of the toilet-table to keep her
brushes and things in, and what more can she reasonably want? To say
that this is not the way in good houses is both foolish and untrue; for
it is so in the very best. It may be the fault of my lady’s maid, or
housekeeper--probably it is, in many instances--but it is my lady’s
fault in a great measure also, inasmuch as she has neither seen to the
comforts of her guest, nor made inquiries concerning them. However
this may be, or with whomsoever the fault may lie, the wardrobe is
a sealed book, into which we are not permitted to peer, and so we
cast our despairing eyes around us for some substitute, and brighten
as we perceive a tempting-looking chest of drawers; but it likewise
is a deception, for it is found to contain articles of children’s
clothing folded away in the top receptacles, while the lower ones have
toilet linen in them, and the big deep one at the bottom contains a
bolster doubled in two, like a huge sausage put away to keep. This
being the case, we shake a dismal head, and proceed to lay out our
neat habit-skirts and other things on the bed-rail, and on the backs
of the chairs; and by-and-by, when we return to our room to dress for
dinner, we find that a remorseful hostess, or a conscience-stricken
maid, has unlocked one of the mighty doors of the mysterious “sealed
book,” and has graciously crammed three or four satin gowns on to one
of the back pegs, leaving the front ones free to hold whatever we may
be pleased to hang upon them. Sometimes even this small boon is not
vouchsafed, and we run the tether of our visit with only chair-backs to
depend upon for hanging purposes, and with the cheerful consciousness
that all the maids in the establishment have tried on and admired
themselves in every single article belonging to us for which we have
been unable to find room in our trunks. I once caught a smart abigail
in an English house pirouetting before the cheval-glass, dressed in
my riding-breeches, and grinning delightedly, with a hand on each side
of her waist. By way of punishment, I made her divest herself of the
trifles in my presence, and by so doing found that she had augmented
the evil by making an entirely wrong use of one of my silk vests--while
as an end to all bitterness, she had actually fitted on my stockings
and boots.

It being then an established fact that a superabundance of clothing
is both an encumbrance and an extravagance which leads to waste,
I think I have succeeded in proving that the first on my list of
theories--namely, to buy nothing that is not absolutely required--is
at least worthy of consideration. Of course, there is no rule that
has not an exception, and there may be times--although they come but
rarely--when there will be a perceptible advantage in purchasing
clothing in advance: for example, when one is obliged to go for a
lengthened period to some out-of-the-way place where things are
absolutely not obtainable. In such, or similar cases, the regulation
practice may be broken through, although even then it will be better,
if possible, to secure the services of a friend who will purchase and
send them out according as they are required.

The second point on which I have given advice--namely, to buy none
save the best articles--is one upon which I must resolutely hold by
my opinion, despite the fact that my expression of it in a sporting
journal in which, some time ago, I quoted a list of probable prices,
called down upon me such a vortex of letters--some of inquiry, others
upon the extravagance of my ideas--that I fairly sat down under the
shower in a state of bewilderment, and felt that the only way in which
I could reply to such a multitude, or at all hope to satisfy them,
was to select the first opportunity of writing a disquisition on
economy--the present venture being the result.

I have, as stated, been repeatedly and anxiously pressed to say what I
thought the price of sundry articles of riding-gear ought to be, and
as the subject was a difficult one to propound, have thought it best
to give the amount usually paid for goods of first-class description,
leaving it, of course, to the intelligence of the reader to surmise
(even when not plainly stated) that prices vary according to quality,
and acknowledging that it is quite possible for a lady to furnish
herself with a complete hunting outfit at a very much lower scale of
charges than that which I cited in my last. It is just a question of
how long she expects her things to wear, and how well she expects them
to look when the first gloss (always an arrant deceiver) has worn
off them. Low-priced articles never stand the test; they may look
fairly well to the eye when first put on, but time and weather place
a stamp upon them with which the owner cannot but feel disappointed.
Take a few examples. It seems to many a great extravagance to give
a seemingly high price for a riding-hat, when at half the shops in
town a fairly good-looking one can be bought for half the money.
Quite true. But place the two hats side by side together after a
hard season’s continual wear and tear, and see whether the Lincoln
and Bennet or Madame White will not be bravely holding its own, when
the other is only fit for the dustman’s cart. In like manner, you may
purchase a riding habit for five guineas,--I have seen them made to
order scores of times at that price--but I have never _yet_ seen one
of such articles able to hold up its head after immersion in a muddy
stream, while very many of them could not even stand a heavy shower
of rain without showing spots or “cockles,” or both. Then, again, you
can get a Newmarket covert coat for £3--not at all a bad-looking one
either--quite a jaunty article, in fact; a neat plaid if you like it,
and gorgeous big buttons if your fancy happens to turn that way,--but
just think of the seams that are all machine-stitched, ready to act
shabbily by you at the most inconvenient moments, and of the uncertain
nature of the material, which is dreadfully wont to wear “tender”
in highly important places: under the arms, for instance, and where
the collar fastens in front; and of the awful moments which you will
have to endure, tugging hard at it, or getting somebody else to do
so, in order to work it off; and think of the still more painful and
embarrassing ordeal that awaits you in endeavouring to draw it over
your habit-bodice, to which it seems to cling as provokingly as though
birdlime had been scattered over both,--all because it has not any
nice, smooth, slippery satin lining to make it slide easily over the
garment that it is meant to cover. Even if perchance your persuasions
have induced the maker of the wonderful thing to augment its
monetary value by the insertion of a satin lining in the bodice, you
perceive with horror, after an incredibly short period of time, that
the silk facing has completely worn off it, and that long stretches
of discoloured cotton threads are intersecting the fabric in every
inconvenient direction.

With boots and gloves it is just the same; you can get them very cheap.
I have seen capital-looking boots in shop windows ticketed eight
shillings per pair, and gloves 1_s._ 6½_d._ (always a ha’penny,
when it is not three farthings), and I have no doubt that plenty of
people buy them--they must do so, or such things would not be so
numerous; but an important query remains behind: namely, how long can
these articles be made to last--even such of them as look moderately
decent at the first go-off?

There are, however, without doubt, very many ways in which small
economies may be justifiably practised, with results by no means
discreditable to the appearance of even the most dashing equestrian.
If, then, you want to appear at all times fairly well turned out, and
yet cannot command sufficient capital from your dress allowance to
enable you to extend your custom to first-class houses, you can take a
“tip” or two from the following hints:--

Look carefully over the columns of the various leading journals which
contain an “exchange and mart,” and you will be almost certain to see
some advertisements of riding habits made by high-class makers and only
worn a few times--occasionally never worn at all, and only parted with
because the owner has been compelled to give up riding, or is going
away. If the size of the waist seems to suit you, answer without delay,
and if, when sent on approval, you find that the cut and quality are
good, close at once with the bargain, and get such alterations effected
in the article as may happen to be required. I have known one or two
ladies with very moderate dress allowances who secured really excellent
riding habits in this way,--but, of course, everything will depend upon
the maker; a high-class house rarely or never turns out an indifferent
cloth, and the cut is certain to be good.

Again, you may be able to borrow a pair of well-made riding trousers
from some intimate lady friend, and if you are smart and can make a
couple of pairs for your own use by the pattern lent you, it will be a
great saving of expense. Breeches will be more difficult to accomplish
successfully: in fact, I regard the cutting of them by amateurs as
very nearly impossible, so perhaps they had better not be attempted:
but, with proper self-measurements and a good pattern before you,
I can see no reason why comfortable riding-trousers should not be
creditably turned out. When making these, cut the linings for the
different parts the exact size of the various pieces, and take care to
tack piece and lining together before running up the whole. If this is
not done you will experience great difficulty in adjusting the linings
when the garment has been put together--indeed, you will probably
fail completely, for it is a most difficult thing to do, and the plan
I have named is a very good one, although the seams cannot (when it
is adopted) look quite as neat on the inside as if a tailor had had
the doing of the job. If you want to avoid the trouble of arranging
linings at all, procure some strong soft chamois leather, make your
trousers of it, and cover them from a short distance above the knee
with cloth similar in colour to that of which your habit is composed.
Use silk thread for seam-sewing--strong, and of the best quality--and
when putting on the buttons wind the thread round and round the stems
after you have stitched them firmly to the garment, so as to form a
sort of artificial shank; then fasten off very securely upon the wrong
or inner side.

If your resources are extremely limited, do not buy silk hats at all.
Low-priced ones are mere delusions, and it will be better for you to
invest the amount usually given for second-rate articles--say from
12_s._ to 15_s._--in a good, serviceable felt, or billycock, which will
stand a large amount of ordinary knocking about.

By wearing riding trousers instead of breeches you can dispense with
Wellingtons, and be content with ordinary boots; anything that you can
walk comfortably in will do, but remember I do not believe that any
woman has ever yet been able conscientiously to say that she walked
“comfortably,” or indeed otherwise than miserably, in narrow-waisted,
high-heeled boots, with toes an inch wide (or something less) at the
tip. A street or two may be traversed in such articles without actual
pain, or any perceptible show of inconvenience, but a walk of five
miles will probably necessitate the services of a chiropodist, while
half the distance will show a decidedly altered gait.

The third item of advice which I have given you, namely to take good
care of your things when you have them, is one to which you will do
well to take heed. Negligence concerning the guardianship of one’s
wearing apparel generally proceeds from one of two causes: either from
a natural carelessness of disposition, which leads to all sorts of
shiftless and untidy ways; or to a foolish desire--if among wealthy or
showy people--to affect an air of indifference concerning _cost_. I
have seen examples of both these dispositions; a girl who just stepped
out of her riding-gear, and left it there behind her, habit wet and
muddy, hat spotted with rain, veil never folded, boots flung anywhere,
whip and gloves in different corners, sometimes in different rooms,
or on the hall table, to be certainly missing when next wanted to be
used: a sort of girl who kept jam-pots in her press, and matches in her
work-box, and who _rooted_ for everything she wanted, precisely as a
dog does when burying a bone.

On the whole, however, I am not quite certain whether she is not
preferable to one of the vainer sort, who strides over sharp stones,
and plunges in and out of muddy pools when there is any distance to be
walked, rather than have it supposed that she is picking her way in
order to save her boots; who eats bread-and-butter without removing
her gloves, for reasons of a similar sort; and who puts on a smile of
unconcern when her hostess’s lap-dog makes a meal off her whip-lash, or
mistakes the handle of it for a bone.

Few things are more to be avoided than a studied carefulness about
matters of costume--when others are by,--the practice, for instance,
of tucking up a mantle rather than sitting upon it--of smoothing
the back of the skirt before taking a seat--of guarding the hands
from contact with any object that may possibly impart a soil to the
gloves--and so forth, all of which are signs of lack of breeding,
and are, as a rule, peculiar to persons unaccustomed to mix in
society,--but the opposite extreme is quite as little to be admired.
The best bred are those who appear wholly unconscious of having
anything on that is worth fussing about: just as the best _dressed_
are invariably those upon whose costume no onlooker would ever pass a

To have a set place for everything is economy of both time and
substance: you will then know precisely where to look and where to
find. You should have neat trees made for your boots, and insist
upon the regular use of them being observed. Brush your riding-habit
carefully yourself, unless you have a maid who can be trusted to do it
properly: namely, in a downward direction always, and never from hand
to hand. Should it be wet, hang it in a cool, dry place, but not close
to a fire--and place a stick across the skirt on the inside, in order
to aid the drying process. Do not attempt to brush off mud spots until
the cloth is perfectly dry.

Stretch your gloves upon block hands, made the size and shape of your
own, and if they have been wet, be all the more careful about doing
so. Make a frequent inspection of the stitching of them, and mend with
a fine needle and silk any portions that may have given way, or seem
likely to do so. Look to the buttons also, in order that you may not be
inconvenienced at unexpected times.

If you wear a silk riding-hat, never be induced to allow an iron to
touch it, except when wielded by a professional hand. You can renew it
yourself by wiping it very lightly with a sponge just dipped in warm
water, going carefully round and round, always the one way. When the
hat is dry, brush it gently with a very soft brush, and finish with a
silk handkerchief.

A black veil that has become discoloured by dust may be restored by
dipping it a few times in cold water, shaking the wet from it, and
stretching it neatly out upon a rail or line to dry. It will not
require any ironing if nicely picked out with the fingers. Another
way is to put the veil, when damp, between two soft cloths--old lawn
handkerchiefs will do--and pat it smoothly out with the hands, leaving
it then to dry without hanging.

Your celluloid collar and cuffs will wash beautifully in your basin,
and will require no making-up, beyond a light wiping with the towel
on which you dry your hands. The material is a marvellous invention,
introduced by our friends across the silver streak, and is invaluable
to equestrians in wet weather, as it never becomes limp after rain: a
great improvement upon linen in this respect, as in many others also.

To conclude my list of economies: If you cannot afford the price of
silk drawers and vests, fine cotton ones in summer, and merino in
winter, will make good substitutes; but silk is not an extravagance in
the long run--it wears so well and feels so delicious next the skin.
Silk underclothing of all kinds is a great luxury, and considering the
benefits that arise from the use of it, I question much whether ladies
of even very moderate incomes will, at the end of twelve months, find
themselves any the poorer for investing in it.

If silk stockings are thought too dear for wearing under or over cotton
ones--and certainly they are an expensive item of dress--fine cotton
ones will do very well; but there are few ladies who do not possess a
supply of silk for dinner and evening wear--and these, when old, or
deficient in colour and freshness, will serve the purpose quite as well
as new ones.

While on the subject of “colour” it will not be amiss to give a hint or
two about the proper method of washing silk and woollen underclothing.
Silk stockings, vests, chemises, pocket-handkerchiefs, and so forth,
ought to be washed as follows:--Mix six tablespoonfuls of bran with
four quarts of water, put it to boil, and stir while boiling. When
ready, pour into a tub, place the articles in it, and move them lightly
about with a stick until the water is cool enough to bear the hand;
then wash rapidly in the usual way, but without using soap. Rinse in
three or four waters, hang out to drain in a bright, dry atmosphere,
and iron while damp, placing a piece of fine muslin between the iron
and the article on which it is used. This receipt will be found to
answer admirably also for white flannels or woollens. For coloured
ones the water must be in a lukewarm state. Neither silk nor woollen
garments should ever be wrung.

On the subject of corsets I have from time to time received a vast
number of letters, most of them wailing over my well-known abhorrence
of cheap goods. Surely the matter is one of which ladies ought to be
able to judge for themselves. I did not know that it was possible
to obtain a really good corset, made specially for one’s-self, of
best materials, and by a superior artist, for less money than I am
accustomed to quote,--nor do I believe that it is. At the same time,
corsets (like everything else) will be found ready manufactured in
various qualities, and at different rates of charge. I have seen
windows full of them in London, and even at expensive Eastbourne and
Bournemouth, ticketed 1_s._ 11½_d._! After this, who need complain
of prices? The papers teem with advertisements of “ready-made corsets”
of all patterns and descriptions, and I have heard many persons say
that they have found them answer perfectly well. This being the case, I
cannot see why the articles should not be given a trial, or why ladies
of limited resources, and with figures easily fitted, should pay two
or three guineas for a corset, when “perfect treasures,” or, at all
events, something that will suit quite well (and that will not go to
pieces all at once), can by all accounts be had for less than an eighth
of the sum.

I once went to a famous London oculist, to consult him about the right
sort of glasses to be used for extreme short-sightedness, and was quite
prepared for his prescribing some rather costly affairs; but, to my
surprise, he said, very pleasantly, “Just go to an optician and suit
_yourself_. Don’t mind what _he_ says; select something that you can
see well through, and that does not in any way distress your sight, or
cause your eyes to feel _on the strain_. Years ago,” he added, “I found
that I wanted glasses myself, and coming across an old man sitting at
the corner of a street with a tray of them before him, I chose a pair
_for a shilling_, and I’m wearing them now.”

On this excellent principle I advise corset-buyers to act. Purchase
what _suits_ you, and if your means are limited, do not trouble about
any particular maker, or price.

To wind up, never be ashamed to exercise a reasonable and honest
economy. There are really very few among us who do not require to
practice it, especially during these difficult times--and there is not
anything to blush for in the fact. It is a very false shame indeed
which induces us to launch out into extravagances that we can ill
afford, rather than say candidly, “I must content myself with something
cheaper.” Believe me, there is more shame in owing an honest tradesman
five shillings, than in wearing cheap corsets, cotton stockings, and
mended gloves--in place of the better or costlier ones which that same
five shillings would have helped to buy.




I am wonderfully fond of a good hack, and very wroth at times that
ladies will persist in mistaking the meaning of the term, and in
thinking that it signifies something that is meant to be abused. They
take this idea, I have no doubt, from expressions associated with their
childhood: hacking out their clothes, for instance,--in other words,
abusing them. “Don’t throw it away, it will do very well for a hack,”
meaning for very hard usage on second or third-rate occasions. Such
a thing as a _valuable_ hack, one not on any account to be subjected
to rough treatment, they have never believed in, or, indeed, thought
about at all. I was once bemoaning the loss of a favourite of this
description to a lady acquaintance, and although she pretended to
sympathise with me, I heard her, when I turned my back, say, “What a
fuss over a thing that had _come_ to being a hack! Not worth fourpence,
most likely.”

Now, it is for ladies who do not know much about hacks, yet who want
to learn, that I am writing this chapter. The subject is a very useful
one, and might be readily enlarged upon, but I shall be as concise as

Hacks in the olden days were capable of immense hardship; the
distances they travelled, the weights they carried, the amount of
endurance they displayed, would be deemed marvellous in the present
century, and cruel if put to the test. Such animals--and they are very
rare--are only now to be met with in the stables of stirring farmers
of the wealthy class, who go over their lands before breakfast, and
overlook hundreds of acres on the backs of these useful creatures.
Occasionally, too, they are to be found with country doctors,
well-to-do parsons, and others whose daily work cannot be accomplished
on animals less enduring or strong; but the ordinary seeker looks for
them almost in vain.

A good hack is a most trustworthy companion. His rider may drop the
reins to him on the very worst roads, and yet feel certain that he will
put his feet in precisely the right places, and make no mistakes. His
fore-feet are always well formed, and whatever the pace may be they
fall straight, and flat, and even upon the ground. His action when
trotting is from the shoulders, his fore-legs working strictly from
them, and just sufficiently bent to enable the rider to see his knees
as they are raised, but not to see under them. Chin-knocking action
may do for a park hack, but not for a roadster; indeed, I don’t admire
it myself in any class of horse, but in a covert-hack it is decidedly
objectionable. The wonder of my life is how so many extraordinary
goers, such as one sees throughout every hunting season, contrive to
jig along, or jog, or pound, as the case may be, without coming down
like logs upon the ground; but they do: just as drunken men, though
staggering, manage to get home without a fall.

The paces of a thoroughly good hack are characterised by perfect
regularity and ease; his shoulders are well set, sloping, and strong;
his feet well formed, his back somewhat short, his loins muscular, and
his hips wide. The shoulders at the withers are thick and firm--their
tops well back--and a good long space between the pommel of the saddle
and the termination of the mane.

Fore-leg action of the proper sort is an actual necessity in a hack
intended for a lady to ride, because the safety of the rider is
dependent upon it; but in selecting such an animal look to his hind-leg
action as well. If the hock joints do not, when moving, seem _pliable_,
and as though they were bent with perfect ease, bringing his hind
legs _well_ forward, reject him at once, no matter how good his front
action, or how perfect his forehand may appear.

[Illustration: HOCK--BENT.]

[Illustration: HOCK--TOO FAR BACK.]

Good hocks are clear, sharp, and well-defined in their outline, with
bones large and prominent, denoting a similar condition of the muscles.
When too much bent there is generally a liability to sprain, and when
placed very far back there is, as a rule, an absence of propelling
power. I like to see hocks in such a position as shows that they are
right under the centre of gravity. This always enables a horse to
propel himself with confidence, and to bring his hind-legs properly
under him in the trot--at which pace they should be carried as far
forward as they can well be, without hitting the fore-feet. An animal
that sticks his hind toes in the ground, and walks gingerly, as though
his hocks had not any joints, will never be safe or pleasant to ride.
If he possesses strength and evenness of hind-leg action, his paces
will always be agreeable. Good shoulder action and far-reaching hind
legs will ensure delightful ease and pleasure to the rider. Racehorses,
when trotting over turf, carry their hind feet far before the front
ones--and outside them too, as I have proved by footprints--although
some persons have flatly contradicted me about the matter.

[Illustration: HOCK--GOOD POSITION.]

I do not think that a covert hack ought to exceed fifteen hands in
height. He should walk with ease and freedom, trot ten miles an hour,
and canter fifteen, without any trouble, or blowing, or other symptoms
of distress. Of course he cannot do this if his lungs are not as
sound as bells, and his legs and feet perfectly healthy. I may say,
however, that exhibitions of _pace_ are perfectly unnecessary; nobody
really needs to gallop full tilt to covert--but light easy action,
and reliable powers of endurance, ought not to be lightly esteemed.
Beauty may be altogether dispensed with in the covert hack--although it
is generally so coveted that buyers will often ignore many important
defects on account of it. I don’t approve of this. I have seen most
excellent hacks who had coarse heads, blemished bodies, rat tails, and
other undeniably ugly attributes--but what mattered it, so long as they
had perfections of a more important kind? Such animals are not wanted
for show, as are their more gaudy brethren the park hacks.

I like to see the ribs of all riding-horses long in front of the
girths, and short behind them. This keeps the saddle in the proper
place, which it is hard to do (without the aid of the old-fashioned
crupper) where the ribs in front are short.

The race of genuine covert hacks is, I am sorry to say, apparently
fast dying out. Go, for instance, to any ordinary meet of hounds in
almost any hunting country--you will see votaries of the chase arriving
in every variety of vehicle: in phaetons, dogcarts, waggonettes, on
drags and in broughams, on the backs of horses that they mean to hunt,
on “general utility” animals, on fine park hacks, brought out to be
admired and then cantered home again along the roadside grasses, or
hand-galloped through the fields where convenient gates abound--but the
number of real covert hacks will be very small indeed. I suppose the
reason is, that in this troublous age, few (in Ireland at all events)
can afford to indulge in luxuries, and a good hack _is_ one, in the
very fullest sense of the term.

I do not believe, although many do, that it spoils a saddle horse to
put him in harness. Were I rich enough to possess a number of hunters,
I should drive them in a four-horse drag during the summer months, and
I believe it would do them an immensity of good. A covert hack of the
useful sort makes an excellent trapper, or one of a pair in a brougham
or waggonette--nor does he lose any of his saddle qualities by being so
made use of.

I may here say that, for country or covert riding, I do not at all
approve of the ordinary half-bred cobs, which so many sportsmen, and
some sporting ladies also, are prone to affect. No doubt they are
strong: it is their only recommendation; but even this very strength is
in one way an objection to them, for it is in many instances derived
from a close connection with cart-horse blood, and on this account they
very soon tire when trotting, and begin to step short, which occasions
them to trip, and very often to come down. Besides, it is almost a
matter of course that their shoulders are straight, and their fore-feet
carried too far under them. In every way, therefore, I object to these
animals for saddle use--especially where ladies are concerned.

Scarce as riding horses of endurance are in this country, there is
no doubt whatever that we have the breed, and that it only requires
careful cultivation--by which I mean _select_--in distant Colonies,
where our road and rail luxuries are not, for love or money, to be
obtained. In Southern Africa and distant Australia this has been
proved, as also in the crosses of our horses with Continental ones, in
Italy, Germany, and Spain.

I now come to speak about hunters. In choosing these, do not go in
for outward beauty of form, for it will not stand you in any stead.
I am compelled to impress this upon ladies--especially very young
ones--because they usually select their horses (as they do their
husbands!) for appearance more than for genuine worth. It is such a
perfectly natural weakness that nobody can be blamed for it. Everybody
likes “something to look at,” but there is more than this to be desired
in many respects. I remember either reading somewhere, or hearing
somebody say, that a hunter that combined high courage with so fine a
temper that he would stand while his owner opened gates or remounted
him after a fall--one that liked his trade, cried “Ha, ha!” at the
sound of the huntsman’s horn, went generously at his fences as if he
relished them, picked his places sensibly, had a good constitution,
drank his gruel freely after the day’s work was over, would stand two
ordinary days a week, and three good ones along with them in the course
of a fortnight--was a treasure, even though he might have an ugly head,
a ridiculous tail, an unfashionable colour, corns at times, and many
skin-deep blemishes. In addition to all this, I may add that if he is a
fairly good hack, and can trot or jog his ten or twelve miles home to
his stable after a hardish day, he is simply an invaluable acquisition,
especially to those who love sport, yet have not the good fortune to
possess a sporting income.

It is rarely, however, that one is lucky enough to meet with so
entirely desirable an animal, and _when_ found he certainly ought to be

The essential points for a hunter are these: a good constitution, so
that he may bear hardships and hard knocks; good powers of endurance,
to enable him to stand long and tiresome days, and frequently to travel
lengthy distances homewards; good shoulders, and strong healthy legs
and feet. Further good points are, a back powerful enough to bear any
weight that he is meant to carry; hind quarters with propelling powers
to land him safely over his fences; a good chest, with lungs inside of
it sufficiently sound to allow of his galloping without showing signs
of distress; and good eyes to enable him to see where he is going.

[Illustration: STRAIGHT FORE LEGS.]

[Illustration: VERY DEFECTIVE.]

Straight fore-legs, such as are shown in the illustration, are an
absolutely essential quality--and they should emerge from the trunk
with plenty of firm muscle as well as good fleshy substance. Legs that
are too close together, or too far apart, are alike defective, and
ought not to be overlooked.

[Illustration: TOO FAR APART.]

A hunter for a lady’s use need not, as a rule, be over fifteen hands
in height, or about 15·2 for a man of ordinary stature. Of course
top-weights of either sex must have something proportionately big to
carry them, but my experience is that clever hunters of 15·2 or 3 can
negotiate even the biggest country with safety, and I believe there are
a greater number of perfect fencers of that height than can be found
among those above it. Small horses, whether hunters or steeplechasers,
have distinguished themselves brilliantly from time to time all over
the world, yet the rage for tall ones is very great. About ten years
ago, at the Islington Horse Show, there were forty hunters (out of
100 entries) that were over 16 hands high, and they were among the
very first sold, some of them to extremely diminutive purchasers. I
was speaking about this a year or two ago to a dealer, and asking him
his opinion respecting the cause, when he made me laugh by answering,
“Well, you see, big horses makes big fences look a trifle smaller, and
that’s something to them as rides.”

I have always considered it a good plan to select a hunter, with due
regard to the country in which his purchaser intends to hunt. For
example, if hilly, or composed of wide grass lands, or plough, good
breeding will be decidedly essential, because with it good staying
powers will be combined; if trappy, or difficult, requiring constant
pulling up at fences and careful getting over, extreme cleverness will
be far more valuable than blood. Even a broken-winded horse will, if
cautious and clever, be more useful over such a country, than a flyer
or very flippant jumper--because he can catch his wind between his
efforts, and will not be likely to exhibit distress.

If you cannot count upon a horse’s pedigree, when looking for a blood
one, you can generally judge him by his haunch. I think it an excellent
test of breeding. A well-bred haunch and handsomely carried tail,
impart a dignity of appearance which is unmistakable, and they are
certainly far in advance of the rounded quarter and drooping caudal
appendage which my sketch on the succeeding page represent.

Still further commendable points in a hunter are _long_ shoulders, high
withers, broad hips, and loose flanks: this latter in order (as I have
heard it expressed) that he may “dash” his haunches under him at the
big jumps. He should have good shoulder action, but it matters little
(as I have said) about that of the knees.

[Illustration: WELL-BRED HAUNCH.]

[Illustration: ILL-BRED HAUNCH.]

A hunter is thought to be in his prime at six years old, and if this
be the case, every hunter in the kingdom--especially those with which
dealers have anything to do--must be just arrived at that happy
meridian, for surely no one has ever yet inquired the age of such an
animal without being told that he was “just six year old,” or “rising”
it. I have known some admirable hunters, however, who had passed the
familiar landmark by four years or upwards; and in the west of Ireland
I saw one, and rode him too, who was said to be eighteen years old, and
certainly a finer fencer it has rarely been my lot to handle.

I do not, however, as a rule, recommend young horsewomen to purchase
aged hunters. I have generally found them to be too crafty and clever,
calculating their distances _too_ finely, and leaving themselves
nothing at all to spare. Better mount a young rider on a young,
generous goer, who will give himself a couple of feet or more over the

Never judge of a hunter from seeing him jump in cold blood, because
many animals that will perform calmly and collectedly over a
schooling-ground, become so tremendously excited in the hunting-field
that they are altogether beyond the powers of a lady to control. I need
not say that horses of this class are not only unpleasant, but are
highly dangerous mounts.

I always advise ladies who have invested in anything that they find
disappointing--either a rusher, refuser, plunger, or anything else--to
entrust him at once to thoroughly competent hands to break him of the
vice. I believe largely in horse-dealing farmers of the straight-riding
sort. A horse given up to one of these will be exercised about the
lands through the summer months, taught to get slowly through gaps and
over difficult fences, made to stand quietly to be mounted, and ridden
temperately but with determination when hounds begin to run.

A hunter that pulls should never be made use of by a lady, but for my
own riding I have always preferred an animal that gave me something to
do to hold him, to one that stuck his head in the air and refused to
take hold of his bridle. I don’t know anything that renders a lady
more helpless in a quick run than a horse that is too light-mouthed,
and that flings his head up every time he feels the action of the bit.
I would not take a present of such a one for my own use.

It is an excellent plan for ladies to train their hunters to follow
them when on foot. Suppose that in the course of a run you happen to
come to some awfully cranky place: cramped, difficult, and highly
dangerous to ride, you may find it pleasant and advisable to get off
and scramble it, and your steed will follow you beautifully if you
have him trained. It is quite easy to do it; accustom him to the tone
of your voice, and if in the country take him out on summer evenings
with a leading-rein and a pocketful of carrots. You will not have much
difficulty after a while, and it is quite worth the trouble, even if
you are disposed to think it such, which I never did.

There used long ago to be certain counties celebrated for good hunters.
Ireland was, and is, _justly_ famous, both for breeding and training
youngsters of a style fit for any hunting-field: but posts, telegraphs,
and telephones have placed us far more on a level than we used to be,
and I don’t believe that there is now anything like the advantage
enjoyed by our fathers and grandfathers in purchasing direct from a

I may wind up by saying that no horse is worthy of being called a
hunter that cannot be turned in a very small circle, that jumps with
his hind-legs stretched out behind him, or that won’t at all events
_attempt_ any fence at which his owner may wish to turn him.

[Illustration: “COME ALONG, OLD MAN!”

_page 216._]



A very tempting title truly, but before we can get there we must say
a word about the preparation for it, and also about the journey to be
taken to reach the desired goal.

To prepare, therefore, you should look first to your horse; you must
get him into good hard-fed condition some time before the opening
of the season, and either exercise him regularly yourself, or get
somebody to do it for you. The subject of feeding I hope to discuss
in a forthcoming chapter--as also that of shoeing, which is extremely
important. I may here say, however, that my system of feeding hunters
is in many points so widely different to that of others that I shall
not undertake to advocate it openly, but shall merely state that I have
found it answer most admirably in my own stable, and that many private
friends to whom I have recommended it have endorsed my opinion of its
excellence. The only portion of it to which I shall in this chapter
refer, is concerning the _times_ at which I think the meals ought to
be given. I advise that hunters be accustomed all the year round to
do without a heavy midday meal: this practice to be adhered to during
the summer months, as well as in winter; in fact, whether the animal
is doing work or not. A good substantial feed at 7 A.M., and another
twelve hours later, with one _of hay only_ (but plenty of it, and of
the best) at noon, is all the food that need be given. Horses fed thus
do not, on even very long days, miss anything except their midday
repast, whereas, if accustomed to a solid feed of corn in the middle of
the day, the vacuum created by the want of it must certainly tell upon
the animals, and render them in a great degree unfitted for their tasks.

Let your horse, then, be fed as I have directed, and you will
(confidently speaking) find him quite able and ready for the long days
which are so trying to horses that are not in condition, as well as to
many that are.

Look to his shoeing a day or two before you want to use him, and when
I say “look,” I mean for you to do it yourself, and not merely inquire
of the servant whether it has been done, unless, indeed, he is one of
those treasures who are as rarely to be met with as the proverbial
four-leaved shamrock, or the horse that is a day over six years old.
Grooms will not, as a rule, trouble themselves much about the shoeing
department, except at the most inconvenient times; when they don’t
want you to go out, for instance, it is quite surprising how quickly
they contrive to discover that the horse must go to the forge. I know
all their little tricks perfectly well, and the length of time, too,
that they generally find it necessary to be absent when that forge
business is declared to be a necessity that cannot be done without;
therefore, it will be well to look to it _always_ yourself, a good bit
in advance, in order that you may not in any wise be taken unprepared.

Give a glance over your hunting-gear also, lest anything should be
astray. It is not at the last moment that such things ought ever
to be looked to. See that your gloves are in good order, and your
riding-breeches perfectly whole--for, remember, there is a great and
constant strain on this particular garment, and it will in consequence
stand in frequent need of repairs. Make certain also that your skirt
is neatly brushed, your hat in perfection, and your whip and spur in
perfect readiness for use.

Having made these preparations, you must turn your thoughts from
necessaries to possible contingencies, and hold yourself in readiness
for such. Procure a small, tidy valise, and in it place a complete
change of warm clothing. You can dispense with fashionable and costly
articles, and put in merely such things as will prove convenient in
the possible event of your being either dyked, or subjected to such
a wetting from above as would render it unsafe for you to proceed
homewards in your riding-habit. Of course, I am now surmising that you
either drive or rail to the hunt, and return the same way.

If you ride a hack to covert, or jog your hunter at an easy pace, you
will not only find it impossible to carry a change of clothing, but you
will not have any need of such, because nobody ever catches cold, even
from wet clothes, so long as motion and circulation are kept up; but
if you have a long drive homewards after a hard and exciting day, or a
journey (even a short one) to perform by rail, I strongly advocate the
carrying of the valise. It will not prove a source of the least trouble
to you. You can leave it either in your vehicle or at the railway
station, and it is an inconceivable comfort to be able to get into a
dry suit when every stitch that you have on is clinging to your body,
heavy with wet and mud. I advise the labelling of the valise in plain
letters, if it is to be left in any waiting-room. To attend to this
may prevent a good deal of possible confusion. Many ladies think it a
trouble, I know, to carry such things about with them--just as men,
when they go out walking, consider it “a nuisance” to carry an umbrella
or an overcoat, even on the most uncertain and showery days--paying the
penalty, of course, in drenched garments, rheumatism, and catarrh. The
“trouble” in the first instance is very small; in the second it may be

Having then made all square and ready, we have next to consider in what
way you intend to proceed to covert. If by rail or vehicle, and that
you happen to have friends of an obliging sort living close to the
proposed meet, you may perhaps find them willing to give accommodation
to your mount for the preceding night. If so it will be very pleasant,
both for you and your horse, as the animal will be as fresh as a daisy
to carry you--a cheery thing for both parties. You must, however,
remember that you will be under a very decided compliment--one which
many may not desire to incur--to the friend who shows you this favour,
inasmuch as putting up a horse signifies either putting up a servant
also, or sending a groom to meet the animal at the station; at all
events it entails extra stable duties, and these must be considered and
paid for.

Supposing that you do not send your horse anywhere the night before,
see to it that he gets off betimes in the morning, and, if going
by road, give your servant directions to take him to some quiet
corner or laneway close to the meet, and to wait for you there until
you come. I regard this as a very much better plan than having him
led _direct_ to the meet, and mounting him there in presence of an
assembled crowd. Ladies who like a little bit of show generally prefer
the latter way--but for true comfort, opportunity for overlooking
the general turning-out of your horse, lengthening or shortening
of stirrup-leathers, folding your muffling tidily away (instead of
flinging it anywhere or anyhow into the vehicle), giving your groom
directions where to meet you at the close of the day, and so forth,
commend me to the former.

If a hunter is to be railed, let him go to the station well clothed,
and send extra things along with him for coming home. Winter evenings
are usually chilly, if not downright cold, and are very frequently damp
as well; if, then, a heated animal, with every pore open from exercise
and excitement, is called upon, unprepared, to encounter these combined
atmospheric influences, coughs, catarrhs, rheumatic affections, and
sometimes the more serious evils of inflamed or congested lungs, are
certain to be the results.

Rise early yourself on a hunting morning; have a cold bath, if of a
robust temperament--if not, tepid. Eat a moderate breakfast of white
fish, cutlet, or steak, accompanied by dry toast or biscuit, and
partake of very little liquid. Fill your flask with cold tea: it is
more invigorating than either brandy or wine; and provide a small
sandwich, or a biscuit or two, to put in the pocket of your saddle.
This will be provision enough for the commissariat department.

If you have the luxury of riding a good hack to covert, and that the
distance is not very far--say, from five to eight miles--you will be
certain to enjoy it, and it will put you in fettle for the more serious
business of the day. This again, like the bath, means if you are
strong and hardy: in short, inured to long rides, and not by any means
easily fatigued. If it be not so with you, it will be better to make
arrangements to go by rail, or drive.

Some ladies ride their hunters quite long distances to meets, but as
a rule they are not among the straight-going sort, being satisfied
with seeing the first draw and the burst away over a good line of
country, where the two or three preliminary fences are not such as
to occasion many serious mishaps. I do not think that any lady who
rides even moderately straight ought to hack her hunter for a longer
distance than five or six miles of a good fair road, and the best way
to take him will be at a brisk walk, alternated pretty frequently with
a steady jog-trot, or a hand-gallop on the grass at the side. I do not
at all object to a hunter being allowed to drink a little water before
starting on his journey, although I know that very many disagree with
me on the point; nor do I object to his having a few mouthfuls in the
intervals of hunting; it will refresh him excessively, just as a
small goblet of water would refresh _you_, although a large one might
overload your stomach, or give you a chill.

On arriving at the meet, keep as quiet and as much in the background
as you possibly can. It is better taste by far than to push forward in
ever so small a degree. Do not trouble yourself with thinking about
your own appearance, be it what it may; in all probability nobody will
be minding you at all. If you are perfectly well turned-out, feel
happy in the consciousness that you are so, but _shun display_; if
indifferently, console yourself with the reflection that each man and
woman present is occupied in admiring him or herself, and has neither
time nor desire to admire you, or the reverse.

Do not expect that august personage, “the master,” to shake hands with
you, even if acquainted, or to stop and talk. Salute him as he goes by,
but nothing further.

Do not worry the huntsman with questions about the proposed draws, or
anything else. If you know him, salute him, and say a word or two, if
you like, about his hounds, but never expect him to answer you; his
mind is on other matters bent.

Do not indulge in loud talking, or conspicuous laughter, which will be
certain to render you remarkable and bring many eyes upon you. A quiet,
ladylike demeanour will always ensure admirers.

When the order is given to go, and the huntsman moves off in front
with his hounds, contrive to keep as close to him as you can, without
an appearance of “push.” This for the obvious reason that a fox is
very often found the moment (or nearly so) that hounds are thrown
into covert, and if you are on the spot, you may get well away with
the pack; whereas, at the end of a long cavalcade, on a narrow and
difficult roadway, it will be ten to one against your doing anything
better than hunting a stern chase for the remainder of the run.

It has for long been a vexed question whether or not the hunting-field
is a suitable place for ladies, and I am certainly not going to discuss
it _in extenso_, especially in a necessarily limited space. One or two
things concerning it I may, however, be permitted to say.

Firstly, that timid ladies, those mounted on badly broken horses, and
others (a large community) who push for first place while in reality
only fitted to take third (in company with wheezy old gentlemen on fat
cobs, farmers on green colts, and the numerous company of confessed
road-riders), are a very _decided nuisance_ in the field; and,
secondly, that ladies who possess courage (by which I do not mean the
effrontery of ignorance and vanity combined), who are thoroughly well
mounted, and who never get in anybody’s way, are, in my opinion, a
charming addition to the delightful pleasures of the chase. If, then,
you want to be considered an acquisition, be contented--especially if
a beginner--to take second place: that is, not to force a way among
the hard-riding lot, or expose yourself to the numerous perils which
really first-flight men and women go out prepared to encounter--ay, and
usually manage to get through safely, too, if not interfered with or
endangered by second and third-class riders. By-and-by, when you have
gained the knowledge and experience which getting up from the ranks
will assuredly bring you, there will be an extra pleasure in finding
yourself not only holding first place in the most difficult runs, but
in knowing that you are _qualified_ to hold it, and are justified in
declining to yield it up to others who may not have won their spurs.

If, however, you desire to render yourself thoroughly obnoxious to
everybody, you can set about it in this way. Select for your mount
something that is both fidgetty and showy, yet utterly “incapable.”
Whenever you attempt a fence keep your horse at it, whether you have
any chance of getting over or not, to the exclusion of half the field.
When you get on fair ground, gallop madly forward and override the
hounds, if you chance by a “fluke” to get near enough to them to do
so. When there is a check, and the pack fails in hitting off the scent
at once, slash at the nearest of them with your hunting-whip, and tell
the animal playfully that it is “a naughty dog not to hunt better.”
Always make a point of crowding at gaps and gateways, when hounds and
field are struggling to get through. Never fail to effect an intimate
acquaintance with the master, and be sure to call the huntsman, when
speaking of him, “Bill Simmonds” or “Jim Brown,” although “Simmonds”
or “Brown” may be quite enough for other people. Always follow this
last-mentioned functionary into covert, and speak to him all the
time that he is anxiously watching his hounds. Should you happen to
view the fox away, swell out your lungs for a good bellow of _Tally
ho-oooo!_ and gallop full tilt at him before ever a single hound has
left covert, which wise proceeding will be certain to turn him back,
and gain for you the blessings of all genuine lovers of sport. Finally,
when the game at length breaks fair, rush away in advance of everybody
else, with your chin to the sky, and your elbows flapping like the
sails of a windmill; and when you have half-killed your ill-conditioned
steed, and frightened the wits out of a score or two of old squires
who have long ago lost their nerves (together with their appreciation
of such “hard riding” as yours), then pull off, and dose everybody
with whom you are acquainted, for the next week or two, with glowing
accounts of the wonders that you performed on the opening day with the
Dashshire hounds, and the merits, beauties, and achievments of the
exquisite animal that carried you so brilliantly through the first run
of the season. By adopting this mode of proceeding you will be certain
to gain a host of admirers in the field, and will do much toward
disabusing the public mind of the idea (very deeply implanted in it)
that the hunting-field is not a place in which ladies ought to seek for

Now, in conclusion, allow me in all seriousness to lay down a few
maxims for your instruction. Never go to hunt without a good pilot.
Young lovers are very nice for this purpose, although not always the
safest. I recommend sharp _old_ foxhunters, who know the country, and
who will give you a judicious lead. If you cannot secure a trustworthy
leader, dispense altogether with the services of one, and cut out
a line for yourself, _provided_ that you are mounted on a really
first-class animal, one well up to your weight, and endowed with an
infallible knowledge of where to put his feet. Keep the hounds in
sight if you can, or, at any rate, within hearing, and ride rather
wide of them, to right or left; never in their actual wake. Keep your
horse well in hand all through, that he may not sprawl. Be quick
at turning. Avoid, so far as is possible, deep heavy lands; and if
traversing plough, keep along the headlands rather than pump your steed
by galloping over ridge and furrow, as others frequently do. When
obliged to get through gaps and gates put extra steam on when coming
up to them, in order to be first; and if there is a crowd, hold your
horse hard, and touch him lightly with your spur, that he may keep up
his mettle and be ready to bound into full speed the instant you get
clear of the ruck. If riding a young hot-blooded hunter, it will as a
rule be safer for you to put him at a very big jump than to trust him
in a crowded gangway. While riding hard, never so much as glance at
the remainder of the field. Keep your eyes for your horse and for the
_leading_ hounds, so as to keep exactly with them, and check _the very
instant_ that they do.

Never distress your mount by taking unnecessary jumps. Don’t be a bit
ashamed to make use of a convenient gate if you can get along with
equal quickness that way; it will save your horse, and will enable you
to hold your place much longer in the run; but, at the same time, never
shirk a practicable jump when you want to go straight.

If riding a kicker, give warning to those in the rear of you to keep
out of the way. Never jump over a fallen horseman; select another part
of the fence to effect your leap. Do not continue to ride a beaten
animal; pull off the moment that he hangs out signals of distress. When
called upon to cross a ford, do so very cautiously, and if your horse
makes a kind of _forward plunge_, and an attempt at swimming, throw him
the reins at once or he will roll over. Do not on any account interfere
with his mouth at such a time. Keep your left foot stuck well forward,
or, better still, lift the leg right over the leaping-head, that it
may not be struck by the horse’s hind foot--and at the same time take
a firm grip of the up-pommel and the off-side of the saddle, to avoid
being unseated when he makes his second plunge, which he will do the
moment that he recovers his footing.

If the first run of the day be a good one, rest satisfied with it, and
do not attempt another, unless you have a second horse out. If your
mount should chance to lose a shoe, especially a fore one, make at once
for the nearest forge. If one of the hind feet has sustained the loss,
you may continue the run, provided the going is over soft ground--but
when a fore shoe happens to go, pull off without a moment’s delay. I
have always thought it an admirable plan to _carry_ a shoe, or slipper,
slung on (in its neat leather case) cavalry-wise, to the saddle. This,
in case of accident, obviates the necessity of waiting at the forge
while the smith manufactures one--and of course on arrival at home it
can readily be changed for a more durable foot-protector. I have even
known some sage old sportsmen carry in their pockets a little American
hammer and nail-box in one, and do their own shoeing when they found
themselves in difficulties and at a distance from professional aid.

Dismount when there is a check, if only for an instant; and, when there
is time, shift your saddle an inch back or forward, the first for
preference. This will prove a great refreshment to your mount.

Be uniformly kind and courteous to everybody. If you chance to
distinguish yourself by good riding, or good fortune, make no fuss
about it, or look for adulation. Always carry a yard or two of twine, a
pick, and a few shillings along with you; there may be uses for all.

When riding home, if you _do_ ride, grasp the first opportunity of
getting your horse some warm gruel, and take him through a shallow ford
or pond to wash the mud from his legs and belly. When you get him to
his stable do not allow him to be tormented by elaborate grooming; see
that he is given an abundance of straw to roll in, and a good bucket
of linseed tea to drink; have his ears dried by pulling them, bandage
his legs with flannel, and give him an abundance of _fresh air_, which
is of far more consequence to an exhausted hunter than either food or
water. I greatly disapprove of admitting draughts, especially thorough
ones--but it is a dire mistake to cram a horse into a close stable,
with every chink stopped up, and then put a huge quantity of hay and
oats before him. Bad air and improper feeding soon do their work. Some
valuable animal is taken ill, a farrier is sent for, he tries bleeding
to stop the terrific action of the heart, and before morning the horse
is dead.

I shall have something useful to say on this and kindred subjects in my
chapter on “Doctoring,” later on.




There are three points concerning this important subject on which
I should like to thoroughly convince my readers. Firstly, that the
theory, sometimes put forward, of dispensing with shoes for horses
that are intended to work in paved cities and over rough roads, is a
fallacious one; secondly, that the shoeing done at ordinary forges
is practically all wrong; and, thirdly, that there is nothing at all
derogatory in going down one’s-self to the blacksmith’s, in company
with the animal to be shod, and not only giving directions about the
way in which it will be most advisable to do it, but standing by to
make certain that it is actually done. Common errors among smiths
are these; cutting down the frog until it cannot possibly come in
contact with the ground; paring the sole, until it is either bedewed
with blood, or so thin that the effort to walk on it causes the horse
to wince; opening the “bars” which join the frog to the outer wall
of the foot; putting on unnecessarily heavy shoes; having a strong
predilection in favour of calkins; rasping down the wall of the foot
to fit the shoe, instead of making the shoe to fit the foot; and
removing too much of the heel horn. These faults proceed, as a rule,
more from ignorance than obstinacy, and it would therefore be a good
and wise thing if every farrier were to be made thoroughly acquainted
with the anatomy of the horse’s foot and leg: he would then perceive
what dire mischief he was in reality doing while pursuing the ordinary
stereotyped course which his father and grandfather probably followed
before him.

To look at this list of errors in review. First of all, the frog
should never be interfered with; to pare it with a knife is ruinous;
it _ought_ to touch the ground instead of being prevented from doing
so: nature intended that it should. It retains the hoof in proper
shape at the heels, prevents the tendency to slip, and in fact acts
as the natural buffer of the foot, giving it strength, security, and
elasticity, while its toughness enables it to travel over the roughest
country without shrinking or pain. It wards off concussion, being
surrounded by lateral cartilages which may be described as yielding
sidewalls, and is the contrivance supplied by nature for preserving the
superimposed structures from injury or passing hurt. Cutting into the
frog is, I am most firmly convinced, one of the chief causes of thrush,
and nothing can more clearly prove this than the fact that diseased and
wasted frogs, and thrushes of long and obstinate standing, have been
known to become completely cured by the adoption of a proper system
of shoeing--one that brought the frog not only near the ground, but
actually on it.

Navicular disease, that terror of every horse-owner, is without doubt
largely induced by improper shoeing, coupled with the pernicious
practice which I am now condemning, of cutting away the frog. This
valuable india-rubber-like substance should be jealously guarded, and
most carefully preserved from injury or waste; a knife ought no more
be allowed to touch it than permitted to penetrate the horse’s eye;
perhaps even with greater care ought it to be preserved, for whereas
some excellent goers have but one eye to see with, an animal on three
legs is of but little use to anybody, except the knacker, into whose
hands he is pretty certain soon to fall.

Second on the list of evils comes the paring away of the sole of
the foot, and so general is this most unwise operation, that grooms
absolutely prepare for it the night before their charges go to the
forge, by stopping their feet with cow-dung, or some other horrible
dirt. The practice is a cruel, useless, and highly deleterious one,
which owners of horses ought not in anywise to encourage or permit.

Third, is the hideous habit of opening up the heels: which means making
a deep incision into the wall of the foot _at_ the heel, just where
it is bent inward to form the bars. Nothing could possibly be more
injurious or injudicious than this detestable operation. It weakens
the wall of the foot, and occasions what all horse-fanciers strive to
guard against, the evil of contracted heels. The frog, sole, and bars
have each a separate and most important duty to perform, and are, if
unwisely interfered with, rendered absolutely incapable of contributing
to the carrying out of Nature’s exemplary plan.

Fourth, is the custom of putting on shoes that are too clumsy,
weighty, and thick. A thin, light shoe is in every respect preferable,
the lightness of the metal ensuring a firm foothold, while it likewise
brings the foot-proper in closer proximity to the ground.

Fifth, is the strong fancy for calkins,--things which I as strongly
decry, except for heavy draught horses, and for those accustomed to
trust to their assistance for backing weighty loads. Even where such
appendages are acknowledged to be necessary, a toe-piece should be
likewise added to the shoe and the forepart slightly thickened, in
order to ensure an evenness and steadiness of footing, together with
the keeping of the foot in its own natural position. A horse mounted
upon calkins without the addition of the toe-piece must feel quite as
uncomfortable as a vain belle when mounted upon a pair of tapering high

Another way of preventing injury in the form of contractions from
calkins is, to have the shoes forged of even thickness from heel
to toe, and then to remove a portion of metal from underneath the
quarters. A horse’s real weight is on his toes and heels: nature shows
this by weakening the hoofs at the quarters, and the law of mechanics
illustrates that if the extremities of any powerful substance are
equally and adequately sustained, the absolute _body_ which forms as it
were a bridge over the space, may be trusted without support.

Sixth, is a terrible evil: namely, employing the rasp to the outer wall
of the foot, in order to bring it down to the size of a shoe that is
too small for it. This cruelty is generally perpetrated by farriers
who consider themselves too hurried, but are in reality too lazy, to
undertake the forging of a properly fitting shoe, and so they lay hands
on one that happens to be lying by them, and having affixed it, proceed
to cut down the foot to its level. The wretchedness of the animal,
when set to walk upon this torturing protector, is precisely like that
which we should suffer were our feet to be crushed into boots or shoes
that were ever so many sizes too small for them. By this cruel practice
the horn of the foot is seriously injured, and months elapse before it
resumes its normal shape and condition.

[Illustration: FOOT MADE TO FIT SHOE.]

[Illustration: SHOE MADE TO FIT FOOT.]

Removing too much of the heel-horn is the seventh evil with which we
have to deal. This is a very usual practice, and is strongly calculated
to make a temporary cripple of the horse so operated upon. It ought
to be remembered that the ground face of the hoof should be even, and
justly proportioned from toe to heel, and that the sides of it ought
to be of equal depth. There is at times, indeed very often, an excess
of horny growth about the toe, but it is impossible to lay down any
precise rule with reference to the angle to which the hoof ought to be
brought: a competent eye will, however, judge of it, and will be able
to decide whether it is in conformity with the natural formation and
bearing of the limb.

[Illustration: LOW HEEL.]

[Illustration: HIGH HEEL.]

I have a great fancy for tips--otherwise half-shoes, nailed to the
toes only, and leaving both quarters free. I have known one or two
young horses shod in this way who have travelled quite safely, and
shown wonderfully healthy feet. For racers I particularly approve of
them, and for young light-weight hunters, especially when running in
a grass country. I am aware that there is a prejudice against them,
except for animals that are for awhile thrown up, but it is an entirely
ignorant one, and ought to be discarded. The late Duke of Wellington
was especially fond of tips, and for a long while rode his horses
with no other kind of foot-covering. He was at length, however,
induced to give it up, as he suffered torment from persons perpetually
informing him that his hack had cast a shoe. I have from time to time
been shown an immense variety of _india-rubber_ shoes, together with
other novel kinds too numerous to mention, and to all of them have
found some grave faults. Lyons has, however, lately produced a new
specimen, which has been experimented with upon French horses in a
manner somewhat successful. It is made entirely of sheep’s horn, and is
said to be particularly adapted to such animals as are known not to be
steady-footed when going over pavements. It is, moreover, excessively
light and very durable--two excellent qualities--and although at
present somewhat more expensive than the ordinary shoe, it will no
doubt come down in price when the novelty wears off, and will in all
probability replace the present style before the world is many years
older. For horses employed in towns it must be peculiarly valuable, as
it is said to be an effectual check against slipping.

[Illustration: FOOT WITH TIP.]

Before closing the present chapter, I should like to warn horse-owners
still further against the ordinary uses of the smith’s drawing-knife,
rasp, and heated iron, all of which are, as I have said, most
lamentably abused. By the first, especially, numerous “accidents” are
made to occur. The sole of the foot being all pared away and exposed
close to the earth, induces it to assume a harshness of texture totally
opposed to its natural qualities, which are soft and yielding--and this
change of structure is a fruitful source of corns. The outer portion
of the sole rests upon the web of the shoe; the coffin-bone descends,
and not meeting with any yielding substance to play upon, the flesh is
pressed between the inferior surface of the bone and the upper surface
of the shoe, causing malignant corns.

Again, the _educated_ smith, in order to give what he terms “a better
hold,” drives the fastening nails into the black or outer substance of
the wall of the foot; whereas the untutored Arab preserves his horses’
feet by permitting the walls to descend about half-an-inch below the
sole, and then driving the nails through this portion of the hoof. By
so doing, he averts the evil consequences of inserting iron into the
brittle substance, and secures at the same time the resistance and
tough qualities of the complex covering of the foot. While the English
smith is labouring to give a tight hold, he is in reality involving
three distinct perils--firstly, pricking the sensitive foot, should
the nail chance to turn a little bit on one side--a thing which very
often happens; secondly, driving a nail too fine, or, in other words,
too near the white horn--the consequence of which is that it, the
nail, turns _inward_ when the horse is worked, causing lameness to
ensue; and, thirdly, to avoid these evils, he points his nails so far
outward that the outer crust cracks, splits, and chips away, in time
occasioning a difficulty about finding any place at all capable of
affording holding properties for the necessary nails.



It is owing to this evil that riders are so frequently inconvenienced
by their horses’ shoes becoming partially detached from their feet.
The weakest portion of the chipped hoof yields first, the remaining
fastenings follow, the shoe wags, the nails lose their hold--with,
perhaps, the exception of one or two,--when the foot is raised its
covering hangs pendulous from it, and when again put down some nail
still remaining in the shoe pierces the plantar surface of the foot,
or, perhaps, even penetrates the coffin-bone, and prolonged lameness
follows. “This may be, and no doubt is, all very true,” I fancy I
can hear some reader say; “but what on earth am I to do? I cannot
shoe my horses myself, and smiths are so intolerably conceited.”
Just so; they certainly are, and I can entirely sympathise with you;
horse-owners are _terribly_ dependent upon them, ladies in particular.
But I should advise you to do what I myself have found effectual,
namely, take your horses either to a thoroughly _competent_ farrier
(there are, happily, such to be found), or, what I think better still,
to a complete duffer!--one who knows very little about his trade, and
who, being aware of his deficiencies, will be humble enough to accept
your directions, and also willing to act upon them and thankful for
being afforded an opportunity of doing so. I have heard that railway
companies seek for fools to act as pointsmen; by all means, then, look
out for an idiotic smith!



As already stated, I give my own ideas and opinions on this subject,
without any desire to thrust them forward, or the least expectation
of seeing them generally adopted. Old prejudices are hard to get rid
of; grooms are self-willed, obstinate, and ignorant to a degree, and
masters are too yielding, or too indolent to interfere. I therefore
regard it as probable that on many persons the advice contained in this
chapter will be thrown away, while on others--those who are willing
to break new ground--it will, I venture to say, have the salutary
effect of producing improvements in the stable, and increasing the
weight of the purse. By good management, which is the true secret of
all economy, a man, or woman, may keep a pair of horses for the same
yearly outlay that his or her less provident neighbour will expend on
keeping one--while the credit of the stable will be quite as well, if
not better, maintained.

I am most strongly in favour of cooked food, and opposed to the giving
of raw oats in any shape or form. The absurd theory that this system
of feeding is calculated to make horses “soft,” is about as sensible
as that which avers (or would do so) that a man fed upon cooked rice
and well-boiled potatoes, would be less capable of doing a good day’s
work than if compelled to eat the same materials raw. Animals possessed
of even the very best digestions lose a great portion of the nutriment
of their food when given in the ordinary way--a large quantity of the
oats passing through their bodies quite as whole and unbroken as when
swallowed; whereas every grain of the cooked food is assimilated with
the blood, and goes to nourish the system,--consequently, nothing is

A chief reason for the prejudice against cooked food is that it gives
trouble, and is a “bother” to prepare. This is always the groom’s
excuse; everything is a trouble to him, except thrusting a measure of
hard dry corn, accompanied by a bucket of water, at stated intervals
before his charge, and receiving his wages--at stated intervals
also--for so doing. Were he to understand, when being hired, that
to cook the food would form as much a portion of his business as
to groom and bed the horses, there would probably be very little
grumbling--especially when every convenient appliance would be found
ready to his hand; but the difficulty always lies with the old and
knowing ones--men who have been accustomed all their lives to do things
their own way, and have things just as they pleased. These, as a rule,
resent every innovation, and are only to be dealt with by persons as
knowing and determined as themselves.

Another source of objection is the idea that it will require some
special apparatus--some costly, difficult, complicated contrivance for
carrying out the proposed plan. There never was a greater mistake
made. In my next chapter, which will be entirely devoted to the
subject of stabling, I shall endeavour to show that the only apparatus
necessary is an exceedingly simple one,--certainly not by any means of
either a costly or extravagant nature.

To feed a horse four times a day, on any kind of food, is in my opinion
unnecessary; unless, indeed, he be an extremely delicate feeder, in
which case “little and often” should be the rule; but I maintain that
if fed but thrice he ought to be given as good a proportion as is
_ordinarily_ divided into four. I like to see a hard-working horse able
to eat his five quarterns of mixed oats and beans, varied with a good
mash once or twice a week, and always on a Saturday night. At the same
time I am entirely against placing an excess of food in the manger at
one time; it is much better to give an animal just what he will finish,
than that he should not leave his manger perfectly clean.

Corn ought to be boiled until every grain is swollen to nearly double
its normal size, and is capable of being bruised between the fingers;
it should then be turned out on big trays and left to cool. To suffer
it to grow quite cold is not only unnecessary, but is scarcely even
advisable; tepid food is much easier of digestion, both in the human
stomach and in that of the horse, than food that has become chilled.
Cold substances when swallowed, must rise to a temperature of nearly
100° before the process of digestion can go healthily forward, and that
the food should be a step or two on the road to this degree of warmth
will materially assist the sanitary laws of animal nature. There is
not, at the same time, the very smallest necessity for administering
warm food at all periods when nourishment is given; on the contrary,
a change of diet will be found very beneficial, and summer feeding
ought to differ from that of winter, both in quantity and temperature.
In saying this, however, I do not for a moment mean to convey that
hunters, even when not in use, should ever be allowed to drop out of
condition. I don’t believe they should, unless completely invalided
and not likely to be able to do any work during the ensuing season. I
think they ought to be fed with a proportion of oats, though somewhat
less than in winter time, and be kept in _regular_ exercise every day.
I have already said that I approve of driving hunters in harness during
the off season, and having seen it tested, I can speak for the efficacy
of it.

I have often been asked whether a horse ought to be given the same
quantity of boiled food as of unboiled; in other words, if the process
of cooking occasions the food to swell to twice its natural size, and
so to fill, say, two measures in place of one, ought the two measures
to be given to the horse? My answer is, certainly, if the animal is a
voracious feeder, and is able to make a complete clearance of all that
is in his manger, even after getting the two measures,--but I do not
believe that one horse out of a hundred will be capable of doing so,
or will show the least inclination to make use of so large a bulk of
food. My experience has been, that about three-fourths of the quantity
of cooked food is all that a horse will or can possibly eat, and even
this amount is unusual--a trifle more than half being the customary
thing with horses who would otherwise get through the full quantity of
raw material,--and herein lies the saving, for the satisfying bulk of
the food taken at a meal is largely increased by cooking, while every
particle of it goes to the nourishment of the animal’s frame: a thing
which is certainly not the case when the substance is partaken of in
its raw state.

The water in which corn has been boiled ought never by any means to
be thrown away; it sometimes is, by careless or ignorant grooms, but
the pity and wastefulness are very great, for it is most admirable and
nourishing for drinking purposes, as well as for other stable uses.

To secure the purchase of good oats, buy them by measurement, and not
by weight. An excellent sample will weigh from 30 to 36 pounds to the
bushel--a prime one ought to weigh from 45 to 48--and this, be it
observed, will, when denuded of the chaff, yield scarcely more than 35
of pure grain. It is great nonsense to talk about the advisability of
purchasing black, golden, or white oats; all three may be very good or
very bad of their kind, and it is in reality only the chaff that is
coloured, the kernel of each being of one tint. Sound oats ought to
be dry, and very hard; they should _chip_ asunder when crushed--not
have anything of a torn appearance--and should be perfectly scentless.
The less bearded they are the better. I strongly object to kiln-dried
oats for horses, although many sellers resort to the practice by way
of expelling moisture from new grain. I conceive it to be a thoroughly
unwholesome process, taking into account the fact that sulphur is
frequently employed in it--a thing calculated to produce the most
terrible belly-ache, spasms, and gripes. If the presence of sulphur is
suspected, a sample of the oats may be rubbed hastily between the palms
of the hands, and the peculiar odour will at once betray itself.

Beans are not much employed in Ireland as horse-food, but in England
they are very generally used. Egyptian beans are the best; they
are usually mild, sweet, and tender. Peas are excellent--so are
potatoes--and tares possess so many virtues that it is a wonder the use
of them is so generally confined to farm teams. Carrots are very good
when not given too freely. I approve of them highly for aged horses,
but should be cautious about dealing them out too profusely to young
blood ones. I like to see them given whole, or chopped so fine that
the horse cannot run the risk of choking himself by swallowing them in
lumps. This applies to almost all species of roots when given raw. For
delicate feeders carrots are especially valuable; they give a peculiar
relish to bran and other substances, and cause such to be eagerly
taken, even when rejected before.

Now a word about hay. Upland hay is the best. It may be known by
the following marks: a perfectly _clean_ look, a bright colour, a
distinctness of fibre, an absence of dust, a pleasant fresh smell, a
decided crispness, a scarcity of weeds, and the presence of seeds in
the stems. Delicacy and cleanliness are its characteristics, and it
is in every way immeasurably superior to lowland hay, which is tawny,
limp, strong smelling, and “woolly” to the touch.

New hay of any kind is objectionable for feeding purposes, but I
consider that the year’s growth is quite fit and wholesome in November.

Clover hay--that is, first-crop clover--is excellent for mixing with
upland; it is largely interspersed with grass, the stems are fine, and
the leaves untinged by blackness, the flowers, though dried and faded,
are abundant throughout it, and retain much of their original colour.
Second-crop clover is not nearly so desirable; it may be known by a
coarse, strong flavour when put in the mouth, by the big stems, the
dingy appearance, and the noticeable blackness of the leaves.

I do not approve of giving too much hay of any kind to horses; a
superabundance is apt to make them pot-bellied, and unfit for hard
work. Hunters, however, that get nothing else for their mid-day meal,
ought, when in the stable, to be fed with sufficient quantity to make
up for the absence of more substantial food.

Ready-cut chaff ought never to be purchased; all sorts of things find
their way into it, just as is said to be the case with cheap sausages!

Boiled barley is excellent food for horses. I have seen some splendid
youngsters that were fed on nothing else, save the trifling addition of
a very small portion of upland hay.

Gruel, if given, should be as carefully prepared as though made for
the human subject; the neglect of this caution is the cause of so many
grooms thrusting heavy feeds before exhausted horses, and averring that
the animals “will not drink gruel.” No wonder that they reject it, when
the stuff so-named is merely a bucketful of hot water with a handful
or two of oatmeal stirred into it. My experience of horses has not been
a small one, and I can candidly say that I have never yet seen even
the most wearied or delicate animal reject a properly prepared mess of

To make a good mash, allow at least a quartern of oats and a pint of
linseed--these to be boiled for three hours or upwards, and then mixed
with as much bran as will make it of a proper damp consistency, but not
a wet slop, or yet a dry poultice. It should be given rather warm, and
a little salt is an excellent addition. A delicate or ailing animal
that will not eat his mash may often be tempted by putting a little
treacle or sugar into it.

A horse’s supply of water ought never to be limited. On this I shall
touch in my next chapter, in conjunction with stable appliances and
drinking-troughs. To drink plentifully is a symptom of good health.
Very cold water is not advisable for horses; a handful of hay will
take the chill off, or a little meal thrown in. Nitre should never
_under any_ pretext be added to the drink. Soft water is the best for
stable uses; if this cannot be conveniently procured, hard water may be
considerably softened by boiling, with the addition of about half an
ounce of carbonate of soda to every pailful of liquid.

I strongly advocate _variety_ of feeding for horses. My own hunters
were trained to eat and relish almost everything--except, perhaps,
codfish, on which the Newfoundlanders bring up their horses wonderfully
well! Mine were given turnips, peas, potatoes (both boiled and raw),
apples, pears, parsnips, patent horse biscuits, great armfuls of
cowslips and fresh soil, bread, and oatcake--in short, more things than
I can possibly enumerate. They were great pets, and I loved to take
little dainties out to them--a few nice ripe plums, with the stones
removed, a handful of sugar, a crisp biscuit or two, or a juicy apple
or pear. Such joy, such whinnying, such turning of beautiful heads,
such licking of grateful lips, such playful searchings for more, and
brightening of lustrous eyes, and such romps together in the clean,
fresh, crisp straw, with mutual kissings, and rubbings, and fondlings
of all sorts. My heart is sad when I think of them--even though I know
that they are made much of and are well cared in other homes--and
though so many joys are spared to me in mine.

In conclusion, let me advise all who are determined to maintain a
prejudice against cooked food, or whose limited stable accommodation
may not admit of the erection of even the most simple contrivance for
cooking it, to procure a corn-crusher and _see that it is made good use
of_. To purchase such an article, and then allow it to stand idle in
the stable is a course of procedure somewhat similar to that adopted by
Lever’s West-countryman, who bought himself a new coat, and said it was
“a fine thing to sit lookin’ at on a Sunday morning.”




I think it highly probable that horse-owners who read this chapter
will be already supplied with stabling, be it such as it may, and I
think it equally probable that whereas some will be ready to compare
their premises with those that I shall advocate, and be anxious to
effect such improvements as I shall venture to suggest, others will
turn scoffingly away from my hints, with the declaration that they have
kept horses all their lives, and have pulled along very well indeed
without any of the new-fangled nonsense of the present day. Of course
it is not for such persons that I care to write, or want to do so; on
the contrary, I prefer to address my remarks to those who desire to
learn. By setting forth the exact principles on which a stable should,
according to my ideas, be built and managed, I shall be affording
information to such as shall either be desirous of building anew, or
of effecting a series of alterations in premises discovered to be
faulty--although hitherto perhaps considered complete.

To begin then. If choice of situation can be had, select that which
will admit of draining, and shelter from cold winds. The aspect should
be southern, and the soil dry. A stable ought never to be built in a
hollow, or near a marsh, nor ought the foundation to be sunk in clay.
These things generate damp, and where this evil exists we may expect
to find coughs, farcy, glanders, bad eyes, and a thousand attendant
misfortunes. If the foundation of a stable cannot be of chalk or
well-drained gravel, the proper plan will be to excavate, put in
superior drains, and fill up the area to be occupied with concrete. The
surface drainage may be connected with the underground, if desired, or
may be quite distinct from it. Surface drains, if not constructed in a
manner that will admit of their being cleaned out from day to day, had
best be dispensed with, and open channels substituted, leading _to the
outside_ of the stable.

Walls should be composed of bricks, glazed on the inside, as such do
not hold any dirt. Posts should be of oak, in preference to iron--and
of the same stout material divisions of stalls and boxes should be
made. If expense is not an object, however, brick will be better still
for the construction of these.

The roof of a four-horse stable should be at least ten feet high, and
that of a six-horse twelve to fourteen, which will be ample. When too
lofty, a cold atmosphere prevails; when too low there is need for very
large ventilators, which create a current, not always either safe or

I do not at all approve of paved flooring, although it is so general.
Roughened asphalte is the best; or a most perfect floor may be made by
laying a concrete foundation, made up with gas-tar, some three or four
inches thick, with stable clinkers set and bedded in it, and the whole
grounded in with Portland cement.

I am a great advocate for box stalls, and would never allow an animal
of mine to be tied up by the head. It is a barbarous and cruel
practice, leading to all kinds of evils, both visible and concealed.
A box should be _at least_ twelve feet by fourteen, and I prefer it
much larger. If it be of brick, it ought to be lined with wood, and
this again with zinc in all places that the horse can use his teeth
upon. Projections of every kind should be avoided, as they are apt
to be injurious when the occupant moves rapidly, or rolls to refresh
himself. In a stalled stable a box may be made by converting the end
stall into one. This can readily be done by having a gate that can be
hung on the stall-post and fastened against the wall. A screen, hung
on rollers from a top bar, is better than a door for closing up a
box-stall. It never gets out of order, nor can any horse--even the most
ingenious--succeed in opening it when once it is let down.

Where stalls are used they ought to be at least ten feet in length, and
six and a-half or seven in width. The flooring of stalls should never
slant to any perceptible degree. When it does there is a continual
strain upon the back sinews and flexor muscles of the horse, and this
he strives to relieve by moving backwards, and resting his hind toes in
the gutter,--a practice which grooms call a vice.

A stable door ought not to be less than eight feet high; this will
enable a horseman to ride out when mounted. It should be quite five
feet wide, and divided into two parts, upper and lower, in order
that the former may be conveniently opened in warm weather. It should
likewise be free of any fastening that projects in even an apparently
trifling degree.

Good ventilation is an absolute necessity in a stable; but in saying
this I do not mean that it should be overdone. Up to the year 1788 the
subject was but little thought of, and ever since that period there
has been a constant outcry against “hot” stables. Such, no doubt,
are highly dangerous, but so are cold ones; and many persons insist
upon confounding _hot_ with _foul_, whereas the terms need have no
connection whatever with one another. In cases of sickness it may be
necessary to keep a horse in a warm stable, but no ailment that ever
was heard of can possibly be benefited by being nursed in a foul or
vitiated atmosphere. There is a great deal of talk about temperature
with regard to stables, but very little indeed concerning purity: a
matter which ought really to engage far more attention.

To ventilate a stable properly there ought to be apertures for taking
away the foul air, and further apertures for admitting a fresh
supply--and these must be placed high up, near the roof; otherwise they
will tend to make the stable unduly cold.

When air is exhaled from a horse’s lungs it is both lighter and warmer
than that which surrounds it, consequently it ascends to the highest
part of the building, and if permitted to escape there it can do no
harm. If, however, there is no aperture so high up, it remains at
the top until it grows cold, and then descends, to be breathed and
rebreathed by the animal over and over again. I cannot get persons to
believe this, or even to understand it. The rooms that they themselves
occupy are at times positive hotbeds of unwholesomeness--every window
shut tight, doors likewise shut and often heavily curtained, while
sandbags are employed in various directions to exclude every breath of
fresh air. Such persons sleep all night long in a vitiated atmosphere,
and think that they are doing wonders if, in the event of the morning
being excessively bright and fine, they open a little bit of the window
_from the bottom_. To tell them that this is injurious would have no
effect whatever; it is comfortable, feels warm, at least--and what
matter about the rest? “New-fangled notions: nothing else”--and so on,
and so forth.

Impure air in stables is one of the evils to be _most_ guarded against.
There may be openings large enough to admit a certain quantity of fresh
air, but they are of little use unless there are others also for the
purpose of letting out that which has been already breathed, before it
has had time to grow cool.

The best windows by far, both for lighting and ventilating, are
ordinary _sash-windows_, well constructed, and reaching quite to the
ceiling. These should be made to open readily at top and bottom, and
should be fitted with cords and pulleys of the very best description. I
know, of course, all the modern appliances off by heart, and am quite
ready to admit the excellence of some of them--indeed, many--but for
general all-round usefulness I prefer the kind that I have advocated.
Sash-windows are capable of affording a splendid current of air: when
the horses are out, for instance, or when the weather is tremendously
hot--and they can be made available for the same purpose even when the
occupants of the stalls and boxes are in their places without creating
a dangerous draught, for the air can be directed ceilingwards by means
of screens or wire blinds.

Another advantage that sash-windows possess over other kinds is that
there is nothing about them to get out of order, except the cords--and
these can, of course, be quite readily renewed; in fact, most handy
stablemen are capable of effecting such simple repairs without having
to enlist the services of outsiders at all.

I like to see windows glazed with rough plate; it is extremely strong
and durable, and is in every way to be commended before the 18-inch
glass, which is both frail and shabby. Blinds ought to be fitted to the
windows, or outside shutters employed, in order to keep out the heat
and glare in summer time.

Stables should be well lighted. I do not at all approve of the
half-and-half system of lighting which generally prevails, and I
strongly _condemn_ the darkness which is too often to be found in them.
I cannot be made to believe that horses, children, flowers, or anything
else, can possibly thrive and be healthy in the dark. Abundance of
light and air is my maxim, and I smile to myself when I see persons
blinking disconsolately in the sunlight, and wondering where the
“draughts” are coming from. Those accustomed to live in hot-houses
call every breath of air a _draught_, and because it is the fashion (a
most pernicious and objectionable one) to darken up dwelling-houses
until every ray of God’s beautiful sunshine and sweet glad light is
entirely excluded, they think that to enter a room where all the blinds
are up, and where sunshafts are darting in through pleasantly opened
windows, is something too awful to be endured. In like manner, grooms
will, when allowed, shut out every ray of light from the houses in
which their charges spend the long hours of their captivity, and will
tell you--if you have the patience to listen to such nonsense--that
“horses thrive better in the dark.” Do not believe a word of it. Just
watch a horse brought suddenly out of a dark stable, in daylight, into
the yard; look closely at his eyes, how the pupils instantly contract,
and the lids rise and fall, with a rapid pained movement, not to be
mistaken. The animal cannot see a single yard before him, and when he
stumbles, or halts, or steps gingerly, the groom has harsh names and
cruel punishments ready for him at command, provided always that the
master or mistress does not happen to be by. You should _insist_ upon
having a plentiful supply of light and air for your horses, for by
so doing, although “death cannot ultimately be defeated, life may be

I do not disapprove, as some do, of having the hay loft directly over
the stable, but I greatly object to the common method of dispensing the
contents of it through a trap-door in the roof. It is a most pernicious
practice, allowing draughts to penetrate right down upon the horses’
heads, and filling their eyes and nostrils with hay-seeds and dust.
Naturally when an animal knows that it is feeding-time, and sees the
opening of the trap, its head is uplifted to catch the first morsel,
and, as a consequence, its sensitive organs suffer at once. Moreover,
there have been times when the fork, carried in the hand of a careless
stableman, has slipped from him through the opening, and inflicted
serious injury upon the occupant of the stall below.

When the hayloft is over the stable the floor of it should be of brick
or concrete; if of wood, there will always be a difficulty about
excluding vermin, which are the pests of every ill-managed stable.

The outer yard should be partially roofed, but where this is not the
case there ought to be an adjacent room with a paved or asphalted
floor, for purposes of clipping, singeing, &c., none of which
operations ought ever to be performed in a stable or box.

For night lighting I approve of gas, when available; and if in the
country, of lamps fixed with staples. Provision should be made for an
abundant supply of water, arranged according to the source from whence
it is most readily derivable; and to the ordinary stable apparatus, a
long water-hose, together with a number of fire buckets, ought to be

The rack, manger, and drinking-trough should be level to the horses’
knees--the bottoms of them to reach almost to the level of the ground.
This arrangement enables animals to eat and drink as nature intended
that they should. The manger, which should be lined with zinc, ought
to be fitted with a footguard; it is an excellent preventive against
waste of food while eating.

I look with abhorrence upon the ordinary water-pot with chain and plug.
It soils the water if not kept most scrupulously clean, and frets the
horse besides. I approve of those that move upon a pivot, thus enabling
the refuse liquid to be at once turned out, and the pot itself kept
perfectly sweet and clean.

For bedding I do not think that anything is better than prime wheaten
straw, properly shaken down and evened, to secure the comfort of the
horse when he stretches or rolls. To leave it in lumps is both wasteful
and cruel, for when it is so an animal cannot rest upon it for more
than a very short period of time. He becomes restless and disquieted,
he fidgets about, just as we do when we have the misfortune to be put
to sleep on a hard, lumpy, uncomfortable bed,--and by-and-by he stands
up, fretted, and declines to stretch himself any more. Thus his rest is
disturbed and broken, and he is unfitted for his work next day.

Straw must of course be frequently changed, according as it becomes
littered, broken up, or damp. It is sometimes left open to the inroads
of dogs and poultry, a thing that ought to be guarded against for
various reasons, among which may be counted the liability of vermin,
which very soon find their way to the horse.

The best place for a granary is over a shed or coach-house. It ought to
be a cool, airy apartment, with concrete floor, and walls lined with
glazed brick. In small establishments the corn chest supplies the place
of one. This, if used, ought never to be kept in the stable, owing to
the chances so frequently occurring of its being left open by mistake,
and horses breaking loose and gorging themselves almost to death. It
should be placed in a loft, with a tube or shaft attached to bring the
corn to the place where it is required.

Every stable ought to be provided with a copper, or boiler, for heating
water and cooking food. This, both in town and country, should be
considered an indispensable appendage. It is a great advantage, as well
as a saving, to have the boiler made of malleable iron, which will
stand every kind of hard usage without sustaining injury. It should
be placed in a room that will afford space for all kinds of cooking
implements, coolers, pails, &c., and a supply of coals as well. The
entrance to this should be sufficiently wide to admit a good-sized
wheelbarrow, or a cooler on wheels, and there should be a good lock to
fasten the door. The furniture ought to include a couple of iron ladles
for mixing or measuring the food, and a water-pipe with a stopcock
running into the boiler.

The stable “cupboard,” or press, must not be overlooked. It is a
receptacle intended to hold working implements--such as combs, brushes
of all kinds, sponges, scissors, chamois leathers, or “shammies,” as
servants call them for shortness--and a variety of other matters.
The groom should have a key for this, and the master or mistress
will do well to have another, in order that he or she may inspect it
occasionally, and ascertain that it is not put to any improper use.

A groom’s bedroom is a decidedly necessary addition to a
stable,--horses so frequently become ill in the night, or fall to
kicking, or get halter-cast when tied up, or contrive to break loose
and go wandering about the stable,--in fact, so many things, that this
special chamber ought never to be left unprovided, or untenanted. I
speak now of establishments where a number of horses are kept; where
there is only one, or perhaps two, and that they are properly seen
to the last thing at night, there will not, as a rule, be any actual
necessity for a groom to sleep on the premises.

A common appendage to many country stables is a water-pond. It is
usually made to serve for washing and watering the horses, washing the
carriage, bathing the fowls, and drowning supernumerary pups, kittens,
and stray cats. I strongly recommend its removal--or at all events, the
removal of any servant who leads a horse to drink at it, fetches water
from it for feeding purposes, or drags any vehicle through it for the
ready disposal of the mud upon the wheels.

Harness and saddle rooms should be entirely distinct from stables.
They should contain stoves or fireplaces, and should be perfectly
dry, lightsome, and well aired. There should be an abundant supply
of racks for whips, &c., brackets for saddles, pegs for bridles, a
good wide shelf for miscellaneous articles, and a lock-up press for
horse-clothing, leg bandages, and other matters of a like description.

A cat about a stable is a decided acquisition; therefore secure a
respectable grimalkin of steady, sober habits, and give her the run
of the place. She and the horses will be fast friends in a very short
space of time; she will get her own living, with the addition of a
trifle of milk now and again, and will ask no warmer bed in winter than
the sleek back of one of her equine companions.

[Illustration: FAST FRIENDS.]



In all cases where a horse falls sick, or meets with an accident, the
proper course to pursue is to send at once for a thoroughly competent
veterinary surgeon. To delay about doing so may be to lose a valuable
animal, or at all events to involve a much longer attendance than would
otherwise have been necessary, and therefore the mistaken effort at
economy which tardiness generally represents, will, in nine cases out
or ten, be entirely defeated.

There may be times, however--in country districts, for instance--when
to send for a surgeon will involve a very long and wearisome delay, and
when to keep an ailing or injured animal altogether without assistance
or relief until his arrival, may be productive of most serious results;
it will, therefore, be apparent that, although a little knowledge is
in many instances esteemed “a dangerous thing,” it is certainly not
so with regard to the subject which we have now in hand. For my own
part, my knowledge of horse-doctoring is decidedly limited, and my
surgical education still more incomplete, yet there have been occasions
on which I was able to prescribe for horses, both my own and others’,
with perfect success, and to keep pain and sickness at all events at
bay, until the arrival of a qualified V.S. To sit down and do nothing,
or to cry and moan over some injured favourite, is a very feeble and
ineffectual mode of action; far better be up and doing: provided always
that you know _what_ to do, and do it in the right way.

Now, as I do not (as stated) pretend for a moment to be a skilled
doctor, I shall content myself with giving a few recipes (the results
of my own experience), for the treatment of ordinary well-known and
common equine ailments--touching lightly upon other matters that seem
to bear upon the subject on which I have undertaken to give advice.

Firstly, then, I strongly object to physicking, and think it ought
to be avoided when possible. Long ago it was a sort of stable craze,
resorted to indiscriminately, whether needed or not. To subject a whole
stud of horses to a severe “physic” every Saturday night was as common
under our forefathers’ _régime_ as to eat dinner or drink a quart of
sack. Happily, the practice is in great measure exploded, although it
is still far too general, especially in country stables. To dose with
aloes was formerly the groom’s chief delight; nothing else satisfied
him, and the results were often unsatisfactory in the extreme. Even
still he loves physicking so very much, that to adopt the oft-followed
course of purchasing horse-balls and leaving them in the stable-press,
is a very unwise one indeed, for the fingers of the groom positively
itch to administer them, and one will certainly be smuggled down the
animal’s throat at some entirely wrong period if his care-taker be
allowed to have them at command. To keep a few properly compounded
balls on the premises, or, in other words, “at hand,” is an exceedingly
wise precaution, but in keeping them I should do so under lock and key.
I have scores of times saved poor horses from the abominable punishment
of having nauseous physic thrust down their throats, by simply treating
them with continued soft mashes--five, or even six a day, given in
small quantities at a time--and so great is my faith in this treatment,
that, except in extreme cases, where feverish and other symptoms are
present and render physic absolutely indispensable, I would never
permit any contrary system to be adopted. For merely relaxing purposes
it is far before all others.

When a ball must be given, have nothing to do with the horrible
contrivance known as a twitch, nor yet with a balling-iron, which is
another aversion. The use of this latter frequently causes the operator
to sustain a broken or injured arm, for the horse throws up his head,
and the holder of the iron is fairly lifted from the ground, and, as a
rule, sustains some hurt to the limb. Even the improved contrivance,
with the aperture at the side, which is decidedly an advance upon
the old-fashioned round orifice, is open to a variety of objections;
moreover, this method of administering medicine subjects the groom, or
operating surgeon, to extreme risk from kicks from the fore-feet. A
startled horse almost invariably rears up, and hits out madly with his
fores--a blow from one of which is not by any means soon forgotten. I
have seen a ball most skilfully given by coaxing and encouraging the
horse in the first instance, taking plenty of time to bring him on
terms of familiarity--then drawing his tongue gently to the right side
of his mouth, into which the right hand _with the ball held between the
first and second fingers_, was inserted, and the physic quietly pushed

It must not be supposed, however, that the operator’s work is over
the moment that he has withdrawn his hand; horses have a marvellous
facility for bringing up medicine, and will do so three and four,
and even five times in succession, but rarely, I think, if properly
administered. It is a good plan to close the animal’s mouth at once,
and hold it so with the left hand, while the right gently rubs the
throat and manipulates the upper lip. A ball can be seen, if watched
for, travelling downward along the gullet, and once it is thus viewed
the task of physicking may be considered complete.

[Illustration: HOLDING HORSE’S JAWS.]

It ought not, however, to be given in a hard state. If kept made up it
must be re-made and softened. A drachm each of saltpetre, ginger, and
Barbadoes aloes will form a mild aperient, when made into a mass with a
little soft soap. If a stronger one is desired, the quantities may be

I object most strongly to giving medicine by a drink. To do so almost
necessitates the use of the twitch, for the ghastly performance cannot
be got through at one effort. Were a whole bottleful of stuff to be
poured down the throat at once, the animal would either cough it up or
be choked. It is generally therefore divided into several portions,
and the wretched patient is made to undergo the torment of taking the
liquid abomination in a succession of doses.

It is always best, when about to physic a horse, to banish all
extraneous aid from the stable. A number of persons standing about,
officious assistants crowding the limited space, and would-be advisers
pressing their unwelcome aid, are things which only tend to embarrass
and confuse the operator, and render the horse so fidgetty that to do
anything with him, or for him, becomes a hopeless task. Not more than
one person ought ever be permitted to be present, and not _even_ one if
his assistance can possibly be dispensed with.

It is a bad thing to allow a horse to drink cold water after he has
been physicked; as warm as he can be induced to have it will be the
proper thing.

I feel that I ought, before passing to another portion of my subject,
to repeat my warning concerning _undue_ physicking. A tendency to
inflammation is repeatedly developed by it, and its evils are in every
way both many and great. It should be borne in mind that well-made
bran-mashes are the safest and most effectual of all laxatives, and
that any desired condition of the bowels may be induced by regulating
the number and frequency of them. When not too often repeated they
act mildly, without inducing any of that bodily discomfort or
constitutional weakness which throws the animal out of condition, and
renders complete rest an absolute necessity for recovery.

Blistering is a very common recipe for a variety of ills. About
once in every score of cases in which it is tried the result proves
that the experiment was justifiable--yet, it cannot be denied that
there are times at which the remedy may in every way be suited to
the disease. Blisters are, however, far too powerfully compounded;
instead of being so severe as to take off hair and skin together,
they ought to be diluted with quite three times their bulk of either
soap-solution or bland oil. To fire an animal and then blister him
is a piece of barbarity which no educated or feeling person would
ever permit. Fancy searing the legs of a timid creature with a fiery
iron, and then setting a man with a coarse rough hand to rub into the
raw and quivering flesh the fearful blistering substances which are
unfortunately in only too common use. No wonder that the sufferer moans
in its agonies, and paws the earth, and sweats and shivers from the
extremity of its torture; and after all, if people will only believe
it, the treatment is (for _any and every_ evil) most palpably wrong.
Simultaneous firing and blistering cannot effect good, except in the
opinion of ignorant grooms and farriers; therefore, such unspeakable
cruelty ought never to be permitted.

It should be remembered, when blistering, that the action of the remedy
depends more on the amount of friction employed in applying the agent,
than on the bulk of vesicatory stuff employed. Brisk rubbing will be
highly beneficial, but roughness may well be dispensed with--and
adjacent tender places should be previously covered with a layer of
simple cerate, which will be a wise as well as a merciful precaution.
A little at a time, also, of the blistering fluid should be rubbed on;
if there is too much it is apt to run upon parts that may be injured
by its agency. A blistered horse should be as mercifully cared, and as
gently treated during healing time, as a human patient. How earnestly
do I wish that I could impress this upon persons who, without really
meaning to be cruel, are so, through carelessness, or lack of striving
_not_ to be.

Bleeding is another matter concerning which horse-owners ought to be
cautious about placing too much confidence in grooms. If the blood-can
is made to contain two gallons--which most of them are--the groom will,
ten to one, drain the animal to fill it, or very nearly so, whereas
the loss of a quart of blood would probably be quite enough for him to
sustain. Horses are very generally bled after coming in from grass,
when they look fat and full-bellied; but I do not consider it a wise
proceeding. As a rule, it is far better not to bleed at all without
the advice of a competent V.S., and few of the better educated of the
profession will be found very often advocating it.

When a horse must be bled, see that his eyes are efficiently bandaged,
in order that he may not start when the wound is about to be given.
Make use of a fleam in place of a lancet; it is better and more
effectual, for it does not inflict a cut of unnecessary dimensions, as
the lancet (if at all unskilfully handled) occasionally does. When the
proper quantity of blood has been extracted, remove the pressure, and
as soon as the flow ceases, prepare to pin up. This is rather a nice
operation, but I have seen a lady perform it quite as well as any V.S.
The wound should be left open until the lips of it become sticky; then
all hairs must be most carefully removed, the sides of the incision
brought together with the greatest nicety, and closed by a twisted
suture, a thing which I have made successfully in the following way:
first running a pin through the integument at each side of the wound,
and then twisting a strong silk thread round its either extremity,
after the fashion of the figure 8 turned on its side--thus, ∞. I have
stopped the bleeding from a wound received in the hunting-field by
extemporising this kind of suture, and using a hair pulled from the
horse’s tail, in place of a silk thread.

When the wound has so far united as to justify the removal of the pin,
the patient should be so placed that he cannot rub the part, and should
be fed on nourishing and readily-digested food.

Slings form an excellent support for a horse that is not meant to lie
down. The apparatus consists of a broad canvas belt that goes under
the belly, extending from the points of the elbows backwards; there is
a supporting shaft at each extremity, to which the suspending ropes
(carried from either roof or stall posts) are attached; a breast-strap
and breeching keep the belt in its place. The horse is not really
suspended at all. When he is disposed to rest his legs, he has only
to bend them, and the belt receives his weight: when tired of its
support he again stands on his feet. The breeching for this should be
very strong and broad, and the belt well stuffed, and stitched like a

Fomentations are usually not half carried out by grooms. If, say, a
leg is to be fomented, a _pailful_ of thoroughly hot water ought to be
employed, and the horse’s foot put down into it; the water should then
be laved through a large sponge, as high as the shoulder, and allowed
to run down over the entire limb. This process should be carried on for
at least half an hour, renewing the water as quickly as it cools. If a
poultice or bandage is to be applied after the fomentation, it should
be done immediately, before the leg has time to grow cold.

Poultices should be large, moist, and warm, and ought never to be tied
too tightly on the affected part. A good poultice will not need to be
changed for twenty-four hours.

Having thus described a few appliances for remedying sickness and
wounds, I proceed to say a word or two about the commoner forms of
ailments--such, for instance, as are most calculated to need amateur
doctoring, and to bring the foregoing remedies into requisition.

By far the greater number of stable sicknesses are brought about by a
persistent giving of indigestible food, while the remainder are, as a
rule, due to exposure, cold, and chills. Indigestion can only be cured
by careful dieting, and by giving water (if that liquid is, as is
customary, administered at stated intervals) _before_ instead of after
each meal. By this method the gastric juices are given fair play, which
by any other can not be the case.

Ordinary cold, which shows itself precisely as in the human subject,
should be treated by clothing the body, bandaging the legs, suspending
corn diet, and giving warm mashes, with occasionally a little nitre
(half-an-ounce will be sufficient) introduced. If sore throat exists, a
mustard poultice ought to be applied. By attending early to this common
complaint, the evils attendant upon chronic cough may be averted.

Inflamed and congested lungs, bronchitis, and other dangerous chest
maladies should be at once treated by a surgeon; but pending his
arrival, a good deal of danger may be staved off by applying strong
mustard poultices, keeping up the surface circulation, and admitting
plenty of pure air.

I regard ringbone, glanders, roaring, and whistling, as altogether
incurable, although the second is the only one that will prevent a
horse from working, the other three being merely partial disablements.
A glandered animal should at once be separated from his fellows, and,
as a precautionary measure, destroyed.

In case of worms, a dose of about four drachms of areca nut, prepared
with a grater, should be given every alternate day, mixed well through
a soft and tempting mash. If this is not found sufficiently powerful it
may be increased, and a pint of linseed oil given to the patient. All
“worm medicines” should be banished from the stable.

Diarrhœa may be speedily arrested by giving bicarbonate of potash in
small half-ounce doses.

Where colic occurs there is often great internal suffering. A pint
of warm gruel should be at once prepared, and in it put an ounce of
tincture of opium and oil of turpentine, together with double that
quantity of nitric ether. The horse should be walked about as much as
possible, and his attention distracted from his pain. If the attack
continues obstinate, the dose must be repeated.

Inflammation of the gums, or bars of the mouth, commonly called
lampass, is a very general ailment, and when horses are suffering from
it they will not eat. I have never tried any treatment except a gentle
aperient and a mash diet, except in one or two extreme cases where a
lance was applied. The old remedies of a hot iron or an iron nail were
mere symbols of cruel barbarism.

Navicular disease cannot be cured, but it may be mitigated by
blistering the coronet; and a horse affected by it may be made to go
sound for awhile by dividing the sensitive nerves that supply the feet:
an operation for which the services of a skilled V.S. will be, of
course, imperative.

Foot-fever is another ailment that ought not to be trifled with. Before
the arrival of the surgeon, get the shoes taken off, the feet put into
warm poultices, and administer a purgative medicine.

Thrush is both common and curable, if taken at once. It will be
necessary to remove the ragged bony particles, and treat the foot daily
with an astringent dressing, having the horse at the same time so shod
that the frog will, when exercising, be brought quite close to the

The presence of a corn is indicated by lameness, and a red spot in the
horn, close to the heel. In most cases relief may be obtained by paring
away the horn, and affixing a shoe that will effect no pressure upon
the tender portion of the foot. A horse with corns will be immensely
benefited and relieved by working him with india-rubber soles, as by
their use the pressure is taken off the heels.

Swollen legs, a very common ailment, will, in most instances, speedily
yield to the following treatment: Complete immunity from hard work,
regular and gentle exercise, constant bathing with tepid water in which
salt has been dissolved, and careful bandaging with flannel.

Splint is very general with young horses just put to work. I have
seen it effectually cured on its first appearance by giving the
horse complete rest, applying cold water bandages, and utilising a
three-quarter shoe on the inner portion of the foot--a course of
treatment which certainly lessens the concussion. If obstinate, the
periosteum must be divided over the newly-formed deposit, and if
this fails a blister will have to be resorted to, or--as a very last
resource--firing the affected part. If this operation is skilfully
performed _with a pointed iron_, very little blemish will ensue. It
ought to be borne in mind, however, that a splint when once formed into
bone cannot possibly be removed, although a horse that has _good sound_
legs and even action need not by any means be rejected on account of it.

Farcy is not an uncommon ailment among horses. It is notified by a
puffy swelling covered over with little yellowish ulcers of an ugly
sort; but, if properly looked after, it will as a rule yield speedily
to judicious treatment. The ulcers should be opened gently with a large
needle or lance, and dressed with an ointment composed of biniodide of
mercury and lard. A horse thus affected ought to have plenty of walking
exercise, with liberal feeding, and an abundance of fresh cool air.
Tonics, both vegetable and mineral, will be found of great service.

Mud-fever is consequent upon wet, hardship, and improper grooming.
I never allowed my horses’ legs to be washed after a journey, and
although the uninitiated will stare at this, and self-sufficient grooms
be found to rail against it, I advise a trial of my plan. When a
horse comes in, the dirt should be removed from his legs by scraping,
rubbing, and strong, rapid _wisping_, which will very soon leave them
ready for the finishing brush. If the horse has white legs, they may
be sponged next morning, and dried with a towel. This is a pleasant
operation to lovers of horses, and a beautiful cleanliness is the
result. Where there is mud-fever the horse should not be worked. A
little aperient medicine may be given, and a linament applied, composed
of liquor plumbi and olive oil--or petroleum-jelly, or “veterinary
vaseline,” may be tried.

Despite the aptitude which many horses have to cracked heels, I
never had a case of them in my own stable, and this immunity I
attribute almost entirely to the rigidity with which my orders against
leg-washing were carried out. Strong vigorous hand-rubbing, and
perfectly dry woollen bandages when not at work, were my preventive
measures, and whenever my neighbours had a case of them we doctored
by applying oatmeal poultices until all inflammatory symptoms had
subsided, and then dressed the sore parts with an ointment composed of
alum and lard, with a good admixture of zinc.

Saddle-galls are terribly common evils. I pointed out the causes of
them in a former chapter. Ladies’ horses are the chief sufferers, and
therefore every lady ought to be able to attend to her own animals,
should they chance to become affected. The moment that a tender spot
is noticed, the horse’s work should at once be stopped, and the part
well bathed with _cold_ salt and water. A little fuller’s earth may
then be applied. It is a great mistake, and a general one, to begin
by fomenting with hot water; such a practice only makes the skin
peculiarly delicate and sensitive to future hurt. Where there is
abrasion, the part should be well cleansed, bathed with zinc lotion,
and smeared abundantly with zinc ointment until it heals. For collar
and harness galls the same treatment will be found effectual, and the
stuffing or padding of the articles that have caused the injury should
be looked to without delay.

Almost all hunting ladies know by troublesome experience what an
overreach is. I once possessed a hunter whose hind action was so
extravagant that he was constantly hitting the fleshy heels of his fore
feet, but after a while I found a remedy, or rather a preventive, by
having the toes of the hind shoes set back, and rounded. My treatment
for the overreach was to bathe and cleanse the wound, take away any
adherent broken horn, and lay on a piece of cotton wool steeped in
sulphate of zinc, taking care that the torn portions of the integument
were pressed nicely into proper place, and the whole secured with a

Wounds of all sorts should be most carefully washed, bathed, and the
edges brought tenderly together. When a horse gets staked in the
hunting-field, the rider ought at once to dismount, remove the glove
from his right hand, and probe the depth of the wound with his index
finger. If not deep, there will be no danger, provided it be attended
to at once; but to prosecute a run on an injured animal is a piece of
cruelty, happily very rarely witnessed. I strongly advise, however,
that a horse so hurt should be ridden or led quietly home, if within
possible distance, rather than that he should be removed to an adjacent
stable until sent for, which is a usual practice, meant to be merciful,
but in reality extremely the reverse, as the animal stiffens on its
injury, and suffers intensely in the transit.

In cases of laceration of the wall of the belly and protrusion of a
portion of the intestines, the best thing to do will be to remove the
saddle without a _second’s_ delay, press the exposed gut very gently
back into its proper place, bring the edges of the wound together
with an improvised suture (such as I have previously described), and
bandage the whole tightly up. The horse must not be moved until proper
assistance shall have arrived for the requisite conveyal to his stable,
where he should be kept in a standing position, with plenty of air
about him, complete quietude and an allowance of very soft food.
Should there be inflammation about the wound, the application of warm
wet rags will serve to allay it.

Injuries to the knees from falling are among the commonest ailments of
the stable. Sometimes the skin only is injured, while at others the
deeper structures are involved, and cases occasionally occur in which
the bones are absolutely laid bare. The treatment in all instances
should commence by the most careful cleansing, with warm fomentations
for half an hour or more, and should then proceed as follows: for
skin-deep injuries, tincture of myrrh after frequent daily bathings
will prove an excellent dressing: for those of a deeper nature, the
same treatment, only intensified, and at night a soft pad of cotton
wool steeped with sulphate of zinc and secured with a bandage; when
bones or tendons are involved, the joint-oil--a white-of-egg-like
substance--will be discharged, and when this occurs the horse’s fate
is sealed: he is absolutely valueless, and may be destroyed at once,
unless he can be made of use for stud purposes. In ordinary cases of
broken knees, if there is suppuration or proud flesh, a weak solution
(about a twelfth part in water) of bichloride of mercury will be found
useful, and in all cases the patient must be prevented from lying down.
He should be walked gently about at intervals throughout the day, and
be fed on nourishing food of a succulent nature.

When a horse has to undergo any painful operation, a merciful owner
will always chloroform him. The best way to do this is to wind a very
long towel, or bandage, about his jaws, and form a kind of tunnel with
the ends; through this the arm should be passed, the hand holding a
sponge steeped in chloroform, which should be held steadily within four
inches of the nostrils, and only removed to transfer the sponge to the
other hand in the event of the first becoming tired.

When the friend who has carried us has to be destroyed, the kindest
and easiest way to do it will be to open a vein and blow in a little
air with an instrument made for the purpose--a sharp lance, or rather
needle, hollowed in the centre, and with an air-chamber attached. Death
is then absolutely instantaneous. If shooting is to be resorted to, the
weapon should be placed right behind the ear, in a slightly slanting
direction, the muzzle pointing for the brain. Shooting in the centre
of the forehead is frequently mere butchery. In all instances of so
sad a nature the eyes of the victim ought to be gently bandaged, and
the whole matter conducted as silently and in the presence of as few
persons as possible.

Melancholy as is the destruction of an animal we have loved, and who
has loved and served us in return, it is infinitely less so than
selling a worn-out or injured creature to servitude, which generally
means hardship and a hard and miserable death. Such barter can bring
no blessing. The eternal God of pity sends us these noblest of His
creatures with the intention that they should serve us, yet not as
slaves, and knowing that they must perish, yet not willing that they
should do so by any unrighteous or cruel means. At our hands will their
blood, I believe, be required; and if the faith is a peculiar one, and
not deemed worthy of general acceptance, it may at least be regarded
without ridicule and passed by without contempt.




This is essentially an age of ladies on horseback. They are to be
met with everywhere, and at all seasons: in city, suburb, park, and
country, and with the advance of equestrian pursuits comes likewise a
desire on the part of those who take pleasure in them to be made in
some degree acquainted with the interesting subjects of breeding and
training young horses. So at least I judge from a number of letters
recently addressed to me, both at my own house and at the office of the
_Sporting and Dramatic News_, requiring information upon matters which
a few years ago were very little thought of by ladies, and certainly
commanded no amount of attention from them.

With a view to answering the many questions asked me, I propose to
offer a few brief hints on the best and most profitable method of
breeding good and useful racers and hunters--appending a chapter
on a system of training, which, having tried it myself with quite
satisfactory results, I can confidently recommend to ladies, as coming
entirely within scope of the resources ordinarily afforded them, both
by nature and surroundings.

Horse-breeding is a pleasant recreation for those whose tastes, means,
and residential qualifications enable them to carry it on, and at the
same time conduce to its success. Living in the country, for example,
in a house surrounded by good grass lands, a more delightful species of
pastime, or one of a more engrossing kind, can scarcely be sought for
or imagined, while the practical question of making money of it may be
met with the assurance that it can be done.

At the present crisis it is especially advisable that attention should
be given to horse-breeding, as it is a matter to which, when times are
bad and land-culture unprofitable, lady farmeresses and others may
turn their thoughts with greater chance of profit than when sheep,
cattle, and every description of farm produce brought more grist to the
agriculturist’s mill. Land rent is low, fodder cheap and plentiful,
and labour easily obtained. Some years ago, when seasons were good,
and farmers could sell their stock at a fair profit, horse-culture
might not under ordinary circumstances have been found to pay; but
it is entirely different now, and never perhaps was there a period
at which good horses, especially high-class hunters, were in more
substantial demand than at present. I know some persons, particularly
in Ireland, who are ready to cry “No” to this statement, but the most
substantial proof of its truthfulness lies in the fact that at sales,
as well as at the autumn horse-shows, almost everything that is good is
speedily bought up at fairly remunerative prices, while only those who
demand excessive rates for second and third-rate animals carry their
stock home with them, and grumble at the blindness of buyers and the
ticklishness of the times.

Without going into any unnecessary preliminaries, I may continue my
subject and say, that it will be well, when selecting a mare to breed
from with a view to the production of high-class hunters, to choose
one if possible that has herself been a good performer to hounds,--but
remember that this is not an indispensable quality, although it may
be, and is, an important one. The breeding of the animal chosen to
represent maternity ought to be a point much dwelt upon; it cannot
indeed be over estimated--as coarse-bred mares are, even when well
mated, certain to perpetuate unsatisfying stock. I am of opinion
that compactness of form, robustness of frame, and capability of
endurance, fatigue, and exertion, are far before actual beauty in the
brood mare. I like to see short stout legs, thick and bulging in the
upper portion, denoting plenty of strength and muscle--good, fleshy,
_sloping_ shoulders, a deep chest, high withers, a strong well-ribbed
frame, big broad loins, hips wide apart, substantial quarters, a high
arched crest, a good sound mouth, nostrils wide and healthy, and, most
important of all, a sound and well-formed foot. This last point should
be rigorously observed, for my experience has taught me that no outward
defect is more surely hereditary than small, narrow, ill-shapen, or
unhealthy feet.

The same precautions may in great degree be applied to the sire--and
as he is supposed to supply the locomotive power to his progeny, an
animal should be chosen that has good hunter-like action, and not one
whose paces are like those of a racer or park horse. His height will
not be of much consequence, provided that the mare be of suitable size,
but his general form ought to be most carefully weighed. A good sound
constitution on the part of both mare and sire will be of the utmost
importance in breeding, and for this reason I prefer young strong mares
for stud purposes.

It is with many a very vexed question whether or not a filly is
improved by having a foal. I maintain, even against much contradiction,
that she decidedly is; and I have met with a good many sound judges
who have agreed with me, while on the other hand some old-fashioned
horse-fanciers have told me that they would not have anything whatever
to say to a “widow.” I believe that the system of keeping a flock of
idle brood mares has contributed largely towards the impoverishing of
many a promising horse-breeding company, and a few who have had the
sense to see the folly of such a course have bred with much advantage
from fillies, without ever suffering a particle of loss by it. A young
robust three-year-old--one that has been “gentled” and taught to jump
in long reins _without_ being ridden--will prove a capital speculation
as a matron, and will at four have produced a foal which need not
detain her from her training beyond the weaning time.

Wealthy horse-owners, who wish to go in for breeding racers, ought
to keep their best and most promising foals entirely for breeding
purposes; and I believe that such a speculation would answer admirably
as a means of making money, and would in time astonish the world of
the turf with a show of youngsters that would bid fair to sweep the
land. Well-nurtured animals--those that had never been subjected to any
sort of training--would be certain to bring forth finer and healthier
specimens of horseflesh than aged quadrupeds, who were only put to the
stud because they had met with accident, or had broken down. I cannot,
for my own part, believe in such animals perpetuating a valuable
or healthy stock; and experience has amply proved that it is only
after long periods of repose--during which the waste and exhaustion
consequent upon training and running have become mitigated, if not
absolutely cured--that racing mares and sires attain celebrity through
the progeny that they produce.

Turfites might pick up many a good and paying thing, if breeders would
only relinquish some of their standing prejudices, and be induced to
set apart a certain number of untrained animals for stud purposes,
selecting the best of the foals produced by them, and keeping these
apart until their sixth year; by so doing, they would generate a
company of clippers that would make fortunes for their purchasers,
and fairly open the eyes of the racing world. Strange to say, the
system finds but little acceptance--a fact shown by the bad, weedy,
and mis-shapen lots that are sent out to contest many of our leading
races. More of them break down in the training than ever actually go
to the post; and, even among the starters, how few are found in the
run home really contesting the race. The horseflesh of the country
has degenerated under the pursuance of a wrong system; and yet, it
is asserted that racing is kept up to improve the national breed of
chasers throughout the land. How far it succeeds in its so-called
purpose, the public markets daily testify. Wretched blood stock is
everywhere to be found, and when not absolutely what could be called
wretched, it is at all events decidedly poor. A number of the foals
born never return the first expenses of their existence, much less of
their education. Their worthlessness is soon discovered, and after
awhile they are to be met with in riding-schools and job stables,
between the shafts of cabs and carts, and engaged in a variety of other
work for which they were never meant--their very fitness for such
demeaning labour proving at once their utter lack of value for higher
callings, and testifying the hollow ignorance of those who, from blind
prejudice, or some other inexplicable cause, tend to perpetuate this
pitiable waste and degradation.

So-called “blood stock” is fast contaminating the pure native breed
of the country. There is, every season, a glut of worthless bloods;
the refuse of the stud farm is sold away to the highest bidder, and he
in his turn seeks to make temporary profit out of it, with the result
of impoverishing and deteriorating such chances of good things as he
may happen to have among his stock. Thus it goes on from one year to
another, and looks, by its continuance, as though it were meant to go
on to the very end of time.

My advice to would-be breeders of _racers_ is, to discard as sires and
matrons all animals that have been trained for the turf; carefully
select those of good blood, pedigree, and qualifications; reserve
the best of their progeny, when brought forth, and breed from these
again, ere ever they are allowed to pass into a trainer’s hands. In
this way, and in this alone, will strength, stamina, courage, speed,
endurance--all that is most necessary in a racer--be absolutely ensured.

To turn back to the subject of breeding a good class of hunters--a
matter which I hope will interest ladies, for whom I write--I have
already given my ideas respecting the best sort of mares to select
for the purpose; and I may add that an animal during the period of
gestation ought not to be by any means kept and fed in idleness. Gentle
regular exercise, and plenty of it, will be good and healthful for a
mare that is in foal. Her prospects of maternity dating from May, she
can with advantage be lightly worked about a farm, or in any other
way--_provided that she has been accustomed to it_--until Christmas;
and even when actual work is suspended, daily exercise should be
carefully continued.

Dry uplands, and grassy ground of a hilly nature, are excellent
pasturage for brood mares, who should be kept perfectly cool, and
free from excitement of all kinds. An abundance of fresh water should
be allowed them--as much indeed as they care to drink--together with
a _varied_ supply of light nourishing food of a cooling nature. The
shelter-shed ought to open to the south, the entrance to it being wide,
and the flooring hard and very dry.


_page 287._]

The mare should be left quite to herself when foaling, except in
extreme cases, which fortunately very rarely occur. It will, of course,
be necessary to see that she does not make her way to any dangerous
place--such as an ugly ditch, or cutting--a thing very commonly
attempted in the country--but otherwise she ought not to be subjected
to any kind of interference. This, I should observe, applies as a
matter of course to strong healthy animals, such as are accustomed to
pasturing out in almost every sort of weather; in other cases, it will
be well to have a box at hand, thickly littered over, and lined about
the walls with piled-up trusses of straw.

If you are the mare’s owner, and that she knows you and is comforted
by the sound of your voice, keep close by her, and banish all others
to a distance when her sufferings begin. These will most likely be
short, but severe, and she will not in all probability bear them very
patiently. Lead her quietly into the box that you have prepared; and
on no account permit any fuss or excitement, or any _peeping_, to
take place about her. In cases where much heaving of the flanks has
occurred, I have seen small doses of sulphuric ether and cold water--an
ounce of the former to three pints of the latter, well blended--given
with seeming advantage; but I do not undertake to advocate _any_
physicking whatever at so excessively trying a period, preferring
for my own part to leave Nature to herself, except where danger is
anticipated: in which case it will be best to send at once for the most
skilled assistance possible.

As soon as matters are safely over, leave parent and offspring to
themselves, ensuring for them the utmost quietude, as well as perfect
freedom from even the very slightest noise. All that the mare will
stand in need of at the conclusion of her troubles will be a pail of
warm gruel, with a dash of old ale, or a little brandy introduced--the
latter only in case of great exhaustion. The foal will require no
care, except from its parent. Should the natural nourishment prove
unprolific, the young one may be supplied with cow’s milk that has been
skimmed, sweetened, and slightly warmed. An infant’s feeding-bottle
will serve admirably for purposes of nutrition, or if such be not
available, a hand may be dipped in the milk, and the tops of a couple
of fingers lifted up. The hungry foal will very soon seize upon them;
but it is, in my opinion, better not to feed at all, except in cases
where the youngster shows signs of evident weakness, or that the mother
is unable to fulfil her natural functions.

I always advocate holding up the feeding-pail when nourishment is
supplied to the parent. It gives confidence, allays suspicion, and
helps to tame the little one, which, after a while, will venture to
pick from the hand.

The nursing-stable should be airy and well ventilated, without being
subject to draughts, and the feeding for the matron should consist
of moist mashes, composed of bran and scalded oats, varied with an
abundance of cooling vegetable food, and a constant supply of fresh
soft water.

Four days after foaling the mare may be put to light exercise: it will
do both her and her colt a vast deal more good than being idle, and
the little youngster (owing to the constant proximity of his dam’s
attendant) will soon grow quite tame. His timidity will vanish, he will
suffer himself to be handled and caressed, will pick food out of his
mother’s manger, and will, when October comes round, and he has to be
weaned, be as docile and full of confidence as any animal in the stable.

[Illustration: FRATERNIZING.]

When that special time arrives, give him (if possible) a companion of
his own age to bear him company: because he must be separated from his
dam, for the benefit of both--and he will pine if not provided with
society. If one of his own species be not conveniently obtainable,
procure a young calf, and let the two youngsters fraternize together;
they will soon be the best possible friends, and the colt will thus
keep up his condition and not waste, as he certainly will if left to
pine alone.

Turn him, after weaning, into a good piece of pasture land, and feed
him twice a day with oatmeal-porridge mixed with a quart or three pints
of good sweet milk. The cost of this is more than doubly repaid by the
increased strength and power that it affords: such feeding being far
in advance of the customary crushed beans, oats, hay, chaff, and other
strong meat (totally unfit for babes) which grooms find such delight in

Hunting colts should be kept during their first three summers on good
rich grass land, and be provided with a suitable shelter, to which they
can retire when the sun is overpowering, or the weather severe. In the
winter time they should have warm boxes to rest in at night, but had
better be kept out of doors during the day, for air and exercise. Where
this treatment is adopted, there will seldom be roarers in the stable.

Excellent feeding for youngsters that are meant for hunting purposes
is sliced mangel or swede turnips mixed with hay that has been cut
into long chaff. Crushed maize added to the roots is also very good;
and oats, peas, and beans may be given to ensure variety. Carrots
are, I think, far before all other vegetable diet, where the soil is
favourable to the growing of a good crop; but, where they are scarce,
mangel will make an excellent substitute. Feeding on roots alone is not
advisable, even for a short period, seeing that such are composed of
20 per cent of water, and if not mixed with a proper quantity of grain
or chaff, are apt to produce a variety of ailments which may be found
troublesome to cure.

I like to see a colt, even when a yearling, handled nicely and lightly,
and dressed every day of his life by the attendant who has the feeding
of him. Such a course fits him for breaking-time, and prepares him in
great measure for what he has to go through in his training.

I am an advocate for paying close and vigilant attention to the feet,
from the very beginning. I like to see toes nicely shaped by judicious
paring, and, if disposed to chip or splinter, provided with suitable

[Illustration: GOOD FORM.]



The pleasures of instructing a young unbroken colt are so many and
great, that my sole wonder is how owners of such animals can so often
make up their minds to the demands of the professional breaker: an
individual who, in many cases, deals harshly, and in many more with a
lack of judgment which is as deplorable as it is common.

To enter minutely into the subject of breaking is not by any means my
intention. Volumes might be written about it, and yet the difficulty
which many persons experience in learning from books, might not even
then be overcome. There are as many different ways of training a horse
as there are of training an infant, and I cannot at all agree with the
professedly wise ones who say that only one way can be correct. I have
found a variety of methods answer almost equally well, and I may (in
some instances) say, almost equally _badly_, also--because everything
must depend upon the nature and disposition of the animal that is to be
experimented upon.

Some children are naturally timid, shy, nervous, and retiring, and
cannot be taught at all except by gentle encouragement--a sort of
continual leading onward, without any attempt to drive--while others
are so sullen, obstinate, and ill-conditioned, that gentleness seems
thrown away upon them, and nothing save fear and force are capable of
accomplishing any good. So it is, precisely, with horses; but, just as
instances of dogged obstinacy and evil disposition are happily rare
among children of well-bred parents, so in like manner have I found
it to be with colts that have come of a good stock. I may here take
occasion to say, however, that even with the most viciously disposed
animals, such as future experience proved to be incapable of anything
either good or generous, I invariably commenced with--and persevered
in--the very gentlest treatment, discarding all force, ignoring the
uses of whip and spur, and seeking to subdue by the mildest and most
kindly methods, until compelled to adopt severer ones by the hopelessly
unimpressionable and intractable nature of some among my misguided
charges. Having, then, found so wide a difference of temper and
disposition to exist in the various animals with which I had to do, I
long ago came to the conclusion that to lay down any fixed laws for
training was mere fallacy and nonsense; the system that works admirably
with one may prove a dead failure with another, and taking this into
account I cannot, I think, do better in a chapter like the present,
than state the plan on which I always began to work, and which, as a
rule, I found to succeed, better than any other.

Advising you by my own experience, I should say never, when you can
help it, submit young animals to a so-called professional breaker, but
rather take them in hand yourself, and make up your mind to three
things: first, to bring all the patience of which you are possessed
to bear upon your task, to enable you to govern by gentleness and
forbearance, and not by tyranny and wrath; second, that a colt must be
so handled and trained that he shall never find out his own strength
or power; and third, that you must give the pupil every opportunity of
seeing, smelling, feeling, and hearing things that will at first be
strange to him, remembering that it is by the exercise of these senses
that horses form their judgment of surrounding objects.

I greatly object to the system of lungeing young horses in a circle,
or ring. The evils of it are sufficiently manifested in mill-horses;
but even these are suffered to _walk_ their rounds, whereas the breaker
compels the youngster to trot, and even to canter when going in a
comparatively narrow circle. Injury to the sight is the very commonest
result of the practice, and even if it does not show immediately, or
at the time, it certainly will later on. To travel round and round at
a quick rate in an ordinary ring, forces blood to a young animal’s
brain, and the faster and more excited the pace the more certain will
be the result. The optic nerves may be said to originate from the
sensorium--being, in fact, a continuation of the brain proper--and
whenever the nervous centre is congested, the _sight_ is the first
sense that becomes impaired. There are other evils also connected with
the system into which I need not go; suffice it to say that I regard it
as a highly objectionable one.


_page 294._]

The tuition of a colt may be begun when he is three months old,
provided that he has been “gentled” almost from its birth. This can be
done by frequently passing the hands over his body and down his limbs,
dressing his mane and tail, pulling and stroking his ears, speaking
caressingly to him, and in short winning his confidence by uniform
manifestations of kindness and good will.

The earliest trappings should be a small bridle and surcingle made
of very soft wash-leather, or calico--the intention being merely to
indicate the maturer harness that is destined to succeed. Later on,
when a cavesson is adopted, it must be most carefully fitted to the
colt’s head. The noseband is not to be too high, lest it be deprived of
power--or yet low enough to rest on the soft cartilages of the nose,
for fear of impeding respiration and causing pain to the animal by
any jerk that it may chance to receive. It must also fit sufficiently
accurately not to turn round when the rein is drawn tight.

The first regular bit employed should be made of india-rubber, and
this may be immediately followed by a very smooth plain snaffle, with
players, or a “Rarey” bit, with wooden roller, which is very mild and
nice for a beginner.

When you first adjust the mouthpiece do not rein the colt’s head up
to any point beyond that at which he _naturally holds it_: no matter
whether that be high or low. Give him his preliminary lessons in an
enclosed place--a big barn or riding-school will be best, if you happen
to be near one. Accustom your pupil to the sight of _everything_
with which he is destined to make subsequent acquaintance: the
mounting-block, saddle, stirrups, and so forth; and remember that you
cannot talk to him too much, or give him too frequent handling.

[Illustration: RAREY SNAFFLE.]

Forbid the presence of other animals while you are acting as
instructor, as also of any object, human or otherwise, that will be
likely to distract your pupil’s attention. Stand and walk on his _left_
side, keeping pretty well back from him--and deal him out plenty of
rein, or strap--just letting him feel the weight of your hand when
he attempts to run from you, but not on any account drawing him in.
By degrees you can shorten the rein, and when he has learned to let
you walk alongside of him without running back or showing timidity,
begin to teach him to lead: not by pulling him after you, or hunting
him forward, but by bringing him very _very_ gently round in a
half-circle--a plan which will oblige him to shift his foot and bend
his neck to your guidance. Take him both to right and left in this way,
encouraging and caressing him when he obeys you, and he will learn his
lesson in a wonderfully short space of time.

As soon as you find that he leads well in an enclosed place, take him
out into an extremely quiet paddock, not allowing anybody to come near
you while you do it. A good method will be to grasp the reins, close to
the jaw with your left hand, while your right catches the mane, and by
this means lead him gently out for an open-air spell of instruction.
Then proceed as when under cover, and repeat the lesson every day.

At eighteen months old a colt that has been bred on your own land
ought to have gone through _all_ the preliminaries of his education,
and at that age the dumb-jockey may be brought into use with a pair of
imitation legs and light little stirrups to hang on either side. Reins
formed partially of india-rubber should be passed through the terrets
and fastened to the bit, and these must not be drawn _by any means
tight_, lest the colt be induced to bear upon them--or lest he rear,
and fall backwards.

A quarter of an hour is the longest period that a lesson of this
description ought to occupy, and the pupil’s mouth should be well
wetted both before and after. If terror is excited, the utmost
encouragement should be given, and no harshness be for even an instant
resorted to.

These lessons may be continued, with slight variation, until the young
animal shall have entered his third year, at which epoch a very light
rider may be mounted on him, with rigid instructions not to interfere
in any way with the bridle, except as a means of guiding. In fact, to
prevent the possibility of his doing so to any mischievous degree, the
india-rubber reins may with advantage be continued; but the best way of
all will be to back the animal yourself: always provided that you are a
sufficiently light weight for the purpose.

When the saddle is first placed in position, the extremest gentleness
must be observed. Allow him, beforehand, to look at it, smell it, in
short satisfy himself about it, and then proceed to rub it softly down
his neck, pausing if he shows fear, and slipping it gradually backwards
until you quietly lift it into its place. When it is fairly on his
back, you should lift it again, and again replace it, and keep moving
it gently about in order to give him confidence, and when you have
induced him to stand quite still, fasten it with a _racing surcingle_
instead of an ordinary girth, as it is more readily adjusted, and need
not be drawn so tight.

To mount him successfully, place him so that the mounting-block shall
be just behind his shoulder; ascend the block with the utmost coolness
and quietness, and while standing on it proceed to pet your pupil,
stroking him, talking to him, and “gentling” him as though he were a
timid child. If he shows signs of alarm, go no further for a while, but
wait quietly--no matter how long it may be--even deferring the lesson
to another day, until he shall have gained complete confidence in your
instructions. Half the horses that refuse to stand to be mounted have
been rendered rider-shy (if I may coin a word) by scolding, and harsh
treatment shown them in their early training. No attempt should be
made at mounting a colt until he has become perfectly reconciled to his
trainer’s standing over him, and also to the pressure of a hand on the
saddle, and a foot passed in and out through the stirrup. To facilitate
his standing quiet, place his head to a wall,--or, if he must be held,
entrust the task to a steady quiet man, who will stand straight in
front of him, fondling his nose and ears, and who will when necessary
lay hold of the _cheeks_ of the bridle, _above_ the bit, but never of
the bit itself, nor yet of the reins.

Do not, when mounted, touch the animal with your heel to start him,
or attempt to meddle with his mouth in any hurried way. Speak to him
coaxingly, and draw one rein very gently, in order to make him shift
his leg and move--then walk him quietly about, repeating the lessons
in turning, stopping, and backing, which you have already given him
on foot If he shows restiveness, or an inclination to fight, slip off
_at once_, and proceed with the old method of instruction--because
you must not attempt to battle with him until you are quite certain
that you can conquer. This is one of the most important principles in
correct training, and one which, I regret to say, is most shamefully
overlooked. “I won’t let him conquer me,” says the ignorant breaker,
when the timid creature stands still and shivers, and refuses to do
what it has not yet learned to comprehend. Greater nonsense could not
possibly be spoken. There can be _no_ victory, for either horse or
man, until there has first been a battle, and if the man is wise he
will not begin one, lest he should fail to prove himself the master,
and the horse ever after refuse to obey his hand. Severity in training
is merely an ebullition of the breaker’s temper, and there is no
necessity for such when dealing with a creature that is really anxious
to learn and obey. Gentle indications will, in all save extreme cases,
accomplish tenfold more than brute force. Such, at all events, is my
conclusion, after very close and practical study of the subject in hand.

Leaping ought not, as a rule, to be taught until the animal has
attained its fourth year, nor ought the pupil to be mounted during the
lessons for the first three or four months that are devoted to them.
To lead in long reins, turning the colt in a nice quiet paddock that
has a low hedge or gorsed hurdle across the middle of it, will be the
proper method, and, as all young animals are imitative, it will be
a great advantage to have an old skilled horse taken over the jump
several times in easy fashion, in view of the youthful learner. I have
made youngsters jump brilliantly over hurdles that were raised by
degrees a great deal above their original height, by simply standing
on the off side of them with a measure of corn in my hand, and shaking
it temptingly, calling out cheerily at the same time, and always
plentifully rewarding my pupils when the boundary had been cleared.

This sort of teaching is only pleasant excitement for the colt; it
is not task-work; it injures neither structures nor temper, and is
unattended by either accident or risk. The training of horses, both
racers and hunters, as at present conducted, is conducive of many
evils, as is proved amply by the fact that one-half the animals that
come fresh from the trainers’ hands are debilitated by the wrong
systems pursued, and are far less capable of enduring exertion than
before they were taken in hand. The physicking, the brow-beating,
the harshness, scolding, and fighting, are one and all tremendously
pernicious and wrong. The vast majority of horses will, if properly
treated, accept their duties without force; and even the most viciously
inclined may be conquered, or at least subdued, without any approach to

I may cite one case as a sample of many: an animal I once bought for
a song, and subsequently would not have sold for any money that could
have been offered. By telling you of the method by which I contrived
to cure him of his bad name, you may be guided how to act should any
similar occasion chance to arise in your own stable.

[Illustration: STRAP FOR OFF FORE-LEG.]

[Illustration: STRAP FOR NEAR FORE-LEG.]

By the aid of a powerful dose of physic--administered with extreme
difficulty, I confess, by a strong and resolute man--and aided by a
few light whiffs of chloroform, we succeeded in getting the horse so
sick and stupid that he suffered himself to be handled almost without
opposition. In fact, I could go up to his head, and stroke and fondle
it as though he had been the quietest animal alive. We then littered
a lofty shed with quite a foot deep of dung and straw (tan would,
however, have been better for the purpose), and having led him into
it we put on him a single-rein bridle, with a wooden gag-bit,--this
latter because he presently showed an inclination to bite. We then tied
up the reins quite close to the withers, put a breaking surcingle
on him, passed a soft strap round the near pastern joint, lifted up
the foot as though we were about to shoe him, and passing the strap
round over the fore-arm, buckled it firmly, but in such a way as not
to hurt the horse. I gentled him, as much as he would allow me, about
the head, while my assistant worked, and we then led him about the
shed for twenty minutes or more, on three legs, by which time he was
tired, but seemingly too dull to be much irritated. The next operation
was to place a second strap around the off fore-leg, draw it pretty
tight, and pass the long end of it through one of the rings sewn on
to the belly part of the surcingle. My helper then put a big strong
glove on his right hand, caught a firm hold of the strap, and when the
horse lifted his leg in an endeavour to hop, drew it gradually close,
and brought him gently upon his knees. Our object was to make him
lie down, for I never would countenance--under _any_ pretence, or
for any operation--the forcible casting of a horse with which I had
anything whatever to do. Finding that he was sullen and would not move,
I came to the near side of him, and drew his head gradually towards
me by one rein, speaking soothingly to him all the while; I then bade
my assistant go to his off side and bear against it, just behind the
shoulder, with a steady, even, close pressure--and after about twelve
minutes’ patient waiting, I had the joy of seeing him lie quietly down
upon the litter. So far my plan of subduing by gentleness had succeeded.

[Illustration: TAMING THE SHREW.

_page 302._]

The moment that he was fairly down I made his hind legs quite fast,
and then began my plan of taming. I gently stroked every one of his
limbs separately, rubbed his trembling head, pulled and fondled his
ears, unbuckled the bit for an instant and gave him _from my hand_
sliced carrots, lettuce, and I think an apple or two. He was in a
wretched state, poor beast! for want of care and grooming, so I got a
nice brush, and went caressingly over every part of his body with it,
talking to him as though he had been a frightened child. After an hour
or so we took off the straps, drew out his fore-legs, and encouraged
him to get up. He seemed very dazed when he did so, but was seemingly
quite subdued--and having given him a feed, we left him alone for the

  Footnote A: The celebrated Mr. Rarey has been accredited with the
    invention of this system, or something very nearly approaching it;
    but so far back as half-a-century ago, Mr. Allen McDonogh, one of
    the best and greatest of riders, trainers, and authorities, tried
    it with success in his own training-stables, and subsequently (some
    five or six years ago) taught it to me at Athgarvan Lodge, Curragh.

The next day we had another and worse scene to go through; the evil
spirit was not altogether gone out of the horse, as events very soon
showed us. We had to resort to the same strapping-up process, and when
he was on his knees he actually fought with us till he turned over;
but I encouraged him to get up again (in the same cramped position, of
course), and to make a second fight--treating him with steady firmness,
and never giving in for a moment, but striving all the time to quiet
him and make him lie down. He did so at length--from sheer exhaustion,
I believe--for his obstinacy and violence had lasted over an hour,
and I and my patience were alike almost worn out. When he was down I
scraped the sweat from him with a scraper, gave him water and lettuce,
went over every inch of his body with a wisp, and made my assistant
pretend to shoe him, by lifting each of his feet and tapping them
gently with a hammer. Finally I showed him a saddle and bridle, laid
them under his nose, and stroked him with them--and ended by actually
putting them on him with scarcely any difficulty at all. Then I shut
myself alone with him in the shed, and fed, petted, and talked to him
unceasingly for upwards of an hour, until all the untractableness had
seemingly gone out of his disposition. His poor wild, bloodshot eyes
grew calm and placid, and he actually rubbed his nose at last against
my hand. I am certain that I shall be accounted a terrible fool, but I
believe I wept for joy--and the best of it all was that I had gained my
victory without the horse having any suspicion that he was conquered.
If I had thrashed him into subjection--allowing that such a thing were
possible--he might have obeyed me for awhile, although hating me--but
by dint of never using a particle of harshness, and granting him _his
own time_ to make concessions, I am firmly convinced that he considered
himself the better animal of the two, and was magnanimous enough to
obey me from chivalrous motives, while believing that he need not do so
at all.

After that day I had not any trouble with my charge, and in less than a
week I was riding him about the place with only an ordinary bridle. He
subsequently manifested an extraordinary affection for me, and whether
the system that I pursued with regard to his taming was or was not one
of which ordinary horse-owners will be found to approve, I can only say
that it succeeded to perfection, and that I have seen it tried twice or
thrice since, on my recommendation, with excellent results; but I never
advise the adoption of it, except in cases such as I have described,
where an animal has been rendered vicious by extreme bad treatment, or
has inherited a disposition for sullenness and obstinacy which cannot
otherwise be brought under control.

Before bringing this chapter to a close, I would wish to add that
a colt in his fifth year may be ridden once or twice a week with
harriers, or once with foxhounds, if the meet be very near his
stable--but he must never on any account be _pressed_, or run to the
end of his tether, for it is an absolute fact that if a young animal is
once suffered to find out for himself that he is beaten, he will never
_while he lives_ get to the close of a long or trying run. This may, by
some, be regarded as a fallacy, but many practical authorities will, I
think, endorse what I say.




MOUTHS AND MOUTH-PIECES.--The shape, delicacy, or toughness of a
horse’s tongue does not in the least contribute towards making his
mouth either tender or harsh; but a difficulty is thrown in the way
of bitting when the tongue is broad in form, because in such case
it covers the bars of the mouth, and so prevents the mouth-piece
from acting properly upon them. The tongue is endowed with immense
susceptibility to pain or pressure, and any undue compression of it
causes intense suffering and fretting, and entirely obviates the
action of the bridle. I consider that rollers, olives, twists, and all
such devices, are not only useless encumbrances, but are instruments
of destruction as well. The severity or mildness of a mouth-piece is
regulated by the thickness of that portion of the cannons which acts
upon the bars of the mouth. The curb-chain ought to sit exactly on the
beard, or chin, of the horse. If he is tender-mouthed, it should be
left very slack.

COUNTRY RIDING-SUITS FOR MEN.--If you want to ride in luxury in the
country, get measured for a knickerbocker garment, with continuations
in the form of breeches, fitting perfectly below the knee. This most
sensible novelty can be worn with or without leggings, so that if
desired for rough usage on the moors, the additions can be dispensed
with, or added if wanted for saddle use.

HUNTING BREASTPLATES are approved by many keen sportsmen. I give a
sketch of one.


HUSTLING HORSES.--Never hustle a horse at a gap, or in a crowd, or on
any account cram him at his fences. Give him time. He has, as Major
Whyte Melville used to say, “to carry the bigger fool of the two, and
to think for both.”

BRUSHING.--For a horse that “brushes” procure a leathern boot, the
colour of the foot, made of prepared horse-skin, having the hair
left on, and laced up the leg. On, or just over the seat of injury, a
concave piece of stout leather should be let into the covering, and
the hollow thus formed (which acts as a protector) should be filled up
with a small pad of lint, previously saturated with zinc lotion. This
serves to cure the sore, and also prevents a recurrence of it. I append
a sketch.


SAWMOUTH BRIDOON.--This is a terribly severe bit, and one which no
good judge of training would permit to be used among his horses. It is
calculated to destroy rather than to instruct. The illustration shows
the nature of it.


TO SHOE a nervous or vicious horse, or a young sensitive colt, take
him to a skilled farrier--one who has a good temper in addition to
his other endowments--and while he is working, take up your stand at
the animal’s head, _at the same side_ as that on which the farrier is
engaged. Hold the bridle loosely in your hands, dispense with blinkers,
and let the horse see what is going on. You can manage this by allowing
him to turn his head when he tries to do so. Do not permit any third
person to come in the way during the operation. It is a good plan to
stand a horse that is to be shod _close by a wall_. If the smith be
unfortunately a duffer at his work, instruct him to smooth the leg
downwards from the shoulder or thigh, as the case may be, lifting
it up and putting it down again, if the horse seems frightened, and
even going away for a moment, and again returning, in order that
confidence may become fully established. The safest and surest method
of overcoming irritability or nervousness is to exercise a quiet
kindness, combined with a cool firmness of purpose; and to accomplish
this end, one, or at most two, persons, will be infinitely better
than a number. The adjoining sketch shows a horse under treatment on
principles of which I do not profess to approve, although I am willing
to acknowledge that there are cases in which actual vice can only be
overcome by severity and brute force. The custom here depicted of
casting an intractable animal for the purpose of getting him shod is
common enough in almost all cavalry stables, and is seldom accompanied
by any cruelty, save on rare occasions, when the attendant who carries
the whip makes use of it to practical purpose--a thing net often called
for. When a horse is to be shod thus, the ground about him is
usually covered with sacks, to break the force of his fall; but these
the artist has not thought it necessary to depict.


_page 310._]

BROKEN-WINDED horses require regular work, and regular feeding. A
generous diet, composed of oats, beans, and barley, will be very good
for them; and in place of hay give about six pounds of wheaten straw
every alternate day, with carrots very frequently.

VETERINARY QUACKS.--No man has a right to be called a veterinary
surgeon who has not a diploma. A pretender may assume the name--often
does, in fact--but quackery soon expires.

WHEN A HORSE CLEARS HIS NOSTRILS immediately on being pulled up, it is
a sign that he has wind enough to go both further and faster in his
next gallop. When a minute elapses the pace may still be increased
though not much; but when two minutes go over without the expected
snort, it is a proof that the exercise has been a little too hard for
the animal’s condition. Remember, when exercising a young one, that you
must not take too much out of him. Frequent protrusion of the muzzle is
a sign that distress is at hand, and a settled thrusting forward of it
shows that the horse is at very nearly all that he can do.

RESTLESSNESS in horses--or temper, as many call it--is more frequently
noticeable in summer than in winter time, and is caused by the
troublesome flies which stick all over the animals’ bodies. These
creatures torment some tender-skinned horses almost to madness; and
when a stamp is given, ears put back, or a leg lifted as if in pain,
immediate search ought to be made for the occasion of it. Horses at
pasture can, as a rule, defend themselves with their teeth, feet,
and tails: that is, when the latter appendages are left them; but
in this country, so eminently the seat of wisdom and freedom, the
effective instrument is invariably removed, and Nature most unfairly
handicapped,--as if the sorrows of servitude are not sufficiently great
and numerous without augmenting them by caprice.

BALES are simple bars of wood, used largely in cavalry stables to
separate the horse-stalls. They are furnished at each end with iron
links, by means of which they are suspended to hooks fastened at the
head and heel-posts. Sometimes they are made of iron, but well-seasoned
oak is quite sufficiently strong for the purpose. The usual dimensions
are eight feet long, and four inches in diameter, and they are placed
at a distance of about three feet from the ground. The top part may be
a fixture; but one end or the other ought to be so arranged that in
case of a horse getting partially under it when lying down, it will
move readily upwards, according as the animal pushes it in his rise. I
have a strong objection to bales, because they admit of horses biting
and injuring one another, and are in other ways undesirable; but that
they are cheaper than travises, I am, of course, prepared to allow. It
is, however, almost their sole claim to notice.

AN IDLE GROOM is generally an eye-server. The wisp is oftener in his
hand than the brush. When a horse does not _look_ amiss on being
brought to the door, and yet that his skin leaves a dirty whitish stain
on the fingers when they are pressed into it, the fact is proved beyond
all doubt. Thin-skinned horses will not stand a curry-comb; nor is it
necessary to use one where good strong brushes are supplied, and _made
a proper use of_.

THE CURRY-COMB, when employed at all, should describe a sweeping
movement--never a rubbing one--and the utmost gentleness should always
accompany the using of it.

WHEN THE PROPER GROOMING of a horse is neglected, he suffers in
consequence. Lice, for instance, are never seen in animals that are
even moderately well taken care of; but when once these pests appear,
the spread of them is amazingly rapid. Nothing but care and cleanliness
will eradicate them. Make a strong lather of black soap, wash well with
it, then again with clean water, and finally anoint the patches where
the lice are with a little mercurial ointment. If they have spread over
the surface of the body, make a strong decoction of tobacco, and smear
liberally with a sponge. The same treatment will do for dogs.

TO REMOVE THE SOFT COATING OF HAIRS that grows on the inside of a
horse’s ears is not only unnecessary, but is absolutely cruel. It has
been furnished to the animal as a protection against dust, flies, and
dirt; and when taken away, the ears are left exposed to the influence
of the three combined. All appearance of untidiness may be done away
with by holding the ear in the left hand with the edges of it nicely
evened, and then clipping lightly along them with a sharp scissors.
I would never on any account permit nose-hairs to be clipped, or
otherwise removed. Horses are immensely sensitive to any interference
with them, and for sundry reasons they ought not to be meddled with.

A HORSE THAT IS CAST UNDER THE MANGER cannot possibly rise until he is
drawn backwards by an attendant. Every time that he attempts to get
up he strikes his head, and is thus brought forcibly down again. In a
properly-constructed stable such a thing could not, however, occur.

OLD-FASHIONED MANGERS ought to be boarded in, so that no hollow may
exist under them.

FILLING HORSES’ FEET.--I am totally against this system, but, when
those who are partial to it are bent upon carrying it out, they should
see that it is done with fresh moss, soft and very damp, pressed well
into the feet, and tucked away on the inside of the shoes.

THE SEMI-MILITARY AND TRAVELLING saddle is made to fit any horse, and
is in great request among officers serving abroad. Peat & Co., of
Piccadilly, have patented it, and the sealed pattern is at the War

BITING THE COLLAR-ROPE.--If you want to see a horse do this, leave him
a rope about two or three feet too long; shut him up in a close stable,
and give him nothing to do. It is not a vice, but rather one of the
many signs of weariness and idleness in which dumb animals indulge. I
append a sketch of a rope-biter.


A HORSEMAN’S SKILL in the management of his bridle-hand consists in the
discretion with which he makes the bit be felt. It ought never to be
used too severely, and its effects should be moderated by the mildness
and pliability of the hand.

WHEN BOILING GRAIN of any kind, give it plenty of water, and keep it
constantly stirred. If you neglect this necessary precaution, it will
stick to the bottom of the boiler, and the burned part will acquire a
nasty nauseous taste. According as the water evaporates, add a fresh
supply. Never let the liquor boil over; it is a great waste to do so,
as it contains a large amount of nutriment. Oats will need more boiling
than beans; these latter more than barley, carrots and turnips more
than potatoes. Four measures of oats, boiled and bursting, will fill
seven measures; four of beans, something over eight and a half; while
four of barley will fill quite ten. I have proved all these statistics
in my own stable.

FALSE QUARTER is a defect of the outer wall of the foot. I give a
sketch of the only possible relief for it.


RICK IN THE BACK will necessitate the throwing up of the sufferer for
at least six months. He must be placed in a roomy stall, the hair over
the seat of injury be carefully removed, and the place kept moist
with cloths dipped in a lotion composed of tincture of arnica two
ounces, and water one pint. Soft nourishing food must be given, but no
medicine on any account whatever--the restoration to finish with liquid
blistering of a judicious kind.

THE SAFEST ARRANGEMENT FOR SIDE SADDLES, to avoid risk of being hung
up, or dragged after a fall, is that adopted with “the level seat
saddle,” by Messrs. Nicholls of Jermyn Street. They have patented a
bar for the stirrup leather, extremely simple in construction, and
which will instantly disconnect it, should a rider have the misfortune
to get her foot caught when falling over the off-side of the saddle.
An elastic safety-band, stretched across the heads, will, when a fall
occurs, prevent the habit catching on the saddle,--and the unpleasant
predicament of a horse galloping about, with his rider suspended by the
skirt, head downwards (as witnessed sometimes in the hunting-field),
will be avoided.

TAKE A PISTOL with you on all occasions when going to hunt, and in
case of hopeless injury occurring to your mount, make use of it, with
all the quietness and celerity you can command. Horses, when left to
themselves, rarely meet with mishaps; it is, therefore, only fair that
their riders should protect them against unnecessary torture.

LADIES’ SPURS.--I have pleasure in appending sketches of the only three
of these--that I know of--that are manufactured for ladies’ use. The
Sewarrow is, I think excellent. Lady equestrians frequently use a
small pair of hunting spurs of the shape worn by men--the right one
having a knob in place of a rowel. These are used with Hessian boots,
and look well when dismounted. The spike of the spur is in all cases
made amply long to fulfil its purpose; to wear one of immoderate length
would necessitate having it made specially, and could not effect any
good. I like “box” spurs myself, and have always worn them; but there
is nothing objectionable in the strap, and it has the advantage of
being readily adjusted to any sort of boot, whereas boots fitted with
box spurs are generally costly articles.

[Illustration: WITH ROWEL GUARD.]

[Illustration: SEWARROW.]

[Illustration: BOX-SPUR.]

CRIB-BITING may be prevented by removing all woodwork from the vicinity
of the horse, and if he persists in gnawing his stable-partitions,
smear them well with aloes, and he will soon desist.


“DISHING” is a common expression among horsey people. It signifies
throwing out the forelegs in a kind of side manner, which looks badly
in the trot. I have seen some very good horses do it, but it would
certainly be called defective action. To “dish” with one foreleg only
is a very frequent thing.

BANDAGING.--When a horse’s legs have to be bandaged, it is a good plan
to coil the bandages completely round the pastern, close to the hoofs,
winding them around the legs in spiral form (each coil overlapping the
other) until the legs are bound up to the knees or hocks, where the
bandages are secured. The pressure must be equal, and not too tight.
The strings should admit a finger after being tied. I have never found
a horse so treated attempt to lie down, and it is far less irksome to
an animal than being tied up by the head.

HABIT-CUTTING is now perfection at most of the high-class London
houses. Bodices are exquisitely made--some with stand-up collars,
others slightly lapelled, to show a portion of habit-shirt or tie. The
backs are cut with long seams, and the buttons placed low, so that even
a naturally short-waisted figure appears the contrary, being lengthened
and improved. The shaping in front is excellent. The skirts are so
artistically cut and seamed that they fit at the back as closely as a
man’s hunting breeches, while the shaping at the knee is supplemented
by a most artistic and novel arrangement underneath, a sort of hollow,
into which the up-pommel fits completely, thus obviating the necessity
of having folds of cloth lying between the right leg and the saddle.
These skirts, held back by the hand when the wearer is dismounted, look
neat, and are of convenient walking length.

WALL-LICKING.--If a horse shows a tendency to this, leave a lump of
chalk in his manger. A piece of rock-salt left there as well will never
be amiss.

SIGNS OF MEGRIM.--When a horse suddenly throws up his head, and holds
it in the air and on one side, be assured he has a megrim, and will
be in danger of falling if driven further without a stop. Pull up at
once, and if cold water can be had anywhere within reach of you, dash a
bucket of it over his head and neck.

BENUMBED LEG.--When, for taming purposes, a horse’s leg is strapped up
for any length of time, it becomes benumbed, and ought, when let down,
to be rubbed vigorously before the animal is allowed to walk upon it If
this is not done he will probably fall.

HINTS FOR AMATEUR JOCKEYS.--The moment you know that you are beaten in
a race, pull up. You can gain nothing by flogging your horse to the
finish. If going well and gamely, let him alone; if not, catch him with
both hands, and give him two or three kicks with the spurs, I never
advocate waiting, unless the mount is a very game one. Jump off with
the lead, and hold it as long as you can.

AGE SYMPTOMS.--A horse that has passed his fourth year has four
incisors in each jaw, all fully grown.

A SEATED SHOE signifies a regular, or ordinary, shoe, which has only as
much upper surface left as will admit of the crust resting upon it.

HIRING HORSES.--Windsor, Cheltenham, and Oxford are about the best
places I know of for jobbing light-weight hunters. When an animal is
found to suit, it ought to be at once secured for the season. Horses
can be had at Barnstaple for Exmoor. Oxford is within reach of five
packs of fox-hounds. Capital hunting quarters can be had there, and
excellent horses--cheap too, in vacation time, as there is not any one
to ride them.

DEFECTIVE VISION.--A horse that has any defect in his sight should be
at once rejected by the buyer. It is the only safe way in dealing,
unless the desire is to buy a blind animal at a blind price. There is
generally a plausible reason given for every suspicious appearance,
whether it be a sightless eye or a pair of broken knees.

BLINKERS.--I greatly disapprove of these for breaking. Let the colt or
horse see what you are doing. In this I am aware that many disagree
with me, but I usually hold to my opinions, as I do not form them in a

AMATEUR BLACKSMITHS.--If you want to be independent of the forge when
frost sets in, you can do it in this way. As soon as the hunting season
has fairly begun, have your horse’s shoes made with square holes
punched at the extremities and at the toes. Have these fitted with
slightly tapering plugs of steel, with sharp projecting points. The
plugs should be about two inches in length, and must be made to fit the
holes both accurately and tightly, but not to go quite through the shoe
to the foot. When frost appears, and you want to go out, insert the
plugs _yourself_ in the holes, tap them slightly on the points with a
hammer, and when the horse puts his weight on them it will drive them
“home.” The plugs will last for three or four days, and are both cheap
and easily renewed. When you require to take them out, another quiet
tap or two (delivered a little at the side) will start them, owing to
the taper on the part that fits into the shoe.

“HOT FITTING.”--I entirely approve of this, when properly conducted.
It would need a very lengthy application of a hot shoe to affect the
hoof to any depth--quite four minutes to cause a marked increase of
temperature in the upper part of the foot--while, in reality, the hot
shoe is not usually applied for more than three or four seconds.

TEMPERATURE OF STABLES.--The average temperature of a stable should
be about 48° F. Never clip until the whole of the winter coat
has appeared--then do it once for the entire season. Leaving the
saddle-place unclipped will be more likely to provoke galls than to
prevent them.

SUPPLY OF HAY.--Six pounds of hay _per diem_ is quite sufficient for a
horse, when plenty of other food is given. Too much hay is a mistake.

QUARTERN.--Everybody knows that this weighs 2½ lbs.

STABLE FORKS.--Do away with steel, and use wooden ones.

SHOES.--A set ought to last four weeks, unless the work be constant and
the going very hard.

HUNTING SCARLET.--Do not don red in the hunting field until your
“salad” days are over. It is a remarkable colour, and of late many
excellent sportsmen have discarded it altogether. This may, perhaps, be
owing to the fact that ladies are putting it on! Two fair Dianas who
ride very straight with the Meath hounds adopted scarlet last season,
and doubtless many more will ere long follow suit. It is not to be
admired, in my opinion, and can scarcely fail to remind the beholder of
things usually associated with street-organs and itinerant grinders of
these instruments!

“UNKNOWING” ONES.--Ignorance concerning horsey subjects is quite
common among ladies who are otherwise well educated, and, indeed,
highly informed. Mrs. Beecher Stowe relates of herself, in her ‘Sunny
Memories,’ that when dining one day with Earl Russell she spoke
of hunting as “a vestige of the savage state,” when, to her great
astonishment, she saw laughter on all the men’s faces. No wonder. Fox
hunting, or rather riding to hounds is an art not yet a century old.
Two of our most popular authoresses--I might, perhaps, say the two
most popular--make such egregious mistakes on the subjects of hunting,
racing and betting, that men laugh, and women who know, say, “What a
pity it is!”

HUNTING CENTRES.--A young Londoner cannot do better than try his hand
with the Surrey Foxhounds, or with one of the Kentish packs. The hills
of Surrey afford good hunting ground, despite the flints, and the
superfluity of coverts.

WHEN A HORSE IS COLLAR-SHY, or nervous about the adjustment of the
crupper, have the latter made to unbuckle, and procure a collar that
opens at the top. This is, of course, in case of being unable to
reassure the animal by kindness. Put beating and scolding entirely
aside; they have probably led to the evils that have to be cured.

THE FOOT “HOME” IN THE STIRRUP was for long a favourite theory of
mine, and one which I myself practised--especially when travelling
long distances, or going the pace,--but then, I always rode in a
plain little racing stirrup, made sufficiently wide to enable the
foot to work easily in it, so that there was no possibility of its
“sticking,” or proving otherwise dangerous. Finding, however, that,
despite repeated warnings, ladies would persist in adopting the various
forms of so-called safety-stirrups, in which the foot was absolutely
embedded, the stuffing over the instep helping to tighten the hold,
I thought it safest and most conscientious to discard my theory
altogether and advocate riding from the ball of the foot. To keep
perpetually saying, “Do as I do,” partakes rather of the egotistical
and self-sufficient, even where one may fairly add, “And no harm will
ensue,”--but if, added to this, there is apparently a strong desire
on the part of those spoken to to have their own way, it is surely
wise to offer them such directions as will best obviate the chances of
mishap. Here, for instance, is an example of my meaning: Suppose that
I am in the habit of reading in bed, using a safety-lamp for doing so,
and I discover that it is a practice in my household and elsewhere
for others to read by the light of a half-burnt candle, insecurely
fastened into its socket in the candlestick, and laid perhaps upon the
pillow,--will it not be better and safer for me to decry altogether the
practice of night reading, than to keep perpetually urging (without
hope of success) that safety-lamps ought in all cases to be adopted?

WHEN A CARRIAGE IS KEPT COVERED in a coach-house, the cover ought to be
constantly aired.

NEVER PERMIT WATER TO DRY of itself on a vehicle, or it will certainly
leave stains.

APRONS, HEADS, etc., that are composed of enamelled leather, should
be washed with soap and water, and rubbed well with linseed oil--the
former being constantly unfolded, and the latter kept fully stretched.

MOTHS can be prevented from settling in the linings of vehicles by
mixing camphor and turpentine in a saucer, and placing it inside, with
all the windows drawn up. The evaporation of the mixture will serve the
purpose well.

BOLTS AND CLIPS of vehicles should be constantly looked to, and
tightened if loose; and all repairs should be done at _once_, nothing
being allowed to lie over.

HORSE-COLLARS should be so made that the weight attached to the traces
shall be distributed over the surface of the shoulders when pulling,
not concentrated on one point, or, almost as bad, perpetually rubbing
up and down. A collar cannot be considered fitted, simply because it
appears all right when the horse is standing still. Set him going at
a good pace, and then judge of it. If he be a high-crested animal,
he will probably need a collar quite two inches longer than seemed
necessary when he stood at ease. If the traces are attached too low
to the hames, they will draw the collar away from the upper part of
the shoulder. This can only be remedied by shifting the point of the
draught, till a proper bearing has been obtained.

BENCRAFT HAMES.--There is sometimes immense difficulty in fitting
horses that are peculiarly shaped with collars that will not gall them;
in such cases the above may be tried, as by using them the draught can
be shifted to suit the shoulders or the height of the wheels. They have
an awkward appearance, but nevertheless serve their purpose admirably.

SHAFT-TUGS should be of a length to suspend the shafts at exactly
the correct height, by which I mean the centre of the swell of the
pad-flaps, measured both ways. When the shafts are much bent, the
tugs must be shorter than if ordinarily straight. The traces must be
of proper length, otherwise the correct horizontal position of the
shaft-tugs cannot possibly be maintained. When too short the motion
of the horse forces tugs and pad forward, thus drawing the crupper
uncomfortably tight--and when too long, the vehicle is drawn by the
tugs instead of by the traces. It is rare to sit behind a horse that
one can pronounce properly harnessed in every particular.

A KICKING-STRAP will be worse than useless--it will chafe and
irritate--unless properly put on. A strap that is either too light or
the reverse, or that passes in a direct line from shaft to shaft, had
better not be used at all. It ought to be just loose enough, nothing
more, to allow of the horse travelling without feeling chafed by it,
and should be fastened at least two inches behind the hip-bones, as a
loin-strap would be.

FITTING THE BIT TO THE HORSE’S MOUTH.--This, as I have already stated,
is an advisable plan. A Buxton or Liverpool bit is commonly employed
in harness, but if a horse has a light mouth, he may travel well in
a snaffle. Buxton bits are made without ports. Experience will tell
whether the reins ought to be buckled to the cheek or to the bars. In
my opinion, almost all horses go well in properly _fitting_ bits. I
altogether disapprove of the enormous affairs with cheeks eleven inches
long, and weighing quite two pounds, which ignorance sometimes makes
use of. I believe that comparatively few animals require bits of larger
dimensions than one and three-quarter inches for the upper cheek, and
three and a-half for the lower. This latter ought _never_ to be more
than double the length of the upper portion. Even when the reins are
fastened to a ring below the cheek, the weight of the projecting arm
will effect the leverage of the entire affair.

HORSES ADDICTED TO RUNNING AWAY frequently lay hold of the cheek of
the bit; it is a fault in large measure cultivated by using bits that
are too broad for the mouth. To avoid it, the cheeks might be bent
backwards, after the Wimbush pattern.

CORRECT BITTING gives control in harness without inflicting pain.
Any suffering that cannot be got rid of by the horse dropping his
head to the right position, is barbarous cruelty, however it may be
glossed over or concealed. Half the horses that one sees in London and
elsewhere, poking their chins in an unnatural manner, are made to do
so by the use of powerful bits and severe curb-chains--yet ignorance
cannot be brought to see it, although the evils of it are frequently
and earnestly set forth.

BLINKERS are generally considered indispensable adjuncts to harness.
Why, I do not know.

BEARING-REINS are only tolerable when the snaffle bit is suffered to
hang well below the corners of the mouth, and when the reins themselves
are of such a length that the instant the horse lifts his head and sets
off, they become amply slack. I cannot at all see why they should be
thought an absolute necessity for draught purposes, when not used in
the saddle. There are, of course, cases in which they are advisable;
when, for instance, extremely nervous or badly-broken animals are of
necessity driven through crowded thoroughfares; but otherwise I cannot
believe that they are either necessary or ornamental.

FASHIONABLE COACHMEN concoct an instrument of torture by drawing up
the gag-bit until the horse’s mouth is dragged back quite two inches:
a curb much too long and very much too wide being next added, and
strained up to the last extremity of tightness. The cruelty of ordinary
bearing-reins is unspeakably great, and to the use of them may be
attributed the loss of sight in many fine young horses--undue pressure
on the glands that lie just under the angles of the jaws being the
fruitful cause of this melancholy evil.

NAGGING at a horse’s mouth when driving him is a most objectionable
practice, and one that is, unfortunately, too generally indulged in.
If an animal appears sluggish, the driver finds it easier to rouse
him temporarily by means of chucking at his mouth, than by either a
suitable use of the whip, or an investigation into the general state
of his health: a low or disordered condition of which is far more
frequently the cause of sluggishness than the “roguishness,” of which
helpless animals are often wrongfully accused.

IN DRIVING A PAIR the arrangement of the coupling-reins is a matter
of vast importance; for, should one horse be naturally faster in pace
than his fellow, the whole comfort of the drive will depend upon
being able to regulate the two animals to the same rate of going.
To do this the coupling-rein of the fast horse must be shortened by
bringing the buckle closer to the driver’s hands, so that a pull
will act on him before checking in any degree the speed of the other
horse. Coupling-reins should come to within six inches of the driver’s
fingers. I have seen a pair of runaways stopped in a short time by
laying a firm hold upon the two _inside_ reins, and dropping the outer

CANTERING IN HARNESS is a very common fault, and can only be
stopped by pulling up and starting afresh at a trot. A canterer in
double harness may be controlled by putting on him a pair of single
harness-reins, as well as the double ones.

TANDEM.--I am not an admirer of tandem, but it is a good way of
exercising saddle-horses in the summer time, and keeping them in
condition. They should be always placed as leaders. Steady, powerful
harness horses will be best to use as wheelers, the comfort and safety
of the driver being dependent upon their paces and behaviour. A leader
should be full of courage, and go always in the collar and up to
the bit. An improvement that I have been told of for tandem-harness
is to have three bars fastened to the shafts: an effectual means of
preventing the leader from stepping over the traces.

POSITION WHEN DRIVING.--I strongly object to the standing position--as
though merely leaning against the box-seat of the vehicle--which
many gentlemen-drivers adopt. I believe that such an attitude _must_
leave the driver almost powerless to assist or resist his horses. The
position when driving should be firm, upright, and decided; the elbows
hanging at ease, close to the hips, but not laid against them; the arms
nicely rounded, and the hands held at a moderate distance from the
body. Nothing can be worse than seeing the arms of the driver dragged
forward by the action of the horses that he is meant to control; nor
can anything be much more objectionable than flinging up the wrists
when coming to a stop, instead of shortening the reins by passing the
right hand quietly in front of the left.

REALLY FIRST-CLASS DRIVERS rarely trust to holding the reins in one
hand only, even in single harness; or, if they seem to do so, the
right hand is ever ready to be laid upon the off or right hand rein,
while the forefinger falls naturally upon the near one; by this means
a gentle pressure can be exercised either by it or by the exterior
angle of the hand which rests upon the off leather. A good coachman
will always at starting take the reins in both hands; and animals ought
to be trained to start slowly and collectedly--not with anything that
resembles a jerk. The “show” in which some drivers delight to indulge,
both at starting and when the horses are at rest, by first flicking
them with the whip and then pulling them sharply up, cannot be too
strongly deprecated.

THE WHIP, although esteemed a necessary adjunct to driving apparatus,
should be used as sparingly as possible--more, in fact, as an
instructor, than as a means of inflicting punishment. There is nothing
nicer in driving than seeing the whip in rest, and the horses, fearless
of its severities, going gaily up to their bridles, restrained by a
master hand.

TO BE ABLE TO DRIVE A TEAM is not considered a great feat by many
men, or, indeed, by some women, in these latter days; but of course
there is driving and driving--both of different sorts. I approve of
studying under a first-class wagoner, and being guided _entirely_ by
him. To be a good four-in-hand driver requires courage, coolness
temper, decision, quickness, strength and clearness of sight, flexible
hands, and good staying power in the arms and back. I have seen but
one woman in my life who was able to drive a team of full-sized horses
in best English style; and I can only recall the names of seven or
eight men who could do so. Hundreds, of course, attempt it, and satisfy
themselves that they are doing splendidly; whereas, the contrary is,
as a rule, the case. Team-driving is not suitable work for ladies.
The mere exertion of holding four free-going horses for even an hour
at a stretch is so great that, unless the muscles of the arms have
been strengthened by sculling, practising with dumb-bells, or other
gymnastic exercises, the driver will be thoroughly done up, and at the
mercy of any mischance that may occur, before half the journey has been
got over. A strong, firm-handed, full-muscled man, with a cool nerve,
a quick eye, and his heart in the work he is engaged at, will make the
best driver of a dashing four-in-hand. The “golden youth” who stand
bolt upright against sloping cushions, curling and uncurling their
whips, touching up leaders that need no touching, or letting them get
out of hand--and double-thonging steady-working wheelers, are simply
objects to laugh at, or to pity, or both.

TO WIELD THE WHIP in a workman-like manner may be practised without
horses, by sitting at ease on an elevation, with a good instructor
close at hand. There are correct uses for every part of it, down to the
very point: a proper position for the stick, and proper ways of using
it at various lengths--all of which have to be learned; and nobody can
be called a coachman who is not intimately familiar with them--so much
so that he can carry his whip without apparently thinking about it, and
hold it, use it, and curl it, as if by a kind of instinct--precisely as
all these ought to be done.

A TEAM SHOULD BE TRAINED TO STAND perfectly still until the driver
gives the word to go. A restless, uneasy, shuffling, while the apron
is being adjusted, the whip taken up, and the reins gathered, is both
unsightly and unpleasant.

THE WHEELERS in a four-in-hand coach ought to start it and turn it
round, without the leaders ever feeling the traces; and they ought to
stop the vehicle with the traces of the leaders resting quite slack.

A GOOD DRIVER will have his leaders so in hand at the start that when
they move they will be out of the collars, and entirely clear of the

PRACTICE should be on level ground, and on roads devoid of traffic.
None save really first-class drivers ought ever attempt to pilot a
coach through a crowded thoroughfare. Plenty of novices do it, and
delude themselves with the notion that they are driving beautifully,
when in reality they are only clearing the road--for, as a rule, people
leave a passage for a four-horsed coach, chiefly I fancy through fear
of being run down by it if they don’t speedily get out of its way.

DRIVING A TEAM is, on the whole, very far from child’s play, and it
needs a smart wagoner to know and carry out all the nice points of
the art: how, for instance, to make the wheelers work, when to put on
the drags, when to run down without them, how to regulate the pace,
especially when descending a steep decline, how to go nicely and
collectedly over the tops of all hills, whether great or small, with
numerous other minor matters, which study and practice can alone teach.

FOURTEEN MILES AN HOUR is a tremendously fast pace for leaders to
trot. Such a rate of going would necessitate that the wheelers should
gallop. Speed is, I always think, far less necessary than stamina in a
four-in-hand team. A well made up quartett, of which every horse has
two good ends, ought to travel from London to Epsom at a fair steady
pace, and come back in the evening in spanking style.

A TEAM THAT WILL TROT briskly up the hill to the Star and Garter at
Richmond at the rate of, say, eight miles an hour without the whip, may
be pronounced a real good thing.

IF FOUR HORSES cannot be matched in height, I advocate conceding the
difference to the wheelers. Age will not matter very much--nor will
colour--for merely useful work; but go and action are all important.

A GOOD AND HUMANE DRIVER always looks to the condition of each horse
separately, when halting after a long drive. An oatmeal drink with the
chill taken off, and an abundance of water splashed about the legs,
prove great refreshers. Exhausted horses are immensely benefited by
getting a scrape down, together with a “pick-me-up” of warm ale.

AN UPPER JAW BIT, and an Over Draw Check will teach a youngster (when
training for harness) almost as much sense as he will learn by two
months’ handling. The apparatus sobers him--stops that peculiar,
one-sided, _twisting_ kind of kick, or “lurch,” which beginners when
fresh are wont to indulge in--and, in short, teaches him to trot his
level best, without the aid of a kicking-strap. It is called the
“Carleton” Check--I presume from its inventor’s name--and consists of a
very small bar snaffle, not much thicker than an ordinary lead pencil,
with a loose ring at either end. Straps, about half an inch wide, are
buckled to these rings, and are connected above the horse’s nostrils
by a narrow upper noseband: on the same principle as an ordinary
chin-strap. This little noseband is necessary to keep the bit called
an “upper jaw bit” in its place: namely, _under_ the _upper_ jaw, just
as the regular bit is _upon_ the _under_ jaw. The little mouthpiece is
very slightly curved--a mere segment of a circle--and from it the two
straps run up the horse’s nose, and are joined together on his forehead
to prevent them chafing his eyes. They are then continued between the
ears, and along the mane, to the water hook. At the spot where they
pass the headpiece they run through two square loops, in which are
“rolls,” or rollers, to allow the straps free play. They are joined at
the ends, and are made to hook over the water hook, after which a tiny
contrivance is slipped _on_ the hook, which renders it impossible for
the horse (let him fling his head about as he chooses) to throw the
rein off the hook. The hand, however, can release it in a flash--and
the whole affair is a perfect marvel of neatness and ingenuity. Its
good effects are, to raise the head, extend the neck, and give free
play to the lungs. It likewise lengthens the gait, steadies the horse,
prevents breaking, obviates “hitching” behind, takes the pull off the
driver’s hands, and brings out a horse’s trot, if he has any at all in
him. The evils are, that it spoils a handsome erect carriage, lowers
the crest, and makes the animal poke his nose in an unsightly manner.
In short, it is invaluable for training a road horse, or trotter, but
the habitual use of it is undesirable and even cruel, for a horse
cannot possibly bend while he has it on. So rigid are its effects,
and so impossible is it for an animal to lower his head while wearing
it, that I am of opinion it would put an effectual “stopper” upon the
tricks of the most confirmed buck-jumper living, if connecting-straps
were just passed, say, underneath the saddle, and attached firmly to
the crupper. This is merely an idea,--but I should like to see it
tested in a practical way.

THE KEMBLE JACKSON is another kind of bit employed very largely in the
States, especially in Kentucky, which is a very horsey district,--one
of the most so, indeed, in America. The Jackson can be used with or
without an upper jaw bit, and has the reins of the check to run through
loops directly _under_ the ears--where some tandem lines go. This has
the effect of giving a lofty carriage to the head, without making the
horse poke his nose as the Carleton does. No noseband is employed with
it, and the wearer can hold his head in handsome position--which is an
immense advantage with a carriage horse, in which up-headedness is an
essential attribute. It is in some points quite before the Carleton,
which latter (if constantly used) imparts absolute rigidity to the
muscles of the neck, and intensifies the evil known as “_ewe_”-neck;
but for helping the trot, and teaching sense to a youngster, the
Carleton beats anything that I have ever seen.



  Abrasion, 275

  Accidents to children, 6

  Adjusting mouthpiece, 74, 87

  Administering ball, 265

  Adonis (hunter), 42

  Age at which to begin to ride, 10

  Age of hunters, 214

  Age symptoms, 321

  Ailments, 271

  Aloes, 263

  Amateur blacksmiths, 322

  Amateur jockeys, 321

  Amateur tailors, 54

  Anecdote of boy on pony, 168

  Anti-rearing bit, 76

  Appliances for young equestrians, 70

  Apron (carriage), 326

  Aspect of stables, 250

  Attitude when driving, 331

  Balance riding, 15, 101

  Bales, 312

  Balling-irons, 264

  Ball mixture, 266

  Balls, 263

  Bandages, 270

  Bandaging, 320

  Bandaging eyes, 269

  Bargains, 188

  Bars of the mouth, 74

  Baulking, 163

  Beans, 246

  Bearing-reins, 329

  Bedding, 258

  Bencraft hames, 327

  Bit and bridoon, 71

  Bitting, 63, 328, 329, 336, 337

  Bleeding, 268

  Blemishes, 41

  Blinds, 255

  Blinkers, 322, 329

  Blistering, 267

  Blood can, 268

  Blood stock, 285

  Bodices, 50

  Boiled barley, 247

  Boiler, 259

  Boiling corn, 243

  Boiling grain, 316

  Bolts (carriage), 326

  Boot for horse, 309

  Boots (for riders), 47, 56, 182

  Boring, 137

  Box stalls, 252

  Breakfast (hunting), 221

  Breaking (alteration of pace), 128, 131

  Breaking in, 293

  Breaking intractable horse, 301

  Breastplates (hunting), 308

  Breeches, 55, 180

  Breeding, 280

  Breeding centres, 216

  Bridle hand, 315

  Bridles, 66

  Bridling, 86

  Broken knees, 277

  Broken wind, 311

  Bronchitis, 271

  Brood Mares, 282

  Brushing, 308

  Buck jumping, 139

  Bungling, 170

  Buxton bit, 328

  Calkins, 234

  Cambridge bit, 71

  Cantering, 101, 132, 135

  Cantering in harness, 330

  Carefulness, 198

  Carriage covering, 326

  Carrying shoe, 228

  Cast under manger, 314

  Cats, 260

  Celluloid, 61, 199

  Chaff, 247

  Chifney bit, 71

  Children mounting, 18

  Children riding, 5

  Chilled water, 248

  Chloroform, 278

  Clearing nostrils, 311

  Clips (carriage), 326

  Clover hay, 247

  Cobs, 209

  Colds, 271

  Colic, 272

  Collar shy, 325

  Collars, 326

  Confidence, 152

  Congested lungs, 271

  Consideration for servants, 124

  Contrast in articles, 192

  Cooked food, 241

  Cooking apparatus, 259

  Coolness in danger, 141

  Cork girl, 65

  Corns, 238, 273

  Corn chest, 258

  Corsets, 201

  Costume for hunting, 180

  Costume for road and park, 44

  Costume for young learner, 18

  Country riding suits, 307

  Coupling reins, 330

  Courtesy, 229

  Covert coats, 185

  Covert hack, 204

  Cow kick, 132

  Cracked heels, 274

  Crib-biting, 319

  Cupboard (stable), 259

  Curb chain (adjusting), 87

  Curry-comb, 313

  Cutting out a single line, 227

  Cutting out riding trousers, 195

  Defective vision, 322

  Demeanour at meet, 223

  Destroying animals, 278

  Diamond (racer), 35

  Diarrhœa, 272

  Diet for foal, 290

  Dishing, 319

  Dispensing with stirrup, 15, 103

  Disquietude in mounting, 143

  Ditch and drain falls, 172

  Docking, 311

  Doctoring, 262

  Doors, 252

  Down jumping, 149

  Draught, 256

  Drinks (physic), 266

  Dropping, 40

  Dumb jockey, 297

  Dwyer curb, 71

  Ear hairs, 313

  Economics, 188

  Educated smiths, 238

  Elbows, 103

  Empress in Cheshire, 70

  Escaping falls, 166

  Exercising youngsters, 311

  Experience with mare in field, 119

  Experiment with a mare, 78

  Fallen trees, 147

  Falling, 166

  Falling on the flat, 175

  False economies, 194

  False quarter, 316

  False refinement, 130

  False teaching, 151

  Farcy, 274

  Fashionable coachmen, 329

  Feeding, 217, 241

  Feeding pail, 288

  Fencing, 149

  Filling feet, 314

  Fire buckets, 257

  Firing, 273

  First class drivers, 332

  Flap reins, 13

  Fleam, 269

  Flies, 311

  Flooring, 251

  Fluid physicking, 266

  Foal bands, 53

  Foal feeding, 288

  Foot fever, 272

  Foot “home,” 100, 325

  Foaling, 286

  Foaling-box, 287

  Fomentations, 270

  Ford crossing, 22

  Fore-legs, 211

  Fractured hoof, 239

  Friction, 268

  Gag-bits, 68, 69

  Galloping, 136

  Gaping, 75

  Getting teams together, 334

  Girthing, 90

  Girths, 85

  Glanders, 271

  Glazing, 255

  Gloves, 47, 258

  Going at a leap, 148

  Going fast at water, 152

  Granary, 258

  Grooming, 313

  Groom’s excuses, 242

  Groom’s bedroom, 260

  Gruel, 247

  Habit-cutting, 320

  Hacks, 203

  Half horned hunting snaffle, 72

  Hames, 326

  Hand galloping, 136

  Hands, 108, 128

  Hanoverian Pelham, 68

  Hat fasteners, 60

  Hats, 47, 186, 199

  Harness rooms, 260

  Haunches, 213

  Hay, 246

  Hayloft, 256

  Heel horn (removing), 235

  Heel opening, 233

  Heels, 236

  Height of hunter, 212

  Helpers, 266

  Hiring horses, 321

  Hocks, 205

  Holding the reins, 107

  Hollow back, 35

  Hoofs, 37

  Horse balls, 264

  Hot fitting, 323

  Hunters, 203, 209

  Hunters in harness, 208, 244

  Hunting, 217

  Hunting breastplate, 308

  Hunting centres, 324

  Hunting colts, 290

  Hunting outfit, 179

  Hunting scarlet, 323

  Hustling, 308

  Idle grooms, 313

  Ignorant officer, 65

  Immersion, 177

  Impure air, 254

  Incidents with Quorn hounds, 126

  Indiarubber reins, 297

  Indiarubber shoes, 237

  Indiarubber soles, 273

  Indigestion, 271

  Inflamed gums, 272

  Inquiring peculiarities, 125

  Inspecting mounts, 123

  Instructing youngsters, 296

  Irish peasants, 4

  Joe Anderson, 35

  Jog trot, 232

  Joint oil, 277

  Judging hunters, 215

  Jumping off a bungler, 170

  Jumping youngsters, 300

  Keeping hold of bridle when down, 176

  Kemble Jackson mouthpiece, 337

  Kickers in hunting-field, 228

  Kicking, 137

  Kicking-strap, 327

  Knee injuries, 277

  Laceration, 276

  Ladies’ horses described, 35-42

  Lampass, 272

  Laxatives, 267

  Leaders, 331, 334

  Leaping, 146

  Learners’ riding costume, 44

  Leg-straps, 302

  Leg-washing, 274

  Level feeding, 257

  Level-seated saddles, 17

  Lever’s West-countryman, 249

  Lice, 313

  “Lifting” at fences, 150

  Light hands, 128

  Lighting (stables), 255

  “Little tricks,” 125

  Liverpool bit, 69

  Lolling out the tongue, 75

  Losing shoes, 228

  Lungeing, 294

  Maddened horse, 145

  Mangers, 257, 314

  Martingales, 77, 78

  Mashes, 248

  Matching horses, 335

  Measurements of food, 244

  Measurements of mouths, 73

  Measuring boiled grain, 315

  Megrim, 321

  Melton mouthpiece, 68

  “Mostly fools,” 169

  Moths, 326

  Mounting, 93-96

  Mounting youngsters, 298

  Mouthpieces, 307

  Mouths, 307

  Mud-fever, 274

  Nagging, 330

  Navicular disease, 272

  Negligence in caring clothes, 197

  Newfoundland feeding, 248

  Newmarket coats, 185

  Nicholl’s patent stirrup, 85, 317

  Night lighting, 257

  Nosebands, 77

  Numbed legs, 321

  Nursing stables, 288

  Oats, 245

  Obnoxious equestrians, 225

  Oculist, 201

  Offside riding, 90

  Opening veins, 278

  Operations, 278

  Outfit for park and road riding, 47

  Overdraw draw check, 336

  Overlooking mount, 123

  Over-reach, 275

  Pad-pony, 13

  Paces, 135

  Pair, driving, 330

  Pasturage for brood mares, 286

  Patent bar, 317

  Pecking, 176

  Peculiarities, 125

  Pelham bit, 68

  Pendulous shoe, 240

  Pests of the hunting-field, 168

  Pets, 249

  Physicking, 263

  Pick-me-ups, 336

  Pilots, 226

  Pinning up, 269

  Pistol, 318

  Pleader (hunter), 22

  Plugs (steel), 322

  Points, 210

  Poking the chin, 73

  Ports, 71

  Position on horseback, 97

  Posts, 251

  Poultices, 270

  Preparation for hunting, 217

  Pressing youngsters, 306

  Price list, 187

  Probing, 276

  Projections, 252

  Propellers, 161

  Pullers, 137

  Pulling up, 133

  Purchasing horses, 33

  Quartern, 323

  Racehorse trotting, 206

  Racing, 298

  Railing hunters, 221

  Rainproof garments, 61

  Rarey bit, 295

  Rasping hoofs, 234

  Rearing, 140

  Rearing bit, 76

  Refusers, 158, 164

  Reining back, 133

  Reins, their uses, 107, 114

  Restlessness, 311

  Rick in the back, 316

  Riding-habits, 48

  Riding hats, etc., 199

  Riding masters, 27

  Riding to Courtown, 25

  Riding to covert, 222

  Ringbone, 271

  Rising in saddle, 102

  Road riding, 122

  Roaring, 271

  Roguery, 160

  Rolling clear, 170

  Roofing, 251

  Ropebiting, 315

  Rules of the field, 272

  Rules of the road, 134

  Running away, 143, 328

  Saddle-bar (Born’s), 84

  Saddle-cloths, 85

  Saddle fitting, 84

  Saddle-galls, 275

  Saddle measurements, 84

  Saddling, 80, 88

  Saddling youngsters, 298

  Safety pad, 13

  Safety stirrups, 85

  Salt in manger, 320

  Sash windows, 254

  Sawmouth bridoon, 309

  Schooling, 151

  School teaching, 147

  Screw leaping head, 84

  Seated shoe, 321

  Secrets of leaping, 149

  Segundo bit, 68

  Self-teaching, 275

  Selecting a mount, 29, 32

  Sending by road, 221

  Servants, teaching, 28, 99

  Setting off, 127

  Sewarrow, 56, 317

  Shaft-tugs, 327

  Sheep’s horn shoes, 237

  Shifting saddle, 229

  Shoeing, 231

  Shoeing nervous horse, 309

  Shoes (to last), 323

  Shooting, 278

  “Show” in driving, 332

  Shying, 142

  Silk under clothing, 199

  Sires, 282

  Situation (of stable), 250

  Skirt without hem, 199

  Slings, 269

  Sluggish, 329

  “Slummucking,” 150

  Smiths, 238

  Snaffles, 66, 67

  Soft mashes, 264

  Sole paring, 233

  Sore throat, 271

  Speed for team, 335

  Splint, 273

  Spurs, 317, 318

  Spurs, their uses, 121, 140

  Stable forks, 323

  Stabling, 256

  Staking, 276

  Stall measurements, 252

  Stalls, 252

  Stanhope bit, 68

  Starting youngsters, 244

  Stirrups, 85

  Stockings, 180

  Stumbling, 142

  Straw, 258

  Suitability of hunting-field for ladies, 224

  Supply of hay, 323

  Surface drains, 251

  Sutures, 269

  Swollen legs, 273

  Taking tired horses home, 128

  Taming, 303

  Tandem, 331

  Team driving, 332, 335

  Team practice, 334

  Team standing, 334

  Temperature of food, 243

  Temperature of stables, 253, 323

  Thorn-fencing, 156

  Three-quarter shoe, 273

  Throwing up the arm, 164

  Thrush, 273

  Tidiness, 198

  Timber jumping, 153

  Timidity, 160

  Timidity in riding, 30

  Tips (shoes), 236

  Toepieces, 234

  Tongue over the mouthpiece, 73

  Training, 292

  Training hunters to follow, 216

  Trap-door, 256

  Trappings for colt, 295

  Trappy jumping, 154

  Trappy obstacles, 153

  Travelling saddle, 314

  Treatment after hunting, 229

  Treatment after physic, 266

  Treatment of tired hunters, 229

  Trotting, 129

  Trousers, 54, 182

  Turning corners, 120

  Twitch, 264

  Underclothing, 57

  Unknowing ones, 324

  Up-jumping, 154

  Upland hay, 246

  Upper jaw bit, 336

  Uses of the whip, 119

  Valise (to carry), 220

  Variety in feeding, 248

  Vegetable diet, 246

  Veils, 59

  Ventilation, 253

  Veterinary quacks, 311

  Vices, 137

  Vicious horses, 115

  Voice, 114

  Walking paces, 127

  Wall-licking, 321

  Walls, 248, 251

  Washing silk articles, 200

  Waste in stables, 245

  Water for hunters, 222

  Water-jumping, 155

  Water ponds, 260

  Water pots, 258

  Water stains, 326

  Weaning, 289

  Weighty shoes, 234

  Wheelers, 330, 334

  Whips, 59

  Whistling, 271

  Width of mouthpiece, 75

  Wielding whip, 333

  Windows, 254

  Wisdom in riding, 227

  Wisping, 274

  Worms, 271

  Wounds, 276

  Yards, 257

  Yearlings, 291

  Youngsters in leading reins, 149








(_For Specimen see Frontispiece._)





At 30 per cent. less than West End prices.

ESTAB. 1839. N. THIERRY. ESTAB. 1839.

[Illustration: Ladies’ Riding-Boots, All Patent Leather, =52s.=]

[Illustration: Ladies’ Riding-Boots, All Patent Leather, =50s.=]

The Largest Stock and Largest Sale in England of




  48, GRESHAM ST., & 131, FENCHURCH ST., E.C.
  MANCHESTER, 2, St. Ann’s Square. LIVERPOOL, 5, Bold Street.




  Button or Lace                            16/6
  Do. do. Polish, Louis XV. Heels,          21/-
  Do. Alpine or Tourist,            23/- to 25/-


  Oxford Tie Morocco, 10/6; Glacé,          12/6
  Do. do. Glacé Kid, Louis XV. Heels,       17/6
  Patent Dress Court Shoes                   7/6

A LARGE STOCK of Children’s Boots and Shoes, very durable and
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PLEASE NOTE!--70, Quadrant, Regent Street, as there is another house
same name in the street.

“_The most noted firm of Ladies’ Tailors in the world, and be it said
the most original._”--COURT JOURNAL.


By Special Appointments to

Her Majesty the Queen.

H.R.H. the Princess of Wales.

H.R. and I.H. the Duchess of Edinburgh.

H.R.H. the Princess Louise.

H.R.H. the Princess Mary of Teck.

By Special Appointments to

H.I.M. the Empress of Russia.

H.M. the Queen of Denmark.

H.M. the Queen of Portugal.

H.R.H. the Duchess of Connaught.

H.R.H. the Princess Beatrice.








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In Demy 4to. Thirty Plates and Map, £2 2_s._





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In Imperial 16mo. Uniform with “Riding,” “Hindu Mythology,” and “Riding
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BY R. A. STERNDALE, F.R.G.S., F.Z.S., &c.




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  “Has contrived to hit a happy mean between the stiff scientific
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  “The very model of what a popular natural history should



(_Reduced from Original._)


Oblong Imperial 4to. 16_s._


A Series of Sketches of Wild Animals,





     I.--Denizens of the Jungles. Aborigines--Deer--Monkeys.

    II.--“On the Watch.” Tiger.

   III.--“Not so Fast Asleep as he Looks.” Panther--Monkeys.

    IV.--“Waiting for Father.” Black Bears of the Plains.

     V.--“Rival Monarchs.” Tiger and Elephant.

    VI.--“Hors de Combat.” Indian Wild Boar and Tiger.

   VII.--“A Race for Life.” Blue Bull and Wild Dogs.

  VIII.--“Meaning Mischief.” The Gaur--Indian Bison.

    IX.--“More than His Match.” Buffalo and Rhinoceros.

     X.--“A Critical Moment.” Spotted Deer and Leopard.

    XI.--“Hard Hit.” The Sambur.

   XII.--“Mountain Monarchs.” Marco Polo’s Sheep.

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  “The Volume is well got up and the Drawings are spirited and
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_Seventh Edition. Enlarged. Cloth, gilt._ 10_s._ 6_d._

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  throughout, the verses are characterised by high animal spirits,
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Uniform with “Lays of Ind,” “Riding,” &c. 10_s._ 6_d._







_Illustrated by very numerous Engravings from Drawings by Native


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  from prejudice or theological bias. To help to completeness he has
  included a number of drawings of the principal deities, executed
  by native artists. The author has attempted a work of no little
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  great interest and usefulness; and not the less so because he has
  strictly refrained from diluting his facts with comments of his own.
  It has numerous illustrations.”--_Home News._

  “Mr. Wilkins has done his work well, with an honest desire to state
  facts apart from all theological prepossession, and his volume is
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  “In Mr. Wilkins’ book we have an illustrated manual, the study of
  which will lay a solid foundation for more advanced knowledge, while
  it will furnish those who may have the desire, without having the
  time or opportunity to go further into the subject, with a really
  extensive stock of accurate information.”--_Indian Daily News._

In Imperial 16mo., uniform with “Lays of Ind,” “Riding,” “Riding for
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An Indian Naturalist’s Foreign Policy.



[Illustration: TIFFIN.]

This remarkably clever work most graphically and humorously describes
the surroundings of a Mofussil bungalow. The twenty chapters embrace
a year’s experiences, and provide endless sources of amusement and
suggestion. The numerous able illustrations add very greatly to the
interest of the volume, which will find a place on every table.


      I. A Durbar.
     II. The Rats.
    III. The Mosquitos.
     IV. The Lizards.
      V. The Ants.
     VI. The Crows.
    VII. The Bats.
   VIII. Bees, Wasps, et hoc genus omne.
     IX. The Spiders.
      X. The Butterfly: Hunting Him.
     XI. The Butterfly: Contemplating Him.
    XII. The Frogs.
   XIII. The Bugs.
    XIV. The Birds of the Garden.
     XV. The Birds at the Mango Tope.
    XVI. The Birds at the Tank.
   XVII. The Poultry Yard.
  XVIII. The White Ants.
    XIX. The Hypodermatikosyringophoroi.
     XX. Etcetera.

  “Always amusing and never dull.”--_Field._

  “Full of accurate and unfamiliar observation.”--_Saturday Review._

  “Has the advantage of needing no preliminary knowledge of Natural
  History for its enjoyment.”--_Westminster Review._

_Imperial 16mo._ 18_s._ 0_d._

Uniform with “Lays of Ind,” “Hindu Mythology,” “Riding,” “Natural
History of the Mammalia of India,” &c.







  “It is the first special book of portable size and moderate price
  which has been devoted to Indian Ferns, and is in every way deserving
  of the extensive circulation it is sure to obtain.”--_Nature_, June
  14th, 1883.

  “I have just seen a new work on Indian Ferns which will prove vastly
  interesting, not only to the Indian people, but to the botanists of
  this country.”--_Indian Daily News._

  “‘The Ferns of India.’ This is a good book, being of a useful and
  trustworthy character. The species are familiarly described, and most
  of them illustrated by small figures.”--_Gardeners’ Chronicle._

  “Those interested in botany will do well to procure a new work on
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  text-book.”--_Free Press._


Uniform with “RIDING FOR LADIES.”

_Second Edition. Revised and Enlarged. Imperial 16mo. 10s. 6d._



A Guide to Practical Horsemanship.




  _Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News._--“The book is one that no
  man who has ever sat in a saddle can fail to read with interest.”

  _The Field._--“The general directions are in most cases in accordance
  with our own opinions; and Mr. Hayes has supplemented his own
  experience of race-riding by resorting to Tom Cannon, Fordham, and
  other well-known jockeys for illustration. ‘The Guide’ is, on the
  whole, thoroughly reliable; and both the illustrations and the
  printing do credit to the publishers.”

  _The Sporting Life._--“It has, however, been reserved for Captain
  Hayes to write what in our opinion will be generally accepted as the
  most comprehensive, enlightened, and ‘all round’ work on riding,
  bringing to bear as he does not only his own great experience, but
  the advice and practice of many of the best recognised horsemen of
  the period.”

In Imperial 16mo. Illustrated. 8_s._ 6_d._








  “The book is full of racy anecdote.... He is well known as
  an authority on everything connected with the horse and
  horse-racing.”--_Bell’s Life_.

  “All sportsmen who can appreciate a book on racing, written in a
  chatty style and full of anecdote, will like Captain Hayes’ latest

  “The book is valuable from the fact that many hints on the treatment
  of horses are included.”--_Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News_.

  “Many a racing anecdote and many a curious character our readers will
  find in the book, which is very well got up, embellished with many
  portraits.”--_Baily’s Magazine_.

Second Edition, in Crown 8vo, Illustrated. 10_s._ 6_d._






  _Saturday Review._--“The work is written in a clear and practical

  _The Field._--“Of the many popular veterinary books which have come
  under our notice, this is certainly one of the most scientific and
  reliable. The author tells us, in the preface to the first edition,
  that any merit which the book may possess is to be ascribed to the
  teaching of the Principal and Professors of the New Veterinary
  College at Edinburgh, where he studied. It is much to be desired that
  every student would make so much use of his opportunities as Capt.
  Hayes has done.

  “Some notice is accorded to nearly all the diseases which are common
  to horses in this country, and the writer takes advantage of his
  Indian experiences to touch upon several maladies of horses in that
  country, where veterinary surgeons are few and far between. The
  description of symptoms and the directions for the application of
  remedies are given in perfectly plain terms, which the tyro will
  find no difficulty in comprehending; and, for the purpose of further
  smoothing his path, a chapter is given on veterinary medicines, their
  actions, uses, and doses. This information will be most acceptable to
  the majority of horse-owners, and may be invaluable on an emergency
  when no advice better than that of the village cow doctor can be

Crown 8vo. 7_s._ 6_d._





[Illustration: NAGA WOMAN.]

This book aims at conveying to all interested in India and the Tea
industry an entertaining and useful account of the topographical
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European Resident; the trying Climate; the Daily Life of the planter;
and general details of the formation and working of Tea Gardens.

The illustrations, by the Author, add greatly to the interest of the

[Illustration: ASSAMESE.]

  “Mr. Barker has supplied us with a very good and readable
  description, accompanied by numerous illustrations drawn by himself.
  What may be called the business parts of the book are of most
  value.”--_Contemporary Review._

  “Cheery, well-written little book.”--_Graphic._

  “A very interesting and amusing book, artistically illustrated from
  sketches drawn by the Author.”--_Mark Lane Express._

Fourth Edition, Crown 8vo. (_in preparation_).








_Editor of “The Indian Agriculturist.”_



  Chap. I.--Climate--Soils--Manures.

  Chap. II.--Laying-out a Garden--Lawns--Hedges--Hoeing
  and Digging--Drainage--Conservatories--Betel

  Chap. III.--Seeds--Seed Sowing--Pot
  Culture--Planting--Cuttings--Layers--Gootee--Grafting and
  Inarching--Budding--Pruning and Root Pruning--Conveyance.

  Chap. IV.--Calendar of Operations.




  1. Culinary Vegetables.

  2. Dessert Fruits.

  3. Edible Nuts.

  4. Ornamental Annuals.

  5. Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Perennials.

Crown 8vo. 7_s._ 6_d._






1. Origin and Character of Soils.--2. Ploughing and Preparing for
Seed.--3. Manures and Composts.--4. Wheat Cultivation.--5. Barley.--6.
Oats.--7. Rye.--8. Rice.--9. Maize.--10. Sugar-producing Sorghums.--11.
Common Sorghums.--12. Sugarcane.--13. Oil Seed.--14. Field Pea
Crops.--15. Dall or Pulse.--16. Root Crops.--17. Cold Spice.--18.
Fodder.--19. Water-Nut.--20. Ground-Nut.--21. Rush-Nut or Chufas.--22.
Cotton.--23. Tobacco.--24. Mensuration.--Appendix.



  “The work seems to us both in thoroughness of execution and in
  clearness of arrangement entirely to fulfil all the hopes that
  have been formed of it. We cannot doubt that the Government will
  heartily take up this most valuable book, and circulate it both in
  the original and vernacular translations throughout the length and
  breadth of the land; nor should a moment be lost, for it represents
  one of the most important and most promising lines on which we can
  meet that terrible Malthusian difficulty.”--_Allen’s Indian Mail._

  “A work of extreme practical value.”--_Home News._

  “Mr. Pogson’s advice may be profitably followed by both native and
  European agriculturists, for it is eminently practical and devoid of
  empiricism. His little volume embodies the teaching of a large and
  varied experience, and deserves to be warmly supported.”--_Madras

Complete in One Volume, 10_s._; Interleaved, 11_s._











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Third Edition, Revised.

Training and Horse Management in India.


Author of “Veterinary Notes for Horse Owners,” “Riding,” &c. Third
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  “No better guide could be placed in the hands of either amateur
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Prepared for the use of the Survey Department of India, and published
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Royal 8vo. 30_s._ 0_d._


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One Vol. Small 8vo. 5_s._ 0_d._



Annals of India retold in Narratives.


Forms a complete History of India from the earliest period to the
present day, drawn up as a series of “Narratives” for general reading
in schools and families. So far it will resemble the history of
Scotland as told in Sir Walter Scott’s “Tales of a Grandfather,”
omitting all details and disquisitions which are sufficiently given
in the author’s larger histories of India, and seeking to tell the
progress of events in the most simple and attractive manner.

Reviews of Wheeler’s ‘Tales from Indian History.’

  “While the work has been written for them (natives), it has also
  been written for the people of England, who will find in the volume,
  perhaps for the first time, the history of our great dependency made
  extremely attractive reading. Mr. Wheeler’s narrative is written in
  a most graceful style; indeed, he is master of the English language.
  He does not confine himself to the mere dry details of history,
  but tells the adventures of Indian heroes and heroines in legends
  of love and war; describes the village communities of India, their
  organization and self-government; delineates the results of caste,
  infant marriage, and other Hindoo institutions and usages as seen in
  the family and social life of the people in villages and towns, as
  well as in courts and palaces.... The work also contains valuable
  observations on the foreign relations of the Indian Empire with
  Persia, Russia, Turkey, and China. Altogether this is a work of rare
  merit.”--_Broad Arrow._

  “In going through an interesting book, the reader will be furnished
  with a good general notion of Indian history, and learn besides
  something about Indian modes of life.”--_Queen._

  “Will absorb the attention of all who delight in thrilling records of
  adventure and daring. It is no mere compilation, but an earnest and
  brightly-written book.”--_Daily Chronicle._

  “This little volume contains a history of India in the form of tales
  and narratives, intended by the author for the people of India as
  well as for those of the British Isles.”--_Army and Navy Gazette._

  “No young reader who revolts at the ordinary history presented to him
  in his school books will hesitate to take up this. No one can read a
  volume such as this without being deeply interested.”--_Scotsman._

ENTIRELY RE-WRITTEN. Eighth Edition. Crown 8vo. 10_s._ 6_d._






_Surgeon-Major Bengal Establishment_.

Second Edition; being the Eighth Edition of GOODEVE’S “Hints on the
Management of Children in India.”

  _Dr. Goodeve._--“I have no hesitation in saying that the present
  edition is for many reasons superior to its predecessors. It is
  written very carefully, and with much knowledge and experience on the
  author’s part, whilst it possesses the great advantage of bringing up
  the subject to the present level of Medical Science.”

  _The Medical Times and Gazette_, in an article upon this work
  and Moore’s “Family Medicine for India,” says:--“New editions of
  these two well-known works have recently appeared. They are both
  intended to supply in some measure the medical wants of our numerous
  countrymen in India, who may be either far from professional
  help in emergencies of sickness or of accident, or destitute of
  medical advice regarding the proper management of their own health,
  and especially that of their children, in the trying climate of
  Hindostan. Although we are, as a rule, very much opposed to popular
  medical instruction, believing that the result is most frequently
  a minimum of serviceable knowledge along with a vast preponderance
  of what is but partial, misleading, and dangerous, yet the peculiar
  circumstances of many of our countrymen in India, together with the
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  the publication of a few trustworthy popular works to warn the unwary
  new-comer, before it be too late, of the dangers he has to encounter,
  and to give judicious counsel to solitary individuals and families
  who cannot enjoy the advantages of personal professional advice.
  Moreover, the two works before us are in themselves probably about
  the best examples of medical works written for non-professional
  readers. The style of each is simple, and as free as possible from
  technical expressions. The modes of treatment recommended are
  generally those most likely to yield good results in the hands
  of laymen; and throughout each volume the important fact is kept
  constantly before the mind of the reader, that the volume he is using
  is but a poor substitute for personal professional advice, for which
  it must be discarded whenever there is the opportunity. Written with
  such objects, and in such a spirit, these volumes cannot fail to be
  of the greatest service; and that they are appreciated is shown by
  the rapid appearance of successive editions, the second mentioned and
  elder treatise having now reached the seventh edition. We would add,
  that although they are specially written for lay readers, there are
  few young medical officers proceeding to India who would not receive
  several useful hints from these unpretentious volumes. But it is to
  parents or to the guardians of European children in India that they
  must be of pre-eminent service.”

_Published Annually, in Thick Royal 8vo., Price £1 16s._




The whole of India and Burmah.


  “The fact that this work, originally known as the ‘Directory of
  Bengal,’ has now reached its 24th annual issue, is sufficient
  to recommend it to all those who are brought into contact, in a
  military, civil, or commercial sense, with the civilization and
  intelligence of our Eastern dependencies. No longer confined to the
  narrow limits of Bengal, Messrs. Thacker furnish us with complete
  and detailed information respecting not only Calcutta, but also the
  citizens of Bombay and Madras. The parts which relate to the yearly
  almanac, public holidays, stamps, telegraphs, and customs are pretty
  much one and the same; but in most other matters we have before us
  separate and distinct information as to the various departments of
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  societies and hospitals, clubs, railways, and companies. There
  is also a separate Army list, we note, for each of the three
  Presidencies. The alphabetical list of residents, comprising as it
  does a full record of all those of our countrymen who have taken up
  their permanent abodes in any of the Indian Presidencies, will be
  found of the greatest use to those in England who have lost all clue
  to their relatives and friends in the far East and wish to discover
  their whereabouts.”--Aug. 28, 1886.


  “Before everything, the volume before us is in reality what it
  professes to be--a Directory for India. Besides an enormous mass of
  information of the purely Directory kind, which must have taken a
  world of labour to collect and collate, the volume comprises complete
  Army Lists for Bengal, Madras, and Bombay, including the Volunteers;
  lists of officers in the various Government Departments; lists of
  the Tea, Indigo, Coffee, and other estates in the country; and
  much valuable information regarding the Telegraphs, Postal Rules,
  Law Courts, Charities, and a host of other subjects. Nothing more
  strikingly represents the change that has come over India in recent
  years than this great Directory.”


  “The Directory now includes every district and principal town in
  British and Foreign India, every Native State, and in fact aims
  at being a directory to the whole of India. It contains separate
  classified and street directories of each of the cities of Calcutta,
  Bombay, and Madras, a remarkably comprehensive and detailed Mofussil
  Directory, and a vast amount of general information relating to
  India, its Government, commerce, postal arrangements, festivals,
  and official establishments.... The expansion of the work will be
  welcomed as a response to the growing requirements of commerce with








IN DEMY 8vo.


With One Hundred and Seventy Illustrations.

A Complete Guide to all those features which require attention when
purchasing Horses, distinguishing mere defects from the symptoms of
unsoundness, with explicit instructions how to conduct an examination
of the various parts.


    II.--Defects which are Absolute Unsoundness.
   III.--Defects which are not necessarily Unsoundness.
    IV.--Method of Examination.
     V.--How to Handle a Horse.
    VI.--Examination of the Mouth.
   VII.--Examination of the Eyes.
  VIII.--Examination of the Head, Neck, and Trunk.
    IX.--Examination of the Limbs.





Describing the Points in which the perfection of each class of Horses
consists; illustrated by very numerous reproductions of Photographs of
Living Typical Animals, forming an invaluable Guide to Owners of Horses.


105, 107, & 109, OXFORD ST., W.



Established in the Reign of King George the Fourth.

  “Henry Heath, of 105, 107, and 109, Oxford Street, has a very
  sensible invention in the shape of a soft-banded hat for riding. The
  painful sensation experienced from the pressure of the usual hard hat
  is quite obviated in the hat manufactured by Henry Heath.”--Vide _The

  “The Hunting Hats made by this Firm deserve commendation.”--Vide _The
  Queen_, Nov. 21, 1885.

Prices 10s. 6d., 12s. 6d., 16s., 18s. 6d., &c.

In all Colours, to match Habit.


  “One of the chief features of Mr. Henry Heath’s manufactory, at
  105-107-109, Oxford Street, is that hats are exactly fitted to the
  heads of the customer. This is ensured by a very ingenious patented
  invention in the shape of a soft metal band, which takes the form as
  well as the size of the head.”

_Post-free upon application._

[Illustration: HENRY HEATH



[Illustration: Lady’s Tropical Hat

No. 150.

Henry Heath

Prices 21s., 25s., &c.]




Mrs. POWER O’DONOGHUE, the most modern authority on female equitation,
are cut on the most improved Safety Principle, and are unsurpassed for
Fit, Style, and Durability.

A List of their Reasonable Charges will be sent on application.

The Latest Novelties in Tailor-Made Costumes, Coats, and Jackets.

Thomas & Sons, Tailors and Habit Makers,


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes.

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by =equals
signs=. Variant spelling, punctuation, and inconsistent hyphenation
have been preserved as printed; simple typographical errors have been
corrected. The following list shows the changed text below the original

  Table of Contents:
  Introduction ix
  Introduction xi

  Page xi:

  Page 45:
  subject with which it is engaged.
  subject with which it is engaged

  Page 60:
  in a tranverse direction
  in a transverse direction

  Page 155:
  there in nothing more conducive
  there is nothing more conducive

  Page 160:
  for ladies fo ride
  for ladies to ride

  Illustration 216-f (full-page):

  Page 245:
  An excellant sample
  An excellent sample

  Page 283:
  most carefully weighed.
  most carefully weighed

  Page 292:
  shy, nervous, and rething
  shy, nervous, and retiring

  Page 351:
  Specialite Habit Makers
  Specialité Habit Makers

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translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.