« ZurückWeiter »
DIFFERENT BREEDS OF HORSES. It was not until twenty-four years after this, when the famine devastated Canaan, and Jacob sent into Egypt to buy corn, that horses are first heard of. Waggons," probably carriages drawn by horses, were sent by Joseph into Canaan to bring his father to Egypt. It would seem, however, that horses had been but lately introduced, or not used as beasts of burden; for the whole of the corn, which was to be conveyed some hundred miles, and was to afford sustenance for Jacob's large household, was carried on asses. Gen. xiv. 19.
About the year 1740, before Christ, is the period when horses appear to have been used first in Egypt. They appear, however, to have rapidly increased and spread abroad; for when the Israelites returned into Canaan, the Canaanites went out to fight against Israel with chariots and horsemen very many.
The sacred volume seems therefore to decide the important point, that the first domestication of the horse was in Egypt. Another point also, it decides, that Arabia by whose breed of horses those of other countries have been so much improved, was not the native place of the horse. 600 years after the time just referred to, Arabia had no horses. Solomon imported silver, gold, and spices from Arabia, 2 Chron. ix. 14, but all the horses for his own cavalry and chariots he procured from Egypt. 2 Chron. i. 17. In this place, it is mentioned that a horse brought from Egypt cost 150 shekels of silver, which at two shillings threepence, and one half farthing each, amount to about £17,2s. sterling, an enormous price for those days.
The horses of Arabia itself, and of the southeastern parts of Europe are clearly derived from Egypt; but whether they were there bred or imported from the southwestern regions of Asia, or, as is more probable, brought from the interior or northern coasts of Africa, cannot with certainty be determined.
DIFFERENT BREEDS OF HORSES.
It has been stated in the preceding section, that the earliest records of the horse trace him to Egypt, as the country where he was domesticated; but as it is probable that he was derived from the neighbouring and interior districts of Africa, in giving an account of the most celebrated and useful breeds of different countries, it is natural to begin with those of Africa.
BARB. At the head of the African breeds, and, perhaps, at the head of all other breeds, may be placed the Barb from Barbary, and particu. larly from Morocco and Fez, an animal remarkable for its fine and graceful action. It is rather lower than the Arabian, seldom exceeding fourteen hands and an inch. The shoulders are flat, the chest round, the joints inclined to be long, and the head particularly beautiful. The Barb is decidedly superior to the Arab in form, but has not his spirit, or speed or countenance.
The Barb has chiefly contributed to the excellence of the Spanish horse; and, when the improvement of the breed of horses began to be systematically pursued in Great Britain, the Barb was very early introduced. The Godolphin Arabian, as he is called, of whom we here pre
DIFFERENT BREEDS OF HORSES.
sent our readers with a cut, and who was the origin of some of the best English racing blood, was a Barb; and others of their most celebrated turf-horses, trace their descent from African mares.
The Godolphin Arabian. As to the manner in which the above horse was introduced into England, different accounts have been given. According to one writer, his introduction was by means of a Col. Coke, an Englishman of fortune and education, who on account of several crimes was obliged to flee from England, and during his absence, travelled into Syria, and thence into Arabia.
In this latter country, he accidentally heard of the above horse, which it was stated, belonged to a certain "'Sheik.” He visited the Sheik, but was unable to purchase him, on account of the great value put upon him. He contrived, however, to steal him-made his escape-reached Damietta, a seaport near the mouth of the Nile, whence he sailed with the horse, and took up his residence in France, until he could appear in England, and be restored to his family.
The Earl of Godolphin was, at this time, prime minister of England. To him Coke addressed several letters, but his Lordship paid no attention to them. At length, by some means, Coke discovered that his Lordship at that season of the year, was aflícted with the gout; and daily took an airing in his carriage in Hyde Park, London-he wrote to his Lordship, that at a particular time, and place, in said Park, he would see a man, (describing his stature and dress, riding a beautiful brown horse, which he also described, having his off heel behind white,) who had no designs whatever on his person, but on the contrary a great friendship for him, who wished to have an interview with him, and that when his Lordship in his next ride saw him, he the said Coke, would take it as a particular favor, if his Lordship would direct his outriders to withdraw, so that the interview as aforesaid might be effected.
* American Farmer, vol. 9. p. 134.
DIFFERENT BREEDS OF HORSES.
The next day Lord Godolphin took his usual jaunt-at the place and time appointed he saw Col. Coke, who, after the withdrawal of the outriders, rode up to his Lordship’s carriage, and after making his obeisance asked him respecting the receipt of his former letters; his Lordship answered in the affirmative.
Col. Coke immediately dismounted, and made his Lordship another low bow, and in a very condescending manner told him, that from hearing of his Lordships very great partiality for being possessed of the finest horses in the kingdom, he, after travelling several years in Arabia, had brought over the very finest and best bred horse in the whole world, as a present for him.
Lord Godolphin very politely refused the present, alleging that it would be entirely inconsistent with his dignity and station, to accept of so very valuable a present, (which must have cost an immense sum to procure,) from an entire stranger.
His Lordship, after a minute inspection of the horse, pronounced him to be the very finest and best looking Arabian horse, he ever saw, or had been brought into England, and if Çol, Coke, as he styled himself
, at that time, would part with the horse, he would give him a blank check upon the Bank of England, which he, Coke, might fill up with any sum he pleased.
Col. Coke told his Lordship that he never would sell the horsealleging, at the same time, that he, with great difficulty, labor, and expense, and after travelling in Arabia upwards of three years, procured ihe horse for the express purpose of presenting to his Lordship, on his arrival in England-he further said, that if his Lordship would not accept him, he would not part with him to any other person. Lord Godolphin was inexorable.
Col. Coke solicited his Lordship again and again, without success, until Coke's entreaties, after a very considerable time became so very urgent, that, at length, Lord Godolphin accepted of this very Arabian, as the greatest present of the animal creation in the world.
After his Lordship had presented his compliments to Coke, he told him, if he could in any way whatever serve him, he would do it with a great deal of pleasure.
About this time, by means (it was supposed) of the servants of Col. C.'s relations hearing his name frequently mentioned in their respective families, and no doubt with a view of receiving the reward of “ 150 guineas," which government had formerly offered for his apprehension, they lodged information against him and he was arrested for his former offences, and committed to prison; he wrote to Lord Godolphin (discovering to him who he was, and his real name) to intercede in his behalf with his Majesty, who ordered a writ of “nolle prosequi" to be issued, saying that Col. C. was an innocent man, and could not be the same person who committed the felonious acts, for which he fled from England.
Colonel Coke was immediately restored to his former rank, and his family.
It will be perceived that if the foregoing account were true, this celebrated horse could not be a Barb. It seems probable, therefore, from the testimony of others, that the above writer labored under some mistake, for we find it asserted by high authority, (American Farmer, Vol. VIII.
page 215) that he was in reality a Barb--a horse of the desert. His color was entire brown bay, with mottles on the buttocks and crest, except a small streak of white upon the hinder heels. He was imported into France, from some capital or royal stud in Barbary, whence it was suspected he was stolen, and said to have been foaled in 1724. So little was he valued in France, that he was actually employed in the drudgery of drawing a cart in the streets of Paris. Mr. Coke brought him over from France, and gave him to Williams, master of St. James' Coffee House, who presented him to the Earl of Godolphin.
From still higher authority, (Library of useful Knowledge, Farmer's Series, No. 2, page 48,) we learn that he was picked up in France where he was actually employed in drawing a cart, and when
he was afterwards presented to Lord Godolphin, he was in that nobleman's stud a considerable time before his value was discovered. It was not until the birth of Lath, one of the first horses of that period, that his excellence began to be appreciated. He was then styled an Arabian, and was in higher estimation than even the Darley, the founder of the modern thorough-bred horses. He died in 1753, at the age of 29.
To this account, it is added, that an intimate friendship subsisted between him and a cat, which either sat on his back when he was in the stable, or nestled as closely to him as she could. At his death the cat refused her food-pined away, and soon died. Mr. Holcroft gives a similar relation of the attachment between a race-horse and a cat, which the courser would take in his mouth, and place in his manger and upon his back, without hurting her.
The DONGOLA HORSE. The kingdom of Dongola, and the neighboring districts of Egypt, and Abyssinia, contain a horse not at all like any other oriental.
The Dongola horses stand full sixteen hands high, but the length of the body, from the shoulders to the quarter, is considerably less. Their form, therefore, is opposite to that of the Arabian or English thoroughbred, which are longer by some inches than they are high. The neck is long and slender, the crest fine, and the withers sharp and high, giving a beautiful fore-hand; but the breast is too narrow, the quarters and flanks too flat, and the back carped. They constitute excellent war-horses, from their speed, durability, and size. Several of them have been lately imported into Europe, but they are little valued.
The ARABIAN. Going further eastward we arrive at Arabia, whose horses deservedly occupy the very highest rank.
There are said to be three breeds or varieties of Arabian horses:--the Altecki, or inferior breed, on which they set little value, and which are found wild on some parts of the deserts; the Kadischi, literally horses of an unknown race, answering to our half bred horses a mixed breed; and the Kotchlani, horses whose genealogy, according to the Arab account, is known for two thousand years,
The Arabian horse would not be acknowledged by every judge to possess a perfect form: his head, however, is inimitable. The broadness and squareness of the forehead, the shortness and firmness of the muzzle, the prominency and brilliancy of the eye, the smallness of the ears, and the beautiful course of the veins, will always characterize the head of the Arabian horse.
His body may be considered as too light, and his chest as too narrow;
but behind the arms, the barrel generally swells out, and leaves sufficient room for the play of the lungs.
In the formation of the shoulder, next to that of the head, the Arab is superior to any other breed. The withers are high, and the shoulderblade inclined backward, and so nicely adjusted, that in descending a hill the point or edge of the ham never ruffles the skin. He may not be thought sufficiently high; he seldom stands more than fourteen hands and two inches.
The fineness of his legs, and the oblique position of his pasterns, may be supposed to lessen his apparent strength; but the leg, although small
, is flat and wiry : anatomists know that the bone has no common density, and the starting muscles of the fore-arm and the thigh indicate that he is fully capable of accomplishing many of the feats, which are recorded of him.
The Barb alone excels him in noble and spirited action; and if there be defects about him, he is perfect, for that for which he was designed. He presents the true combination of speed and bottom-strength enough to carry more than a light weight, and courage that would cause him to die rather than give up.
Several interesting anecdotes are related of the Arabian. A few of these may not be unacceptable to our readers. When the Arab falls from his mare, observes a writer, and is unable to rise, she will immediately stand still, and neigh until assistance arrives. If he lies down to sleep, as fatigue sometimes compels him, in the midst of the desert, she stands watchful over him, and neighs and rouses him if either man or beast approaches. An old Arab had a valuable mare that had carried him for fifteen years in many a hard fought battle, and in many a rapid weary march; at length, eighty years old, and unable longer to ride her, he gave her, and a scimitar that had been his father's, to his eldest son, and told him to appreciate their value, and never lie down to rest until he had rubbed them both as bright as a looking-glass. In the first skirmish in which the young man was engaged he was killed, and the mare fell into the han of the enemy. When the news reached the old man, he exclaimed that “life was no longer worth preserving, for he had lost both his son and his mare, and he grieved for one as much as the other;" and he immediately sickened and died.*
The following anecdote of the attachment of an Arab to his mare has often been told, but it comes home to the bosom of every one possessed of common feeling. _“The whole stock of an Arab of the desert consisted of a mare. The French consul offered to purchase her in order to send her to his sovereign, Louis XIV. The Arab would have rejected the proposal at once with indignation and scorn; but he was miserably poor. He had no means of supplying his most urgent wants, or procuring the barest necessaries of life. Still he hesitated ;-he had scarcely a rag to cover him--and his wife and his children were starving, The sum offered was great,-it would provide him and his family with food for life. At length, and reluctantly, he consented. He brought the mare to the dwelling of the consul, --he dismounted, -he stood leaning upon her; he looked now at the gold, and then at his favorite; he sighed, he wept. (To whom is it,' said he, 'I am going to yield thee up? To Europeans, who will tie thee close,—who will beat thee,—who will ren
* Smith on Breeding p. 80.