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CRITERIA, AGE, &c. OF HORSES. below, and seems to have only the skin upon the bones. The lips are soft and easy to turn up with the hand.
All horses are marked in the same manner, but some naturally and others artificially. The natural mark is called begue; and some ignorant persons imagine such horses are marked all their lives ; because for many years they find a little hole, or a kind of void in the middle of the separaters and corner teeth ; but when the tusks are grown round, as well within as without, and the teeth point forward, there is room to conjecture, in proportion as they advance from year to year, what the horse's age may be, without regarding the cavity above mentioned.
This artificial manner is made use of by dealers and jockies, who mark their horses after the age of being known, to make them appear only six or seven years old. They do it in this manner: they throw down the horse to have him more at command, and, with a steel graver, like what is used for ivory, hollow the middle teeth a little, and the corner ones somewhat more; then fill the holes with a little rosin, pitch, sulphur, or some grains of wheat, which they burn in with a bit of hot wire, made in proportion to the hole. This operation they repeat from time to time, till they give the hole a lasting black, in imitation of nature; but notwithstanding this fraudulent attempt, the hot iron makes a little yellowish circle round the holes like that which it would leave upon ivory; they have therefore another trick to prevent detection, which is to make the horse foam from time to time, after having rubbed his mouth, lips, and gums with, salt, and crumbs of bread dried and powdered with salt. This foam hides the circle made by the iron.
Another thing which they cannot accomplish, is to counterfeit young tusks, it being out of their power to make those two crannies above mentioned, which are given by nature; with files they make them shorter or flatter, but then they take away the shining natural euamel, so that one may always know, by these tusks, horses that are past seven, till they come to twelve or thirteen. The figures prefixed to these remarks on horse's teeth, will illustrate the preceding hints; being drawn from the teeth them ves, at the various ages therein specified.
With regard to the circumstances indicating a sound horse, it may be observed, that where a horse is free from blemish, the legs and thighs are well shaped; the knees straight; the skin and shanks thin; the back sinews strong and firm. The pastern joints should be small and taper, and the hock lean, dry, and not puffed up with wind. With respect to the hoof itself, the coronet ought to be thick, without any tumour or swelling; the horn bright, and of a grayish color. The fibres of a strong foot appear very distinctly, running in a direct line from the coronet to the toe, like the grain of wood. Such a foot, however, ought to be kept moist and pliable, as it is subject to fissures and cracks, by which the hoof is sometimes cleft through the whole length of the coronet. A narrow heel is likewise a great defect; and, if it do not exceed two fingers in breadth, it forms an imperfect foot. A high heel often causes a horse to trip or stumble: while a low one with long yielding pasterns, is apt to be worn away on a long journey. On the other hand, a foot disproportionately large, renders the animal weak and clumsy in its gait.
The head of a horse ought to be small, and rather lean than fleshy; his ears should be erect, thin, sprightly, and pointed; the neck arched
towards the middle, tapering gradually towards the head; the shoulders rather long; the withers thin, and enlarged by degrees as they extend downwards, yet so as to render his breast neither too gross nor too narrow. Such are the principal marks by which the best form and proportion of that useful animal may be determined, without reference to the deviations from those general rules which characterize the cart-horse, and which have been already noticed.
NICKING is an operation performed for the purpose of making a horse carry an elegant artificial tail. To such an operation some farmers have a strong objection, on account of the suffering it causes to the animal, and a belief of its injurious effects, especially in relaxing the muscles about the hinderparts. The former objection has more weight than the latter; since those tendons, muscles, nerves, arteries &c. which are separated in nicking, are always cut in docking, an operation often made, and never to the permanent injury, or weakening of the horse.
Several methods for nicking horses have been adopted by different persons. The following, however, it is believed has the sanction of the most experienced.*
Having provided a convenient stall, pulleys, halter and manger, you may proceed to secure the horse, by putting a twitch on his upper lip, but not so high, as to prevent his breathing; next make a cord fast to the fet-lock of one of his hind legs, and carry it thence, and fasten it to the fore leg, above the knee. Thus confined, the horse can do no injury to the operator, and his attendants. The tail of the horse is now to be closely and neatly platted from the root to the end, at which point it should be dubbed or turned over a small stick, and securely tied with a waxed string. Being now provided with a sharp knife, and a crooked iron, or buck's horn, turn the tail up in a direct line with the back bone, and make a transverse incision, immediately across the tail, one and a half inches from the root, and deep enough to separate the tendons on each side of the under part of the tail, which will be found about a quarter of an inch from the hair on the outer edge; the incision in the middle may be shallow. Should the horse bleed beyond two gallons, the flow of blood may be checked by putting him in the pulleys, or by wrapping the tail up moderately tight with a linen rag from the root to the end. Next, at the distance of two or two and a half inches from the transverse incision make two longitudinally, about three inches in length, which will expose the large tendons on each side. Make two other incisions of the same kind, commencing about one inch from the second, and in length running within about two inches of the end of the tail. Make a transverse incision within half an inch of the termination of the longitudinal incisions, pretty deep. With the buck's horn, or crooked iron take up the large tendons in the second incision, and draw the ends out of the first; take up those in the third, and draw the ends out of the second; and at the
upper part of the wound cut off the tendons even and smooth. Now strain up the tail opposite the second incisions, until the bone slips or breaks; serve the tail opposite the third incisions in the same manner; also the fourth and last, which should be made across.
The operation being thus performed, the tail of the horse should be washed in strong salt and water, after which he may be put in a stall, or turned to pasture for two or three days.
* Mason's Farmer Improved.
At the end of this time, wash the wound and tail with strong soap suds, and place the horse in the pulleys, where he should remain about three weeks, or until his wounds have healed. Abstract half a gallon of blood each week; and double that quantity should the tail be much inAamed., Keep the parts clean, by frequently washing with soap suds. Twice a week take the tail from the pulleys, and let it remain down during the night. Before putting it up again, the horse may be rode a few hundred yards.
Great pains should be taken to have the weights equal, in order to prevent the tail from permanently twisting, as this would ruin the animal in appearance. During the continuance of the horse in the pulleys, his diet should be light, and if practicable consist of green food. His legs should be frequently washed or bathed with pot-liquor, in which bacon has been boiled. Vinegar, sweet oil, or lard and spirits may be substituted. Occasionally the wounds may be washed in copperas water, which will accelerate the process of healing.
PRICKING. This operation, which consists in simply dividing the great tendons of the tail, is now generally abandoned, having seldom been found to accomplish the desired effect.
Foxing. This consists in depriving a horse of a portion of his ears, for the purpose of improving his looks. An easy mode of performing the operation is to take a small paint brush, and with paint in contrast to the color of the horse, mark the ears of the length and shape desired; then place a switch on the horse's nose, at the same time holding up a fore foot; with a sharp knife cut the ears in the line made by the paint. Wash the wound with salt and water, once a day for a week, after which apply sweet oil until healed. Those horses only, which have small, thin, delicate heads, are improved by foxing.
Docking. To perform this operation safely, put a switch on the upper lip of the horse, and hold one of his fore legs up well nigh his body. Tie a waxed string tight round the tail above where it is to be cut off. Lay the tail on a smooth block of wood, and with a sharp knife, and mallet, you may easily sever it at a single blow. When this has been effected, place a little rosin on the wound, and sear it moderately with a hot iron. In a few days remove the waxed string, and to the wound apply occasionally a little fresh butter or sweet oil.
FATTENING. To fatten a horse in a short space of time, is justly considered a desirable art. Should the animal which you wish to fatten be quite poor, commence by subtracting one quart of blood-to be repeated once in eight or ten days. If he be in tolerable condition, the bleedings may consist of two quarts at a time. Commence also giving at the same time, the following mash, to be repeated every eight days: flax seed, one pint, boiled to a strong tea of one quart; powdered brimstone, one table spoonfull; saltpetre, one tea spoonfull ; bran, one and a half gallons, scalding the bran with the tea. After the mash, the horse should not drink cold water for eight or ten hours. It is important also to take of assafoetida half an ounce, which being wrapped in a clean rag is to be nailed to the bottom of the manger, where the animal is fed, and of which in a few days he will become remarkably fond. Caution is to be exercised in feeding an extremely poor horse, lest you produce a founder or some other injury; but at the expiration of three or four days the danger will be passed, and the horse may be full fed. It will be well to
moisten his food occasionally with strong sassafras tea, which tends to enrich the blood, and open the bowels. A handfull of salt two or three times a week thrown into his water will prove grateful, and serve to increase his appetite. Should the object be to fatten a horse in the shortest possible space, he should not be rode, nor even led out of the stable : but if solidity of flesh be desired, moderate exercise once in three days will be of service. Great care should be taken to have his hoofs cleaned every morning and evening, and stuffed with clay and salt, or fresh cow manure, to keep the feet cool, and prevent the swelling of the legs. It is indispensible that the curry-comb and brush should be used upon him every day, until he be quite clean. A blanket, as a covering, will add to his comfort, and assist in improving his appearance and condition.
EXCESSIVE FATIGUE. It is sometimes necessary to require a horse to undergo great fatigue. To accomplish this, without injury, requires some preparation. Previous to entering him on his journey, a writer* remarks, he should be fed plentifully on solid old food, such as corn, fodder, hay, or oats, and exercised from five to ten miles a day. He should be well rubbed two or three times every twenty-four hours, which will have the effect of making his flesh not only firm, but hard.
Experience has proved, that rainy or drisly weather, is more favorable to the performance of an excessive hard ride, than a day that is fair or sultry with sunshine ; rain having the effect of keeping a horse cool, rendering his limbs supple, of moistening and refreshing him.
On the night previous to his engaging in this laborious undertaking, the same writer recommends to feed the horse six quarts of oats or four of corn, with as much good hay as he can eat; in the morning to feed one quart of oats or corn only, and offer some salt and water, of which a horse is apt to drink but little. At a distance of fifteen or eighteen miles give him a bucket of salt and water, with two handfuls of com meal thrown therein, and one quart of oats or corn; at twelve o'clock, and at dinner time feed and water him in the same manner. Your horse will require nothing more till night.
The day's ride being performed, turn him into a lot to cool and wallow; after which let him be placed in a stall on a good bed of straw. 1st. Offer him a bucket of water. 2nd. Remove all dirt and dust from his legs and ancles with soap and warm water. 3d. Bathe him from his belly to his hoofs with equal parts of vinegar and spirits, to which add a little sweet oil, fresh butter, or hog's lard, stewing them all together, and make use of the mixture as warm as the hand can bear it. 4th. He must! be' well curried, brushed, and finally polished with a sheep skin or woolen cloth. 5th. His feet should be nicely cleaned out and stuffed with clay and salt, or fresh cow manure.
6th. He should be fed with one gallon of old corn, or one and a half gallons of oats, and six bundles of old fodder. Your horse being now in possession of every attention and comfort you could offer him, will soon be refreshed, forget his hard service, and be again prepared, by the next morning, to obey you, whither you may direct his footsteps. If you have more than one day's journey to perform with great rapidity, observe the same rules of feeding, watering and attention, as directed for the first day, except the feeding at twelve o'clock, which quantity must be doubled. Many elegant and
TREATMENT ON A JOURNEY. high spirited horses have been ruined and rendered useless, by persons wanting experience on the above subject, who were disposed to treat those faithful animals with every kindness in their power; yet, being under the necessity of performing a long journey in a limited time, and not knowing that the will of a heated and fatigued horse should be controlled, they have permitted him to eat as much as he pleased, or when heated to drink as much cold pond or branch water, as his great thirst would induce him, which have often been the means of producing cholic, founder and other diseases, that too frequently prove fatal in the hands of a common farrier, to which title every ostler blacksmith, and every blockhead of a servant, who does not even understand the currying of a horse, have pretensions. The loss of two or three quarts of blood to a horse that has undergone excessive fatigue, will remove the soreness and stiffness of his limbs, the natural consequence of violent exertion.
TREATMENT ON A JOURNEY. To perform a long journey with comfort and ease to a horse, requires, as in the case of excessive fatigue, several days previous preparation. A horse which has been kept only at grass, or which is uncommonly fat, or unaccustomed to exercise and fatigue, is quite unfit to perform a journey. A horse about half fat is in the best condition to bear the fatigue and labor of a journey, especially if for eight or ten days previous to setting out, he be fed with old corn, ts, or hay, and be moderately exercised. Thus prepared, the following mode of treatment is recommended upon the authority of Mason, in his “ Farrier Improved."
“1st. Never permit your horse, while travelling, to drink cold branch, well, or pond water, or more than is necessary to wet or moisten his mouth. 2nd. Every time you stop to feed, (which will be morning, breakfast, and divner time,) give him a bucket of water made a little salt, with about two handfuls of corn meal stirred in it; he will very soon grow fond of it, and indeed prefer it to every other drink; it cools the system, relieves thirst, and contains considerable nutriment. 3d. Whenever you stop for the purpose of breakfasting, let your horse cool about ten minutes; then feed with half a gallon of oats or corn and two bundles of fodder, not forgetting to offer him again the water, meal and salt. 4th. At dinner time observe the same treatment, as directed at breakfast. 5th. At night (having arrived at the place you intend stopping at) have your horse turned into a lot, for the purpose of wallowing, cooling, &c. 6th. With soap and water have all dirt remoyed from his legs. 7th. Have him placed on a good bed of straw, then take of spirits of any kind half a pint, of vinegar half a pint, mix them together, and let his legs be washed with the mixture until they are dry. 8th. Let him be well curried, brushed, and rubbed with straw. 9th. Water him plentifully. 10th. Feed him with two gallons of oats, or one and a half gallons of corn or hominy, and eight or ten bundles of fodder. 11th. Let his hoofs be nicely cleaned out and stuffed with fresh cow manure; this application keeps them tough, moist, and cool. 12th. Change your food as often as possible, carefully avoid eating any that is new, or just gathered. Observe the above rules to your journey's end, except your horse should prove a great feeder, and in that case you may indulge him a little; but the quandity I have here recommended, is enough for any common horse when travelling. It may not be amiss to remind the young traveller, to inspect his horses shoes once a day, and whatever appears amiss about them to have immediately rectified. It frequently happens that the skin of