Page images

very much edified by the lecture. I think it would not be possible to put thought into more elegant language than we have had here. Most of it, certainly, meets my commendation; but I cannot give it that sweeping approbation that the gentleman from New Hampshire did. He said that he indorsed it unqualifiedly throughout. There was one proposition, which was stated without any qualification, that I do not believe in at all; and in order to get up a little discussion here, and to start a sort of personal combat, I am going to begin where I disagree. The statement was this: that all the diseases of horses’ feet proceed from the shoeing ; and the speaker said that it was from incompetent or ignorant mechanics. Now, we have some mechanics here, and they are pretty sensible men ; and that proposition will get some hard raps before this meeting is through. I dissent from it most unqualifiedly: I believe directly the opposite from that. I have owned and driven horses thirty years, and I have never, in a single instance, seen a disease in a horse's foot, which proceeded from the shoeing of the blacksmith, when he had his own way; and some blacksmiths who have done work for me are here to-day. I say I have never seen a single instance. I have heard one blacksmith accuse another of producing a given disease. You know how it is. When a man's horse is lame, it is a very nice thing to attribute it to the shoeing, because he is going to cure it, and sell the horse. He goes to another blacksmith, and says, “My horse has been injured by shoeing; ” and the blacksmith says, “Yes.” But he is a competitor of the other man. Blacksmiths, I am sorry to say, are not above disparaging each other; and one blacksmith will say, - I don't know whether he believes it or not, — that the trouble was produced by the work done by another blacksmith. Now, I will tell you how the disease is produced. I drive my horse in the spring of the year. There is mud in the road, and snow-water only just above the freezing-point. I stop at some place, and let him stand half an hour; then I get in and drive four miles, not enough to warm his feet, and then he stands another half-hour. I do not know any thing about the case when he is put up at night: his feet have been chilled, and they remain in that condition over night. When I go out in the morning and take up his feet, they are very hot, and full of fever. How many men ever do a thing to cure that horse's feet? They are already in a state of inflammation. He has not been sent to the blacksmith. Who does any thing to cure that ? There is not one in this audience, I will venture to say, who has done a single thing for his horse's feet when in that condition. If anybody has, let him say so. I know the history of this thing : I have inquired into it. The result of the fever and inflammation is, that the feet begin to contract, and the horse cannot bear his weight upon them. Did shoeing do it? Not a bit. Lack of care, and oversight, and attention, on the part of the proprietor of the horse, did it. Do not lay it to the blacksmith : he is not to blame, and he cannot cure it. You need not run from one blacksmith to another to cure it. Nothing can cure it. The horse is good for nothing: he is lost forever. The loss I have suffered in horses has been owing to my own carelessness or neglect, chiefly; though I have unfortunately bought a few that had defects of which I was not aware at the time, and I got cheated. We may say that shoeing hurts horses. But every man is mighty wise who owns a horse; and one man goes to the blacksmith, and says, “Put on shoes with heels as thin as a cent, and toes half an inch thick.” Well, the man is paid for doing the work; and he does it. Then another man comes to him, and says, “Put shoes on my horse with high heel-calkins, and no toe-calkins,” and he does it. You can understand that such kind of shoeing may possibly, in some instances, suit, but not usually; and I think that manner of calkin has done mischief. It has been owing to the proprietor attempting to teach the mechanic how to shoe. That is the way the trouble has been caused ; and the mechanic is not to blame. In regard to the communication of qualities by the sire and dam to the progeny, I think there is an infallible rule about it. You do not need to theorize on it. I think I can put it in very few words. This rule extends throughout the animal kingdom: you see it in the human species, and there is where I got my information. You let two persons have issue: they may have ten children, and, if one of those parents has predominating qualities, those predominating qualities will appear in the offspring. If the man is a firm, set, unyielding man, and his wife is a submissive, gentle woman, nine times out of ten, the man will impress his qualities on the offspring. On the other hand, if the woman is resolute, determined, and has her own way, she will impress herself on the offspring. That is the result of observation merely: I have not read any thing about it in books. I put that proposition down squarely for you to book against to-day. It is going to stand the test of time. As to the matter of pedigree, I believe something in it; but I believe a great deal less in book pedigree than I do in photograph pedigree. Show me the photographs of ten generations, and tell me what they have done, and I will tell you what they are going to produce. It is the long production of given qualities that is going to tell in the end. In order to get an excellent mare, or an excellent horse to draw, you want to find a horse that inherits that quality. You will get a much better result from such an animal than from one that has a mixture of trotting and drawing qualities. If you attempt to raise horses for speed, you are going to make a loss: that is plain enough. But there are natural qualities which are reproduced in larger degree than speed, and those are the qualities that will bring money; and, if you produce them, you will not make a losing business of raising stock. Those qualities are style, size, beauty, docility. Horses possessing those qualities are what everybody wants. Every professional man, every gentleman, every mechanic, who uses horses, wants them. Very few want a horse for speed merely. Everybody says, “Give us a ten hundred horse, that looks noble, grand. Give us one that carries his head up, arches his neck, and lets his tail flow out. Give us one that has a glossy coat, a lean head, and clean limbs. Let us have style. Let us have one with a good action. Let us have one with a sweet disposition.” Why, some horses are not worth keeping, on account of their temper. I would not have them. My wife said to me once, “Why don't you sell that horse? You are mad all the time.” I was ; I couldn't help it: and nobody could live with such a horse near him without being mad all the time. I could do nothing

with him. He was good to travel and work, but he was a miserable horse to have ; and I got rid of him. An evil disposition is transmitted just as much as any other quality, perhaps more: so I say, Get your form, get your size, get your beauty, get your style, get your action, get your disposition, and bring them down through a long line; and, when you start another one from similar horses, you will have similar qualities, and in that way you will get horses that will bring you money. In regard to the management of horses, what the lecturer said was very beautiful. I believe in that through and through. He said something like this: “Let no man attempt to break a horse until he has broken himself.” Let no man come into my stable who is going to jerk or kick my horse. That will never do. That is not the way to begin. What is wanted is kindness and firmness. I think the gentleman said, “A steel hand in a velvet glove.” That is beautiful, and that is true. When you attempt to do a thing with a colt, be sure you do it, but do it in a pleasant, agreeable way; and it can be done so better than in any other way. I believe in that fully. I indorse also what the gentleman said in regard to feeding most fully. You let a colt become stunted, and no amount of feeding will ever bring him up: you cannot make a horse of him. He is lost just as much as though he had a contracted foot. He is a scrub, good for nothing. You can breed up just as well as you can breed down. The breeding down is plain enough. Look at the Mexican mustangs, or Indian ponies, with their long, shaggy manes and bushy tails, their big heads and small frames. They will endure any amount of abuse; they will live on almost any thing; the weather is nothing to them: but they have no aptitudes; they have no style; they have no beauty. They are not the colts that civilization wants; but they were the colts that Chief Joseph wanted when he fled from our soldiers, who could not catch him with the best horses of America: but he could be stopped by Miles, who was in his track. That is breeding down. They came from the real Andalusian blood of Spain, taken to Mexico by Cortez. See how they have gone down ' If we can go one way, we can go the other. Take your colts, and breed them up: I think you can bring out a style of horse that you can depend upon almost universally. You can increase such qualities as beauty of form, style, and gentleness of disposition, almost as you please. But I believe there is a limit to the increase of speed. I consider speed an accidental thing that may happen in any family of horses. Nobody has any right to expect its reproduction in the offspring. It is an accidental quality; and, if a man gets it, he is mighty lucky. But it will not do to rely upon it: give us, rather, a generous, noble, large, elegant, good-dispositioned horse. QUESTION. I should like to ask the last speaker a few questions. I have been very much interested in the subject of horse-shoeing for the last year or two. I have never been able to find a blacksmith, who, if left alone, would keep a horse going well. I have been in the habit of driving my horses very much as the doctor does. I drive very fast at times; and they are standing about in the snow and slush a great deal of the time. I would like to have him explain how his blacksmith has been in the habit of shoeing so as to keep his horses going well, and how he takes care of his horses when they come in. Dr. HUNT. I have but very little to say on that, only that I have never seen a horse's foot made hot by any shoe put on it. I tell my blacksmiths, when they put a shoe on, to heat it red-hot. I want the shoe perfectly fitted first, and then they may heat it red-hot. I want it so hot, that it will make a perfect mark around the foot. It will not scorch any thing to do any harm : it only makes a slight burn on the dead part of the hoof, which is no damage whatever: the life is farther up. That does not do any harm; and it is the only way in which a blacksmith can set a shoe as it should be set, so that there will be a perfectly even bearing. I have never known a blacksmith to shoe a horse in that way with any bad result. I never saw a horse's foot made hot by travelling any ordinary drive, as the result of such shoeing. I do not know what harm could come from such shoeing anyway; so that I can simply answer the question by saying that I have never known any harm to be produced. I cannot prove a negative. If the gentleman wants to know how it is that it has never happened, of course I cannot answer; but I do know what causes the trouble as I have explained. Sometimes, if you drive one of these “pounding ” horses a

« PreviousContinue »