Графични страници
PDF файл

ever known; and a racer called “Guildford,” who won several times, had it, I think, to a greater extent than any other horse that has ever fallen under my notice, as he absolutely kicked his belly, or very nearly 80, at every step he took. The action of string-halt does not interfere much with a horse's gallop, and, therefore, is not of so much consequence in a hunter, if otherwise good, as in a hackney.

Having examined a horse you have an idea of buying thus far, you are next to proceed to consider and test the all-important point of the wind and breathing generally. This is an affair requiring a good deal of experience and careful observation, and must not be done in a hurry. There are several different complaints affecting the air-passages with which it is absolutely necessary to be acquainted before you attempt to buy a horse on your own judgment. The principal of these are, "broken-wind,” « roaring," "whistling,” and “piping,” to which I shall take the liberty of adding another, which I must denominate “ gulping,” as I know no other term by which I can better express it. I shall not attempt to offer any explanation of the cause of this extraordinary trick, which has never yet been noticed by any one, but have only to say, that I have met with two horses, that, on being ridden fast, appeared every now and then to give a sort of convulsive gulp, somewhat approaching to hiccough; and as neither of them was remarkable for good wind, it is not impossible that this singular noise may have been the precursor of some more serious evil. As I neither purchased the one nor the other, I cannot say whether they eventually turned out decidedly unsound in the wind; nor should I like to hazard the experiment of buying a horse with this habit, to call it by no worse name, at a sound price.

Dealers always judge of a horse's wind by the sound of the cough which they produce by pinching the windpipe just behind the jaw. If a horse, on being treated in this way, give one long shrill cough, his wind is supposed to be good; but if, on the other hand, his cough be short, hollow, easily excited by gently pressing the windpipe, and frequently repeated, he is set down, and justly, as having unsound lungs. With respect to the first criterion, however, there is this to be observed, that although it may not be a bad one to commence your diagnosis by, you should always make the horse cough yourself, and not trust to a dealer to do it, as these gentry, by forcibly compressing the sides of the larynx or windpipe with one hand and the forefinger of the other, frequently contrive that the horse shall cough while the windpipe is kept in this state, and the air, then rushing through a very small aperture, makes the shrill noise which is esteemed a sign of good wind. This, however, is not always to be done, and a broken-winded horse will, after all pressure is removed, continue to cough short—much in the


that a sheep with unsound lungs may be heard to cough on a cold night-and thus make his malady manifest. If, however, you should be satisfied with the noise made on coughing, proceed next to examine the motion of the flanks in breathing. If the horse's belly swell out, and then contract equably and regularly, his wind will probably be found good; but if, on inspiration, the retraction of the belly and flanks appear as it were to stop before it is completed, and then to be forcibly continued, the flanks being very much drawn in, and the borders of the serrated



muscles of the ribs rendered very apparent, the horse is probably either absolutely broken-winded, or at least what is called “ touched in the wind,” which means a minor degree of the same complaint. A really broken-winded horse will generally make some noise like panting or blowing when ridden fast, but there are many horses that are slightly touched in the wind that are perfectly competent to do a good deal of work not requiring rapid motion. When you have examined the state of the wind in the manner I have pointed out, you may next proceed to determine whether your horse be a roarer, whistler, or piper. For this purpose place him against a wall, or one side of his stall, take hold of his bridle or headstall near his mouth, and hold his head high, then suddenly give him a smart punch in the ribs with your doubled fist, or strike him three or four times under the belly sharply with a stick, and if he gives a grunt at each blow, he is a roarer ; whereas, if, after jumping about from the blows he receives, you hear him sobbing as it were, and drawing his breath quickly, the chance is he is a piper or whistler. Some people use these two terms synonymously, while others again employ them as denoting different degrees of the same complaint, distinguished only by the peculiarity of the noise made in each. Í believe the sobbing horse to be the piper, and suppose him to be worse than the horse which merely seems to blow hard on going fast. Some horses have a trick of making a noise with their postrils, like a very loud purring, at every stroke of their gallop. This must by no means be mistaken for whistling, which merely resembles, but in a greater degree, the

very hard breathing of some people who all but snore in their sleep, or who have a violent cold in the head. Now you will occasionally find horses, that, from ossification of the cartilages at the top of the windpipe (arising possibly from this tube being constantly and violently compressed by dealers essaying their wind), or from the sensibility of these parts being greatly diminished, cannot be made to cough at all. Some roarers are of this kind, and where you find this to be the case, you must e'en trust to the other symptoms of unsound wind, and to a good rattling gallop, where you can get one, as a test of good or bad lungs. Roaring is not a disease of the lungs, but generally proceeds from some change in the structure of the windpipe, as ulcers of that part, and constriction of some portion of the tube from permanent thickening of the lining membrane consequent upon inflammation. Hence numbers of horses turn roarers after having had the influenza or distemper, which has been so prevalent at certain seasons for some years. Sometimes a horse that roars in a very slight degree will not grunt on being struck ; in which case you must make a man gallop him smartly, and then pull him short up close to you without giving him time to recover his wind. On listening attentively you will soon be able to detect any impediment to his breathing freely. Some horses have been said to have been cured of roaring by keeping their heads constantly tied up very high ; but whether this be true or not I will not pretend to say In a recent case of thickening of the lining membrane of the windpipe, I can conceive that such a mode of treatment, by disgorging the blood-vessels of the affected part, may be beneficial; but as I believe that no remedy whatever has yet been found generally successful in this complaint, my advice is never to purchase a roarer in

the hope of curing him. I have also heard of horses on whom the operation of tracheotomy-which consists in making an artificial opening into the windpipe-has obviated the effects of roaring; but I believe these cases to be very rare, and their good effects probably greatly exaggerated, as most people are prone to laud whatever is extraordinary. Besides the very existence of such an opening exposes the horse to the danger of inhaling small and light substances, as hay-seeds, dust, &c., which, by irritating the lungs, may occasion a disease worse than that for which the operation was practised. It may not be amiss here to mention that a low dealer who sends a roarer up to auction, where they take them in on the morning of sale, will give him a quantity of shot mixed together with tallow, and this, extraordinary as it may appear, and difficult as it is to account for physiologically, will prevent the horse from shewing the usual symptoms of roaring for some hours, probably until the shot pass into the intestines.

I have now to notice another complaint, or trick, whichever it may be called, which is termed “crib-biting.” This is a most abominable habit, tending constantly to make a horse look poor and washy, and causing all his owner's pains to end in disappointment. Veterinary surgeons are unanimously of opinion that, in crib-biting, a horse sucks in and swallows a vast quantity of wind, by which he inflates the stomach and intestines. I confess I am not altogether prepared to subscribe to this opinion. A horse when crib-biting lays hold of his manger with his teeth, and, holding on by them, contracts the abdominal muscles, and makes a singular noise in his throat, which is supposed to be occasioned by his gulping down air; but it appears to me much more probable that wind is expelled by this maneuvre, and that the distention of the stomach by gas generated there through weakness of that organ, anl consequent indigestion, is the primary cause of a habit by which the stomach is temporarily relieved of the oppression it experiences. I have mentioned this view of the matter to one or two members of the Veterinary College, whose objection to it has been, that, if my opinion were correct, a horse could not by crib-biting distend his intestines. To this argument I do not yield an assent; for if it be true that a crib-biter really fills his stomach and bowels with wind (which I cannot say I have ever witnessed, though I have frequently heard it asserted), I see no reason why a habit which tends to increase the weakness and irritability of the most sensitive viscus of the body—the stomach—may not produce an increased quantity of gas in it, which it is well known is secreted in an extremely short space of time, and thus account for that distention which is said to occur.

According to my view of the case (which I have entertained for many years), improper diet, or too great a quantity of food, or natural weakness of the intestines, are the origin of crib-biting; and unfortunately it is a habit which, once acquired, it is extremely difficult of

There is no trick that annoys and displeases me so much as thiş. am naturally prone to give a great deal of attention to horses, and to superintend everything that is done for them, the reward of which surveillance is that my horses have always been in good condition ; but a determined crib-biter sets all your care' at nought : you give him the best food, in small quantities at a time—you let him have salt to lick



when he pleases---you perhaps give him tonics, and bestow upon him in clothing, grooming, bandaging, moderate exercise, and in all other ways that you can devise for his benefit, all the care and nursing that is lavished on a spoilt child; and, to reward your pains, you have a faint-hearted, tucked-up, washy devil, that looks, after a day's work, as though he belonged to some gipsy, and had just been taken off a

Such a brute is really not worth his keep, unless you can cure him of his propensity, when his condition will probably improve.

Various remedies have been put in practice for the cure of cribbiting ; among the most common of which is that of buckling a strap pretty tightly round the throat, and to the under-part of this strap is frequently affixed a sharp piece of iron, which pricks the horse on his laying hold of his manger. As this strap must, however, be removed when the horse is fed a time when he is most apt to indulge in his habit—it is merely a preventive so long as it is used, but does not make him forego the trick altogether. The only effectual plan that I am aware of for curing a crib-biter, or rather some crib-biters, is the following :-Turn him into a loose box without any rack or manger, and if possible without any projection that he can possibly lay hold of, and put on him a muzzle made with thin but strong plates of iron round the mouth. A moveable manger must be brought in for him when he is fed; but at this time there will be no necessity whatever for removing the muzzle, as he will very soon learn to take his food as well with it on as off. The bars of the muzzle must run from the nose towards the jaws, and not transversely, otherwise they will serve as a point d'appui for crib-biting: With some horses it is sufficient to cover the manger with a sheep-skin, the woolly side being uppermost, and to saturate it with tar water. This expedient, although occasionally successful, will not avail in every case, and when it fails the muzzle is the only plan to be depended on.

Together with this mechanical contrivance, those remedies which tend to improve the tone of the stomach and bowels must be employed. I shall not here dilate upon these means of cure, but shall reserve what I have to say upon this subject for that portion of my opusculum wherein I shall treat of “Stable Management" in general.

(To be continued.)


When at Cape Town, I lodged in the house of a clockmaker named Rouvière. He had a brother, whose life of peril comprised in itself alone those of Boutin, Mungo Park, Lander, and the most intrepid of European travellers. There, when Mr. Rouvière passes along the street, all bow to him, even from a distance, and make a stop: if he enter a drawing-room, every one rises out of respect, the greater part through gratitude, for he has rendered great services to almost all the inhabitants of Cape Town. Never was ship lost on the coast but Mr. Rouvière had saved some sailors or some useful parts of the wreck, in the midst of breakers, and at the peril of his own life. I had heard such wonderful things of him, that I resolved to search into

the truth of them, and soon became convinced that nothing was exaggerated in the account given of his exploits.

Chance one day placed me at his side in a drawing-room, when I profited by the fortunate circumstance. “ Sir,” said I to him, after a few words of customary politeness,“ do you believe in the generosity of the lion ?"_“Yes," replied he; “ the lion is generous, but towards Europeans alone." His reply made me smile; he perceived it, and continued gravely: “This is no joke, but a positive fact, which, however, requires explanation. The Europeans are clothed; the slaves in general are not: the latter present to the eye of the lion flesh to devour ; the former have hardly any parts of their bodies uncovered. What I mean by generosity is, properly speaking, disdain, or absence of appetite: for a lion never kills when he is not hungry. The lion has eaten fewer Europeans than Kaffres or Malgaches: the remembrance of his last meal excites him; before him, within reach of his claws and teeth, is a naked body; this body must be his; he must grind it in his terrible jaws.”......“1 comprehend.”

However, I think there is an idea of gratitude in the words of the brave Rouvière, and the following probably gave rise to that sensation.

One fine morning he set out from Table Bay for False Bay, following the winding of the coast. He was alone, and, according to his usual custom, armed with a good fowling-piece, into which he always took the precaution to slide a couple of iron bullets. He carried besides a brace of pistols at his girdle, and an iron instrument with a long handle slung in his shoulder-belt, much like a harpoon. Thus equipped, Rouvière would have made the tour of Africa without fear.

He had been upon the road for some hours, when a hollow continued rumbling noise fixed his attention. In the moment of danger, Rouvière's first words always were, “ Now, my boy, you must be on the look out !” The noise approached, and Rouvière recognised the roar of the lion. When the latter wishes to deceive a watchful enemy, he makes in the ground, with his powerful claws, a hollow, into which he thrusts his head, and then roars: the sound reverberates afar from echo to echo, and the traveller knows not on which side he will be attacked. After having examined his arms, Rouvière, with eye and ear upon the alert, continues his march, prepared for a struggle, which his experience teaches him he shall have to encounter.

The rocks he passed resounded with the bounds of the King of the Desert, and a monstrous lion presents himself before Rouvière, and, as it were, challenges a combat. 6. The deuce !” said our hero to himself sotto voce, “ he is immense !...... the task will be a heavy one !”......and from before such a champion he prudently retreats backwards, with his eye fixed on his enemy. The lion follows him with measured steps. Rouvière stops: the lion halts also. Suddenly the ferocious beast roars anew, lashes his sides with his tail, and with a bound disappears among the windings of the rocks.

“He is a better fellow than I hoped,” murmured Rouvière; “but I must endeavor to reach yon boat upon the shore : 'twould be prudent."

He had no time to execute his project...... in a few minutes the lion again stood before him,

« ПредишнаНапред »