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a half in a second of time, a degree of fleetness perhaps unequalled by any other Horse.
In the year 1745, the post-master of Stretton rode, on different Horses, along the road to and from London no less than two hundred and fifteen miles in eleven hours and a half, a rate of above eighteen miles an hour; and in July, 1788, a Horse belonging to a gentleman of Bilter-square, London, was trotted for a wager, thirty miles in an hour and twenty five minutes, which is at the rate of more than twenty-one miles in an hour. In London there have been instances of a single Horse drawing, for a short space the weight of three tons: and some of the pack-horses of the north usually carry burdens that weigh upwards of four hundred pounds. But the most remarkable proof of the strength of the British Horses is in their mill Horses, some of which have been known to carry, at one load, thirteen measures of corn, that in the whole would amount to more than nine hundred pounds in weight.
Though endowed with vast strength, and with great pow. ers of body, such is the disposition of the Ilorse, that it rarely exerts
THE DRAY HORSE.
either to its master's prejudice: on the contrary, it will endure fatigue, even to death, for our benefit. Providence seems to have implanted in him a benevolent disposition, and a fear of the human race, with, at the same time, a certain consciousness of the services we can render him. One instance, however, has been mentioned, of recollection of injury: and of an attempt to revenge it. A baronet, one of whose hunters had never tired in the longest chase, once encouraged the cruel thought of attempting completely to fatigue him. After a long chase, there. fore, be dined, and again mounting, rode him furiously among the hills. When brought to the stable, the animal appeared exhausted, and he was scarcely able to walk. The groom, possessed of more feeling than his brutal master, could not refrain from tears at the sight
of so noble an animal thus sunk down. The baronet sometime after wards entered the stable, and the Horse made a furious spring upon him, and had not the groom interfered, would soon have put it out of his power of ever again misusing animals.
The barbarous practice of docking the tails, and clipping the hair or IIorses, is in this country very prevalent. The former, principally with wagon Horses, under the pretence that a bushy tail collects the dirt of the roads; and the latter, from the notion that they are rendered more elegant in their appearance. Thus, from ideal necessity, we deprive them of two parts of the body that are principally instrumen. tal, not only to their own ease and comfort, but to their utility to us. By the loss of their tail, during summer they are perpetually teased with swarms of insects, that either attempt to suck their blood, or to deposit their eggs in thy rectum: these they have now no means of lashing off; and in winter they are deprived of a necessary protection against the cold.
But, of all others, the custom that we have adopted, of nicking them, is the most useless and absurd. It is a heart-rending sight to go into the stable of a horse-dealer, and there behold a range of fine and beautiful steeds, with their tails cut and slashed, tied up by pulleys to give them force, suffering such torture that they sometimes never recover from the savage gashes they received. And for what is all this done?-that they may hold their tails somewhat higher than they otherwise would, and be for ever after. wards deprived of the power of moving the joints of them as a defence against lies !
I have another abuse to notice, ob
C servable in those who shoe Horses. The blacksmith, in order to save himself a little trouble, will frequently apply the shoe red-hot to the Horse's foot, in order that it may burn for itself a bed in the hoof. "The utmost severity (says Lord Pembroke) ought to be inflicted on all those who clap shoes on hot. This unpardonable laziness of farriers in making feet thus to fit shoes, instead of shoes to fit the feet, dries up the hoofs, and utterly destroys them.” It is of the mostruinous consequence: it hardens and cracks the hoofs, and induceseven the most fatal disorders.
The natural diseases of Horses are few, but our ill-usage, or neglect, or, which is very frequent, our over-care of them, brings on a nume. rous train, which are often fatal. They sleep but little, and this, in general, on their legs. If properly treated, these animals will live from forty to fifty years.
Wild Asses live in herds, each consisting of a chief, and several Mares and Colts, sometimes to the number of twenty. They are ex. cessively timid, and provident against danger. A male takes on him the care of the herd, and is always on the watch. If they observe a hunter, who by creeping along the ground has got near them, the sentinel takes a great circuit
, and goes round and round him, as if discovering somewhat to be apprehended. As soon as the animal is satisfied, he rejoins the herd, which sets off with great precipitation.
Sometimes his curiosity costs him his life; for he approaches so near as to give the hunter an opportunity of shooting him. The senses of hearing and smelling in these animals are most exquisite; so that they are not in general to be approached without the utmost difficulty. “The wild Asses did stand in the high places," says the prophet Jeremiah ; "they snuffed up the wind like dragons." The Persians catrh these animals, and break them for the draught. They make pits, which they fill about half up with plants: into these the Asses fall without bruising themselves, and are taken thence alive. When completely domesticated they are very valuable, and sell at a high price, being at all times celebrated for their amazing swiftness.
The saltest plants of the desert, such as the atriplex, kali, and chenopodium, and also the bitter milky tribes of herbs, constitute the food of the wild Asses. These animals also prefer salt water to fresh. This is exactly comformable to the history given of this animal in the Book of Job; for the words“barren land,"expressive of his dwelling, ought to be rendered salt places. The hunters generally lie in wait for the Asses near the ponds of brackish water, to which they resort to drink.
These animals are found wild in the mountainous deserts of Tartary, the southern districts of India and Persia, and in some parts of Africa. In their native state they exhibit an appearance far superior, both in point of vivacity and beauty, to the animals of the same species in a state of domestication.
The Ass, like the Horse, was imported into America by the Spaniards: and this country seems to be peculiarly favorable to this race of animals; for, where they have run wild, they have multiplied in such numbers, that in some places they have become qnite a
TIE WILD A88.