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PRESENTED JaPAiary 6, 1919 








Author of "A Frontiersman" 

Founder of the Legion of Frontiersmen 

Editor of "The Frontiersman's Pocket Book" 


Professor J. Cossar Ewart, f.r.s. 




First Edition - - • Feb., 1016 
Reprinted - - - - June, 1917 






Introduction - - - - vii 

I. The Origin of the Horse - i 

II. The Origin of Horse Varie- 
ties ----- lO 

III. Habits of Outdoor Horses - 54 

IV. The Conquest of the Horse - 95 
V. The Horse in History - - 11 1 

VI. Horsemanship . _ _ 1^2 

VII. The Pleasure Horse - - 207 

VIII. The Soldier Horse - - 222 

Conclusion - - - 243 



Roger Pocock's book is in many ways 
remarkable. It affords evidence of far 
more erudition than seems compatible with 
the unsettled and busy life of a frontiersman. 
In some parts it is highly speculative, deals 
with problems rarely discussed or even 
mentioned by hippologists, in others it is 
severely practical, and affords evidence of 
the close study of horses and horsemanship 
in all parts of the world. The more the 
reader knows of cosmic changes and of the 
origin, history and habits of horses, wild, 
feral and tame, the more he is likety 
to be fascinated by "Horses." The 

chapters on the History of the horse 
and on horsemanship are highly suggestive 
and interesting, but at the moment those 
on the Pleasure Horse and the Soldier 

viii PREFACE. 

Horse claim and deserve most attention. We 
soon forgot about the loss of over 300,000 
horses in the Boer War, with the result 
that when the World War broke out in 
1 9 14 we were as deficient in horses as 
in men and munitions. If the suggestions 
made b}^ a horsemaster who knows more 
about Range than Indoor or Pleasure 
horses — suggestions as to the breeding, rear- 
ing, and management of militar}^ horses — 
are duly considered we may have an ample 
suppty of suitable horses for our next war. 


September, 1916. 


In the world where the horse hves there is 
one god. This god is only a human creature, 
soldier by trade, stockrider, groom, or dray- 
man, but from him all things proceed. So far 
as the horse knows his god made the girth gall 
and the harness, the oats and the weather, and 
most certainly provides a lump of salt to lick, 
a canter over turf, or any other little scrap of 
Heaven which falls into the world. So he 
hates his god or loves him, fears or trusts him, 
trying alwa^^s to beUeve in him, even if he has 
at times to kick the deity to make sure he is 
really divine. His religion, his conduct, his 
whole value, depend upon that poor god, who 
is usually well-meaning enough although wont 
to practise a deal of ignorance. To get better 
horses one must improve the strain of gods. 

As a god to horses I was never quite a success, 
however hard I tried to live up to a difficult 
situation. I attempted, for example, to learn 
about my horses from scientific books, yet 
found the scientific writer rather trying. He 
calls an animal who never injured him by such 
a name as Pachynolophus. This may be safe 



enough behind the animal's back, provided 
the philosopher makes quite sure that it is 
really and truly extinct. But suppose he met 
one, would he call it a perissodactylic ungulate 
to its face ? Not at all ! He would shin up a 
tree and use worse language than that. 

So if the Reader finds me ignorant, I beg 
him to lay the blame on men of science who 
have dug up dead languages to make them a 
trade jargon lest any education should reach 
the vulgar. 

In his " Tropical Light," Surgeon General 
Woodruff, of the U.S. Army, makes no mention 
of horses, but opens up a new field of thought. 
Professor William Ridgeway, in his " Origin 
and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse," 
commands the respect of every horseman by 
his researches in history. Professor Cossar 
Ewart, by far the greatest living authority 
on hippology, has, apart from the teaching of 
his books, most generously granted me his 
private criticism. For the rest, burning my 
books behind me, I have ventured to write 
about horses just because I love them. An 
old rough-neck of the American ranges, who, 
living with horses, has tried to understand 
them, sets down a few ideas which may be of 
use to horsemen. 



The material used in making a horse consists 
of grass and water. We cannot make one 
because we are too ignorant. We know that 
for such a making wisdom is needed beyond 
the last conception of our hearts, knowledge 
far above the scope of our pretentious 
little sciences, power omnipotent. Such 
attributes of wisdom, knowledge and power 
are divine. 

The Almighty made the horse out of grass 
and water. From the generating engine which 
we call the sun He used certain energies dimly 
perceived by our science, the chemical, phy- 
sical, electrical and psychical forces which 
evolved, moulded and coloured the mechanism 
of a creature strong, swift, enduring and 
beautiful, which is inhabited by a pure, 
courageous, generous spirit like that of a 


human child. It only remains for man to 
shut this creature up in a box, and then cut 
off his tail. 

Horse Ancestors. — To find the origin of 
the horse, one must trace back to the Sixth 
Day of the Creation, a period known to science 
as the Dawn of Times Present. The lands 
and seas were not arranged as in our maps, for 
there was a Continent on the site of the North 
Atlantic, and broad seas rolled over the areas 
now filled by Europe and North America. The 
climate, too, was different, for except along 
the Equator, the skies were rarely clear, but 
very cloud\^, with enormous rains. The air 
was that of a hot-house, and, even at the poles, 
trees such as the magnolia slept through the 
winter night, and flowered in the warmth of 
the summer day. Except to leeward of big 
continents and mountains the lands of the 
whole earth were a continuous forest. 

That was the closing phase of the long Age 
of Dragons. The principal beasts of the sea, 
the land and the air were reptiles who laid 
and hatched eggs instead of giving birth to 
hving children. Few of them w^ere so large 
as the elephants and whales of our own time, 
the greatest were already extinct, but still 
there were enough uncouth and monstrous 


beasts to make life exciting for the creatures 
on which they fed. 

Hidden away in the forest there were 
Httle animals, of reptile descent indeed, but 
quite free from family pride. These con- 
verted reptiles were filled with the first 
divine quality which ever appeared in the 
world, that mother-love which suckles the 
young at the breast. We will call them 
the Longtails. 

We humans often feel that there is not 
enough food to go round. We find it hard to 
make both ends meet. We have to defend 
ourselves or run from our enemies. So it was 
with the Longtails, who were always hungr}^, 
hard up, and bound to fight or run. To put it 
roughly, some tribes of the Longtails took to 
hunting, and became the ancestors of all beasts 
of prey, some took to the trees as a refuge and 
feeding place, and so became the ancestors of 
apes and men. But our business is with those 
who took to a vegetarian diet and a habit of 
hiding or running. These stood on tip toe 
looking out for danger, or ran to escape being 
eaten. For such purposes the five-toed foot 
of the ancestral reptile, most useful on soft 
ground, became somewhat clumsy and awk- 
ward. For running they were better off 


without a widel}^ splayed foot, so with the 
passing of many generations their needless 
inner and outer toes shrank up the leg, became 
useless, and finally withered away, until no 
trace remained. Here came the parting of 
the vegetarian running animals into two big 
families. One family ran on the middle 
pair of toes, thus becoming the ancestors 
of the cloven-hoofed pig, deer, antelope, 
sheep, and ox. The other family ran upon 
the middle or third toe, and became the 
ancestors of the rhinoceros, the tapir, and 
the horse. 

In the dense forests some of the vegetarian 
tribes of animals had on the face two little 
bags or glands, to hold a strong-smelHng 
liquid. This perfume dropped on the herbage 
helped the members of the herd to scent 
one another's trails, and so keep together 
for company or defence. On the skulls ol 
some kinds of horses there may still be seen the 
hollow where the sac used to be. 

The bald skin of the pig is boldly painted 
in splashes of pink and brown to imitate the 
lights and shadows of forest undergrowth. 
The forest ancestors of the horse were bald, 
and painted just the same way ; and their 
forest colouring may still be seen under the 


hairy coat, especially at the muzzle, where 
the hair is thin. 

Of direct ancestors to the horse the earliest 
known was a little fellow called Hyracotherium, 
coloured no doubt like the pig or the hairless 
Mexican dog, and not bigger than a toy terrier. 
His range extended from England to New 
Mexico, across the old Atlantic continent. In 
him the original five toes had been reduced to 
four on the front foot, and three on the hind, 
as with the tapir, who is the very portrait of 
a horse-ancestor, although of larger growth. 

The tapir was ever a staunch conservative 
preferring death to reform. So he remains, 
one of the most ancient of all living animals, 
and rehc of the long forgotten ages when the 
world was one big forest. Nowadays the 
tapir range which covered all the northern 
continents has shrunken to three districts 
widely sundered : Brazil, Mexico, and the 
Malay Peninsula. In all three he is dying 
out, and in a few more years will be extinct. 

From the tapir's habits we may reason that 
the horse ancestors were creatures not only of 
the deep glades of the forest, but also of closely 
wooded mountain ranges. They were shy 
and harmless, feeding at night on buds, leaves 
and the tender shoots of bushes, not on grass. 


To this diet the horse reverts quite readily in 
times of famine, and in spring before the new 
grass sprouts, while the stable vice called 
cribbing develops when there is not enough 
bulk in his forage. The ancestors were fond 
of bathing, and when hunted would take refuge 
in the water. It will be noted that although 
wild horses do not bathe, the tame stock are 
excellent at swimming. The dappled skin 
of the tapir had grown a coat of hair, dark 
brown in the Americas, their original home. 
The long tail had shrunk, and in the tapir 
is reduced to a mere bud. 

But the main interest is in the tapir's snout, 
which, like the elephant's trunk, has wonderful 
powers of holding and tearing down branches, 
of feeUng, sensing, and handling. The horse- 
ancestor had a tapir snout of which the horse's 
upper lip is the survival. Play with any horse 
and you will notice how the lips try to curl 
round and grip one's fingers, to bring them 
within reach of the teeth. They will curl 
round, grip, and tear the bunch grass or 
pampas grass of the wild ranges. They are 
softer than velvet, deUcate as a baby's hand, 
sensitive as the fingers of an artist, will caress 
like a woman's lips. The short hairs have an 
exquisite sense of touch, the beard bristles 


are used to sense grass with in the dark, and 
the whole instrument is wondrously designed 
to select sweet grasses, rejecting poisonous or 
unwholesome plants, so that feeding goes on 
through hours of total darkness. 

Had the Earth remained an unbroken forest 
under a roof of cloud there had been no change 
since the Age of Dragons, no mighty drama of 
Creation lifting man and horse out of the 
shadows to work together as master and ser- 
vant in the conquest and taming of the wilder- 
ness and final subjugation of the World. 

The one great factor in Earth's history is 
the lessening of the sun's heat. Through long 
revolving ages the heat which the Earth re- 
ceived from the sun diminished. Ever less 
vapour was hfted from the Equatorial seas, 
the world-roof of cloud thinned out and dis- 
appeared ; direct sunshine poured down instead 
of the endless rains ; there was no moisture 
left to nourish the worldwide forest. Little 
by little glades opened in the woodlands 
caused by drought, savannahs replaced the 
timber, of tall jungle grasses, the openings 
widened into prairies, and vast grassy steppes, 
thousands of miles in breadth, evolved at 
their centres an aching core of desert. So we 
have reached the phase when forest, prairie 


and desert each claim one-third of the land 
surface. We are passing on to the phase, 
which Mars has reached, of world-wide desert, 
and beyond that is the far future when, like 
the Moon, our Earth will swing dead through 
the great deeps of space. 

As the slow tremendous change of the 
Earth's climate narrowed the forest, there 
was no longer food for all the woodland 
animals, and some of them ventured out into 
the open glades. Here was a final parting of 
the wa3's between the tapir who stayed in the 
woods and the horse-ancestor w^ho went out 
into the open. He was as yet no bigger than 
a sheep, and still wore three toes on each foot, 
but the grass diet agreed with him, for his 
tribe soon grew to the size of an EngHsh 
donkey. The firmer ground no longer needed 
a wide tread to the foot. Slowly the second 
and fourth toes shrank away up the leg, and 
hung there like the dew claw of a dog, some- 
times surviving more or less even in human 
times, as with Juhus Caesar's charger. The 
next ages evolved an animal the size of our 
ponies, running on one toe hardened to the 
hoof we know to-day. The snout diminished, 
while the tail became a fly whisk. 

So we have the beginning of a group of 


animals the tarpan (Prejevalski) zebra, quagga 
and ass. They are so much ahke that one 
cannot easily tell from the bones to which 
kind a skeleton belongs. We must think of 
them, then, as varieties of the horse. 



Propositions. In the study of any subject, 
if we can only begin by clearing our vision, 
we shall have a sporting chance of avoiding 

The horse, like man or any other animal, 
reflects his environment in times past and 

1. If all countries had equal lighting, all 
horses would reflect one colour. 

2. If all countries were equally warm, all 
horses would grow the same thickness of coat. 

3. If all countries had equal moisture, all 
horses would show similar endurance. 

4. If all countries had one type of land- 
scape, all horses would show the same mark- 

5. If all countries had one soil, all horses 
would be of one build. 

6. If all countries had one weight of forage 
to the acre, all horses would have one bulk. 


7. If all countries had one quality of 
forage, all horses would have one strength. 

8. It follows that the study of light, heat, 
moisture, landscape, soil, and food should 
explain the origin of the wild types of horses. 
Our breeds are got by crossing from these 

If, therefore, the facts which we find out by 
study shall correspond with the reader's own 
experience of horses, no further proof is 
needed ; but if they fail to appeal to the 
reader's sense and judgment, no balancing of 
proofs upon a point of falsehood will save a 
useless book from the flames which await 
waste paper. 


The best way to train one's sense of colour 
is to dabble in landscape painting. At first, 
one feels that there must be a personal Devil, 
but with luck the colours begin to clear, show- 
ing that the tones of night and the deep sea 
are based on indigo, while those of the day 
are blue, red and yellow variously mixed. 
The blend of blue and red is violet ; the mix- 
ture of blue and yellow gives us green ; and 
if we want an orange we use red and yellow. 
The blending of all seven is sunlight in theory, 
but makes mud in practice. 


In nature there are permanent colours like 
those of the night, and transient hues like 
those of the sunrise or sunset. So the blue 
of the sk}' and yellow of the earth make the 
green of living plants which seems to be per- 
manent until, in decay, the blue turns out to be 
transient, and passes awa}^ leaving the herbage 
3'ellow. It is odd that the natural food of the 
horse is dried herbage from which the blue 
has faded 

And so it is with man. We ma}^ eat green 
salads, containing transient blue, but the 
permanent colours of our food are free from 
blue, and based on red and yellow. Neither 
horse nor man would fatten on blue food. 

Sunlight shining through blue glass will stop 
the growth of plants. The various actions of 
coloured light upon the human body are being 
studied in many hospitals. 

The blue indigo and violet, or actinic ra3^s, 
appear to have a special mission in burning 
bad microbes, such as the germs of disease. 
A green forest, for example, despite the per- 
manent 3xllow in its colour, is said to be partly 
transparent to these rays which kill germs 
lurking in the soil. The flesh of men and 
beasts is red and yellow, save only for the 
blue tmge of blood from which the oxygen has 


been exhausted. Yet even despite its colour- 
ing, the tissue of the flesh is partly trans- 
parent, so that actinic rays may kill bacilli, 
and sunshine is used as a medicine for the sick. 
But the rays which begin by killing germs may 
be strong enough in time to burn the living 
tissues. For that reason man and the greater 
animals are armoured by red and yellow liquid 
paints in the layers of skin, which vary in 
strength and volume with the degree of sun- 
light in each cUmate, from pale hues in cloudy 
districts of low sun to an intense black in the 

Stocks native to forest shelter such as men, 
elephants and pigs are guarded only with skin 
body colour. Those exposed to direct light — 
horses, cattle and sheep, have also a coat of 
hair as a second armour against the actinic 
rays, and this also varies in colour with the 
strength of sunshine, from white in the regions 
of snow to the golden dun of lions and tigers, 
the dun and bay of horses and the black of 
many species in regions of strong light. 

In men and other animals there is Httle red 
flesh covering for the brain, the spine and the 
great gangUa of the nerve machinery. So 
many animals like the lion and bison have 
manes as an extra shield for the nerve centres. 


The human head and neck, for instance, grow 
hair, not to encourage barbers, but for the pre- 
vention of sunstroke, and this varies in colour 
with the degree of sunhght. So all natural 
breeds of horses have a dark forelock and mane 
with a streak of strong brown or black colour 
from the withers to the root of the tail, thus 
guarding the whole length of the spine. This 
armour and shield defines for us two primi- 
tive types : 

The Bay of the Desert produced in fierce 
light the year round. 

The Dun of the Steppes produced in fierce 
light limited to the summer. 

And here the need of clear thought leads to 
a new definition of " protective " colour. 

The dun Siberian tiger, largest and fiercest 
of all cats, hunted the Dun pony of the Steppes. 
The dun hon of Africa hunted the Bay horse. 
Had both cats and both horses been painted 
sky blue, their relative chances in the chase 
would be exactly the same. They do not owe 
meat or safety from attack to their body 
colour. Both species would have perished 
under the actinic rays of sunhght but for their 
equal shield of non-actinic colour. 

The purpose of body colour is defence 
from actinic light. Only the markings are 


protective as concealing animals from one 

So far I have not been able to find in books 
about horses these applications of facts ac- 
cepted by men of science, which are of use to 
horsemen. In the Hght of such evidence the 
close hogging of horse's manes needs recon- 


Unless a fellow can swim he has no business 
to go out of his depth ; but if he minds his 
business, he loses all the fun. 

It is the application of these two principles 
which leads me to a problem in the history of 
the horse which nobody has solved. 

The species is native to the Americas, where 
it became extinct. One theory of this 
extinction imagines a germ, like that of 
horse-sickness, whose range covered all lati- 
tudes from tropic to sub-arctic. Such a 
hearty microbe as that would seem unusual. 

The other theor}^ relates to a disagreeable 
change in the climate, which overwhelmed the 
drainage basin of the North Atlantic with a 
field of massive ice. That seems conclusive 
until one reflects that the Pacific slope of the 
United States and the continent of South 
America remained as warm as ever. The cold 


of the Great Ice Age does not explain the 
wiping out even in North America of the 
camel, elephant, tapir and horse. 

It has been my good fortune to make a series 
of voyages to Bering Sea and Norway in the 
winter, and in summer along the flanks of both 
the St. EUas and the Greenland ice-caps. In 
these journeys by sail and steam, in boats, in 
canoes, with man}^ landings and scrambles 
across country, I was able to test the theories 
of Glacialogists against the actual facts of the 
Great Ice Age. 

The Croll theory makes the orbit of the 
Earth to change at regular intervals into a 
long ellipse. By roasting one entire hemis- 
phere it provides vapour to cover the whole of 
the other hemisphere with snows v/hich do not 
melt. Evidence is scratched up and made 
the most of for previous ice ages. An imagi- 
nary series of cosmic cataclysms is invoked to 
explain one merely local unpleasantness. 

Another theor}^ sinks Central America — 
politically quite a good idea — and throws the 
Gulf Stream into the Pacific, leaving the North 
Atlantic to be frozen. It does not explain the 
American lobe of the icefield which brushed 
the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in a 
region outside the influence of the Gulf Stream. 


It was never the business of Glacialogists to 
notice that under the inland ice and the great 
lava floods of Greenland lie pressed magnolia 
leaves in the high Arctic. These tell me of 
cloudy skies saving the summer's warmth all 
through the polar night, of a vast cloud sphere 
sheltering the whole Earth from a sun much 
hotter than we know to-day. The Ice Age to 
me is an incident in that clearing of the skies 
which dried the world-forest, made the grass 
steppes and deserts, and evolved the horse. 

The Glacialogists make the Ice Age an 
episode of the past. Without the slightest 
relevance to any obHquity of the Orbit, or 
vagaries of the Gulf Stream, the Ice-cap per- 
sists to-da}^ as a living fact. I have been 
there, have seen it, and cannot be persuaded 
otherwise. The forces which created the Ice- 
cap are still at work, and as they merely 
strengthen or relax, the Icefield grows or 
shrinks. These forces made the Ice flood to 
plough the fields and train the folk for seeding 
a crop of human empires — British, American, 
Russian, and German world-powers. The ice 
which prepared town-sites for Moscow, Petro- 
grad, Berhn, London, and New York, may 
come again to sweep them all awa}^ We are 
not behaving ourselves so very nicely. 


I have no theory as to what forces enlarged 
or contracted the ice flood. The theme of 
this study is the horse, a creature of grass and 
water constructed by the forces in sunshine 
and fresh air, and coloured by the skies. To 
the skies we must look if we would trace his 
origin, to the mechanism of the Ice-cap if we 
would know how his varieties were speciaHzed 
out of the general type. So let us have a look 
at the machinery which made and maintains 
the Ice-cap. 


We have to study four regions of one great 
Sou '-wester wind, which is known to navi- 
gators as the South-west Counter-Trade. 

Western Region. The tropic sunshine 
lifts masses of hot, tremulous vapour from 
the surface of the Equatorial Pacific. This 
vapour Ufts to a great height and there con- 
denses into clouds. The clouds are swept by 
the south-west wind and form their floor at a 
height above the sea of about two miles. The 
Rocky Mountains reach up bare and stony 
hands to clutch at the flying moisture and 
bring down w^hirling snowstorms. On sweep 
the cloud fleets across the Canadian Plains 
with rarely a drop of rain to spare through the 
summer for the thirsting grass beneath. But 


slowly the cl©ud-floor slopes downward until 
at last the cloud-fleets come to ground, and 
the breath of the sou '-wester becomes visible 
as the Northern Forest. Beyond that forest 
the wind trails its cold vapours over the sub- 
Arctic tundras of North-Eastern Canada, 
lashing bleak rains on Baffin's Bay, to spend 
the last of its moisture in the form of snow 
upon the Greenland Ice-cap. 

Central Region. From the eastern part 
of the Equatorial Pacific, about the neigh- 
bourhood of the Gallipagoes, a second echelon 
of the sou '-wester brings its immense load of 
flying clouds high in the air across the United 
States to slant down out of the skies and brush 
the Atlantic in the Forties. Strong gales trail 
their clouds along the Gulf Stream, taking a 
deal of warmth out of that current. Exposed 
trees in North-western Europe are slightly 
bent by the stress of Atlantic gales, while all 
the traihng clouds discharge their cargoes of 
warm rain across the Baltic Region. The 
British Isles, for example, get an annual ration 
amounting to thirty cubic miles of water fresh 
from the Equatorial Pacific. 

These two large echelons of the sou '-wester 
carried the vapour which once fell as snow to 
form the Icefields of the Great Ice Age. 


The skies were clearing. The planet was 
being stripped of its cloud roof, so that its 
warmth from the sun was radiated at night 
and in winter directly into Space. Except to 
leeward of the Gulf Stream, the lands of the 
North Atlantic are still sub-Arctic as in 
Labrador. These lands were more extensive 
then than now, forming a bridge about a 
thousand miles wide from Arctic Canada 
across Smith's Sound to Greenland, and thence 
by way of the Faroes to Scotland, which was 
part of the European main. On this bleak 
bridge which spanned the North Atlantic per- 
manent snows heaped up to mountainous 
heights forming the nucleus of the giant Ice- 
cap. Its western lobe touched the Rocky 
Mountains and the Missouri Valley, its eastern 
wing covered the Russian plains as far as 
Moscow, and southward flooded the German 
Empire. It may be that the North Atlantic 
bridge, remnant of an elder continent, sank 
slowly until it foundered under its load of ice. 
So the sea melted the ice and the cHmate began 
to mend. 

Eastern Region. A third echelon of the 
sou '-wester comes from the equatorial belt 
of South America down to 1 5®s. This does not 
take up any great load of moisture, for the 


wind blows nearly dry across the heights of 
air which overhang the Atlantic. It has httle 
moisture to spare for the Mediterranean sum- 
mer, none at all for the levels of the Sahara, 
Arabia, Persia, and the deserts of Central Asia. 
The lands to leeward of Brazil are deserts. 

Far Eastern Region. In Asia, the move- 
ments of the sou '-wester are complicated by 
the south-west monsoon, and the immense 
ranges of the Himalaya. Eastward lies one 
more echelon of the South-west Counter Trade. 
Just as the sou '-wester in the North Atlantic 
is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so the sou'- 
wester of the North Pacific is warmed by the 
Japan current. Before the uplift of the St. 
Elias Alps, the region of Alaska, and of Bering 
Sea was a warm and well-watered lowland. 
Alaska still grows gigantic timber in latitudes 
where North Scotland and South Norway 
have only scrubby bushes. 


Any reader who is really and truly inter- 
ested in tapirs will remember that some live 
in the Malay States, and the rest of them in 
South and Central America. Between these 
countries there is a slightly flattened facet 
of the planet filled from remote ages by the 
Pacific Ocean. Nobody with the slightest 


liking for tapirs would suspect them of swim- 
ming across, and since their family existed 
there has been no land passage round the 
southern edge of the Pacific. So, if w^e would 
find the ancient tapir range which once con- 
nected Malaya with Mexico and Brazil, we are 
driven to search for a pathway round the 
North Pacific. 

The map of the ocean floor shows the Pacific 
Deep as reaching northward to the sixtieth 
parallel. Beyond that lie the new shoals of 
Bering Sea, with a ground-swell so terrific in 
winter that I have seen a hard-bitten middle- 
aged seaman driven mad with fear. This is 
the site of Bering Land, an ancient country 
about the size of Scandinavia, which joined 
the mainlands of Asia and North America. 
The latitudes of this land were those of Nor- 
way, and it formed the basin of the lower 

Before there was an}^ polar cold on Earth, 
when the magnolia blossomed in Greenland, 
this cloudy rain-swept country was warm 
enough for tapirs. As the sky cleared it managed 
to harbour camels, and became a pasturage 
for animals of the horse family. Let us see 
then whether these were of the actual species 
we call the horse. 


The Landscape. Warm lands with little 
sunlight, such as Ireland, have green turfed 
grasses. The polar summer which is one long 
day covers all pastures with a blaze of flowers. 
The bushes also yield a bounty of blossom and 
wild fruit. The mosquito season is the great 
event of the year. 

So we may see the meadows beside the lower 
Yukon, green pasture starred with flowers, 
bushed, wet, mosquito-stricken range for the 
bearded Celtic pony, utterly unhke the sun- 
baked golden steppe of the Dun horse. We 
must cast back to earlier times when Bering 
Land was clouded, torrid, range for ancestors 
of our modern horses, the pasture which 
changed the browm tapir of Brazil into the 
skewbald tapir of Mala3^a. At that time pre- 
glacial America had seven species of three- 
toed horse-ancestors, some of which may have 
ranged westward across Bering Land into 
Asia, and there given birth to the stock of the 
Old World. 

With the onset of the Great Ice Age the 
growing weight of the American Ice-cap seems 
to have strained the loose skin of the Earth, 
w^hich, in the Columbia Basin cracked, pouring 
forth floods of lava to overwhelm a region nine 
hundred miles in length, eight hundred wide. 


A series of rock waves folded, forming the 
coast or island ranges from California north- 
ward and culminating in the stupendous Alps 
of St. Elias. There gathered a lesser Ice-cap, 
pouring its glaciers down the Alaskan and 
British Columbian fjords. 

It was this barrier of ice which put an end 
to all migrations of animals. The Alps of St. 
Elias closed the path-way betw^een those two 
groups of continents which so far had been 
the common breeding ground for beasts and 
men. Within the narrowed breeding ground 
of the Americas the horse together with the 
camel, and many other species, became 

Old Bering Land had become sub-Arctic, 
the home of the Mammoth, a maned roan 
elephant. Then the Pacific flooded the plains 
of the Lower Yukon, and formed the shoals 
of Bermg Sea. Both in Asia and in America 
faint memories remain of a drowned world. 
In Assyria and in British Columbia the legend 
tells us of a hero, and of rescued folk in a fleet 
of three hundred canoes. 

So the tw^o groups of contments were finally 
cut apart at Bering Straits. And now a ring 
of flaming craters girdles the Pacific, the fit 
finale to a tremendous drama. 



Darwin wrote of the probable " descent of 
all existing races from a single dun-coloured, 
more or less striped primitive stock to which 
our horses occasionally revert." 

The stories of the Great Ice Age and of 
Bering Land have shown us a variety of 
swiftly changing chmates in which the original 
three-toed dun striped ancestors begat a special 
type of horse for each kind of habitat. The 
high lands and high latitudes, the low lands 
and low latitudes, the tall grasses, the short 
grasses, the open woodlands, the northern 
downs and valleys, bred each their special type 
of the wild horse. 

Evidence of the Wind. It is not so very 
long since the last clumps of timber vanished 
from the steppes. Still on the North Ameri- 
can range one finds the trunks and roots of 
forest trees, which sihcate swamps have changed 
into masses of jaspar onyx and chalcedony ; 
and these have not had time to sink as stones 
do into the soil. In a seven hundred mile ride 
across the Canadian plains, I found a living 
clump of three pines distant a hundred-and- 
fifty miles from the edge of the shrunken forest. 
Such shelters have indeed so lately disappeared 
that the horse has not yet learned the trick of 


wind endurance. If his ears and nostrils were 
not so fearfully sensitive, he need only face up 
wind, and the hair of his body would be blown 
down flat to protect him. As it is, the extreme 
sensitiveness of his face compels him to stand 
or drift with buttocks turned to the gale, tail 
tucked, head dow^n. It is only in that position 
that the hair is blown up from the skin and fails 
to give him protection. We may conclude 
then that he was inured to torrid summers 
and even to polar winters before he had to en- 
counter strong gales away from shelter. Long 
after the three-toed ancestor had become a 
horse, the steppes had abundant tree clumps 
for wind breaks in heavy weather. 

The African Bay. In every striped horse 
it seems a general rule that the body stripes 
are curved in such a way as to point to a spot 
on the ground midway between the four legs. 
The leg bands merely cut the upright lines 
of the limbs so that these disappear. Some 
natural process of colour photography has 
made the body stripes a bold copy of the up- 
ward and outward spread of the tussock grass. 
It was for concealment then among the rich 
forage of the tussocks that some of the parent 
species wore a gorgeous livery which passed 
on to the Zebra. 


From all accounts the Sahara is the bed of 
a recent sea, but, possibly along its eastern 
side, a horse range extended from the Soudan 
to the shores of the Mediterranean. Such 
range had not less than ten inches a year of 
rainfall, carried by the sea breezes from sur- 
rounding waters. There was moisture enough 
for trees, and there are abundant traces of 
quite recent timber. 

The winds were drying, the clouds were 
burned out, the light was increasing to a 
terrific strength, and the tussocks began to 
fail. On the American range I have noticed 
that these tall grasses, abundant only thirty 
years ago, have become quite rare since the 
pasture was overstocked. As the tall grasses 
perished and streaks of naked desert crept into 
the dying pasture, all hope of concealment for 
horses was at an end, the brilliant striping 
ceased to have any value, and the need for 
speed outweighed the need for sleep. Three 
and a half hours for sleep, standing, suffices 
the modern horse. 

And as the cover vanished, every possible 
military precaution became imperative against 
surprise by lions. The gay striped painting 
had become a danger, and whole colour was 
the last chance of concealment for purposes 


of rest. Close herding by the stalhons, a single 
line formation with vedettes and flankers, 
signals by cries and stamping, and, above all 
things, speed, were needed to save the 
horse under the new conditions. The arched 
markings on the face of the striped horse 
changed to a star, the leg bands to stockings : 
white marks to identify members of the herd 
on the darkest nights. Such markings are very 
common among horses of desert descent. 

As the deadly actinic rays of light poured 
into the body between its bars of painting, the 
natural dye secreted in the skin began to fill 
the bright streaks with strong colour. So the 
striped Dun became the desert Bay, with black 
points and white markings, gifted with the 
intelligence needed in family and tribal hfe, 
but above all things endowed with a speed 
which was the despair of lions and is the glory 
of all honest horsemen. So entirely was the 
danger from lions overcome that the Bay 
horse has forgotten the art of bucking, which 
once w^as needed in fighting beasts of prey. 
Speed has given the steel-hard hoofs, the steel- 
strong limbs, deUcate modelhng to cut the 
resistance of the air, the tail set and carried 
high for the finest steering, and almost every 
other trait of our Barbs and Arabs. So 


intense is the light in his native pasture that 
even the refracted glow from the ground has 
had to be met by dark colouring of the under 
surfaces, wherein he differs from the horses of 
higher latitudes. 

Zebra and Quagga. Southward from the 
great Desert the forest of Equatorial Africa is 
bordered to the eastward and the south by 
grass lands. In these a few patches of jungle 
and tussock grasses have preserved the colour- 
ing of striped horses down to our own time. 
Their painting is most brilliant towards the 
Equator, fades in the higher latitudes, and in 
Cape Colony only the neck and shoulder 
stripes remained in the Quagga breed. The 
land does not continue into the latitude of the 
Dun horse. It is quite possible that with the 
coming of the Boers tame cattle ate off the 
Quagga pasturage, but rifles have put the wild 
stock to an end with the advance of human 

The Asses. These creatures of moun- 
tainous deserts are coloured like the boulders 
of a hillside, but rely for their safety rather on 
high intelligence and sure-footed speed. Being 
desert animals of course they are dry inside, so 
that their efforts to produce the most beautiful 
music merely rub leather against leather like 


the sole of a creaking boot. They should be 
petted like operatic tenors, and indeed there 
are no animals in the world who improve 
so rapidly in response to decent treatment. 

There is a legend that the ass who carried 
the Cross of our Lord Christ upon the way to 
Calvary had ever afterwards its shadow on his 
back, still worn by the African breed as a 
special badge of honour. It is called the en- 
durance mark, and this with the same leg bands 
is the special brand of the Dun horse of Asia. 

The Dun Horse. It was in the Yellow- 
stone Park that I paid ten dollars for a thirteen 
hand pony called Buck, a bright Dun with the 
endurance cross and leg bands. Below the 
black knees and hocks he w^ore white stockings, 
and had black mane, tail and points. He 
taught me the real protective colour for short 
grass. His upper and lower body lines were 
the curves of prairie ridges, while the limbs 
were so cross-coloured that the upright lines 
became invisible, save when he moved, at 
about two hundred yards. It was lucky that 
he always came at my call, because so far as 
my poor eyesight went, he was lost to me every 
evening so soon as I sent him off to graze. His 
wall eye and game knee were acquired from 
meeting Christians, but an odd trick of carry- 


ing the lower jaw sideways while he was 
thinking, an unusual sweetness of character, 
and most uncommon pluck, may have been 
primitive traits. He trotted with my pack 
a thousand miles, until in Utah I gave him to 
a cowboy rather than take him on into the 
desert ahead, where he might die of thirst. I 
did not know in those days that he was a 
desert horse who knew a deal more about 
finding water than ever I shall learn. 

The horse became extinct in the Americas, 
the Quagga in South Africa, the wild Bay in 
Northern Africa. The numbers of the wild 
asses and of the zebras are shrinking rapidly. 
The wild Dun, or Tarpan, whose range was the 
whole steppe of Russia and North Asia, is now 
represented in three small districts of MongoUa 
by the Prejevalski herds. So far, then, as wild 
horses are concerned, the species is dying out. 

Among tame horses, to judge from what 
one sees in the larger stables, there must be at 
least one hundred Bays, Browns and Chestnuts 
to every real Dun. All breeders select from 
the Bay type as distinguished from the Dun, 
whose only special value is in endurance. In 
the run-wild or feral herds, however, the Duns 
have a fair chance, and form a large proportion 
of the stock. They are not only hardy but 


also fertile. If man became extinct, the 
steppes and prairies would breed Duns, and 
gradualty kill out the other t^^pes. 

From the fierce dr}' heat of the Gobi Desert 
to the utmost rigors of Siberian cold, the Dun 
will thrive wherever there is grass. His coat 
is warm and cool for any climate, greas}^ 
enough to shed rain, and proof against every 
weather except wet driving snow or a strong 
gale. Through the longest winters he keeps 
alive by grubbing through the snow to get at 
grass. The droughts of summer may so in- 
crease the journe}' between food and water 
that he gets very little time for rest, but some- 
how he manages to pull through, the last of all 
horses to 3deld to difficulties. Lacking the 
speed and beaut}^ of the Bay, he lives where the 
Bay will die. In danger or difficulty the Bay 
is a fool in a panic, w^hile the Dun keeps cool, 
reasons, and uses common sense with a strong, 
heart}'^ valour. One would select the Bay for 
pleasure, but the Dun for serious work under 
the saddle, for road endurance, for long and 
rapid marches, and all that makes mounted 
troops of value in campaigns. 

Just as the working man may be rendered 
irritable and even vicious by unfair treatment 
in our social life, the working horse is made 


ill-tempered and dangerous to handle by bad 
horse-mastership. So the Dun has a terrible 
reputation, and in his defence I am a sort of 
Devil's advocate. He is the typical range 
horse whose manners and customs will be the 
theme of the next chapter. 


We have seen the close resemblance of warm 
winds and seas between the North Atlantic 
and the North Pacific ; but it was only in the 
North Atlantic region that the great Ice Age, 
in long pulsations, widened and shrank its 
Icefields. Ten thousand years ago (Wright) in 
the Niagara District, and seven thousand 
years ago (de Geer) in Finland, the edges of the 
Icefield were withdrawn for the last time, and 
the climate began to get warm and comfortable. 

In America and in Europe, as the ice re- 
treated, a belt of tundra crept closely in its 
wake, and in the rear of that a belt of green 
turfed grasses. 

In Eastern Canada, and North-western 
Europe these green turfed pastures are varied 
with woodlands of such trees as cast their leaves 
in winter. Amid these changes the horse 
had vanished from North America, but survived 
in Asia, and slowly extended his range as 
the ice retreated from Europe. In Europe 


as in America, man also widened his hunting 
grounds in the wake of the melting Icefield. 

In the big region of the south-west wind the 
lands which surround the North Sea and the 
Baltic are different from all others, being under 
a low sun, cloudy, with only one day's sunshine 
out of seven. And Cloudland breeds a special 
type of man with blue eyes, a ruddy skin, and 
hair of chestnut, bay, brown, or dun, colours 
like those of horses. 

Under the grey skies of Cloudland, man 
lacks the protective colour which in all other 
regions of the world defends the body from 
actinic light. I think we shall find this true 
of the horse also. 

The original striped colouring of the Bays 
and Duns never developed in Western Europe 
with its climate of cloudy skies and verdant 

The White Horse. Now^ let us study the 
conditions following the Ice Age in Southern 
Russia. Here the Dun horse has a white coat 
for sunny snowy winters. Rumour says that 
foals are not born white, and it must be re- 
membered that snowy winters are recent even 
as grassy plains. 

This whiteness is not, like the summer 
colouring, a paint issued by the body to tint 


the hair, but a mere absence of any colouring 
matter. It is as though the animal saved his 
stores to paint his inside to a warm red during 
the cold season instead of wasting it in mere 
vanity upon his outer clothing. At the same 
time nothing could be more reasonable than 
a white coat for concealment against a snowy 
background. Hares, Eskimo, and lots of other 
tribes are most particular in this matter, and 
among the best people of all snowy regions a 
white suit is the correct mode for winter. It 
may be that some tribes of ponies neglected 
to change in the spring, and so became con- 
spicuous in summer, a fatal error where there 
are wolves about. These were not likely to 
prosper and raise children except under mean's 
protection, so one suspects that white coats for 
summer wear date only from the human period. 
Men had a feehng, too, that the white horse 
was so beautiful that he must be sacred, a 
special gift of the gods. Without any special 
merit, being indeed of lower stamina and en- 
durance than any other horses, the white stock 
were favoured by breeders. Left to them- 
selves, they would die out rapidly in any sunny 
climate. One notes, however, that the Persian 
wild ass has a silvery white coat, the hue of his 
native desert. There are many animals whose 


dark hair is white at the tips, so that 
they are really brunettes who masquerade as 

Bearded Horses. The ancient horse- 
eating artist-savages of France have left us 
portraits of ponies strongly bearded under the 
lower jaw. In the earliest portrait we have of 
the Celtic pony (Ewart), Odin's eight-legged 
Sleipnir shows the coarse bearded cut of jaw. 
The Celtic pony types are bearded to the north- 
ward, clean-shaven towards the southward 
parts of their wide range. The Prejevalski, 
who is the Tarpan of Asia, is slightly bearded. 
So is the Kiang or wild ass of Asia. One finds 
the beard bristles in all the northern breeds 
of horses, not in the desert stocks to the south. 
Why then should northern horses want to 
grow a beard ? 

A horse has so small a stomach that his day's 
work to get sufficient grass is seven hours. Up 
to about fifty degrees of north latitude, he gets 
seven hours of daylight even in mid-winter. 
Northward of that he needs beard bristles to 
aid him in feehng and selecting grass in the 
darkness. Southward of that, if he is hunted 
by wolves or tigers, he needs a few beard 
bristles for night grazing except in cloudless 
regions where there is always starlight. So, 

SIZE 37 

roughly, the range of bearded horses is that 
of long dark nights. 

The Register of Size. The size of horses 
varies with their nourishment. 

On the scattered but rich bunch grasses of 
the desert, where there is much travel for a 
little food, the pasture registers the stature 
of the Bay as about fourteen hands two inches. 

The scattered but rich bunch grass of the 
American steppe makes horses prosperous in 
summer but famished in the winter, so that the 
pasture registers a smaller horse than that of 
the desert — up to thirteen hands. Under the 
same conditions we may take the register of the 
Dun in Asia as up to thirteen hands. 

The poor grass of the British moors registers 
a pony of ten to eleven hands. 

Strong feeding of grain and hay registers 
stabled horses up to nineteen hands. 

The great abundance of green turfed grass 
the year round in North-western Europe 
should, under its best conditions, register as 
large a horse as either steppe or desert. 

The Three Pastures. The Bay pasture 
and the Dun pasture are each of continental 
size, wheras the green pature is onl}^ a small 
province. In the same way, the rock forma- 
tions of the Bay and the Dun pastures are each 


continuous for several thousands of miles. In 
sharp contrast is that Httle ragged edge of a great 
continent known as North-western Europe, a 
district which has many times been flooded 
by the sea, each bath making new beds of rock. 

The lowlands of Great Britain, for example, 
have been frequently submerged, and the 
island shows samples of almost every rock 
formation known upon the earth. This Euro- 
pean pasture then is not onty small, but also 
varied in its rock formations, its soils, and its 
landscape. One may get a standard horse of 
registered size in the Bay range or the Dun 
range, but would expect to find on the green 
range of Europe not only many colours, but 
also many types derived from the primitive 
stock, strains of all sorts and sizes. A glance 
at three formations will show how much the 
build and size of a horse is varied b}^ the 

Granite. In North-western Europe the 
granitic or speckled formations form upstand- 
ing moorlands. The poor but abundant grass 
maintains ponies both light and heavy of build, 
derived from several kinds of ancestors. They 
are so secured from attack by beasts of prey 
that they do not need to run far and fast on 
ground where running would be dangerous. 


These are grouped under the general name of 
Celtic pony. 

Limestone. Allowing for some districts, 
like the central plain of Ireland, where the Ice- 
sheet has left the country very badly drained, 
a limestone formation usually makes dry soil. 
The vegetable mould may hold a little water and 
make mud, as on the chalk downs, but the 
rock is so porous that most of the rain soaks 
down, and the waters run mainly underground. 
Moreover, the vegetable mould gives chemical 
qualities to this water, which is enabled to 
dissolve the rocks and form caverns on the 
underground water courses. At the same 
time the water becomes ' hard ' with lime in 
solution, so that the springs will petrify moss 
and twigs. 

The dryness of the ground tends to make 
horses sound of bone. The carbonate of lime 
in the water suppUes them with the material 
for bone. As the result the bones are very 
light in proportion to their strength. So this 
pasture registers a well-built and very light 
horse. If such an animal is of Bay blood, he 
is larger and swifter than the Arab, lacking 
only in soundness and in travel endurance. 

Clay. As clay holds water, its soils provide 
abundance to the grass roots, and so produce 


thick turf with a great weight of green forage 
to the acre. Such heav}^ feeding without any 
exercise in search of water, would, after the 
kilhng out of the wolves, tend to produce a 
large, heavy, slow-going gentle horse with 
steady nerves such as our draught stock, 
lacking in that soundness of feet and legs 
which is limited to the breeds of arid 

So far, the argument presents for the green 
pastures of cloudland horses of several colours ; 
and, for the varied rock formations in the North 
Sea and Baltic basins, horses of many 

Professor Ewart traces among the ancient 
wild horses of the forest species three very 
distinct types : 

1 . At the time w^hen the glacial drift of the 
Rhine and Weser valleys had a climate like 
that of the Outer Hebrides, of to-day, the con- 
ditions of cold and damp matured the Diluvial 
horse (Equus Caballus occidentahs). This ani- 
mal stood fifteen hands, had a longer face than 
the general forest type, was coarsely built, had 
heavy fetlocks, a short upright pastern, a broad 
round foot. This is the cart horse breed. 

2. The Grimaldi Grottoes in the Riviera 
preserve remains of a forest-upland horse, 


large, coarse, heavy in build, with a short, 
broad face, and a flat profile. 

3. The Solutre Caverns of France preserve 
paintings made by ancient savages of a small 
stout, chunky, bearded horse, rather like a 
long, low Iceland pony, with a short broad face, 
elk-like nose, and low-set tail, rough-haired 
towards the root. He stood from twelve to 
thirteen hands in height. 

From these three forest varieties our draught 
horses are mainly descended ; but there were 
also in Ancient Europe two other species 
besides that of the woodlands. 

A. Siwalik type. A fifteen-hand horse, 
lightly built like the modern thoroughbred. 
The forehead recedes at an angle from the line 
of the face, and there is a prominence between 
the eyes. The limbs are long, withers high, 
and tail set on high. 

B. Prejevalski Tarpan steppe type, the 
Dun of Northern Asia. The face is long, 
narrow and straight. The nasal chambers are 
large, causing a Roman nose. The limbs are 
clean, with close hocks and narrow feet. 
Height twelve to thirteen hands. 

We must think then of such types afr the 
Forest and Siwalik adapting themselves to the 
soils of North-western Europe. 



The North Sea is only a recent flood in an 
old river valley. We must consider it not as 
a tract of permanent water, but as a lost hunt- 
ing ground of our own ancestors, a pasturage 
for horses not very long ago. 

In the year 5200 B.C. the Scandinavian 
glaciers, shrinking at the rate of about one mile 
a 3'ear (the rate of shrinkage in the Alps of 
St. Elias), withdrew from the province of Fin- 
land and the Baltic Lake. Let us suppose 
that, in that year a traveller from civilised 
Egypt made his way down the Rhine, and so 
entered the valley of North River, which is 
now flooded by the North Sea. At first this 
river wound its level way between low chalk 
downs, but presently the Thames came in 
from the West, and forested swampy clay- 
lands extended northward. Abreast of Aber- 
deen came the last chalk downs, and beyond that 
lay Arctic tundras where the delta widened 
to an ice-drifted sea nearly abreast of Faroe. 

The whole valley was as varied in rock and 
soil as Eastern England, with little lakes, 
ridges of boulder clay, and downs of gorse and 
bracken. Northward across this verdant land 
crept succeeding waves of the fir, the oak, and 
the beech. 


Out on the delta coast, far to the right, 
beyond a deep sea channel, rose the white Ice- 
cap of Sweden, whose Ice-flood filled the Nor- 
way fjords w^ith berg-breeding glaciers. Far to 
the left rose the ice-clad Grampians. 

The Delta people and those of the Baltic 
Lake were poor savages living upon shell fish, 
and making mounds of shell refuse round their 
hearths. Inland were stronger peoples who 
had lake villages or trenched encampments on 
headlands of the downs. 

As the grass followed the advancing fir 
woods, the primitive stock of Cloudland re- 
turned to pastures from whence it had been 
driven by the cold. These were not Duns, 
Bays, or striped, but native Cloudland horses 
adapted to this region of little sunshine. 
Strong Dun was not needed to guard them 
from the actinic rays of sunlight, so their dull 
colour had yellowish, brownish and reddish 
tones which blended with the landscape, such 
colours as are worn by the Celtic ponies of 
Britain and other Atlantic isles. 

The wild horses were evolving three utterly 
different types. On the chalk downs, and on 
the limestone tracts north of the Humber, 
there were lightly built, slender, graceful 
horses of fair height. On the clays there were 


horses, heav}^, coarse, and slow. On the 
Breton, British and Scandinavian moors there 
were Celtic ponies. 

It needed but little sinking of this land to 
flood the Delta, and open a long channel up 
the North River valley. The sea washed out 
the clay foundations of the forests. The sea 
breakers wielded boulders of the glacier-drift 
and hurled them like battering rams against 
the dissolving limestone of low cliffs. The 
tide swung gravels to tear out bays in the fore- 
shores. Winter frosts cracked the headlands, 
and summer rains melted the ice cracks so that 
the capes fell into the sea in landslides. Thus 
the sea widened, biting its way deep into 
Europe until men began their losing fight with 
dykes for the saving of doomed netherlands. 
The North Sea cut its way through chalk dov/ns 
into the English channel. The tribes who held 
fortified headlands of the chalk downs and set 
up temples at Stonehenge and Avebury on 
the mainland of Europe, about 1800 B.C. found 
that their countr}^ had become an island. 

The old horse pasture of North-western 
Europe was split into sundered provinces by 
the advancing sea, but the breeds, native to a 
lost valley are still almost identical on either 
shore. The Breton and British moors have 


one type of Celtic pony whose ancestral range 
extended across the Straits of Dover. The 
clay fens of Lincolnshire and of Holland still 
have draught horses alike in build and in 
colour. The hmestone districts north of the 
Humber have the same tall horses as the similar 
provinces across the water in Schleswig, Hol- 
stein and Jutland. The granitic lands of 
Scotland and Norway have one type of the 
Celtic pony. (Low's Domesticated Animals.) 
It is none of my business, but I cannot help 
feeling that the flooding at about the same 
period of the Lower Yukon and North River 
Valleys is something more than a coincidence. 
The Geological people are always cocksure that 
the sea cannot rise, that an hemisphere — the 
Southern, for example, cannot be flooded, 
and they assume quite blandly that lands 
have sunk, without explaining why. Their 
theories never seem really to fit that mighty 
wilderness, to which I have seen them comiC as 
visitors or strangers. Science will never under- 
stand until it learns to love. 


We have now reached a stage of the argu- 
ment which shows for Europe no continental 
type like the Bay or the Dun, but a horse stock 
of varied colouring, of diverse heights and 


builds, and most curious dispersions as native 
to the green pastures of Cloudland. 

The problem in nature was intricate as a 
jigsaw puzzle, before man's interference broke 
that puzzle into little pieces. Our ancestors 
were not such fools as to import Duns from 
Asia for purpose of breeding, but in their wars 
and migrations drifted Asiatic Duns and South 
Russian white horses across the face of Europe. 
No wars of invasion brought Bay horses out of 
Africa ; but as each tribe needed a better 
strain of horseflesh, the Bays were carried in 
the courses of trade to Europe. 


The Chestnut. This colour is possibly 
bright Bay from African blood crossed with a 
slight proportion of golden Dun. Both in the 
humans and the horses, chestnut hair goes 
with a certain temper described as sanguine, 
generous or fiery if we happen to be in a good 
temper, or untrustworthy and vicious if we 
disHke the person. Setting aside the cold 
sorrel, or light chestnut, which in my own mind 
is associated with commonplace horses and 
with one or two very bad women, the real chest- 
nut, with its red-gold glory, makes most of us 
catch our breath with its beauty. In human 


hair it so appeals to artists as to be generally 
reserved for the most sacred portraiture. In 
horses, it so appeals to horsemen as to rank 
next bright Bay in the scale of values. 

The Brown Horse. This is a colder, 
washed-out tone of Ba3\ 

The Black Horse. Among feral and range 
horses, those of the very darkest bay and brown 
become brown-black under the summer sun- 
light. True black is unknown among outdoor 
horses, and can only be due to special selective 

The Grey Horse. All greys are obviously 
crossed between white and the various whole 

The primary horse colours are Dun and Bay. 

The secondary colours are white, black, 
grey, chestnut, and brown, whole colours 
shared by human and horse folk. 

The tertiar}^ colours are crosses of white 
with Bay, Dun, black, chestnut, brown, which 
produce the various roans. Beyond that the 
human hair withdraws from competition. 

The quarternary colours are crosses of white 
with whole roans, producing strawberry and 
cream roans, and roan-balds ; while a peculiar 
mixture of white with black, bay or chestnut, 
gives us the piebalds and skewbalds. 


The white horse has been saved from the 
wolves by man, but the secondary tertiary 
and quarternary colours are also very largely 
the result of man's work in crossing the primi- 
tive strains of Europe with the imported African 
Bay within the last couple of thousand years. 

Migration. The Romans imported millions 
of negro slaves who have not left a trace of 
their blood in Europe. Wave after wave of 
Blonde Migration from the Baltic has conquer- 
ed the Mediterranean states, but left no fair 
descendants. The negroes become extinct 
in Europe. The blondes become extinct on the 

And so with horses. Imported horses fail 
to breed healthfully in the damp provinces of 
India and Brazil, while horse sickness makes a 
clean sweep of them in man}' parts of Africa. 
It is probable, with horses as with men, that 
no sudden importation to regions outside their 
native zone of sunlight results in permanent 
healthy breeding. The imported strain dies 
out unless it is constantly renewed. Hordes 
of Asiatics with Dun horses have swept from 
time to time into Europe, and into India, but 
Dun horses are scarce in both regions, and do 
not exist in large numbers except in Scandi- 
navia and in Katywar. 


So the strong action of man in sudden flood- 
ings of Europe with Bays from the desert, 
Duns from the steppe, is outweighed by a 
stronger law of nature. With strains of horses 
as with tribes of man, the penalty for sudden 
migration from their native zone of light is 
gradual extinction. 

Yet is there one difference between Bays and 
Duns. The Dun is not worth renewing, and so 
dies out unnoticed. The Bay is worth breed- 
ing and so persists. 


In nature's immense and gentle processes, 
throughout the amazing story of the Europe 
horse, the bewildering actions of forgotten 
tribes of men, and the sun's own slow adjust- 
ments, a single force persists in branding the 
stock wdth a sign of ownership. 

A partial echpse of the sun had made his 
figure that of the crescent moon. Standing 
under some oak trees, beside the road puddles 
made b}^ recent rain, I noticed that the bars of 
reduced sunlight which came down through the 
leafage shone upon the little patches of water. 
The image of the crescent sun was reflected 
upside dow^n. 

The bar of sunlight coming down through 
leafage acts as a lens to the sun's image. The 


woodland glade is a camera. The coat of a 
woodland animal is coloured by the direct 
action of light, is sensitive to light, is a sensi- 
tized film for colour photography. To the 
peculiar reversed and condensed rays shining 
through leafage into the woodland camera, the 
coat of the horse responds, forming rings of 
deeper colour limited to the parts of the animal 
which are exposed to direct light. In the 
course of many generations, the rings become 
permanent and are known as dapples. The 
dappling in the dappled light of woodlands 
gives concealment both to hunting leopards 
and to hunted horses. 

Since dapples have not been traced to any 
other country, and may well be native to wood- 
lands of Western Europe, it seems fair reasoning 
which gives that special quality of colour to a 
type we will now define as the European horse. 
I do not contend that the woodlands were more 
extensive than the open downs, or that an}^ 
large proportion of European horses developed 
dapples. I do contend that a certain stocky 
build and well conditioned heaviness of type 
more or less dappled is characteristic of Western 
Europe, just as a more or less striped Dun is 
typical of Asia, and more or less striped Bay 
typical of Northern Africa. 


I am nothing more than an old rough-neck. 
My poor httle theories about the Europe horse 
have the impudence to contradict a great au- 
thority. Professor Ridgeway brings historic 
proof that the Tarpan, who is the Prejevalski, 
the wild Dun of Asia, inhabited the green pas- 
ture of Europe, that he was a small scrawny 
and foul-tempered person unfit to ride, and 
that his crossings with the slender imported 
Bay produced our gigantic sturdy and gentle 
draught horse. I have ridden so many Duns, 
packed so many, loved them so much, that I 
am sure they would agree with me in bucking 
hard against Professor Ridgeway. I do not 
beheve that the Dun wore his tawny colour in 
green pastures where he would be a target. I 
do not beheve that the wild Dun in an average 
district was small, scrawny or vicious. I do 
not beheve that a horse of the Dun type could 
be an ancestor to draught stock. History is 
the lens through which we sec the past — out 
of focus. 

Against the evidence of history and the 
proofs of science, I have nothing to offer ex- 
cept the common heritage of sight and reason, 
with that experience which trains a fellow to 
interpret landscape and to care for horses. I 
cannot expect others to ride as I have through 


the green pasturage of Cloudland seeing as I do 
under the combed, trim countryside of to-day 
the fierce rough wilderness of prehistoric times 
and of outlandish frontiers. It is not by 
asking the way or reading sign-posts that one 
reasons out the route of a day's journey, but 
by a vivid sense of light, form, colour and at- 
mospheric distance, the old familiar structure 
of the rocks, the slopes of drainage, the course 
of running waters, the shape of woods and 
trees as fashioned by the wind, the ancient 
dangers deflecting trails and roads, and the 
phenomena which result in forts and churches, 
villages and towns. 

So one senses the radiant perfumed land and 
sees how it shaped and coloured its native 
horses. It was from that raw material the 
breeder wrought just as a sculptor models clay 
into his statuary Under his hands the wild 
traits disappeared, the short-sighted pon}^ 
grew into a long-sighted hunter, sound hoofs 
and limbs were softened to unsoundness, the 
language of signs gave place to understanding 
of human speech, while discipline of the harem 
and the herd became obedience in the fields of 
sport, of labour, or soldier service. 

I would not have my reading take the place 
of thinking, but rather use books to inspire 


thought and be thankful to them for correcting 
blunders. Thus, aiming at the truth, no matter 
what I hit, I see in Western Europe a horse- 
currenc}^ which is of striped extraction, and, 
hke a coinage in bronze, silver and gold, has 
evolved its moorland ponies, its lowland 
draught stock, and its upland running breeds. 
The measure of Bay blood stamps out its 
values ; and, where one can decipher a device, 
it is to read the dapple sign for one of the sun's 
ow^n kingdoms. 




The North American range of the run-wild 
herds enlarges northward out of Mexico and 
covers the region between the Mississippi and 
the Pacific Ocean up to the edge of the North- 
ern Forest in Canada. This gives an area of 
three milhon square miles, a range much the 
same size as Europe, the United States, Aus- 
tralia, Brazil, or Canada. The eastern half is 
a prairie, the western a desert shaped like a 
swell of the sea about eight thousand feet high 
at the top, and laced all over with a skein of 
mountain ranges thrown like fisherman's net 
and broken all to pieces. Moreover, the 
southern or higher half of this desert is cleft 
to the roots by sheer abysmal chasms known 
as the Canons. 

It has been my good fortune to ride from the 
edge of the Canadian forest along the general 
hne of the Rocky Mountains to a place just 



twenty miles south of Zacatecas in Mexico, 
which is the southern boundary of the Stock 
Range, on the Tropic of Cancer. I have also 
ridden from Regina in Saskatchewan to Red 
Bluff in Cahfornia. These two routes cross the 
grass from north to south, and nearly from 
east to west, making a rough total of seven 
thousand miles. 

The land as I knew it first had just been 
stripped naked by the hunters who swept 
away almost the whole of its native stock of 
bison, deer, and antelope, wild sheep and 
goats, together with the hunting animals, such 
as wolves and panthers who earned a living 
there. The land as I saw it next was over- 
stocked with ponies, cattle and sheep, so that 
the grass w^as poor. The land as I saw it last 
was being fenced, watered and ploughed by 
pioneer settlers. In thirty years I witnessed 
the passing of the wilderness and its frontiers- 

A meadow gives a totally false idea of the 
herbage which built up the strength and 
vigour of the ancient pony herds. It is a 
mixture of many grasses and other plants all 
closely turfed together so that a horse cannot 
readily select what he likes best. The grass 
contains a deal of water, stays green throughout 


the year and tastes sour between the teeth. 
One finds turfed pasture in forests and their 
outskirts, and usualty where there is rainfall 
enough for crops, as in Western Europe and on 
the eastern half of South Africa. That, I 
think, is not the pasture which made the 
hardy range horse. 

Where there is less than eight inches of rain 
one finds the range grass, of separate plants 
with the bare earth between. The three 
American kinds are the bunch grass of the 
hollows, a tall tussock with tap roots reaching 
down to moisture ; the little buffalo grass 
from tw^o to four inches high ; and the gramma 
grass of the same size which inhabits Mexico. 

One ma}^ presume that the tussock fed the 
oldest herds and that, as it failed, the pony 
took to eating the shorter grasses. 

The horse in a meado\v pasture does not eat 
the ranker growths, but grazes the shorter, 
smaller kinds of grass. From this we may 
reason that the little buffalo grass of the ranges 
is the typical food of the species. The leaves 
of this plant are green in the spring but soon 
cure to a golden tawny colour, which changes 
to brown in the autumn, and a washed-out, 
greyish brown in winter. As the}' cure, the 
leaves curl downwards one by one until the 


plant becomes a ball or tuft exceedingly 
springy underfoot, sweet as a nut in taste, 
and equal in food value to standing oats. 

As one approaches the desert the land is 
sprinkled with bushes which protect them- 
selves from being eaten v/ith a very strong 
nast}^ taste, or deadly thorns. Of these the 
sage brush comes first, a thousand miles wide 
followed by a thousand miles of greasewood 
and acacia varied with forests of cacti. The 
grass becomes more scanty as one forces a way 
onward into the heart of the desert, where 
there are regions of naked rock and belts of 
drifting sand. 

As the annual rainfall varies from year to 
year the desert tracts expand or shrink by 
turns. As the winds swing from side to side, 
or wax or wane in their supply of moisture, a 
fertile region is made desolate for a few cen- 
turies as Palmyra, or a desert shrinks before 
the spreading pasture. In cycles the desert 
blossoms or withers, but with the millions of 
years it slowly widens. 

Such, then, w^ere the conditions of the stock- 
range to which the ancient herds had to adapt 
themselves, learning to dispense with the 
shrunken meadows, and make the most of 
varying crops of bunch grass. 


The taste for green pasture is so far for- 
gotten that range horses will swim rivers and 
break fences to escape from the richest of 
meadows and get to the desert hillsides which 
seem to grow nothing but stones. Where 
sheep tear the bunch grass out by the roots and 
leave stark desert, the horses' lips and teeth 
are so delicately adapted to this feeding that 
they never uproot the plant. 

It is a sound rule that range ponies do not 
travel beyond their necessities of grass and 
water. Leaving the water, they graze out- 
wards, forming a trampled area which widens 
daily as they feed at the edges. So, riding 
across the rich and untouched grass lands of 
the south-western deserts, I have come to a 
line where the pasturage ended abruptly, and 
beyond were innumerable pony tracks leading 
from six to ten miles to a water hole. The 
wild horse looked upon that ring area as the 
tame horse does a stable, with water and feed 
conveniently arranged. That was his home, 
and if man or the storm, or wolves drove him a 
couple of hundred miles away to better feed 
and water, he would always break back at the 
first chance, travelhng steadily with little delay 
for grazing. 

A horse's neck is exactly long enough for 


grazing on level ground, but I never saw one 
try to graze downhill. Neither does he readily 
graze directly up any steep place, preferring 
to quarter along the hillside, rising very 

His first rule in grazing then is to crop uphill. 

But the moment the air stirs he applies his 
second grazing rule, which is " feed up wind." 

If he had the man's way of reasoning, he 
would argue thus, " If I graze down wind I 
smell myself, the grass, and the dust. But if 
I graze up wind I get the air clean to my nos- 
trils, and can smell an enemy in time to fight 
or run." 

His third rule is to graze if possible home- 
ward or towards shelter. 

If the grass is plentiful he feeds quickly, 
and has time for rest on warm sheltered ground 
or in the lee of timber. If food is scant, he gets 
no time for rest. 

On the natural range there are hollows to 
which the surface waters have carried the ashes 
of burned grass. These alkali licks are needed 
to keep horses in health ; but rock salt in the 
stable seems to meet their wants. Failing that 
they will lick brick walls. Even the licking 
of a man's hand is a means of getting salt from 
the skin rather than making love. 



The best way to measure the distance and 
the sort of ground which the ancient herds 
were accustomed to traverse between grass 
and water, is to study the conduct of a horse in 
deahng with steep places. 

I was dining with some friends at Gibraltar 
when the story was told of long ago times when 
a couple of mad midshipmen rode ponies for a 
wager up the Mediterranean stairs. This is a 
stone stairwa}^ up the eastern wall of the Rock 
which is sheer and some thirteen hundred feet 
high. The story had special interest for me 
because my father was one of the two mad 
middies. He had told me that the ponies 
were not frightened, except at the last flight of 
all when the Atlantic wind was blowing into 
their faces over the summit. There a step was 
missing, the ponies reared, and both lads had to 
dismount, losing a wager for which the leader 
had undertaken the ride. 

The ponies were Spanish, of the type which 
re-stocked North America. 

I frightened an English horse into hysterics 
with such small rock walls as I could find in 
Wales, but have never known an American 
range animal to show very much alarm. My 
worst climb was made in twelve hours, with 


three horses up a 3,600 foot diff where a trail 
would have been a convenience. The pack 
and spare horses pulled hard at times because, 
although ambitious animals, they would have 
preferred some other way to heaven. That is 
why the lead rope got under the saddle-horse's 
tail, which made him buck on a ledge over- 
hanging blue space where there really was no 
room. A httle later the led horses pulled my 
saddle horse over the edge of a crag. I got off 
at the top, and the horse lit on his belly across 
a jutting rock about twelve feet down. He 
thought he was done for until I persuaded him 
with the lead rope to scramble up again. Near 
the summit the oak and juniper bushes forced 
me to dismiount, leading the horses one at a 
time under or round stiff overhanging branches 
on most unpleasant ground. They showed off 
a httle because they wished to impress me, but 
I found out afterwards that horses or even 
cattle, held at the foot of that cHfT until they are 
hungry, will climb to the top for grass. The 
place is known as The Gatew^a}^ and leads up 
out of the Canon Dolores in Colorado to the 
Mesa la Sal in Utah. 

Much more dangerous w^as a 4,000 foot grass 
slope dowm from the Mesa Uncompaghre into 
the Canon Unaw^ep. I managed that by 


leading the horses and quartering the slope in 
zigzags. I was much more frightened than 
they were. 

Many times I have ridden along the rim rock 
of cliffs of any height up to a mile sheer, and so 
far from being afraid, I found some horses pre- 
ferred the very edge. One may ride slack rein 
where one would never dare to venture afoot. 

But although range horses like cliffs, they are 
poor climbers. One may ride them up any 
place where a man can chmb without using his 
hands, but they will never face a step above 
knee high. Sometimes I have been obliged 
to pass my rope round a tree and pull my horse 
down walls that he dared not jump. Even 
then he would argue the point. 

American railway bridges have no pathway, 
and when one leads a horse, stepping from tie 
to tie, he thinks he has five legs. With two 
legs down, and a train expected or a bear 
sauntering ahead, he looks so damned patient 
that one begins to reahse an obscure trait in 
his character which needs explaining. It is 
easier to take him across bridges than to ride 
or lead him through a waterfall. He prefers 
a waterfall to a corduroy-timbered swamp road 
when it happens to be flooded and afloat. I 
have tried him with quicksands and moss 


holes and glare ice on the mountain tops. 
Because I cannot swim I have stayed in the 
saddle swimming lakes, rapids, and rivers 
which run sand. Still worse are beaver 
swamps under a tangle of deadfall timber, and 
old avalanches. All these and sundry other 
kinds of evil ground a horse accepts as fate so 
long as he trusts his man. It is not his busi- 
ness. It is the man's affair. One begins to 
think that, like a savage, he lacks continuous 
purpose of his own and is merely the meek 
victim of his destiny. And that is exactly 
where the man is fooled. When a horse really 
wants grass, water, or to get home, he rivals 
the white man in sustained purpose, and does 
his own job with an intelligence and courage 
which he never gives to that of his employer. 
In other words, the difficulties of travel 
between grass and water gave to the ancient 
ponies the highest possible quahties of endur- 
ance, valour and skill. These qualities are 
latent in every horse. 

There is a more important lesson to be 
learned by practical study of wild range. 

The range has two types of herbage, the 
bunch grass and the thorned or aromatic 
bushes. The bunch grass is the staple food, the 
bushes a reserve in time of drought The use 


of the reserve food has taught the horse to 
adapt his stomach to a change of diet. 

Compared with farm land the range has 
ver}^ httle food to the acre, supports only a 
small population of grazing beasts, and, in its 
distances between food and water, has trained 
the horse to a deal of exercise as well as to 
endurance of thirst. On the other hand the 
needs of travelling for water and of grazing 
have reduced his time for sleep to about three 
and a half hours per day, which he takes 
standing, however weary, unless he is quite 
confident as to safety and kind treatment. In 
brutalh^ managed stables horses are apt to 
sleep standing, because they are not off guard. 

At first glance, too, the water on level range, 
however distant from the edge of grass ma\^ be 
safely visited. Yet as one approaches the 
stream by slopes of the usual coulee, densely 
bushed with poplar and wild fruit trees ; or, 
coming down open grass, enters a grove of 
Cottonwood along the level bottom, one begins 
to note that the horses appear to be nervous. 
A bunch of loose ponies will let the wisest mare 
scout ahead while they string out in single file 
to follow all alert, picking their way most 
dehcately, pointing their ears at all sorts of 
smells and sounds, and glancing backw^ar^j 


often as they go. Again one watches tame 
horses watering at a trough, ahva3^s alert, on 
guard. If one of them makes a sudden move- 
ment the rest will at once shy backward. Some 
horse are so nervous that the}^ have to be 
watered singly. Alwa^^s a horse drinks while 
he can hold his breath, lifts his nostrils to 
breathe deep and fill his lungs, then takes a 
second drink, perhaps a third, and turns away 
abruptly. There is no lingering at the water- 
side. At the bank of lake or river no range 
horse goes deeper then he need, or offers to take 
a bath. 

Here are race-memories of mortal peril from 
a daily watering in face of instant danger and 
of sudden death. I have seen so many horses 
piteously drowned in moss or mudholes that I 
understand why the}' tread cautiously as they 
approach wet ground. The bush beside the 
w^ater is apt to be full of snakes who come down 
as horses do, to drink in the gloaming, and are 
not easily seen. The bush beside the water 
is the lurking place of every beast of prey, and 
everybody knows how horses go stark mad at 
the smell of bear. What chance had the 
ponies, strung out on a bush trail, against grey 
timber wolves ? What thoroughbred fighting 
horse would ever have a chance against the 


Siberian tiger, or the African lion ? Cougar, 
puma, jaguar, leopard — the cats of all the 
world with their sudden spring at the v/ithers 
or throat of a range pony, have taught his 
descendants their art of self-defence. That 
we must deal with later. 


We have broken up the family life of our 
horses, and are apt to forget that they ever had 
private affairs of their own. 

Twice on the range I have met horse families. 
On the first occasion the family happened to be 
grazing near the trail as I passed. The stal- 
lion was furious at my intrusion, trotted up to 
me and stood glaring, pawing the ground, his 
great neck arched and splendid mane and tail 
ripphng astream in the high wdnd. My saddle 
and pack beasts, a pair of gentle geldings, 
were rather frightened, disposed to halt, even 
to run away but for my voice keeping them to 
their duty. The stallion's mares had stopped 
grazing to admire their master, each with an 
observant eye cocked at me and an expression 
of smugness not to be beaten in any Bigo- 
tarian chapel. Then, as I laughed, the stallion, 
with a loud snort of contempt, swung round, 
lashed dirt in my face for defiance, and trotted 
off to round up his harem and drive them out 


of reach lest my evil communications should 
corrupt their morals. 

On the second occasion I took a half-broken 
pack-train into a pasture on the bench of a 
canon, so that the spring grass might cure an 
epidemic of strangles which had killed seven 
and sorely weakened the rest. The pasture 
belonged to a wild stallion who lived there with 
his family of young mares, colts and foals. 
He stole my twenty-five mares, added them to 
his harem, and made off. I was obliged to 
build a corrall, round up the whole bunch, cut 
out my mares, and drive the harem out of the 
district. Meanwhile my stock had lapsed 
from civilised w^ays and become wild beasts 
who had to be broken all over again before it 
was possible to use them for pack-train work. 

They say that a horse family depends in size 
upon the powers of the strongest stallion, who 
rises to com.mand by fighting and defeating all 
competitors, and holds his command by single 
combat with the leaders of rival families who 
try to rob him. 

The commandant stallion is able to hold a 
family of fifteen to fifty head, but there must be 
some who b}^ conquest of rival leaders, and 
stealing of their harems, rise to commands on 
a much larger scale. Ranging his familX 


between grass and water, he is most particular 
to close herd his mares, to hold his own pasture 
which he never leaves except under dire stress, 
and to have special places where he casts his 
droppings. In range hfe the geldings have 
separate famihes, and their own private runs. 
There is not very much known about the 
internal arrangements of wild harems, but a 
good deal can be guessed from watching the 
Red Indian's pon}- herd, the Cow outfit's 
bunch of remounts, the Mexican remuda, the 
Argentino tropilla, the stock of a horse ranch, 
or even a herd camp of Mounted Police, all 
units of horses living more or less the wild life 
of the range. From these it is known that a 
feral pony herd keeps a certain mihtary forma- 
tion while grazing, with the weaker animals 
ringed by the stronger, and a few vedettes and 
flankers thrown out to watch for danger. At 
the assault of a wolf pack the formation closes, 
the fighting horses and mares making an outer 
ring, close-set and facing outwards. When a 
w^olf comes within range, the nearest horse 
swings round and lashes out with the hind feet 
to kill. As American wolves only pack in 
winters of famine this event is rare, but in one 
case an Indian boy who was herder to a Black- 
foot tribal camp, was, with his mount, placed 


by the fighting herd at their centre for his 
defence, and was able to watch the whole 
battle until his people came out to the rescue. 

In breeding and fighting the Commandant 
stallion is sole authority, but it has been noticed 
that some wise old mare usually decides the 
time for moving and leads the marches. 

It is said that a foal is able to keep with the 
travelling herd from the day of birth. It is 
said that the foal will outlast a hard day's 
journey — and dies afterwards. To what ex- 
tent this may be true I have no means of 
knowing, but I believe that the leggy foal does 
keep up with a moving herd. It is one more 
bit of evidence as to the desperate emergencies 
of drought or storm survived by the ancient 


There is a general belief among horse that 
man is vicious. If he were a httle more inteih- 
gent we could explain to the horse that appear- 
ances are deceptive, and that we are not really 
vicious vv'hen we throw things at each other 
such as shells, torpedoes and bombs, or lay 
mines to blow each other to pieces on land or 
sea. As it is, he bases his belief that we are 
vicious upon our methods of dealing with him, 
in the use for example, of bearing reins, of 


branding irons, and instruments which dock 

My own impression, after many ^^ears of 
experience with both, is that man, and especi- 
ally civilised man, is much more ferocious than 
the horse. May I venture then to quote the 
wisdom of a gentle Bengali Baboo who wrote 
an essay as follows : 

" The horse is a highly intelligent animal, 
and, if you treat him kindly, he will not do so." 

The discovery was made in Arabia, also in 
Kentucky, in Ireland and elsewhere, that if a 
foal is handled as a pet, and so brought up that 
he remembers nothing but kindness and con- 
stant care at the hands of men, it never 
occurs to him that he needs to defend himself 
from his master as from an enemy. He never 
develops the arts of self-defence. As a colt he 
learns that to get at his feed he must jump over 
a stick on the ground. As he grows the stick 
is raised inch b}^ inch until jumping over it 
becomes a part of his accomplishments in 
which he takes a natural pride and delight. 
So with the rest of his education. Horses can 
learn a great deal of the language we speak, to 
enjoy music, to select colours, to add up 
figures, to take a vivid interest in sport, to 
share with us the terror and glory of battle. 


They will set us an example in faithfulness^ in 
self-sacrifice, and every finer trait of character. 

But if we teach a young horse nothing but 
distrust, making fear and hatred the main 
traits of his character, it is the last outrage 
upon common sense to call his honest methods 
of self-defence by such a name as vice. We 
have the power to raise up angels or devils, but 
if we breed a horse to be a devil, we cannot 
expect the poor beast to behave himself like an 

Horses vary in character almost as much as 
we do, and there are with them as with us a 
small proportion of born criminals whose 
warped or stunted brains cannot be trained 
aright by any means we know. What we do 
not and can never understand is the mysteri- 
ous power of saints who charm wild men and 
beasts to tameness, and of certain horsemen to 
whom the worst outlaws are perfectly obedient. 

Among ourselves there are certain dreams 
such as the falling dream, the fl3dng dream, and 
that of being eaten by wild beasts, which are 
supposed to be race-memories dating from the 
time when man w^as a forest animal like an ape, 
before the immortal Spirit entered into his body. 

Among horses there are race-memories dat- 
ing from ancient times in the wilderness when 


the pony was driven to self-defence on pain of 
a violent death. These race memories take 
the form of habits, and explain the various 
methods by which the horse defends himself 
from human enemies. 

Pawing, for example, is the subject of many 
theories. Not that the habit really needs 
explanation, because we fidget ourselves when 
we have nothing better to do. Yet when a 
horse paws the water at any drinking place, the 
learned are apt to say he does it to clear away 
the mud. I doubt if any horse is such a fool. 
Other observers note that the action is really 
stamping, a motion of race-memory dating 
from the time when thin ice had to be tested 
to see if a frozen river could be safely crossed. 
That sounds most reasonable, until one wonders 
dimly how it accounts for either pawing or 
stamping on dry ground. 

If then the fidgets must be explained by any 
theory of race memor}^, one would suppose that 
the gestures used in killing snakes or in scraping 
through snow to get grass might very well have 
come down through the ages. I think though 
that if I had four hoofs and an irritable temper, 
I might be allowed to indulge in cow-kicking or 
striking without my symptoms being used as a 
pretext for abusing my dead ancestors. 


We have seen that the old range harem 
adopted miUtary formations, and went into 
action well organized for defence against 
wolves. They kicked, but any range cow, 
addressed on the subject of milking, without 
hereditary training as a kicker, can give points 
to the average horse. Yet where the cow is 
merely obstinate the horse is reasonable. 

He is marvellously swift as a critic of the 
horseman, ready to kick the same abundantly 
at the slightest sign of ineptitude or nerves, or 
to render a cheery obedience to one who under- 
stands. The man who walks nervously through 
a stable making abrupt movements to avoid 
possible heels is sure to be criticised with con- 
tusions by any horse with a decent sense of 
humour. Yet if one understands the signs of 
thrown-back ears and balancing in readiness 
for the kick, one has only to tell the animal not 
to play the fool, then watch his shamefaced 
grin at being found out. It is so easy to charm 
the most irritable horse with a httle hay while 
one is busy with him in the stall. He cannot, 
like a man, think of two things at once, and in 
mihtary stables, horse-masters who have their 
grooming done while the horses feed will find 
that even dangerous kickers become gentle. 
That is of course contrary to much theory and 


more army practice ; yet it is not forbidden, 
and being easil}^ tested is well worth trying 
before it is condemned. 

Having nearly cured my horses of kicking, I 
am still extremely anxious to persuade young 
horsemen to get as close as possible to a horse 
while grooming him, so that no kicker has 
room to deliver the full force of the blow, 
which may be fatal. Horses are very careless 
among themselves, kicking each other for fun 
while they forget that the iron shoe may break 
a leg. I have noticed also that a horse who 
deliberately gets himself disliked will very soon 
be the victim of organized attack, a comrade 
being told off by the rest to lay for him. In 
this way during the last six months I have 
been obliged to have four horses shot for 
fractured legs. 

Horses in pasture will often stand in pairs, 
head to tail abreast, so that each with his 
whisk of tail can keep flies from the other's face. 
One will nibble and lick along the other's neck 
and withers out of kindness, adding a bite or 
two for fun. So in the stable, horses bite one 
another for fun, but if they apply the treatment 
to a man it is a sure sign they are badly educa- 
ted, and liable to get their noses smacked for 
their pains. 


Pig-jumping is the plunging action which 
civihsed horses suppose to be genuine bucking. 
It is not so much self-defence as an expression 
of joy. 

Kangaroo-jumping is unusual, but must be 
great sport for a horse who knows the trick. 
It never fails to astonish. 

Rearing. To cure a rearing horse, throw 
him on his near side. When ready to throw, 
draw the rein taut, the off rein tightest ; then 
as he rears, keep the left toe in the near 
stirrup, but get the right free of the off stirrup 
with the knee on the horse's rump, for a 
purchase as 3'ou throw your bod}^ suddenly to 
the left. The Horse loses his balance and 
crashes to the ground while you step clear. 
As you do so draw the taut off rein back and 
low to the pommel. So you will raise the head 
and prevent horse from rising. 

Never strike a horse on the head for rearing. 

Bolting and Stampedes. Horses were 
trained by wolves and other dangers of the 
range to run at the warning neigh of their 
stallion commanding. Sudden and blind panic 
is a trait innate in the horse character, and the 
best preventive is the human voice. Singing 
hymns or any familiar songs in chorus is the 
very best way of preventing a stampede ; but, 


judging by my own voice, is rather apt to 
panic any horse who has a good ear for 

Balking. There is a story of a New Eng- 
land farm horse drawing a load of hay, whose 
master had no influence with him. After 
trying for an hour to persuade the animal to 
move, he made a bonfire under its belly. When 
the flames caused him discomfort, the horse 
moved on — eight feet, exactly enough to bring 
the bonfire underneath the hay. 

Tap quickty with a whip behind his knees, 
hitting them alternate^ . He will mark time 
then walk to get away from the whip. I 
heard lately of a stranger who walked up to a 
balking horse, rolled a cigarette paper and 
placed it carefully in the animal's ear, then 
led him unresisting along the road. Mr. 
Horse was wondering, " Why the deuce did 
he put that thing in my ear? " He forgot 
to balk. No horse can think of two things at 
the same time. 

Balking at a Gallop. Whereas refusing to 
start is evidence of a misguided past, the 
sudden refusal to take a jump may indicate 
that the horse lacks confidence in his rider, or 
that the reins are very badly handled, giving 
him no chance of taking off with head free. 


To balk at a gallop means throwing the 
body back and bearing against the ground 
with all four feet, head down. 

Propping. This is balking at a gallop and 
taking a series of springs in that position, each 
with a rigid crash on all four legs. The rider 
has a tendency to continue his journey alone. 
Propping is much favoured by range horses. 

This completes the list of defensive measures 
remembered by civilised horses. 

Treading. They have also invented a few 
methods of expressing their feelings. When a 
horse presses his hand on m}^ foot, and adds to 
the tenderness of the greeting b}^ waving his 
other hand, I know^ he means to impress me, 
although I may not have leisure at the moment 
to hear what he has to say. 

Taking in the Slack. When a horse takes 
the seat of my breeches firmly between his 
teeth as I try to mount, he may not wish me to 
ride, or possibly he wishes to criticise the 
English riding costume. Breeches with puffed 
sleeves are perhaps an acquired taste. 

Crowding. A horse may corner or crowd 
me when I try to leave the stall after feeding 
him, and if he hugged me he could do no more 
to express his pleasure. But if he will not let me 
re-enter his stall while he feeds, I suspect some 


groom has been stealing his oats from the 

Joggling. Soldier horses on the march are 
obhged to keep the pace set by the leading file. 
If that pace is be3^ond their walk, they keep up 
by joggling. To break a jogghng horse to a 
walk, stand in the stirrups, place the free hand 
on his neck, and bear with the whole weight 
of your body. 

To return now to defensive methods. 

Bucking. To lower the head, and spring 
into the air, humping the back, drawing the 
feet close together, and coming down on all 
four rigid, for the next spring. Repeat. It is 
useful when starting a spring with the head 
north to twist in the air and come down facing 
south ; or to make the series of jumps in a 
narrow circle and then bolt at a tangent ; or to 
buck on the run, dislodging the rider first, then 
the saddle which can be kicked to pieces. If 
the rider is dragged his brains can be kicked 

SuNFisHiNG. To buck, coming down on 
both hind feet and one fore, while doubling up 
the other free limb. This brings one shoulder 
to the ground, and to sunfish is to drop alter- 
nate shoulders. Very few horses know this 


Scraping. To run or buck under low 
branches or against trees or walls. Some 
civilised horses know this. 

Backfalls. These may be used to add to 
the general effect of either rearing or bucking. 
I once bought a black mare seven 3^ears old, 
snared in the forest, who had probably never 
seen a man. When ridden she bucked, and 
while bucking threw herself seven times on her 
back, three falls being over a cut bank on to a 
rock}' river bed. Towards evening she cricked 
her neck, and showed blood at the nostrils, 
making an awful picture of despair. During 
the night she slipped a foal, of which there had 
been no sign. Before dawn she died — a case of 
broken heart. The horse breaker, an English 
gentleman, sta^^ed with her throughout, and 
was not hurt. 

So far we have dealt with acts of hot-blooded 
passion, culminating in suicidal rage. The 
fiercest buckers, having dislodged the rider, 
will turn at once to grazing and wait with 
cheerful defiance for the next bout. Almost 
all horses are sportsmen and there is nothing 
that they dread more, or are so careful to 
avoid as treading upon a disabled man. Even 
in cavalr}' charges a man down has onl}^ to lie 
still so that the horses can see exactly where he 


is, and the}^ will all leap clear. They dread 
placing a foot on anything which might col- 
lapse or roll, and so cause a dangerous fall. 

There remain extreme cases in which horses 
are guilty of dehberate, planned murder. 

Savaging is practised by civilised as well as 
by range horses. It is a sudden, and often un- 
provoked, wide-eyed staring rush with teeth 
bared, an attempt either to inflict a dangerous 
bite or to get a man down and trample him to 

Holding wind. The only case I know of 
was that of a fine buckskin gelding for whom 
I paid a rifle, a suit of clothes and ten dollars 
in trade with an Indian. It seemed impossible 
to get the girth properly tight until, after three 
days, I concluded that my suspicion of his 
holding wind was merely foohshness. All the 
same I used to regirth a mile or two out on each 
march. I had regirthed at the top of a moun- 
tain pass, and was mounting, when he suddenly 
let out all his wind and bolted over rock heaps. 
The saddle came down with me on the off side, 
I was dragged, and afterwards woke up to find 
myself maimed for life. Then we had a fight, 
which he won. It turned out afterwards that 
holding wind until he could catch out and kill 
his rider was an old accomplishment for which 


the horse was famous. This is the only case I 
have known of unprovoked, carefully planned, 
and deliberate crime, as distinguished from 

Vices are human quaUties. The worst 
possible vices with regard to a horse are, 

To show fear. 

Meanness or neglect in fending for him. 

Cruelty or ill-temper. 


The young of the church and of the uni- 
versities who know all about everything, and 
attach a deal of importance to their funny httle 
opinions, are quite agreed that the lower 
animal is an " it " as automatic as a slot 
machine. Put in a penny and the machine 
utters a box of matches. Put in food and the 
animal develops energy. So much is per- 
fectly true of animals and men, for our bodies 
are automatic. 

Moreover, the animal has " instincts " which 
impel '' it " to beget a foal or a Utter of 
puppies. Humans, with the same instincts 
are impelled to beget a bumptious young 
bacteriologist, or a pair of curates. 

In a hke way the wolf, the Christian, or the 
tiger mates with one wife, while the horse and 
the Moslem both prefer a harem. 


Shall we say, then, that the wolf is the more 
religious, or the horse not quite so respectable ? 

A certain Sergeant Parker, of the North- 
west Mounted PoHce, went on patrol with a 
saddle horse. They got lost in a blizzard, and 
in the succeeding calm the man became snow- 
bhnd. On the seventh day, the horse saw an 
outfit of freighters passing in the distance. He 
ran to their sleighs. He whinneyed to the 
horses, who understood his talk, and he 
beckoned to the men, who were not so clever. 
Then the men noticed that his belly was terribly 
swollen b}^ long pressure of the girth. They 
followed him. At a distance of one and a half 
miles they came to a tract of prairie with the 
snow grubbed up where the horse had been 
scratching for grass. In the midst w^as a heap 
of snow like the mound of a grave, on which 
lay Sergeant Parker in seeming death. His 
long delirium, beginning with visions of angels 
and closing with a dream of meat-pies, had 
ended in coma just at the verge of death ; 
while the horse stayed on guard until it was 
possible to get him rescued. So much was 
told me afterwards by the man. 

The other day in France a British soldier 
was killed, whose horse remained with the 
body for two days, out in the zone betw^een the 


opposing armies, exposed to a hurricane of fire 
beyond example, refusing to be rescued, moved 
by a love stronger than death. 

The young of the clergy will tell us all about 
the lower animal who does not subscribe to the 
tenets of the church, and so must perish ever- 
lastingly despite the Father's care. Yet if 
they read the Prophets and the Revelations 
they will find chariots of fire, and see in visions 
the deathless chargers ridden by Archangels. 
Are all the Hosts of Heaven infantry ? We 
have the full authority of the Holy Bible for an 
idea that horses may be immortal. 

But then the young of science have assured 
us that the clergy talk a deal of nonsense, and 
that the Holy Scriptures are so much folk lore. 
Our modern teachers, unused to sleeping out- 
doors, have never seen the great heavens 
thrown open every night. They believe in 
nothing they have not seen, and those I meet 
have not seen very much. To them the lower 
animal is hardly a personal friend, but rather 
an automaton steered by instincts, built on 
much the same principles as a dirigible torpedo. 
The " instincts " have to account for deeds 
which in a man would be attributed to love or 

I often meet young people who gently wave 


aside my life experience while they crush me 
with some religious or scientific tenet to which 
they attach importance. Sometimes this bias 
has caused total blindness, more often they 
lack sympathy ; but any horse can teach 
fellows who have eyes to see with, and hearts 
to understand. Then the}^ wdll realise in him 
a personality like that of a human child. 

I do believe that there are men and horses 
in whom the spirit burns with so mighty and 
secure a strength that it cannot be quenched 
by death ; and that there are others in whom 
the flame burns low or has been blown out. 

Ever^^body has acquaintances who possess a 
certain sense, not yet quite understood, which 
enables them to read unspoken thoughts ; to 
see events in the past, the distance, or the 
future as happening to their friends ; or to be 
conscious of certain states of the atmosphere 
produced by strong human emotions ; or to 
see or hear phenomena which some folk attri- 
bute to discarnate spirits. Such people are 
called psychic, and, if they use their powers as 
a means of earning mone}^ they are defined as 
frauds. As a bhnd man does not deny the 
existence of eyesight, so, if I am not psychic 
myself, I have no call to decry the honest 
people who possess this gift. I have heard 


stories told in all good faith of dog* and horses 
showing uneasiness and alarm at apparitions 
which men failed to see, of so-called ''ghosts," 
for example, in places which had been the scene 
of a violent death. Without careful investiga- 
tion one can scarcely treat such tales as evi- 
dence ; but it is quite possible that some 
horses, hke some women, are strongly psychic. 

That horses have a crude sense of humour is 
known to every horseman. To rip the cap off 
a groom's head and drop it in the water is the 
sort of joke which appeals to a horse or a little 
boy. Once I was standing beside a friend who 
sat in a dog-trap, and each of us enjoyed a 
glass of beer while we passed the time of day. 
Just for fun the pony drank half my beer, but 
when I brought him a bowl of the same, pre- 
tended to be an abstainer. That pony would 
visit his master's dining-room of a morning to 
remove the covers and inspect the dishes for 

Another friend of mine once had a horse 
named Kruger, black roan with a white star 
on each flank. It had been his hfe's ambition 
to be a skewbald, and disappointment had 
lopped both ears over a glass eye, so that he 
looked hke the very Devil. A greyhound body, 
long legs and a mincing gait completed his un- 


usual list of beauties. Some fourteen years 
after my friend had sold out and left that 
country, accident brought me to Fire Valley, 
British Columbia, and dire need of a new pack 
animal constrained me to buy the horse. Per- 
haps for political reasons, or to evade the 
pohce, by this time old Kruger had changed his 
name to Spot. Frightened of him at first, my 
partner and I discovered his great talents as a 
pack-horse. Besides that, he was brave, loyal, 
and gentle, and above all things humorous. A 
rough passage of mountains brought us to 
settlement, where men would laugh at Spot, 
but horses never dared. One had onty to say 
" Sick 'em ! " as to a dog, and Spot would 
round up all the horses in sight and chase them. 
His face was that of a fiend save for a ghnt of 
fun in the one eye he had for business. For 
about fourteen hundred miles he spread terror 
before him, stampeding bunches of loose horses 
but alwa^^s coming back Vvdth a grin, as though 
he said, " Now, ain't I the very Devil ? " 

In the North-west Mounted Pohce, a de- 
tachment of us used to ride down bareback 
with led horses to water at the ford of Battle 
River. Close by was a wire cable for the 
ferry. On one occasion, my horse as he left 
the water turned under the cable to scrape me 


off his back. Failing in that, he returned 
higher up the bank, and this time I was 
scraped off into a pool of dust. Out of that 
brown explosion of dust, I looked up in time to 
see his malicious pleasure in a successful joke. 

And so one might set forth instances by the 
score, all to the same monotonous effect, that 
humans and horses have a sense of humour. 

Please imagine a man to have his hands and 
feet replaced by boxes of horn such as the hoofs 
of a horse, and that, so disabled, he is tied by 
the head in a cell. Reduced to the conditions 
of horse-life in a stable, the man would be as 
clever as a horse in the use of hps and teeth. 
He would slip his headstall or break his head- 
rope, open the door and escape until such time 
as the need for food and water drove him back 
to prison. When asked to go to work, he 
might give a clever impersonation of a lame 
horse. He might also copy the trick of the 
beggar horse who gives the love call to every 
man who enters the stable, fooling each of 
them with the flatter}^ of special homage, a sure 
way to gifts of sugar, apples or carrots. Or 
he might copy the horse who whiles away dull 
times by keeping a pet cat, or bird, or puppy. 
It seems odd, too, that the most dangerous 
human outlaws and riian-sla3dng horses are 


gentle with small animals and children. So 
long as we punish unoffending horses with im- 
prisonment in dark cells, we may expect them 
to show traits of character evolved by the 
treatment of prisoners in the Middle Ages. 

Horses, dogs, and men are oddly ahke, too, 
m the w^ay the}'' dream, with twitchings of the 
limbs to illustrate great exertion, and snort- 
ings, murmurs and groans, w^hich take the 
place of speech. 

So horses just like humans are dour or 
cheery, truculent or cheek}^, humorous or 
stolid, some with a lofty sense of dignity, while 
others behave like clowns. Some horses are 
like some children, exacting until they are 
petted, while other children and horses hate to 
be pawed. Both will sulk or quarrel, pla}^ the 
fool or grumble, make intimate friendships or 
bitter enemies. I think, though, that the love 
of sport, and the desire to excel are much more 
general with horses than wdth children. 

In a military camp I asked some women to 
tea, and turned loose a few Beethoven records 
on the gramaphone. At the first tune all the 
horses in pasture assembled at the fence, stood 
to attention while the nmsic lasted, and when 
it was over scattered off to grass. They 
certainty love music. At the same camp, by 


some mysterious means they got wind of the 
fact that twenty of them were to be sent away. 
Until the detachment actually marched off, 
their conduct, for twenty-four hours on end, 
was sulky and mutinous. Afterwards both 
groups immediately mended their manners. 

Everybody who lives with horses learns that 
they exchange confidences, arrange for con- 
certed action and try to tell us their troubles. 
Nobody knows how they talk, few of us can tell 
what they are talking about, but so far as the 
evidence goes they seem to express their feel- 
ings rather than their thoughts. Here then are 
a few of their signals : 

(i) When a horse throws his ears to point 
forward and down, and he makes a short, 
sharp snort it means " Wheugh ! Look at that 
now ! " If he throws himself back on his 
haunches while he points and snorts, it means : 
" Oh, Hell ! " If he points, snorts and shies a 
few yards sideways in the air, he is pla3dng 
at being in a terrible fright. It means : 
'' Bears ! " He is not really frightened, for 
when he is tired out he will pass a railway 
engine blowing off steam without taking the 
slightest notice. 

(2) One ear lopped torwaid and the other 
back, head sideways, gait sidelong, may be 


defined in the words of a learned Hindu : 
" Sir, the horse with which your Honour 
entrusted me has been behaving in a highly 
obstreporous and devil-may-care manner." 

(3) The love call is a little whinney, soft, 
sweet and low. 

(4) The demand for food is a rumbling 

(5) A cheery neigh greeting other horses 
in passing means : " How d'ye do ! " 

(6) A loud trumpet peal of neighing at short 
intervals is a demand, sometimes a piteous 
appeal to other horses to join company. 

(7) The groan of great pain is the same as 
that of a man, and may be attended by crying, 
when tears run from the nostrils. The sound 
is heart-rending, beyond endurance. 

(8) The scream is only uttered in sudden and 
mortal agony as from burning, or from some 
kinds of wounds received in battle. 

(9) Ears throvvn back even ever so slightly 
express anger, but thrown back along the neck 
mean fighting rage. In wild life the fights 
between stallions are mainly with the teeth, 
and horses forced to fight as a sport for men, as 
in ancient Iceland, rear up against one another, 
striking as well as biting. The ears are thrown 
back to save them from being bitten. 


(10) Rage and pretended anger are expressed 
by a sudden squeal, the signal of attack. 

(11) Gestures of pain. 
Stamping is merely impatience. 

Pawing may be due to colic. If also the 
animal sweats and keeps looking at his flank, 
there is certainly pain in the abdomen. 

Pointing with a forefoot. When standing, a 
horse rests his hind legs by changing weight 
from one to the other at intervals of a minute. 
As he has no mechanism to do this with the 
fore Umbs, he expresses pain in one of them by 
pointing the foot forward. He rests better 
facing dowm a slope then facing up as in a 
stable, and when in pain may be relieved by 
tying to the stanchion instead of to the manger. 

Dragging the fore foot means injury to the 

Head out, chin up, feet apart, and sweating, 
mean that the chap is choking. 

Head down and tail tucked in, mean misery 
or sickness. 

{12) Gestures of joy. 

Bright eyes, a glossy coat, head carried 
proudly, and tail high, dry nostrils, hard 
droppings, free moVement, and a willing gait 
are signs most eloquent of health. To pass the 
time of day with other horses, shy at the 


clouds, paw the moon, and dance, with pig 
jumping or even a Uttle bucking after break- 
fast, are signals of youth, joy and good fellow- 

Then one may watch the play of the nostrils 
making a thousand comments on scents borne 
in the air, while the ears will point and quiver 
to all sorts of sounds beyond man's hearing. 
The mood will change from sober thoughtful- 
ness in the shadow of clouds or trees, to sheer 
intoxication of delight with sparkhng frost, 
dew on the flowers, sunshine in the skies. No 
creature on earth expresses feeling w^ith sweeter 
quickness than a happy horse. 

(13) NuzzUng is sometimes an appeal for 
help, more often an expression of loving 

(14) Nothing so far explains how a couple of 
horses will put their heads together, touch 
nostrils, and in a second come to some sort of 
mutual underst-anding, which leads to immedi- 
ate concerted action such as the bolting of a 
team. In one or tw^o cases I am not sure that 
the nostrils actually touched. In many cases 
w^hen I saw nostrils rubbed together or the 
beard bristles in contact, no sound was made 
within the compass of my hearing. Neither 
were there such lip movements as would be 


made b}^ speech, nor was there any self- 
conscious, found-out expression in the faces of 
conspirators caught plotting against the white 

When I have been in company with some 
very dear friend, and one of us would answer 
out loud to an unspoken thought of the other, 
or both of us were moved to say the same 
thing in the Uke words, we called that thought- 
transference. When my horse came to me in 
camp, and standing behind caressed my neck 
or ear with his lips or nostril trying by thought- 
transference to tell me all about his pain or 
sorrow, he might get his face slapped before I 
realised exactly what he said. Only as I 
learned to welcome horses when they came to 
me, I seemed to sense their feelings. They 
converse among themselves by thought-trans- 
ference, and try to speak that way to men they 

The barriers between horse and man are 
tremendous. Think what it is for a fastidious 
creature, with powers of scenting which can 
descry clean standing water at nearly five 
miles without wind, to come near a meat- 
eating creature like a man, powerfully and 
offensively scented. Suffering from nausea 
without obtaining the relief permitted to a 


man, the horse must overcome an intense dis- 
like before he accepts our friendship. He 
senses our defects of cowardice, cruelty or 
selfishness, perhaps drunkenness, vices out- 
ranging his capacity for evil. He knows that 
we are physically small, slow, sometimes even 
lacking in muscular strength. Yet taking us 
all in good part, he submits his will to an 
intellectual force, grasp and speed v/hich seem 
to him supernatural, and to an authority 
which he venerates as divine. 



We have now some vague idea of the ancient 
horse ; so it is well we should know what 
manner of man was the savage who caught and 
tamed him. 

Living a great deal, and travelling much 
alone among savages I have been more or less 
tolerated ; and the savage has told me what he 
thinks of the white man. He looks upon the 
scientist as an amateurish unpractical sort of 
person who cannot ride or cook. The mission- 
ar}^ can be profitably humbugged. The tourist 
is a source of revenue but apt to be intrusive 
and ill-mannered. As to the cinema folk, one 
tribe of savages refused to play any more 
because they were defeated in every film. 
They were granted one massacre of the whites 
to cheer them up. 

So the scientific men, the missionary, the 
cinema people and many others bring home 
impressions which would amuse the savage. 



Our people are so badly informed that they 
suppose the savage to be dirty, ferocious, 
immoral and uncouth as the Sydney larrakin, 
the cockney rough, the New York tough and 
other poor degenerates of our race. It is true 
that the Fuegans were dirty, but w^e should not 
speak ill of the dead. Some South Sea island 
tribes are cheerfully ferocious, and make much 
of the white man at table although he does 
taste salty. The Pathan, if one calls him a 
savage, takes a deUght in immorahty. But 
uncouth ? The commonahty of the English- 
speaking nations have a deliberate preference 
for ugly costume and decorations, foul speech 
is usual among men, vulgarit}^ is a privilege of 
both sexes, and awkwardness of bearing is 
almost universal. Who are we to call the 
savage uncouth ? Compared with a white 
man, the savage is a gentleman anyway and 
usually sets us an example in purit}^ of speech, 
often in cleanliness, chastity, and good faith. 
He differs from the healthier types of white 
men in having slight^ less energy and vitaUty, 
in lack of sustained purpose and in being never 
quite grown up. Except in Africa, our mi- 
crobes and not our valour conquered him, and 
his failure to rival us in material progress was 
due to lack of material rather than want of 


brains. The ferocious savage of fiction could 
not have tamed the horse. 

It is quite hkely that men killed and ate 
ponies for ages before it occurred to our 
ancestors that the creatures would be a deal 
more useful alive. But how was Four-feet 
overtaken and killed by Two-feet ? Science 
has nothing to say on that point. We are not 

Science has discovered that in Western 
Europe there were various phases of culture 
which are called (i), the EoHthic, when men 
used natural stones for weapons, (2) the old 
Stone Age, when flints were flaked to make 
spear and arrow points, (3) and the new Stone 
Age, when stones for weapon heads were 
ground and polished, (4) the Bronze Age, (5) and 
the Iron Age. It is true that flaking flints for 
flint-lock guns continues in England in face of all 
theories of the NeoHthic, because a flaked flint 
will make sparks, whereas a ground flint won't. 
It is also true that Europe is the only part of 
the world with flints for flaking. The general 
application of the theory is also a little difficult 
on the Western American range, where there 
are fine silicate stones ; but, in defiance of the 
Neolithic culture, the savages persist in flaking 
them for spear and arrow points while they 


deliberately grind stones for club heads, axe 
heads, and mortars. Still worse, the debauched 
Eskimo grind and carve stone lamps, but in 
their heathen bhndness use bone and ivory 
for the heads of harpoons and bird darts. The 
savages I have known belonged to the Old Bone 

How then with his slow feet and poor 
weapons was the hunter to surprise the alert 
sentries of a pony herd, get within range before 
they fled like the wind, or drive a bone-tipped 
spear through the shagg}^ hair ? 

It seems to me that man, like other hunting 
animals, despairing of getting meat from a 
pony herd on the range, would lie in ambush 
near the watering places, and where the ponies 
had to string out on a narrow trail they were 
caught at a disadvantage. There spear and 
arrow could earn abundant meat. Outside 
the bush, too, the valley ^dr canon walls had 
caves and defensible places where a tribe could 
lodge within easy reach of game, water and 

In the South-western desert of America I 
have seen hundreds of cave and chff villages, 
some even occupied by surviving tribes whose 
methods of hunting and location and defence 
would correspond with those of the more 


primitive pony hunters of prehistoric France. 
It seems, too, that those hairy aborigines who 
spht pony bones for marrow may possibly have 
known the daintiest dish of Red Indian 
cookery, Crow entrail, more poHtely known as 
Absaroka Sausage. 

In savage tribes there is a rule that a man of 
the Smith sept may not marr}'- among the 
Smiths, but seeks his bride among the Browns 
or Robinsons. But the septs are usual!}' 
called after some animal, so that for Smith we 
may read Pony, for Brown we may read Eagle, 
for Robinson say Wolf. Moreover, the chil- 
dren play a game of two sides in which Master 
Wolf impersonates a wolf with cries and 
dances, and if the rival side laughs they pay 
forfeit. So Miss Pony plays at pony, and 
Master Eagle plays at being an Eagle. Out of 
this game perhaps comes a play of the grown- 
ups ; in which I have seen a candidate for the 
secret societ}^ of the Healers impersonate his 
tribal Bear or Beaver before the Doctors of the 
order who admitted himi to their circle. This 
play may be the origin of a mystic rite known 
as Calhng the Game. For certain Doctors can 
wear a wolf skin, and give so beautiful an 
imitation of a wolf that all the deer and bison 
are deceived. His job is to excite their 


curiosity so that, as he draws slowly away, the 
herds will follow him. The nearer animals 
draw back with misgiving, but those in the 
rear press on to get a view until, as the wolf- 
man gathers speed, the moving herd runs hard. 
It is then that they find themselves running 
between converging lines of stone piles, and 
women jump up from behind these cairns 
waving their robes and yelHng. The herd 
stampedes to the edges of a sheer cliff, too late 
to check their pace after the leaders have seen 
the peril ahead. The rush of the herd drives 
onward into space, and hundreds, even thou- 
sands of great beasts fall headlong to He dead 
or mangled in heaps on the rocks below. So 
the tribe assembles for great feasting, and 
heavy labour. 

The hides were needed for clothing, shields, 
tents, and rope ; the brains for dressing skins ; 
the sinews and guts for bow-strings, lashings 
and thread ; the hoofs and horns for weapon 
points, hafts, handles, spoons, cups, window 
lights, and glue, which mixed with oil made a 
dressing for leather ; the gall for cleansing ; 
the hair for felting or weaving ; the fat for 
lamp oil and candles. The meat in large 
flakes was sun-dried for storage. The dried 
meat, pounded, mixed with berries and filled 


with melted fat made pemmicaii, the best of 
winter foods. 

Where there were no chffs over which a herd 
could be driven, the practice of calling the 
game was just the same, but the narrowing 
avenue of stone heaps led to the gate of a ring 
fence into which the big game were penned 
for slaughter. 

This ring fence has many countries, many 
names, being the pound or corrall of North 
America, jaral of Mexico, kraal of Africa, 
keddah of India, circus of Rome, bull-ring of 
Spain and old England. With the advancing 
ages the perching of spectators on the fence 
became the Auditorium of the circus. Stadium, 
and Colosseum, and the baiting of beasts and 
men, the wild beast fights, the mimic battles, 
and martyrdom of saints, varied the savage 
programme with racing, tournaments, and 
athletic sports 

So far as our subject is concerned, however, 
one need only note that herds of wild animals, 
the fighting males, the mothers and their young 
of many species much too swift for men to run 
down in the open, w^ere captured alive and un- 
hurt. Among these w^ere ponies with their 
mares and foals. 

The pity for young animals and the love of 


pets are native traits in human character, and 
universal among savages. 

The savage hunter brought kittens and 
puppies into camp to be the playthings of his 
wife and children, and from these pets descend 
the whole of our cats and dogs. And in the 
tribal captures at the corralls were all sorts of 
young animals claimed by the women and 
children because they were not worth killing. 
These ponies, cattle, deer, sheep, goats and 
antelope grew up with human kind, glad to get 
shelter from the wolves at night, allowed to 
graze in safet}^ outside the camp by day. If 
the}^ proved useful the men were tolerant. 
The useful kinds were even protected at grass 
by boys told off as herders, to run them into 
camp at the first sign of danger. 

The mother who ran dr}^ of milk, saw foals 
getting milk from the mares, and would have 
mare's milk for her child. The mares who 
gave most milk were preferred to others. 
From this came the natural idea of breeding 
from good milch mares to improve the strain, 
and get a larger yield. And thus the use and 
value grew of mare's milk with its many prepa- 
rations as a staple food for children, then of 
grown-ups, until the practice of herding tame 
horse stock became general among the hordes 


of Asia. Since then it has been found that 
cows gave more and better milk than mares. 

As the wild game migrated between their 
high summer range and their lowdand wintering 
grounds the savage tribes followed in search of 
meat. With the. beginning of the pastoral age 
the need was urgent of moving the flocks and 
herds between the summer and the winter 
pastures. But as yet there were no beasts of 
draught or burden to carry the tribal camp. 
That meant the keeping of two camp equip- 
ments, or maybe a camp upon the highlands to 
supplement the village in the lowlands ; and 
it was doubtful policy to leave valuable tents 
as a prey for marauding rivals. A larger and a 
bitter need arose when the tribe must move, 
and old folk who lacked the strength to travel 
must be left behind. There is nothing so 
terrible in savage hfe as the necessit}^ of leaving 
old men and women exposed upon a hilltop 
after the tribe has moved. The poor old thing 
is provided with warm, robes, a fire, fuel, water 
and some food, but as the days pass the last 
cinders, carefully raked together, sink to dust, 
and the cautious wolves close in for the final rush . 

Savages love as we do, think as we do, and 
their life which has for us some glamour of 
romance is full for them of sordid reaHsm. So 


we may reckon well that some good matron 
grudged the loss, at moving time, of tent poles, 
the cutting of which had cost her heavy labour, 
done as it was without steel tools hke ours. 

She saw the tent poles left behind when the 
milch-pony herd moved off. She told the 
herders to lash a pair of her poles, one on 
either side of each pony's neck with the ends 
trailing astern. The next idea was to lash a 
couple of cross bars across the trailing poles 
behind the pony's hocks, and that was enough 
to keep them at a proper angle. It was easy 
then to lash a skin robe in position between the 
trailing poles and the two cross bars, making a 
sort of basket, something to carry the old 
mother, who must otherwise be left behind to 
perish. Here then was transport which en- 
abled the tribe to march with its tent poles, old 
folk and baggage. One can imagine how the 
medicine men protested against so shocking a 
violation of the laws of nature, which decree 
that the aged shall be left as a meal for our 
hunting companions, the range wolves. But 
here the priests w^ould find themselves opposed 
by the common sense of ever}^ man and woman ; 
so they would doubtless yield with an ill 
grace, after enacting a law that this new means 
of transport was a special privilege for aged 


clergymen. The travois came into general 
use for transport. 

The next step was less obvious, an idea which 
w^ould appeal to men of inventive minds ; and 
I have noticed that it is onl}^ in civiHsation that 
the inventor is treated as a public enemy. The 
savage actually admires a man with new ideas. 
The travois frame was a heavy drag, and the 
draught pony was apt to delay the march. 
Why not have a round log as a roller under the 
trailing ends of the poles ? Too heavy. Cut 
away the bulk of the roller, fining it down to a 
mere axle bar, with a disc at either end to roll 
along the ground. The larger the disc the 
better it rolled, so disc v/heels were built, with 
a hole in the middle into which the ends of the 
axle bar were bolted. 

As one may see in the many countries where 
disc wheels are used by farmers, the first idea 
of lightening the disc was to cut out four large 
holes, leaving the timber shaped like a rough 
cross with a rim. But that cross was too weak 
to carry weight, so its arms had to be strength- 
ened with four spokes, lashed on with raw-hide ; 
next the four spokes replaced the arms of the 
cross, and a rim was built enclosed in a raw-hide 
tyre. The raw hide, put on wet, and shrinking 
as it dried, made a quite serviceable tyre. So 


was the wheel invented, and the first four-spoke 
pattern gave place to the six and eight-spoke 
methods of strengthening the rim. The whole 
process from roller to four-spoke wheel would 
easily occur to one inventor in his experiments. 

Meanwhile the skin basket in the travois 
frame was changed to a floor of raw-hide lacing, 
on which a man could stand with bent knees 
driving. He needed shelter, so a dashboard 
was made of oiled bull-hide, quite translucent 
but proof against spears, arrows and pony 
kicks. As a curved surface made weapons 
glance when they hit, this dash-board was 
rounded at the front, and carried along the 
sides enclosing the driver's stand. 

So far a one-horse vehicle, a sort of sulky, 
had been invented ; and it ma}^ be worth noting 
that the creaky old Red River cart of Mani- 
toba, although made with steel tools, contains 
no trace of metal. Its gait is a walk. But it 
was obvious that by using a pole instead of a 
pair of shafts, two ponies could be driven, and 
trotting became quite possible so far as the 
grass extended. Still one hesitates to use the 
stately name of chariot for a vehicle on three- 
foot wheels, drawn by shaggy ponies from the 
milch herd. Yet it had use in war because the 
machine could be driven by a charioteer, leaving 


the warrior free to use his weapons. At least 
it brought the warrior, after a long march, 
at a decent speed fresh into action ; and, 
although he fought afoot, he had the chariot to 
rally upon, for cover and a position when hard 
pressed. The British warrior ran along the 
shaft to the attack, retreated behind the dash- 
board for defence. 

The Ridden Horse. Many a time have I 
seen the pony herd drift out to pasture, or trail 
dowm of an evening to the water hole ; but I do 
not remember a herder going afoot. For boys 
to ride on herd was only natural, and I have no 
doubt that ponies were both ridden and packed 
from very earty times. We may find guidance 
here from Red Indian practice. 

The Blackfoot nation were a woodland 
people, and, as first known to the white men, 
lived on the head waters of the North Sas- 
katchewan at the southern edge of the Great 
Northern Forest. In the earliest years of the 
nineteenth century some Kootenays crossed 
the Rocky Mountains from the west, and 
arrived in the Blackfoot hunting grounds with 
the first ponies ever seen there. They made a 
good sale to the Blackfeet, which started a 
stead}^ trade. Moreover, the Blackfeet made 
no bones about taming and riding these feral 


ponies, and holding them on herd. For better 
hunting and convenience in herding, they 
moved about three hundred miles to the south- 
ward out on the open prairies, but well within 
sight of the Rocky Mountains, which made a 
stronghold in the event of disaster, a hunting 
ground in seasons of scarcity. The}^ took to 
bison hunting for a livelihood. 

The daily bathing, winter and summer, in a 
very brisk climate, the sweat baths which 
preceded all rehgious rites, the freedom from 
vermin, the chastity of the women, the valour 
of the men, the purit}^ and spirituahty of their 
life, their wonderful psychic development, and 
hypnotic medical practice distinguished the 
Blackfeet even am^ong the glorious tribes of that 
region. In grace and endurance as horsemen 
they have not been equalled in our time. 
Young warriors were trained in the ordeal of 
fasting and prayer in soHtude until they had 
contact with the unseen ; next in the ordeal by 
torture ; and last in the ordeal of war. A 
warrior assembled a party of young men, and 
after they had been purified and blessed, they 
took the war path, mounted, or more often 
afoot into the territory of some neighbouring 
tribe, such as the Gros Ventre, Absaroka, 
Sioux or Crees. Their mission was to enter 


the hostile camp at night, loose and drive off 
the war horses tied at the lodge doors, or 
stampede the tribal herd, and drive straight 
for home. These little excursions, practised 
by all the tribes, led to occasional unpleasant- 
ness between them, and engagements were 
fought when one side could lure the other into 
an ambush, cut off a hunting or war party of 
the enemy, or surprise a hostile camp. Fight- 
ing mounted with lance or bow and arrows, 
the Blackfeet developed fort}^ thousand cavalry 
within twenty-five 3'^ears from the day they first 
saw a pony. Shock action w^as unusual, and 
the tactics were generally those of cavalry in 
reconnaissance. A raw-hide string round the 
pome's lower jaw, and a robe tied on the back 
with a surcingle completed the equipment ; but 
the warrior, whose costume was a breech clout, 
would usually be attended by a pack pony to 
carry his war kit and face paint for use on oc- 
casions of high ceremonial, or a full dress battle. 
It is a superstition of running and jumping 
horsemanship that a big horse and a little man 
are the right combination for travel. The Red 
Indian of the Plains would average five foot 
ten, and his pon}^ say thirteen hands, a big 
man on a very little mount. The United 
States cavalry were on the average smaller 


men on very much larger horses. The}^ some- 
times intercepted Indians on the march, but 
rarely overtook them. Closel}^ pursued, Chief 
Joseph commanding the Nez Perce tribe, 
marched with his women and children 
fourteen hundred miles, before the United 
States forces succeeded in intercepting their 
flight. In the case of the Blackfoot out- 
law Charcoal, up to a hundred-and-sixty 
Mounted Police were engaged for four 
months catching him. So on the whole the 
primitive savage, once he had a pony, was not 
deficient in mobihty. And given the pony, 
he became the Mounted Barbarian whose 
Hordes pla3'ed havoc with the elder civihza- 
tions. At the very dawn of Histor}^ three 
hundred thousand head of Turanean chariotry 
romped down on the Persian Empire. They 
are said to have been very haughty and op- 
pressive to the poor Persians. 

The fact that range men travelling are 
usually attended by a herd, change ponies at 
every halt, and so ride fresh mounts two or 
three times a day, gives them a mobilit}^ with 
even the smallest ponies which has never been 
matched b}^ one-horse cavalry. It was not the 
foray, but shock action which had to wait, until 
the crossing of stocks produced the war horse. 




The Baltic People. The Baltic, which 
once drained through Lapland to the Arctic, 
became, as the icefields melted, a land-locked 
lake until a local sinkage of the rocks opened 
its Danish channels into the Atlantic. At the 
same period the North Sea was eating its way 
up the old vale of North River. 

The melting of the icefields had left these 
Baltic and North-River Provinces of Cloudland 
an ill-drained country of hare rock wastes, of 
boulder tracts and clay, cluttered with lakes 
and swamps. It w^as long before its damp and 
frosty soils yielded a scanty crop, eight 
bushels of wheat, for instance, in Plantaganet 
England as compared with thirty-six bushels, 
the present average. The only wealth was that 
of fisheries in cold and deadly shallows. 

Here, in a rapidly improving climate, was a 
school of manhood which educated poor 
savages who lived on shell-fish, driving them 


by straits of famine to exercise a varied skill as 
fishers, hunters and farmers with the changing 
seasons. As these people always bred more 
bairns than the}'' could feed, their overcrowd- 
ing led to bickerings, and mutual recrimina- 
tion weeded out all but the best fighters, while 
pestilence swept awa}^ those who were not 
not quite hardy. The blue-eyed, fair-haired 
ruddy folk of Cloudland grew tenacious of life, 
and very hard to kill, thrifty, austere, fiercely 
self-governing. Never has the world known 
men more formidable, adventurous, abler or 
more daring than these Vikings of the northern 
seas, and pioneers by land who set forth out of 
Cloudland to find homes. The}^ had a strong 
preference for other people's homes. 

To reahse the temper of the Baltic, glance for 
a moment at the old quest for cod, and the 
curing stations for stock-fish which formed a 
series of stepping-stones to bridge the North 
Atlantic, and so led to the discovery of North 
America. The founding b}^ blonde adventur- 
ers of the Hohenstaufen and Romanov dynas- 
ties, and of the British kingdom, are Baltic 
roots from whence have grown the German, 
Russian, British and American world powers 
holding dominion over half the Earth. All that 
steam is to the mechanism of the planet, or to 


our own industrial engineering, the Baltic 
Force has been in histor}^ 

Long before the dawn of historic times the 
Baltic region was brewing human storms, which 
swept outward in all directions, but mainly into 
regions tow^ard the sun. It is not blind acci- 
dent which leads the modern Prussians to seize 
the coal and iron fields of Belgium, the oilfields 
of Galicia, or the copper mines of Serbia ; for, 
not only are Baltic storms of overwhelming 
strength, the}^ are organized by strategists, led 
by tacticians and concentrate attack upon 
the most useful countries. 

Yet there is always a limitation to the 
Baltic conquests. When the blonde conquer- 
ors seized Grreece or Itah^, Spain or Asia Minor, 
districts enclosed by sea and mountain bar- 
riers they always held their own. When on 
the other hand they conquered a country open 
to attack such as Germany or Russia, Hungary 
or the Balkans the next wave of the Tartar 
Hordes has overwhelmed them by sheer 
weight of numbers. So the early Balkan con- 
quests on the Mediterranean were cut off from 
the homeland by swarms of Asiatics v/hose 
dark haired descendants, known as the Alpine 
stock still hold large mountain regions from 
the Black Sea to the Rhone. 


Wherever the Baltic people hold their con- 
quests in Asia, Europe, or America, a nation 
arises of mixed blood from their marriages with 
black-haired natives or fellow emigrants. A 
few centuries after the settlement, four hun- 
dred years or so, the austere repubhc, or 
monarchy of free men with a king as Leader, 
blossoms mto a grand emipire, ablaze with 
genius, rich, corrupt, decaying. 

But, if the Baltic colonists have settled to 
sunward of the 49th parallel, the sunlight 
begins to affect the nerves of the blonde 
emigrants, to weaken the children, to give a 
feverish energy to business, to kill off the 
unsheltered outdoor workers, and emasculate 
the sheltered aristocracy. A few centuries 
later the dark-haired natives of the region have 
time once more to resume their ancient habit 
of sitting in the sun. They made the statues 
and portraits of fair gods and saints, blonde 
kings and heroes. " Once upon a time," they 
sa}^ " we had Otympic games. Our cavalry 
were irresistible. We ruled the entire 
world ! " But the race of the blonde 
conquerors has perished from among them, 
gone like last winter's snow save for a 
few surviving aristocrats, and some poor 
melting drifts of peasantry up in the moun- 


tain valleys where there are clouds for 

The Hellenic Horsemen. While the Baltic 
region itself was still sub-arctic, perhaps with no 
horse-stock as yet much better than Celtic 
ponies, the oak woods of the Danube valley 
were breeding sturdy Dapples, while the 
Tartar hordes with each invasion scattered 
Duns as far as central France. Even the 
white horse of the Southern steppes, rare and 
held sacred by the Northern people, was known 
in Central Europe. So when the fair Achaeans 
came to Greece they brought not Celtic ponies 
but Duns, and a few Dapples picked up upon 
their journeys. 

In the sagas of the Northmen as in the 
legends of Achaean Greece the blue-eyed, 
ruddy, tawny hero makes love or war to wor- 
ship a fair woman. The vein is epic, but there 
is a difference of mood ; for in the North its 
atmosphere is one of gloom and terror shadowed 
by awful Fate, but in the south of sunny 
splendour, gallantry, and joy. The theme of 
the winged horse has its weird Valkyrs riding 
to find the slain through battlefields at night, 
and its gay flying Pegasus in the Sahara, who 
will not be caught save with a golden bridle 
made by magic. 


The Ocean God gave Peleus a chariot team 
" Dapple " and ' Dun " by name, both with 
great flowing manes, " swift as the winds, the 
horses that the harp3% Podarge bare to the 
West Wind as she was grazing on the meadow 
beside the stream of Oceanus " Peleus lent the 
team to his son Achilles. Then Achilles' 
charioteer was killed in battle, and the horses 
mourned. " Hot tears," says Homer, " flowed 
from their eyes to the ground as they mourned 
for their charioteer." The fellow used to oil 
their manes, poor dears. They wept from the 
eyes, and not, as modern horses do, from the 
nostrils. But then 3"ou see they were not 
ordinary horses, because their mother was a 
harpy {vide books on Unnatural History), and 
their sire was the West Wind. They were 
foaled on the shores of the Western ocean : 
Dapple of the woods. Dun of the grass lands. 
And Pegasus was a Bay from Africa. So one 
finds in the oldest myths of the Hellenes record 
of the three primary stocks from whom all 
modern breeds are descended. 

To these Hellenes the hearth, the log cabin 
and the mother were sacred, the bases of all 
religion. The hearth became an altar, the 
cabin a glorious temple of white marble, the 
mother a goddess whose statue was ivory and 


her robes of massive gold. Outside their holy 
faith nothing was taken very seriously, and the 
people had special delight in nonsense animals. 
The centaur or man-horse was a prime favour- 
ite, and they did not worry over his stable 
management, a most revolting job. The man 
mouth w^ould refuse the forage urgently re- 
quired by the horse-body, and if they compro- 
mised on oats as porridge, even that would 
pall. Still centaurs would be gentle, and less 
likely to butt, than the buck unicorn of our 
own mythology. The Centaur Cheiron indeed 
was not only gentle but the eminent headmaster 
of the earliest pubhc school. Solving the diet 
question with fish, game, fruit and wine, he 
lived to a good old age. 

For a people of so lively a mind as the 
Greeks, progress was rather slow in the use of 
horses. Supposing the siege of Troy to have 
happened about 1000 b.c. they were solely 
dependent on chariotry in war while King 
Solomon had 12,000 cavalry. 

Three centuries later the Greek colonists of 
iVfrican Cyrene, that " city of fair steeds and 
goodly chariots," sent home shipments by 
direct sea trade of desert Bays for breeding. 
With the improvement of the horse stock four- 
horse chariots began to compete in the Olympic 


Games of b.c. 680. By b.c. 640 the ridden 
horse had become of consequence enough to 
share the great honours of the Otympiad, but 
still the tactical use of cavalry was delayed. 
Greece is a small rough country much broken 
by sea channels, and no more suitable than 
Scotland for the effective use of the mounted 
arm in war. So, even as late as the Battle of 
Marathon, the Persian Horse found the Hellenic 
army afoot ; not until the fifth centur}-' was the 
Greek Cavalry of any consequence. 

In the Greek statuar}^ of the Great Age we 
see the Hellenic horses clearly as though they 
lived. The chariot horse was a noble half-bred 
carriage animal standing at least sixteen hands. 
The cavalr}^ remount stood about fourteen 
hands with a head of unmistakeable breeding 
from the Bay, and a general chunky comfort- 
able build which suggests the Dapple, but 
certainly not the Dun who had served with the 
heroes of the Achaean age. The Welsh pit 
pony, used as a yeomanry remount, exactly 
corresponds with Xenophon's careful descrip- 
tion of the ideal cavalry horse. " A double 
back," says he, " that is, when the flesh rises 
on both sides of the spine, is much softer to sit 
upon, and more pleasing to the eye than a 
single one." That was before the days of 


saddles, and horsemen had tender interest in 
the double back — the characteristic back of 
dappled horses. Of the Hellenic seat we will 
speak in the chapter on straight-leg riding. 

Among all ancient horsemen the great 
problem was to reserve both hands for the use 
of weapons. This involved a life training in 
steering by pressure of the knee or calf, but 
dressing in military formation was still im- 
possible without control of the horse's mouth. 
Many nations used a nose-band, or a twitch 
round the lower jaw, and a head-rope for steer- 
ing ; but still in practice the formation would 
be that of a mob. So Xenophon seems to have 
borrowed the bitt from the chariot harness, 
using a rough one for breaking, and a smoother 
kind for trained horses. His illustrious cavalry 
owed their prestige and power to a proper 
formation, and ingenious tactics. 

The Roman Horsemen. The Romans of 
historic times were descended from a fair race 
of the Baltic region, and the blonde aristo- 
cracy still ruled among a dark Mediterranean 
population. Their culture was adopted, and 
mainly Greek. Their original Dun and Dapple 
horse stock was crossed from early ages with 
African blood, and as time went on they com- 
manded the use of everv decent horse strain in 


the world. Their officials were Curules as a class 
from the word Curriis for chariot, whose seats 
of office were chariot chairs, and their state 
allowances included chariot horses . Their gentry 
were known as equites or horsemen. They 
developed a mania for chariot racing, and their 
four factions known from the racing colours 
blue, green, white and red, outlasted the 
Western Empire to be a pubhc nuisance in Con- 
stantinople. And yet a people ma}^ have money 
to bet on racing who in their hearts care nothing 
more for horses than does the sporting cockney. 

Rich youngsters might swank on horseback 
to impress the girls, but one does not read very 
much about a mounted aristocracy hke our own, 
with gallant games like polo or manly pleasures 
such as modern hunting. At heart the Romans 
of the Empire were anything but horse-proud. 
In their militar}^ practice they never aspired to 
the glories of the old Greek Cavalry, or bred 
a horseman tactician to compare with grand 
old Xenophon. 

Some fifty years before the Christian era, 
Livy described the heav}^ cavalry only as using 
bridles. This being interpreted means that 
the Roman dragoons were able for shock action, 
while their Hussars steered b}^ the knees and 
fought in open disorder. 


On the whole it is difficult to ascribe to the 
Romans any advance in the art of horseman- 
ship except in the matter of draught. The 
heavy engines which correspond to a modern 
siege train required not only draught beasts — 
oxen possibly, but also the paved causewa}'. 
The Roman road for horse traffic was as big an 
invention in its effect on civilization as the 
steam raihvay of our modern transport. 

The Northern Let us turn back to the 
Northern Ancesiors of both Greeks and Romans. 
The Heimskringla shows the ancestral home 
of the Norse to have been in Russia. B3' the 
time they colonized Scandinavia, they were 
discarding the chariot, were fighting on horse- 
back, and had waggons as well as sleighs. A 
Bronze age waggon at Copenhagen differs little 
in structure from those in use to-day. This 
waggon confirms the stories of gods heroes and 
kings riding and driving powerful horses at 
least as large the big Duns of modern vScandi- 
navia. The theory/ of scrawny little ponies 
appears to the sheer nonsense. The evidence 
points indeed to a more general and more 
advanced practice of horse management than 
than either the Greek or the Roman. 

The Gothic Horsemen. While the Romans 
made no special advance in horsemanship the 


fair Barbarians of Germany and Gaul evolved 
a notable idea. The gentleman rode to war 
attended b}^ a couple of mounted serfs who had 
a remount for him if his charger fell, or even 
replaced his loss in the fighting line. In late 
times the Gothic gentleman became a knight, 
and his attendants were esquires in training 
until they won their spurs. 

See then how the Latin word equus for a 
horse gives us equites as the rank of the ancient 
gentry of Europe, and Esquire the rank of our 
modern gentleman. The French word for 
horse : cheval gives us Chivalry and Chevaher. 
The Spanish word caballo gives us Cavalry, 
Caballero, and Cavalier. The horse has taught 
us more than ever we taught him. 

The Pack Horse. While chariotr}* and 
cavalry were mainl}^ engaged in killing civiliza- 
tion, the unobtrusive pack pony did almost as 
much as the ship in spreading culture along the 
channels of commerce. From the port of 
London for example a pack trail starting at 
Tower Hill ran westward along Newgate, 
Holborn, Oxford Street, and Bayswater Road, 
crossed the Thames at Oxenford, then branched 
to the gold mines of Dolgelly and the tin 
deposits of Cornwall. Along this artery flowed 
the Phoenician culture. 


A little later the merchants of North- 
western Europe in search of salt, landed at the 
Cinque Ports of Kent. Their pack trails con- 
verged to drop down Blackheath Hill. From 
thence the one trail coasted the southern 
edge of the saltings of Southwark by wa}^ of 
Old Kent Road and Bedlam, striking the first 
firm ground in the river bank at Lamb's 
H^^the (landing), where the Bishop of Canter- 
bury afterwards built his town house. From 
Lambeth at low tide there was a ford to Horse- 
ferry Road on the Isle of Thorns in mid-river. 
From the island site of the City of Westmin- 
ster, there was a broader but ver}^ shallow ford 
across the north arm of the Thames. One 
ma}" see the north bank of the Island at Great 
George Street, Westminster ; but the site of 
the pack trail is lost. It took up the ridge 
between the Tyburn and Bayswater brooks, 
avoiding the mudholes of both, along Park 
Lane. At Marble Arch it swung into the 
Bronze trail, to leave it presently at Tyburn 
Tree, and strike up Edgeware Road, and so via 
Watling Street to the salt wells in Cheshire. 
It was along the Bronze trail and the Salt trail 
that civilization found its way into England. 

Were I a merchant I might see in wool the 
single origin of my country's v/ealth ; were I a 


broker I might see in stocks and shares the 
origin of prosperit3^ Each to his trade ; but 
as an old packtrain captain I have ridden many 
a hundred miles, noting the grass-grown bridle 
paths along dry ridges, the hesitating down-hill 
curves of ancient roads as they approach wet 
ground, the outer hedging and the inner hedg- 
ing as highw^ays narrowed down when they 
were paved, and public house signs, such as the 
Packhorse, dating from the recent centuries 
when still the traffic of old England was done 
on cargo ponies. It needs but a httle scouting 
to show clearly the story of some fifteen hundred 
years of England's progress down to the time 
when Caesar's strength was taxed on joining 
battle with the British tribes. Our people, 
like the Gauls, had roads and chariots, armour 
of bronze and gold, old trades, and industries 
and towns before the Romans came. 


As the Earth reels through the Dark, and on 
her journey spins like a sleeping top, we only 
notice the changing of the seasons while she 
swings round her great orbit, and the swift 
passage of fl^^ing nights and da3^s. It is only 
when one is quite alone in the far wilderness 
that one begins to feel the Earth in motion, and 
after sunset to watch her shadow climb the 


eastern sky. To roll one's bed down beside the 
waning camp fire, to turn in and smoke the 
evening pipe, to lie looking up at the stars, is to 
know that one is only a speck of loose dust on a 
flying sphere, flung eastward at a thousand 
miles an hour, j^et held down by the pull of the 
Earth's weight safe from being whirled away 
into space. Loose adventurers like me, loose 
air, dust, water, and loose tribes of men are all 
being flung with the surface, pulled by the 
centre of the Earth, and drifted about aU the 
time without our knowing why. 

Of course the weaker tribes have been flung 
eastward so far as there was land, and stay 
where they were thrown in China, Indo-China, 
Burma, and Bengal. Only the stronger races 
have thrust against the motion of the planet. 
These dark-haired sallow Asiatics, Scythian, 
Hun, Tartar and the rest were bred in regions 
of strong sunlight, filling their native steppes 
until they were overcrowded. They were 
harmless shepherds and herders who did a little 
hunting. But for the Dun pony we might not 
have heard much about them. When they 
tamed the pony the savages became bar- 
barians, the little scattered tribes were welded 
into formidable hordes. And then they 
swarmed like locusts eating up the world under 


some ruthless Caan a Genghis, a Timour, 
burning all civilization, trampling out the 
embers of human reason. And in their wake 
came twilight — the Dark Ages. 

History is a jade. She has a glad eye for 
soldiers and sportsmen whose business is 
destruction, but turns a sour face from lousy 
pilgrims to the shrines of Faith, poor crafts- 
men and scholars burdened with the tools of 
Progress, drab merchants who carry Culture 
in their packs, and all the messengers of civili- 
zation. Of these her annals are curt and 
negligent. She has plenty of gossip about 
Kings more or less human as advertised by 
scribes more or less venal ; but keeps no 
chronicle of the pack trails on which the little 
Dun ponies carried all that made civilization 
to the camps of the barbarian and the savage. 
She told us nothing about the hundreds of 
opulent cities which now lie dead and buried 
in the Mongolian deserts. One does not like 
to speak ill of a lady, but her sense of truth is 
always moderate. 

Adventure is not official!}^ authorized as one 
of the Muses, but she is as truthful as History, 
and a deal more amusing as a guide. 

History says that nations who had no horses 
used to be terrified at the first sight of horse- 


men, and cites the instances of Peru and 
Mexico when Empires collapsed in super- 
stitious fear. It seems quite natural then that 
the first mention of the horse in China should 
call him Dragon-Beast. He was not really 
formidable, being only a Dun pony carr^dng no 
doubt the good Mongolian pack apparel which 
consists of a saddle, and a detachable cargo 
rack, the oldest rigging known. His cargo was 
a lodestone, a rock of magnetic iron which 
served the Chinese Emperor as a compass. 
When the pony wanted to go west, and the 
magnet insisted on north his celestial majesty 
probably saw a jolly good bucking match. 

From China to the Atlantic, and from the 
northern Taiga to the Indian ocean the old 
world was threaded all across with pack trails 
snaking from water to water over the deserts 
and pastures, the forests and the hills. Except 
in the very dr^^ districts where camels, 
asses and mules were employed for transport, 
the Dun ponies did all the carrying over-land. 
From China to Europe was a three years' 
journey, not because of the distance but by 
reason of the robbers who made the trail un- 
safe. At each market town the packtrain 
captains waited, perhaps for months, until a 
caravan assembled sufficiently large to under- 


take the journe3\ There were periods when 
great Tartar Caans controlled the whole of 
Asia north of the Himala3^a, together with the 
grass land known now as European Russia. 
These monarchs from Zenghis to Kublai and 
later had post trails with post horses, and 
horses in relay for ambassadors and despatch 
riders bearing a golden tablet of office. Old 
Kublai for example was busy building Pekin 
w^hen he sent the Polo brothers as envoys, 
riding post with the golden tablet, to visit the 
Pope in Rome and ask for a batch of priests to 
teach him the Christian faith. For 3^ears 
young Marco Polo, nephew of these merchants, 
rode past as envoy, visiting every realm in 
Asia. Ver\^ different were the ramblings on the 
pack trails of that rare scamp Fernao Mendes 
Pinto who in the sixteenth century worked as a 
slave on the Great Wall of China, travelled 
with marching armies, and as a fugitive tramp 
found his way b}'- m3"sterious Lhassa, to the 
coasts of further India. Another colossal 
journey was that in the eighteenth century of 
Vitus Bering the Dane with his Russian 
trappers, and Stellar the German naturalist 
trekking on horseback to the sea of Okhotsk. 
There the3^ built a shdp, and sailed in search of 
the mysterious straits of Anian leading through 


Meta Incognita to the Atlantic. They found 
America, but were wrecked at the tail end of 
the Aleutians. The surviving trappers built 
a ship and loaded her with sea-otter skins. 
These they sold in Pekin for wealth beyond 
dreams of avarice, and so returned riding as 
rich men home to their native Russia. 

It was in the da^'s of Queen Elizabeth that 
Enghsh envoys and merchants found their way 
by water and the trail of the Dun pony from 
the White Sea to Persia and on even to Goa on 
the Indian Coast. 

The trail of the Dun horse always led to 
adventure. Daring traders went to swap gems 
for silk at the Court of the great Mogul, or sold 
white ladies of the Caucasus to Haroun al 
Raschid down in Bagdad, or to Suhman the 
Magnificent at Stamboul, or offered purple 
shell-fish dyes of Tyre to tempt the young 
Prince Siddatha, or came from the East with 
gold and frankincense and myrrh and laid 
them at the feet of a Child in Bethlehem, or 
journeyed from Sw^eden with swords for the 
Prophet of Islam. 


Apart from the sacredness of the Old Testa- 
ment as deahng with the origin of a religion, 
we may, without offence to fellow Christians, 


read this collection of Hebrew books as the 
secular histor}^ of an able but unhoty people. 

The collection of stories known as Genesis 
consisted mainly of heroic ballads, cast in the 
form of verse which can be easily and accu- 
ratel}' remembered. These ballads were re- 
cited until at the time of the Bab3donian 
Captivity in the fourth century b.c. the people 
learned to write and set down their annals in 
the form of manuscript. We may find the 
stories lacking in the salt of humour ; we may 
doubt that singers and scribes were apt to 
improve on the original words, piling a deal of 
exaggeration on the naked facts ; but at the 
very worst these legends of old Israel are 
terse, clear, consistent and gloriously true to 
human hfe and character. I had read the 
story of Jacob the Sneak, and Joseph the Prig, 
of gallant Esau, and gentle Ishmael in camps 
of live Red Indians, before I reahsed that 
Genesis is true to primitive life as a whole, and 
that, after forty centuries, the legend still 
glows and burns in its immortal truth, beauty, 
and power. 

The story deals with wealthy Arabian stock- 
men. They and their neighbours bred she 
camels for milking, rode camels and asses, and 
used both for pack animals. They seem to 


have valued oxen for heavy draught as well 
as for beef and hides, or they would scarcely 
have bothered to winter the cattle in stables. 
As any stockmen sees at a glance the sheep and 
goats were handled by experienced owners. 

The stock would not have paid without a 
market, so, as these Arab sheiks had plenty of 
gold, we ma}^ presume that they dealt in wool, 
beef, hides, and draught animals with the 
fortified trading towns of the watered farming 
districts. No doubt they sold pack beasts also 
to the trading caravans. 

There were no horses in the world as known 
to these folk. Abraham visited Egypt some- 
where about the nineteenth century b.c. and 
found no horses there. 

Be3^ond the sk3dine of the western desert 
from Egypt to the Atlantic ranged the Bay 
horse, the Barb of times to come. He was a 
delicate, swift creature, very brave and gentle. 
His arched neck bore a black and streaming 
mane, his tail was set high and carried clear 
of the rump. His eyes were set low, wide apart 
from which the daint}^ muzzle tapered, to 
sensitive nostrils and to lips like velvet. 
Legends of later times, and other countries 
made him son of the west wind, while custom 
gave each of his families a surname. They 


have always been exempt from labour, attend- 
ed by human servants, treated as a nobility. 
From very early times they were admitted to 
the private family life of the Lib3^an people, 
and driven with the four-spoke wooden chariot 
until both men and women learned to ride 

In much the same spirit as our country folk 
go to town for shopping, it was the pleasant 
custom of these Libyans to raid Egypt. 
Between war and commerce the Egyptians 
brought Bay horses into their own use at some 
time later than the visit of Abraham, but prior 
to that of Joseph. This might be about the 
eighteenth century b.c. the era of Stonehenge. 

Shortly afterwards horses and chariots began 
to appear in the painting and sculpture of 
Eg3^ptian artists. Horses must still have been 
scarce when the Pharoah gave to Joseph a 
signet and royal robes, but only lent him his 
second best chariot. It is true that the people 
already owned a few horses, for in the great 
famine Joseph accepted them in trade for 

It was in that generation that the dying 
Jacob, speaking from knowledge common 
among the civilized Egyptians, mentioned both 
ships and horses. He was frank enough to call 


his son Dan " an adder in the path, that biteth 
the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall back- 
ward." Here is the earliest mention of the 
ridden horse. It was in Jacob's funeral pro- 
cession to his native stock range east of Jordan 
that there appeared " both chariot and horse- 
men, a great company." 

One suspects a trace of swank in the story 
of that " great company." Jacob's countrymen 
were sheep herders, destined to go afoot for 
centuries to come. The Egyptians used 
chariots, but never took to riding as a habit. 
Merchants were trading horses to the Hittites, 
but that (until Ptolemy Philadelphus made 
water holes, and a highway in the second 
century b.c.) was done in face of extreme 
difficulty. The week's passage of the Desert 
of Sin could be made only in the first two 
months of each year, and even then the horses 
must be refreshed from water bags carried by 
camels. On the whole it is hkely that the 
great company of chariots and horsemen was a 
poetic device for making the most of Joseph's 
posthumous importance. 

According to Manetho, the well-known 
Egyptian historian, somewhere about the 
tv/enty-first century B.C. a most objectionable 
sheep-herding tribe of Arabs began to infest 


lower Egypt. Manetho is prejudiced ; but 
iust as in modern Western America where the 
sheep herder is rated among cattle men as 
something rather lower than a dog, it is amusing 
to see how the poet in Genesis admits that 
shepherds were an abomination in the eyes of 
the Egyptians. If one dates Abraham's visit 
to Egypt in the twenty-first instead of the 
nineteenth century B.C. old Manetho and the 
Hebrew poet are perfectly agreed as to the 
Hyksos-Israelite invasion. 

The Genesis narrative shows the insidious 
way in which the children of Israel drifted 
down into Egypt, then how they made them- 
selves agreeable as office holders, and by intro- 
ducing frogs, flies, fice, cattle sickness and other 
improvements until at last the Egyptians 
waxed desperate and ran them out of the 
country. Manetho says that these Hyksos 
people occupied lower Egypt east of the Nile 
from Memphis to the sea, and later on estab- 
lished a dynasty with six Kings in the succes- 
sion. After five centuries the Egyptians com- 
bined under the Thebaid Kings of upper 
Egypt, and drove the Hyksos across the Desert 
of Sin into Palestine. It is quite possible that 
in Genesis, and Manetho 's History we have the 
two sides of one story, and that it was the 


possession of the Libyan chariot which made 
the Egyptians powerful enough to rid them- 
selves of the artful but not very warlike 
children of Israel. 

It is amusing to note the ways of the tribal 
poet in Israel who describes the murrain of 
cattle as killing off every horse in the length 
and breadth of Eg3^pt, then out of spite kills 
them all over again by drowning in the Red Sea, 

Setting the date of the Exodus at b.c. 1580, 
it would be about b.c. 1540 that the Israelites 
were afraid to attack the Canaan ites who had 
good iron chariots. In the same way a nation 
armed with muzzle loading guns might hate to 
molest an army with quick-firing artillery. 
Forty years later, about b.c. i 500, horses began 
to appear in Mesopotamia, a bad lookout for 
Israel, destmed some six centuries afterwards 
to be trampled under by Babylonian chariotry. 

Some day we shall have a science of compara- 
tive chronology to guide us in our studies, and 
so be able to see hov/ little improvements in 
horse-breeding, or the use of iron in building 
chariots, affected the rise and fall of nations. 
In the meantime some known facts of Red 
Indian history may help us to understand 
events in ancient Asia. 

In primitive Red Indian life the tribes were 


seated too far apart to get at each other for 
serious pitched battles. In lack of horse 
transport trade was limited to the waterways, 
and warfare to minor internecine pleasantries 
which kept young men in training. From the 
sixteenth century the pressure of white men 
driving in from the Atlantic began to affect 
these almost civilised people, forcing them to 
abandon their farms, fisheries and towns, 
reducing them to savagery and compelling 
them to trespass on occupied hunting grounds. 
All nations were set by the ears. Then they 
began to get ponies, and the rest was chaog. 

So perhaps in Asia, the movements of tribes 
afoot ma}^ have been gradual overflows from 
crow^ded districts, and warfare a matter of 
cheery little fora3's to please the young. The 
possession of ponies gave a tremendous impetus 
to war and trade. From that time onward the 
tribes which were best m^ounted had a political 
future, and there was a slight handicap in 
favour of nations with Libyan Ba3^s of fourteen 
hands two inches as compared with tribes using 
the Duns of Asia. 

The Egyptians had horses in the eighteenth 
century B.C., the Israehtes a few in 1580, the 
Hittites and Canaanites in 1540, the Assyrians 
not until 1500 b.c. Now Egypt, Canaan, 


Syria, Mesopotamia and Arabia had no native 
horses. The Egyptians got horses from the 
Sahara, the Asiatics mainly through Armenia. 
I cannot beUeve tliat the crossing of small 
Duns with small Bays in any region bred heavy 
horses for the needs of war. 

A practical nation in the breeding trade 
would not rely for heavy stock upon the cross- 
ing of light strains. The way to get heavy 
stock is with strong food. Such oases of great 
deserts as Egypt and Mesopotamia had very 
Httle pasture, so long as their nations pros- 
pered. Every acre then was needed for strong 
grains. The well-mounted conquering nations 
were not those with splendid pasturage like 
Northern Africa or Southern Russia, but those 
v/hich had no pasturage at all, who were com- 
pelled to feed horses on fodder more potent 
than any natural grass. The King's people 
might go without, but one may be perfectly 
certain that the King's horses lived on corn. 
What tribe or race of folk inherited Egypt or 
Mesopotamia mattered nothing, what strain 
of horses they owned mattered ver}^ little, but 
the people and the horses, for the time being in 
possession of irrigated oases walled about by 
deserts, raised the chariotry or the cavalry 
which ruled the surrounding world. 


Each nation passed through a phase when 
chariotry were the only mounted troops of 
tactical use in war. The importing of the 
largest and heaviest horses to be had, the 
feeding of these with grain, and cross-breeding 
of the Dun types with the Bay produced by 
slow degrees a remount for use by cavalry. 

Earliest in the running were the Hebrews, 
for about looo e.g. King Solomon built stables 
for 40,000 chariots, and as many as 12,000 
cavalry. As early as 700 b.c. Armenia, being 
in contact with the ^Asiatic and Russian horse 
stocks, became a large horse breeding estabUsh- 
ment, suppl^dng remounts southward to Asia 
Minor, where in b.c. 560 King Croesus of Lydia 
had good cavalry, to Syria and Palestine, to 
Assyria, and to Persia down to the fourth 
century. But in the meantime shipping had 
grown in the Mediterranean, and ships of 
sufficient burden to carry African Bays began 
to supply the Greeks. From the pony 
chariots of the fourteenth century e.g. a 
steadily improving stock marked the rise of 
Hellas. The Achaeans of 1000 e.g. had 
imported Bays. The Greeks of 400 e.g. had 
cavalry. Then came the breeding of fine 
horses in Macedonia, and, after the death of 
Philip in e.g. 336, the mounted troops of his 


great son Alexander swept like a whirlwind 
across the Eastward deserts to where the 
monsoon rains made India populous. By this 
time cavaW had replaced the chariot. At the 
era of the Christ a chariot was still used when 
a victorious general entered a city in triumph. 
But the use of chariotry in war was limited to 
remote barbaric tribes such as the British. 

The chariot for practical purposes was 
extinct before a single horse had found his way 
over the long dry marches leading out of the 
world to the remote oases of Arabia. Strabo 
the geographer, who at the era of our Loi'd made 
a survey of the known world, found that the 
horse had not yet entered Arabia. A land 
indeed where no water can be had except from 
wells was not a possible range for pastured 
horses, and the horse has not sufficient thirst 
endurance to be of much use for transport 
between the oases, whereas asses and camels 
were to be had much cheaper. 

It was in the earliest Christian centuries that 
Arabian chiefs began to import Bay horses 
from Egypt. It seems likely that the begin- 
ning of their sea-trade enabled them to do so. 
While almost all nations of Europe and Asia 
were compelled by the need for heavy war 
horses to feed grain and to cross the imported 


Bay with their native stock, the Arabs tried to 
preserve the purity of the desert breed. Even 
at this time eighty-five per cent, of high caste 
Arabian horses are Bays ; and there is only 
one strain of any importance, the Hamdani so 
crossed with Russian Tarpans as to be white or 
grey. It must be remembered, how^ever, that 
the demand of the Indian and European 
markets for gre3"s and for heav}^ cross-breds has 
led the Arabs to breed extensively from their 
low caste strains. Moreover, the neighbouring 
regions of Syria and Mesopotamia sell cross- 
bred horses as " Arabian " regardless of colour, 
and of honesty. The Bay mares of the real 
Arabian aristocracy are never sold, and of the 
horses very few reach the market as compared 
with the numbers of low caste animals forming 
the ruck of the trade. 

Down to the seventh century a.d. the Arabs 
were busy breeding from a very few imported 
Bays their meagre supply of horses. So far as 
the possession of horses went the}^ would not 
have attracted much attention but for the 
coming to Arabia of steel weapons. 

From prehistoric times the Swedes had been 
mining iron, and their trade routes led by 
river, to Novgorod, where lived a trading 
family the Romanovs, from whom descend 


the Emperors of Russia. B}^ river boat and by 
pack trail the Swedish iron found its way to 
many markets. Towards the seventh centur}^ 
the iron reached the Arabian oases to be forged 
into weapons of Islam. When the Arabian 
horsemen v.^ere armed and inspired b}^ Mahomet 
they set out to conquer the world in the name 
of x-^llah. With the Moslem conquests east- 
ward to Delhi, and westward through Spain to 
Poictiers, the Bay Horse passed into the com- 
merce of mankind, adding to the endurance of 
the Asiatic Dun, and the strength of the 
European dappled horse that touch of gentle- 
ness and fire which quickens a dull animal into 
a living spirit. 




The Seat. Among the Red Indians I have 
known, the mounted people were the Blackfeet, 
Stonies, Crees, Yakimas, Navajos, Moquis, and 
a few tribes in Mexico. So far as I can learn 
no Indian was ever taught to ride, or heard of 
riding as an accomplishment to be learned. 
The commonest equipment was a blanket and 
surcingle ; but all the horse apparel used by 
white men was eagerly played for in the gam- 
bling games. The riding seemed to be natural, 
with a perfection of grace one rarely sees among 
white men. 

The man rode down to his crotch, yet the 
forward slant of the thighs gave rest to the 
pelvis bones upon the horse's back, while the 
lower leg hung vertical and loose. 

At halt or walk the whole seat was loose, but 
as the pace increased at trot or canter the 



thighs locked with a grip of tremendous power, 
rigid save for the play of the skin. From the 
waist upward the poise was quite erect, and 
supple, with the shoulders shghtly eased. 

At a gallop the low^er legs wrapped round the 
horse's barrel, and the movem.ent of the man 
as seen behind an edge of skyHne was like the 
flight of a bird. 

For pony racing bo^^s rode instead of men. 
Since the boys' legs were not long enough to 
wrap round the horse, the thighs were lifted, 
nearl}^ horizontal, the lower legs bent sharply 
back, and a surcingle was strapped across the 
knees. Still the perch was on the animal's 
back, and not on the withers, as in the negro 
gait so much admired under the name of the 
American racing seat. 

Was the Red Indian seat straight leg or bent 
leg ? With stirrups it was straight leg. For 
boy jockeA^s only the racing gait was bent leg. 

A reference to the sculptures of Pheideas, 
and Praxiteles (fifth century B.C.) shows that 
the Greeks rode at slow gaits wdth the same 
leg as the Red Indian, but like him bent the 
knees very sharply at racing speed. 

At first sight these Greek sculptures from 
the Parthenon rather remind one of the Red 
Indian seat. A httle closer study shows that 


the models chosen by the sculptor were not 
horsemen, but carefulty selected athletes. 
They were no more horsemen for example, than 
the glorious athlete represented at high tension 
by Watts in his equestrian statue of Physical 
Energy. The back is too much curved for that 
of the Red Indian, who earned a living on 
horseback from his childhood, and kept a pro- 
fessional watch on the horizon rather than an 
amateur's nervous observation of the pony's 
ears. So one turns away from the misleading 
splendours of Greek sculpture, to the pro- 
fessional guidance of General Xenophon, a 
horseman who knew his business. " Whether 
he uses a cloth or rides on the bare back we 
would not have him sit as one who drives a 
chariot " (bent knees), " but as if he were 
standing erect with his legs somewhat astride, 
for thus his thighs will cling closer to his horse, 
and he will be able to wield his lance and shield 
with more force." 

This seems to show that for freedom in the 
use of weapons the Greek cavalry adopted 
straight leg riding before they had saddle or 
stirrups. So far as I can learn the Hellenic 
seat passed on into Roman practice, but 
through the Dark Ages which followed the fall 
of Rome there seems to be no guidance as to 


the conduct of horsemen. Horses were not 
saddled in England until 631 a.d., and the first 
pictures we have which reveal the horseman- 
ship of the Middle Ages are the Bayeux 
tapestries of the Norman Conquerors. Now for 
the first time horses were used b}^ farmers to 
till the land. Chain mail had replaced the 
scale armour of the Barbarians. A perfectly 
straight leg locked the horseman aft against 
the cantle, forward against the stirrup of a 
weight-distributing saddle. 

The War Saddle. During the live centu- 
ries in which body armour slowly increased in 
weight, and horse armour was added to the 
burden, the dappled woodland horse of Northern 
Europe was bred from strength to strength to 
take the growing load. So we came by our 
Destriers, now known as the cart horse breeds, 
such as the Percheron, Cleveland Bay, and 
Suffolk Punch, and the heav}^ draught such 
as the Shire and Clydesdale. 

Plate armour is still worn a good deal on the 
stage, in pageants and in military tourna- 
ments. Men used to this armour tell me that a 
horseman who rides less than his weight while 
his limbs are free, rides more than his weight 
when he is cramped in movement. 

Suppose then that a 190 pound man in 90 


pounds of armour makes a dead weight of 280 
pounds. Add harness and horse armour, and 
the total weight is about 400 pounds. At a 
canter this load would certainly need a 
draught horse weighing not less than 1,500 
pounds. Using the Enghsh saddlery one 
would prefer the heaviest draught animal. 

Now take a load of 350 pounds in mining 
machinery and add 50 pounds for an apparejo 
pack equipment. This total dead weight of 
400 pounds would make a light cargo for a 
1,000 pound mule or horse, who w^ould carry 
it without distress a day's march up a range of 

But note well that the bearing surface of the 
equipment on the horse's back is about two 
square feet with the English saddle, and nearly 
eight square feet for the usual apparel of horses 
in heavy packing. As anybody would rather 
carr}^ two buckets of water than one, because 
the load is halved by being properly dis- 
tributed, so will the horse prefer a heavy load 
distributed over the whole rigid area of the 
ribs to a light load concentrated on a few square 
inches. The distribution of the load is of 
greater importance than its weight. 

In the days of light chain mail a special 
saddle was evolved with a deep seat wherein 


the rider was locked against the cantle by the 
straight thrust of his legs against box stirrups. 
As chain mail gave way to the heavier plate 
armour, the saddle bars were more and more 
widely padded until they covered every avail- 
able inch of the rigid ribs. 

Nobody seems to have noticed that with 
every kind of armour a chamois or buckskin 
lining afforded a rough-grain leather strapping 
for the unarmoured seat and thighs, and this 
gave a greasy grip against the oiled saddle. 

As the use of gunpowder advanced, piece by 
piece the armour was put aside, until now 
nothing remains but the cuirass ; but the 
leather lining retained its usefulness, and 
leather breeches are still in very general use 
among modern horsemen because they give an 
excellent grip on the saddle. 

Armour had reached and passed its greatest 
weight when the Spaniards conquered the new 
world, and the Conquistadores took to Peru 
and Mexico their weight-distributing saddle, 
buckskin grip, high cantle and box stirrups. 
The strays from their horse and cattle stock 
bred feral herds which spread into North 
America. So stock riders were engaged to 
handle the Spanish cattle on Andalusian 
ponies. They kept the old war saddle quite 


unchanged, with its weight distribution, high 
cantle, box stirrups and oiled leather seat. 

Next came the American of the North to 
learn from Texans their art of handling stock, 
and almost throughout the Western States the 
Vaquero was replaced by the Cowboy. Both 
were abstemious and hard-working men. In 
their valour, gentleness, skill and power as 
rough-riders they were equals, and hardly sur- 
passed. The methods of both in horse- 
breaking were altogether vile, and the horse- 
mastership almost as bad. But there the 
equality ends ; for the cov/boy had endurance 
and vitality beyond all comparison in the 
modern w^orld, was master where the Vaquero 
of Mexico is servant, had the brains and 
character, the chivalry and high initiative of a 
ruhng race. Without the Red Indian grace 
in horsemanship, the American cow^-puncher 
takes rank with the knight-at-arms and the 
cavalier among the greater horsemen of all 
ages. It is well to give him the credit for 
experienced and practical good sense in matters 
of horsemanship and equipment. 

The Ranche hand as Horsemaster. While 
a pony sold at ten dollars he was not con- 
sidered worth educating. A professional 
broncho buster took him in hand for five 


dollars, and smashed him. The pony was a 
wild ammal, timid but ferocious. The broncho 
buster was not at all timid, but he was fero- 
cious to an extent which horrified the animal, 
and intelhgent to a degree which reduced the 
victim to abject obedience. So the horse 
surrendered and came into the care of a cow- 
puncher. They started out together on the 
range, and if they felt fresh of a morning there 
would be a bucking match w^hich both of them 
rather enjoyed. There was no ill feehng, for 
after all a horse is as good a sportsman as any 
man. Then came the work of handling 
cattle, and the horse enjoyed that sport which 
taxed all he had of courage and skill and en- 
durance. It made a partnership between two 
persons who loved sport, and dealt with cattle 
as mere lower animals. There was hearty 
good fellowship between horse and man, which 
sometimes ripened into a love stronger than 

Of horsemastership as understood in civi- 
lized life there never was a symptom. When 
the puncher, after long months of abstinent 
living, happened to ride into a town, he stepped 
off his horse, threw the rein to the ground and 
left the animal standing in the street while he 
got drunk. Afterwards the pony would carry 


him homeward unless he became dead drunk 
and fell off. The pony went to camp anyway, 
to get himself unsaddled and join the herd. 
Sometimes the puncher didn't even get drunk, 
being broke, or in love, but that made no 
difference to his meticulous neglect of the 
whole practice of horsemastership as explained 
in books. 

And the ponies prospered, usually fat as 
butter because they lived a perfectly natural 

The Ranche Hand as Horseman. Nobody 
taught the budding cowboy any art of riding. 
It was merely a habit. When the saddle 
taught him to sit well down and ride straight 
leg he ceased to tumble off. When he left off 
interfering with the rein the horse steered clear 
of holes, and there were neither stumbles nor 

From camp gossip he knew that a horse can- 
not buck if one keeps his head up. If the 
novice did amiss the foreman or some elder 
cowhand advised him. The pride of a great 
calhng made him a stickler for exquisite form 
in riding, and the emulation to beat rival 
outfits imposed on each a high standard of 
efficiency. The work w^as usually done at a 
canter to allow of the lightning swiftness in 


turning to head off cattle, wherein the punch- 
ing of cows closely resembles polo. Travel on 
the other hand was alternate trotting and walk- 
ing. The seat at the canter was almost Red 
Indian in its grace. The seat at the trot thrust 
the buttocks against the cantle, and raked the 
body at a slant ver\" stiffly forward, the back 
forming a straight hne, and the head thrown 
up so that the eyes were level to the horizon. 
This trotting seat was ungainly, but, hke the 
more graceful Enghsh trotting, was supposed 
to ease the horse. Undoubtedly the horse- 
manship was fine, especially in the delicate art 
of roping, and never more so than in the 
occasional use of a pony as pack animal on 
journeys. The single-hand diamond hitch in 
loading a pack horse is a ver}' fair test of a 
man's all-round skill and deftness with the 
hands. Other signs of fine horsemanship 
might be noted in the suppling of leather work, 
the pride in a clean gun, and a youthful delight 
in silver ornament of belt and spur and bridle. 
In the study of American range horseman- 
ship it is well to remember that the experts who 
contributed to the practice were not limited to 
ranche hands, but included scouts, the military', 
forest, fire, game and other types of rangers, 
trappers and wolfers , express riders . prospectors , 


traders, the Rocky Mountain outlaws, the 
sheriffs and marshals and Mounted PoUce. 
The equipment is mainly of Spanish origin, and 
named with Spanish words. 


The healthfulness of a horseman's Ufe has 
developed to the fullest extent his natural 
passions both in love and war, and it is a notable 
fact that the males of nearly all species who 
love and defend their mates go very bravely 
dressed. So in all ages both military and 
civilian horsemen have worn an honest 
bravery and gallantry of equipment suited for 
loving and fighting, for quests of bold adven- 
ture and of conquest. Much that in a clerk or 
craftsman would be grotesque is seemly for 
mounted men. 

The Sweat Pad. In Queensland, Argen- 
tino and pack train practice, it is usual to lay 
on the horse's back a soft sugar sack, a crash 
towel or other fabric not likely to slip or crinkle. 
This is called the sweat pad. Its first purpose 
is to receive the special marks made by any 
turning or chafing of the horse's hair which may 
be the beginnings of a gall. Its second purpose 
is to take the sweat, hair, scurf, grease and dirt 
which would not be noticed on a dark blanket, 
but is easily seen and rubbed or w^ashed out of a 


sweat pad. The third purpose is to keep the 
blanket perfectly clean for the man's use at 
night. With saddle and pack horses the 
horseman gets two blankets, a canvas pack 
cover and his rain coat, enough material for 
a luxurious bed. 

The Blanket. Because the numnah makes 
poor bedding one prefers a blanket. If one 
cuts a hole in a numnah to ease an mcipient 
blister on the horse, the edges of the felt are 
apt to cause more bhsters. Another advant- 
age of a blanket is that it can be folded in a 
great many ways to make the saddle fit more 
perfectly, or to reheve some part of the back 
which shows signs of galhng. The usual size of 
blanket folds once lengthways, then once, or a 
fold of three crossways. Take care to have a 
fold, and not edges of blanket to the front, lest 
it ruck under the saddle. 

The American Stock Saddle. As the 
Mexican wooden tree was never strong enough, 
the American has rivetted to the fore ends of 
the bars a fork of wrought steel which is sur- 
mounted by the horn which takes the strain 
in roping. In the twentieth century this arch 
has widened to make a larger opening clear of the 
withers, and it gives heavy shoulders to the 
saddle. To save weight the old square skirts 


have been trimmed and rounded. The seat 
still slopes sharply from front to rear, throwing 
the rider's weight against the cantle. The 
horse-hair cincha (girth) is replaced by one of 
lamp wick, which causes less irritation. The 
latego or strap to take the purchase in cinching 
up the saddle has been replaced b}^ the English 
strap and buckle to save time. There is a 
loss, however, in efficiency, because the old 
double-rig saddle with two cinchas (the second 
for mountain use and for bucking horses) had 
two pair of rings, and one was able to sling 
a single cmcha forward or aft in case the skin 
showed chafing. A centre-fire rig is never so 
adaptable for various kinds of use. 

Stirrup. The word means mounting rope, 
and the ideas of adjusting the rider's balance, 
and of locking him against the cantle are only 
after- thoughts. In great cold a steel stirrup 
would cause dangerous freezing of the feet, 
and in great heat the metal is apt to burn them. 
Hence, in Mexican practice, the use of a hard- 
wood stirrup with a leather floor, and to guard 
against acacia thorns this is enclosed in a 
leather box called the tapadero. American 
practice has dispensed with the leather, and 
lately reduced the bent-wood stirrup to a 
mere ring, so large in some cases that the foot 


will go through, and thus expose the rider to a 
risk of being dragged to death. The men of 
to-day are less practical than those of the old 
real frontier. 

The Australian Stock Saddle. The 
Australian stockman has done all that was 
possible to enlarge the bearing surface of the 
Enghsh saddle. He has also added pads, on 
the same principle as those of a lady's saddle, 
to retain the knees. The first flight of horse- 
men have their saddles made with the leather 
inside out, because the inner surface gives a 
better grip. By removing the stuffing down 
the middle of the panel they make a groove to 
take the leg. Thus by ingenious makeshift 
they have evolved a practical equipment for 
their sound, straight-leg horsemanship. As 
horsemen their best stock-riders are certainly 
not surprassed by any men of our race, and 
when one considers that their walers are 
larger and more powerful than the general 
stock of North Artierica, Australian rough- 
riding must be rated even above the American. 
I notice, however, that when they use American 
equipment they seem to hke it better than 
their ow^n. 

The Recado. A careful analysis of the Argen- 
tino equipment shows that it is the home-made 

1 56 THE BITT 

effort of a first-rate horseman to produce 
a practical, weight-distributing saddle. The 
best and most improved forms, however, lack 
the strength of the Mexican rigging, which the 
Mexicans themselves reject if they can afford 
the North American. 

The McClellan Saddle. So far as I 
remember this model it made no pretence of 
weight-distribution, while it was coloured 
black, an excellent device for hiding defects in 
leather. The saddle was much praised in the 
United States Army, and may account for the 
failure of mounted troops to rival the mobiUty 
of range horsemen. 

The Bitt. Because our own eyes are in- 
tended for long sight, we are apt to imagine 
that the horse has the same habit of studying 
the horizon. Yet when one lives with a range 
horse one discovers that he has never seen or 
imagined an}* such thing as an horizon. Every- 
thing beyond a hundred yards is blurred ; but 
if he were in the habit of reading the newspaper 
he w^ould hold it about six feet from his eyes, 
for within that distance his sight is in better 
focus than our own. 

His eyes differ from ours in having also a 
much wider angle of vision. One might com- 
pare our eyes to a brace of guns in the fore 


barbette of a warship ; and the horse's eyes to 
two guns thrown out on sponsons wide of the 
ship, so that they can be swung round to cover 
the whole horizon. See how the horse's head 
is raised so that his own bod}^ does not inter- 
cept his backward sight. See how the head 
widens to place the e^^es as far apart as possible, 
while the skull tapers upwards to give him a 
clear view of the sky, and tapers downwards to 
give a clear view of the ground. There is 
nothing in the whole sphere of possible vision 
which the horse cannot see by Hfting and 
lowering his head. 

The intention of the eyes, then, is not to see 
the distances ahead, but to scrutinize at close 
range all overhanging branches of the trees, the 
minutest details of surrounding bush, and most 
especially with microscopic detail everything 

Everybody knows that the horse is clever 
in avoiding the earth heaps made b}^ burrowing 
animals, but I think there is also reason to 
believe that he can distinguish by relative 
dampness or dryness, and plant growth of the 
soil those tunnels and chambers of badgers and 
other ground game which do not reach up to 
the surface. It is only at full gallop that he 
fails to see the surface indications of blind 


burrows, and is apt to blunder into them with 
disastrous results both for himself and for his 

But what has all this got to do with bitts ? 
We must advance the argument to a further 

In the eighteenth century the Evangelist, 
Richard Wesley, rode on his preaching tours 
some seventy thousand miles on EngUsh high- 
ways. Because he could buy them cheap he 
always used stumbhng horses. As he rode he 
would let the rein drop while he read the 
Bible, and presently would find the stumbler 
cured. There are some horses, he said, who 
will stumble over their own shadows, but 
nearly always a slack rein will cure them. 
Then one can sell them at a better price, 
and so make money to pay the expenses of 

To prevent stumbhng, the range man trains 
his horse to slack rein, and in this matter 
reverts to an old war practice. The steering 
of horses by the knee is most excellent horse- 

Because I lacked the suppleness for steering 
by the knee it has been m}^ practice to let the 
rein lie on the horse's neck. If any steering is 
needed, it is easy to have the two sides of the 


rein tied in a half hitch, and, holding the knot 
between thumb and finger, to slap the rein on 
the side of the neck to show which way one is 

Only if the horse needs handling one rides 
him on the rein with the utmost possible 
gentleness of the hand. But if the bitt comes 
into serious use it is better to have one which 
will lock on the lower jaw. I find my broken- 
bar snaflile pulls up a bolting horse in about five 
jumps, but so far only one or two out of many 
horses have needed so much severity. The 
range horse rarely pulls, and I scarcely re- 
member seeing a double rein in use among 
range horsemen. 

The greatest disadvantage of the rein is that 
it serves like a telegraph wire to carry the 
vibrations of fear. I prefer to use a voice which 
I can control rather than a hand which is apt 
to betray me. A low-pitched, quiet voice is 
very useful if one's hands are rough ; and the 
training of hands is a grace limited to civilized 

There is a certain pattern of headstall which 
has the cheek strap coming down to a piece of 
brass which is best described as a D or squared 
ring. The nose band ends at the front side of 
the squared ring. The chin piece ends at the 


after side of the squared ring, and carries the 
end of the headrope. From the bottom side 
of the squared ring hangs a snap to take the 
ring of a snafifle. So one keeps the headstall on 
the horse, and snaps the bitt on or off. 

The advantage of curb bitts seems to be 
mainty in dealing with dangerous, or very 
powerful horses, or for an additional delicacy 
in steering ; but range men prefer to make 
appliances as simple as possible, and rather 
dread a complicated gear which may go wrong 
in sudden emergencies. 

Saddle Wallets. For the general pur- 
poses of travel I carry in the wallets a tin of 
gall cure, a medicine case containing chloro- 
dyne, and tablets of quinine, carbolic acid, 
cascara, a sahcylate and permanganate of 
potash, with a lancet, forceps, surgical needles 
and silk, and a dressing ; a mosquito salve 
such as oil of pennyro3^al, and some nettmg ; a 
toothbrush in a case, soap in a tobacco pouch, 
and a towel ; toilet paper ; a little sealed 
bottle of matches for emergencies ; an emer- 
gency ration such as cake chocolate ; luncheon ; 
something to read ; notebook and pencil. 

THE horseman's DRESS. 

Protection from Light. In the history 
of the North American wilderness there are 


three ver}^ distinct phases. The buckskin 
period of heroic adventure ; the period of blue 
shirts and overalls marked b}^ chaotic disorder 
and the period of yellow khaki and brown 
clothing with orderly progress. 

The period of blue clothing, however, was 
one of perfect law and order in the wildest 
parts of Canada ; of comparative disorder in 
the North-Western States, and of total chaos 
in the South-Western deserts. Even in West- 
ern Canada, suicide was common, and terrific 
drunks would seize in a moment upon whole 
communities ; but the Mounted Pohce, wear- 
ing scarlet, kept their discipline so that homi- 
cides were almost invariably hanged, and 
robbers imprisoned with prompt efficiency. 

In the North- Western States, the suicides, 
drunks, iynchings, robberies and homicides 
were considered as privileges of a free citizen- 
ship. There were vestiges of government. 

In the South-Western States, the onty law 
was that of the revolver, and duelling took the 
place of government. 

In the three regions the amount of disorder 
varied precisely with the intensit}^ of the sun- 
light, and lawlessness ceased with the intro- 
duction, at the turn of the twentieth century, 
of yellow, khaki and brown colours in clothing. 


All this may be coincidence. The latitudes 
of the South-Western desert in the Northern 
hemisphere correspond with those of the South 
African veldt in the Southern hemisphere. 
Moreover, the population of the American 
desert region was about equal to the British 
Field Force in South Africa. The American 
frontiersmen wore blue, the British soldiers 
khaki. Passing from one region to the other, 
I was astounded by the contrast between the 
blue-clad frontier supporting four hundred 
riders by the single industry of robbery-under- 
arms, and the khaki-ciad army which in 
three-and-a-half 3xars scored only one act of 
robbery. The peaceful civil population was 
engaged in blood feuds, promiscuous homicide, 
and every kind of violent crime ; while the 
fighting army won the hearty confidence of the 
Boer field force by its chivalrous protection of 
the Boer women. In the one case crime was 
universal, in the other almost unknown. 

And this may still be all coincidence. 

The Great War is fought, mainly in 
latitude of scant sunlight. The German forces, 
clad in blue-grey, have made a practice of 
rape, slaughter of women and children, torture 
and murder of prisoners, sacking and burning 
of cities, bombing of unarmed folk, fighting 


with liquid fire and with poisonous gas. 
The khaki clad armies have not as yet 
been charged with military crimes. The 
blue-clad French army has not fought among 
a foreign population, has not in fact been 
tempted or found a motive which makes crime 

It is be3^ond the limits of coincidence that 
where large numbers of white men hve an un- 
sheltered life and wear a single colour, those 
dressed in blue are guilty — except the French 
— of violent crime, from which those dressed in 
compounds of red and yellow are altogether 

To the blue, indigo and violet rays of light a 
white man's bod}^ is transparent as so much 
water. When he lives outdoors his health is 
normal so long as his body is sheltered by 
colours which beat back the actinic rays of 
light. If he wears blue, white, grey or any 
other colour transparent to these ra^'s, they 
burn right through him, destroying all germs 
of disease, and so allowing the body to develop 
tremendous energy — the keynote of frontier 
life. After a fev/ years of this, the actinic rays 
begin to destroy the tissues of the body, and 
nerves break down. The symptoms of neuras- 
thenia are : 


(i) Hysteria, expressed in wanton crime. 

(2) Dipsomania, expressed in tremendous 

debauches following long spells of 

(3) Suicide. 

Every range man will remember how these 
three forms of nervous disorder have wTecked 
the lives of his friends, and how the best men 
were taken, not the w^eakhngs. If so much 
disaster is avoided by wearing colours which 
protect the body from actinic burning, it seems 
a reasonable conduct to avoid blue clothing, 
and to copy the hues — such as dun, bay, or 
brown, which nature provides to guard the 

Protection from Chills. To absorb sweat, 
all underwear should be woollen. 

Concealment from Enemies. Man is the 
only animal whose figure is upright, cutting 
the lines of the landscape, and therefore con- 
spicuous at a great distance. A single colour 
is therefore more easily seen than two blobs 
of colour such as a khaki shirt and brown 
trousers, or a bay shirt and dun trousers. As 
armies paint their guns in broken splashes of 
colour, men's uniforms should not be whole 
coloured if they are to blend with the landscape 

The Hat. The Red Indian calls the white 

THE HAT 165 

men '' hat-wearers," and takes notice of our 
baldness. Savages who wear no hats are never 
bald. Why then should we wear hats ? I 
think that on the range, if we began early 
enough, we should do well to let our hair grow 
for the protection of the head and the nape of 
the neck from the sun. On the old American 
Frontier the pioneers did grow long hair 
because a man with no scalplock was not worth 
kilHng, and therefore barred from councils of 
the Indians. 

The primitive hat of the range was a disc of 
bison skin, sodden, and the middle, thrust into 
a hole in the ground, was filled vvdth stones. 
A leather string laced round the edge kept the 
brim from flopping. A leather band fitted the 
crown to the head. 

Later came a Mr. Stetson of Philadelphia, 
with a copy of this range hat in beaver-fur felt 
soaked in shellac, and so felted that the edges 
did not flop. A bootlace round the front of the 
hatband passed through an e3'elet above each 
ear, and w^as tied with a hard knot behind the 
head. This prevented the hat from blowing 
away and let in air behind the head to ventilate 
the crown. Pinching the crow^n with four 
dints for the words North West Mounted 
Pohce, branded the cowboy Stetson as a 


soldier's hat which was adopted in South 
Africa by most of the mounted Irregulars of the 
British Empire, and b}^ the Boy Scouts who 
copied the design in felt of rabbit fur. 

A rival type of slouch hat which flopped down 
all round was used by the ancient Greeks. 
Looped on one side it was worn b}^ the 
Cavaliers of the British Civil War, looped on 
three sides it became the cocked hat of the 
eighteenth century, and on two sides, of the 
Napoleonic era, surviving in diplomatic uni- 
forms and those of naval officers and civic 
functionaries. Looped on one side again it was 
worn in the American Civil War, and by British 
Africanders and Australasians. Softened and 
not looped it replaced the stiff-brimmed 
Stetson on the American range. 

Shirt. It was among the Eskimo that I 
learned the philosophy of the shirt. These 
very practical folk wear a hooded shirt, close- 
fitting at the throat, wrists and waist. For 
summer the material is cotton or serge, for 
winter the warmest furs ; but in any case it 
forms a bag of air warmed by the bod3^ The 
shirt then consists of an outer garment of skin 
or a textile fabric, and an inner garment of 
heated air protecting the vital organs. Opened 
at neck and wrists it is the coolest of garments, 


closed it is the warmest for any given weight. 
In contrast a coat or jacket is open at the 
bottom, the front, the neck and the wrists, so 
that four times the w^eight is needed to produce 
the warmth of a shirt. 

Mihtary dress is always a belated copy of 
the civil costume in each period. 

It is designed by a contractor whose motive 
is to obtain the handling of public money. 
It is approved by a military official who has 
never done a day's labour or a day's fighting 
with the weapons of the enhsted man. Hence 
the persistence of the Roman tunic which 
excels all known garments in cost, weight, the 
cramping of the lungs, and the disabHng of the 
arms and shoulders v/hose perfect freedom is 
needed for wielding weapons and tools. For 
working or fighting it has to be rem.oved. 

The mounted civilian rides for pleasure in a 
coat, the mounted soldier rides for duty in a 
tunic, the range horseman rides for a living 
and wears a shirt. By the exercise of human 
reason the range man protects his vital organs 
at a fourth part of the cost, weight, and en- 
cumbrance to which the fashions have sub- 
jected the sportsmen and the soldiers. 

Breeches. The dress of a gentleman has 
always been that of the mounted warrior. 


When plate armour had to be given up because 
it was no longer bullet proof its lining survived 
in the form of leather breeches. These 
leathers are usually whitewashed, but they are 
still worn by the British Household Cavalry, 
who are " Gentlemen of the King's guard " ; 
by hunting men ; by the mounted servants 
who used to be armed retainers and still wear 
livery as such ; and in the charro dress of 
Mexico. They belong to the tradition of 

The principle of breeches is a close fit for the 
inner surface of the knee and thigh, because 
with heavy material such as leather or cloth 
any wrinkles against the saddle will tear off 
one's skin and cause a deal of pain. With bent 
leg riding, the outer surface of the thighs had 
to be loosened, and this loosening has developed 
into monstrous puffed sleeves which expose the 
Englishman to ridicule on an irreverent stock- 

Trousers. During the French Revolution, 
gentlemen in the town dress of the period, 
with knee breeches and silk stockings, had 
their heads chopped off, and all who valued 
their health took to trousers as an expression 
of liberal opinions. Trousers to the heels as 
distinguished from trousers tucked into boots 


are still worn in Russia to indicate liberal 
views. An ultra-royalist is not content with 
long boots, but must add rubber overshoes to 
make his feet look large. 

Away from the influence of English fashions, 
the horsemen of the world w^ear trousers ; of 
cloth in the Russian Empire and South 
Africa, of moleskin in Australasia, of duck in 
North America. Any kind of tight clothing 
which cramps the limbs is looked upon as an 

Boots. Long boots were recommended by 
Xenophon to the Greeks, low shoes are older 
still. Both save the natural strength and 
spring of the ankle which is needed in mount- 
ing a horse, useful in ridmg him. 

Towards the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury the increase of town hfe and improved 
paving made boot-tops worn under trousers 
appear superfluous in weight, cost and dis- 
comfort. Thus came the ankle boot as an 
economy and a comfort, but coupled with it 
was a lacing to " support " the ankle. To 
lace a man's ankle or a woman's waist is to 
replace with a merely stiff material the strong 
elastic muscles of the natural body, and sap the 
necessary health and strength which God has 


In all outdoor life long boots ensure dry feet, 
and the top should reach the knee-cap to be of 
real use in wet ground, or when one kneels 
cooking beside the camp lire. The boot legs 
guard one against venomous reptiles and 
insects, and protect the shin bone which, for 
lack of any muscle, is hable to be broken by 
many kinds of accident. Lacing either a long 
or an ankle boot puts an end to free ventilation 
of the foot, making the skin to sweat, to soften, 
and in man}'' cases to become offensive. 

For horsemen the boot leg is a useful pro- 
tection from the chafing of stirrup leathers. 

In war the soldier who wears laced boots is 
obliged to sleep in them, whereas long boots, 
kept properly greased, are so quickly put on 
that it is safe to remove them at night. For 
infantry, the world's marching record was 
made by Colorado miners as volunteers for the 
New Mexico campaign. They wore long boots, 
as do the Russian and Germanic armies whose 
marching is said to be better than that of the 
French and British who have laced the ankle. 

The boot leg should not be shaped like a 
bucket to catch rain as with the United States 
Cavalry, or like a stovepipe to cripple a man 
afoot as with British horsemen. Without 
being tight like the puttee for the production 


of varicocele, the boot leg should fit close. The 
ankle should be supple as a stocking, and 
" bellowsed " to make sure of suppleness. 
The counter should be of the hardest possible 
leather, thick, but fining upwards to an edge, 
and so made that when the man's foot spreads 
the foot of the boot, this fine upper edge, 
closes over the ball of the heel to prevent 
chafing. For the horseman the heel should be 
broad and flat, or high and tapering to prevent 
it from getting through the stirrups. 

The boot-top of the seventeenth century 
came well up the thigh, but v/as turned down 
in sum.mer for coolness, showing the brown 
inside of the leather. Later on this turned 
down top was replaced for smartness by a use- 
less detachable cuff. For smartness also, the 
English leg was made rigid, disabhng the 
wearer. Lately I went to a smart London 
maker for boots to suit my need of a supple 
ankle, flat heel, and modelled counter. The 
sales gentleman made me feel acutely that I 
was a cad, the workmen struck, and the pro- 
prietor corrected my design, revenging himself 
in his bill for the dela}' he caused me. It is in 
details such as this that one feels that the 
whole art of horsemanship in England has 
become a frozen convention, and is dying. 

172 SPURS 

Spurs. The spur was a prick or goad, from 
Roman times down to the thirteenth century. 
With plate armour came a row^el on a long 
shank. This rowel has shrunk in Europe to a 
small sharp weapon which draws blood, but on 
the American stock range it has increased in 
size to an average of three inches. The larger 
the points are the more they can be blunted, 
and the less they hurt a horse. On the old 
American range an Englishman removed the 
rowels from his spurs or adopted the blunt 
rowel before he w^as considered fit for human 

The rowel should be loose enough to rattle, 
so that at night one may go to one's horse in 
pasture, and, knowing the sound of his master, 
he will not run aw^ay. 

A gentle spur is used to encourage and not to 
hurt a horse, to bring him to attention, to aid 
in fine steering. It may be locked in the 
girth so that, holding on by one leg one may lie 
behind the horse's neck w^hen under fire, or 
pick up a rope from the ground. 

Neck Cloth. A kerchief loose round the 
neck saves the top of the spine from sunstroke. 
It should be of any colour not containing blue, 
of the hghtest silk for use as mosquito bar at 
night, and twenty-six inches square for use as a 

SHAPS 173 

sling, bandage, or tourniquet in case of acci- 

Shaps (from Chapareras — protection from 
chapparal or thorns of acacia). These are 
leggings reaching from waist to heel of heavy 
oiled leather. They differ from trousers in 
having no seat or fly, but consist of two trunks 
each laced or buckled down the outer seam of 
the leg, and attached at the waist to a half belt. 
The two half belts are tied together in front 
with one turn of a leather string, read}^ to 
break apart if they get caught on the horn of 
the saddle in bucking, and fastened again with 
buckle and strap behind. 

The woolly or hairy fronted shaps made for 
snowy or wet districts are more plentiful among 
tenderfeet, showmen and cinema actors than 
they ever were upon the modest stock range. 
The usual pattern is of plain brown leather, 
nearly black with use. It is sometimes fringed, 
or ornamented with silver dollars or even 
twenty dollar golden pieces down the outer 

The uses of shaps are to give a grip in the 
saddle, to shelter the legs from heat, cold, rain, 
snow, to serve as armour agamst kicking, 
biting, scraping, backfalls, rolling and oth^ 
diversions of horses, the horns of cattle, rocks, 


thorns, snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, rope 
abrasions, grass fires and other Uttle dis- 
comforts. Their excellent comfort in the 
saddle, and in lieu of blankets at night, would be 
enough to justify their use, but without them 
one would be hurt or even seriously killed in 
course of the day's work. As the}'^ make walk- 
ing difficult they are useless for all the purposes 
of w^ar. 

Arms. On the great ranges Romance is 
just as prevalent as sunshine, and Emotion 
blows as freely as the wind, but in this stud}' 
we have to do with Reason. In cold blood we 
are trying to study equipment and methods of 
men whose lives depend upon sound, practical, 
unbiassed common sense. 

When a fellow takes to the range what are 
his motives ? If he goes out to hunt for 
trouble he will do w^ell to buy a large, well- 
balanced, accurately-sighted, blued revolver of 
a simple pattern not readily clogged or dam- 
aged. He will devote his leisure for man}^ 
months to practice at all ranges, in all sorts of 
weather, in light and darkness, afoot and 
mounted until he can fire a double-roll fusillade. 
If he gets killed at practice, so much the better 
Jor the pubhc. If not he has only to take to 
the range and make himself a general nuisance 


until he meets a better shot than himself. 1 
never met a man with more than twent3^- 
seven notches on his gun-stock, but have 
known plenty who took an honest pleasure in 
blotting out unnecessary gun-fools. 

If a fellow takes to the range, who is not in 
search of trouble, but merely intends to earn 
an honest living and make a decent home, he is 
better without a weapon. When I was a 
younger fool than I am now, and took a delight 
in revolvers, and bluffed with a gun, it nearly 
always got me into trouble. I found that it was 
a poor thing to shirk the first obligation of 
manhood, which is self-rehance, and sink to 
mere dependence on a weapon. 

Nobody who can possibly run away is fool 
enough to encounter single-handed a homicidal 
maniac on the war path, a gang of vigilantes or 
desperadoes in a nasty temper, or a hostile 
tribe of savages. Against such odds the use of 
a weapon in the open is merely suicide. The 
first thing needed is an inward pra3^er which 
makes one's nerve quite steady. A serene 
manner fills the enemy with misgivings that 
one has unseen support. To throw one's 
weapon to the enemy as a gift is to surprise him 
into talking. Once he begins, the more 
vociferous he is, the sooner he talks himself out. 


A maniac temper will evaporate in talk in 
about forty-five minutes, but savages will 
sometimes last two hours or more before they 
are quite run down. After the first laugh one 
may walk away in safety. It is not safe to be 
seen in the state of collapse which follows the 

The kilUng of five creatures or even men has 
always been abhorrent to me. I am not 
sure of having murdered anything bigger than 
a crow with a broken leg, who had to be knocked 
out with a stone as an act of mercy. Not being 
a sportsman I may not advise on the use of 
weapons for sport. 

Weapons. There are three weapons used 
only by range horsemen. The lasso, known on 
the range as The Rope, consists of a noose 
which is spun by a delicate play of the thumb, 
thrown to its length, and the strain taken by 
saddle and horse as it catches a running beast. 
We share this practice with the ancient Peruv- 
ians, Sarmatians, Sagartians, and Scythians, 
and the modern Tartars of the Asiatic steppe. 

The bolas are three egg-shaped weights 
connected by as many plaited strings with a 
rawhide rope, and thrown like the riata to 
catch wild animals. This instrument belongs 
to Patagonia and the Argentine pampas. 


The stockwhip. This is an Australian develop- 
ment of the switch. It consists of an 18-inch 
wooden tapering handle, a keeper of kangaroo 
hide, a lo-foot thong of kangaroo hide in a 
tapering 12 or 16 plait, an 18-inch tail of green 
hide, and a plaited cracker of sewing cotton. 
At a range of twenty feet one flick knocked a 
revolver out of my hand and lashed my wrist 
to the thigh, making me a disarmed prisoner, 
yet causing no more pain than the brush of a 
fly's wing. It convinced me as to the useful- 
ness of this weapon. 


On one occasion it was my privilege to 
assemble seventy horsemen whose united ex- 
perience of the stock-range covered the grass 
lands of Asia from Mongolia to Hungary, 
Eastern and Southern Africa, all states of 
Australasia, Patagonia, the Argentine, the 
Llano, and every state and province of the open 
pasture in Mexico, the United States and 
Canada. Among us we compiled a brief text 
defining our ideas of range as distinguished from 
civilised horsemanship. The text was printed 
as a chapter on '' The Horse " in " The 
Frontiersman's Pocket Book " (John Murray), 
which I compiled and edited on behalf of the 
Legion of Frontiersmen. The present volume 


is merely an application of these range prin- 
ciples to the study of horses and horseman- 

The pretension of range horsemen as a class 
is to earn a living by the use of cheap working 
horses, riding with a weight-distributing equip- 
ment and pack transport, while we base our 
mobihty upon a herd of remounts. 

For pleasure horsemanship our feehng is one 
of admiring env}^ No men are better able to 
appreciate the incomparable gallantry and elan 
of the hunting field, especially in Ireland, the 
beautiful spectacles afforded by racing, horse 
shows, and tournaments, the grand pageantry 
of state functions in European capitals. Even 
such prett}^ futilities as Portuguese bull-baiting 
and the Haut Ecole of France appeal to us as 
horsemen. As to military horsemanship we 
have an unbounded admiration for the fine 
driving of the Ro3'al Horse Artillery, and the 
obstacle riding of the Mexican Regular Cavalry. 
On the other hand we are not stricken with awe 
at the circus tricks of the Cossack, although we 
may be surprised to see a luggage strap used for 
girth. Nor are we emulous of the horse- 
killing man-endurance rides which used to 
be considered good sport by European cavalry. 
We can do the little circus tricks ourselves. 


and make our endurance rides without killing 
our horses. 

Among ourselves we are more critical. The 
Mexican ranchero for example wears a revolver 
on the belt, a sword on the saddle, a silver 
bridle, a suit of leather beautifully laced with 
gold or silver, and a most prodigious hat. But 
do these fine feathers make him a fine bird ? 
Or is the prancing arch-necked horse made 
sprightly b}^ pinched shoes and a spade bitt ? 

By contrast the Boer is the most slovenly 
of horsemen, both in his old slop suit and in his 
flapping gait, but in scouting and fighting by 
far the best instructor we ever met, and either 
as enemy or friend we love his manhood. If 
horsemanship is an expression of manhood, we 
do not mind the form if we can get the fact. 
More manhood goes to the making of one Boer 
than to a hundred Mexicans. 

Searching for the elements distinctive of 
range horsemanship, as contrasted with the 
pleasure, the mihtary and the working horse- 
manship of civilization, a few essential things 
come clearly into view. 

Rough Riding. When a range man is asked 
if he can ride, as a matter of course he says 
" No." But if he really wants to come up 
against the champion outlaw horse of the 


neighbourhood his denial is not emphatic. 
Like a professional singer asked for a song, he 
excuses himself, and pleads to a certain dry- 
ness in the throat, but, when the money induce- 
ments are sufficient, owns up that he thinks he 
can ride. 

The rough riding of the range is incompar- 
able, but as the broncho buster is usually 
smashed internally if not killed outright within 
three 3'ears of practice, this worst possible 
method of breaking a horse is lacking in 
practical value. 

Rough-Driving. Our rough-drivers are 
perhaps the greatest horsemen living, and 
their feats are the more glorious because there 
are no spectators to give the stimulus of their 
applause. A single example may be per- 
mitted here : 

Constable Harty, of D Division in the Royal 
North-West Mounted Pohce, was driving a 
four-horse team with a waggonette, his pas- 
sengers being the Earl and Countess of Aber- 
deen, Viceroy and Vicereine of Canada. Ford- 
ing one of the fiendish Alberta rivers the near 
wheeler lay dowm and drowned herself, while 
the waggonette, half afloat, was being tilted 
in danger of capsizal. The teamster swam 
under and with his knife attempted to cut the 


dead mare out of harness. Failing in this he 
dimbed up, stood astride with bent knees on 
the waggon seat, and Hfted the team up the 
river bank to safety while the dead mare 
dragged under the wheels. 

So varied are the styles in horsemanship that 
nobody pretends to leadership, and every man 
of real experience counts himself a student 
rather than a master. Only the other day an 
Instructor in Equitation showed me how to 
trot a horse straight down a steep slope of 
grass, explaining it was so good to supple the 
animal's shoulders. Of course I always knew 
I was a fool, but never before had I realized the 
abysmal depths of my own ignorance. 

So far then as an old fool may be permitted, 
I venture to submit some gossip on the average 
range practice of a day's march in the wilder- 
ness. The equipment for horse and man is 
already dealt with, except in regard to packing, 
a subject which would need a special volume. 

In Mounted Police regiments there is a rule 
that no constable may travel alone on journeys 
exceeding a day's march. It is a good rule, 
because a chap may get hurt or be left afoot, 
and so perish for lack of a helping hand. 

It is easy enough to warn a fellow not to 
travel alone in wilderness, but quite impossible 


to take even one's own advice. Most likely 
nobody else is going in that direction, or the 
fellow who offers his company would make a 
first-rate stranger. But in any case three 
horses will travel better than one, and by 
changing about one gets a longer march. That 
is why one generally travels with ride, pack 
and spare mounts. As to the pack, the load 
at which an average animal can keep pace 
with the mounted man is one hundred-and- 
twenty pounds, and with such a cargo should 
not be stopped either by swamps or rivers, bush 
or mountains. The weight may seem exces- 
sive for one man's supplies, but it is always 
worth while to carry a ration or two of grain. 

An advantage of the three-horse method is 
in the encouragement it gives them on the 
trail. They are quick to scratch up friendship 
among themselves, are never happy except in 
company, and running together may take their 
man into fellowship. 

Buying. So long as the American range 
was really wild an unsound horse was palmed 
off on the nearest townsman, or shot, or turned 
loose as worthless. To-day the proposal to buy 
a horse in any western town brings forth 
are amazing collection of relics, cripples, colts, 
curios, and criminals. The old timers will 


not sell except to horsemen, but when they 
offer a horse one may buy blindfold. Except 
in deaUng with real frontiersmen one takes a 
horse on approval or not at all. 

After the main essentials of a pure heart and 
four legs, I look for large eyes with no 
white showing, and a broad forehead. If a 
horse is nervous when approached, he cannot 
be relied upon in emergencies. If he is less 
than seven years of age he is not fully matured 
for w^ork which needs endurance. I prefer a 
gelding as being less flighty, less apt to break 
back than a mare. I will add dollars to get a 
glutton, close quickly with the offer of a horse 
in really hard condition, refuse a rough-gaited 
trotter as a gift, and cannot be paid to ride a 
beast w^ho bucks. As to the ' points ' b}^ 
which a civilised horseman judges horseflesh, 
they are all very nice if one has plenty of 
money. The prices have trebled since the turn 
of the century. 

Making Friends. There are many httle 
kindnesses which help to ease the labour of a 
horse. He has just as much pride as a man in 
smart equipment, has vanity enough to reHsh 
a glossy coat, to show off in company, chal- 
lenge for admiration with gallant carriage of 
his neck and tail, and prove himself much 


swifter than his fellows. Pet him a httle and 
he will insist upon being fussed with. Give 
such dainties as sugar, apples or carrots, and 
he will ever be nuzzling at your pockets. His 
low, soft love call for greeting of a morning is 
well worth while for any man to earn. This is 
not given to the man who thinks of a horse as 
" it." 

The Saddling. After throwing the saddle 
on, pass the hands all over the blanket under 
the flaps to see there is no rucking. Lift the 
blanket into the arch of the saddle to be sure 
that no pressure will rest upon the withers. 
Shift the saddle aft until quite sure it is free of 
the shoulder blades. Girth up, and be sure 
the horse is not holding his w^ind. If there is 
doubt the off knee in his stomach will make 
him relax his lungs. 

Mounting. The weapon, be it spear or 
rifle, must be wielded with the right arm, so 
the rein is held by the left hand. To secure 
the rein with the left hand involves mounting 
on the near side of the horse. There is an 
advantage, however, in departing from uni- 
versal practice and training the horse to be 
mounted from either side. One may be hurt 
and unable to mount on the near side when 
there is peril in being left afoot. 


The First Mile. Walking the first mile 
supples the horse and eases the harness. A 
horse who holds his wind can then be butted 
with the knee in his stomach while the girth 
is pulled up to the proper notch for safety. 

Punishment. If one thinks of a horse as a 
little child one cannot be far wrong. One 
does not flog a child. Discipline there must be 
with horses as with children, or both grow 
worthless, but punishment is the surest possible 
sign of the man's incompetence, for the horse 
rarely understands the motive, or understand- 
ing becomes mutinous. Nine times out of ten 
after punishing my horse I have found out that 
I had been myself in the wrong by saddling 
too far forward and cramping the shoulder- 
blades, by some defect in putting on the 
blanket, knotting the headrope badl}^, or fail- 
ing to watch the farrier's work in shoeing. The 
seeming misconduct was due perhaps to agoniz- 
ing pain, as in one instance from a hidden 
ulcer. So when my horse forgets his manners, 
loses his temper, or goes badly, I examine 
my conduct to find where I am to blame. 

It is an outrage and disastrous to the horse's 
morals to strike him in front of the saddle. 
The exceptions to that rule are for great 
experts only. 


Paces. Whether the wild horse trots, is not 
a subject in which the range horse has given 
me any guidance. In handhng stock he 
usually goes on grass and prefers to canter. In 
travel he usually goes on a road, and dis- 
tinctly prefers to trot. From careful watch- 
ing I doubt if he likes trotting on grass, as the 
hoofs are apt to brush and ma}^ stumble 
against the turf. A canter on road or very 
hard ground jars him, and is likely to cause 
injury to feet and legs. 

There are certain artificial gaits most vari- 
ously named such as the tripple, rack, pace, 
and side pace adopted I think under compul- 
sion of lazy horsemen who find them comfort- 
able. I have known horses using such gaits to 
lag miserably until I persuaded them that 
trotting was permitted, after which they 
cheered up and gained in speed. 

As a slow walk tires both man and horse 
much more than the trot or canter, it is easy, 
by riding on the rein and using a little persua- 
sion, to train an average animal in fast walking. 

On the whole then a steady alternation of trot 
and walk, making the day's gait about five 
miles an hour, is the best economy for journeys. 

On marches exceeding fifty-five miles a day 
the canter, trot and walk become alternate 

SEAT 187 

gaits, but journe5^s must then be broken with 
days for rest. 

Hills. Trotting or running a horse down 
hill is a matter for high-powered animals. 
With ordinar}^ horses the down slopes must be 
reserved for walking, the level and upward 
slopes for trotting. The longer and steeper 
hills involve walking, but even in them there 
are dips and levels which permit one to vary 
the pace, nursing the horse through the march 
in the least possible number of hours. It is 
the flagging, not the brisk day's work, which 
causes most fatigue. 

Seat. I have seen horses prosper under all 
the different and possible methods of decent 
horsemen, and do not believe that form makes 
any difference. From the Red Indians of the 
plains I learned to sit skin tight and upright 
at the trot and canter. 

Having no voice to boast of, I test my seat 
at the various gaits by singing, and if there is 
any sign of quivering in the notes, look well to 
my grip and balance, lest I jar the horse. His 
ears express horror, but his kidneys seem at 
peace ; and I have usually fattened thin 
horses on my journeys. The skin-tight seat 
is that which is practised and recommended 
by all range horsemen. 

1 88 EASE 

Ease. General Sir Robert Baden-Powell 
kindly advised me as follows : — 

" Letting men sit side-saddle on a tired 
horse is the easiest way of giving it a sore back. 
At walking gait it is far better for the rider to 
dismount and walk. The loup or lobbing 
canter is the easiest pace for man and horse. 
Except a continuous walk, the round trot is 
the most tiring. Frequent cantering and 
walking alternately — the rider then going on 
foot — is the way to get over the ground in 
going a long distance." 

The above note is one of high authority as 
applying to EngUsh equipment ; but I found 
it received with a certain lack of respect by 
men using a weight-distributing saddle. We 
all sit side-saddle when we please, or more often 
ride on one thigh or the other. None of us 
have seen sore back except with lean or ex- 
hausted horses, worn out saddlery, or in cases 
of gross neglect. 

The range man does not look upon riding as 
a formal parade, but likes to practise circus 
tricks, or lounge at ease while he smokes, reads 
a book, sings, or plays some musical instru- 
ment. I have seen the cowhand wile away 
the time by eating a quart of pickles. For my 
part, a luncheon from the wallets is part of the 

EASE 189 

procedure of every pack drive, followed by 
a comfortable nap in the saddle. Horses often 
coze at a walk, even, I suspect, at the trot, and 
a nap for man and horse adds a great deal to 
the endurance of both. 

As to going afoot, it takes a very steep down 
hill track to enforce such a thing upon me. 
Rumour says that we will walk half a mile to 
get a pony from pasture in order to ride a 
hundred yards on an errand. But to be afoot 
is for the range horseman the last depth of 
calamity and degradation. 

My last experience of this was a traverse of 
the Canadian Rockies, when my partner and I 
rode along the bed and bars of a river until we 
were washed away. After that we took to the 
bush, a wonderful labyrinth of deadfall, beaver 
swamp and snowslides, which we managed to 
climb through by following the tracks of some 
wapiti. We had to work about twenty hours 
a day, and the four days reduced our clothes 
and boots to rags, but our luck was better than 
that of another party of four men who tried 
the same pass that season and were not heard 
of afterwards. I will not tempt 3^oung travel- 
lers by giving them the name of that pass. 

Guidance. While the range man never 
walks, but makes the saddle his home, and 


lives at ease, it would be an error to suppose 
him unobservant. In wild countries one's life 
depends on alertness. 

Few range men trust a compass, which may 
be lost or broken, is hard to read at night, 
difficult to steady at any time, and apt to 
point at one's gun. Point the hour hand of 
your watch at the sun, and half way to XII is 
south (for the northern hemisphere). If the 
sky is overcast polish a coin or finger nail and 
hold a match or a pin upon it vertically. 
The upright match will cast a shadow made by 
the unseen sun. 

So much for the rule of thumb, but one's 
real rehance is on the indications of the land- 
scape : the reading of trees and bushes as 
shaped by the prevalent wind ; the reading 
of rocks or tree trunks for any mosses or 
lichens which grow on the side (north for 
northern hemisphere) on which the sun does 
not shine ; and sundry other signs local to 
different regions. 

The constant habit of locating north grows 
to an instinct. In Petrograd, as a stranger 
unable to ask questions or read signs in 
Russian, on level alluvial land, in a thick winter 
night, without having seen one inch of the 
route before, I w^as able to walk by the shortest 


cut three and a half miles directly to my 

If it is vital to know north, it is equally 
important to read country ; to see by the 
slopes of the ground the direction of streams 
and watersheds, and to observe the phenomena 
of crossing or converging routes. One learns 
in time to forecast the nature of the country 
beyond the horizon. 

Most important of all is the difficult reading 
of tracks and the glints on grass, also the move- 
ments of birds and animals which in an arid 
country are signs for finding water. 

For the rest, it is useful to note the tracks on 
the trail showing who passed and when. 

It is wise, on meeting a man, to observe his 
horse brands, equipment, and all the many 
clues which show who and what he is as dis- 
tinguished from what he says. It is a gross 
breach of taste to ask him a personal question ; 
but by knowing all about him one may guage 
the value of his trail directions. There is 
indeed a need for cautiousness, for not one 
man in a hundred gives accurate directions 
which can be safely followed. In central 
Colorado there used to be a lady rancher 
whose copious trail directions had endangered 
so many travellers that, for a radius of two 


hundped miles, approaching horsemen were 
ahvays warned by the neighbours to be deaf 
to her siren voice. 

Guides. Much as I hke the savage as a 
man, I am cautious in engaging him as guide. 
On two occasions I arranged that my guide 
was to be shot if he showed up at home without 
my written release. Knowing that detail, my 
first guide was a success, but the second left 
me to die, and went home without my certifi- 

Rather than put one's trust in guides, maps, 
trail directions, the compass or any other form 
of vanity and vexation, it is wiser to rely on 
common sense in scouting. And there the 
indications given by one's horse are always 

Scent. It is doubtful if man or horse is ever 
perfectly healthy in civilization. Both suffer 
from chronic catarrh, so that the smaller 
animal has to carry and use a handkerchief. 
Under range conditions the kerchief is more 
useful round one's neck, for the nostrils are 
dry, and, both in horse and man, the senses 
are more active. At half a mile I have smelt 
a mountain river — like a wet knife. Once, at 
about five miles on a windless day my two 
horses snuffed a fresh pool and bolted for it at 


full gallop despite my frantic protests at their 
apparent madness. Considering that we were 
lost in sand-rock desert, all three of us owed 
our lives to that small distant smell. 

The more vivid perfume of cattle I have 
caught up easily at four-and-a-half miles on 
the wind, but by their conduct I think my 
horses had that savour some miles before it 
reached my duller senses. I think the scenting 
powers of a horse are about ten times as strong 
as mine. 

Sight. Although short-sighted, I have, 
with the aid of eyeglasses, bringing my vision 
up to normal, seen Vv^aggon dust at sixteen 
miles, a colliery smoke at twentj^-three miles, 
and detail of a mountain scarp at seventy 
miles in the clear prairie air. So far as I could 
get any direct evidence, I never knew a horse 
to see anything at much more than a couple 
of hundred yards. It seems to be only in 
civilization where the smells and sounds are 
bewildering, that the horse becomes long- 
sighted up to perhaps a mile. 

Hearing. The value of a horse's sense of 
hearing as compared with that of a man is very 
difficult to judge. On a still night I have heard 
men's calls from behind double windows at 
one and a half miles ; and am not at all sure 


that an average horse beats that. And yet, 
judging b}^ the constant signalhng of a horse's 
ears which point at every sound, I think his 
sense of hearing catches vibrations above the 
register of human ears, and many notes at 
close range too faint to impress our senses. 

Whatever a horse ma}^ smell, hear or see, he 
points out with nice gestures of the ears and 
nostrils which are of infinite value for a man to 
read and understand. The}^ conve}^ to the prac- 
tised eye all sorts of warnings and useful little 
hints. It is the training in peace of the habit 
of observation which makes the scout for war. 

The Fear of Shadows. Once I took a 
range horse into a forest w^here there were 
flocks of sheep, herded a good deal of nights 
by cougars {Felix concolor) who prospered 
on their mutton. These cougars used to come 
round my camp, liked it, I think, because there 
was no gun-smell, and sang most wonderfully, 
sitting so near that I could see the gleam of 
firehght on their eyes. I hked them, but my 
horse would stand astride the fire trembling. 
I tried to explain to him that this was vanity, 
because he was really far too thin to be edible. 
While the cougars had nice fat sheep for the 
asking, why should they care for horse bones ! 
But all the signs he gave of lonehness and fear 

HALTS 195 

I have seen many a time since then when I 
have taken range horses far into the woods. 

Halts. If only to give my horses a chance 
to stale and, with a gelding, to make sure that 
the sheath is clean, I make a short halt after 
each two hours. At every halt the genuine 
horseman throws his rein to the ground so that 
a horse will be tripped if he attempts to break 
away. Range horses are trained to stand to a 
thrown rein, and if necessary are given a sack 
of earth to drag until they learn the wisdom in 
obedience. If one has to tie the horse to any- 
thing, a supple bush is better than a rigid tree, 
lest he pull bacJ^ wdth his whole weight for the 
purpose of breaking the rein or rope by which 
he has been fastened. 

In my short halts I always hold the rein 
while the horse gets a bite of grass or a little 
Vv^ater. The reason for this is that he may be 
suddenly frightened by a snake or a bustling 
squirrel, and if he breaks away it might be 
awkward to be left afoot : so many men have 
been left afoot and perished. 

In the greatest heat one may water horses 
fully if they stand knee deep in pool or stream ; 
but if they drink their fill they go sluggish^ 
afterwards and need to drink the more. For 
a man a sip of cold tea allays thirst better than 


a pint of water, and for neither the horse nor 
the rider is it wise to drink to repletion until 
after the day's work. 

In lone travelling with a pack horse I always 
make the day's work in a single drive rather 
than waste time unloading and loading the 
pack in a day which may prove too brief for the 
finding of a camp before dark. The earliest 
rising, the most urgent driving are needed to 
make sure against a dry camp, or being caught 
in bad ground by the fall of night. 

The Night Halt. In country where the 
grass is eaten for miles surrounding watering 
places, or where there is danger from hostile 
savages, I always drive on from the evening 
water until I can camp in safety on good 
pasture. Also one needs a margin of time to 
walk the last mile or two, bringing the horses 
in cool at the end of the day's work. 

Rather than let horses stand shivering in a 
wet or cold gale, it is better to march, and keep 
travelhng until shelter can be found. 

In great heat it is better to travel at night, 
but one should be in camp from about 12.30 
to 3.30 a.m., the usual sleeping hours. 

As to horses in camp, one must throw them 
to pasture beyond the camping place, so as to 
hear them passing if they attempt to break 


back. It may be necessary to hobble or even 
picket one of them as a precaution, or if they 
lack water to hobble all who cannot be 
picketed. If any animal is to be hobbled or 
tied up, the mare comes first. 

In forest, where horses are ill at ease, 
especially if pasture is scanty, I hang a bell to 
the neck of ever}^ horse, and camp at some spot 
where the back trail can be fenced, then sleep 
against the gate. On some occasions I have 
watched all night. 

Where flies are bad, it is kindly to bank a fire 
with damp herbage which makes a smoke in 
which the horses can shelter. It is in forest 
and fly country that one has greatest need of a 
few feeds of oats in the pack, or even slung to 
the saddles. 

If a horse is sweating and exhausted, I rub 
him down with whiskey or any other form of 
alcohol, because its rapid evaporation cools 
and refreshes him. A httle alcohol rubbed on 
the part heated by the saddle enables one to 
feed grain even in short halts. 

For cold and exhaustion I give sugar, if 
possible in the water. The carbon is fuel 
which enters the blood, and so becomes ex- 
posed to oxygen in the lungs, where its burning 
produces the heat which warms the body. 

198 SORES 

In hot weather, oatmeal and sugar in water 
make a refreshing drink useful to horses as to 
working humans. 

If a horse is leg-weary and stiff, a rub down 
or massage with liniment slacks the strung 

Sores. I never unsaddle without making a 
careful search for water blisters or any sign of 
chafing. These found in time can be marked 
with axle grease, which registers a black spot 
on the sweat pad or the blanket. The blanket 
can then be folded m such a way as to relieve 
the pressure, or a bit of sacking shaped into a 
ring to enclose the threatened spot beneath 
or between the foldings of the blanket. The 
same kind of padding can be made under the 
girth for the relief of girth galls. 

Despite the utmost care, horses in soft condi- 
tion or when underfed, or wearing harness 
which has hardened or warped after long spells 
of wet, are liable to sores. I have cured most 
terrible cases by a daily practice of riding the 
patient to sweating heat, then suddenly 
unsaddUng, and lashing on cold salt water. 
The various copper ointments known as gall 
cures are worth their weight in gold so long as 
one works the horse, but have the defect of 
forming a hard scab which breaks awav before 


the wound is ready. One abscess caused by 
a warped saddle tree defeated me altogether 
and put the animal out of action for four 
months. As to sores in the starvation of the 
northern forest, the story would be too terrible 
to tell. 

Cracked Heels. In cold weather, if we 
do not dry our hands before a fire after we 
have washed them, we are liable to chapped 
skin. Wet followed by cold, especially from 
muddy ground, causes cracked heels. The 
prevention by thorough drying after every 
wetting may be impossible and this form of 
lameness is difficult to cure. A washing with 
soft soap, and a thorough drying, followed by 
packing in grease is the best range practice I 
know of, but does not always succeed. 

Feeding. In making the feed as varied as 
possible I have fallen into error more than 
once. A bran mash, for example, is best when 
there is no march on the following day. I 
made a horse dangerously ill with scouring by 
turning him into an abandoned field of green 
and standing maize. On another occasion, 
turning hot, wet, exhausted horses into a shed 
for shelter from a storm, I found out too late 
that a sack of oats had been spilt upon the 
floor. The result was colic. 


Feeding horses to perfection needs a touch 
of artistry. vSmall feeds of grain, for instance, 
by making the animal ravenous for more, 
enable one to double his allowance without 
stalling him. Salt, sugar, carrots, apples, help 
to keep up his interest in life, as rewards to be 
earned, and tokens that one really cares for him. 
If a horse is scoured a dose of salt water will help 
him. For coHc one has to lead him about while 
the pain lasts, and above all things prevent 
him from rolling, which is sometimes fatal. 

It is long now since I had to dispense with a 
fire for fear of advertising my camp to hostile 
savages, and the old glorious range in North 
America ^^^ woefully shrinking before the 
advance of settlement. The rancher who made 
the traveller welcome as a guest is replaced by 
a surly farmer who takes money for rental of 
his barn-yard. The range horseman who 
used to own the town when he rolled in fromx 
the plains is now considered, as Europe views 
the gypsy, with suspicion. 

One trait of the range rider recalls the past. 
No man lays a hand on our horses unless he 
wants a fight. It is a rule that the horseman 
tends his own stock so long as he is able to 
stand. He must be ver}^ ill or badly hurt 
before he surrenders that. 


At range stables where there is a dust bath 
one unsaddles on arrival to let the horses roll. 
At town stables where there is no dust bath one 
slacks the girths, removes the bitts, gives half 
a drink, and some hay. An hour later when 
the rider is fed he comes back to cool horses 
who can be unsaddled without fear of any 
blisters which might turn into sores. Then 
comes full watering, and grain. While the 
horse is busy eating, pick out his feet, dry 
out wet heels, scrape off mud, and wisp down. 
After the stall is cleaned, and bedded, and the 
manger filled with hay for the night, the horse- 
man is off duty ; but a range m_an prefers to 
sleep in the barn loft in order to save his 
horses in the event of fire, and be up early with 
the morning grain. 


Writing without notes or books, it is difficult 
to recall the records of long distance riding 
which form the best tests of endurance, and so 
give one a standard of value for man, equip- 
ment and horse. Driven to rely on memory I 
note first that the historic records are vague, 
giving but scanty data. Everybody knows 
for example that Bucephalus (Ox-head) the 
Thessalian charger of Alexander the Great was 
a horse of notable endurance, but the question 


is — what could he do on continuous journeys ? 
Charles XII. of Sweden rode in a hurr}^ from 
Constantinople to Dantzic, but what was the 
time for that distance, and was it done b}^ one 
horse or by reliefs ? Dick King a despatch 
rider, made good time on one horse from Port 
Elizabeth to Port Natal, but I do not remember 
his gait for the six hundred miles. Somebody 
who was not Dick Turpin, but possibly 
another rogue of the same name, made a single 
march from London to York on a mare called 
Black Bess, but that was a horse-kiUing 
feat, as much disqualified b}^ decent men as 
the Inter-Army horse-kiUing rides which dis- 
gusted the horsemen of Europe not man}^ 
years ago. 

In the nineties Lieutenant Peschkov, a 
Cossack officer, rode a Dun pony from Vladi- 
vostock to Petrograd. This at an}^ decent gait 
is a world record for a road ride, on a route with 
hotels at every stage. But legend makes the 
gait thirty-eight miles a da}^ for six thousand 
miles, and on that I have ni}^ doubts. Work- 
ing across country I found that mxy best horse 
did one thousand three hundred and seventy 
miles at twenty-one miles a da}^ ; and the next 
best one thousand and forty at the same pace ; 
but on the whole trip, made with four successive 


mounts, the three thousand six hundred miles 
took two hundred days. This works out at 
the very poor average of eighteen miles a day 
But for delays in buying horses the average 
would have been twenty-one miles, and I 
doubt if any horse outside of fairy tales can 
do much more on a six thousand mile journey. 

Apart from the vagueness and doubtfulness 
of the stories, the standard which they set up 
for comparison seems to be very low as com- 
pared with the annals of range horsemanship. 
The following records were made for the most 
part with half or three-quarter bred range 
raised horses, and all with weight-distributing 

One Day Rides. A friend of mine, 
an Australian stockman, v/ith a weight- 
distributing saddle, and leading a pack 
animal, crossed the state of Victoria from the 
Murray to Melbourne, one hundred and forty- 
three miles by the route taken, covered in 
twenty-six hours. 

A constable of the Royal North-West 
Mounted Police of Canada with a forty-two 
pound stock-saddle on a buckskin gelding, 
rode from Regina to Wood Mountain Post, one 
hundred and thirty-two miles by sunlight, and 
the horse bucked him oif at the finish. 


On enquiry I found that the trail between 
Forts Macleod and Calgary, Alberta, one 
hundred and eight miles, had been ridden in a 
day b}^ most of the Mounted Police and cow- 
boys who happened to go that way. 

Six-Day Rides. Kit Carson carried mili- 
tar}^ despatches from Omaha to Los Angeles 
and back (circa 1841), a lone ride through 
hostile tribes of four thousand four hundred 
miles. When he was resting at Los Angeles 
he joined a party of Mexican gentlemen each 
taking one saddle horse. The six men rode 
along the California coast from Los Angeles to 
San Francisco, six hundred miles in six days. 
Only two of the party changed horses. 

Among the Robbers' Roost, and affiliated 
gangs of Rock}^ Mountain outlaws, I found that 
it was their custom to plant little bunches of 
ponies here and there in pasture. When they 
happened to be in a hurry the}" would travel 
from pasture to pasture, and at each of these 
take a fresh mount. Six hundred miles in six 
days was not unusual they told me, and, from 
what the sheriffs said who tried to catch them, 
I think that the robbers spoke in moderation. 
They were much the most truthful men I have 
met on the stock range. 

Marches W^ithout Remounts. In the 


North-West Mounted Police we reckoned a 
day's march at fort3^-t\vo miles for saddle 
horses. On Colonel Irvine's three hundred 
mile march to prevent the North-West Rebel- 
lion of 1885 we carried all fuel, forage and 
suppHes in sleighs so that the speed was re- 
duced to that of a convoy, but it worked out 
at forty-two miles average, ending with sixty- 
two miles on the last day. 

A tw^o thousand two hundred mile Viceregal 
tour is said to have worked out at fort}' miles a 
day ; but one patrol I rode in of seven hundred 
miles only gave thirty-four miles a day for 
average, even with occasional change of horses. 
It was bad, shocking bad, but has it been 
equalled by any mounted troops of Europe ? 

Marches Vv^ith Remounts, On the cattle 
industry a Roundup Outfit is commanded by 
the owner or by his foreman. Under him 
are three separate departments : (i) The cook, 
who drives a waggon which carries the men's 
bedding and is fitted up as a kitchen. The 
waggon forms a moving base to the expedition, 
and travels about ten miles a da}^ (2) The 
horse wrangler is a herder in charge of the herd 
of ponies used as remounts. (3) The w^orking 
force of cowboys. 

Each rider has his own string of ponies 


usually seven in number running with the 
herd . 

Routine. Long before dawn the wrangler 
drives the herd home to the camp, where two 
men hold ropes outward from the waggon, 
making a rough enclosure in which the ponies 
are handled. Each rider selects from his own 
string the pony he needs for the morning's 
work. At noon the herd is run in and he picks 
out his afternoon horse. At supper time the 
herd is run in and he selects his horse for night 

The rider uses his first three horses and his 
second three horses on alternate days, keeping 
the seventh in reserve. These animals are not 
fed with grain, but live entirely on the range 
grass. B}^ changing his mount six times in 
each two days he is able to ride on grass-fed 
ponies at an average rate of fift}'^ miles a day 
for a period of eight months. The distance 
ridden in this season is 1 1,150 miles. 




The human mind may be hkened unto a 
stable with horses all in a row. That strong 
team Tradition and Custom are overw^orked. 
Bias and Prejudice have plenty to do. Passion 
and Vice get an occasional airing, and Vanity 
has daily exercise. But Reason is kept in his 
stall, the master's own mount, stale for want 
of use. He is not popular w^ith the other 
horses, he is not easily ridden, is heavy to 
handle, and goes painfully lame from having 
been kicked too much. 

Let us try him : 

The Bent Leg. So far we have traced the 
straight leg method of riding from savage life 
through the Greek practice and that of the 
Ages of Armour. We have seen the European 
war seat and war saddle adapt themselves to 
range practice in wild countries, and so become 
the basis of outdoor horsemastership. 



In sharp contrast to the straight leg and 
weight distributing saddle which has always 
attended the use of the European horse, is the 
universal practice associated in all ages with 
the Ba}^ horse of Africa, and the Dun horse of 
Asia. M}^ bits and scraps of reading present 
a general picture of the Oriental horseman as 
highly perched, with a bent leg and a long 
reach, preferring light scale or chain mail to 
heavy armour, prone to a swift onset, a brisk 
melee, and speedy disengagement since the 
da^rs of the Parthian cavalry down to the 
Moslem conquests, and on to the chivalr}^ of 
India, the cossacks of Russia, and the hapless 
Dervishes of the Soudan. From Mongolia to 
Morocco across the whole breadth of the 
Oriental World this high perch, bent leg and 
long reach seem to be universal in all ages. 

In arid countries the ass and the camel were 
ridden long before the pony, and it seems quite 
possible that their pad saddles were trans- 
ferred to the horse without much alteration. 
My first impression of this was during a donkey 
race in Portugal. Our mounts stood well over 
fifteen hands, magnificent animals. The 
saddle was a broad flat pad hke that of women 
athletes in a circus, and, gripping its sides with 
one's calves, the seat was fairly secure. 


Anyway a galloping ass is a deal better ride 
than a bullock. I was winning the race when 
m}^ moke, being of the Moslem .faith, knelt 
down to say his prayers, and I went on alone. 

From watching Moors, Cossacks, Jockeys 
and other bent-leg horsemen I have an im- 
pression that a similar halt of the steed for a 
moments' prayer would have the same effect ; 
but that the Spanish Picador, meanest of the 
straight-leg riders, would manage to sta}^ in the 

In the days of armour the gentleman-at- 
arms wore doublet and trunk hose, riding 
light horses for hunting, hawking, or even 
travel. Ladies rode also, and there was 
cantering where the ground permitted. But 
I cannot recall an}^ mention of jumping in 
England until the time of the Civil War. Prince 
Rupert escaped a pursuit of heavy cavalry 
by jumping. A fugitive cavalier pursued by 
Roundheads, leapt from Wenlock Edge. 

B}^ this time a few Barbs, and Eastern 
horses alleged to be Arabian, had added a 
new strain to the English stock. Oliver 
Cromwell, for instance, a notable breeder 
before he went into pohtics, had an imported 
sire. The thoroughbred, who is 7/8 Arabian 
by blood, made jumping possible. 


In the days of Queen Elizabeth England 
was still a sheep range, producing wool as the 
staple industry, and supporting five miUion 
people. Sufficient grain was raised for feeding 
the small population ; and to keep the sheep 
off their crops the people had invented a fence 
peculiar to Britain. This fence consisted of an 
earthwork of ridge and ditch called a hedge- 
row. The ridge carries, and the ditch waters, 
a row of bushes, trimmed yearly to make it 
strong and dense, and known as a hedge. 
Unlike rigid fences the hedge may be safely 
jumped by horses who have the courage. 

As the population increased the swamps were 
drained and forests cleared for farming and, 
outside the sheep down, the whole country was 
meshed with an intricate small skein of 

At a period when guns were very short of 
range, and poison was still dear, the foxes 
became abundant and destructive, so that a 
special hound had to be bred able to run them 
down. This was a matter of business until 
foxes made it a sport, and from about 1740 
survived as sportsmen rather than be extinct as 
merely vermin. There was no detriment to 
the land from hunting on winter fallows ; and, 
but for the fox, our people would have been 


driven to invent some other way of breaking 
their necks to let off surplus energy. 

For rich people there is no cleaner or healthier 
form of pleasure, no better training in nerve 
and all that makes a man. 

The training for leadership among the 
Germans is a matter of beer and fencing, 
among the Americans of office work, among the 
British of field sports. Which method is best 
to save leaders of men from corruption, and 
decadence ? The mettle of our pastures gives 
cool judgment in administration, leadership in 
affairs, and in times of peril a sterling worth of 
manhood proof against disaster. 

Far be it from me then to deride the British 
horsemanship. Any horseman who can tole- 
rate so slippery and unreliable a contraption as 
the Enghsh saddle is greatly to be envied and 

Always a timid horseman but emulous, I 
made tw^o attempts to ride the damned thing, 
and came to grief without the least delay. The 
third try was quite a success, the occasion 
being a cavalry charge into a converging fire at 
point-blank range. I was much too scared to 
fall oft', and so came to the conclusion that any 
fool could ride anything if his attention were 
sufficiently distracted by a hail of bullets. 


After that I went to the best horseman I could 
find in England and asked him to explain the 
merits of his saddle. " The English saddle," 
said Lord Lonsdale, " is made for falling off. 
You see it throws the rider clear of a falling 

This really explained the English saddle in 
terms of sport, which any fellow ought to 
understand. So I tried the saddle again, and 
found that one could ride straight leg at any 
gait quite easily by merely dispensing with the 
stirrups. It was almost as good as bareback. 
But with the leathers shortened, riding bent- 
leg, one could actually use the stirrups. Since 
then I have put my stock saddles away, and 
taken recruit lessons in the riding school. A 
little pow^dered resin on the leather straps of 
one's breeches makes them look quite smart 
and deceives the Instructor in Equitation. 
Still, I am a novice, trying in vain to rise at 
the trot with that poke forward of the head 
which so beautifully imitates the movement of 
a hen as she enquires for worms. 

It is only by practical testing that I learned 
the qualities of the Enghsh saddle, and so 
brought it into comparison wuth that of the 
stock range. It is not easy to free one's mind 
from bias, to reaUse that perfectly sane men 


have reasonable methods other than one's own, 
and that the mere fact that one's critic is an 
obnoxious bounder does not dispose of all his 
arguments. I venture to claim that the range 
horseman has intelligence equal to that which 
guides British horsemanship, and added to that 
the deeper intimacy of one who allows no hired 
hand to touch his horses, who cares for them as 
a hireling never can, and whose life depends 
upon his competence. It is from the range 
point of view that I venture now into the field 
of criticism. 

To teach a novice to ride with the stock 
saddle I lead him on to talk about his girl. By 
the time he forgets that he is exaggerating on 
horseback he rides quite decently. 

To teach a novice to ride with the English 
saddle is a matter of long and severe training. 
In the end he rides in spite of a saddle, which is 
by no means an aid to horsemanship. 

The difference between straight leg and bent 
leg riding is not of the slightest consequence 
to the horse. To ride the stock saddle with 
comfort the leg must be straight. To ride the 
Enghsh saddle safely the leg must be bent. 
The total difference then is one between two 
saddles, the English model being excellent for 
sport, but otherwise quite useless ; while the 


stock saddle, which cannot possibly be used 
for flat racing or jumping, is of value to a man 
earning a living on horseback. 


His House. Because we love horses we 
have been seeking guidance from nature as to 
their management. " Nature " is only a sort 
of nickname for God, who bids us love our 
horse neighbours as all other neighbours. If 
our religion is not a sham it consists of love, 
and these our neighbours need a love which 
must be filled with live intelligence. 

I doubt if God believes in the church I belong 
to, but I am sure He approves of our poor 
attempts to do our loving duty as horsemasters, 
as soldiers, or in any trade to which we have 
been called. This is the spirit in which I dare 
to adventure upon criticism, approaching 
civilized horsemastership from the singular 
point of view of the range horseman. 

I do not presume to criticise the manage- 
ment of thoroughbreds, but wish to speak 
merety for common horses with whom I may 
claim friendship. 

In buying a range-bred horse one takes the 
legs and feet almost for granted, but in 
civilization one deals with doubt and misgiving 
because the animal for sale is presumably a 

FOOD 215 

wrong'un. The one thing that amazes the 
range man is the astounding number of ail- 
ments contracted by civihzed horses on only- 
four legs in a limited span of years. It is a 
strong presumption that there must be some- 
thing in civilized horsemastership to account 
for the general unsoundness of the stock, the 
lack of endurance, the total failure in mobihty. 

The vital needs without which a horse will 
perish are water and grass. It is considered 
that the water flowing from limestone rocks, 
which carries carbonate of lime, is best for 
building bone. It seems quite possible that 
other mineral bearing waters have their use- 
fulness in supplying elements needed for 
blood, muscle, or nerves. 

The natural food of a horse is sun-cured tuft 
grass growing in arid regions, but a perfect 
imitation is the usual mixed feed of oats, chaff 
and bran, with the common equivalents used 
for varying diet. Next in value is the upland 
pasture of damp chmates, worst is the meadow 
grass. The conditioning of horses in any green 
pasturage depends upon grain, but one should 
not in any feeding neglect rock salt. 

If sunshine and fresh air were vital needs pit 
ponies would not live. Sun and air are no more 
necessities to a grown horse than eyesight is to 


a man. So one needs to examine carefully and 
to reason closely as to the actual value even 
of air and sunshine. 

The range is dr}^ parched, and above all 
things hard ; and from the hardest ground 
come the breeds of especial value by reason of 
sound hmbs and steel-like hoofs. The hard- 
ness of ground is due to the fierce light and heat 
of desert climates. 

Again it is known that sunHght kills the 
germs of nearly all diseases, provided the air 
can reach them. 

Unless they are robbed of their coats horses 
are almost indifferent to the greatest known 
extremes of dry heat and dry cold ; yet, if 
exposed to wind the}-^ lose weight rapidly, and 
are intensely susceptible to draughts. The 
horse's natural shelter is a wind break. 

To meet all these conditions the stable in 
rainy chmates must have a roof to keep the 
standings dry, and yet should be roofed with 
glass to let in sufficient light to kill all germs of 

Yet any stable, warmed b}^ the heat of 
horses, however carefully cleaned, is fouled by 
their dung and water, and so becomes a forcing 
house to breed disease unless one removes the 
walls. There should be no walls, but the 


stable should be built like a Japanese house 
with transparent and portable screens, close 
fitting against draughts; which can be set up 
on two windward sides with every shift of the 
weather. By no other means can the diseases 
be swept away w^hich make the stabled horse 
a byword for unsoundness. 

If regions of hardest ground produce the 
best legs and hoofs, it does not follow^ that 
stables ought to be paved. Natural ground 
however hard is springy, but pavement is dead 
hard and slippery at that. The English 
horseman explains " It haint the 'unting as 
'urts the 'orses 'oofs, but the 'ammer, 'ammer, 
'ammer, on the 'ard 'igh road." All who have 
seen the strains and tensions of cowpunching 
and noted the perfect soundness of cow ponies 
will agree that it haint the 'unting. But an}^- 
body who watches English horsemen with 
pleasure horses has noted the exceeding care 
with which they are ridden on the dirt rather 
than on the crown of a road, on the grass by the 
road rather than on the highways, and on any 
open route across country, rather than on the 
roadside. They get very much less hard going 
than the average range horse. The draught 
horse may suffer from the highway, but 
certainly not the hunter who is equally unsound. 


Yet both have standings as a rule on a paved 
floor for not less than eighteen hours out of the 
average twent3^-four. 

A notable difference between the sound 
outdoor horse and the unsound indoor horse is 
in this matter of standing, for the range animal 
visits but does not hve in a stable, while the 
unsound animal spends three fourths of his 
time on a hard pavement. I have noticed also 
in travel that when I brought weary horses to 
a stable with a w^ooden floor their pasterns 
always swelled over night. On a metalled or 
paved floor the swelling was almost as bad as 
on wood, whereas on earthern standings there 
was never the slightest trace of inflammation. 

In recent handling of some sixty army 
horses I took them from pasture to horse lines 
without noting much unsoundness on either 
ground. Unsoundness developed when I took 
them to paved stalls, but was much diminished 
when I moved them to earth-floored sheds. I 
find too that notable horsemasters have 
removed the pavements from their stables in 
favour of clean, dry, well-drained earth stand- 
ings ; or, failing that, lay bedding a foot deep. 

But my experiment has gone further. My 
horses have not only earth standings, but 
sheds so built that they are walled only to 

WORK 219 

windward. The gain in general health is 
beyond all question. Both in theory and in 
practice I have reason to believe that earth- 
floored sheds walled to windward only will cure 
the chronic unsoundness of stabled horses, 
provided that the strongest light possible is 
brought to bear for the kilhng out of disease 
germs. On the same principle which imports 
cats to look after our rats and mice, one might 
introduce some benevolent microbe whose duty 
it would be to eat disease germs in a stable 


His Work. So far analysis has shown two 
types of equipment : the weight-distributing 
saddle for war work, ridden straight-leg by 
soldiers, stockmen and others earning a living ; 
and the light slippery saddle for running and 
jumping adapted to the bent-leg riding of 
pleasure horses for sport. 

The saddle is but one of several factors in 
horsemanship, so we must isolate these factors 
one by one before we can reach conclusions 
from our study. 

For the purpose of isolating the several 
factors in horsemanship, The Legion of Fron- 
tiersmen managed to organize a series of tests 
on English highways. In each test two groups 


of three or four horsemen apiece, working in 
rivalry, rode fifty to fift3^-five miles on a 
Saturday, then back again on the Sunday. 
Afterwards a veterinary surgeon reported on 
the condition of the horses. 

The first test was made under conditions of 
unusual heat, and after one serious case of heat 
prostration the homeward run had to be made 
at night. The riders were veterans to the age 
of seventy- two, with an average of two old 
wounds, and more than two war decorations 
per man. Our cab and 'bus horses finished 
like the riders, in good time and condition, but 
did not equal the usual gait of the annual 
Stock Exchange competition of men afoot on 
the same London and Brighton road. 

Saddles. We never had the rival types of 
saddles tested by teams, but each man rode 
his own, and for short marches like ours the 
difference was slight. The men with stock 
saddles were less weary, and their horses 
fresher, but not to any notable degree. 

Seat. In one test a competitor failed us, 
and was replaced by a sailor who had not 
ridden before. At first he butted his horse 
backwards into shops, so we had to change 
about for ten miles until we found the best 
mount for his peculiar needs. After that there 


remained one hundred miles, and his horse got 
the best report. A sailor has balance, and 
given that mere form is not important. 

Type of Horse. We hired 'bus and cab 
horses because the}^ were cheap ; but in one of 
the competitions were opposed by a group 01 
horsemen riding their private hunters. Our 
working horses finished fresh and on time, but 
the pleasure horses broke dowii and had to 
come home by train. 

I might enter into the details of a dozen 
other exercises which tested the indoor horse 
and the English equipment, but all may be 
summed up in a single broad generalization. 
The pleasure horse and his equipment are so 
highly speciahzed for runnmg and jumping 
that they have ceased to possess the slightest 
value for civil and military working horse- 



A habit of enlisting for campaigns has 
given me some desultory training with British 
irregular and auxiliary forces — Horse, Foot 
and Guns. Without the slightest pretensions 
as a soldier I have enjo3^ed, on active service, 
watching the military practice in horsemaster- 
ship in its amusing contrasts with the methods 
of frontier life. 

It seems to me that the British and especially 
the Irish horse-breeding, and the national 
amusements for mounted men — hawking, stag- 
hunting, fox-hunting, steeplechases, flat races, 
and polo— for example, have given to British 
mounted troops the basis of a horsemastership 
which has been gratefull}^ copied by civilized 
armies and disabled the mobility of all aUke. 
The cult of the pleasure horse has ousted 
the old sober methods of war horsemanship. 
This may in part account for the chasing of the 
Spaniards and Portuguese by their lively 
American colonists, of the British by the 


Argentinos, Americans and Afghans, of the 
French by the Mexicans, of the Germans b}'- 
the Damaras, of the ItaHans by the peoples of 
Erythrea and Cyrenaica, and of the Russians 
by the Japanese. Three hundred thousand 
of my countrymen spent three-and-a-half 
years in persuading fifty-five thousand Boers 
to accept full compensation for their losses. 
This episode filled with unholy joy the nations 
which had not latel}^ been whipped by mere 
outsiders because they had prudently abstained 
from war. One does not recall, however, so 
very many recent campaigns in which bar- 
baric horsemanship has been put to shame and 
flight by any regular cavalry. 

So, if my adventure in uncouth criticism 
bears incidentally upon British methods, its 
motive is merely to discover why civilized 
mounted troops are not quite a success in 
deahng with irregulars of the open range. If 
Army methods are really the best, the}' should 
have an unbroken chronicle of victory. II 
range methods are really the best, the military 
art of horsemanship needs thinking over by 
every civilized horseman w^ho loves his country 

If the defeat of civilized armies is not ex- 
plained by their horsemastership, it is not less 
in need of explanation. 


I hold it as an article of faith that the 
British Army is not excelled, man for man, by 
any in Europe, but does greatly surpass all 
others in its power of adapting itself to new 
conditions, maintaining its powers at great 
distances from its base, and perfecting in its 
troops the highest ideals of manhood. And 
yet in all armies men are taught to obey before 
they think, and, thought being secondary to 
disciphne, is rather apt to lag. The disciphne 
which creates a mob into a weapon tends to 
disable men in army trades other than that of 
fighting, so that the departmental or thinking 
departments are less efficient than the execu- 
tive. Character is trained to a supreme degree, 
and the mihtary courts are cleaner, quicker and 
more direct than the civil in doing justice. 
Yet intellect takes its chance of surviving 
disciphne. In a world which is managed by 
men too old to be receptive of new thought, 
the person with original ideas is looked upon as 
a public enemy, and the Army is always 
certain he must be an awful bounder. The 
aeroplane, for example, was more important 
as a military idea than anything since the 
invention of gunpowder, but the inventors and 
manufacturers in several countries went bank- 
rupt while they waited in vain for orders from 


the armies. The German War Office was the 
first to come to their rescue. 

It IS only by such reasoning as this that one 
understands why mounted soldiers are given 
breeches with buckskin straps to help them to 
grip a saddle specialty treated with beeswax to 
make it slippery. Constructive thought would 
remove the strapping to make the breeches 
slippery as the saddle ; or, if a grip is wanted 
would retain the strapping, and roughen the 
saddle seat and panels by using the leather in- 
side out, or replacing the surface with buck- 

Early in the eighteenth centur}^ British 
racing and fox-hunting became fully organized 
sports which needed bent-leg riding and a 
slippery, light saddle. The British Army was 
not officered by professional soldiers, but by 
sportsmen who bought commissions. The 
training of officers was in the hunting field, and 
the old straight leg, weight-distributing war 
saddle gave place to something really up-to- 
date. This was the military saddle, too 
cumbersome for running or jumping, too small 
for weight-distribution, and therefore useless 
either for sport or war. 

Meanwhile the Riding Masters who were 
professional soldiers, and ceased to learn when 


they began to teach, wrought with fanatical 
zeal to compel straight-leg riding on a bent- 
leg saddle, and so got a magnificent tally of 
ruptures and sore tails. In 1805 Prussian 
instructors were brought to England to enforce 
the straight-leg seat on the bent-leg saddle. It 
is only in the twentieth century that this 
wonderful kidney-crusher military seat has 
been mercifully abandoned. The army has 
adopted the hunting seat, and one reads the 
last word in Major Birch's book on " Modern 

" The rough-riders from the Royal Artillery 
Riding Establishment, using the hunting seat, 
sat perfectly without either reins or stirrups 
over a five-foot six-inch rail — one horse jump- 
ing six feet — besides other formidable obstacles, 
which proves that no better seat could be 
wanted for practical work." 

The practical work, one notes, for a 
civihzed Army, is jumping ! 

What is the horse to be used for ? Pleasure ? 

By all means let the high-strung, highly-fed, 
massaged, hospital-bred, courageous, and 
powerful but exceedingly delicate blooded horse 
be used for pleasure, and for pleasure only. 
One does not use a racing yacht for cruising, 
because she is too fragile, or for cargo because 


she has no stowage. Use the blooded horse for 
running and jumping, with a day's rest follow- 
ing each day's sport. It does not matter if the 
rider's weight is concentrated on the space of a 
postage stamp. It only matters that the 
equipment be light for high speed, and slippery 
to throw the rider in case he is not wanted on 
the saddle. 

What is the horse to be used for ? War ? 
Then if we love our country let us forget 
tradition, take a rest from filling up returns, 
and set ourselves to the exercise of human 
reason until we find out what we really want. 
Why do we use the horse in war ? To carry 
men, to haul guns, and draw suppHes. Why 
do we use the horse for transport ? To 
quicken the pace, and ease the labour of men. 
Why do we need this mobility ? In order to 
concentrate troops at distant points where they 
were not expected. Mobihty is not jumping 
on Germans, but the long, swift march that 
covers and supplies the advance or the retreat 
which shall decide the issue. Mobility ma}^ 
include the getting and rendering of vital 
news, the sudden seizure of a strong position » 
or even the special privilege and glory of shock 

Those of us who indulged ourselves in the 


habit of thinking, knew many 3^ears ago that 
mechanical transport would carry and haul 
men and supplies much quicker than horses 
could upon a highwa}^ But we also observed 
that war destroys the road, and that campaign- 
ing is a cross-country exercise wherein the 
horse can hold his own against the car. 

In the sam.e way we knew^ as far back as 
1 896 that aerial warfare would evolve in three 
phases : reconnaissance, fleet engagements, 
and occupations in force with aerial transport- 

Yet, while the car and the aircraft have been 
foreseen by ever3^bod3' who took the trouble to 
think, we have to deal in fact wdth present 
needs for troops transported by horses, for 
whom the word mobility means rapid and 
sustained haulage and carriage of weight. 
It is not the art of jumping hedges, because 
the\^ do not exist in any probable terrain of war. 

What then, are the factors for mobility ? 

Breeding. In the throes of war for our 
existence, while every luxur}^ must be dis- 
pensed with and every available man called to 
the colours, the British Government is solicit- 
ous to preserve hunting and racing. The 
authorities would preserve the trade of horse- 
breeding lest there be scarcity of army re- 
mounts. Let us breed pleasure-horses, they 


tell us, in order to secure a stock of working 
horses. So let us encourage yachting to give 
us ships for cargo. Let us breed guinea-pigs 
as material to coin guineas. " If a yard of 
soap will make a flannel waistcoat for a pig, 
how far is it from the dome of St. Paul's to 
Christmas Day ? " So mental confusion verge 
upon madness. 

The mettle of our pastures, and perfect 
artistry in selective breeding, have given to the 
British Isles the leadership of nations with 
almost every type of domestic livestock. But 
the high specialization of each t3^pe for a single 
function disables it for every other use. We 
have never bred a horse specialized for that 
single purpose of rapid and sustained marching, 
which is mobihty. Our pleasure horses, excel, 
lent for sport, are expensive, delicate, unsound- 
lacking in endurance when we put them to 
serious w^ork. As yeast is to dough, blood is to 
any livestock, and there must be thoroughbred 
blood in any working horse who has to face the 
terrors of modern war ; but if there is any 
guidance in the origin and natural history of 
horses, the one type to give mobility to an 
army must be bred away from all green 
grasses and soft ground, on those arid plains 
which alone can make sound Hmbs, hard hoofs, 


strong teeth and high endurance. It would 
be most reasonable to breed from Duns. 

As the Royal North-West Mounted PoHce of 
Canada have double the mobility of any 
regular troops in the world, their system of 
getting horses may be worth considering. 
Certain ranches of Western Canada have im- 
ported British thoroughbred studs, and bred 
from range mares a strain known as the 
Broncho. Averaging fifteen hands two inches, 
and 1,025 pounds in weight, these gelded 
horses and mares are raised on range grass 
under range conditions, broken at the ranches 
and bought for the Mounted Police at contract 

Ranches in an}^ arid lands of the Empire such 
as Southern Alberta, South Central British 
Columbia, Western South Africa, or i\ustralia, 
would supply a stock for the army much 
sounder, and more enduring than any horses 
which can possibly be bred on soft ground or 
green grass. 

Management. Our analysis of the stable 
showed the closed shed as a forcing house for 
disease germs, and the metalled floor as pre- 
venting a horse from resting on his feet. To 
copy the natural conditions of healthy range 
life the building needs the dry floor which 


involves a roof, earth standings on which a 
horse can rest, and a wind screen to keep out 
bad weather. In practice this open earth- 
floored shed kills out the germs of disease, rests 
the horse, and so prevents or cures the mala- 
dies of the feet and legs which disable indoor 
stock. But, while the horse is fairly sound 
so soon as one adapts his home to the condi- 
tions required for his health ; no indoor life 
trains either horses or horsemen for the 
mobility needed in campaigns. 

The civihzed stable management with 
grooming and massage, chpping and singeing, 
docking and trimming of tails, hogging the 
manes, and all the practice which involves the 
use of clothing is excellent with the indoor 
horse. In the same w^ay a hospital is good for 
the sick, but not the sort of gymxnasiuiji which 
makes men strong and hardy. The treatment 
makes a horse glossy and beautiful, but sensi- 
tive rather than robust. It does not make the 
horse an outdoor person able to face bad 
weather, rough feeding and long marches. For 
that we must consider outdoor management as 
applied to an outdoor horse. 

The British South African Field Force lost 
340,000 horses, some of them civihzed, others 
from wild ranges, I was serving in an irregular 



unit when a bunch of Argentine remounts 
arrived in camp. They showed signs of 
exhaustion from their voyage, but had not 
been pastured after their landing in Africa. 
The grass surrounding our camp was fairly 
good, free from disease, and secure from attack 
by day. So the officer commanding shackled 
the remounts in our hnes, and I was punished 
for feeding mine with grass. There was no 
hay, so the horses had straight oats. As the 
sky cleared or clouded the weather was frosty 
or snowy, so the horses were blanketed. The 
blankets were alwa^^s sodden except when they 
stiffened with ice. On the fourteenth day the 
last of these horses died. The whole was a 
beautiful exhibition of stable management 
apphed to outdoor horses without a stable. I 
do not remember an instance of army authori- 
ties consulting range horsemen as to the 
management of range horses on any range. 
Neither has it occurred to any army that the 
outdoor horseman may have useful knowledge 
concerning the outdoor horse. And yet the 
sacrifice of 340,000 horses might have aroused 
misgivings as to the Army system of manage- 

I am writing from practical experience in 
stating that in the British Army authority 



exists for billeting horses in pasture with half 
rations of forage at the discretion of the 
officer commanding the unit. Pastured 
horses condition very rapidl}^, but soften a 
good deal in a wet season, so that one needs as 
usual to supple the harness with oil, and also 
to provide some sheepskin for padding of parts 
w^hich cause chafing. To meet the need of 
having horses instantl}^ available, I used two 
fields, the richer for night pasture, the poorer 
for my horse lines and drill ground. As horses 
in pasture grow wild and difficult to catch if 
chased about by recruits, I had a rope tied to a 
tree near the corner of the field, and held out- 
w^ard by two men, forming an enclosure into 
which the herd was drifted for catching after 
the night's rest. Drifting and catching needed 
no more time than the work of unshackling on 
the lines. 

The system of pasturing by night ensures a 
clean bed for horses to lie down, whereas the 
lines, however carefully cleared of manure, are 
very soon fouled by staling, while the ground 
is trampled into mud or dust. Old horse lines 
make most dangerous ground for camps long 
after the visible dirt has been grassed over. 
The insects and germs from the horse lines are 
liable to affect the health of troops. 


Except under management of most unusual 
skill, any assemblage of horses is liable to 
stampede. I note this in a camp which has 
lost two men killed and one wounded, with 
two horses killed and two wounded within the 
week, fair evidence that stampedes are danger- 
ous. But the danger is greatest where horse 
lines and camp lines are set close abreast, so 
that, if the horses stampede, the men are 
trampled to death. A stampede from herd or 
pasture is seldom the cause of serious accidents. 

Docking or trimming tails, and hogging 
manes are hardly wise outdoors, considering 
that the mane and tail are special devices of 
nature to keep off flies. As horse lines are an 
excellent breeding ground for flies, it is pre- 
cisely on these lines that manes and tails are 

Further, it seems unwise to remove with a 
brush that natural oil in hair and skin which 
preserves a horse from being left stark naked to 
the rain. The grease which merely clogs the 
brush, was needed by the horse, and if it is 
taken away it should be replaced. Horses if 
groomed outdoors should be groomed and 
oiled so that the hair may shed rain and keep 
the skin dry. 

It is argued that the massage action of good 


grooming stimulates the supply of oil to the skin 
and hair ; but from careful observation I think 
this applies rather to the long and severe 
grooming of stabled thoroughbreds than to 
that hck and a promise which horses in the 
Hnes actually get in bad weather. Just 
enough grooming is done to remove the oil, 
but not enough to stimulate the supply. 

I note that the more disastrous practices 
are those of tradition and custom, and are 
difficult to trace if one is seeking authority 
from the Regulations and authorized manuals. 
These are framed in a most reasonable spirit, 
and allow wide discretion to the Commanding 
Officer. So far as my experience goes, experi- 
ence and research has not only been tolerated 
by the Authorities, but actively encouraged 
and helped. 

Equipment. The application to Army use 
of a saddle made for falling off seems a little 
eccentric until one begins to reason. The idea 
is not without value, because an Army in 
time of peace is really a school of manhood, 
which needs extending until every youth has 
been made into a man before he gets a vote as 
a citizen. At a cost of life not greatly exceed- 
ing the death-rate from closed windows 
(phthisis) we have under stress of war an 


actual national training in manhood which has 
averted the fall of the British Empire. More- 
over, the British military training manu- 
factures a gentleman who can be trusted by 
the enemy with the care of his wife and 
daughters. If it is useful in the making of his 
manhood we should not grudge him a saddle 
for the prevention of riding. Morally, such a 
saddle is as good for Tommy as it is for the rich 
folk of the hunting field. 

It is when one begins to consider mobihty 
in the field that the pleasure saddle seems an 
odd selection. Why not a skipping rope ? 
Troops using the English equipment have 
rarely averaged twent3^-one miles a day. 
Troops using the stock saddle have rarely gone 
so slow. The old war saddle has a record of 
nine hundred years in every kind of warfare ; 
and has survived the extreme test of the stock 
range in replacing the Enghsh saddle with the 
Mounted Police, and mounted troops of Canada. 
Only the mistaken energies of sportsmen in 
the British Army displaced the practical 
equipment designed by soldiers. A return to 
the old saddle would increase the mobility of 
all mounted troops. 

Horsemanship. A hundred years ago the 
recruit came from a farm and had been raised 


on horseback. Even the riding masters of the 
period could not quite spoil his natural horse- 
manship. To-day the recruit comes from a 
town, looks on the horse as dangerous, and 
lacks the muscles of hip and thigh which must 
be developed before a man rides well. 

For civil purposes, the stock saddle, and a 
little guidance from horsemen will teach a man 
to ride, and the riding school would merely 
delay his progress. But Army purposes require 
a firm seat, a gentle hand to control the horse 
for mihtary formations, and a perfect supple- 
ness from the waist upwards for the use of 
weapons. These three vital needs involve a 
riding school. So the rookie is introduced to 
the riding school horse. Outside the school 
that horse is an iron-mouthed brute, who 
joggles, and cannot be induced to work apart 
from his comrades. Inside the school he 
understands the riding master's talk, goes 
through the drill with or without a rider, and 
tries to have some fun out of his rookie to pass 
away the boring hours until he gets home to 
stables and a meal 

The first job is to give the rookie confidence 
in the horse. To inspire the rookie vvith confi- 
dence, the riding master flicks the horse's heels 
with a long whip. The rookie's confidence 


that he will tumble off is nearty always justi- 
fied, and in many instances his nerve is broken. 
Then the bully calls his victim a coward, and 
the rookie, made unfit for mounted work, 
drifts to some staff employment or transfers to 
a unit of foot. The use of dummy horse for 
beginners would develop the riding muscles 
without risk of spoiling the man. It would be 
reasonable also to tell the recruit that a 
little fuller's earth to absorb the moisture 
on his chafed skin wall avert most agonizing 

It is a curious streak in military character 
that there is a tremendous fuss over a horse 
gall the size of a sixpence, but that a man 
skinned from crotch to knee is blamed as a 
malingerer if he applies to the doctor for 

The saddle being worse than useless, the 
rookie is glad to be quit of such an obstacle to 
his progress in riding. Moreover, his puttees 
being worn with edges up, they catch in the 
horse's turned down hair, and so give him a 
chance to grip bareback. Leave out the 
saddle altogether and the plucky and intelli- 
gent recruits of the new armies are quick to 
gain confidence as horsemen. They learn 
by sensible methods taught to the Greek 


rookies of Xenopohon's ever-glorious Ten 

There are three types of Riding Estabhsh- 
ment : the closed building, so hot that it 
stupefies the man just when he needs his 
brains ; the ring in a field which has at least the 
blessings of fresh air ; and the open field of the 
up-to-date instructors. A cheery and sympa- 
thetic Riding Master will do better under a 
roof than a bully can even in the open field, 
but the best and most rapid training I have 
ever seen was given in open field by a Regular 
soldier who abstained from losing his temper. 
In civil life I had seen a range horseman teach- 
ing English pupils with equal success, and the 
methods of the two masters were identical. 
Men who had never mounted before were 
taught within a week such circus tricks as 
jumping, wrestling bareback, tug-of-war 
mounted, and making horses chmb over ugly 
ground. It was a punishment to be excluded 
from the lessons. From the civilian school 
pupils passed out after six months' training 
and earned a living as stock riders. From the 
military school the men were transferred to a 
station with the old ring menage and never 
recovered the resulting leeway. Given equally 
good instructors, I should say that one month's 


training in open field is equal in value to four 
months in the outdoor menage or five months 
in an indoor riding school. 

In training men my first measure was to 
select sympathetic instructors, and relieve for 
other duties any N.C.O. who showed the 
slightest infirmity of temper. Released from 
all bullying, nagging or fear of punishment, 
my rookies were sportsmen who would greet 
me with a cheery grin. The second measure 
was to cut out the element of monotony in 
routine, so that the riding field became a place 
of surprises, of varied sports and competitions 
where each man tried to excel. From the first 
I would take the whole class away from the 
schochng for an occasional joy-ride along the 
grassy roadsides, slowly increasing the pace 
from walk to joggle, and finally to long trot on 
the home stretch. When we came to be tested 
against other units we had no reason to regret 
our unorthodox methods of training. 

My second month's riding school would 
involve a very serious schooHng for officers 
and Non. Coms. in teaching them how to 
handle a unit training for field mobility. It 
would be limited to three exercises all of which 
I have tested with success in England during 
the past decade; 


First Exercise. Taking a feed and haver- 
sack rations to make a day's march and 
practise the noon halt. 

Second Exercise. Taking vehicles or pack 
animals according to size of unit, to make a 
two days' march with a night bivouac. In- 
struction is needed in the use of natural wind 
breaks and slopes of ground, also to adapt the 
sweat pad, blanket, overcoat and saddle, into 
a dry camp regardless of the weather. 

Third Exercise. After extensive practice 
at the home camp, in cooking without any 
utensils except the pots and cups for the tea or 
coffee, to make a night bivouac without any 
kitchen transport. 

So far one could dispense with the camp 
equipment, and almost the whole kitchen ; but 
concurrently with this training to drop needless 
baggage, there would be first exercises for 
scouting and road reports, vedettes, flankers 
and despatch riders. 

Mobility. The factors for mobility may 
now be added up : The breeding of horses on 
pasture natural to the species ; sheds to secure 
dry earth standings and a wind break ; outdoor 
management ; a weight-distributing saddle ; 
an actual training of men and horses to rapid 
and sustained marching with reduced transport. 


With these few measures the mobihty of 
mounted troops could be doubled. 

To quadruple the mobility of mounted forces 
one has merely to add the stock-range system 
of a pony herd supplying two mounts per man. 
In an enemy's countr}^ each horseman would 
ride, and lead his spare mount, changing over 
at halts. A march would be continuous with 
short halts, up to the hmits of endurance for 
the men and horses available, and this after 
proper training would not be far short of one 
hundred miles a day. From the moment when 
a war of positions culminates in advance or in 
retreat, flying brigades or even divisions could 
play havoc with enem\^'s plans by threatening 
his hues of communication. The raid, as 
practised by the Confederate, General Morgan, 
in the American Civil War, is no longer healthy 
because there are aircraft about. Detached 
units cannot, as in past times, be left in the air 
to forage for themselves ; and yet mobility of 
the screen and wings may prove as useful an 
aid to a marching army as claws are to a crab. 


This book has been written in spare hours 
off duty while the air throbbed all round me. 
The crackling rifle fire at the butts, the uproar 
of the batteries at practice and frequent bursts 
of bombs, the buzzing aeroplanes as they pass 
overhead, rumble of transport trains, and 
tramp of marching troops, bands on a Sunday, 
and choirs of trumpets sounding the evening 
calls are echoes, all of them, from the great 
thunders of the Armageddon. 

The sounds will die away into the distance 
to a last muttering beyond the skyline. Then 
those who are left of us will put away our 
weapons and our saddles, and go back to civil 
life. But we shall all be changed. 

No man returning from a journey, has ever 
come back with the same self into his former 
life. From this travail we shall come changed 
into a different w^orld. A new and realized 
manhood will meet a tried and bettered woman- 
hood. We shall not any more be able to live 
content in the old world of selfishness and 


slackness. We shall demand for men a train- 
ing of their manhood, for women a training of 
their womanhood. 

We shall value manliness more than scholar- 
ship, ease or wealth, or even the freedom we 
fought so hard to save. Food has no flavour 
until we have been hungry, rest has no value 
unless we have been weary, life has no zest 
save that from fierce endeavour, it is the work 
we do which builds our strength. The man- 
hood of our fathers came by use of arms, and 
of horses, by going down to the sea in ships, 
by hard, rough living, taking risks and endur- 
ing pain, by generous giving and honest loving. 

The manhood of our sons will not be made b}^ 
indoor hfe, by ease, by softness, by selfishness 
or vice. The body as well as the mind and the 
spirit must have daily training, renewal and 
growth, if we would avert disease, corruption 
and decay. The future has nothing to add to 
the past save in the hazards of the air, the 
fierce dehght of handling aircraft, and the 
hardening of all our fibres in the conquest of 
the skies. It will be long, however, before the 
aeroplane can alight in forests, on mountains, 
rough ground or stormy water, or venture very 
far from the bases of suppl3\ Till then our 
industry and our wars will still need horses, and 


even afterwards we shall hardly be able to 
spare them from our pleasures. 

In the past, the horses carried our ancestors 
out of savagery through barbarism into civiliza- 
tion. They saved us from the barren labour 
of Chinese, Egyptian and Indian cultivators, 
and gave us the large opportunities of our 
country life. Horses and shipping added all 
the continents to our estate, the conquest of 
the world to our arms, the glamour of adven- 
ture to our history. If only we can learn to 
understand horses with a quicker sympathy, a 
bolder reasoning, the training which our 
fathers had as horsemen, will be bettered in the 
training of our sons. 


Acacia, 57. 

Action .^of Light, theory of, 

Chap? II. and p. 160. 
Afghans, 223. 
Africa, 29, 31, 56, 177, 

Agriculture, horses in, 145. 
Alaska, 21. 
Alberta, 230. 
Alcohol, 197. 
Alexander the Great, 138, 

Alkali, 59. 
America : 

Central, 16. 

North, Chps. I. and II., 
horsemen of, 148. 

South, 20. 
Ancestors of horse, 2. 
Apples, 200. 
Argentine, 152, 177, 223 ; 

Remounts, 232. 
Arabia, 28, 70, 139, 209. 
Armenia, 137-8. 
Armies, 224. 
Armour, 145. 
Arms, 174. 

Ass, 9, 29, 30, 35, 130, 208. 
Assyria, 14, 136, 138. 
Atlantic, 2 ; Continent, 5. 
Austraha, T52, 155, 169, 177, 

203, 230. 

Babylonia, 135. 
Backfalls, 79. 
Baffin's Bay, 19. 
Balance in riding, 221. 
Baltic, 19, 42, 43, III. 
Barb, 28, 131, 209. 
Bathing, 6. 

Bay, 14, 31, 32, 46, 1 17-8, 
129 et seq. 

Bearded horses, 23, 36. 

Bells, 197. 

Bent leg riding, 143, 207. 

Bering Land, 21, 24. 

Bering Sea, 16, 21, 24. 

Biblical record, 129. 

Billets for horses, 233. 

Birch, Major, " Modern Rid- 
ing," 226 

Biting, 74. 

Bitt, 109, 119, 156. 

Bivouac, 241. 

Blackfeet, 107, 116. 

Blanket, 153, 198. 

Black horses, 47. 

Bhsters, 153, 198. 

Bolas, 176. 

Bolting, 75. 

Bone, 39. 

Boers, 29, 179, 223. 

Boots, 169. 

Branding, 70. 

Brazil, 5, 48. 

Breaking back, 58. 

Breeches, 167. 

Breeding horses, 137, 228. 

Bridges, 62. 

Bridle, 115, 120. 

British Columbia, 24, 230. 

British Isles, 19, 43, 107, 139, 

Broncho, 148, 180. 

Brown horses, 31, 47. 

Buckskin horses, see Dun. 

Bucking, 28, 61, 78. 150. 

Build of horses, 10. 

Bulk of horses, 10. 

Bushes as reserve of food, 63. 

Buying, 182. 




Cactus, 57. 
Camels, 22, 208. 
Camps, 196. 
Canaan, 135-6. 
Canter, 186. 
Capture, loi et seq. 
Carbon in food, 197. 
Carrots, 200. 
Carson, Kit, 204. 
Cart, 105. 
Cart horse, 40. 
Cavalry : 

Assyrian, 138. 

British, 211. 

charges, 79, 178. 

European, 178. 

Greek, 11 7-8-9. 

Hebrew, 131. 

Lydian, 138. 

Mexican, 178. 

Moslem, 141. 

Regular, 223. 

Roman, 120. 
Celtic pony (Ewart), 36, 39, 
Centaur, 117. [43, 44. 

Chapareras, 173. 
Character, 71, 81. 
Chargers : 

of Angels, 83. 

Black Bess, 202. 

Bucephalus (Alexander's), 

of Charles XII., 202. 

Julius Caesar's, 8. 

Odin's, 36. 

Pegasus, 1 15-6. 

Peschkov's, 202. 
Chariots, 106, no, 117, 121, 

133. 139- 
Chestnut horses, 31, 46. 
China, 127-8. 
Choking, 91. 
Cincha, see girth. 
Circus, 1 01. 
Civil War : 

English, 209. 

American; 242. 

Clay, influence of, 39. 

Cleveland Bay, 145. 

Cliffs, 60-1-2. 

Climate, Chaps. I., II. 

CHmbing, 60-1-2. 

Chpping, 203. 

Clothing, 231-2. 

Cloudland, 33, 34, 51, 52, 

Clydesdales, 145. 

Coat, thickness of, 11 ; pro- 
tection, 26. 

Cold, 196. 

Colic, 91, 199, 200. 

Colorado, 61. 

Colosseum, loi. 

Colour of horses, 4, i^ et seq., 
46 to 53. 

Colts, 70. 

Columbia Basin, 23. 

Communication among hor- 
ses, 89 et seq. 

Compass, 190. 

Constantinople, 120. 

Cooling a horse, 196-7. 

Copper ointments, 198. 

Corduroy roads, 62. 

Cornering, 77. 

Corrall, loi. 

Cossack, 178, 208. 

Cowboys, 148, 205. 

Cracked heels, 199. 

Cree Indians, 142. 

Croll theory, 16. 

Cromwell, Oliver, 209. 

Crowding, 77. 

Curb bitt, 160. 

Cyrene, 117, 223. 

Damaraland, 223. 
Danube, 115. 
Dapples, 50, $s. 
Dappled horses, in to 141. 
Darwin, 25. 
Dashboard, 106. 
Defence, methods of, 28, 66, 
68, 71. 



Denmark, 45. 
Dervishes, 208. 
Deserts, 7, 8. 14, 57, 133. 
Destriers, 1^5. 
Diamond hitch, 151. 
Diluvial horse, 40. 
Directions, trail, 191. 
Disease, 216. 
Docking tails, 2, 70. 
Double back, the, 118. 
Dragging the forefoot, 91. 
Dragons, age of, 2. 
Draught horses, 41, 121. 
Dreams of horses, 88. 
Dress of horsemen, 161. 
Drinking, habits in, 65. 
Driving, 106, 180. 
Dun horse, 14, 31-2, 51, 115- 

6, 121, 124 ei seq. 
Dung, special places for, 68 ; 

indications of health, 91. 
Dust bath, 201. 

Ears, movements of, 89, 90, 

91, 92. 
Eating horse flesh, 97, 99. 
Egypt, 131 to 137. 
Ehzabeth, Queen, 210. 
English methods, 151. 
Equatorial regions, 18, 19. 
Equites 122. 
Equipment, 152. 
Erythrea, 223. 
Europe, Chap. II. 
Ewart, Prof. J. Cosser, F.R.S 

vii.-x., 40. 
Exhaustion, 197. 
Eyesight, 156. 

Family life of horses, 66-7. 
Feeding, 199, 200 ; when 
groomed, 73 ; by breeders, 

137. 215- 
Fighting methods of, 68, 90. 
Fires, Camp, 200. 
Foals, 69. 
Foot of horse, 4, 8, 87. 

Forage, 11, 215. 

Forelock, 14. 

Forest horses, 7, 40, 41. 

Forest, Horses in, 194, 197. 

Formations in defence, 28, 

Fox hunting, 210 et seq. 225. 
France, 36, 41, 122, 178, 223. 
Friends, Making, 183. 
Frontiersmen's Pocket Book, 

Frontiersmen, Legion of, see 

Gait, 186. 

Gall cures, 198. 

Gall9, 153, 198, 233. 

Gaul, 122. 

Geldings, 68. 

Genesis, 129 et seq. 

Germany, 122, 211, 223, 225. 

Germs, 15, 216. 

Gestures, 9, 194. 

Ghosts seen by horses, 85. 

Girth, 80, 154, 198. 

Gothic horsemen, 121. 

Grain, Feeding, 137, 197. 

Gramma grass, 56. 

Granite, Influence of, 38. 

Grasses, 27, 55-6. 

Grazing, 7, 59. 

Greasewood; 57. 

Greeks, 115, et seq., 138, 143. 

Greenland, 16, 17, 19. 

Grey horses, 47, 140. 

Grimaldi grottoes, 40. 

Groaning, 90. 

Grooming, 73, 74, 231, 234. 

Grooms, 78. 

Guidance in travel, 1S9. 

Gulf Stream, 16, 19. 

Habits, 72. 

Halts, 195. 

Hands, Training of, 159. 

Harem, The, 66. 

Harty, Constable, 180. 



Hats, 165. 

Haut Ecole, 178. 

Headstall, 159. 

Hearing, 193. 

Heat, 19S. 

Hedges, 210. 

Heels, 198, 201. 

Hellenes, 115. 

HiUs, 187. 

Herd, 68, 107. 

Hitch, 151. 

Hittites, 133, 136. 

Hobbles, 197. 

Hogging mares, 15, 231. 

Holland, 45. 

Hoofs, 8, 28. 

Horse-fights, 90. 

Horse-flesh, 97. 

Horse sickness, 48. 

Humour in horses, 85 et seq. 

Hungary, 177. 

Hunting, fox, 210, 225. 

Hyksos, 134. 

Hyraco therium, 5. 

Ice age, 15-6-7, 33- 
Ice, Horses on, 63, 72. 
Icelandic horse fights, 90, 
Immortality of horses, 83. 
India, 47, 139, 208. 
Indians, Red, 68, 107-8-9-10, 

135, 142. 
Instincts, 81, 83. 
Intelligence, 63, 69, 87. 
Ireland, 23, 39, 70, 178. 
Israel, 129 et seq. 
Italy, 223. 

Japan current, 21. 
Japanese, 217, 223. 
Jaral, loi. 
Jockeys, 207. 
Jogghng, 78. 
Joseph, Chief, no. 
Jumping, 70, 209, 221, 226. 

Kangaroo-jumping, 75. 

Katywar, 48. 

Keddah, 10 1. 

Kentucky, 70. 

Kiang {see ass), 36. 

Kicking, 68, 73, 74. 

King, Dick, 202. 

Knights, 122. 

Kraal, loi. 

Kruger, a horse comedian, 85 . 

Labrador, 20. 

Lasso, 176. 

Legion of Frontiersmen, 177 

Libya (Cyrene, 117), 132, 135 
Light, Action of, Chap. II., 

in stables, 218. 
Limestone, Influence of, 39, 


Lincolnshire, 45. 
Liniment, 198. 
Llanos, 177. 
Longtails, 3. 
Lonsdale, Earl of, 212. 
Low's Domesticated Animals 

Macedonia, 138. 

Malaya, 5. 

Mammoth, 24. 

Management, 230. 

Mares, i, 3, 14, 66, 116, 234. 

Manetho, 134. 

Markings, 10. 

Massage, 231, 234. 

Meadows, 55, 58, 215. 

Memory, 65, 71. 

Mesopotamia, 135. 

Mexico, 5, 55, 147, 153, 177, 

178, 179, 223. 
Microbes, 12, 15, 216. 
Migration, 49. 
Milk of Mares, 102. 
Missouri, 21. 
Mobilit3^ no, 227 et seq.', 

Summary, 241. 



Modern Riding, by Major 

Birch, 226. 
Moisture, 11. 

Mongolia, 31, 127, 177, 208. 
Moqui Indians, 
Morgan, Gen., 242. 
Morocco, 208. 
Moslem, 141, 208. 
Moss holes, 63. 
Mounted Police, see Pohce. 
Music, Enjoyment of, 70, 88. 
Muzzle, 6, 58. 

Navajo Indians, 142. 
Neck, 58. 
Neckcloth, 172. 
Nez Perc6 Indians, no. 
Normans, 145. 
Norsemen, in, 115, 121. 
North Sea, 42, 44. 
Norway, 16, 45. 
Numbers, Sense of, 70. 

Oatmeal, 198. 

Oiling harness, 233 ; horses, 

116, 234. 
Olympic games, 114, 117. 
Oriental riding, 208. 
Outdoor management, 231. 
Outlaw horses, 71, 87. 

Paces, 186. 
Pachynolophus, ix. 
Pacific Ocean, 21, 22, 24. 
Pack horses, 67, 122, 127, 

146, 152, 182, 196. 
Pack trails, 122, 124, 127. 
Pad saddle, 208. 
Pain, 90, 91. 
Panic, 75. 
Parker, Sergt., Adventure of, 

Parthians, 208. 
Pasture, 6, 33, 37, 74, 196, 

Patagonia, 177. 
Pawing, 66, 72. 

Pegasus, 115, 116. 
Percherons, 145. 
Persians, no. 
Personahty in horses, 84 et 

Peruvians, 176. 
Photographic colour, 50. 
Pick, Hoof, 201. 
Piebald horses, 47. 
Pig, Colour of, 4. 
Pig-jumping, 75. 
Pit ponies, 215. 
Pleasure horses. Chaps. VII., 

Pointing ears, 87 ; forefeet, 

Pohce, Royal N.-W. Mounted 

82, 86, 180, 181, 203, 230. 
Polo, 151. 
Polo, Marco, 128. 
Portugal, 178, 208, 222. 
Posting, 128. 
Pound for catching stock, 


Practical jokes by horses, 85, 

86, 87. 
Prairie, 7. 

Psychology, 84 et seq. 
Prejevalski horse, 9, 31, 36, 

41, 51. 
Propping, 77. 
Protective colour, 14, 30. 
Punishment of horses, 76, 


Quagga, 9, 29, 31. 
Quartering slopes, 
Queensland, 152. 
Quicksands, 62. 


Race-memories, 71 

Racing, 120, 225 ; seat, 143. 

Raids, 242. 

Range, The Stock range, 54 

et seq., 216, 242. 
Rearing, 75. 
Red Indian, see Indian. 



Recado saddle, 155. 
Records, 201. 
Rein, 62, 76, 195. 
Re-muda, 68. 
Reptile, 2, 3. 
Resting, 59, 64, 189. 
Riding, 118. 143 et seq., 220, 

Riding school, see School. 
Rhine, 42. 

Ridgeway, Prof., x., 51. 
Riviera horse, 40. 
Roan horses, 47. 
Roads, 52, 121. 
Rocky Mountains, 16, 54, 

108, 189, 204. 
Romans, 119, 144. 
Rope, Use of the, 62, 176. 
Rough - riding, 179, iSo ; 

driving, 180. 
Royal Artillery, 178, 226. 
Russia, 31, 35, 121, 137, 140, 

208, 223. 

Saddle : 

American, 153, 213. 

Argentine, 155. 

Australian, 155. 

English, 146 et seq., 211 et 
seq., 235. 

McClellan, 156. 
Saddling, 184. 
Saddle tree, 199. 
Saddle, weight distributing, 

Sagebrush, 57. 
S. Elias, Alps of, 16, 24. 
Sagartians, 176. 
Salt, 59, 198, 200. 
Sarmatians, 176. 
Savaging, 80. 
Savannahs, 7. 
Scent, 4, 93, 192. 
Scandinavia, 48, 121. 
Schleswig, 45. 
School, Riding, 212, 237 to 


Scotland, 45. 

Scouring, 200. 

Scouting, 190. 

Scraping, 79. 

Screaming, 90. 

Screens for stable walls, 217. 

Scythians, 176. 

Self defence, 66. 

Sense of touch, 6. 

Shadows, Fear of, 194. 

Shaps, 173. 

Shire horses, 145. 

Shirts, 166. 

Shoulder, Injury to, 91. 

Shying, 89. 

Signals made by horses, 89. 

Sight, 156, 193. 

Singeing, 231. 

Singing, Uses of , 75. 

Siwalik horse, 41. 

Size of horses, 37. 

Skewbalds, 23, 47. 

Slack rein, 62. 

Sleep, 27, 64, 189. 

Sleighs, 121. 

Smudge, 197. 

Snaffle, 156. 

Snake-killing, 72. 

Soap, Soft, 199. 

Solomon's Cavalry, 117; 
Chariotry, 138. 

Solutre horse, 41. 

Sores, 153, 188, 198. 

Soudan, 208. 

South Africa, 29, 31, 56, 177, 

Speed, 28. 

Spine, 14. 

Spirit of the horse, 81. 

Sport, Sense of, 70, 88. 

Spurs, 172. 

Squealing, 91. 

Stables, 201, 214 et seq. 

Stadium, loi. 

Stallions, 28, 66, 67, 68, 75. 

Stampedes, 75, 234. 

Stamping, 72, 91. 



standing, Manner of, 91. 

Standings for horses, 217-218 

Steppes, 7, 14, 41. 

Stockrange, see Kange. 

Stock whip, 177. 

Stomach, 36. 

Strabo, 139. 

Strength, 11. 

Straight leg riding, 143, 207. 

Stirrup, 154. 

Stony Indians, 142. 

Striking a horse, 26, 27, 29. 

Stumbhng, 158. 

Suffolk Punch, 145. 

Sugar, 198, 200. 

Sunfishing, 78. 

Sunhght, Coloration by, 11. 

Suppling a horse, 185. 

Surcingle, 109. 

Swamps, 63. 

Sweating, 91. 

Sweat-pad, 152. 

Sweden, 140. 

Swimming, 6, 63. 

Syria, 140. 

Tail. 6, 28. 
Tapir, 5, 22. 
Tarpan, 9, 31, 36, 41. 
Tartars, 115, 176. 
TearS; 90, 116. 
Teeth, 59. 
Temper, 73. 
Thames, 42. 

Thirst, Endurance of, 64. 
Thoroughbred, x., 214. 
Thought transference, 92. 
Throwing a horse, 75. 
Touch, Sense of, 6. 
Tracking, 191. 
Training, 70. 
Travel, 1^1 et seq. 
Travois, 104, 105. 
Treading, 77, 79. 
Tropical light, x. 

Trotting, 66. 186. 
Trousers, 168. 
Tunic, 167. 
Turpin, Dick, 202. 
Tying a horse, 195. 
Turied pasture, 33. 
Tussock grass, 26. 

Unsaddling, 201. 
Unsoundness of horses, 214 

et seq. 
Utah, 61. 

Valkyrs, 115. 
Vaquero, 149. 
Vice, 71, 81. 

Waggon, 105, 121. 

Water, 58 ; horses in, 62. 

Watering, 64, 65, 72, 98, 195. 

Wallets, 160. 

War, viii,, 70. 

Warming a horse, 197. 

Weapons, 176, 184. 

Welsh pit pony 118. 

Wesley, Richard, 158. 

Whicker, 90. 

Whinney, 90. 

Whip, 76, 177. 

Whiskey, 197. 

Wheels, 105. 

White horses, 35. 

Wind, Holding the, 80, 184. 

Winds, iS et seq., 25, 26, 196. 

Winged horses, 115. 

Wolves, 58, 68. 

Women, 132, 209. 

Woodruff, Surgeon-Gen., x. 

Working horses, Chap. VII. 

Yakima Indians, 142. 
Yukon, 24, 45. 

Zebra, 9, 29, 31. 

Zenophon, 118, 120, 144, 169. 


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