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While we have a great many kinds of horses in America, horses are not

natives of this country. Just where wild horses were first tamed and

used is not certainly known. It is believed that in early ages the horse

was a much smaller animal than it now is, and that it gradually attained

its present size. Where food was abundant and nutritious and the climate

mild and healthful, the early horses developed large frames and heavy
r /> limbs and muscles; on the other hand, where food was scarce and the

climate cold and bleak, the animals remained as dwarfed as the ponies of

the Shetland Islands.

One of the first records concerning the horse is found in Genesis xlix,

17, where Jacob speaks of "an adder that biteth the horse heels."

Pharaoh took "six hundred chosen chariots" and "with all the horses and

chariots" pursued the Israelites. The Greeks at first drove the horse

fastened to a rude chariot; later they rode on its back, learning to

manage the animal with voice or switch and without either saddle or

bridle. This thinking people soon invented the snaffle bit, and both

rode and drove with its aid. The curb bit was a Roman invention. Shoeing

was not practiced by either Greeks or Romans. Saddles and harnesses were

at first made of skins and sometimes of cloth.

Among the Tartars of middle and northern Asia and also among some other

nations, mare's milk and the flesh of the horse are used for food. Old

and otherwise worthless horses are regularly fattened for the meat

markets of France and Germany. Various uses are made of the different

parts of a horse's body. The mane and tail are used in the manufacture

of mattresses, and also furnish a haircloth for upholstering; the skin

is tanned into leather; the hoofs are used for glue, and the bones for

making fertilizer.

Climate, food, and natural surroundings have all aided in producing

changes in the horse's form, size, and appearance. The varying

circumstances under which horses have been raised have given rise to the

different breeds. In addition, the masters' needs had much to do in

developing the type of horses wanted. Some masters desired work horses,

and kept the heavy, muscular, stout-limbed animals; others desired

riding and driving horses, so they saved for their use the light-limbed,

angular horses that had endurance and mettle. The following table gives

some of the different breeds and the places of their development:

Diagram shows the proper shape of the fore and hind legs of a horse.

When the straight lines divide the legs equally, the leg action is

straight and regular]

I. _Draft, or Heavy, Breeds_

1. Percheron, from the province of Perche, France.

2. French Draft, developed in France.

3. Belgian Draft, developed by Belgian farmers.

4. Clydesdale, the draft horse of Scotland.

5. Suffolk Punch, from the eastern part of England.

6. English Shire, also from the eastern part of England.

II. _Carriage, or Coach, Breeds_

1. Cleveland Bay, developed in England.

2. French Coach, the gentleman's horse of France.

3. German Coach, from Germany.

4. Oldenburg Coach, Oldenburg, Germany.

5. Hackney, the English high-stepper.

III. _Light, or Roadster, Breeds_

1. American Trotter, developed in America.

2. Thoroughbred, the English running horse.

3. American Saddle Horse, from Kentucky and Virginia.

There is a marked difference in the form and type of these horses, and

on this difference their usefulness depends.

This horse stands great strains and is not fatigued easily]

This horse becomes exhausted very easily]

The draft breeds have short legs, and hence their bodies are

comparatively close to the ground. The depth of the body should be about

the same as the length of leg. All draft horses should have upright

shoulders, so as to provide an easy support for the collar. The hock

should be wide, so that the animal shall have great leverage of muscle

for pulling. A horse having a narrow hock is not able to draw a heavy

load and is easily exhausted and liable to curb-diseases (see Figs. 242

and 243).

The legs of all kinds of horses should be straight; a line dropped from

the point of the shoulder to the ground should divide the knees, canon,

fetlock, and foot into two equal parts. When the animal is formed in

this way the feet have room to be straight and square, with just the

breadth of a hoof between them (Fig. 241).

Roadsters are lighter in bone and less heavily muscled; their legs are

longer than those of the draft horses and, as horsemen say, more

"daylight" can be seen under the body. The neck is long and thin, but

fits nicely into the shoulders. The shoulders are sloping and long and

give the roadster ability to reach well out in his stride. The head is

set gracefully on the neck and should be carried with ease and


Every man who is to deal with horses ought to become, by observation and

study, an expert judge of forms, qualities, types, defects, and


The diagram shows how the straight lines ought to cross the legs of a

properly shaped horse]

The horse's foot makes an interesting study. The horny outside protects

the foot from mud, ice, and stones. Inside the hoof are the bones and

gristle that serve as cushions to diminish the shock received while

walking or running on hard roads or streets. When shoeing the horse the

frog should not be touched with the knife. It is very seldom that any

cutting need be done. Many blacksmiths do not know this and often

greatly injure the foot.

Since the horse has but a small stomach, the food given should not be

too bulky. In proportion to the horse's size, its grain ration should be

larger than that of other animals. Draft horses and mules, however, can

be fed a more bulky ration than other horses, because they have larger

stomachs and consequently have more room to store food.

The horse should be groomed every day. This keeps the pores of the skin

open and the hair bright and glossy. When horses are working hard, the

harness should be removed during the noon hour. During the cool seasons

of the year, whenever a horse is wet with sweat, it should on stopping

work, or when standing for awhile, be blanketed, for the animal is as

liable as man to get cold in a draft or from moisture evaporating

rapidly from its skin.


If the pupil will take an ordinary tape measure, he can make some

measurements of the horse that will be very interesting as well as

profitable. Let him measure:

1. The height of the horse at the withers, 1 to 1.

2. The height of the horse at croup, 2 to 2.

3. Length of shoulder, 1 to 3.

4. Length of back, 4.

5. Length of head, 5.

6. Depth of body, 6 to 6.

7. Daylight under body, 7 to 7.

8. Distance from point of shoulder to quarter, 3 to 3.

9. Width of forehead.

10. Width between hips.

NOTE. Many interesting comparisons can be made (1) by

measuring several horses; (2) by studying the proportion between

parts of the same horse.


1. How many times longer is the body than the head? Do you get the

same result from different horses?

2. How does the height at the withers compare with the height at

the croup?

3. How do these compare with the distance from quarter to shoulder?

4. How does the length of the head compare with the thickness of

the body and with the open space, or "daylight," under the body?