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The Practical Horse Keeper | by George Fleming



This little work is intended as a guide to those who have to do with horses, either as owners, purchasers, breeders, trainers, managers, or attendants, and whose experience has not been so extensive as those on whose knowledge it is based. There is no pretence whatever to novelty in any of the subjects treated; but it is to be hoped that such absence of novelty will not detract from utility, and that the hints contained in its pages may be found of service, and assist those who are interested in horses and horse management when they require assistance.

TitleThe Practical Horse Keeper
AuthorGeorge Fleming
PublisherCassell & Company, Limited
Year1886
Copyright1886, Cassell & Company, Limited
AmazonThe Practical Horse Keeper

George Fleming, LL.D., F.R.C.V.S., Principal Veterinary Surgeon of the Army.

-Chapter I. Breeds Of Horses: Their Points, Probable Cost, Etc
The great variety in the breeds of horses in this country is always an intricate and difficult study, so much is it complicated by cross-breeding, which, though sometimes conducted on reasonable and...
-The Hunter
There can be no doubt that a perfect hunter should be a perfect horse, combining in himself the qualities of speed, strength, endurance, and good temper; with excellent action, to ensure safety and ce...
-The Hack
There are three or four kinds of hacks in use - the road hack, cover hack, park hack, and lady's hack. The road hack is a much rarer animal now than he was before the days of railways, telegraphs, an...
-The Hack. Continued
The back of the roadster should be rather straight, and not too long, a hollow or concave back being objectionable on account of its weakness; while a convex or roach back, though generally strong, ...
-Carriage And Light Draught-Horses
These useful animals are of various degrees of utility, quality, and consequently cost. . Pair-carriage horses, if well matched in size, pace, and colour, and in their way of first-class quality, will...
-Agricultural And Heavy Draught-Horses
These, after all, are the most important kinds of horses in agricultural and trading countries, and their value from an economical point of view cannot be disputed. Of late years great attention has b...
-Chapter II. Purchasing Horses At Fairs. Dealers. Veterinary Examinations
It is necessary, when going to a fair to purchase a horse, to first decide on the kind of horse required, and then to select your fair. We will take the different classes of horses in the following or...
-Hunters
The chief fairs for purchasing hunters are as follows: - Preston, Lancashire, first whole week in January; Northallerton, Yorkshire, first whole week in February; Lincoln, last whole week in April; No...
-Hunters. Part 2
Having decided on the above points, the horse should be walked with a loose rein away from the purchaser. Some horses go close at a walk and wide at a trot; others vice-versa, but a good horse should ...
-Hunters. Part 3
Splints are very common, very few horses being without them; they seldom cause lameness, and unless they are very large, or are placed in such a way that they interfere, or are likely to interfere, wi...
-Hacks And Harness Horses
These horses, as a rule, are purchased in quite a different way to hunters. A large number are shown by local people; others belonging to private individuals are sent, perhaps, fifty or a hundred mile...
-Buying From Horse Dealers
Perhaps the most satisfactory procedure for the less experienced to adopt in horse-buying, is to resort to a dealer of good repute, and place yourself in his hands - telling him what you want and the ...
-Chapter III. The Paddock, Straw-Yard, Stable, And Stabling
The Paddock A paddock is advantageous for rearing young horses, for turning out horses when not required for work, and for restoring to health or soundness those which are recovering from lameness or...
-The Straw-Yard
When a paddock or pasture cannot be made available, or when circumstances require otherwise, young horses, those which are resting, or those recovering from illness, are sometimes accommodated in a st...
-Stables
By far the largest number of horses are kept in stables, as in these condition for hard work is best maintained, cleanliness can be easier attended to, convenience in working is greater, and the horse...
-Dimensions of a Stable
The dimensions of a stable will, of course, depend upon the number of horses to be kept in it, and the amount of cubic space necessary to ensure health. Nothing in the whole range of horse management,...
-Stable Ventilation
Ventilation is closely related to cubic space, as if it is well contrived the latter may be diminished; the object being to get rid of impure air as rapidly as it is produced, and admit a sufficiency ...
-Inside Stables
Windows Windows are chiefly intended for light, but they also assist in ventilation. For the latter purpose, unless reliance can be placed upon the stable men, they are not so valuable; though in hot...
-Inside Stables. Continued
Stalls with grooves in floors inclining backwards and outwards to side grooves. The passage behind the stalls, if smooth on the surface, should be cut or grooved, to prevent slipping. Some draugh...
-Chapter IV. Feeding And General Management
The subject of food and feeding of horses is necessarily one of great importance, from an economical and utilitarian point of view, and constantly presses itself upon the attention of the horse-owner ...
-Feeding And General Management. Part 2
The woody-fibre or cellulose contained in varying proportion in different kinds of provender, although possessing in some degree a composition similar to the non-nitrogenous constituents, cannot be co...
-Feeding And General Management. Part 3
Proximate Principles. Moderate Work. Active Work. Severe Work. lbs. oz. lbs oz. lbs. oz. Albuminoids......... 1 4 1 ...
-Digestibility Of Food
The digestibility of foods is an important consideration in feeding, as with some kinds more is absorbed into the system than others. With scarcely any of them is digestion complete throughout, a port...
-Condition Of Food With Regard To Quality
The condition of the food may likewise alter its facility of digestion and nutritive properties, this depending upon its mode of growth, care in collecting and preserving, cleanliness, and freedom fro...
-Cleanliness Of Food
Cleanliness of food is important, as that which is dirty may cause indigestion, colic, serious disease, or even death. Sand, earth, or gravel, when taken in with the food, is generally retained in the...
-Different Kinds Of Food
The grass family furnishes by far the largest number of articles consumed by animals as food, for however diverse in external aspect hay, oats, wheat, maize, barley, rice, rye, and millet may appear, ...
-Hay
Grass and dried grass, or hay, represent a typical food for the horse, upon which he can subsist, become fat, and even perform a certain amount of slow work without any other kind of subsistence. Gras...
-Oats
Oats are generally considered the best grain food for horses. Good oats are heavy, have a thin skin, and are clean, hard, sweet, and free from musty smell. Ordinary oats usually contain about 30 per c...
-Preparation Of Food
Stabled horses, and especially those doing hard work, generally require to have their food more or less prepared, and this preparation is a matter of some importance with regard to economy and efficie...
-Mixture Of Food
For working horses, it is necessary that the food consist of a mixture of different kinds; for though health may be maintained on hay or grass alone, yet whenever exertion exceeds that of mere exercis...
-Quantity Of Food
As before mentioned, the quantity of food allowed for a horse, over and above what is required to maintain health, should be in proportion to the amount of work exacted. A selection of diet having bee...
-Frequency Of Feeding
Next in importance to the quantity of food is the frequency with which it should be given. It should always be remembered that the peculiar anatomical structure of the digestive organs in the horse, a...
-Water
Water is as essential to horses as food, and unless for special reasons, they should never be stinted in it. Horses prefer soft to hard water, and clean to dirty water; whether hard or soft, it should...
-Grooming
Next in importance to food and water in stable-kept horses is grooming. There can be no doubt that the artificial state in which horses are kept renders cleanliness of the skin a necessity, and it is ...
-Clothing
For horses with fine skins, which require to be kept scrupulously clean and glossy, as well as for those performing fast work in cold weather, clothing is necessary. For the former it is required all ...
-Clipping And Singeing
With well-bred, fine-skinned horses kept in comfortable stables, and having good grooming and clothing, the natural coat, except when they are aged, need not be interfered with; but there are horses w...
-Bandaging
The legs of well-bred thin-skinned horses, or those which are sick or lame, are frequently bandaged, the bandages being either of flannel or linen. Flannel bandages keep the legs warm, and if these ar...
-Litter
Next to good grooming, perhaps, so far as the horse's health and comfort are concerned, is the allowing him plenty H 2 of good clean litter. This is usually straw, and there is no doubt that for healt...
-Exercise
When not performing regular work, horses require steady exercise at regular periods during the intervals; if this be neglected, the horse becomes soft, fat, and is predisposed to disease. In additio...
-Work
No definite rules can be laid down for the amount of work horses should be called upon to perform, so much will depend upon the character of the work, their age, quality, condition, season, the nature...
-Rest
Rest, to a hard-worked horse, is as much a necessity as good food, and the animal should enjoy as complete repose as possible during the time allowed for it; quiet and freedom from disturbance are, th...
-Stable Routine
For the good management of all stables, a certain routine and discipline are necessary, and these must be rigorously carried out; without them, the stable will neither be clean, healthy, nor comfortab...
-Chapter V. Riding And Hunting
The remarks on this subject are especially addressed to those who are beginning to ride and hunt. They are written, as is the following chapter, with a primary view to the horse, not with any idea of ...
-Riding And Hunting. Part 2
Martingales are not generally required for hunters, but when they are they should always be of a good length, so as not to interfere with the horse's head when jumping. Kings on the reins are sometim...
-Riding And Hunting. Part 3
In trotting off to cover there is nothing out of the usual to observe, but in the run more attention is demanded. We will, however, at this period confine ourselves strictly to the riding part of the ...
-Biding To Hounds
On starting for a day's hunting, it is better to ride at a walk for at least the first mile, after which you may increase your pace to a covert jog trot, which should not exceed between five or six ...
-Chapter VI. Harness And Driving
Harness Proper harness and harnessing are of the first importance in driving horses, and no one should attempt to handle the reins, and especially those attached to spirited horses, without more or l...
-Harness And Driving. Continued
The traces are attached to the hames in the manner already indicated, or by other means. Perhaps the best, because the most convenient, is the French plan, in which a piece like a hammer-head is fixed...
-Driving
Skilful driving from a carriage implies the possession of those qualities which a skilful rider alone possesses, among which good strong hands, quick eyes, a cool head, judgment, courage, and patience...
-Chapter VII. The Tradesman's Horse And Family Pony
Tradesmen employ horses of different kinds, sizes and qualities, according to their requirements, and sometimes also according to their means and fancies. We therefore find them of not only different ...
-The Family Pony
Ponies are much more in request in England than asses or mules, as, though not so hardy, or easily and cheaply kept, they are more docile and reliable, so far as temper is concerned, and are much more...
-Chapter VIII. Breeding, Foaling, And Foal-Rearing
The breeding of horses is a matter that would require much more space for its consideration than can be devoted to it here, and it is one, moreover, which may be discussed from many points of view. Su...
-Breeding
In the matter of size, some persons, with the view to produce increased height in the foal, recommend the stallion being larger than the mare, while others advocate the contrary. No rule, it would see...
-Foaling
It is well to know the signs of approaching parturition, as if the mare and her produce are valuable, it may be desirable to have an attendant with her, in case she requires assistance. Such an occur...
-Foaling. Continued
It is recommended that after foaling, aged mares with large pendulous bellies should be relieved by supporting this part with an evenly adjusted wide bandage, passed several times round the body. Rar...
-Foal Rearing
Nothing is more important for the future well-being of the foal than judicious rearing during its early years, as then its constitution is most impressionable, and its development receives an impetus ...
-Chapter IX. Breaking And Training
The education of a horse is generally included in the words breaking and training and is commenced and carried through with the object of making the animal tractable, and subservient to the requirem...
-Breaking And Training. Part 2
Leading and longeing should be commenced when the colt is fully accustomed to the head-collar and to head manipulation. This is best affected by a cavesson well fitted to the head, and with a long lea...
-Breaking And Training. Part 3
A few days of this, and he may be driven in long reins in the longeing ground or a field, turning and stopping him now and again, allowing his head plenty of play, and not pulling at it too much, so t...
-Breaking And Training. Part 4
The colt may now be led out and longed with the saddle on, after which he may traverse roads. Another lesson on the same day may be with stirrups attached to the saddle, and even extra straps, with a ...
-Breaking And Training. Part 5
The paces of the horse are the walk, trot, canter, and gallop. There are other artificial paces, such as ambling, pacing, running, etc., but they are not usually recognised in this country. Walking i...
-Breaking And Training. Part 6
It must be remembered, however, that jumping cannot be perfectly taught some horses - indeed, there are some which are unteachable; while to others it comes naturally. The colt must be ridden quietly...
-Chapter X. The Ass And Mule
These animals, though but little used in this country, in comparison with the horse, are nevertheless of much value for certain kinds of work, and especially under particular conditions. Their usefuln...
-The Mule
Intermediate between the horse and the ass, in nature and in utility, comes the mule. For certain purposes, this hybrid is superior to both, combining in himself several of the good qualities of the h...
-The Mule. Part 2
Their pace is slower than that of the horse, notwithstanding the many reports published as to their being equal in speed . to him. uI have seen it asserted that there were mules that had been known to...
-The Mule. Part 3
Being tall, heavy, and fat is no criterion of serviceability. A mule measuring 14 1/2 hands high, to be in good working condition, should not weigh more than a thousand pounds; heavier than this, his ...
-Chapter XI. Shoeing, And Diseases And Injuries Of The Foot
In order to understand the general principles of shoeing, a glance at the different parts of the hoof is necessary. The wall is that portion which surrounds the foot, and is alone seen when this is ...
-Periplantar Shoeing
Knowing that the horse's foot is admirably constructed to perform certain definite functions, and that the hoof, in ordinary conditions, is designed to act as the medium through which the most importa...
-Shoeing For Ice And Slippery Roads
Provided the frog comes largely in contact with the ground, there is not usually much danger of slipping; but as it is not always possible to secure this, recourse is had to artificial means. Among th...
-Injuries And Diseases Of The Feet
The foot of the horse, and particularly the fore-foot, is especially liable to disease and injury. Some of the diseases are so serious as to require the utmost skill of the veterinary surgeon; while o...
-Corns
A corn is really a bruise of the lining membrane covering the bones of the foot, immediately beneath the horny sole, and may occur at any part of this; though it is most frequently observed at the ins...
-Thrush
This is a diseased condition of the frog, accompanied by a very offensive discharge from the cleft. It may be brought about by standing in moisture, on foul litter, the absence of pressure to and undu...
-Canker
This is an advanced degree of thrush, and is most frequently seen in coarse-bred draught horses. It is entirely due to bad stable or foot management, and is manifested by fungous inflammation of the...
-Laminitis Or Inflammation Of The Foot
This inflammation of the foot, or laminitis, is chiefly confined to the sensitive laminae, or leaves, which unite the hoof wall to the parts within, and of these leaves those in front are 0 2 most ser...
-Seedy-Toe
We have already referred to the cause of this condition. It may also be due to injury by the clip of the shoe, by driving a nail too near to the quick, or by any other cause which will excite inflamm...
-Navicular Disease
Navicular disease is, perhaps, the most serious malady to which the foot of the horse is liable. It is confined to the back part of the foot, where the large tendon (perforans) passes over the navicul...
-Pricks And Injuries In Shoeing
In the operation of shoeing, injury is sometimes inflicted by the farrier, either through ignorance, carelessness, or pure accident. Corns have been already alluded to as often due to bad shoeing; but...
-Side-Bones
On each wing of the pedal-bone is a large elastic plate of cartilage, the upper margin of which can be distinctly felt above each side of the hoof towards the heels of the foot, and the use of which i...
-Chapter XII. Injuries, Lameness, And Disease
Every horseman should know something of the injuries, lamenesses, and diseases to which the horse is liable, so that, if he cannot avail himself of skilled advice or assistance, he may be able to rend...
-Nursing
When a horse is sick or ill from injury, recovery is much accelerated by careful and sympathetic nursing. However indifferent a horse may be to caressing or kind attention during health, when ill he c...
-Administering Medicines
How To Give A Ball Much care is required in administering medicines in the form of ball or bolus; and practice, as well as courage and tact, are needed in order to give it without danger to the admin...
-Poultices
Poultices are used for allaying pain, promoting suppuration, softening horn or other tissues, and bringing on a healthy action in wounds. To be beneficial, they should be large, and always kept moist....
-Enemas Or Clysters
These are given in fevers, inflammation, constipation, etc., to empty the posterior part of the bowels. They are administered by a large syringe which can contain a quart or more of water, with a nozz...
-Detection Of Lameness
Although the majority of people can tell when a horse is very lame by his unequal gait, yet it requires much experience to detect the leg upon which the horse is lame, and especially if the lameness i...
-Peculiarities Of Action Simulating Lameness
Some horses, from bad riding or driving, acquire a sort of hitch or lift in their trot. There are some horses which walk down hill in so peculiar a manner that they may be supposed to be lame. This k...
-Wounds
Every one who keeps a horse soon finds out that this animal is liable to many wounds and injuries; every part of the body may be wounded. If the wound is clean cut, and there are no foreign matters ab...
-Broken Knees
Broken knees are of frequent occurrence, and are a very great annoyance and trouble, not only in themselves, but also because the blemish may materially lessen the horse's value when he is to be sold....
-Sore Backs
Sore backs may be considered under the head of wounds, and occur even in the best managed stable; but careful attention to the fitting and stuffing of saddles will - at least, for civilian purposes - ...
-Fractures
A simple fracture is when the bone alone is broken, without protrusion through the skin; compound fracture when the bone pierces the skin; comminuted when the bone is broken into many pieces; and comp...
-Sprains
Sprains may be classed as injuries; and a very common one is that of the ligaments or tendons of the fore-leg. Tendons and ligaments are formed of strong fibres; and when some of these are unduly str...
-Bruises
The best treatment for bruises is, as a general rule, frequent fomentations for at least half an hour at a time, and this remedy is usually successful. Some mild stimulating liniment may, after a time...
-Colic
This is a very common disease of the digestive organs, and is due to improper food, very cold water, sudden change of diet, exhaustion from over-work and fasting, and then repletion, and many other ca...
-Inflammation Of The Bowels
This is a very serious disease, and often kills in a few hours. The ordinary causes are exposure to cold, over-fatigue, washing with very cold water when the horse is heated, and not properly clothed ...
-Diarrhoea
This is a term applied to all simple purging in which the faeces are liquid. It may be a natural effort to discharge from the bowels anything obnoxious to them, or to the system generally. Horses tha...
-Irregular Teeth
When the back or molar teeth become irregular, sharp, and chipped, they cut the cheeks or the sides of the tongue, and prevent the horse masticating his food properly; this imperfect mastication leads...
-Worms
Several kinds of worms infest the horse's intestines, but the most common is a long, white, round worm, tapering at each end. When a large number of this worm is present the horse loses condition, and...
-Indigestion
Indigestion is due to several causes, and is most frequently observed in old horses. It often arises from over-feeding, or from indigestible food, and often accompanies debility. The treatment will d...
-Diuresis Or Profuse Staling
This condition often occurs when horses are supplied with bad forage, as mow-burnt or mouldy hay, or kiln-dried oats. It may also be due to giving too much diuretic medicine, as nitrate of potass, tur...
-Megrims
Megrims is a disturbed condition of the circulation of blood in the brain, which causes the horse to show signs of giddiness or stupor. This is usually manifested when the horse is at work, generally ...
-Epilepsy
This is a convulsive disease, arising from a disordered condition of the brain and spinal cord. It comes on suddenly, when the horse is out of doors, or even in the stable. The face, neck, and limbs, ...
-Fainting
This may be due to exhaustion after severe exertion, to a weak or diseased condition of the heart, or as the result of a debilitating disease. There are usually no premonitory signs, the horse falling...
-Cold Or Catarrh
This is one of the most common diseases of the horse, and which may be said to be due in nearly every case to bad stable management, or bad stables. There is nasal discharge, often fever and cough, wi...
-Congestion Of The Lungs
Acute congestion of the lungs is a serious condition, and is often seen in horses called upon to do severe fast work when not properly prepared, and especially when brought into hot stables. Indeed, o...
-Broken Wind
This is indicated by difficult expiration, most marked at the flank, where the gradual rise there is interrupted by a momentary check, and then resumed with a kind of jerk. Inspiration is performed wi...
-Surfeit
Many diseases of the skin pass by this name, though the most common is perhaps nettle-rash, which appears suddenly as an eruption of hard lumps, or weals, on different parts of the body; itching is al...
-Mange
This is a contagious disease, due to a minute insect, and presenting symptoms not unlike the last. Active treatment is necessary for the destruction of the parasite. Paraffin oil, applied once a day,...
-Ring-worm
This is a disease due to a microscopical vegetable fungus, which, commencing to grow in the hair follicles or roots, destroys the hairs, and makes bare circular patches of varying size, with scales or...
-Grease
Grease is a diseased condition of the skin of the pasterns, due to inflammation of the oil glands at this part, the secretion of which is greatly increased (hence the name) with, as it advances, crack...
-Cracked Heels
This may be said, in the majority of cases, to be a form of grease, though generally it may be unaccompanied by any increase of the oily secretion of the skin. The hollow of the pasterns is the part w...
-Mud Fever
This is the same condition of the skin of the other parts of the limb as cracked heels, and is due to the same cause, or causes, the inflammation extending to the under parts of the belly. The skin is...
-Warts
These grow on different parts of the skin, and are sometimes very troublesome when they are situated where the harness rubs them; they are frequently of such a size or formation as to constitute a dis...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications
Illustrated, fine Art, and other Volumes. Art, The Magazine of Yearly Volume. With about 500 choice Engravings from famous Paintings and from Original Drawings by the First Artists of the day. An Ori...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 2
Edinburgh, Old and New, Cassell's. With 600 Illustrations. Three Vols., 9s. each ; library binding, 1 10s. the set. Egypt: Descriptive, Historical, and Picturesque. By Prof. G. Ebers. Translated by ...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 3
Great Painters of Christendom, The, from Cimabue to Wilkie. By John Forbes-Robertson. Illustrated throughout. Popular Edition, cloth gilt, 12s. 6d. Gulliver's Travels. With 88 Engravings by Morten. C...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 4
1874 - 1880. 12s. The Gladstone Parliament, 1881 - 1886. 12s. Paxton's Flower Garden By Sir Joseph Paxton and Prof. Lindley. Revised by Thomas Baines, F.R.H.S. Three Vols. With 100 Coloured Plates. ...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 5
Shakespeare, Miniature. Illustrated. In Twelve Vols., 12s. Shakespearean Scenes and Characters. Illustrative of Thirty Plays of Shakespeare. With Thirty Steel Plates and Ten Wood Engravings. The Text...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 6
Bible Educator, The. Edited by the Very Rev. Dean Plumptre, D.D. With Illustrations, Maps, etc. Four Vols., cloth, 6s. each. Bible Work at Home and Abroad. Yearly Volume, 3s. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progr...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 7
Model Drawing. 3s. Orthographical and Isometrieal Projection. 2S. Practical Perspective. 3s. Stonemasons, Drawing for. 3s. Applied Mechanics. By Sir R. S. Ball, LL.D. 2s. Systematic Drawing and S...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 8
Bound by a Spell; or, the Hunted Witch of the Forest. By the Hon. Mrs. Greene. Under Bayard's Banner. By Henry Frith. The King's Command. A Story for Girls. By Maggie Symington. The Romance of Inve...
-Selections From Cassell & Company's Publications. Part 9
Margaret's Enemy. Pen's Perplexities. Notable Shipwrecks. Golden Days. Wonders of Common Things. Little Empress Joan. At the South Pole. Truth will Out. Pictures of School Life and Boyhood. T...
-The Book Of The Horse
By S. SIDNEY. With a Section on Veterinary Information by George Fleming, LL.D., F.R.C.V.S. With 28 Fac-simile Coloured Plates, and about 150 Wood Engravings. New and Revised Edition, price 35s.; o...









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