Dealing with animals like the horse, of high nervous organization, great strength and activity, and often considerable weight, it is sometimes necessary to employ means of restraint whereby operations of greater or less severity may be performed. Minor ones can often be accomplished under the restraining influence of the voice alone; and in this connection it may be remarked that it is given to some men to exercise great authority over the brute kingdom, while a want of tact and judgment would seem to preclude others from ever attaining such a desirable influence.
Some of the means employed for this purpose are mechanical, others physiological, and in their application may be confined to a limb, or to one portion of the animal, or applied to his whole body. By superior force the animal is rendered incapable of resistance, and the same may be effected by the administration of drugs which overcome consciousness and paralyse movement.
Fig. 495. - Twitch applied.
PLATE LI. HORSE HOBBLED.
PLATE LI. HORSE CAST.
The twitch is a simple and effectual appliance by which a horse may be induced to submit to some trifling operation. It is, however, too often resorted to in many stables in lieu of gentler methods of persuasion.
This instrument consists of a loop of stout cord attached to a strong-stick by means of a hole an inch or two from the end. In applying it the loop is placed on the horse's upper lip, and the stick is then twisted until sufficient force has been applied to overcome resistance (fig. 495). It is sometimes applied-to the ear and tongue. The ear is liable to be permanently injured by it, and the practice of twitching the tongue is so cruel, as well as dangerous, that it cannot be too strongly condemned.
As soon as the twitch is removed from the lip. the latter should be gently rubbed with the palm of the hand, as this gives relief to the horse, and his gratification is evident by his manner.
Holding up a leg will be a sufficient deterrent in many cases where a restive animal will not otherwise submit to be handled.
If strapped up with a stirrup-leather - a method of restraint to be remembered in emergency (fig. 496) - knee-caps should not be forgotten, in anticipation of a fall.
Restive horses are sometimes induced to take medicine, or remain quiet while a hay seed is being removed from the eye, or some other simple operation is performed, by inserting the running portion of a hemp halter under the upper lip while the head piece is passed over the poll; any resistance made by the animal while so secured increases the amount of punishment and causes him to desist.
Attaching the head to the tail is one of the breaker's means of securing obedience, but is rarely applicable for the purposes of medication or minor surgery, so that we need not particularly describe it. The bag of corn which the breaker finds useful in the case of determined rearers is also of service in the stable when a horse refuses to be drenched or "balled" and strikes out with his front legs.
Fig. 496. - Fore-leg strapped up.
Here an ordinary corn sack is about half-filled with heavy oats or maize, and the ends firmly secured to a harness collar (previously put on the animal's neck) in such a manner that the contents are suspended in front of the creature's knees. He cannot strike, and it is with difficulty he can rear.
Fig. 497. - The Travis.
The travis (fig. 497) - a fixed apparatus seldom seen at the present day, though in general use formerly at all country smithies - is an arrangement of posts and rails, in length rather less than that of a horse's body, and in width only sufficient to permit those of large size to enter. By means of bars, straps, and cords a restive animal can be secured in a variety of attitudes, but the patient is liable to injure himself while struggling, and for this reason the travis has to a great extent fallen into desuetude.
PLATE LII. VINSOT'S OPERATING TABLE.
The side-line is a useful and humane appliance, having few objections, although, like all other methods of securing a horse, it is not wholly free from danger, either to the animal or attendants.
A single and a double side-line are recognized among those in the habit of operating upon animals. The former consists only of a long rope passed round the neck and fastened in form of a collar, the free end being carried between the hind-limbs and into the hollow of the heel, whence it is brought round to the front, and looped or fastened by a "half hitch" to the collar portion again.
Fig. 49S. - Side-line.
Fig. 499. - Hobbles.
Fig. 500. - Cross Hobbles.
The hind-leg can in this way be brought forward, and the horse prevented from kicking on that side.
The double side-line is employed in the same way on both limbs, but in addition it is also used to cast and firmly secure an animal on the ground. A common wagon rope is all that is necessary, but very much more convenient lines are now supplied by veterinary instrument makers. They are provided with eyes through which the rope ends are made to pass, with a minimum risk of either rubbing the skin or drawing the line too tight (fig. 498. See also Plate XLIII).