A good site and aspect, ample and well-designed stabling in the midst of, or in close proximity to, a suitable, well-conditioned farm, constitutes the bed-rock on which the foundation should be laid. A high and dry position, sheltered from the east and north by rising ground, is the most desirable site, and where choice is permissible should be selected.
It is not, however, to be understood that a less elevated position is necessarily objectionable. This would depend a good deal on the nature and porosity of the soil, the extent and efficiency of drainage, and whether the country was heavily wooded or open. The fen lands of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, although low-lying, are nevertheless well adapted to horse-breeding. Their light, fertile soil, luxuriant herbage, and free open country, where neither fences nor trees interfere with the free circulation of air and escape of moisture, all conduce to a state of atmospheric dryness and salubrity, notwithstanding the numerous water-courses which intersect the land.
Soil suitable for breeding and rearing horses, although variable in its nature, is influenced in a great measure by the extent to which it is drained and wooded. In a well-drained, open country, where the moisture is carried off and not allowed to stagnate and become dissipated merely by evaporation, a fairly strong clay may prove useful; while the converse of these conditions will render the air so humid and damp, and the soil so cold, that both plant and animal life will be prejudicially affected. Trees and fences, by breaking the force of the wind and affording shelter from storms, are most desirable adjuncts in due proportion and when suitably disposed, but when existing in excess they not only impart dampness to the district by preventing the free circulation of air, but in summer-time they form a breeding-ground for flies, which worry and torment horses so, that grazing is interfered with and constant stamping provoked, causing serious damage to legs, and especially to those of growing animals.
To go into the subject of geological formation best suited to the breeding of horses would open up a very difficult and debatable question.
To what extent it influences the success or failure of breeding operations it is impossible to say, but it is important to notice that by far the greater number, and the most valuable horses, are bred and reared on the eastern side of the country.
When we come to examine the formations enclosed in this area it is found that a large breadth of the country extending from the coast-line inwards is alluvium, and beyond this to the west, chalk and the red sandstones predominate. Another feature about this horse-breeding area is the small number of trees, the paucity of woodland and big fences, and for the most part its flatness.
There can be no doubt that good horses can be, and are, bred on every description of geological formation, other things being favourable, but for obvious reasons those referred to above appear to lend themselves to this class of enterprise much better than do some others.
Limestone we know is greatly extolled, and all other things being favourable, is perhaps the best substratum that can be found for the purpose, but without the " other things" there is little to be said in its favour.