Besides diseases and defects which amount to unsoundness, there are certain faults which will entitle a buyer to return a horse when warranted " free from vice ". Of course, it must be clear that such faults existed at the time of sale, and are not the result of subsequent mismanagement or uuskilfulness. The first we shall have occasion to notice is: -
A biter is manifestly vicious, as being dangerous to those who have occasion to approach it. From the great power in a horse's jaw it is capable of inflicting terrible injuries.
Bolting, Or Running Away, is also held to be a vice, if habitual. It is open to question, however, whether a horse that has run away once would not be likely to do so again if a favourable opportunity offered.
Crib-Biting, as tending to injure a horse, is sometimes held to be a vice. If it has that effect, it undoubtedly is a vice. Many devices have been tried to cure this habit, with more or less success. One, adopted by a well-known sportsman, is a slung bar in front of the manger, which slips away from the horse as often as he attempts to gnaw it.
This is a very bad and dangerous habit, and a confirmed kicker is unquestionably a vicious animal. It is, however, not at all an unusual thing for a high-mettled or even a docile horse to develop a habit of kicking, in consequence of mismanagement or cruelty, which before purchase was perfectly free from the vice. Thus a young horse warranted " quiet to ride and drive", after being kept in the stable a long time and too highly fed, may, on being put into harness, run away, though it had never shown a tendency to do so before; or kick the dashboard to pieces and upset the vehicle, from being urged uphill with sticks. Before returning a horse, therefore, for the alleged vice of kicking, it is always desirable to ascertain, first, whether the horse is a confirmed kicker; and secondly, if it be so, how it acquired such a habit. Kicking when " merely a mode of letting off superfluous spirit" is, of course, not a vice.
Rearing, if it has become a habit, is most dangerous, as the horse may fall backwards upon and kill its rider. In this stage it is probably incurable, and is a vice. In a raw, unbroken colt, however, it could hardly be accounted a vice.
Restiveness, in the sense of refusing to go in the direction desired, is a returnable vice.
Shying, when a confirmed habit, is a vice.
Weaving In The Stable, or an uneasy moving of the head from side to side, like a wild beast in his cage, is a vice.