In time of peace no horses are bought at less than four nor more than seven years old.
As regards color, bays, browns, chestnuts and blacks are preferred; a few grays are required for special corps, but odd-colored horses are not wanted.
No unsound or seriously blemished horse will be taken; the veterinary examination is fairly strict but is also strictly fair. Undocked horses are preferred, and no horse with a very short docked tail will be taken.
In time of war, however, when the demand, as a rule, exceeds the available supply, purchasing officers overlook many minor defects, provided the animals offered are sound and serviceable, while conforming generally to the requirements of the service.
Breeders on the western ranges will, no doubt, find it profitable from this time forward, to devote considerable attention to the production of horses especially adapted for military use.
In the other portions of the Dominion the supply of such horses can be enormously increased with but little extra effort or expense on the part of the breeder.
Immense numbers of light horses and ponies are annually bred in Canada of which many when grown are, owing to their nondescript character, of but little value. If the breeders of these animals would send their lighter mares to pure-bred stallions, of the British breeds, intelligently selected with a view to the production of a definite type of military horse, a vast improvement in our clean-legged stock would speedily manifest itself.
High prices would then, as now, be easily obtainable for really superior animals; most of the others would find ready sale for army use as well as for other purposes, while the misfits and object lessons would be less numerous and, except by comparison, not less valuable, than they are at present.
[The admirable instructions for breeding army horses in Canada, as set forth in the previous pages, are applicable when applied to breeding the same class of horses in the United States.] - Author.
Note. - With horsemen, the figures 15.1, 15.3 are read fifteen hands, one inch, and fifteen hands, three inches. See pp. 356, 357.