We make no plea for the light horse or for the heavy horse. What we do emphasize is the wisdom of breeding the horse which can perform the services required most effectively and economically under any given conditions. Horses of light weight are at a great disadvantage when used for heavy loads, especially on an ascending road and on slippery pavements; while horses of heavy weight are at a disadvantage if used at light work, or for harrowing on soft ground. In the former instance, there is not enough weight to secure adequate traction - adhesive friction, - in the latter, there is unnecessary traction due to unnecessary weight of team, for the work to be accomplished; hence the most economical expenditure of energy is not secured.
Of necessity these horses are driven slowly; hence full opportunity is given for avoiding obstructions without sharp and quick attention to the reins. Little or no display is required of the farm-horse; hence his check-rein may be loose, the driving reins fairly slack, and all his gear and movements arranged to perform service with the least possible expenditure of energy. This does not imply carelessness nor disobedience on the part of the horse. It does imply less guidance by rein, and more by words than would be suitable for a roadster. However, it keeps the draft-and farm-horse up to their highest standard of efficiency, if occasionally, when they are not wearied, they are driven rapidly with tight rein for a short distance; it does them good to stir them up now and then. Such drives bring other muscles into play than those used at slow, heavy work, enliven the team, and in many ways are beneficial.
The class of horses of which we are speaking are called upon to back frequently, often under most difficult conditions. To see energy expended for naught, watch a team backing after both man and team have lost their tempers. Back the horses come, saying as plainly as they can, "You fool driver"; then come loud words, a yanking of the reins, the sting of the lash, and back the load comes, but in the wrong place, and this may be repeated several times before the wagon is placed satisfactorily. No wonder there is need of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals!
A trained horse with extraordinary development of muscle. Owned by Dr. F. B. Howe, Ithaca, N. Y.