Nearly as great economy of human muscle is seen in the large cities, by the substitution of horses for men in the transportation of heavy merchandise, for short distances. By reason of crowded streets and cost of maintenance, only one or two animals are usually harnessed to a vehicle. Although only a few horses are brought together in this case to assist a single man, the American has seen to it that large, stout horses are provided, two of which are able to move a load of from four to ten tons over paved streets, - a load equal to that carried by a freight car in the early days of steam railways.
Fig. 2. Harvesting. A five-wheeled "drag*' in action. Two thousand bushels of grain harvested, cleaned and sacked in ten hours.
In 1890 there were, in round numbers, fifteen million horses and two million mules on farms. At least one-half of them were suitable to perform regular agricultural labor and were capable of doing work equal to eighty-five million hand laborers. What a vast addition to the productive power is here secured by the intelligent utilization of the horse; and what economy in using brute energy, which is only from one-tenth to one-twentieth as expensive as human muscular energy!
If, then, the horse is such an economic factor in American production and progress, it behooves the American farmer to acquaint himself with the history of this useful and pleasure-giving animal, that not only good horses may be propagated, but that such selection of breeding stock may be made and such scientific coupling, feeding and training be practiced as will secure not only the best horses but, that which is of quite as much importance, those which shall be best adapted to the work for which they are intended. It is evidently foolish to rear a horse which will increase a man's productive power only five times, when a more intelligent effort might have produced one which would increase it ten times.
So far, the horse has been spoken of as an animal which may be used to replace and alleviate human toil, to increase the efficiency of human effort and to give pleasure. But many horses in the community are beneficial in various other ways. They have a powerful influence in training the hand, and in developing both intellect and judgment. In ancient times, the ox and the ass were used to lighten toil, but horses seldom. At the present time, most half-civilized nations prefer the "senseless" ox or the stubborn, thick-skinned ass to the intelligent, spirited horse, which requires a high degree of skill, and judgment, if his energy is to be directed along the most economical and pleasure-giving lines. The well-bred horse is nearly worthless unless there is a trained mind to direct and control him. In traveling through foreign countries, one is minded of the superior horsemanship of the American farm-boy over that of the farmers' sons of civilized as well as half-civilized countries, boys of Great Britain and her colonies excepted. It is sometimes said that the Ameri can mechanic has produced farm implements whereby the horse can be put to more effective uses. Due credit should be given to the mechanic, but the owners of horses invented nearly all the labor-saving horse implements. When, by reason of increased wants and the complexities of advancing civilized life, division of labor was forced upon us, the mechanic took such implements as were at hand and improved them. J. Stanton Gould1 graphically describes the inventor of the first plow in the following words: "While working the land with his sharpened stick, with his mind intent upon some mode of ameliorating his condition, he (the farmer) sees the bulls and cows grazing on the hillsides around him; they are stronger than he, and he desires to subjugate their strength to his service. Seeing a forked stick in his path, a bright thought dawns upon his mind: he will tie the long end of a stick to the horns of a bull, while the short end will run into the ground and stir it much faster than he could do it with a sharpened stick, and with much less labor to himself. He tries the experiment, and cries, 'Eureka!' or some barbarous equivalent for that Greek word. The germ of the plow is at length invented!"
1 Utica Plow Trial, 1867.
Not only was the crude wooden plow of our ancestors invented by men who had idle horses, which they saw could be far more efficient in tilling the land than men, but the cast plow as well. In like manner, the wagon, the sleigh, the harrow, the corn-harvester, the wooden hay-rake, hay-unloaders and many other similar implements were devised. So it will be seen that the owners of horses situated in a new, sparsely populated country, far removed from machine and implement factories, thought out many devices by which the strength of the horse could be substituted for human labor. It will be seen along how many lines the intellect has been stimulated by this effort to utilize the horse. To breed, rear and train for various uses and to direct the energy of restless, courageous animals, requires no little intelligence and skill. I have yet to find a successful horseman who is not above the average intelligence of his associates in the same station of life.
In the ancient scripture, the Lord, to convince Job of his ignorance and weakness, used the strength, courage and fierceness of the horse to emphasize the argument: - "Hast thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder! Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? The glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in strength. . . . He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted." . . . "He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage."