We are indeed an infant country, but have grown to an age where parental restraint must be used now, if ever. We have millions of farmers in America, breeding annually millions of horses; and except we have another internal war, our horses will soon become a burden and a pest.
There are numbers of rich men throughout the country breeding fancy horses, for sport and speculation, but they only add to the increasing burden of useless animals, except for gambling purposes; for they are neither work horses, coach horses, nor saddle horses. Our farmers of the land are the breeders, as our recent war of the rebellion testified. The war of 1812, the Mexican war of 1847, and the war of 1861 each called for horses at a moment's notice, and our farmers supplied them, destroying foundation bloods for recuperation. From 1861 to 1863 the noble patriotism of our farmers caused them to vie with each other as to who should give the best and least money to help the government; and cannot our government now do something for the strength and sinew of the land, the farmers?
I was dealing in horses, more or less, from 1861 to 1863 (as I had been before and long after), and many was the magnificent horse I saw led out by the farmer for the government, at a minimum price, when, previous to 1861, $400, $500, and even $600 was refused for the same animals. Horses that would prove a headlight to any gentleman's coach in the city, and others that would trot off fourteen to sixteen miles an hour on the road as easy as they would eat their oats, went into the cavalry or artillery or to baggage trains. What were left for recuperation at the close of the war were mongrels from Canada or the Indian and wild lands of the West, and such other lazy brutes as our good farmers would not impose upon the government with or later were condemned by the army buyers. These were largely of the Abdallah type of horse, noted for coarseness, homeliness, also soft and lazy constitutions. No one disputes the brute homeliness of the Abdallah horse, and in this the old and trite saying of "Like begets like" is exemplified in descendants, with which our country is flooded. The speed element of which we boast was left in our mares of Arabian blood through Clay and Morgan, but was so limited in numbers as to be an apology for our present time standard in the breeding of fancy horses.
Knowing that Abdallah blood produced no speed, and being largely ignorant as to the breeding of our mares, which were greatly scattered over the land after the war, some kind of a guess had to be made as to the possibility of the colts we were breeding, hence the time standard fallacy. But it has ruined enough men, and gone far enough.
Upon Lieutenant Robertson's proposition, a turn can be made, and a solid base for blood with breeding of all American horses can be demanded by the government for the country's good.
From the earliest history of man, as a people increased in wealth, they gave attention to mental culture with refinement; following which the horse was cultivated to a high blood standard with national pride. From the Egyptians, the Moors, the Romans, and Britons to France, Russia, and Prussia we look, finding the horse by each nation had been a national pride - each nation resorting to the same primitive blood from which to create its type, and that primitive was the Arabian. Scientists have theorized, men have written, and boys have imagined in print, as to some other than the Arabian from which to create a type of horse, and yet through all ages we find that Arabian has been the one stepping stone for each advanced nation upon which blood to build its national horse.
Scientists have reasoned and explored, trying to prove to the contrary, but what have they proved? The Arabian horse still remains the fact.
The lion, the tiger, the leopard, still remain the same, as does the ass and the zebra. As God created and man named them, with all animal life, subject to the will of man, so do they all continue to remain and reproduce, each true to its type, free from imperfections or disease; also the same in vegetable and mineral life. In animal life, the build, form, color, size, and instincts remain the same, true to its blood from the first, and yet all was created for man through which to amuse him and make him work.
It is a fact that all of man's creations from any primitive life, either animal or vegetable, will degenerate and cease to be, while of God's perfect creations, all continue the same.
We will condense on the horse. The Arabian is the most pliable in its blood of any other known to man. From it, any other type can be created. Once a type has been created, it must be sustained in itself by close breeding, which can be continued for quite a number of years without degeneracy. For invigoration or revitalizing, resort must be made to its primitive blood cause. To go out of the family to colder or even warmer creations of man means greater mongrelization of both blood and instinct, also to invite new diseases.
Nothing is more infatuating than the breeding of horses. A gifted practical student in the laws of animal life may create a new and fixed type of horse, but it can be as quickly destroyed by the multitude, through ignorant mongrelization.
In the breeding of horses, our people are wild; and in no industry can our government do more good than in making laws relating to their breeding. It can father the production of a national horse without owning a breeding farm. It can make blood and breeding a standard for different types, and see to it that its laws are obeyed, thus benefiting all the agriculturists, and have breeding farms in America; and also itself as a government, financially. We must not however begin upon the creation of other nations, but independently upon God's gift to man, as did England, France, and Russia. That a government should interfere in the breeding of horses is no new thing. The Arabs of the desert boast to this day of King Solomon's stud of horses; but in each and every instance where a nation has regulated and encouraged the breeding of the horse to a high standard of excellence, they have all begun at the primitive, or Arabian. Thus England in boasting of her thoroughbred race horse admits it to be of Arabian origin. Russia in boasting of her Orloff trotting and saddle horse tells you it is of Arabian origin. France boldly informs you that her Percheron is but an enlarged Arabian, and offers annual special premiums to such as revitalize it with fresh Arabian blood.