Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1970

This page has been validated.
1768
 
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

or sponge, trimming both tail and mane, and forelock when necessary, smoothing them down with a brush on which a little oil has been, dropped.

Watering usually follows dressing; but some horses refuse their food until they have drunk: the groom should not, therefore, lay down exclusive rules on this subject, but study the temper and habits of his horse. Some great authorities on stable management recommend that drinking water should always be kept in the stalls, so that the horses can drink when inclined. This arrangement however is not popular with most grooms.

Exercise.— All horses not in work require at least two hours' exercise daily, and in exercising them a good groom will put them through the paces to which they have been trained. In the case of saddle horses, he will walk, trot, canter and gallop them, in order to keep them up to their work. With draught horses they ought to be kept up to a smart walk and trot.

Feeding must depend on their work, but they require feeding three times a day, with more or less corn each time, according to their work. In the fast coaching days it was a saying among proprietors, that "his belly was the measure of his food"; but the horse's appetite is not to be taken as a criterion of the quantity of food. Horses vary very much in their appetites, as well as in their digestive powers. The following are safe signs that a horse is not being over fed: a healthy pink mouth, clearing up his food to the last oat, and healthy droppings. If the mouth be yellow, food left, or the dung loose or hard and slimy, give bran mashes for a day, afterwards include allowance of corn.

Afresh young horse can bruise its own oats when it can get them but aged horses, after a time, lose the power of masticating and bruising them, and bolt them whole: thus much impeding the work of digestion. For an old horse, bruise the oats; for a young one it does no harm and little good. Oats should be bright and dry, and not too new. Where they are new, sprinkle them with salt and water; otherwise, they overload the horse's stomach. Chopped straw mixed with oats, in the proportion of a third of straw or hay, is a good food for horses in full work; and carrots, of which horses are remarkably fond, have a perceptible effect in a short time on the gloss of the coat.

Shoeing.—A horse should not be sent on a journey or any other hard work immediately after new shoeing; the stiffness incidental to new shoes is not unlikely to bring him down. A day's rest, with reasonable exercise, will not be thrown away after this operation. Have the feet stopped at night after being shod; it will keep the feet moist, and allow the nails to better hold.

On reaching home very hot.—Should necessity cause the horse to arrive in that state, the groom should walk him about for a few minutes; this done, he should take off the moisture with the scraper, and after-