Wisconsin Farmers' Institutes / Wisconsin Farmers' Institutes : a hand-book of agriculture
Bulletin No. 11 (1897)
Craig, J. A.
The horse and its market, pp. 154-168 PDF (4.5 MB)
WISCONSIN FAMERSM INSTITU1U. 1i ing gaits in a satisfactory manner: Walk, trot, rack, canter and running- walk. Quality. In a general way all these types of light horses to sell to advantage in the market must be possessed of high quality. This term applied to horses refers to their bone, skin, hair and to other features of their organization. Evidences of quality are clean cut features, glove like skin, silky hair and firm bone. In the instance of the horse possessed of quality, the lines of the face are clearly defined, and in every region there is a complete ab- sence of coarseness. It is possible in such a horse to distinguish easily the muscles, tendons and bones, and when the animal is slightly exerted, so that the coat lies smooth, the veins in the skin show clearly in an intricate net work, so delicate and fine grained is the skin. This freedom from coarse- ness in the joints and tendons, and in the other parts, shows a soundness in these features that guarantee much endurance. Coarse hair is associated with coarse skin, and that is a true in- dication of soft spongy bone that quickly becomes diseased when sub- jected to a strain of hard usage or neglect. Requirements of Good Action. Still considering the market for light horses in a general way it will be found that a necessary characteris- tic of all the types is good action. Ac- tion is desirable chiefly for its utility, but also for the many other qualities which it indicates. It goes without saying that the light horse with good action is very durable and more enjoy- able, as the work is done easier and more profitably, as more of it is ac- complished; but looking still further, it will be found surprising to notice the other attributes that are attend- ant on it. The action of a horse re- flects his temperament, proves the balance of his conformation, and indi- catee the degree of uoundness. quaities or the Walking out. Excellence at this gait is a very de- sirable quality in all varieties of horses, and unlike the trot its meritor- ious features are the same in all, as it has no connection with type. In the enjoyment of a road horse there is much to admire in the manner in which he conduct himself when walk- ing. It is questionable as to which is the most pleasurable to observe-the walking of the horse whose step is evenly timed and nervy, or the trot- ting of one that has all the grace, style and snap that characterizes the coacher. In moving away from you the feet of the good walker leave the ground with a quick snap, showing in its passage the glint and reflection of the whole shoe. After leaving the ground with this peculiar snap the foot swings upward and forward, then the knee unfolds, the pastern carries the foot gracefully forward and it again comes to the ground lightly but firmly with the characteristic spring and snap that identified the first move- ment. The feet move straight away, swerving neither to the left nor the right, nor should the folding of the knees or the flexing of the hocks re- sult in an outward pitching or spread- ing. A horse that will lift and plant his feet in the way described almost invariably has the up-headed and com- manding appearance in movement which is so admirable in the harness horse. The crucial test of the balance of a horse's walk is the side view. Any variation from proper structural pro- portions results in wobbling, hobbling or an otherwise uneven walk, and all these are readily seen from the side. The levelness with which a horse walks is one of the best evidences that the legs work in harmony. The most common deflection from this is at- tributable to a long, slim coupling which gives the onlooker the impres- sion that the horse might break away into two parts near the region of the .11 I I I I a : : i &AMAWd. 'A
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