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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)

Page 158

ing gaits in a satisfactory manner:
Walk, trot, rack, canter and running-
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
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
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
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
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