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number of bad horses is very small. Nobody in
the Sahara cares to possess ten camels until he
has a horse wherewith to defend them.

The servant of the Prophet went one day to
Eblis, the Black Demon, and said to him,
"Eblis, what is it that can reduce your body
to a liquid state, and cut your back in two?"
"It is the neighing of a horse," he answered.
"I could never get into a house where there
was horse kept for the service of Allah."

Now we have Abd-el-Kader in the character
of that poet who named the points of a good
horse, while he recited praises of them from the
poets. "A thorough-bred horse," he says, " has
three things long, three things short, three
things broad, and three things clean. The three
things long, are the ears, the neck, and the fore-legs.
The three things short, are the dock, the
hind-legs, and the back. The three things
broad, are the forehead, the chest, and the
croup. The three things clean, are the skin, the
eyes, and the hoof. He ought to have the
withers high, and the flanks hollow and without
any superfluous flesh. 'Dost thou accomplish
a journey at great speed with steeds high in the
withers and fine in the flanks.' The tail should
be well furnished at the root, so that it may
cover the space between the thighs. 'The tail
is like unto the veil of a bride.' The nostrils
wide. 'Each of his nostrils resembles the den
of a lion; the wind rushes out of it when he is
panting.' The hoof round and hard. 'The
hoof should resemble the cup of a slave. They
walk on hoofs hard as the moss-covered stones
of a stagnant pool.'  'When my courser rushes
towards a goal, he makes a noise like to that of
wings in motion, and his neigh resembles the
mournful note of the nightingale.'  'In the
elegance of his form he resembles a picture painted
in a palace. He is majestic as the palace itself.'"
So sing the Arab poets of the Arab steeds. It
is a test of a well-formed horse that, standing
upright on all fours, he can put out his neck
and drink from a stream flowing level with the
ground without bending his knees.

Immediately after an Arab foal is born, it is
made to swallow two or three eggs, and has its
hoofs rubbed with salt and a desert herb to
harden them. Seven days afterwards the mother
is made to swallow a pound or a pound and a
half of rancid butter, not salted. The foal is
not allowed to suck for more than six months,
then it has camel's, cow's, or ewe's milk, which
are supposed to soften the coat, and it also lives
in the tent as a family pet, played with, and fed
with bread, flour, milk, and dates, by the
women and children. Thus it becomes attached
as warmly as a dog to those of its own household.
"Of camel's milk," says the Emir, "it
has the particular power of imparting speed, so
that a man, if he takes nothing else for a
sufficient time, will vie in swiftness with the camels
themselves. It strengthens the brain and the
tendons, and does away with fat." In summer
the horses are not watered till three in the
afternoon, or two hours later than in winter.
The time for drinking being chosen when the
water is least chilled. The proverb of the desert
is, "In the hot season put back the hour of the
watering-place, and put forward that of the
nose-bag. In the cold season put forward the
hour of the watering-place, and put back that
of the nose-bag." Among the desert tribes, for
forty days counting from August, and for forty
days at the end of December and beginning of
January, the horses are watered only every
other day. Food is seldom given in the morning.
The horse marches on the food of the preceding
evening, not on that of the same day. The Arab
himself is to be inured to thirst. "The cavalier
of truth should eat little, and, above all, drink
little. If he cannot endure thirst he will never
make a warriorhe is nothing but a frog of the
marshes." Great care is taken that the horse
should drink only water that is pure. He is not
curry-combed, but cleaned with the nose-bag,
which is made of horse-hair, and he is often
washed, if the weather be favourable. Milk is
the ordinary drink of horses of the desert. The
horses are well covered with cloths made in the
tribe for full protection of the loins, belly, and
chest. Horses with dark coats need this less
than the white horse, whose fine skin is very

In the sun he melts like butter:
In the rain he melts like salt.

Bay is the colour of the hardy. If one tells you
that a horse has leaped to the bottom of a
precipice without hurting himself, ask of what
colour he was; and if he replies Bay, believe
him. A desert chief, being pursued, turned to
his son and asked, " What horses do you see in
front of the enemy?"  "White horses," replied
his son. "It is well; let us make for the sunny
side, and they will melt away like butter."
Presently the chief turned again to his son and
asked, " What horses do you see in front of the
enemy?" "Black horses," replied his son.
"It is well; let us make for stony ground, and
we shall have nothing to fear. They are the
negroes of the Soudan, who cannot walk with
bare feet upon flints." A third time the chief
asked, "What horses do you see now, my son,
in front of the enemy?" "Dark chesnuts and
dark bays." "In that case," he cried, " strike
out, my childrenstrike out and give your horses
the heel, for these might perchance overtake us
if we had not given barley to ours all the summer
through." The Piebald is despised; it is own
brother to the cow. The Yellow, with white
mane and tail, is of the Jew's colour that brings
ill luck. The Roan is "a pool of blood." Its
rider will be overtaken, but will never overtake.
A good horse must have no white spots except
the star or white stripe on the forehead; if this
descend to the lips, the owner of that horse
will never be in want of milk. The Prophet
abhorred a horse that has white marks on all its
legs. The horse with a white mark that does
not come down to the tip of the upper lip, and
a stocking on the off forefoot, is like the poison
fatal in an hour. Whoever sees him, prays Allah
to avert from him the calamity he brings.

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