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Horses are often frightened or excited by
music. To cure them of this, it is a good
plan to ride them with a military band every
morning. If you have not such a thing near,
blow a horn in the stable until they will put
their noses in it and take out a piece of
sugar. You can get them to do it in a very
short time, and afterwards they will hardly
prick their ears at the most intolerable
Italian organ-grinder who ever was in league
with an undertaker to ply his trade upon the
wooden pavement.

I remember once finding a horn a very
useful thing. When a lad, I was on a visit
to a gentleman who hunted one of the
Midland counties, and his second " whip " being
taken ill, I supplied his place, and never
enjoyed a hunt so much in my life. Lad-
like, however, I rode my horse almost off his
legs, and going home I was left behind by the
whole field. My horse had had enough for
one day; and no coaxing and (I am ashamed
to say) no thrashing would prevail upon him
to go further. I was about five miles from
home and mortal hungry; I knew, too, that if
I was not at the Hall by five, every vestige of
dinner would be devoured by the hungry
gentlemen who had gone on before, and who
invited themselves regularly on hunt days to
my kind-hearted host's table. Well, thought
I playing with my stirrups, what's to be
done? Echo answered or might have answered,
what? To assist my reflections, I took out
the horn I had been blowing with high glee
for the greater part of the day, and made
such a discordant noise, and one so unlike
anything my horse had ever heard before,
that, seized with the utmost alarm, he carried
me home like steeple-chasing. I blew like
mad whenever he slackened his pace, and
was quite in time for dinner, with plenty to
spare.

Fifteen hands is the best height for a hack;
a hunter may be higher. As long as your
weight will allow it, ride light thorough-bred
horses. Avoid Irish horses, unless you are a
bold temperate rider; they are almost as
difficult to manage as Irish men. They are
particularly awkward in harness, and nearly
always gibbers. When they will go, however,
and if you are not afraid of them, they go
well. Never buy a horse who has not good,
airy, cheerful action; it is combined, generally,
with every other good quality. For harness,
horses should have plenty of bone and
substance, with short pasterns and round action.
For saddle, they should be light, with long
springy action and long pasterns. Chesnut
horses are nearly always hot; roans as
generally slugs; mares are hardiest, horses quietest;
grey horses are difficult to keep clean, and look
miserable when they are dirty. Horses should
only be clipped when they are in hard work.
I do not hold with trimming the legs even,
except for Park work. Hunters' legs should
never be trimmed, the hair on the fetlock
protecting them from sharp stones, thorns, and so
on. A little patience and time will enable you
to dispense with punishment of any kind. If
you say " Steady! " to a horse whenever you
want him to go slower, and " Wo! " when you
wish to stop him, he will moderate his pace,
or pull up without having his mouth hauled
about, and likes it better too. In the same way
you may teach a hack to canter whenever
you raise the right curb-rein, and to trot when
you drop your hand and take the snaffle.
"Gently, lad! " or " Steady, lass! " may bring
you to a walk, and " Wo-ho " to a dead halt.
Feed in small quantities every two hours, and
give no hay to horses in fast worksupplying
its place with clover-chaff. Beans only do for
hard work, and, even then, horses fed upon too
many of them are apt to fly at the heels. As
they are very fond of them, however, a few
beans bruised are a good thing to give horses
off their feed, or in raw cold wintry weather,
or on a long journey. The feet should be
stopped twice a week, not oftener, except in
the height of summer, or the hoofs will get
too soft, and the pressure of the shoe bring
on corns, which make a horse unsound. A
dandy may have his hacks' hoofs polished with
honey, boiled oil, and beeswax, mixed and
put on very lightly, and after the hoof has
been washed quite clean. Blacking or varnish
is very mischievous.

I have some ideas of my own about shoeing,
and think that iron and nails might be
replaced by some lighter and softer material;
but I shall not say anything about this, until
I have completed some experiments: except
that we all know very well that more
horses are lamed by shoeing than by every
other cause put together; and that more
horses fall down, in towns especially, from
iron shoes than from the wooden pavement.
I do not think that, with a proper
shoe, even the wooden pavement would be
dangerous. Iron shoes get hot going over
the stones, and the nails burning their way
out, the shoe comes off. I know a farmer in
Wiltshire who never shoes his horses;
but as he rides mostly over soft ground, and
never beyond the steadiest of jog-trots, it will
not do to cite him as an example to be
followed. If, therefore, we must shoe our
horses (a fact which I am not altogether going
to admit, as I think the hoof might be hardened
by proper treatment), let us set about finding
some lighter and better shoe than the present
one as soon as possible.

On the 18th instant will be published, Price Threepence,
A ROUND OF STORIES BY
THE CHRISTMAS FIRE.
BEING
The Extra Christmas Number of "Household Words,"
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS.
And containing the amount of One regular Number and a Half.

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