AMONG the irregular acquaintances of my boyhood, I remember a certain “ Ed ” Hulbert, who was wont to express his notion of felicity in the following concise and oft-repeated phrase: “ A smooth road and a sharp trot! ” There may be nobler ideals ; pursuits may perhaps be thought of which combine pleasure with intellectual improvement to a greater degree ; and certainly it must be admitted that a young or even a middle-aged man should always be provided with an excuse for driving instead of riding, such as that he is lame, or has already taken an equivalent amount of exercise in some other form, or desires to be accompanied by his wife. But, these difficulties surmounted (or shall we say disregarded?), the combination of “ a smooth road and a sharp trot ” will supply no small amusement. Only the horse-lover, indeed, can enjoy it to the full, — subtly communicating through rein and bit with his steed, appreciating the significant play of his ears, and rightly interpreting that lively, measured ring of his feet upon the road which indicates a sound and active stepper. But there are some incidental delights, such as the quick conveyance through fresh air and a passing glimpse of the scenery, which everybody enjoys. Ed Hulbert, to be sure, would have thought but meanly of the man who gave a wish to view the country as his reason for driving; but then the Ed Hulbert standard cannot always be maintained, and something must be pardoned to the weakness of human nature.
In a sense, every horse driven by the owner for pleasure is a road horse. The fast trotter who speeds up and down the Brighton or the Harlem road, drawing a single man in a gossamer wagon ; the round, short-legged cob ; the big, respectable, phlegmatic Goddard-buggy animal, who may be seen in Boston any fine afternoon hauling a master very much like himself out over Beacon Street; the pretty, high-stepping pair in front of a mail phaeton, — all these are road horses, but none of them, excepting sometimes the trotter, is a roadster in the strict sense. The road horse par excellence is a beast of medium size, who can draw a light carriage at the rate of seven miles an hour all day without tiring himself or his driver. He should be able to travel at least ten miles in an hour, twenty miles in two hours, sixty miles in a day; and by this is meant that he should do it comfortably and handily,” as the term is, and feel none the worse for the exertion. Such roadsters are rare, — much more so now, in proportion to the total number of our horses, than they were twenty-five years ago or before the war; the reason being that the craze for fast trotters has thrown the roadster into the shade. Of course, almost any sound horse can be urged and whipped over the ground, “driven off his feed,” perhaps, and so travel these distances in the time mentioned. Nothing is more common than for some broken-down animal to be pointed out by his cruel and mendacious master as one for whom ten or twelve miles an hour is only a sort of exercising gait; the poor beast having very likely been ruined in the effort to accomplish some such feat which was beyond his capacity. The mere fact that a horse has gone a long way in a short time tells little about his powers; the more important inquiry is, What was his condition afterward ? A liveryman in Vermont declared not long ago that, at one time and another, he had lost twelve hundred dollars’ worth of horseflesh through the ignorant and murderous driving of customers who had endeavored to keep up with a certain gray mare, of extraordinary endurance, that was owned in his vicinity for some years. A horse that will step off cheerfully and readily eight miles an hour, a pace so moderate that one never sees it mentioned in an advertisement, is much better than the average ; one that will do ten miles in that time and in the same way is an exceptionally good roadster; and the horse that goes twelve miles an hour with ease is extremely rare. A stable-keeper in Boston, of long experience, tells me that he has known but two horses that would travel at this last-mentioned rate with comfort to themselves and the driver, though he has seen many others, pulling, crazy creatures, that would keep up a pace as fast, or even faster, till they dropped. Of these two pleasant roadsters that were capable of covering twelve miles in sixty minutes, one trotted all the way, up and down hill, whereas the other walked up the steep ascents, and went so much the faster where the grade was favorable. The latter method is easier and better for most horses.
The capabilities of a roadster having now been indicated in a general way, the first and most obvious inquiry is, What will be the conformation and appearance of a horse who is likely to possess them ? This is a subject upon which it is dangerous to dogmatize. For example, a flat-sided, thin-waisted animal is apt to be wanting in endurance, and yet there have been some notable exceptions to this rule. A leading quality of the road horse is shortness ; that is, his back should be short and, it may be added, straight. The same is true of his legs, especially as regards the cannon-bone. A short cannon-bone is perhaps the most nearly indispensable characteristic of a roadster. The knees should be large, the hocks well let down, the belly round, and the hind quarters closely coupled to the back. He should have great depth of lung, but not a very broad chest, for that usually indicates want of speed. Good, sound feet of moderate size, and pastern-joints neither straight nor oblique, are essential. It is no harm if his neck be thick, but it is absolutely necessary that he should have a fine head and clear, intelligent eyes, with a good space between and above them. The ears also are an important point ; they should be set neither close together nor wide apart, and it is of the utmost consequence how they are carried. A lively, sensible horse, one who has the true roadster disposition, will continually move his ears, pointing them forward and backward, and even sideways, thus showing that he is attentive and curious as to what takes place about him, and interested to observe what may be coming. A beast with a coarse head, narrow forehead, dull, timorous eyes, and ears that tend to incline either away from or toward each other when held upright, and which are apt to be pointed backward, — such a horse is one to avoid as certainly deficient in mind, and probably in courage and in good temper as well. Many lazy, sluggish animals of this sort are considered eminently safe for women to drive; and so they are until the harness breaks or something else frightens them, when they become panic-stricken and tear everything to pieces. On the other hand, a high-strung but intelligent horse will quickly recover from a sudden alarm, when he finds that after all he has not been hurt. The manner rather than the fact of shying is the thing to be considered.
When we come to inquire how good roadsters are bred, the answer can be given with more confidence, for the source of their endurance and courage is always found either in Arabian or in thoroughbred blood. These two terms were at one time more nearly synonymous than they are now. A thoroughbred is one whose pedigree is registered in the English Stud Book, the first volume of which was published in 1808 ; and the English race horse is founded upon the courser of the desert. Arabs were imported to England at a very early period, but not in such numbers as to effect any decided improvement in the native breed until the reign of James I. This monarch established a racing-stable, and installed therein some fine Arabian stallions. Charles I. continued the same policy, and the royal stud which he left at Tutbury consisted chiefly of Arabbred horses. Soon after his execution, it was seized by order of Parliament ; but, happily, the change in dynasty did not interfere with the conduct of the stud. Cromwell, as is well known, had a sharp eye for a horse, and the best of the king’s lot were soon “ chosen ” for the Lord Protector. Charles II., again, had no less a passion for horses, and almost the first order that he issued, after landing in England, was one to the effect that the Tutbury nags should be returned to the royal stables. He and many private breeders beside added to the Arabian stock in England ; but it was not until the first half of the eighteenth century that the three horses were imported who have exercised the greatest influence upon the race of English thoroughbreds. These were the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and more especially the Godolphin Arabian. The last named was a dark bay horse about 15 hands high (Arab horses seldom exceed 14¾ hands), with a white off-heel behind. He is said to have been stolen from his owner in Paris, and his pedigree was never ascertained. It is the fashion of English writers to decry the Arabian blood; and it is true that the present thoroughbred, owing to many years of good food and severe training, is a bigger, stronger, swifter animal than the Arab;1 but the latest and perhaps the highest authority on this subject, William Day, makes the significant admission that all the best thoroughbreds now on the English turf trace back to one or more of the three Arab horses whose names have just been mentioned.
The chief reason why a good roadster must have thoroughbred or Arab blood in his veins is that from no other source can he derive the necessary nervous energy. This is even more important than the superior bony structure of the thoroughbred or Arabian. Exactly what nervous energy is, nobody, I presume, can tell; but it is something that, in horses at least, develops the physical system early, makes it capable of great exertion, and enables it to recover quickly from fatigue. The same, or, more correctly, a similar capacity is continually remarked in mankind. Readers of Arctic travels, for example, must often have been struck by the fact that it is invariably the men, and never the officers, who succumb to the labor and exposure of a sledge journey. Loosely speaking, it may be that in the educated man, especially in the man whose ancestors also have been educated, the mind has acquired a degree of control over the body which cannot otherwise be attained. So also with horses. A thoroughbred is one whose progenitors for many generations have been called upon to exert themselves to the utmost; they have run hard and long, and struggled to beat their competitors. Moreover, they have had an abundance of the food best adapted to develop bone and muscle. Then, again, the care, the grooming, the warm housing and blanketing, which they have received tend to make the skin delicate, the hair fine, the mane silky, the whole organization more sensitive to impressions, and consequently the nervous system more active and controlling.
This same nervous energy usually prevents the roadster from being what is known as a family horse, for he lacks the repose, the placidity and phlegm, of that useful but commonplace animal; he is apt to jump like a cat, and to dance or run a little now and then, in exuberance of spirits and superfluity of strength. Occasionally, to be sure, a horse is found who has great courage and endurance, and at the same time a perfectly temperate disposition. Such was Justin Morgan, head of the greatest roadster family that we have ever had in this country. His origin has not been ascertained beyond a doubt, but in all probability he was sired by a horse called the True Briton or Beautiful Bay. True Briton was bred and owned by General De Lancy, who rode him during the Revolutionary War, and from whom he was stolen by some miscreant about the year 1788. The thief ran the horse across King’s Bridge, Long Island, where the general was stationed, and disposed of him to a rich merchant in Connecticut. True Briton was sired by an imported English horse called Traveller, and Traveller was nearly pure Arabian. Less is known about the dam of Justin Morgan, but it is thought by those who have studied the matter that she also was of thoroughbred Arabian stock. It is certain that there was a close resemblance between the old-time Morgans and Arab horses, although the latter were more finely turned and smoothly coated. Justin Morgan himself was a better runner than trotter, and possibly a better drafthorse than runner. Pictures of him, as well as written descriptions, have been handed down, and we therefore have the privilege of knowing how he looked and acted. He was a stout, chunky little bay horse, with black legs, standing about 14 hands high, and weighing about 950 pounds. His chest was broad; he was deep through the lungs, with short legs, back, and neck, and a longish body, extremely muscular, and, for his size, large of bone. His head was rather big, but bony and well shaped ; his ears were small and very fine. Like most of his descendants, he was broad between the eyes, with a noble and alert expression. The courage and spirit of this diminutive horse were superb, and his carriage was so proud that he was eagerly sought as a charger for musters and other military occasions, and yet his disposition was so gentle that women often rode him. In his day there were no race-tracks, but it was a favorite sport to run horses for a short distance, such impromptu matches usually coming off in front of the tavern, the horses starting from a standstill. In these contests Justin Morgan often took part, and invariably with success, winning many a gallon of rum for his rider. He was equally good at pulling. Farmers and teamsters would sometimes come together at the tavern or other convenient spot, and test the relative strength of their horses in hauling logs. When the others had done their best, it was the custom of Justin Morgan’s owner to attach him to the heaviest log that had yet been pulled, and then jump on himself. The little horse never failed to move the load. He lived to a great age, and left behind him many sons, chiefly Sherman, Bulrush, and Woodbury, who have perpetuated his good qualities. Justin Morgan had in a remarkable degree the rare and valuable power of transmitting his own excellence and peculiarities. In this respect, but two other horses in this country have rivaled him, namely, General Knox, one of his own descendants, and the famous trotting stallion Rysdyck’s Hambletonian.
General Knox founded a subsidiary family of roadsters, who have also been distinguished in many cases as trotters. The Knox horses, very numerous in Maine, are commonly black in color and almost always intelligent; they are apt to be plain in style, but full of courage and endurance. General Knox’s breeding was of the best, being Morgan on the sire’s and Morgan and thoroughbred on the dam’s side. Messenger, a greater race horse, was a thoroughbred, imported to this country in the year 1788, and from him most of our trotters are descended. " When the old gray came charging down the gang-plank of the ship which brought him over,” Hiram Woodruff declares, “ the value of not less than one hundred millions of dollars struck our soil.” Rysdyck’s Hambletonian was of Messenger descent on one side; but his dam was by Bellfounder, a “ Norfolk trotter.” 2 Rysdyck’s Hambletonian was a trotting stallion of wonderful excellence, but I shall pass lightly over his descendants, as they commonly make poor and unattractive roadsters, being long-backed, rather leggy, sluggish, and very coarse about the head and ears. The typical roadster is a compact, easy-going, short-stepping horse. Such was the famous trotter Hopeful, a chunky, spirited little gray nag, whose record to a skeleton wagon, one mile in 2.16¾, still stands at the head of the list.
Given a roadster of this description, and a light, open wagon fitted with a stout spring, with lamps, and possibly with a small break ; given also a sympathetic companion and a mackintosh, — and, if you like, we will throw in a dog: thus provided, and with all New England stretching out before you, what more delightful than to take the road at any time between April and November ! It is pleasant to start in the freshness of a summer morning, with the prospect of seeing a new country, and with the comfortable assurance that it is a matter of no consequence if you become lost in traversing unknown paths. Your horse, I assume, has rested well, there is a cheerful air of anticipation about his ears, and the wheels turn smoothly and lightly on the newly oiled axles. It is pleasant to stop at noon in a patch of woods, beside some mountain stream or at the edge of a lake, where better quarters can be had than any tavern or summer hotel affords. The roadster is taken out, the dog lies down at the foot of a tree, stretching himself with a sigh of content, and a sort of gypsy camp springs up on the instant. After a halfhour’s rest comes luncheon for man and beast; the steed taking his oats out of a pail or nose-bag, the dog sharing lamb sandwiches with the two other carnivorous members of the party. This meal concluded, — and there is no law against lighting a small fire in order to have a cup of hot tea or cocoa, — time remains for a nap, or for reading a novel, or, better yet, for reclining at ease and absorbing impressions from nature. A fresh start is made about two o’clock, or later if the weather be very hot, the houyhnhnm having first been made to look spick and span and able for his task. It is pleasant then to drive past green fields and groves of pine in the pensive light of late afternoon, and to watch the shadows lengthening on the mountains ; it is pleasant, as the cows are coming home, as the sun is setting, and as the frogs begin their nightly chorus, to approach your destination, looking forward to supper and a bed, and leaving behind a day long to be remembered. Even the mishaps that befall the adventurous traveler, such as losing the road on a dark night when a thunderstorm is raging, and finding himself on a disused path through the woods instead of the highway, — even experiences of this kind are delightful in the retrospect.
The evening may be less enjoyable. New England taverns have a bad name, and they deserve it. Still, there is occasionally a good one, and there are others that possess some collateral attraction. The best, perhaps, are usually found in county towns where tradition lingers. I remember one such, well situated on a New Hampshire hill. The village was very small, containing three or four shops, a court-house, a miniature jail, and the tavern, a rambling structure with low ceilings. The rooms were but tolerable, the cooking was scarcely that, and yet the place had an air, a Havor, an attraction, which at first I was unable to resolve. At last I discovered that it consisted chiefly in this, — the proprietor, a full-bearded, high-colored man of the old school, invariably and constantly wore a tall silk hat; the only one, in all probability, for ten miles around. Unthinking persons may perceive no significance in this ; but, rightly considered, the high hat indicated a certain sense of self-respect, as well as a certain feeling for form and ceremony. If the hat had been assumed only when the wearer went outside, then it would have been simply a protection from the elements, or at best a matter of display for the villagers ; but being worn constantly in-doors, without regard to times or seasons, it ceased to be a hat and became a badge. There was another good feature of this hotel: the office, a long, low room, had a big open fireplace, where logs of wood burned cheerfully on a frosty night in autumn. The hostler, moreover, was an excellent one. True, he fairly reeked of chloroform (New Hampshire is a prohibition State), and his memory was not of the best, being unable to carry “ four quarts of oats ” more than fifteen minutes, or to distinguish it at the distance of half an hour from a bran mash ; but he was gentle with his horses and groomed them well.
If the roadster is to be kept in good condition and to come out fresh every morning, his master must be liberal with fees and vigilant in his oversight. Hostlers, — I say it with reluctance, — especially in large stables, are, generally speaking, worthless, drunken creatures ; and here and there a tavern-keeper is found base enough to cheat a horse out of his oats. “ But,” some self-indulgent reader may exclaim, “ one might as well stay at home as to go off on a journey and be bothered with a horse.” This would be distinctly the argument of a Yahoo, and if any one is in danger of being deceived by it I would refer him to what the famous Captain Dugald Dalgetty said upon the subject: “‘It is my custom, my friends, to see Gustavus (for so I have called him, after my invincible master) accommodated myself; we are old friends and fellow-travelers, and as I often need the use of his legs, I always lend him in my turn the service of my tongue to call for whatever he has occasion for;’ and accordingly he strode into the stable after his steed without further apology.”
Horses often fall ill or break down on a journey, and this usually happens not from over-driving, but from allowing them to get cold, from watering them when they are hot, from feeding them when they are tired, and from general neglect. A tired roadster seldom gets a bed as deep and soft as he ought to have. The famous Mr. Splan remarks upon this point as follows : “ What horses want is plenty of fresh air, to be comfortably clothed, and to have a good bed at all times. No matter how well you feed or care for a man, if you put him in a bad bed at night he will be very apt to find fault in the morning, and I think it is the same with a horse.” The feet of a road horse also need attention, and his shoes are all-important. Most country blacksmiths do their work like butchers, paring and burning the foot to fit the shoe, instead of adapting the iron to the hoof. Still, within a radius of five or ten miles it is usually possible to discover a single good workman in this regard, and the traveler can get upon his track by inquiring of horsy men in the vicinity. Every village in New England contains at least one enthusiastic person who is raising colts with the confident expectation of turning out a $20,000 trotter. This man will know who is the good blacksmith of the neighborhood.
One great point in all-day driving is to make the noonday stop before the roadster begins to tire. Every horse has his distance, which is easily ascertained by experience, though allowance must of course be made for the state of the weather and of the roads. To this extent he will go along cheerfully, with ears and tail in their normal position ; but drive a little farther, and he begins to lag, his curiosity is gone, his ears lose their vivacity, his tail droops, and he wants to stop. It is well to make the noonday halt before this point is reached, even though half the journey be not completed.
When it comes to undertaking a really great distance, such as sixty or seventy miles in a day, or fifty miles for two or three days consecutively, then intelligent driving and the best of care are indispensable. Every foot of the road must be watched, advantage taken of all the good going and slight declivities, the bad spots avoided as much as possible, and the movement and condition of the roadster kept under vigilant observation from morning till night. Unless the driver can sympathize with his horse, so as to know exactly what his frame of mind and bodily condition are all the way along, he is incompetent to handle him to anything like the best advantage. When a day’s work of extraordinary length is attempted, the best plan is to stop for half an hour or so in the middle of the morning, and also in the middle of the afternoon, in order to give the roadster a short rest and a luncheon of oats, making a longer halt, of course, at noontime. The recent Badminton work on driving states the old English custom in this regard as follows : —
“ Before the advent of railways, fifty miles in a day was not considered too much for a pair of horses to do, and that in a lumbering traveling carriage. The rules laid down for such a journey were, to go ten miles and bait for fifteen minutes, giving each horse an opportunity to wash out his mouth and a wisp of hay; then to travel another six miles and stop half an hour, taking off the harness, rubbing the horses well down, and giving to each half a peck of corn. After traveling a further ten miles, hay and water were given as at first, when another six miles might be traversed; and then a bait of at least two hours was considered necessary, and the horses were given hay and a feed of corn. After journeying another ten miles, hay and water, as before, were administered, and the rest of the journey might be accomplished without a further stop, when the horses were provided with a wash before their night meal, and if the weather were cold and wet some beans thrown in. This calculates a pace averaging six or seven miles an hour.”
I am acquainted with a Morgan filly, five years old, that, without any special preparation, traveled last fall from the White Mountains to Boston, one hundred and forty-seven miles, in exactly three days, with perfect ease. The first day she went but thirty-five miles, the second fifty-four, the third fifty-eight. Her owner furnishes me with the following account of the last day : —
“ I started from Portsmouth at eight A. M., drove fifteen miles, and stopped for three quarters of an hour, taking the mare out, rubbing her legs well, and giving her two quarts of oats. I then drove twelve miles, and stopped again in a patch of woods for two hours. The mare had some hay, procured of a neighboring farmer, with three quarts of oats, and was well groomed. Starting again at about four o’clock, I drove to Salem, arriving there soon after six, the distance being about fifteen or sixteen miles. The horse seemed perfectly fresh, but as my three days would not be up till eleven P. M. (inasmuch as I started at eleven A. M. on the first day), I concluded to stop for dinner. The mare was put into a stable and rubbed down. Her legs were bandaged, and she was furnished with some hay and two or three quarts of oats, which she ate greedily. At seven thirty she was harnessed again, and came up to Boston as readily as if she were out for the first time that day. Her eye was perfectly bright when I arrived, she exhibited no sign of fatigue, and would doubtless have been good for twenty miles more.”
This was a creditable performance to have been done so easily, especially as the road from Portsmouth is flat and sandy. A moderately hilly road is much less fatiguing. The same filly, it may be added, when but three years old made seventy miles in a day of twelve hours, drawing a skeleton wagon. Such a journey would have ruined most young horses, but the next morning, when turned out to pasture, she threw up her heels, as sound and lively as any colt in the lot.
Another Morgan mare,3 of similar appearance, being black, and “ a compactly built, nervy, wiry animal of the steel and whalebone sort,” is credited with going eight miles in thirty-seven minutes, returning over the same ground in thirty-six minutes. On another occasion she accomplished forty-three miles in three hours and twenty-five minutes. This was great roading.
Northern New England horses, of Morgan, of Messenger, or of Knox blood, are very tough and lasting. I can give the following example as authentic : “ Abner Toothaker, a well-known horseman, late of Phillips, Maine, once drove a young roadster, called Wild Tiger, from Phillips to Augusta, fifty-two miles, in five and one half hours. It was in the winter, and, owing to the depth of the snowdrifts, it took him one hour to cover the first five miles, making the last forty-seven miles in four and one half hours.” The horse pulled all the way, and came out fresh the next morning. This Wild Tiger was of Eaton stock on his sire’s side, his dam being by Troublesome, both of these strains being of thoroughbred origin. Mr. Toothaker, on more than one occasion, drove from his home to Bangor, a distance of ninety miles, in a single day.
Vermont Champion, a son of Sherman Morgan and grandson of Justin Morgan, was once driven by his owner, Mr. Knights, from Concord, Vermont, to Portland, Maine, with a load of pork. The trip down, presumably in a sleigh, took three or four days, the distance being very nearly, if not quite, one hundred and ten miles. On arriving at Portland, Mr. Knights found a letter, that had been sent by stage, informing him of illness in his family; and the next morning he started for home, which he reached about eight o’clock in the evening of the same day. “ Old men are now alive,” says my informant, “ who saw Champion the next day, and who state that he looked fit to repeat the exploit.”
The shortest time for one hundred miles is that made by Conqueror, harnessed to a sulky, at Centreville, Long Island, in 1853, which was eight hours, fifty-five minutes, and fifty-three seconds. Several other horses have done this distance in less than ten hours. Fifty miles were trotted at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1835, by a horse called Black Joker, in three hours and fifty-seven minutes. Several horses have trotted twenty miles within an hour, the first to do it being Trustee, a half-bred horse. One of the few defeats that Flora Temple ever suffered was in a match to trot twenty miles within an hour, harnessed to a skeleton wagon; “ that kind of going on in a treadmill sort of way,” as Hiram Woodruff remarks, “ not being her strong point.”
An American trotting horse, called Tom Thumb, owned by Mr. Osbaldesstone, in England, covered one hundred miles in ten hours and seven minutes, the vehicle weighing nearly or quite one hundred pounds. An English-bred mare was afterward matched to accomplish the same task. “ She was,” according to Youatt. " one of those animals rare to be met with, that could do almost anything as a hack, a hunter, or in harness. On one occasion, after having, in following the hounds and traveling to and from cover, gone through at least sixty miles of country, she fairly ran away with her rider over several ploughed fields. She accomplished the match in ten hours and fourteen minutes. . . . She was a little tired, and, being turned into a loose box, lost no time in taking her rest. On the following day she was as full of life and spirit as ever. This is a match,” Mr. Youatt continues, “ which it is pleasant to record ; for the owner had given positive orders to the driver to stop at once on her showing decided symptoms of distress, as he valued her more than anything he could gain by her enduring actual suffering.”
No sensible person will care to drive fifteen miles in an hour or seventy in a day, except as a feat; but if you wish to travel forty or fifty miles, it is a great thing to have a roadster who is capable of going seventy or eighty. To ride behind a tired horse is fatiguing and depressing in the extreme, whereas there is a sense of exhilaration in covering a long distance which is yet well within the known powers of your steed. In fact, a good roadster is something like a satisfactory bank account, — your pleasure in his capacity is great almost in proportion as the drafts which you make upon it are small.
H. C. Merwin.
- Some years ago, Haleem Pacha, of Egypt, who had inherited from his father, Abbass Pacha, a stud of Arabs estimated to have cost about $5,000,000, made a match with some merchants at Cairo to run an eight-mile race for £400 a side. The Cairo merchants sent to England and bought Fair Nell, an Irish mare, thoroughbred, or nearly so, that had been used by one of the Tattersalls as a park and covert hack. She was a beautiful bright bay mare, with black legs, standing about 15 hands 1½ inches high, “with such perfect shoulders, with so much before you, and with such an elastic stride that it was easy, even delightful, to sit on her, although her temper was hot, and at times she plunged violently. " The match took place within two weeks after Fair Nell landed in Egypt, and she won with ridiculous ease, beating the Pacha’s best Arab by a full mile. She did the eight miles in 18½ minutes, and pulled up fresh. ↩
- The Norfolk trotters, a family now extinct, or nearly so, were good roadsters, and Bell-founder, imported in 1822, was one of the best of them. He was a stout, low-standing bay horse, with a white star in his forehead. Bell-founder had a round body, a thick, arched neck, and a spirited but gentle eye ; in short, he was a noble cob and a very fast one. Seven hundred pounds sterling were paid for him, and before leaving England, according to a contemporary account, he had trotted two miles in six minutes, nine miles in thirty minutes. He was of the Fireway strain, of great repute in those days. The origin of the Fireways and other Norfolk trotters is obscure, but probably they were descended on one side from some thoroughbred or Arabian horse, possibly from Sampson. ↩
- The property of Mr. Farnum, of Waltham. ↩