Carriage Horses and Cobs
A SCIENTIFIC person once declared (and Mr. Ruskin scornfully rebuked him for the assertion) that the amount of coal consumed in any given country will measure the degree of civilization to which it has attained. The same remark has been made in regard to sulphuric acid, and doubtless it could be applied to many other commodities with that mixture of truth which is sufficient for an epigram. Of carriage horses, for example, it might be said that their quality (if not their quantity) is an index of civilization ; for the carriage horse changes his character from century to century, almost from year to year, as wealth and skill augment, as highways improve, as vehicles become lighter, as railroads are brought into play, as people use their steeds for pleasure and for show rather than for long and necessary journeys. When Horace Walpole paid an electioneering visit to the country, in 1761, after an absence of fifteen years or so, he found that a great improvement had taken place, and he explained it as follows : —
“To do the folks justice, they are sensible and reasonable and civilized ; their very language is polished since I lived among them. I attribute this to their more frequent intercourse with the world and the capital by the help of good roads and post chaises, which, if they have abridged the king’s dominions, have at least tamed his subjects.”
The primitive carriage horse was a pony, unacquainted with grooming, ignorant even of the taste of oats ; and the vehicle that he drew required no roads, — a path through the forest sufficing for its progress. And yet, oddly enough, it is still employed in certain parts of this country. Within a few months of the present writing, I have seen it conveying a squaw and a papoose around the circus ring ; and the red men have constructed it in that identical form for centuries, and still use it in some of the Western reservations. This woodland carriage is made, as doubtless the reader knows, by taking a couple of long poles, and affixing them to the horse’s neck in such a manner that they drag on the ground behind his heels, the load being fastened on the end of the poles. The next step in carriage building — the one great step in the art — was the invention of the wheel; but history has preserved neither the name nor the nationality of the mighty genius who bridged this gulf. It is certain, however, that he lived thousands of years before the Christian era.
Carriages were first used in England by the nobility about the beginning of the thirteenth century, but the roads were so bad and the vehicles so heavy that they were of little real service until toward the end of the sixteenth century. A contemporary account of the city of London, written about 1550, speaks of the streets as being, even then, “ very foul, full of pits and sloughs, very perilous and noxious.” The spring was not invented till near the close of the seventeenth century, and many years more elapsed before it was sufficiently developed to afford much relief. Later still, toward the middle of the eighteenth century, began that very great and rapid improvement — noted, as we have seen, by Horace Walpole —in highways, vehicles, and horses, which increased the rate of travel from four or five to twelve miles an hour, and culminated shortly before the introduction of railways.
The carriage horse, it need scarcely be said, became lighter and more active according as the weight that he had to draw, and more especially the friction of the roadways, diminished. Originally he was simply a beast of burden, the first English carriage horse being of the old black cart or shire horse strain, a huge, ungainly animal, with a big head and shaggy fetlocks. Contemporary with the cart-horse coachers were the “ running footmen,” with their wands of office. The chariots which they attended progressed so slowly that these functionaries could easily go ahead, when necessary, and engage apartments and refreshments at the next inn where a stop was to be made. They were also extremely useful in putting their shoulders to the wheel, when, as often happened, the vehicle stuck in a rut or in some “ perilous slough.” Later, in the seventeenth century, many Flemish mares were imported to England for carriage horses. They had more style and quality, but lacked endurance, as Gervase Markham pointed out in his well-known work. The cream-colored coach horses which are still bred in the queen’s stables, though they have seldom been used since the death of Prince Albert, are descended from the same strain. In France, the Norman breed furnished the carriage horses of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and one writer speaks of the “ richly mottled grays ” that drew the coach of Richelieu.
It is an apt illustration of that conservatism which prevails in, or perhaps more correctly is an essential part of, forms and ceremonies that the state carriage horse of England has always been a century or so behind the times. Shire horses were used to draw Queen Anne’s coach, though they had been given up by private persons for many years before she came to the throne ; and in the same way, during the present reign, the Hanoverian horse has held a place in the royal stables to which he is entitled only on the score of antiquity. Another similar example was to be found, until lately, in the steeds that horsed the chariots of the Roman cardinals. These too were of Flemish origin, “ of great size, as fat as prize oxen, proud and prancing at starting, — all action and no go.”
As the Flemish mare succeeded the shire horse, so the Cleveland bay succeeded and vastly improved upon the Flemish importation. Cleveland bays are still bred, constituting with their cousins the Yorkshire coach horses, and with the stout fast-stepping hackneys, the three strains of harness horse now to be found in England. I shall have a word to say about them all.
The Cleveland bays originated, as the name imports, in Cleveland, a district of the East Riding of Yorkshire, and they date from about the middle of the eighteenth century. Remotely, they sprang from a cross between the native black cart horse, already mentioned, and the thoroughbred; but the type became a fixed one, and is thus described by “ Frank Falconer : ” —
“ The Cleveland bay, in its natural and unmixed form, is a tall, powerfully built, bony animal, averaging, I should say, 15 hands 3 inches in height, rarely falling short of 15½, or exceeding 16½ hands. The crest and withers are almost invariably good ; the head bony, lean, and well set on. Ewe necks are probably rarer in this family than in any other, unless it be the dray horse, in which it is never seen. The faults of shape to which the Cleveland bay is most liable are narrowness of chest, undue length of body, and thinness of the cannon and shank bones. Their color is invariably bay, rather on the yellow bay than on the blood bay color, with black manes, tails, and legs. They are sound, active, powerful horses, with excellent capabilities for draught, and good endurance so long as they are not pushed beyond their speed, which may be estimated at from six to eight miles an hour, on a trot, or from ten to twelve — the latter quite the maximum — on a gallop, under almost any weight.”
But the Cleveland bay did not long continue in his original form ; there were more and greater infusions of thoroughbred blood, so that he became " finer,” more speedy, a little longer of limb, and in all respects a superior animal for the coach and the saddle. The country gentlemen were great breeders and users of Cleveland bays. " A squire,” it is said, “ of two or three thousand a year, in the midland or northern counties, did not consider his stable furnished without five or six full-sized, well-bred coach horses; ” and if he went a journey of fifty or seventy-five miles, he would be conveyed not only in his own carriage, but by his own steeds. Noblemen counted their carriage horses by the score ; for in those days they traveled in some state. Six-in-hand for gala or ceremonious occasions, and four for every-day purposes, were the usual number. But times have changed. “ The old duke always journeyed to London with six post chaises and four, attended by outriders. The present man comes up in a first-class carriage with half a dozen bagmen, and sneaks away from the station in a brougham, smoking a cigar.” The reader will remember that even Sir Pitt Crawley, an excessively penurious gentleman, was met by a coach and four at his park gates, where he and his companion Becky Sharp had been set down by the stage.
County running races also contributed very largely, though indirectly, to the improvement of carriage horses. Local magnates liked to be represented at these races by horses of their own breeding, and consequently there was a wide diffusion of thoroughbred sires. Under these influences, the improved, or halfbred, Cleveland bays lost their distinctive color in a large degree, chestnuts, iron-grays, roans, and dark browns being often found among them. Still, there are in existence even at the present time many Cleveland bays of the correct color, with legs black from the knee down, and with that “ list ” or strip of black running from the withers to the root of the tail which is considered to establish beyond a doubt the purity of their blood. A dark brown coat with a cinnamon muzzle was supposed to indicate a tough and hardy beast, and animals thus marked are seen occasionally nowadays. Blacks were the least common, this color being avoided, as suggestive of a cart-horse origin, unless it could be traced directly to a thoroughbred sire. Particular colors came to be associated with particular districts. Thus, in one neighborhood, it would be the ambition of every carriage owner to have a gray Sir William or a brown Sir Peter, as the case might be ; whereas in another district a black this or a chestnut that would be considered as an indispensable inmate of a gentleman’s stable.
The most potent influence in developing the carriage horse was, however, that mania for fast traveling in coaches and post chaises which could be satisfied with nothing less than ten and even twelve miles an hour. Anybody who has actually driven ten or twenty miles at this rate in a light carriage — not simply heard or talked about it, which is a more common occurrence — can imagine what a task it was for four horses to travel at such speed, while hauling a load of four tons or more. Nothing but a strong dash of thoroughbred blood, and hardly that, could supply the requisite wind and limb. One of the best of those colored plates that illustrate the road in coaching days shows both what kind of horse was used, and what was the effect upon him of his work. It is a picture of The Night Team putting to in the frosty moonlight at a roadside inn, while a few passengers, muffled to the eyes, shiver on top of the stage. Three of the four horses, the wheelers and the off leader, are bays, — broken down, but still powerful. The ribs clearly show through their short, nicely groomed coats; their fine, wellbred heads, topped by small, aristocratic ears, hang mournfully down ; their knees are fearfully sprung; their hind legs are twisted and swollen. Altogether, they give the impression of having accomplished some tremendous feats, and of being still able to perform the like, when well warmed to their work. The fourth horse, the nigh leader, is a gray, young and sound, but vicious. He wears a broad bandage over his eyes, to prevent shying at “objects,” and two or three hostlers are struggling to get him within the traces, while he plunges about with head and tail high in the air. The fast mail coaches broke down many good horses before their time ; and if anybody had upon his hands an unmanageable brute, such as the English system of breaking was eminently fitted to produce, he doubtless put him into one of those horse-taming and horsekilling machines.
During the past fifty years many of the best Cleveland bays have been exported, — so many that the deficiency in the London market has been supplied in part by carriage horses brought over from Germany. Not long ago, an English agricultural journal inquired, with much feeling, and with less attention to grammar, “ When royalty or nobility wants a pair of upstanding London carriage horses, where goes the thousand guineas that hardly fetches them?” “Not,” answering its own question, “ to the struggling English occupier, but to the broad expanses of the Continent.” Even the great job-masters of London (two of whom supply no less than five hundred pairs of carriage horses each to their customers, not counting single brougham and victoria horses) had recourse at one time to the Flemish horses. They were cheap and good-looking, but so washy and soft, so deficient in bone and endurance, so defective in those very points which Gervase Markham condemned in them two hundred years before, that, after a few years’ trial, they were generally given up by the job-masters.
Closely allied to the Cleveland bays are the Yorkshire coach horses. Separate studbooks are maintained in England for these families, although in many instances the same animal is recorded in both books, while in this country one compilation of pedigrees does service for both strains. The differences between them are thus stated by an English writer: —
“ The Cleveland bays in what I may call their aboriginal form are agricultural horses, with plenty of grand points in their frame, but with no elegance of ‘ turning’ and without any action, and therefore totally unfitted to produce from themselves alone the big carriage horse. The Yorkshire coach horses have both the qualities above referred to, but they, again, if kept to themselves, will in a very short time become high on the leg and light of bone, and consequently equally unfitted to draw the weight of a big barouche or a state coach.” What is wanted, he goes on to say, is “ the big harness horse, standing from 16 hands to 16.2 in height, with the bone and shortness of leg, the depth and grandeur of frame, which are in the Cleveland, and are not in the Yorkshire coach horse ; with the quality, elegance, and action which are in the Yorkshire coach horse, and not in the Cleveland ; and with the ‘ long, elegant top line,’ which is only produced by a combination of both.”
Both the Cleveland bays and the Yorkshire coach horses are moderately high steppers, and usually incapable of a fast trot.
A third family of carriage horses is that of the hackneys, whose studbook, like the others just mentioned, is a very modern one, dating from 1882. Their origin is remotely the same as that of the Cleveland bays and the Yorkshire coach horses, — a mixture of thoroughbred and cart horse ; but in the hackney family there is an intermediate strain, namely, that of the old Norfolk trotter, a fast-trotting, plain, serviceable, moderate-sized beast, that had a great reputation in his day, and from which, in part, many of our own trotters are descended. The best hackneys now extant trace back almost invariably to one particular horse, called Marshland Shales, who was foaled in 1802. He stood 14.3, was of a dun color, and is said to have descended from the great race horse Eclipse. George Borrow, in a passage of Lavengro, which I venture to quote here, although it is a familiar one, tells how he saw Marshland Shales at a fair in Norwich, when he was a boy, and the horse was old : —
“Nothing very remarkable about that creature, unless in being smaller than the rest, and gentle, which they are not. He is almost dun, and over one eye a thick film has gathered. But stay, there is something remarkable about that horse; there is something in his action in which he differs from all the rest. As he advances, the clamor is hushed, all eyes are turned upon him. What looks of interest, — of respect! And what is this? People are taking off their hats; surely not to that steed! Yes, verily, men, especially old men, are taking off their hats to that one-eyed steed, and I hear more than one deepdrawn Ah ! ‘ What horse is that ? ’ I said to one very old fellow, dressed in a white frock. ‘ The best in mother England,’ said the very old man, taking a knobbed stick from his mouth, and looking me in the face, at first carelessly, but presently with something like interest.
‘ He is old, like myself, but can still trot his twenty miles an hour. You won’t live long, my swain, —tall and overgrown ones like thee never does; yet if you should chance to reach my years, you may boast to thy great-grandboys that thou hast seen MARSHLAND SHALES.’ ” The hackney is almost too plain to be called a carriage horse, and yet he has some style, a great deal of strength, and much more speed than the larger and more elegant sort. Many hackneys, indeed, have showy and beautiful action. Moreover, having been bred in something very like its present form for a hundred and fifty years, the type is more likely to be reproduced than is that of the Cleveland bay or Yorkshire coach horse. An American horseman of national reputation, the importer and owner of some excellent hackneys, writes on the subject as follows : —
“ The Norfolk and Yorkshire hackneys are a distinct breed of horses ; with some thoroughbred and other crosses, of course, but still a distinct breed. They stamp their characteristics on their progeny in a very marked and decided manner, — more marked than any other breed of horses that I know of.” And he goes on to describe them as follows : “ The Norfolk and Yorkshire hackneys are from 14 hands to 15.3 or even 16 hands high. The average is perhaps 15.1½. A good hackney is a horse of considerable substance, with plenty of bone, fine quality, good length, on short legs, and with riding shoulders. He is a fast and good walker, and his trot is bold, straight, and true, and fast enough for him to go ten to fourteen miles an hour. Many Norfolk and Yorkshire hackneys have trotted better than a mile in three minutes. The fine weight - carrying hacks one sees in Rotten Row, and the splendid teams that are paraded at the meets of the coaching and four-in-hand clubs in Hyde Park, are nearly all hackneys.”
Of late years there have been imported to this country many representatives of all these families, the Cleveland bay, the Yorkshire coach horse, and the hackney,—some of them fine-specimens, and some of them hardly worth their passage money. In fact, many of the animals exhibited at our horse shows, and sometimes actually winning prizes, as English carriage horses and coaching stallions, have heen coarse, clumsy brutes, but a slight distance removed from the cart horse, and frequently not even sound.
The next type of carriage horse to be considered is the French coach horse. A great antiquity is commonly set up for this family by its admirers, but I have never been able to find any evidence in support of their assertions. Moreover, it is difficult to discover exactly what was the origin of the French coach horse. It is commonly said to have been a cross between the English thoroughbred and the Arab. It is certain that the English thoroughbred figures largely in the pedigree, and there may have been infusions of Arab blood ; but the French coach horse has a bulkiness of form and a mildness of temper that indicate some other element, and it is probably that of the ancient and admirable Percheron family. The French coachers are large, handsome horses, usually chestnut, sometimes bay, and occasionally black in color. They have very fine, intelligent heads, rather short necks, broad chests, good, sloping shoulders. and the best of legs and feet.
In one respect, that of speed, they are far superior to any strain of English coach horses. In order to satisfy the government test in France, a coaching stallion must trot two miles and two fifths at the rate of a mile in three minutes, and this on a turf track. They are also, as a rule, more gentle and docile than the English carriage horses, but a little inferior to the latter in point of “ quality,” and not possessed of so proud a carriage. Very few French coach horses have been imported to the Eastern States, but there are many in the West.
But is there no family of American coachers ? Good horses having been raised in this country for at least one hundred and fifty years, is it possible that in all that time we have not produced a typical carriage horse of our own ? Alas, no, although we have ample material for the purpose. One of the most brilliant performers that appeared on the trotting course during the season of 1890 was Pamlico, a five-yearold stallion, owned in North Carolina, but bred in Vermont. Pamlico won many races, obtained a record of 2.16¾ in a fourth heat, and proved himself to be a very enduring and speedy trotter. But, besides being a trotter, Pamlico, except for some want of height, is almost an ideal coach horse. He is of a rich bay color, with black points ; his back is short, his shape round and smooth, with neither the angularities nor the high rump that are associated with the trotting model ; his neck inclines to arch ; he has a handsome head, with small ears, large eyes, broad between ; and, race horse though he is, Pamlico possesses the bold, proud action of a coaching stallion.
Now, Pamlico, though an unusual, is not an exceptional type, and the same element from which he derives his coaching appearance is found in a large proportion of our trotting stock. Pamlico’s grandsire, and our most famous trotting stallion, was Rysdyck’s Hambletonian, who died about fourteen years ago. He was descended in the paternal line from Mambrino, one of the best and stoutest thoroughbreds that ever ran in England ; but his dam was by Bellfounder, and Bellfounder was a Norfolk trotter of the purest stamp. Here, then, we have the same element upon which the English hackney is based. Rysdyck’s Hambletonian was a peculiar horse, endowed with an extraordinary capacity for transmitting his peculiarities. He was a rich bay in color, with great muscular development, fine action, and the strongest and soundest of legs and feet. But his long back, his dull spirit, his coarse, heavy head and mulish ears, are the very characteristics that a carriage or driving horse ought not to have ; and the great vogue that the Hambletonians have enjoyed in this country has been, on the whole, an injury to the character of our horseflesh. Still, the Hambletonian family possesses a wonderful aptitude for retaining its own and assimilating other good qualities ; and when united with strains possessing the nervous energy and the “ quality ” in which it is deficient, it rises to a high degree of excellence, as in the Volunteers, the Almonts, and many others. Thus far, that craze for raising fast trotters, which keeps a hundred men poor where it enriches one, has prevented the development of an American coacher; but the Hambletonian carriage horse is an easy potentiality. Other trotting families, notably the Mambrino Patchens and some of the Clays, contain similar material.
Carriage horses thus bred would have unusual speed. They would be a race of trotting coachers, and those individuals that lacked the fineness of a carriage horse would nevertheless be strong, serviceable animals, easily sold at a failprice ; whereas the strictly trotting-bred horse, like the strictly running-bred horse, is apt to prove good for nothing if not good for racing.
Nor would any great difficulty be experienced in obtaining with trotting-bred horses, carefully selected, the proper action of a coacher. Many of them, such as Pamlico, have it already, and the career of the trotting stallion Shepherd F. Knapp (not to be blighted even by that unfortunate name) is instructive in this regard. Knapp, a Maine-bred horse, of Messenger and Morgan descent, was exported to England nearly fifty years ago, and made a great reputation there as a hackney. He won many prizes in the show ring, and is spoken of by one authority as “ unsurpassed for pace and action.” His descendants, moreover, and those of his son Washington, rank with the very best hackneys in England for style, action, and “ quality,” and also, it need not be said, for speed. The action of a carriage horse should be bold and free; but excessively high action, being incompatible with speed or endurance, is a fault in the true coacher.
High-steppers, or park or sensation horses, as they are sometimes called, stand by themselves, — in a small, select, and very expensive class. Their gait is not merely, or even chiefly, a means of locomotion, — it is an end in itself ; and very pretty is the effect of their peculiar up-and-down step, especially when they are driven at a slow trot, with all the accessories of a fine equipage. They travel as if they had springs in their hoofs, their knees at the upward stroke seeming almost to touch those musical, well-burnished pole chains with which they are often and most suitably harnessed. The high-stepper expresses, so far as a horse can do it, the insolence of wealth. In his prime he would furnish a good text for a sermon, and in his decay he might point the moral of a pathetic tale.
These horses are distinctly for show, not for use. “ You may drive your steppers,” one authority remarks, “ very slowly for the most part, and fast a short distance, if they shine in a fast trot, for two hours or so every day; but if you want to go ten miles out of town and back, you must fall back on a useful pair, or hire post horses.”
Shepherd F. Knapp, whose action was so much admired in England, was bred in Maine, as I have said ; and the best of our “ sensation ” horses come from that State, probably because its stony pastures tend to make the horses that run in them step high. Ten years ago a really high-stepping carriage horse was almost unknown in this country, but we raise many of them now ; the demand partly causing the supply to exist, and partly calling it forth from its hidingplace where it existed before. A “ down East” farmer raises a colt or two from good stock, which, being turned out for several years on a rocky hillside, and having also, it may be, a tendency in that direction, get in the habit of lifting their feet high when they trot. The owner looks upon this action as a defect rather than a merit, but fashionable people in New York and Boston think otherwise : it soon becomes known that the dealers who go from farm to farm will pay a good price for horses with excessively high action, and accordingly such horses are bred.
Beside carriage horses proper, which range from the tall, hunter-like barouche horse to the small, nimble animals that are now often used for broughams and victorias, and beside the high-stepper or sensation horse, we have the cob. “ Cob ” is so ambiguous a word that many stanch horsemen absolutely exclude it from their categories. Any smallish, chunky horse, especially if his tail be cut short, is a cob. But there are cobs and cobs. The well-bred modern hackney sometimes comes within this category; but few and far between, especially in this country, are such cobs as that. The ordinary cob is fat and faint-hearted, well fitted to draw a village cart gently about a village, but likely to go to pieces if put to any severe task. He has the bulkiness of a small cart horse, but lacks the nervous energy needed to make him a good roadster or a good saddle horse. He shines at horse shows, his broad back being admirably adapted for the display of trappings and caparisons; and he is a source of wealth to fashionable dealers. A small, “ blocky,” undersized horse, with a rather pretty head, weak legs perhaps, and no speed, will go a-begging in the country for $125 or $150; but in the hands of the dealer, clipped, docked, and hogged, he easily brings $250 or $300.
But as we might, if we took the trouble, have a race of American-bred coachers, so we had, and in a lesser degree still have, a breed of incomparable cobs. The old Morgan horse was a perfect cob, small, powerful, speedy, docile, enduring, and possessed of great style. The Morgans, as I have mentioned in a previous article, were always in demand by captains of the militia when a “muster” was to be had, for what they lacked in size they more than made up by their proud and spirited carriage. This race, unhappily, fell into neglect as the Hambletonian star came into the ascendant; and although it has lately been revived, the object is to produce trotters, not cobs, and to increase the size of the horse. This purpose is a laudable one, and yet the Morgan cob should also be preserved.
Within a few weeks I came by chance, in a small New England village, upon a perfect specimen of this kind. It was a little bay mare, with a rather long body and round barrel. She stood on short legs, and must have been less than 15 hands high, but she had the strength, in all the moving parts, of a 16-hand horse; her neck was thick, but not coarse, her head small and Arabian in shape, with fine, aristocratic, intelligent ears, and an eye flashing with spirit and courage. She was nineteen years old when I saw her, and hollowbacked, but still so spirited as to require a man’s hand upon the reins. A cob of this kind is capable of an immense amount of work, and will perform it upon exactly half the food required by a big horse.
The modern fashion of using cobs and small horses generally for carriage purposes is an improvement in several ways, and chiefly because it is more humane; the wear and tear of their feet upon the pavements being considerably less than it is in the case of a large horse. Formerly the London jobmasters had no horses in their stables under 16 hands high ; now they have many, chiefly for single brougham use, from 15 hands upward, and the same tendency prevails in this country. In fact, the use of small carriage horses followed the introduction of those less bulky and lighter vehicles that are due chiefly to the skill and originality of American builders; but it is doubtful if heavy carriages, even, are not drawn more easily, as a rule, by horses that weigh from nine hundred to ten hundred than by those that weigh from ten hundred to twelve hundred pounds. Such, I have found, is the common opinion of American horsemen, and such seems to be the experience of English coach drivers.
“ In these days,” writes the Duke of Beaufort, " when the road coaches only carry passengers, and no luggage to speak of, even if there is any at all, we should prefer, for all sorts of roads, short-stepping and small, though thick, horses. They are infinitely pleasanter to drive. Anybody who has had the experience of taking off a big lolloping team of rather underbred horses, who are very tired, and have been hanging on the coachman’s hands for the last two or three miles of the stage, will understand what a pleasure and relief it is to feel the quick, sharp trot of a little team of fresh horses.”
When, however, it is a question of hauling a heavy load, such as an omnibus, at a jog trot on level ground, then the big horse is required. There must be a good weight to throw into the collar. Moreover, when horses are well bred and well shaped, neither beefy nor leggy, but bony and muscular, they can hardly be too big. “ A pair of 15-hand horses,” an English authority writes, “ will always have to be pulling at an ordinary phaeton ; whereas the same carriage seems to roll after a pair of 15.2½’s of its own motion, leaving them light in hand, well collected, and with full play for their action.”
This statement, however, is not, as it might be thought, at all inconsistent with the opinion just expressed concerning the superiority of small horses as fast weight-pullers. They are better for this purpose, not because they are small, but because they usually have the relative shortness of limb and of stride which are mechanically adapted for pulling a moderate load at a brisk pace. When these characteristics are found in larger horses, as, for example, they often are in the Percheron family, you have animals that are capable of great tasks. A span of Percherons are said to have drawn an omnibus around a mile track in four minutes; and the gray NormanPercheron stallions that drew the diligence from Calais to Paris in pre-railway days trotted and galloped at the rate of eleven miles an hour, equaling the speed of their better bred English contemporaries, but not, it is true, keeping it up so long; their stages being but five miles in length, whereas the English stages were ten miles.
But whatever the size of the carriage horse, and whatever the use for which he is intended: whether he is to be a big, showy coacher, or a fast-stepping barouche horse, or a useful, mediumsized animal, or a stout one for a brougham, or a showy one for a phaeton, or an all-day nag for a comparatively light carriage and long drives ; whether he is to be a horse, a cob, or a pony, let him have the inward energy, the outward grace, and the fineness of bone and muscle that only a dash of thoroughbred or Arab blood can supply. Half-bred horses — avoiding the angularity of the racer and the dumpiness of the cart horse — are not only the most useful, but the most beautiful, the world over.
H. C. Merwin.