The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8
Horse-Breaking in the Nineteenth Century
Horse-Breaking in the Nineteenth Century.
Since the day when to man was given dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, there is no record of any new attempts on his part to turn his sovereignty to use. Immemorially our beasts of burden have been of the same races as they are now, and equally unchanged have been our methods of subduing them to our service. In these last days comes to us, from the farthest prairies of the Western world, one who tells us that the error of our methods is the cause of the narrowness of our reign. He shows us that strength must always yield to skill, and that ferocity will always disappear before gentleness. He shows us that violence is but feebleness, and that kindness alone is irresistible. He shows us that intellect can create intelligence; and that animals willingly learn of man whatever man rightly addresses to their understanding. To all this we have listened with no deaf ears. Never has discoverer met with more rapid recognition than this unknown American farmer. His first exhibitions were witnessed and applauded by royalty; the highest in the land eagerly bought, as an expensive secret, the knowledge of his process; when by accident its principles became published, scarce a murmur was heard that more had been given than the exploded secret was worth. Now, amongst all classes, it is expounded with still unabated interest; the competitors whom success called up have dropped out of sight; Government has adopted the system for the Army; and the Humane Society has rewarded its discoverer with a medal. There must be something remarkable in the man that wins such a success; but there must be also something remarkable in the nation that grants it, and perhaps still more in the times that permit it.
In no land but ours, indeed, could such a result have followed. Elsewhere Mr. Rarey has amused, and been rewarded by praises, but here alone has he drawn the popular sympathy. We are, in truth, above all nations, a horseloving nation. To us, riding seems nature; with us, men, women, and children are alike infected with the passion. Those who cannot ride delight to watch those who do ride; our chief national amusements are connected with the use of horses; and the most dignified of our Houses of Parliament thinks a discussion of the weights that racehorses should carry no waste of its time. Nor let us in our gravity deem this turn of the national taste a thing wholly insignificant and immaterial. In the world's history it has happened too often to be wholly an accidental coincidence, page 132 that national supremacy has fallen to the nation which was distinguished by pre-eminence on horseback. Were those old fables of Centaurs and Amazons not based on a dim perception of this truth, when they taught that the first horsemen were half divine, and the first horsewomen more than a match for men? Shall we recall the first great monarchy of the old world, established and maintained by the innumerable Persian cavalry, till it was broken up by a greater horseman than they, the invincible tamer of Bucephalus? Shall we tell how in the most palmy state of Rome the title "horseman" was one of high honour and esteem, alike in peace and war, and how the uninterrupted spread of Roman power was stemmed at one point only, where it encountered the never-conquered Parthians,—those fatal horsemen, fiery in advance, deadly in flight? Shall we recount the prowess of Arabs and Moors, by whose cavalry alone a new religion was carried to the ends of the earth, till the flower of mounted Christendom at Tours met and broke the overwhelming torrent? Need we speak of the days of chivalry, (the very name expressive of the glories of horsemanship,) when mastery lay ever with him who could bring into the field the greatest number of heavy-armed knights, before whose tremendous onset pikemen and archers went down as grass before the mower? Or passing by all other instances, need we now to be reminded that when, first since the time of Charlemagne, Europe fell under the yoke of a conqueror, it was before a nation of horsemen in the Cossack steppes, and a nation of horsemen in the plains of Spain, that his star first paled? And, when at length Cossack and English themselves met in combat, with whom did the final victory rest but with those whose heavy cavalry at Balaklava rode through the opposing squadrons as if they had been a line of paper, and whose light brigade, on that same day, dashed over the Russian batteries with a sweep as resistless as the surge of the tide-race over an outlying reef?
Shall it be objected that all this is of the past; that now we are a nation of riflemen, not of horsemen; that victory will rest for the future with the surest aim, and that long range and accurate sighting have made cavalry henceforth useless in the field? With all deference to ardent volunteers—with, if possible, even more deference to certain military authorities who have announced that opinion—it may be suggested that, as the introduction of gunpowder did not abolish cavalry, although it converted mailed knights into light armed hussars, it is possible that the improvement of the art of gunnery may only further modify, without destroying, the special use and purposes of mounted troops. That we shall not again have cavalry charging infantry from long distances, that we shall never again see cavalry walking about among the squares, seeking leisurely for an opening, as we saw them at Waterloo, may be very true, for the simple reason that with riflemen before them they would not live to reach the squares. But, on the other hand, neither shall we ever again see squares in such a situation, for the simple reason that, at three miles distance, a rifled and breech-loading thirty-two-pounder would mow lanes in them with its shot, and shatter them with its shell at the rate of half a dozen discharges per minute. For all this, we cannot do away with infantry, and just as little shall we be able to do without cavalry. Only the tactics of both must be altered to meet the new circumstances in which they will have to act. Our infantry must be kept more in shelter, and, when shelter is abandoned, it must advance in looser formation than hitherto. There may be moments when the men must be collected for a final charge, but the charge in line will often be superseded by the rapid dash of swarming skirmishers. So must it be with cavalry too. As of old, the charge will often decide the conflict; but, till the moment comes when cavalry can charge in a body, they must manœuvre more under cover, and in smaller and more open bodies than hitherto. But, if this is the case, page 133 why should we not go further? Why should we not have cavalry acting as skirmishers, in exactly the same way and in exactly the same circumstances as we employ infantry skirmishers?—only with this distinction, that they would trust to the speed of their horses' legs instead of their own.
The distinction is invaluable. The distance to which skirmishers can advance from the main body—that is, the distance at which an army can assume the offensive, or keep its antagonists at bay; the distance, too, at which it can acquire information of an enemy's force and movements—has for its limit the distance from which its skirmishers can safely run in, if attacked by an overwhelming force. Mount your skirmishers, and you at once more than double the precious limit. A position in advance can be felt and secured; a position in retreat can be held, at twice the distance from the main body, if your skirmishers are on horseback. To counterbalance this advantage, there are, however, disadvantages. A horse and man are much easier hit in open ground than a man only; and yet this, perhaps, would not in practice be found material, for the greater speed of a horse over open ground would restore equality in their chances. But then it is said that a horse cannot be concealed by the cover that will shelter a man, and that a mounted rifleman cannot get across an inclosed country as a rifleman on foot can. These are the two grand obstacles that deprive us of the benefit of mounted skirmishers. Now these two obstacles are capable of being removed by a judicious application of the instructions which for two years Mr. Rarey has been giving us.
For Mr. Rarey has not merely shown how vicious horses may be subdued, or unbroken horses made fit for work; he has shown how, very easily, very gently, and very completely, ordinary horses may be taught a great deal more than has commonly been taught them. he has shown how the feats which strike us as wonderful when seen in the circus, the acquisition of which accomplishments is the result of months of labour, and in some cases of a good deal of bad usage, may be taught the horse in a few minutes, hours, or days. In a few minutes Mr. Rarey will teach a horse to follow him, to turn, to stop, to go on with him as closely as if he had been led, although all the time the horse's head is, and he knows it, loose. In an hour or two Mr. Barey will teach the horse to stand immovably still, although his master leaves him, and to gallop up at his master's call. In a few lessons he will teach the horse to he down at a given signal, say a tap on his fore-leg, and to remain lying till the signal is given to rise. All these things are no speculations; still less are they vain boastings. Any one who has been at Mr. Rarey's exhibitions has seen them accomplished; and those who have been often there have seen them done, or begun, with evident assurance of the same result, every time they have been present. We shall have occasion afterwards to discuss the nature of the means used; meanwhile, accepting the facts, let us consider their bearing on the subject of which we have been speaking.
And first, as to cover. The difference here between a mounted rifleman and a foot rifleman lies in the greater height and bulk of the horse. But make the horse lie down, and very little difference remains. What will shelter a man will in almost every case equally well shelter a horse lying on the ground. Moreover, if in any particular situation there is not cover for a horse, even when lying down, it is pretty certain that at a very short distance sufficient cover can be had. There will be found a rising ground, a clump of trees, a hedge, a bank, or a dry ditch, any of which will quite servo the purpose. Here let the riflemen dismount, cause their horses to lie down, and leave them, perhaps, in charge of one of their number. While the skirmishers steal on from point to point the horses remain close at hand, yet in safety. Suppose that the skirmishers drive the enemy back, and wish to make a further advance; or, suppose they are themselves threatened, and wish to retire with all page 134 possible speed—in either case a call brings each horse to his rider's side. What immensely rapid advances could thus be made; how closely might the light troops hang on an enemy's flanks; how daringly might they cover a retreat, when every distance of any length could be traversed at a gallop, and the means of rapid flight in case of surprise was thus ever within call! Suppose, now, that the country is enclosed, as this England of ours for the most part is, does that form any reason against its being traversed by light horsemen, or heavy horsemen either, if horse and man are English? Let hunting men answer that. Assuredly an enclosed country, impervious as a fortification to the cavalry of every other nation, would be no defence against the attack of English horse, were it not that the rifle, or the pistol, or the sword, would be rather awkward accoutrements in charging a bull-fence, and might chance to hurt the wearer more than the foe if the horse's knees just touched the top rail of timber. But here also Mr. Rarey can help us. Horses taught, as he shows us how to teach them, will follow their masters over a fence as handily as a dog. Coming up, then, to a rasper, our armed hunting man must for the moment forget that craning is an unknown word in his vocabulary. He must have the goodness to dismount, to push his way through the hedge, or to climb over the gate, (supposing he cannot unlock it, which I trust he would always have the sense first to try,) just as he would have to do were he a skirmisher on foot. When over, he calls his horse to him. Over, lightly as a bird, skims the horse. Up jumps our skirmisher, and in a moment is at the next fence, to pour his fire into the secure camp beyond, or the slow winding column in the hollow road below. Till, surprised and confused, the enemy discover the source of their danger, and throw out skirmishers on their part, in force sufficient to carry the hedges, or till they have time to bring up artillery, the game is in our hands. So soon as the tide seems likely to turn, our light Cavalry are off. By the time their protecting hedge is passed by the enemy they are through the next hedge, and half-a-dozen more are placed between them and pursuit ere this one is reached by the pursuers. Will any one say that men and horses trained thus, and used thus, might not half bait their foe to death ere the foe could reach an open battle-field? And when that is reached, would the thundering charge of the cavalry be less resistless because they had already seen the flash and smelt the smoke of distant battle, and man and horse had learned to rely on their individual skill, and to have confidence in their mutual prowess? Whoso says that, must say that the charge of bayonets will not be what it was, since a rifle sighted to 900 yards has been substituted for brown Bess without any sight at all.
I do verily believe that in all this a development of the science of war is opening to us such as the world has never yet seen; and such as will make that nation which first sees it mistress of the world, whether she cares to assert her sovereignty or not. We are getting past the age of men used as machines; we are getting into the age of machines used for men, in everything that senseless wood and iron can do as well as senseful men. So, instead of treating men as implements for discharging a certain number of balls in a given general direction, we now place in each soldier's hand a machine so accurate that one discharge from it is more than equal to a hundred from his old piece. But, in entrusting him with such a weapon, we demand from him a commensurate increase of thought in its use. Forced thus to depend on the intelligence of the men, to us, in good time, comes Mr. Rarey, to show how much we may cultivate the intelligence of the horse. He shows us that the value and use of the horse is not restricted to the purposes to which, in the days when men were machines, we put him; but that he will be of equal service and advantage now to the self-dependent and self-acting soldier. We have but to make this new system part of the regular instruction and daily drill of the troops, to see in page 135 six months our cavalry occupy a position such as no cavalry on earth can vie with. We are not yet the first riflemen in the world; perhaps we never may be; but we are the first horsemen, and the advantage of this superiority Mr. Rarey's system preserves for us.
So much for the warlike uses of the new doctrine. But as, after all, war, much as it now fills our thoughts, is not the normal state of man, and as the horse is of even more service to us in peace than in war, it is a question of interest to what extent this development of his intelligence is likely to increase his utility for our ordinary purposes. Now here, in the matter of mere accomplishments, it may at once be granted that the practical gain will not be very great. But the great glory and pride of Mr. Rarey's system is this, that whatever be the work for which the horse may be intended, it will fit him for that work without cruelty and without the chance of making him vicious. Rightly used, it preserves in every horse the good temper and docility which are inherent in every horse; but which now, in constantly recurring cases, are, by blows and ill-usage of breakers, stablemen, and riders, exchanged for sullen stubbornness or malignant ferocity. Perhaps, indeed, it may hereafter be found to have a yet wider application. What so marvellously operates in the instance of the horse, may be found capable of reducing other animals, as yet counted untameable, to the willing servitude of man. For instance, in his own country, Mr. Rarey has driven a couple of elks in his carriage. What a pretty turn-out for a lady in the park would a four-in-hand of fallow deer make! But take a more important and more hopeful instance. In those prodigiously rich and almost boundless regions, which the travels of Anderson, Livingstone, and Burton have opened up to us in Central Africa, one of the greatest practical difficulties in the way of trade is the difficulty of finding the means of carriage for goods. The fatal fly, the tsetse, will there suffer no horse to exist. But over all these plains roam, untouched and secure from its attacks, herds of zebras—animals in power and activity scarcely inferior to the horse. Could we but tame the zebra! Mr. Rarey resolved to try if it could not be done. He procured one, made specially savage—as you will certainly make any animal of spirit savage—by long and close confinement. So wild was it, that when first approached by Mr. Rarey it sprang at an iron bar overhead, and held on with its teeth, while the whole weight of its body hung suspended in the air. Its strength and agility were immense, and every weapon of offence with which nature had endowed it was turned against its instructor. With mouth, and fore-feet, and heels it fought; and yet in three lessons it was led round the ring with a rider on its back; and there was evident truth in Mr. Rarey's assertion that, if he had time, he could in a month ride or drive it anywhere. Why not? Horses have fought as furiously, yet yielded as completely. And, if Mr. Rarey can subdue a vicious zebra as completely as a vicious horse, may we not hope that ordinary men may yet be able to subdue and render useful ordinary zebras?
Such are some of the practical results which, in a practical age and to a practical race, it is needful to indicate in order to win a respectful consideration for any novel system. Yet perhaps we may find that the indirect and the moral influences of the new system are, after all, the most important. Unquestionably they are suggestive of some new ideas on the subject of the relations between man and animals, and of man's responsibility in the exercise of his dominion over them.
For the essence of Mr. Rarey's system. is not merely manipulative dexterity; nor is there in the mere outward acts anything of absolute novelty. To hobble a horse so as to prevent his running away, to cast him on the ground by tying his feet together, so as to secure him while an operation is performed; are familiar processes. Nay, the very method of throwing a horse which Mr. Rarey employs, has been employed by many persons before him. Neither, I page 136 rejoice to think, is there anything new in the theory that gentleness is the best teacher, and kindness the sharpest spur. This part of Mr. Rarey's system is every day practised by thousands of horsemen and horsewomen in our own land. But the novelty in Mr. Barey's system is the system as a whole. It lies in his application of the theory, announced by himself from the first as truly all that he claimed of "discovery," that the right way to subdue any animal of power greater than man's is to apply man's weaker force in such a way and by such means that the animal shall be compelled to believe it to be the greater, and to accompany that exhibition of superior strength with such gentleness that the animal shall recognise that its new master is a beneficent master, and shall for the future obey him for love as much as of necessity.
Now let me—not that I can say much that is new of the process, already so often described, but because having seen it performed on scores of horses by Mr. Rarey, and in some slight way practised it myself, I can say what its general principles and effect are, without reference to the modifications induced by the individual character of any pavticular animal—try to explain the method by which all this is brought about. With a wild prairie-bred colt the first point would be, of course, to catch him; and, even in this, Mr. Rarey's knowledge of horse nature finds an instructive theme. But in our country a colt is seldom unused to the approach and touch of man, and therefore we may proceed to the second stage—that in which the object is to teach him to submit to be led. The ordinary breaker does this by putting a halter on and pulling in front, while his helper uses the whip behind. The horse will fly from the unexpected pain; but wild terror slowly instructs. Mr. Rarey uses no whip, and does not commence with a halter. He cannot drag the horse forward, for the horse is stronger than he is; but, standing at the side, he can draw the head and neck gently towards him, for the muscles are weak there, and the horse has no inclination to resist. When he has yielded the head, the horse for his own comfort makes a side step. The victory is gained. The process is repeated, and the side step comes quicker, and gradually less to the side and more to the front. At last the horse understands that when you draw his head you want his body to come with it—and as soon as he understands he acts. In a very little time he will follow you without drawing, merely because he likes your caresses. Now you may halter him when you like, only taking care first that he smells the straps and the rope, so as to assure himself that there is no harm in them, and that they are so put on as not to suggest to his mind the idea that they hurt him. A light bit will in the same way be quietly accepted next lesson.
If the horse is very gentle, he may, in a similar manner, be soon accustomed to feel your hand, your arm, the weight of your body on his back, and so be safely mounted. But there is some risk, if he is not very quiet, that during this process something may cause him to put out his strength against yours, and to make the discovery, almost fatal in a horse of spirit, that his strength is greater than yours. So, once for all, Mr. Rarey will convince him that the reverse is the fact. By gradual advances of the hand down the leg, he comes to the near fore foot, and persuades the horse to oblige him by lifting it. A soft strap forming a noose is placed round the pastern; the other end is buckled round the "arm," i. e. the leg above the knee. So the leg is suspended, and the horse finds himself—he does not exactly know how, but fancies it must be through some super-horse power in the creature at his side—obliged to stand on three legs. A step or two under this restraint convinces him that it is very awkward and uncomfortable, and that he would be very much obliged if his friend would break the spell. If in alarm he struggles for a moment, he quickly becomes quiet when he finds he is not hurt, only unaccountably paralyzed. Then a similar noose is placed round the pastern of page 137 the off foreleg, and the strap is passed through a surcingle—previously buckled round the horse's body—merely as an aid to the hand in holding the strap tight in the after operations. A push against the shoulder obliges the horse to move a step. As he lifts his leg the strap is drawn up, the leg doubled under him, and he conies down gently on both knees. A moment is absorbed in astonishment at this extraordinary circumstance, and then an effort is made to remedy the accident. But it can't be remedied; often as the horse may rear up he cannot get his feet loose, and still comes down again on his knees. After five, ten, or fifteen minutes' struggle (it never exceeds, and very rarely reaches, twenty minutes), he resigns himself to circumstances, and gently lies down. Perhaps after a rest he will have one more try; but at last he is fully satisfied that man is the stronger, and that it is useless to resist. Now you may handle him all over, sit upon him, take up all his legs, and make him familiar with the weight and touch of your body. All this time you never once hurt him. His proud spirit is taught that it must humble itself, but there is no physical pain. When he finally yields you caress him. And so when he rises, after his first lesson, a wiser and a better horse, he bears you no grudge. You are a superior being, who may in an instant blast his right leg, and make him powerless as a foal; but you are good as well as powerful. He will follow you now more readily than before; and now that he is standing, he will let you sit upon him as you did when he was on the ground. A few more lessons impress his mind indelibly. Never more will he resist; experience, the only teacher of horse and man, has taught him it is vain, and in his submission he finds his true happiness. That is, if you are good to him; if you are powerful and bad, you are—a devil, and as a devil you will make devils like yourself.
But even if thus made devils, Mr. Rarey's creed is, that no horse ever passes beyond the reach of softening mercy. By exactly the same means which have been explained in their application to young horses, Mr. Rarey has subdued and made gentle and playful the most savage brutes England could furnish. They are brought into his presence as it were handcuffed—led by a couple of grooms, one on each side, armed with bludgeons, and holding stout ropes some ten feet in length attached to the horse's head. In no other way can any ordinary mortal dare to approach these sons of Belial. Held thus captive, a yell, a scream, a lash with the hind-feet, a fierce pawing with the fore-feet at an imaginary enemy show every moment the demoniac spirit within. Mr. Rarey watches a quiet instant—with a light spring he is at the horse's shoulder, the grooms drop the long reins, and with their bludgeons vanish from the arena. Man and horse are alone to fight it out—the horse, in his furious passion, bending all his powers to beat down, trample on, mangle, kill his adversary; the man, resolute to reclaim, humanise, subdue into gentle affection the wild beast by his side. Standing close by the shoulder, he avoids the blows alike of hind and forefeet. The right arm is over the withers, and the hand holds the off-rein, so as to draw the horse's head to that side, and prevent his reaching his antagonist with his teeth. In this position the horse can but struggle to shake his opponent off. But the hold is too secure. Bound the ring goes the life and death waltz. At length the quieter moment arrives, when with his left hand Mr. Rarey slips the leather noose round the leg, drops it to its place, and draws it tight. Another dash, and at the next halt the left leg is caught up and securely buckled. Crippled now, the fury of the animal increases, but the struggles are shorter. Soon the other leg is caught up and all is safe. In ten minutes that horse must be on his ado—exhausted, but unhurt—yielding only to the resistless power of the calm, inevitable being at his side. When he is quiet he is caressed. The steps are removed; and, when his powers are restored to him, he rises too awestrick page 138 to attack again his fated subduer. A few more lessons daily, or twice a day, repeated, enforce on his memory what has been taught, and he may then be restored to society.
Such is the process in a public arena. But when he operates in private, Mr. Rarey prefers to approach the horse, or let the horse approach him, alone. Such is his confidence—and no man has a larger experience on which to base his confidence—in the native goodness of the horse, that he believes the most dangerous savage will not -attack a man from whom he has received no wrong, who stands unarmed, and shows no fear or hostility. So, when he first saw Cruiser, he opened the door and stood alone before the animal—heavily muzzled, it is true, but loose and free to strike with his feet. With a scream, the horse sprang at his supposed enemy; but, seeing a stranger, motionless and unprepared for combat, he paused midway, and drew near quietly to examine the intruder. Let not Mr. Rarey's disciples, however, till they have had no less than his experience, and can work with his most wonderful nerve, temper, skill, and activity, so presume. An instant's wavering of heart, or the minutest failure in judgment, would fire the train. Yet we may remember, as confirmatory of Mr. Rarey's theory, that it is a known fact that many horses violent with men are tractable in a lady's hands; and that we have well-authenticated stories in which most savage animals have suffered infants to play among their legs, and have been seen carefully lifting each foot to avoid hurting the child.
I am anxious to press a little further the consideration that in all this process, rightly conducted, and if not lightly conducted it will not succeed,—there is absolutely no pain inflicted. The horse's spirit is forced to yield; and, till he recognises the necessity, he struggles violently. But his struggles are so managed that they produce no physical suffering whatever. The muscles of the legs, which are restrained by the straps—those muscles by which the horse tries to disengage and straighten his legs—are so weak, that the utmost force they can exert against the straps is insufficient to produce pain. Bandage your own ancle tightly to your thigh, and you will find that it does not hurt you, however hard you may try to get loose. So, when the second leg is taken up, and the horse brought on his knees, the position, however awkward and helpless, is not unnatural, painful, nor injurious. It is, in fact, that which the house naturally takes for a moment every time he lies down, and it is that which the ox (not the horse, however) takes in rising up. I have seen quiet horses commence to graze when brought to this position in a pasture-field. To continue it for any length of time is of course fatiguing, and this is its advantage. A countryman, I believe, of Mr. Rarey, has ingeniously remarked that the leopard can change his spots, for when he is tired of one spot he can go to another. So the horse, when he is tired of the first stage towards lying down, and has satisfied his mind that he cannot at present get up, can change his position by advancing to the second stage of lying down. This is exactly what the intelligent animal does, and in so doing he finds not merely physical rest but moral happiness.
How far the conviction of human supremacy thus wrought on the horse's mind is permanent and ineffaceable, is a question which has been debated with an unnecessary degree of warmth. The fact is, that to Mr. Rarey the most vicious horses are ever after gentle; and equally gentle to all who treat them gently. But of course Nature is not changed; and the cruelty or folly that first excited resistance and then drove it to madness, will still produce again the same results. Is Mr. Rarey's system, then, imperfect, because it is not creative, but only educational? Or is the education imperfect, because with some natures its teachings may be overpowered by the sudden recoil of unprovoked suffering? I confess, in such a case, I blame neither the education nor page 139 the nature to which it is applied; I blame only the guilty harshness or indiscretion which tempts a hasty nature to revolt, and forbids all hope of amnesty on submission. I think I have heard too of little boys, whom a sense of unjust treatment has made dogged little rebels or violent little savages, but whose after life has shown that in them from the first had dwelt the spirit which is breathed into heroes only. Who was to blame for these wild childhood days—the child, or the child's ill-judging teachers? Perhaps they were not cruel—perhaps with another child the very same treatment would have been eminently successful. Perhaps they had only little cunning ways which a less honest child would not have noticed—perhaps they were guilty only of petty exasperations, which a duller child would not have felt. Is all this the child's fault? If, taken from such charge, and placed in just and tender hands, the fierce anger and despairing recklessness are softened into submission, is it a defect of that true education that it never can bend the spirit to bear wrong with callousness, and to see fraud with indifference? It certainly seems to me that Mr. Rarey's taming of a violent horse is as little impeachable, from the fact that bad treatment will make the horse again as violent as ever.
But all rebellions have a beginning, and all mental tendencies grow more fixed with indulgence. Mr. Rarey's teaching will have this great practical benefit, that it will cut away the occasion of many a rebellion. Few men could subdue a made savage with Mr. Rarey's dexterity—but nearly all men can, and I do hope will, come to follow his teaching in its application to spirited horses, whom an opposite course might render savage. For this never did anyone better deserve the thanks of the humane—I will add of the philanthropist. This lesson of the infinite power of kindness, taught with such new and striking illustration, will go home to thousands of hearts in which it never could else have gained recognition. As evil tendencies grow so do good. A man who is discriminatingly kind to his horse must have sympathies awakened with every living thing. It is good to be obliged even to simulate goodness. The human mind is fortunately too unelastic to avoid taking permanently something of the form which it externally puts on. Something, too, is gained on the side of goodness by simply making thoughtless men think of it.
Yet with knowledge comes, as ever, responsibility. Hitherto we have looked at the great sad problem of the sufferings of animals as if such liability were to them an inevitable condition of existence We have laid the flattering unction to our souls that what the horse or dog might suffer at our hands was in great part a necessary concomitant of his eduction to our service, and certainly was less than he might have had to suffer had he been left wild. The former position s now untenable, and even the second grows uncomfortably doubtful. To anmals in a state of nature disease seldon comes; when it comes it is short—often shortened by the instinct which make the companions of a sick or wounded beast fall upon and kill it. Their mail suffering, then, in the wild state, is neither more nor less than simply the final agonies of death. Their death is either placid from exhaustion, or violent, as by drowing, by the attack of carnivorous anmals, or by that of their fellow-specie?. How much suffering is there in these modes of death? We fancy a great deal; but is it not that with ourselves "the sense of death is most in apprehension"? Of drowning we know, by the testimony of those who have recovered, that the sensation after the first momentary shock of immersion is actually one of intense pleasure. Of death by the attack of wild animals, we have a very singular testimony from the experience of Dr. Livingstone. He tells us that he was once seized by a lion, which sprang upon him, threw him down, breaking his arm, and then taking him in his mouth shook him as a terrier does a rat, or a cat a mouse. From this instant he declares that, while page 140 fully conscious of his situation, all sense of either pain or terror left him. May we not believe that this is the effect of the methods by which wild animals extinguish life, whether in one of their own species or in one on which they prey; and that the cries and struggles no more indicate true suffering than the convulsive efforts of a drowning man indicate sensation? Assuredly such a thought is not inconsistent with our ideas of God's mercy; and, if we admit it, we clear away some of the main difficulties which beset the question of animal suffering. But, if we thus can eliminate the suffering which arises from death, how little remains to be accounted for save that which flows, directly or indirectly, from man! And now Mr. Rarey teaches us how much of that residue we have inflicted needlessly, stifling conscience with the false pretext that God's gift to us is unavailing till, by our own cruelty, it has been adapted to our use.