Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Faulty methods for ambling

Ambling is a peculiar kind of pace, wherein a horse's two legs of the same side move at the same time.

There have been various practices and methods of discipline for bringing a young horse to amble. Some choose to toil him in his foot-pace through newly-plowed lands, which naturally inures him to the stroke required in the amble. Its inconveniences are the weakness and lameness that such disorderly toil may bring on a young horse.

Others attempt it by sudden stopping, or checking him in the cheeks, when in a gallop; and thus putting him into a confusion between gallop and trot, so that losing both, he necessarily stumbles on an amble. However, this is apt to spoil a good mouth and rein, and exposes the horse to the danger of an hoof-reach, or sinew-strain, by over-reaching, etc.

Others prefer ambling by weights as the best way. To this end, some overload their horse with excessively heavy shoes, which is apt to make him interfere, or strike short with his hind feet. Others fold lead weights about the fetlock pasterns, which are not only liable to the mischiefs of the former, but put the horse in danger of incurable strains, crushing of the coronet, and breeding of ring-bones, etc. Yet others load the horse's back with earth, lead, or other heavy substances, which may occasion a swaying of the back, overstraining the fillets, etc.

Some endeavor to make him amble in hand, ere they mount his back, by means of some wall, smooth pale or rail, and by checking him in the mouth with the bridle-hand, and correcting him with a rod on the hinder hoofs and under the belly when he treads incorrectly. However, this is apt to drive a horse to a desperate frenzy, ere he can be made to understand what they would have of him, and to rear, sprawl out his legs, and make other antic postures, which are not easily stopped again.

Others think to effect it by a pair of hind shoes with long spurns or plates before the toes, and of such a length that if the horse offers to trot, the hind foot beats the fore foot. But this occasions wounds of the back sinews, which often bring on incurable lameness.

Some attempt to procure an amble by folding fine, soft lists (flanks of pork) straight around his hocks, in the place where he is gartered for a stifle strain, and turn him thus to grass for two or three weeks, and afterwards take aways the list. This is the Spanish method, but is disapproved, for though a horse cannot then trot but with pain, yet the members must be sufferers, and though the amble is gained, it must be slow and unsightly, because attended with a cringing in the hind parts.

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