Here and There on the Turf: Confining Big Races to Entire Horses English Laws of Four Centuries Back, Daily Racing Form, 1922-12-10


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Here and There on the Turf Confining Big Races to En- tire Horses. English Laws of Four Centuries Back. It is a growing provision of racing that many of the richest of the future stake races are restricted to entire colts and fillies. This is intended to discourage the wholesale gelding of colts and is an effective measure for the perpetuation and the improvement of the breed. But there have been many instances in every country where horses are bred and raced when the breed would have been bettered by judicious altering of some of the stallions that were permitted to go into service. The breeder cannot go far wrong if he will stick to the sturdy blood lines that have endured and produced great race horses. But frequently there are idividuals in the best families that arc degenerate sons of an illustrious tree. They have every blood lineage reason to be valuable stock horses, but they are unworthy of the line from which they Eprung and no number of brilliant antecedents will offset their individual infirmities and inferiority as stock propagating animals. This was realized in England more than four hundred years ago when Sir Thomas Chaloner, quoted in a certain history of the British turf, which was published in 1840, tells of an Eng-1 lish law that was enacted in 1509, during the reign of Henry Vlil. This law was made "for tie purpose of securing strength and eize in the breeding of horses" and, eliminating the preamble, read : "That no person shall put in any forest, chase, moor, heath, common or waste where mares or fillies are used to be j tept and any stoned horse above the age of two years, not being fifteen hands high, within the shires and territories of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Buckingham, Huntingdon, Essex, Kent, South Hampshire, North Wiltshire, Oxford, Berkshire, Worcester, Gloucester, Somer- j set, North Wales, South Wales, Bedford, War- j wick, North Hampton, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Lancashire, Salop, Leicester, Her- j ford and Lincoln; nor under fourteen hands in any other county, on pain of forfeiting the same." Continuing, this same law set forth: "It is lawful for any person to seize any horse bo under size, in manner following : He shall go to the keeper of such forest, or out of such forest to the constable of the next town and require him to go with him to bring such horse to the next pound, there to be measured by such officer in the presence of three other honest men, to be appointed by the officer, and if he shall be found contrary to what is above expressed, such person may take him for his own use." Also by the same statute it was provided: "All such commons and other places shall within fifteen days after Michaelmas yearly be driven by the owners and keepers, or con Etables respectively, on pain of 40s and they Ehall also drive the same at any time they shall think meet, and if there shall be found in any of the said drifts, any mare, filly, foal or gelding which Ehall not be thought able, , 1 . j j j ! i ; i or likely to grow to be able, to bear foals of a reasonable stature or to go profitable labors of the discretion of the drivers, or the greater number of them, they may kill and bury them." And still another provision of the same law set forth: "Whereby it is enacted that no person shall have, or put out to pasture, any horse, gelding or mare infected with the scab, or mange, in any common or common fields, on pain of 10s." Is it any wonder that the British thoroughbred grew to be the greatest horse of time? Hedged about with such and other protective laws more than four hundred years ago, there is no wonder that he speedily became greater than the Arab, the Barb and the native English stock from which he sprung.

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