Thoroughbred of Value: J. N. Camden Points Out That Loss of Breed Would be Calamity, Daily Racing Form, 1914-01-08


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THOROUGHBRED OF VALUE J. N. CAMDEN POINTS OUT THAT LOSS OF BREED WOULD BE CALAMITY. Kentucky State Racing Commissioner Sketches Origin of Breed and Necessity of Preserving It Before Convention at Lexington. Lexington, Ky., January 7. Johnson N. Camden, of Versailles, wealthy capitalist and member of the Kentucky State Racing Commission, was the principal speaker at a great gathering of fanners and stockmen at the Kentucky State University today. Mr. Camdens subject was "The Economic Value of the Thoroughbred Horse and His Future." Th address made an excellent impression on the members of the convention and is expected to be of benefit to the interests of the turf in this .country. Mr. Camden spoke as follows: Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: I wish to express my pleasure in being with you today, and the gratification I feel in seeing such a replesentative gathering as this. It inspires courage and hope for the luture. 1, myself, believe In organization if tilings are to be worked out and accomplished on an extensive scale. Bankers, lawyers, physicians, commercial men have their organizations, their formulated codes of ethics, and they meet at conventions to discuss their progress and well fare. I think that horsemen should do likewise if they are alive to their own interests. I take it that theie s in this meeting a sub-conscious, if not a formulated desire or purpose for organization and co-operation. Personally, I feel that I would have little of interest to say to vou if I were not permitted to touch on thil feature." It Is difficult to predict the future of any subject without studying and being in some degree familiar with its past. There is one point which is readily grasped by the American mind and which I wish to emphasize. It is my belief that it would he an economic crime if an uncompromising, unheeding management of racing makes It possible for fanaticism to banish the thoroughbred from this continent. In order to arrive at a rational comprehension of this great subject, and to understand the ImiKirt-ani part the horse lias played in the development and advancement of civilization, and to realize clearly the bond that exists lKtween man and his inost faithful servant, it is necessary as Kipling would say to go -back of the beyond." In the beginning of- things, the horse was mans first useful servant. If you will allow me to indulge in speculation, I feel quite sure In saying that the first groping towards establishing a stud book was made by the Arabs. In the dawn of civilization when might was right and pillage, plunder and rapine the accepted order of the day, the existence of the Arabs, bv reason of their nomadic lifehere one time there another always seeking grazing for their flocks, depended upon the tleetness, soundness, docilitv and stamina of their horses. Their horses shared with their family the shelter of their tents. In those days vehicles were not known, and the Arab steed was the perfection of the saddle and racing horse. Life or death depended upon his superior qualities. The supremacy and dominion of one tribe over the others depended upon how it was mounted. So you may Im sure that while not onlv worldly goods, fame and reputation, but life itself depended upon the horse, tests of his strength, tleetness and good manners were constantly made and recorded, and natures Inexorable law "the survival of the fittest" was persistently carried out by the Arabs. This interesting tradition is taken from a German work on Arabia. The faithful Bedouin believes that the Prophet-Prince. Mahomet himself, founded the Kailhau. the noblest race of horses they have. He says: "Mahomet, wishing to set aside from his stud the best mares in order td form 11 distinct and perfect breed, had them all kept for two entire days and nights without water. On a sudden, when almost mad with thirst, the mares were released and galloped with the swiftness of the winds to the well-known spring. When in view of the refreshing waters, by a preconcerted signal the trumpets sounded a war charge. At this well-known sound, five of the mares, forgetting in a moment the agonies of their thirst, left untasted the waters of the spring and galloped to the Imagined war. From these five mares the Arabs believe the noblest breeds have descended. Another sketch of Persia states that the Arab puts this test upon his colts in order to find out if they are true to their lineage. The eolt Is mounted in its second year, when the Arab, on all other occasions most kind to his horses, outs it to a cruelly severe trial. The colt or filly is led out to be ridden for the first time. Its master springs upon its hack and rides at full speed for perhaps fifty miles over sand and rock of the burning desert without one moments respite. He then plunges it into water enough to swim, and if immediately after this it will eat as if nothing had happened, its purity of blood and staunchness are considered incontrovertnble. After making full allowances for Oriental exaggerations these stories, extending far hack In the twilight of tradition, indicate that they had a clearly defined breeding plan and purpose. Now, the effect of this pure blood of the horse of the desert upon the strains of Europe is marked and interesting. The first infusion of the blood of the Arab horse in Europe occurred upon .1 gigantic scale in the year 732, when the Arabian hordes overran southern Europe, and when the momentous and fateful battle was fought In France which decided whether our civilization should be Mohamedan or Christian. The Arabs suffered overwhelming and disastrous defeat. It is estimated by the best historians that seventy-five thousand of their fighting men were in the field on that memorable September day. Of course, they were mostly mounted, and In the rout and slaughter that followed their horses were captured and remained in the land. The French people were cultivators of the soil, and by judicious feeding, breeding and the selection of tvpe they have evolved a horse, the most active of all heavy breeds the Percheron that best suits their requirements, and that at the present time is also a source of revenue to that favored district. In a similar manner the British live stock was greatly reinforced and benefitted when in 1558. upon the defeat of the Spanish Armada, great numbers of Barbs and eastern horses were cantured. The development of the horse lias been an expression of the direct experience of the various stages of growth and development through which mankind has passed. Prior to this, the age of chivalry in England called for a heavy or cart-tvpe of horse. Tho knight, his rider, was coated in heavy mail, and the horse himself was covered with it. The horse of this period was gross and ill-shapen and the engravings show that he had long, wiry hair on his legs almost up to his belly. The first racing In Erigland dates back as a matter of record as far as 1512. These Barbs and eastern horses taken by the English in the defeat of the Armada suited admirably their taste and acted as a great leaven in refining their stock. When horses began to be bred for the race course their appearance according to the woodcuts and engravings of the time, began to undergo marked changes and characteristics. Rcfercnceto the works of eminent writers on the anatomy of the horse show that the Arab Continued on second page. THOROUGHBRED OF VALUE. Continued from first page. and his glorified descendant, the thoroughbred, have closer filtered muscles and denser, tougher, more elastic sinews, and a more closely knit bone structure than the heavier, slower breeds. A cross section of the bone of a thoroughbred and one of a draft horse would show the structure of the fonntr dense and closely knit like ivory, the latter being porous and spongy in appearance. In breeding for speed and endurance the severe training and tests of the race course call for the greatest iwsslblc combination of strength with lightness and quickness of action. In 1727 a Racing Calendar was published, an organized Jockey Club was established in 1750, and the tirst stud book was issued in 1791. It is a marvelous thing to consider how three horses, out of all the countless thousands that have been used, tri.d and found wanting, stood out and established dynasties, which remain unchallenged today. In 10V.I-1090 Captain Byerley. who fought in Ireland in King Williams war, brought his charger home and he was known in the stud as Byerleys Turk. The Barley Arabian was foaled about 1702. An English gentleman living in Aleppo, who was a member of a hunt club, was so impressed by the character and individuality of the horse that lie bought him and sent him to ids lirother. John Brewster Darley, of Aldby Park, near York. The Godolpllin Arabian arrived in England about twenty-live years later. The opinion of the period being divided, one statement being that .Mr. Coke, an Englishman, rescued him from pulling a watering cart in Paris, others saying that lie was stolen from the stud of the French king, who placed no value uikhi him. At any rate, he was sent into England without a pedigree by Mr. Coke, who gave him to Roger Williams, proprietor of the St. James Coffee House, who In turn pivsentcd him to the Earl of Godolphin, in whose service he died. There is not a successful stallion in the worid today, not a single horse of any merit as a sire, that does not trace in tail male line from one i.f these three Arab stallions. The dynasties are known as Herod, Eclipse and Matchein. The Arab horse of the period stood about fourteen hands and one-half. It can readily lie seen bow far the development of the modern thoroughbred has progressed by comparing the race horse of today with the descriptions given of the Godolphin, Darley and Byerley Arabians. For the modern breeder to go back to the horse of the desert would be like present day transportation using the farm traction engine instead of the 100-ton mogul. I am informed that the English government, in order to encourage native breeders in India, gives them a handicap of 30 pounds for home-bred horses in tlie Viceroys Cup, two and one-half miles. In fifty years they have won it a few times only. Now few of the breeders and it is safe to say none of the laymen, realize the enormous, the incredible amount of patient labor, intelligent study and the billions of money used in the past four hundred years to develop this wonderfully perfected type of horse. As the race course was indispensable in accomplishing this in the past, so is it equally needed now and in the future to keep the breed from deteriorating. No man can tell by a visual examination if an animal has a weak heart, imperfect lungs, bad tendons and an impossible temper. The race course is the crucible wherein all defects of conformation, constitution, faint courage and infirmities of temper are searched out and only the best survive. At the risk of tiring you by making this paper too long I cannot refrain from quoting a passage in Count Lohndorffs book. "Horse Breeding Recollections." Count LehndorfT was the bead of the Imperial Government Stud of Germany and en joys the reputation of being the foremost authority in Europe on this subject. So indispensable do the European governments value racing merit and soundness that they find it pays to give incredible sums, to our minds, for thoroughbred stallions to breed to half-bred mares for cavalry remounts and army puniosos. Count LehndoriT says: "The principal requisite in a good race horse is soundness, again soundness, and nothing but soundness: and tlie object of the thoroughbred is, to imbue the limits, the constitution and the nerves of tlie half-bred horse with that essential quality, anil thereby enhance its capabilities. "Tlie thoroughbred can. however, fulfill its mission only provided the yearly produce lie continually subjected to severe trials in public. Tlie only appropriate test, proved by the experience of two centuries, is the race course, although its adversaries oppose it as too one-sided, and propose in its stead others of more or less impracticability. The last struggle for victory, in which culminates the exertion of the race, results from the co-operation of the intellectual, the physical and the mechanical qualities of the horse, the development of which combined power is higher and more reliable than any that can lie obtained in the same animal by other means. The combination of these three qualiti -s forms the value of the horse destined for fast work: the mechanical, in resiect to the outward shape and construction: the physical, as regards Unsoundness and normal development of the digestive organs and motive power; tlie intellectual, or the will and the energy to put the other two into motion and persevere to the utmost. The attained speed is not tlie aim, but only the gauge, of the performance. "The grand ideal principle which places this test so incomparably higher than any other, based upm the individual opinion of one or more judges, is the absolute and blind justice, personified in the indexible winning jwist, which alone decides on the race course, and the irrefutable certainty that neither fashion or fancy, neither favor nor hatred, neither liersnnal prejudice nor time-serving frequently observable in the awards at horse shows have biased the decision of hotly contested struggles, as recorded in tin; Racing Calendar for tlie space of one hundred and seventy years. This it is that gives to tlie English thoroughbred horse a value for breeding purposes, unequalled and looked for in vain in any other sjtceies of animal creation. "A cardinal point, which continually maintain-; and regenerates the thoroughbred as a source of power and soundness, and places it, with regard to certainty of propogatiou, far above all other breeds of the equine- race, is the circumstance that the thoroughbred is tried before it is cent to the stud. What would become of the usefulness of our half-breds. what of our cavalry, without a continuance of crosses with stallions of pure blood, bred for stoulne.-s and chosen on account of their proper excellent qualities, so as to constantly renew the j necessary steel in tlie breed V" In mv ooinion, our country lias not fully taken advantage of the thoroughbred blood in building iii the common horse. Almost every type of horse known today owes something at some period of its development to the thoroughbred. It is an intensely vitalizing and refining intluence on the coarser breeds. Our farms and our commerce today need it. I can say by actual experience that the best carriage horses, and work horses that I have ever used were either all or part thoroughbred. The cavalry branch of our government is most inadequately, not to say disgracefully equipped, and are making most urgent appeals to Congress for assistance and. with the valuable aid of the Agricultural Department, have worked out a plan for the breeding of armv remounts may be a source of revenue to many of our farmers, and a great boon to our government. I believe it advisable for our jack and mule breeders to avail themselves of this opportunity. Our farms and commerce need more and better horses. In fact, there has never been a time within my knowledge when good useful horses were in such demand and so scarce. I would suggest that every thoroughbred breeder and owner would discontinue the practice of gelding good-looking sound colts. The time has arrived, in my opinion, when they will lie sought both by the government and the farmers. With tlie increased use of motor-driven vehicles, trucks, etc., it is becoming to be ipu-larly believed that the horse will soon be an obsolete animal. Such is far from being the ease. Statistics show that the use of the horse is increasing in large cities. So I wish deliberately to repeat that it seems to me it would be an economic crime for tlie American nation to be deprived of the benefit of the thoroughbred blood. In speaking or thinking of the thoroughbred horse, the mind naturally associates it with the thrilling and heroic exhibitions of courage and of fleetness on the turf. I have no aoologies to offer in this connection, for the turf Is an ancient and honorable institution. Like everything else in life, it has just as much dignity and character and honesty as "we put into it. Every num. be he racing otlicial. breeder, owner, trainer. Jockey or stable boy should feel an individual sense of rcsioiisihility for the honor and welfare of the turf, and jealously protect it It cannot lie any better or worse than the racing associations, on tlie one hand, and the owners, trainers and jockeys on the other hand, make it. It is far from a one-sided proposition and a positive lovalty in all things is due from each to the other. So in speaking of the future of the thoroughbred, and the same may be said of the standard-bred trotter, it rests entirely in the conception and execution of the duty the associations owe to tlie public who support it. and the fi-alty and hearty co-operation your enlightened self Interest should compel, you to render to it.

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