History of American Thoroughbred, Daily Racing Form, 1922-09-23


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History of American Thoroughbred i In spite of general interest in racing nt the present time knowledge of the history of the horse in this country, the time and manner of his transplantation from other climes, is far from general. Few books of an authentic nature on this subject have been written and the circulation of those that hare appeared has been restricted. More than half a century after publication, Frank Foresters The Horse of America still stands as the authority on the early history of the horse in this country. The story is as fascinating as a romantic novel and the fact that it lays the foundations of the present-day American thoroughbred makes it of more than passing interest. The first installment, which appeared in a recent issue of Daily Itacing Form, coTered the earliest period in the history of the horse in this country. The third installment treats of the earliest thoroughbred importations from abroad and the beginnings of racing in the colonies. . Third Installment. I ascribe the surefootedness of the horse on this side of the Atlantic to the fact that both the- pasture lands and the roads are far rougher, more broken in susface, and more interrupted by stumps, stones and other obstacles here than in the longer cultivated and more finished countries of Europe. This teaches young horses to bend their knees and throw their legs more freely while playing with their dams in the field, and also to lift and set down their feet with far greater circumspection even on our great thoroughfares. Secondly, I think it may be attributed to the higher blood and breed of the gentlemens riding horses in England, which are often cantering thoroughbreds, or at worst, four or five-part-bred hacks and from their blood liable to be daisy-cutters and unsafe goers on the road. lastly, most of the hired horses, posters and casual roadsters are worn out, or broken down, or otherwise disqualified animals of higher caste which, because they have once held .a better, are stiil supposed equal to a secondary situation when they are, in truth, fit for none and are dangerous in any position. GOOD TJJ3IPER OF AMERICAN HORSE. To this admirable quality of the American horse, which cannot be disputed or denied, must be :;dded his extreme good temper and docility in which he unquestionably excels any other horse in the world. I can give no reason for this want of vice ; but there it is a fixec and established fact. From the first childhoAi of the animal until he is fully put to work he requires little or no breaking. For the most part he receives none; unless he shows qualities which promise such speed or endurance as to render it advisable to break, or rather to train, him as a race horse. And when this is dom it is for the purpose of developing his powers, having him exert himself to the utmost, and teaching him how to move to the best advantage ; and not to render him submissive, easy of management or gentle to be handled. In the middle of the last century such a thing as a professional horse-breaker was unknown ; colts were rarely, if ever, put upon the breaking bits, lounged or subjected to any of the processes of handling, without which the young horse in Europe is, in nine case out of ten, wild, headstrong, ungovernable and almost indomitably savage. There is scarcely any difficulty in saddling, in harnessing, in backing or in inducing him to go. He may be awkward at first, uncouth, shy and timid, but one may say never violent, splenetic and fierce ; never making those wild bounds and plunges by which he strives resolutely to divest himself of his trappings and to rid himself of his rider as one almost invariably sees a young animal do in Europe while in the breakers hands. GOOD JUDGMENT IX TREATMENT. From the beginning of the thoroughbred in America horses were treated, for the most part, with superior judgment and greater humanity in the United States, unless in exceptional instances. The whip was little used and the spur wa. almost unknown. But the whole of this remarkable difference in temper on the part of the American horse cannot be attributed to the difference of treatment, for it certainly would not be safe, much less wise or easy, to mount an English highly-bred colt without having the means of compelling obedience in case of resistance and insuring the victory of the horseman in the case of a long and obstinate encounter of wits between the intellectual man and the intelligent brute. As he begins, moreover, so he continues to the end. One rarely, if ever, meets a kicker, a runaway, an inveterate shier or balker and hardly ever a furious, biting, striking, screaming devil, which he cannot approach but at the risk of limb or life. In an American horse of any class or condition. This fact may be in some respect attributed to the less high strain of blood in the American roadster and still more to the hardier and less stimulating mode of treatment to which he is subjected. The American thoroughbred of the highest grade is an out-of-door plant indeed as compared to an English hunter or park hack, which is invariably in the most pampered and blooming condition, generally above his work and excited by the high and constant grooming, rubbing and currying to great irritability both of skin and temper. MAKING A HORSE NERVOUS. No one who has seen hunters groomed in England or race horses in this country, whjch are the only horses subjected to this extreme dressing, can doubt, when he hears the animals squealing and snorting and sees them biting or lashing out at everything they see, that the animal is rendered in the highest degree sensitive and has his nervous temperament excited and stimulated greatly by this treatment. His spirit, health, courage and beauty are promoted by it, in at least an equal degree. Certainly I have never seen horses in America, with the exception of race horses, either groomed or showing the grooming in the bloom and perfection of their coats which is expected of the horsekeeper in every English gentlemans stable. I do not say that it is desirable, or that the American mode should be altered. I only assert that it is so. For the English hunter or steeplechaser, whose work is closely analogous to that of the early American four-mile-heater, nearly the same conditions and the blooming coat are doubtless necessary. Produced as they must be by hot stabling, thick clothing, and extremely high and pampered feeding, X do not believe that such 1 treatment would be beneficial to American roadsters, but the reverse. And, apart from the parade and show which, as they are a principal part of the object for which the European gentleman keeps his carriage horses and park hacks, cannot be sacrificed I do not believe that it is advantageous to the hardihood, health or endurance of weather of such animals in England. It struck me with great wonder, in 1830, when every young gentleman in New York kept his fast trotter, or fast team, to see those animals driven at a rate I never before heard of some eight or ten miles until they were in a lather of sweat, and then left to stand in the open air with the thermometer not much above zero for two or three hours with only a single blanket over them at Catos door, while their owners were talking "horse" within round a blazing fire. I at once recognized that no English horse, stabled and groomed as English horses are groomed and stabled, could have been subjected to such treatment without incurring almost the certainty of an inflammation of the lungs and the greatest imaginable risk of being rendered worthless forever after. It is true that, in England, such trials are not required of horses, owing to the far greater equability of the climate, in which the hottest summer day rarely exceeds 75 to 80 degrees or the coldest winter day falls lower than 25 to 20 degrees above zero ; so that there is, perhaps, little more difference between the heat of a warm English stable and the outer air than there is between that of a cold American one and the winter atmosphere without. Still, I believe that the heating treament, in some degree, unnerves horses, deprives them of the power of enduring long, protracted exertion, privation, hardship and the inclemency of weather. And I further believe that the pampering, high feeding, excessive grooming and the general maintenance of horses in an unnatural and excited state of health and spirits has an injurious j effect on the general temper of the animal ; j though not, perhaps, so greatly as to account for all the difference alluded to above. RESULTS OF TROTOICING HORSE. If it have any- injurious effect in provoking the animal to resistance, rebellion or i Caprice, the rest soon follows, for the re- j hellion or caprice of the animal constantly calls forth the violence, the injustice and j the cruelty of the groom. By these means a casual trick is confirmed into a depraved habit and a playful, mischievous creature transformed into a vicious, savage devil. I attribute some of the extra amount of mischief, wantonness and vice in European horses French and Spanish horses I think even more vicious than the English to the effects of the system. I also think that, by some accident of blood or climate, American horses are more docile and gentler by nature. I have observed the fact in race horses, as highly groomed and as much pampered as any. I have also observed it among stallions on exhibition in the highest bloom, animals which no man in his senses in Europe would think of approaching under the like circumstance. In conclusion I consider the general horse of America superior, not in blood or in beauty, but decidedly in hardihood to do and to endure, in powers of travel, in speed, in docility and in good temper to any other race of general horses in the world. Unlike the human race of the United States, unlike the ordinary working horse, unlike the cattle and most of the domestic , animals of North America which cannot be j traced or said to belong to any one distinct breed or family, having originated from the mixture, combination and amalgamation of j many bloods and stocks, derived from many : different countries, the blood horse of Amer- j ica stands alone, unquestionably of pure English thoroughbred. 1 MIXTURE IN ENGLISH THOROUGHBRED j What the English thoroughbred is is so generally appreciated that it is only neces- ! sary here to say that, although it is not possible in every instance to trace the great j progenitors of the early English and Amer- , ican turf directly on both sides to desert! blood, and although it can scarce be doubted i that in the very commencement of turf breeding there must have been some mixture ; of the best old English blood, probably in j great part Spanish by descent, with the ; true Arab or Barb race. This impure ad-j mixture is so exceedingly remote, not within j fourteen or fifteen generations since which j the smallest taint has been jealously ex- j eluded that the early race horse of England or North America did not possess above one sixteen-thousandth part of any other blood than that of the desert. Nor is it to be doubted in the smallest degree that the modern thoroughbred is as far superior to the present horse of the East, in his qualities and powers, as he is in size, bone, strength and ability to carry j weight. It is this superiority of our early j thoroughbred which is proved wherever it has encountered the oriental horse, that .it j must be ascribed that no late cross of Arab J blood has, in the smallest degree, improved j the European or early American racer. j It appears now an admitted fact that, to j improve any blood, the sire must be the j superior animal, and, in as much as by care, j cultivation, superior food and better man- j agement our descendant of the desert blood I has been matured into a creature superior j to his progenitors, mares of the improved race can gain nothing from being referred to the original stock. It remains to be seen, however, whether by the importation of oriental mares and breeding them judiciously to the modern thoroughbred sires, something might not be effected. j The first systematic attempts at improving the blood of the English horse began in the reign of King James I., was continued in that of Charles I., and during the Commonwealth. It advanced with renewed spirit on the restoration of the Stuarts, of whom one is happy to record that they were a horse-loving and sport-encouraging race and that England, and through her America, owe to them, in great part, the blood of their ! matchless steeds. In the reign of Queen Anne the English i thoroughbred horse may be regarded as fully j established ; the Darley Arabian, sire of I Flying Childers, Curwens Barb and Lord j Carlisles Turk, sire of the Bald Galloway, being imported in her reign. Sixteen years ; after her death, and three years before the foundation of Georgia, the youngest of the then royal colonies, twenty-one foreign and fifty native stallions, some of them the most celebrated horses the world has ever seen such as Childers, Bartletts Childers, the Grey Childers, the Bald Galloway. Bay Bolton, Coneyskins, Crab, Fox, Hartleys Blind Horse, Jigg, Sorcheels and Trueblue were covering in the LTnited Kingdoms. From some of these are descended most all our racers of the present day. Six years before this the first Racing Calendar was published in England, with nearly seven hundred subscribers. During that period it was precisely that the American colonies were planted ; and, as might be anticipated, English horses of pure blood were introduced at an early date. In those regions where the settlement was principally effected by men of birth attached to the Cavalier party race horses were kept and trained, race courses were established and a well authenticated stock of thoroughbred animals, tracing to the most celebrated English sires, many of which were imported in the early part of the eighteenth century; was in existence considerably before the outbreak of the old French war. In the eastern states, the settlers of which were for the most part attached to the Puritan party and therefore opposed to all amusements and pastimes as frivolous at the least and .unprofitable, and to horse racing especially as profane, and positively wicked, few horses of thorough blood were imported. Racing, in the early part of the eighteenth century, took no root in this section nor was any stable of racers ever kept to the eastward of New York. Virginia and Maryland as the headquarters of the Cavaliers the former state having for a long time refused submission to the commonwealth and to stout old Oliver as the seat of the aristocracy, fashion and wealth of the colonies prior to the Revolution took an early and decided lead in this noble pursuit. "While the love of the sport continues to distinguish their descendants, who are by far the most equestrian in their habits, the result of the liberality of the first settlers is yet visible in the blood of their noble steeds. BEGINNING OF RACING. It is probable that racing may have commenced simultaneously, or nearly so, in the two states above named. It was an attribute of the principal towns of Maryland some years previous to Braddocks defeat, in 1753, and it is nearly certain that Spark, owned by Governor Ogle, of that colony, presented to him by Lord Baltimore, who received him as a gift from the Prince of "Wales, father of King George III., came hither previous to that event. He was among the first horses of great distinction brought to America, though it cannot be shown what was the exact date of his importation. It seems also that there is some dispute as to his pedigree. Wetaherbys stud book has Spark, by Honeycomb Punch Wilkes Old Hautboy. This, I presume, is the horse in question as is stated by Patrick Nisbett Edgar, in his "Sportsmans Herald" who gives his pedigree as above, signed and sealed by Lord Baltimore. Skinner, in his stud book, gives his sire Aleppo, son of the Darley Arabian, dam by Bartletts Childers, etc., but he states no authority and I presume is in error, as I find no grounds for such a pedigree. Edgar states also that "Wilkes Old Hautboy mare, dam by Brimmer, was also imported into Virginia by Colonel Colville, and afterward known as Miss Colville. Old Hautboy wa3 son of the DArcy White Turk and the mara was one of King Charles II.s barb mares. Honeycomb, the sire of Punch, was by Dun Barb and the Babraham marc. Governor Ogle, the owner of Spark, which as a grandson of Hautboy must date back to early in the eighteenth century, also imported Queen Mab, by Musgroves gray Arabian, but the date of her importation is not known more certainly than that of Spark. Frederic, Prince of Wales, however, who gavo him to Lord Baltimore, died himself in 1751, by which one may conjecture his importation to have occurred previously to that date. The circumstances of the gift speak well for the character of the horse, which waa probably in a high form as a racer, sinco royal donors are not wont to make worthless donations. About the year 1750 Colonel Tasker imported into Maryland the celebrated English mare Selima, a daughter of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the most distinguished marcs that ever ran in American, and progenitrix through Rockingham, Mark Anthony and many others, of half the best and most fashionable blood in America. In December, 1752, Colonel Tasker won a sweepstakes with that mare at Gloucester, Va., beating Colonel Byrds renowned horso, Tryall, by imported Mortons Traveller Blazella, by Blaze Jenny Cameron, by Quiet Cuddy, son of Fox Castaway. Colonel Taylors Jenny Cameron and a mare of Colonel Thorntons were also outdistanced in tho race for a sweepstakes, of four miles, for SCO pistoles. After this time it appears to have been considered part of the duty of a governor of Maryland to keep a racing stud, as, succeeding Governor Ogle, the importer of theso famous animals. Governors Ridgely, Wright, Lloyd and Sprigg were all determined tur-men and supporters of the American racing interest. At nearly the same time there were imported into Virginia R.ouths Crab, by Old Crab, dam by Counsellor, daughter of Coney-skins, supposed to be in or about 1745 ; in 1747, Monkey, by the Lonsdale Bay Arabian, dam by Curwens Bay Barb, daughter of the Byerly Turk and a royal mare. He waa 22 years old when imported, but left good stock; in 174S, Rogers of the Vale, afterward known as Jolly Roger, by Roundhead and a partner mare, Woodcock, Crofts Bay Barb, Dickey Pierson. Roundhead was by Flying Childers Roxana, dam of Lath and Cade, by the Bald Galloway and a dam which was a daughter to the Acaster Turk. Woodcock was by Dodsworth Barb Burton Barb. In about 17C4 was imported Fearnought, by Regulus Silvertail, by Whitenose, grand-dam by Rattle, great-granddam by Darley Arabian, great-great-granddam Old Child, by Sir rI nomas Gresleys Arabian, great-great-great-granddam Vixen, by Helnisley Turk, whose dam was one of Dodsworths, a natural Barb. Regulus was by the Godolphin Barb, dam Grey Robinson, by the Baid Galloway, granddam by Snake Old Wilkes Hautboy mare. Rattle was by Sir H. Har-purs Barb and the dam was a royal mare. Whitenose was by the Hall Arabian. To Be Continued.

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800