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Horse Health & Care - Part 1

( Originally Published 1912 )


To tell the age of any horse,

Inspect the lower jaw, of course; The six front teeth the tale will tell, And every doubt and fear dispel. Two middle nippers you behold Before the colt is two weeks old; Before eight weeks two more will come, Eight months the corners cut the gum. The outside grooves will disappear From middle two In just one year. In two years from the second pair-In three years "corners," too, are bare. At two the middle "nippers" drop; At three the second pair can't stop;

When four years old the third pair goes, At five a full new set he shows. The deep black spots will pass from view At six years, from the middle two; The second pair at seven years; At eight the spot each corner clears. From middle "nippers" upper jaw. At nine the black spots will withdraw; The second pair at ten are bright; Eleven finds the corners light. As times goes on the horsemen know The oval teeth three-sided grow; They longer getóprojectóbefore Till twenty, when we know no more.

Dr. David Roberts.


This breed takes its name from the district of LaPerche in France, which is the chief center of horse breeding in that country. The breed originally derived its size and weight from the ancient Black horse breed of Flanders, and its style and quality from sires of the Oriental breeds. In the early days the Percheron breed was used for hack and bus work, and was of suitable type and conformation for that purpose.

More weight and larger bone have been developed by use of the heavy draft stallions of one or other of several breeds of the kind raised in France. Gray or white was the original color of the Percheron breed, but, recently black has become as common, although it is not so surely transmitted as the characteristic grey of the purely bred Percheron.

Until recent years draft horses from France went by various names such as French Draft, Norman, Norman Percheron, and Percheron, but in the year 1883 the Percheron Horse Society of France was organized and the name Percheron adopted for the breed.

The first volume of the Percheron Norman Stud Book of America was published in 1876, but the name Percheron was finally adopted as a result of similiar action in France.

French draft horses also from France, and practically of the same breed as the Percheron, have a separate stud book, entry to which is based upon rules less stringent than those adopted by the Percheron Association. After prolonged dispute, matters pertaining to the registry of Percheron horses in America have at last been satisfactorily adjusted.

The up-to-date Percheron stands about sixteen hands high, weighs from 1700 to 2200 pounds. The color is usually white, grey or black. He should have an intelligent head, which is a type peculiar to the breed ; rather small ears and eyes; short, strongly muscled neck; strong, well laid shoulders and chest; a plump body; strong back, and heavy quarters.

He usually is low down and blocky on short, clean legs, devoid of long hair, often called feathers, and has well shaped sound hoofs, has splendid action, and travels smoothly.


The Belgian horse takes its name from the country in which it originated, namely, Belgium. The breeding of these horses constitutes one of the principal sources of wealth of the Belgian farmer, and the government aids and encourages the breeding of these horses. The Belgian Draft Horse Society was founded in Belgium in 1883 and has constantly increased in membership.

There is no standard color for the Belgian breed, but red and blue roans are most popular, while bays and browns also exist.

The typical Belgian horse is blocky, wide, heavy, on short clean legs. His neck is usually short and muscular, in fact he is inclined to be muscular or exceedingly fat at all times, and as a rule these Belgian horses are perhaps more readily and quickly fattened than those of any other breed.

This makes the Belgian grade exceedingly popular with the professional horse breeders, as it requires but a short time to condition them for market.

This breed is rapidly improving along the lines of activity, and owing to the kind, gentle disposition of the Belgian, they are becoming exceedingly popular.


The English Shire horse originated from a cross between the black stallions of England and the native mares. They produced a very heavy, hairy legged draft horse many years ago, and this same animal is still bred pure, and gradually has been improved in many particulars. The black color is no longer a characteristics of the breed. The Shire horses of today are mostly bay or brown, and they are less coarse and sluggish than they formerly were. Perhaps the largest number of pure bred Shire horses are raised in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, England.

The first volume of the Stud Book of the Shire Horse Society of England was published in 1880 and that of the American Shire Horse Association appeared a few years later.

The Shire horse is of great weight and power. He is more massive than some of the other draft breeds, but lacks somewhat in quality. His body is short, deep, broad, round; tie coupling extra strong and close, and the thighs and quarters heavy muscled. While he is immensely powerful, he is slow in motion, and sluggish in dispostion. His coat or hair is somewhat coarse and the legs, while extra heavy in bone, do not present the clean appearance of those of the Clydesdale.

The strong, broad, short back of the Shire is greatly in his favor. The Shire horse usually weighs about a ton and many specimens exceed that weight.


The Clydesdales are the draft breeds of Scotland and they have been bred pure for many generations. They originated in a district in Scotland called Clydesdale, from which they derived their name. Heavy black stallions, as with all other heavy draft breeds, were freely used to found the Clydesdale, and records snow that such horses were employed as early as 1715. Since that date great attention has been paid to the improvement of the breed and the preservation of purity of blood and records of pedigree.

The Clydesdale color has been given much attention so that bay or brown, with white markings, such as white faces and white limbs predominate, while other colors such as grey, chestnut and black are less commonly met with.

So carefully have these horses been mated, and so honestly have all matters pertaining to pedigree been conducted, that the purity of blood of recorded horses of this breed is beyond question, and assures a high pedigree of not only breed prepotency, but a remarkable degree of individuality.

In 1877 the Clydesdale Society of Great Britain was founded and a Stud Book issued. The Clydesdale Society of America also was organized in 1877.

The Clydesdale usually stands sixteen hands high and over, and weighs from 1800 to 2200 pounds. The head usually is of good shape, eyes practically perfect, ears of correct shape and size, neck of fair length, arched and muscular. Body powerful, back fairly good, croup of ideal type and well muscled; thighs and quarters strong and full of muscle ; legs free from meatiness and notable for breadth development of tendons; clean dense bone, and quantity of fine, silky hair, oftentimes called feathers, which spring from the rear of the back tendons.

Special attention has for many years been given by breeders to develop quality and action in this breed of horses. They are noted for their fast, elastic, energetic walking and trotting gait, which is a very desirable feature in draft breeds.

Symptoms and Treatment of Horse Diseases


From the third to fifth month of pregnancy there is danger of mares aborting, and to avoid this danger they should receive good, clean, nutritious feed; the stables should be well lighted, well ventilated and well drained, and a good germ destroying disinfectant should be used to overcome and allay all foul odors, which usually indicate that there are germs present.

The system of a mare at this time is in a very delicate condition, and if there be any time during the entire period of pregnancy that she requires a tonic it is at this period. The Breeding Tonic is especially prepared for this purpose and is invaluable for pregnant mares. The genital organs should be washed out with Antisepto Solution.

See Prescription No. 79, page 177.


An abscess is a gathering of pus or matter in a sack, and it may develop in any part of the body. The most common location for them to form is between the angles of the lower jaw. This may be due to Distemper, or it may form on the withers, and is then known as Fistula Withers. If on the head, it is then known as Poll Evil.

Abscesses are caused by either impure blood or bruises.

If due to impure blood, this should be overcome by giving Physic Balls and Horse Tonic:

How to Treat Abscesses.

An application of Antiseptic Poultice (see page 135) should be placed upon the seat of an abscess, continuing this treatment until it comes to a head, at which time it should be opened with a sharp, clean, pointed knife, at the lower part of the abscess, making a cut so as to allow all matter to flow out freely. The knife should first be dipped in a solution of Germ Killer and then in Healing Oil to prevent infection. Then make a solution of Germ Killer and wash out the cavity by the use of a syringe.

After the abscess is thoroughly washed out, inject Healing Oil or Healing Lotion.

See Prescription No. 80, page 177.


Asthma is similar to Heaves. (See Heaves, page 119.) See Prescription No. 81, page 177.


This is a disease which comes on suddenly and is due to an acid condition of the blood. It sometimes affects the front parts as well as the hind parts, and the animal may come out of the barn feeling fine, ambitious, willing to go, and often goes faster than usual, but before it has gone very far it begins to lose its spirits, hangs back, sweats profusely, breathes hard and begins to knuckle over behind, gets lame in one or both hind limbs, and in a short time it is unable to go any farther and often falls helpless on the road.


Roll the animal on a stone boat and haul to the nearest warm, comfortable stable; place it in a large box stall, never in a single stall. Give one bottle of Colic Drench and follow with Kidney Aid according to directions. Half a bushel of dry, hot salt may be placed upon the kidneys. The body should be kept warm by placing a blanket on. Give four quarts of warm water injection (per rectum) by the use of a Flushing Outfit and the urine should be drawn by means of a catheter. The animal should be turned from side to side as long as it is unable to rise, and it should be kept down by hobbles until it is able to get up and stand alone. This will keep it from injuring itself by floundering..

Give the animal all the water it wants to drink, with the chill taken off, while very little feed, if .any, should be given during the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours. The animal should receive light food for several days.

See Prescription No. 82, page 177.

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