BLACK BEAUTY - online book

The Autobiography Of A Horse, With Fifty Illustrations.

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64
BLACK BEAUTY.
if I crawled over my work as some folks do ! You see, I have been about horses ever since I was twelve years old, in hunting stables and racing stables; and being small, ye see, I was jockey for several years; but at the Good­wood, ye see, the turf was very slippery and my poor Larkspur got a fall, and I broke my knee, and so, of course, I was of no more use there. But I could not live without horses, of course I couldn't, so I took to the hotels. And I can tell ye it is a downright pleasure to handle an ani­mal like this, well-bred, well-mannered, well-cared for; bless ye! 1 can tell how a horse is treated. Give me the hand­ling of a horse for twenty minutes, and I'll tell you what sort of a groom he has had. Look at this one, pleasant, quiet, turns about just as you want him, holds up his feet to be cleaned out, or anything else you please to wish ; then you'll find another fidgety, fretty, won't move the right way, or starts across the stall, tosses up his head as soon as you come near him, lays his ears, and seems afraid of you, or else squares about at you with his heels. Poor things! I know what sort of treatment they have had. If they are timid, it makes them start or shy; if they are high-mettled, it makes them vicious or dangerous; their tempers are mostly made when they are young. Bless you! they are like chil­dren; train 'em up in the way they should go, as the good hook says, and when they are old they will not depart from it, if they have a chance, that is."
" I like to hear you talk," said James ; " that's the way we lay it down at home, at our master's."
"Who is your master, young man? if it be a proper question. I judge he is a good one, from what I see."
" He is Squire Gordon, of Birtwick Park, the other side the Beacon hills," said James.
" Ah! so, so; I have heard tell of him ; fine judge of horses, ain't he?—the best rider in the country ?"
" I believe he is," said James, " but he rides very little now, since the poor young master was killed."
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