A STRIKE FOR LIBERTY- 98
Max; he had always been used to the tight rein. I asked him how it was he bore it.
" Well," he said, " I bear it because I must; but it is shortening my life, and it will shorten yours, too, if you have to stick to it."
"Do you think," I said, "that our masters know how bad it is for us ?"
"I can't say," he replied, "but the dealers and the horse-doctors know it very well. I was at a dealer's once, who was training me and another horse to go as a pair ; he was getting our heads up, as he said, a little higher and a little higher every day. A gentleman who was there asked him why he did so. ' Because,' said he, ' people won't buy them unless we do. The London people always want their horses to carry their heads high and to step high. Of course it is very bad for the horses, but then it is good for trade. The horses soon wear out, or get diseased, and they come for another pair.' That," said Max, " is what he said in my hearing, and you can judge for yourself."
What I suffered with that rein for four long months in my lady's carriage would be hard to describe; but I am quite sure that, had it lasted much longer, either my health or my temper would have given way. Before that I never knew what it was to foam at the mouth, but now the action of the sharp bit on my tongue and jaw, and the constrained position of my head and throat, always caused me to froth at the mouth more or less. Some people think it very fine to see this, and say, " What fine, spirited creatures !" But it is just as unnatural for horses as for men to foam at the mouth; it is a sure sign of some discomfort, and should be attended to. Besides this, there was a pressure on my windpipe, which often made my breathing very uncomfortable; when I returned from my work, my neck and chest were strained and painful, my mouth and tongue tender, and I felt worn and depressed.