Page:Horsemanship for Women.djvu/156

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142
HORSEMANSHIP FOR WOMEN.

strength, and beauty too, are sometimes happened upon in the most unlikely places. Indeed, in many an ungraceful form there is stored up an amount of vital energy which explains the saying that one can find "good horses of all shapes." Nevertheless, the presumption is always in favor of the well-shaped animal, and the acknowledged type of equine beauty is the English thorough-bred. This is of pure Arab blood, but so improved by many generations of careful breeding and training that it now excels not only all other European and Oriental races but the modern Arab himself, that is considered to be, weight for weight, twenty - five per cent, stronger than other breeds. One invariable mark of Arab blood, by-the-bye, is a high and graceful carriage of the tail. The eye should be kind and quiet, that of an Arab very gentle, even sleepy, when at rest, but full of fire and animation when in motion.

"The relative proportions of and exact shape desirable in each of the points described varies considerably in the several breeds. Thus, when speed and activity are essential, an oblique shoulder-blade is a sine quâ non, while for heavy harness it can hardly be too upright. There are some elements, however, which are wanted in any horse, such as big hocks and knees, flat legs with large sinews, open jaws (that is, with the lower jaw-bones wide apart), and full nostrils."

It is well, after taking a general look at a horse and getting an impression of him as a whole, to divide him