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him relate it; farther, you may read it in the library of the noble
One story brings another; and as that fine old sportsman's eyes are now (in my mind's view) fixed upon me, he shall speak as well as lookand therefore listen to his tale. Burton Wood is just beyond Walden, and on the edge of the open country (Cambridge). In a bushy baulk, some short distance from Burton, in the open, there was a head of earths. Al fox had been found there two or three times, and had given the pack of hounds then occupying that country as many fine runs. Burton was fixed again, and many of the field went as usual to a hill at a little distance, to have another view of their old friend, from the bank. How ever, the huntsman, not as before, drew the wood first, and found his fox. They went instantly awaydown to Littlebury-crossing the bottom in a line for the How. The cunning groupe, (of which the relator was one,) with exhausted patience got upon the move, and casting an eye westerly they saw the hounds streaming up the hill, two or three only with them. They set to, and reached the How; but they were gone; had turned from Strethall Wood for the woodlands; and the first tidings they got were at Scales Park--but no hanging or check. Still the track, and now and then hearing of them, induced perseverance; and they held on to Capons, Reed, Hyde Hall, Bradfield, Clothall, Box Wood, and through Bramfield Park, without ever seeing a hound. Thorough-blood, and the great extent they had gone over, gave spirits and confidence, though the nags began to reel. The Hatfield road and Lord Melbourne's Park VOL. XXII. N. S.-No. 128.
were traversed; and on the other side they met the huntsman re➡ turning, with his head set homewards, having lost the fox most unaccountably in a large field, at the moment of dying, as he thought. Pennystone, however, induced him to try back again, and out of a small bush in a corner of the said field up jumped the fox, dead beat. He could not cross the furrows, and who-hoop crowned this extraordinary run. I remember, when a boy, seeing the brush of this fox; and there was a memorandum affixed, which, after describing the chase, that from memory I have related, ended thus:-" It was the smallest vixen fox ever seen, grey with age, and without a tooth in her head."-Distance at least fifty miles.
Nothing can be more distinguishing in character than the country on the Essex side of the Newmarket road, when brought into a comparative view with the other parts of Mr. Hanbury's Hunt. It may be considered to commence at Takely Forest, running parallel with the high road to the right of Littlebury. It is not claimed as an heir-loom, but held, first, under a friendly understanding for part of it with Mr. Conyers; and for other parts, to the failure of occupation. This on the Walden side has always been hunted, either for itself or by any pack-hunting part of the Suffolk country. The famous Mr. Panton held it for many years. He was a great friend of the late Mr. Calvert's; and they added much to the pleasures of the chase in those days by their harmonious proceedings, often visiting each other's country, joining packs, and participating in society. This is the district, which only years since gave such eclat, F
or rather which the capital managemeut of the "Invincible Pack" gave to that. The word is assuming, and shews the daring of its members; but the fact is, that their daring deeds and their incessant sport gained them this title, and which nothing but that common winder-up of all our earthly feats a natural death could break through. It was a rough concern from head to tail; but it was as ready a one; and no fox of Essex blood, whether bred upon stubbs, or in soft chambers of sand, ever found them heavy heeled. ANECDOTE.After two months most miserable sport with our hounds no runs, and no increase of heads-a lover of the sport, of London equipment, with the best of horses, the best of boots, and the best of breeches and scarlet, determined to prove the truth of the flying fame of these unadorned gentry, sent his horses, wardrobe, and dressing table to Walden, and appeared at the covert side in band-box order. Just fancy the difference: hunters rough coated, rough legged, rough tailed, and rough maned: huntsmen, blue frocked and long flapped, corduroys and brown-booted, long whipped, and red-faced with home-brewed. "Morning, Sir!"-Dandy: "You have had great sport, Sir, I hear!" "Why pretty well, I thinks: we've been out twelve toimes, killed ten on'um, run one to ground, and some how or other loast the last: : pray, Sir, what a yow been adoing?" Now this was the acmè of sarcasm. He knew that neither a run nor a kill for two months had ever disturbed the silky coats of the shining nags!
There was a singleness of character, marked and pitted with originality in the whole of this in
vulnerable establishment. Short handed from men to hounds, it required no small degree of skilful management, first to gain, and then to keep celebrity; besides, there was a Member of the Club, whether in a black or brown coat I don't recollect, who kept a sharp look out, and always rode with a devilish tight hand. There were two cases, however, and only two, in which this choice help-mate took unbridled liberties-in the number of the foxes' heads on the kennel door; and when the punchbowl was full.
In the field, he was ever in the front rank; and every act was in practice to save time, to save horse flesh, and commit murder in the shortest way. My Town-friend, seeing two couples of hounds constantly at the huntsman's heels, and often hearing an undertone sort of rate-not " Have a care! have a care!" or, "War hare!" but
steady, Vaunter;" "quiet, Victor;" "gently, Pagan;" ventured, in a delicate way, to inquire whether they were newly entered, or whether not belonging to the pack.
Why, Zur, we h'ant a world of hounds, as you have; therefore I am always very chary on'um, and I'm tidy careful that these good'uns shall be kept fresh for the last, and then the fox is sure to die." Now, ghost of Meynel! what say you, Sir, to this discipline? It is, like a reserved company of British Grenadiers with the bayonet, fatal!
I shall now pull up, although I have not drawn all the country; but I must try to keep both friends and foes in good humour. So they may catch their wind till next month, that is, provided your invitation is received for a continuation. I am an old hand at hunting, but a new one at writing; sq
you must excuse faults, taking me as I am. ANSTY.
Barkway, 12th April, 1828.
ON THE PREVENTION AND PALLIATION OF LAMENESS IN THE FEET OF HORSES.
YOUR correspondent SEPTEN TRIONALIS, in the last Number, laments that there should be entailed on this noble animal-and that through the ignorance of man-the dire calamity of foot lameness. On this subject the following practical observations, drawn from professional experience, are at the service of the Sporting World.
The two principal causes of foot lameness are, contraction and concussion. To such a beautifully complex piece of mechanism as the foot of the horse, the present mode of shoeing--that of permanently fixing it in close contact with an unyielding piece of iron-must ever be an act of extreme violence; and the wonder is, not that so many horses are lame, but that there are any horses that are sound. The fact is, there are few which have done much work that are not lame in an incipient degree, though perhaps their owners do not know it. But the non-elastic nature of the iron shoe is not the only thing to be regretted. The evil is greatly aggravated by the unscientific application of it to the foot; nor can we ever hope or expect any other result than numberless cripples, so long as the management of the foot is committed to persons totally unacquainted with the nature of its structure and functions.
The foot is furnished with more
than a thousand springs, most of which act obliquely from the coronet downwards; the remainder horizontally. The most important of the latter is the horny sole. So important is this, that if it be thrown out of use, thrown out of use, the elasticity of all the others will be rendered null and void. It is convex above, and concave below; and its healthy action is to descend from the pressure applied to it by the pastern and coffin bones, and, in consequence of that descent and convexity, to expand. By its descent, it allows of the elongation of the five hundred sensible lamina; and by its expansion, it keeps open the lower circumference of the crust and heels. It becomes, therefore, matter of infinite importance, that this spring-the horny sole-be kept in its natural healthy state; viz. thin, and consequently pliable, that it may descend, expand, and thus prevent contraction, which, as I have said, is one principal cause of foot lameness. Its unhealthy state is that of being morbidly thick, hard, and inflexible, either too concave, or in the extreme of convexity, as in pumiced feet.
An idea is prevalent, that contraction is the principal cause of lameness; but this is a mistake: for where there is one horse lame from contraction, there are twenty lame from concussion. The free descent and elasticity of the horny sole will also contribute to prevent this disease, concussion; but its prevention mainly depends on allowing the newly discovered and important function of the posterior parts of the foot to be performed. By the posterior parts of the foot are here meant, all those posterior to the heels of the coffin boneviz. the quarters of the crust, bars, heels of the frog, and lateral car
tilages. All these, in an unshod foot, from their attachment to the horny sole, have a considerable motion downwards; and to allow of which, when shod, the shoe should always be laid off the heels and quarters; that is, there should be a space left between the crust and shoe sufficient for the introduction of a picker. The shoe so The shoe so laid off will then, in fact, act like a tip (which is the nearest to perfection of all shoes, so far as the functions of the foot are concerned), with this additional advantage, that the heels of the foot will be prevented from wearing away so fast as with tips. This then, is the other grand cause of lameness -concussion to the sensible parts of the foot; produced from the na◄ tural descent of these posterior springs being prevented, by their resting in close contact with the shoe in ordinary shoeing; and hence it is that there are so many horses lame, notwithstanding they have good open circular feet. It It has been thought that contraction is produced by the nails; but it appears that the tendency of these will be, at worst, only to keep the hoof of the same size and shape as the shoe to which it is fixed.
The causes of contraction then are:-first, a morbidly thick sole, which will not descend and expand the heels and quarters. Secondly, the frog being pared away, consequently elevated from the ground, and not allowed to come in contact with it, as it ought to do at each step of the animal. Thirdly, heat, by which the crust is contracted, and rendered hard and
brittle-hence SO many horses turned out to grass in summer come up lame.
The causes of concussion are that the posterior springs of the foot
are deprived of their natural functions of descent, by their close approximation with the shoe, and also by the want of elasticity in the horny sole.
To counteract the effect of heat in the stable, the horse should stand upon wet straw, strewed under his fore feet two or three nights in a week. This will render his crusts elastic and tough; and the less a horse, with a predisposition to have contracted feet, lies down the better; as, when he lies down, all pressure is removed from his frogs, which are the grand active powers to keep open the upper part of the crust next the coronet, and resist the contractile effects of heat.
I am, Sir, yours, &c.
A VETERINARY SURGEON.
DEFENCE OF SHOOTING.
BEING, as I flatter myself, one
of your oldest readers and subscribers, allow me for once to crave a small space in one of your subsequent Numbers for the insertion of the following.
Here let me state, in the first place, that, although I write in defence of one sport, I by no means wish to detract from or disparage any other. Though shooting is my theme, I am as well a wisher to the success of hunting as any thorough-bred Meltonian. With pleasing change, I one day take my dogs and gun, and seek the stubbles: the following morning sees me at the covert side. "bit of pink," and my green plush shooting jacket, obtain my equal attention-I treasure my pointer equally with my hunter. What then do I mean? I shall be asked.
My answer is short-I do, with surprize, regret, and pain, see and read the unfair, undue, and illiberal maledictions that are cast upon shooting, by many of the contributors to your monthly publication. I could have wished that it had fallen to better hands than my own, to take uparms, and contend against a host of red jackets: but no bet ter champion shewing himself, poor I, myself, must stand forth.
When I speak of shooting, how ever, let me not be mistaken for upholding the present system of battueing a practice, at once the source of most of those evils that are generally attributed to the present code of Game Laws, and unworthy of any gentleman aspiring to the title of an English sportsman. As I was reading over a short time ago, my mind brooding upon the subject before us, some of your late Numbers, I stumbled upon the following observation, made by a late Member of Christ Church." With ninetynine men out of a hundred, whe ther on a large or small scale, shooting is, more or less, the most selfish of all our field sports."
Now, I really cannot see why shooting is to be called a selfish sport, if I rightly understand the meaning of the word. A man may be infirm, or have no relish for hunting; or, by having been confined by some mercantile employ ment in his younger days, may not have had an opportunity of riding to hounds, or enjoying the pleasures of the chase: the season comes round; his house is filled with his friends, who separately or together take their dogs and gun, and go over their host's manor in search of game. Is there any thing selfish in this? May not this man amuse himself and his
friends in this way? Again: a gentleman of moderate income, and no land of his own, lives in some country villa: occasionally he may wish to have a day's shooting, and directly writes to the 'Squire of the place, begging permission for a day's amusement over his manor. Where is the 'Squire that would refuse? We can find nothing very selfish in this. No;
this will not do for the fox-hunter
he must have all the coverts entirely given up to himself! no spaniel or pointer must enter them, or the foxes will be disturbed! no sportsman may enter their sacred confines! If this should not be submitted to, the lord of the manor is called selfish. This, I say, is too much to expect; and I am convinced that every unpre judiced sportsman will agree with me. Again, these selfish gentlemen (for we cannot separate the sport from its votary) will even forfeit the pheasants that are destroyed by the foxes (and how many are thus destroyed, none save those who may have examined a fox-earth would believe), sooner than order the game-keeper to destroy them, and thus spoil the sport of others. No sportsman, I am convinced, unless under very peculiar circumstances, would shoot afox. I speak by experience, knowing many men who never followed a hound, yet never would sanction or allow the destruction of a fox. Where fox-hunting does meet with any obstacle, it generally arises from some wanton and unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of its followers, (I speak from having seen things of the sort,) riding over mown lawns and new wheat, when there is no occasion, &c. Their own crimes bring on their own punishment. If both sports