NEW SOUTH WALES HORSES.
(From the Indian Field, April 16.)
To Abel East.
DEAR SIR,-Having lately perused a pamphlet by Cap- tain D'Oyly, entitled A Few words on Studs, will you
allow me to occupy a small space in your columns in de- fence of my friend the Australian horse.
In page 44 of his work the author says, that Sir Walter Gilbert estimates the cost of New South Wales horses at £43 a head, and that "the estimate is entirely at variance with fact. The following statement will show that Sir Walter was not very far wrong in his estimate) of course he does not make allowance for the lavish expendi- ture, gross neglect, and ignorance of the different parties employed:- £ s. Cost of horse delivered at the port of embark-
ation . 30 0
Three weeks' keep, &c, previously to shipping, at
3s per diem. 3 3
Freight. 13 0 Forage and 6ttings.,. 4 0
Shipping, 8tc. O 5 Halters and sundries,. O 10 Superintendant and groom.,. 1 11
Total ... C2 9
In tho or ti mato I hnvo pnt down £30 as the cost of the horse, this being the highest price allowed by the Govern- ment, but good horses in every way adapted for Horse Artillery purposes, can be purchased at from £20 to £25, and in any quantity; end a 1¡Kliter stump of horses for Cainby purposes, at ¡rom £10 to £20- this I know to be tho nive. I have not allowed for risk, salary of the Re- mount Agent, or expense of landing in Calcutta. The loss ought tmt nt any rata to be more than 5 per sent. There is no Remount Depot in Australia that I am aware of, unless one has been established lately. In October 1 ist thero wore two officers, one in Sydney, the other in Melbourne, who wore purchusiug f"r the Government. The horses nt least in Sydney, (with the exception of a fow in the old convict stables), were shipped off as soon as they came down from the run, nor, with the exception of the Government conviât stables, which were rent- free, was there any depot where the hursos could be got into condi- tion, preparatory to shipment. Theie ought to be but little expenso incurred after landing If the horse is pro- perly cared fur on board -ship; 1 have seen horses landed in hotter condition after a two months' voyage than they were in when they came on board. The majority ought to be fit for work in two months from the time they are landed
in Calcutta. ' '
In page 45, the author, speaking of the Cape horses and their cost, says: - " I doubt whether they will be reduced below Rs 700, or about double the expense of the Stud
Now, assumlng this to be correct, we must look upon the Government as a set or horse-dealers as regards the cavalry horses in their service. An officer, I believe, on first joining his regiment is allowed to select two remounts as chargers, and for these he pays Government 700 ru- pees each, therefore if the colts only stand the Government in 350 rupees each, they make cent per cent out of the unhappy Cornet. Surely the author docs not admit thlB to be a fact. As for bursatee I know it from my own expe- rience to be exceedingly prevalent among Stud-bred horses up the country; whether the Walers suffer equally from it or not. I cannot say.
In pages 48 and 49 the author states that the Committee "recommended government to indent upon New South Wales for remounts for the horse artillery and forwarded with this report was a mass of correspondence from com- manding officers of mounted regiments containing opinions,
most of them in praise of the Waler for remount purposes, and many of them declaring their preference for Colonial
to Stud bred cattle."
Now what better proof of the capabilities of the New South Wales horse could he wished for, than the opinions of the commanding officers of cavalry regiments? They surely must be the best judges as to the fitness or other- wise of the Waler for cavalry purposes.
In page 53 the author roundly states that Colonial horses cost tbe Government about £100, and then with true Indian patriotism laments that so much capital Bhould find its nay «mong his countrymen at the Cape and in Australia. Yat surely ¡f weean provo that an equally good or more serviceable animal can be imported at a less cost than he can be bred in the country, it will in some mea- sure moke up even to the author for the den'cioncy in the circulation of capital, among our dusky fraternity
' In pago 46 he states that "good, carefully selected mares must be imported cither from Now Zealand, etc.'* 1 very touch question whether good mares or horses either aro to bo found in New Zealnnd in any quantity, and, moreover, I should bo very loath to import brood mares (rom New -Zealand, thoir pedigree is very uncertain. It is true that Arabs havo from time to timo found their way there, but the imported New Zealand mares are generally the greatest rips that can be found in Australia.
In page 6O the author states that he prefers the Austra- lion mares to the Cape on account of the larger size of the former. " The South American horse I put out of the question." Perhaps the auhor is not aware, although it is often tolerably evident, that there is a strong dash of South American blood in the Australian horse. Years ago numbers of South American horses were imported from Valparaiso, and were dispersed throughout the set- tlements on the eastern and southern coasts. I quite agree with him in saying that the Mustang is unfitted for army
Lastly, why is the loss by casualties from N. S. Wales greater than from the Cape? Simply from carelessness and bad management. The Government hare no proper e tablisbroent iu N. S. Wales, and horses arc bought and Bhlppcd when they are mero colts. No homo ought to be put un board ship under i years old, whereas many two year-olds are «eut up, and the majority not much over 3 years. The consequence is, that besides the deaths, many of thom get badly spavined from the nvition of the ship. Again the horses aro driven down from the runs perfectly wild, and ¡nutend of being bandied and got in condition, they are at once dragged down tolbe wharf and sluug. Any pen-on who lins witnessed the scene of shipping horses for India from the circular quay iu Sydney, will not be surprised that the casnulitics are laigo.
If the Government wish to import horse» from Austra- lia-and to do so economically and successfully they must lorra a depot near one of the large towns-there is plenty ol' Government land for the purposo which could be ob- tained at a low rate: rough sheds or stables shonld be bnilt capable of holding some 3O0 horses When the horscB aro purchu'ed, they thoul 1 be left on the run until witbin a few weekB of the time of shipment, when they might be roped and driven down. Any weakly or sick horses could thon be sot aside for another ship, and not, as now, be put on board in whatever stBto they may be, sometimes endangering tho safety of the whole
Again, the fittings which are put up by contract are oten very faulty; any person who has been in a ship with horses iu heavy weather off the Lewin, has seen tbo truth of this. Generally speaking, they are far too weak ; the consequence is, that, what with the strain on them, and the working of the ship, some part is sure to give way. Another cause of loss is bad forage; nearly half of the hay put on bnard is generally damaged and unfit for use; this arises from compressing it before thoroughly dry. . Pressed hay for use on board ship should always be salted,
i. e. a few handsful of rock salt be scattered through it be- fore pressing; this prevents it becoming caked and mouldy. The greatest attention must be paid to cleanli- ness, and the horses should be cleaned ont and shifted every day The oftener they are shifted the more likely they are to keep in health. The superintendent should be a person who is accustomed to horses, and understands something of veterinary, and not, as has been the case too often, one who knows as much or as little about a horse as
the horse does about him.
Lastly, as regards diet, it must be a rule to underfeed them; this applies both to food and water; gorging is too
often the cause of disease and death.
Ia paga 61 the author speaks of the loss of the ship Chesterholme in Torres' Straits. The passage through those straits is becoming every year more dangerous and intricate on account of the growth of the coral reefs, but if the ships are despatched at the proper time of the year,
that is between the 1st of November and the middle of January, there is no necessity for going through the straits at all. Captain D'Oyly is perfectly right when he says that " the great secret in successful transport consists in
engaging large, roomy, well ventilated ships, with stout, strong, fittings and fastening," and if he will allow me to add, superintendents who understand the business. By having a proper person in the colonies to superintend the, fitting up of ships and tho purchaso of stores, forage, &c. and the selection of grooms the expense might, no doubt, be much reduced. The quantity of useless trash in the shape of horse medicines, stable gear, &c., sent up in the ships is absurd.
After comparing the different statements of expenditure, &c, in Captain D'Oyly's pamphlet, it appears to me that the Stud-bred colt before he gets to work, stands Govern- ment in not much less than Rupees 6OO. We will admit that as long as he has planty to eat and drink be will do his work well, but the Government require a horse that can stand hard work, climate, starvation, want of water, and bad food. All this I know that the Waler can do, and from my experience of Stud-bred horses I do not be- lieve that they will. The Waler is accustomed to hard living from the time ne is foaled; he often lives on the leaves and shoots of the scrubs when grass runs short, and has to go miles in search of water; he has to forage en- tirely for himself.- such we, know, is not the case with the Stud-bred horse. It would no doubt be very unwise to do away with the studs, and to be entirely dependent on the colonies for horses, but I do not believe that for some years it will be possible for the studs to supply the wants of the mounted branch of the service. Would it not be therefore wiser on the part of Government to turn their
attention more particularly to Australia and to establish a depot there? The supply is unlimited, and under proper management as I have already said, a cheaper and equally good, if not better, stamp of horses than the Stud -bred - might be imported, certainly hardier, and more tractablo, if properly treated.
I must apologise for thus intruding on your columns, but my wish to see justice done to the Australian horse, and a better system adopted, must plead my excuse.
Your obedient servant.