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1 correction by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

NEW SOUTH WALES HORSES.

^From the Indian J?ield, April 16.)

To Abel East,

DEAR SIR,-Having lately perused n pnmphletby Cnp , tain D'Oyly, entitled A Few words OH Studs, will you

allow me to occupy'a small space in your columns in de- fence of my friend the Australian horse.

In pago 44 of his work tho author says, that Sir Walter Gilbert estimates the cost «>f New South Wales horses at £43 a head, and that " the cstimnto is entirely nt variance with fact. The following statement will show that Sir Walter was not very far wrong in his estimate) of course he d>es cot mako allowiinco for the lavish expendi- ture, gross neglect, and ignorance of the different parties employed:- . £ s. Cost of hülse delivered at tho port of embark-

ation . SO 0

Three weeks' toop, &c, previously to shipping, ut

3s per diom. S S

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 liorso, this haingtha highest price allowed by tho Govern- ment, but good hoi ses in evory way adapted for JIt.rsc 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 Dep >t 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 horse« lunded in hotter condition after a two months' voyage than they were in when they caine on board. The majority ought to h« At for work in two months from the time they are landed

in Calcutta. ' '

In pago 45, the author, speaking of tim Caps horses and their cost, Bays: - " I doubt whether they will bo reduced helnw Rs 7 n0, or about double the expenso of tho Stud

bred colt."

Now, nssumlng this to be correct, wo must look upon the Government as a sot or horse-dealers as regards tho cavalry horses in their service. An officer, I believe, on Hist joining his regiment is allowed to select two remounts .-is chargers, and for these he pays Government 7Ü0 ru- pees each, therefore if the colt« only Btaiid the Government in .lio rupees ouch, they mako cont per cent out of the unhappy Cornet. Surely the author docs not admit thlB to be a fact. As for buraotee I know it from my own expe- rience to be exceedingly prevalent among Stnd-brcd iion.es up tho country; whether the Wulers suffer equally from it or not. I ounnot 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 oust tbe Government about £100, and then wah true Indian patriotism laments that BO 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 moro serviceable animal can bo imporiod at a less cost than ho 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 eil capital, among our dusky fraternity

here.

' 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.

Jn page CO the author states that ha prefors the A nitra- tion mares to the Capo on account of the larger size of the former. .' The South American horse I put out of the question." Peihaps the auhor is not aware, although it is often tolerably evident, that tbcra is a strong dash of South American blood in tho 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 oousts. I quita agree with him in saying that the Mustang ¡B unfitted for army

purposes.

Lastly, why is the loss by casualties from N. S. Wales greater than from the Cape? Simply from carelessness and bnd management, Tho 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

cargo.

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 bandsful of rock salt bo scattered through it be- fore pressing; this prevents it becoming caked and mouldy. The greatest attention must bo'paid to cleanli- ness, and tho horses should be cleaned ont and shifted ci cry day The oftencr they aro shifted the more likely they are to koep in health. The superintendent should be a pors'.n who is accustomed to horses, und understands something of veterinary, and not, as bas been the case too olten, one who knows as mucli or as little about a horse as

the bnrso does about him.

Lastly, as regards diet, it must be a rule to undorfecd them; this applies both to food snd water; goigingistoo

often ¡lie cumc of disease and death.

Ia paga 61 the author speaks of the loss of the (hip Ch'stcrhaliue iu 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 mo despatched at the proper time of the year,

that is botween tbo 1st of November and the m>ddlo of January, there Is no necossity for going through the straits at all. Captain D'Oyly is porfectly right when he says thnt " tho great secret in successful transport consists in

engaging largo, roomy, well ventilated ships, with stout, I strong, fittings and fastening," and if he will allow mo to ! add, superintendents who understand tbo business. By having a proper person in the colonies to superintend the, fitting up of ships and tlio purchaso of stores, foraga, &c. and the selection of groom» the expense might, no doubt, be muoh reduced. The quantity of nsoless trash in the shape of horse medicines, stable gear, &e., sent np in the ships is absurd.

After comparing the different statements of expenditure, &c, in Captain D'Oyly's pamphlet, it appears to jua that the Stud-bred colt before he gets to work, stands Govern- ment in not much less than Rupees COO. 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 wntor, and bad food. All this I know that the Waler can do, and from my experience of ^tnd-bred horses I do not be- lieve that tboy will. The Waler Is accustomed to hard living from the timo ne is foaled; he often lives on the leaves and shoots of the «crubs when grass runs short, and has to go miles in search of water; ho has to forage en- tirely for himself.- such we, know, is not the caso with the Stud-bred horse. It would no doubt be very unwise to do away with the studs, and to bo entirely dependont on the colonies for horses, hut I do not believo 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 1" The supply is unlimited, and under propor 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 eolumns, but my wihh to see justice dono to the Australian horse, and a better systom adopted, mast plead my excuse.

Your obedient servant.

A WALlält.

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