What you are about to read was written by a man who was one of, if not the most detailed horse historians ever. The purpose of his book was to correct the inaccurate information that was assumed to be fact, that was been published, and bring actual facts to the reader. The amount of detail that went in into this book must have taken the best part of a life time. It was published near the end of the 19th century. His name is being withheld for a little while to find out if any of you can work out the name of this remarkable man.
Hold on to your seats and enjoy the ride LOL ....
ANTIQUITY AND HISTORY OF THE PACING HORSE.
The mechanism of the different gaits----The Elgin Marbles----Britain becomes a Roman province----Pacers in the time of the Romans----Bronze horses of Venice----Fitz Stephen, the Monk of Canterbury----Evidence of the Great
Seals----What Blundeville says----What Gervaise Markham says----What the Duke of Newcastle says----The amble and the pace one and the same----At the close of Elizabeth's reign----The Galloways and Hobbies----Extinction of the Pacer----The original Pacer probably from the North----Polydore Virgil's evidence----Samuel Purchas' evidence----The process of wiping out the Pacer----King James set the fashion----All foreign horses called " Arabians "----The foreigners larger and handsomer----Good roads and wheeled vehicles dispensed with the Pacer----Result of promting Mr. Euren----Mr. Youatt's blunder----Other English Gentlemen not convinced there ever were any Pacers.
IN considering the antiquity and history of the pacing horse, it seems to be necessary that we should have a clear perception of the mechanism of the gait from which he takes his distinctive name and the relation which that mechanism bears to other gaits or means of progression. In the study of this mechanism we learn the combination by which we unlock the mystery that has puzzled so many breeders of the past and present generations. Some have maintained that the pace is a combination of the trot and the gallop, while a smaller number have maintained that the fast trot was a combination of the pace and the gallop. It is quite evident, as I will be able to show, that neither of these parties has ever given any careful attention and study to the mechanism of the different gaits. The most simple and least complicated method of illustrating this mechanism of movement is furnished in the human means of progression. At the walk, a man steps off with his left foot and the heel of that foot strikes the ground before the toe of the right foot leaves it. Then the right foot advances and strikes the ground before the toe of the left foot leaves it. This is the natural "heel and toe" walk, and the speed may be increased by quickening the step and extending the stride, so far as physical conformation will permit. Still greater speed becomes a succession of bounds, the propelling foot leaving the ground before the advanced foot strikes it. This is running, the highest rate of speed attainable, and in every revolution, for a space, the whole body is in the air. In the action of the horse, with four legs, we find greater complication, which I will try to make clear.
First, all horses walk, all horses pace or trot, and all horses gallop. The walk is easily analyzed, for it is slow and the movement of each limb can be followed by the eye. Each foot makes its own stroke upon the ground, and we count one, two, three, four in the revolution.
Second, at the gallop, which is a succession of leaps, each limb, as shown by the instantaneous photograph performs its own function, whether in rising from the ground, flying through the air, or in striking the ground again. There is harmony in all, but there is no unity in any two or more of them, and when they strike the ground again you hear the impacts, one, two, three, four, in a cluster. The conventional drawing of the running horse in action is impossible in nature, and a wretched caricature of the action as it is: As in the walk, so in the run, we count four impacts in the revolution.
Third, at the pace the horse advances the two feet, on the same side, at the same time, and when they reach the ground again there is but one impact; then the two feet on the other side are advanced and strike in the same way. Thus, the rhythm of the action strikes the ear as that of the movement of an animal with two feet instead of four. In this there can be no mechanical mistake, for in the revolution of the four-legged pacing horse we count one, two, and in the revolution of the two-legged man we count one, two. The conclusion, therefore, seems to be inevitable that the two legs on the same side of the pacing horse act in perfect unison in performing the functions of one leg. At the trot the horse advances the two diagonal feet at the same time, and when they reach the ground again there is but one impact; then the two other diagonal feet are advanced and strike in the same way. Thus, the rhythm of the action strikes the ear as that of the movement of an animal with two feet instead of four. In this there can be no mechanical mistake, for in the revolution of the four-legged trotting horse we count one, two, and in the revolution of the two-legged man we count one, two. The conclusion, therefore, seems to be inevitable that the two diagonal legs of the trotting horse act in perfect unison in performing the function of one leg. In the mechanism of the gait then that is midway between the walk and the gallop there is no difference in results, nor distinction in the economy of motion, except that the pacer uses the lateral legs as one, and the trotter the diagonal legs as one. In use, there is a vertical distinction, if that term should be allowed, between the gait of the pacer and the trotter. The action of the pacer is lower and more gliding which fits him for the saddle, while the action of the trotter is higher and more bounding which makes him more desirable as a harness horse. In the processes of inter-breeding to the fastest, this distinction, if it be a distinction, seems to be coming less real, or at least less observable.
While the essential oneness of the pace and the trot is indicated above from the mechanism and unity of the two gaits, there is a great mountain of evidence to be developed when we reach the consideration of breeding subjects, in which we will meet multitudes of fast trotters getting fast pacers, and fast pacers getting fast trotters; fast pacers changed over to fast trotters and fast trotters changed over to fast pacers, and the final evidence that speed at the one gait means speed at the other. Having briefly explained what a pacer is, it is now in order to take up the question of whence he came.
On the summit of the Acropolis, in Athens, stand the ruins of the Parthenon, a magnificent temple erected to the goddess Minerva. The building was commenced in the year B.C. 437, and was completed five years afterward. All the statuary was the work of the famous Phidias and his scolars, made from Pentelic marble. This noted building resisted all the ravages of time, and had, in turn, been converted into a Christian temple and a Turkish mosque. In 1676 it was still entire, but in 1687 Athens was besieged by the Venetians, and the Parthenon was hopelessly wrecked. As a ruin it became the prey of the Turks and all other devastators, and in order to save something of what remained of its precious works of art, Lord Elgin, about the year 1800, brought home to England some portions of the frieze of the temple, with other works of Phidias, in marble, sold them to the government, and they are preserved in the British Museum. This frieze is a most interesting subject to study, not only as a specimen of Greek art of the period of Pericles, but as a historic record of the type and action of the Greek horses of that day. It consists of a series of white marble slabs, something over four feet wide, upon which are sculptured, in high relief, the heroes and defenders of Athens, mounted on horses, and some of these horses are pacing, while others are trotting and cantering. This is the first undoubted record we have of the pacer, and it is now over two thousand three hundred and thirty years old.
Britain became a Roman province in the reign of Claudius, in the first part of the first century of the Christian era, and it continued under the Roman yoke until A.D. 426, when the troops were withdrawn to help Valentinian against the Huns, and never returned. When Julius Caesar first invaded Britain, in the year B.C. 55, he found the inhabitants fierce and warlike and abundantly supplied with horses and war chariots. These chariots were driven with great daring and skill, and the fact was thus demonstrated that this kind of warfare was not a new thing to the Britons, and that they were not to be easily subdued. The next year he returned again, but the second seems to have been no more successful than the first expedition. But little is known of the extent of territory of overrun or the result of these invasions beyond the fact that no settlement was made then, and none till about ninety years afterward, when under the reign of Claudius, a strong military colony was planted there and Britain became a Roman province. During these centuries of bondage we know practically nothing of the lives of the slaves and but little of their masters, except the remnants of military works for aggression and defence, and the magnificent roads they constructed whereever they moved their armies. In relation to their horses, I will make a few extracts from a work published about the beginning of this century, by Mr. John Lawrence, a man of great research and intelligence, besides of a wide acquaintance with the practical affairs of the horse, and, I may add, altogether the most reliable writer of his period. He says:
"In forming the paces, if the colt was not naturally of a proud and lofty action, like the Spanish or Persian horses, wooden rollers and weights were bound to their pastern joints, which gave them the habit of lifting up their feet. This method, also, was practiced in teaching them the ambulatura, or amble (pace), perhaps universally the common traveling pace of the Romans.
"That natural and most excellent pace, the trot, seems to have been very little prized or attended to by the ancients, and was, indeed, by the Romans held in a kind of contempt, or aversion, as is demonstrated by the terms which served to describe it. A trotting horse was called by them succussator, o: shaker, and sometimes cruciator. Or tormentor, which bad terms, it may be presumed, were applied specially to those which in these days we dignify with the expressive appellation of 'bone-setters.'"
The statuary of the early ages furnishes some excellent illustrations of the gait of the horse at that period of the world's history. The four bronze horses on St. Mark's in Venice are known throughout the world, and they are in the pacing attitude. The forefoot that is advanced is possibly a little too much elevated to strike the ground the same instant the hinder foot should strike it, but the whole action indicated is undoubtedly the lateral action. The date of these horses is lost in history, but it is supposed they were cast in Rome, about the beginning of the Christian era. Their capture in Rome and transfer to Constantinople, then their capture by the Venetians and transfer to Venice, next their capture by Napoleon and transfer to Paris, and then their restoration to Venice, are all matters of history." Continued ..