Chapter 3: My Breaking In
I had of course long been used to a halter and a headstall,
and to be led about in the fields and lanes quietly,
but now I was to have a bit and bridle; my master gave me some oats as usual,
and after a good deal of coaxing he got the bit into my mouth,
and the bridle fixed, but it was a nasty thing! Those who have never had
a bit in their mouths cannot think how bad it feels;
a great piece of cold hard steel as thick as a man's finger
to be pushed into one's mouth, between one's teeth, and over one's tongue,
with the ends coming out at the corner of your mouth,
and held fast there by straps over your head, under your throat,
round your nose, and under your chin; so that no way in the world
can you get rid of the nasty hard thing; it is very bad! yes, very bad!
at least I thought so; but I knew my mother always wore one
when she went out, and all horses did when they were grown up;
and so, what with the nice oats, and what with my master's pats,
kind words, and gentle ways, I got to wear my bit and bridle.
Next came the saddle, but that was not half so bad;
my master put it on my back very gently, while old Daniel held my head;
he then made the girths fast under my body, patting and talking to me
all the time; then I had a few oats, then a little leading about;
and this he did every day till I began to look for the oats and the saddle.
At length, one morning, my master got on my back and rode me round the meadow
on the soft grass. It certainly did feel queer; but I must say
I felt rather proud to carry my master, and as he continued to ride me
a little every day I soon became accustomed to it.
The next unpleasant business was putting on the iron shoes; that too
was very hard at first. My master went with me to the smith's forge,
to see that I was not hurt or got any fright. The blacksmith took my feet
in his hand, one after the other, and cut away some of the hoof.
It did not pain me, so I stood still on three legs till he had done them all.
Then he took a piece of iron the shape of my foot, and clapped it on,
and drove some nails through the shoe quite into my hoof,
so that the shoe was firmly on. My feet felt very stiff and heavy,
but in time I got used to it.