Chapter 23: A Strike for Liberty
"I can't say," he replied, "but the dealers and the horse-doctors
know it very well. I was at a dealer's once, who was training me
and another horse to go as a pair; he was getting our heads up, as he said,
a little higher and a little higher every day. A gentleman who was there
asked him why he did so. `Because,' said he, `people won't buy them
unless we do. The London people always want their horses
to carry their heads high and to step high. Of course it is very bad
for the horses, but then it is good for trade. The horses soon wear up,
or get diseased, and they come for another pair.' That," said Max,
"is what he said in my hearing, and you can judge for yourself."
What I suffered with that rein for four long months in my lady's carriage
it would be hard to describe; but I am quite sure that, had it lasted
much longer, either my health or my temper would have given way.
Before that, I never knew what it was to foam at the mouth,
but now the action of the sharp bit on my tongue and jaw,
and the constrained position of my head and throat, always caused me
to froth at the mouth more or less. Some people think it very fine
to see this, and say, "What fine spirited creatures!" But it is just
as unnatural for horses as for men to foam at the mouth; it is a sure sign
of some discomfort, and should be attended to. Besides this,
there was a pressure on my windpipe, which often made my breathing
very uncomfortable; when I returned from my work my neck and chest
were strained and painful, my mouth and tongue tender,
and I felt worn and depressed.
In my old home I always knew that John and my master were my friends;
but here, although in many ways I was well treated, I had no friend.
York might have known, and very likely did know, how that rein harassed me;
but I suppose he took it as a matter of course that it could not be helped;
at any rate, nothing was done to relieve me.