Chapter 3: My Breaking In
And now having got so far, my master went on to break me to harness;
there were more new things to wear. First, a stiff heavy collar
just on my neck, and a bridle with great side-pieces against my eyes
called blinkers, and blinkers indeed they were, for I could not see
on either side, but only straight in front of me; next,
there was a small saddle with a nasty stiff strap that went
right under my tail; that was the crupper. I hated the crupper;
to have my long tail doubled up and poked through that strap
was almost as bad as the bit. I never felt more like kicking,
but of course I could not kick such a good master, and so in time
I got used to everything, and could do my work as well as my mother.
I must not forget to mention one part of my training,
which I have always considered a very great advantage.
My master sent me for a fortnight to a neighboring farmer's,
who had a meadow which was skirted on one side by the railway.
Here were some sheep and cows, and I was turned in among them.
I shall never forget the first train that ran by. I was feeding quietly
near the pales which separated the meadow from the railway,
when I heard a strange sound at a distance, and before I knew whence it came
-- with a rush and a clatter, and a puffing out of smoke --
a long black train of something flew by, and was gone almost before I could
draw my breath. I turned and galloped to the further side of the meadow
as fast as I could go, and there I stood snorting with astonishment and fear.
In the course of the day many other trains went by, some more slowly;
these drew up at the station close by, and sometimes made
an awful shriek and groan before they stopped. I thought it very dreadful,
but the cows went on eating very quietly, and hardly raised their heads
as the black frightful thing came puffing and grinding past.
For the first few days I could not feed in peace; but as I found
that this terrible creature never came into the field, or did me any harm,
I began to disregard it, and very soon I cared as little
about the passing of a train as the cows and sheep did.