On ‘Horses and Stables’

This is Colonel Frederick Fitzwygram’s wonderful book on horse and stable management. First published in 1862, it was in print well into the 1900s. Fitzwygram was influential in improving veterinary care in the British Army. He had a particular interest in farriery – I believe there is a shoe named after him. Fitzwygram also advocated the good care of all horses. Although his advice has of course dated in some respects, and certainly in terms of the treatments that are now available to veterinarians, much of what he has to say is just as valid today as it was in 1862.

Pictured, is my copy of Horses and Stables which was purchased in a second-hand bookshop in London (for a song) about ten years ago. Little knowing that it would become one of the books I would endlessly refer to during my research!

Here is a sample of Colonel Fitzwygrams’ sage advice from the 1869 edition. He outlines the basic principles of good stable management as being: 1. a well-ventilated stable; 2. judicious watering and feeding; 3. good forage; 4. good grooming; 5. good shoeing; 6. sufficient and well-regulated exercise. He then goes on to tell us:

These are no doubt simple recipes for successful stable management, – too simple perhaps for many, who believe that there is a mystery in stable management known only to a few. Yet from neglect of these common and obvious requirements, few horses look as well as they ought to do. Many become sick or lame, and thus entail trouble, expense, and loss, which might easily have been avoided. To ensure the highest development of health and strength, not one or two or even three of these essentials are sufficient, but all must be combined. Your cannot have strength in a chain, if any one link be defective.

Wise words indeed!

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Author: janeflynnsenseandsentimentality

I am an independent researcher and writer affiliated to The University of Derby, UK. I was awarded a PhD in 2016 for my thesis: 'Sense and Sentimentality: The Soldier-Horse Relationship in the Great War'.

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