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AFTER a long life how few never afford to pay a big horses or ponies can any man price for horses, and yet in my look back
“real small way I have had perhaps clinkers,” but when blessed more than my share of "real
“ with one, how he loved and clinkers."
I will only touch gloried in him. He may have on those horses which I have been a racehorse, a steeple- owned myself, and tell of their chaser, a hunter, a pig-sticker, virtues, vices, and perform
, & polo pony, a hack, or ances; but I could give many trotter, chacun à son goût, but tales of "real clinkers" to each one of us he was, or though some of their owners ought to have been, a part of did not know what they had our life.
got in them — which I have You often hear a man say ridden, belonging to my friends, of a horse, “Oh! he's & rat- for I was a light weight, and tling good hunter, but can't my friends were many and jump timber, or won't face kind, as all true sportsmen are, water." I never think you so that I often got mounted by can or ought to call a horse them. a “hunter," and you certainly I had one dear old horse, a cannot call him a
hunter, that stands out by unless he will carry you safely himself in my memory. No over every class of jumpable horse that
ever " looked fence, nor can he be called a through a bridle” could beat hunter unless he has pace him to hounds, and that is a enough to live with hounds. big word; but it
; was the What is the use, if hounds opinion of all who ever knew run, of a horse that cannot him and
over & gallop and keep with them, or country, and their name was that stops at any fence, de- legion, for I hunted him for terminedly; you are out of the ten
in very many hunt at once. What people countries, both in England and call a good slow hunter is, to Ireland, and he was quickly my mind, a horse to be avoided, known wherever he went, and and should have no place in his fame had often preceded the stable of any man who him. His memory lives in wants to see hounds. But many countries even to this there is a vast difference be- day, though all who ever knew tween what some people call him are grey in the beard. hunting, and seeing hounds. Yet many an old pal greets
Fortunately I've been blessed, me to-day with, "Well, old for being a poor man I could Ballyragget, how are you?"
No hounds could go too notice of anything, fellows ridfast for him, no country could ing and galloping all about be too strong or too intricate and around him; but at the for him, for he was as wise first whimper of a hound, often as a man, in fact wiser than before I heard it myself, up many, and he loved hounds would go his head, and with and insisted on being with ears pricked he would stand them. The “narrow back” of still as a statue, listening, not Meath, with its yawning ditch a move, though I often felt always towards you, as the his heart beating between my Irishman expresses it, the fair knees from excitement. But stone wall of Galway or the no fuss: it was real business nasty treacherous one of Louth, as well as pleasure with him.
, the wide stretch of gleaming He knew a View Holloa and water or the ugly stiff hog- Gone Away as well as I did, backed stile, the sheep-net of but he would not move until Yorkshire, which is a terror to you gave him the “office,” and most, or the iron railings round then look out! No need to an enclosure, were all one to old wait for the crowd in the gateBally. He knew them all, and way or gap; turn his head seemed to instil the feeling where you wanted him to go; ; into you, as plainly as if he that Gone Away had been was saying it: Trust to me, enough for him, and he was and you are safe.
off like a shot from a gun.
Reaching into his snaffleI do not think he gave me bridle, for he would half a dozen falls during the stand a curb, he would pull many years I rode him, and you almost out of your saddle I had such absolute confidence till he got into the field with in him I am afraid at times the hounds racing in front of I tried him most unfairly high. him; after that your troubles
; That gallant sportsman, Whyte were over, and he would drop Melville, in his stirring rhymes, his head to your hand and describes Old Bally most accur- keep his pace and his place. ately
Like most high-couraged good
'uns he had his peculiarities, “ When the country is deepest, I give
and sometimes was a bit of a 'Tis a pride and a pleasure to put
handful if you did not know him along;
him, he was keen and O'er fallow and pasture he sweeps like powerful; so I never put anya bird,
you my word
one else on him, and he and I And there's nothing too wide nor too
at that time lived for and high nor too strong, For the ploughs cannot choke nor the
understood each other.
Well, fences can crop
he taught me not only how to This Clipper that stands in the stall at ride but how to ride to hounds,
and I owe the dear old fellow a He would stand at the very deep debt of gratitude. covert side like an old dog- Got by Lord Waterford's horse, apparently taking no “Red Wing” out of a three
parts bred Irish mare, he was ninety sovereigns as a five-yeara bright bay with black points old, as he was said to be so and not a white hair, a beauti- clumsy that he could not get ful quality head and full eye, over an Irish country. Clumsy! standing 16.2 and up to six. The cleverest and quickest teen stone, the quickest and fencer man ever sat upon. finest fencer I have ever sat The truth was, he was highon, and fast enough to live couraged and keen, big with any hounds; in fact, jumper, and & very strong with a little more pace he raking galloper, and would not would have been Grand stand his mouth being pulled National horse, for at his own about. Major Cass bought him paco. he could stay for ever. at the end of one season, sumAnd I was twenty-two, and mered him, got on him fresh riding under
eleven stone! at the beginning of the next Think of it! Could you ask season in Yorkshire with a for greater bliss ? Could the severe double bridle, and not heart of man desire more? being gifted with the best of
I gave thirty sovereigns for hands or the nerve of youth, him, and was several times was promptly run away with offered £500 for him a very round and round a field. Then big price for a hunter in those he turned him in despair at a days, equal to £1000 now; but big bull-finch, thinking to stop my answer always was: I am a him, but dear old Bally, bold poor man with few horses, you as a lion, half-blown, jumped à rich one with many; if he is as big as he could, rolled head worth £500 to you he is worth over heels into the next field, £1000 to me, as I can rely on and the kind old Major went him to carry me two days to bed for three weeks. “It's a-week all the season, and see an ill wind that blows nobody hounds over any country, and good.” He said he was & pick me up a little steeple- brute, and that any one might chase at the end of it, and pay have him for thirty sovereigns, for his grub, which, as long as consequently no one would look he and I live-and only death at him, and had I not, fortushall part us—shall be of the nately for myself, turned up best
when I did, some weeks after
wards, he would have been And I never will part by a sale or a sent to the hammer and sold swop
for what he would fetch. With my Clipper that stands in the stall at the top."
Being a poor "cornet,” lor.
ing a hunt, and in those days And it was so.
loving a “brute," for I really The way I got him was preferred "a handful” then to curious. Bought at Ballyrag- a made horse, and loved trainget in Kilkenny by one of the ing and breaking them in, I dearest of gentlemen, Major said I'd take him, though I'd Cass of my regiment, the 10th never seen him. We went to Hussars, he was sold to him for look at him, and I walked up
to him in his stall, had him fences, but got through or over stripped, and said, “ Major, them somehow, and not till the he's mine." “ Have a ride on middle of the third field could him," said Major Cass. “No, I really get a pull at him. thanks, he'll do," said I; but Then I jumped off, put the he insisted, and Bally was curb in my pocket, let the bit brought out, and with a leg up down as low as I could in his I was on his back. How well mouth, jumped on his back, I remember it! With a double and said to him, “Now, you bridle and noseband, and a beggar, you may rip!” Findtight curb, his head low down ing his head practically loose, to the ground, reaching into up it went, and in about three his bridle, he took me in that fences he dropped to my hand, long slinging trot which only a never made another mistake, big, powerful, well-bred horse and I had a ripping ride.
à has, right up to the barrack From that day till he died he gates, where the sentry stopped never again knew what a double him-I couldn't. Turned round, bridle and curb meant, or felt back he went to the stables, the indignity of whip or spur. where I jumped off, and said, But he could pull a bit some“Come on, Major, I'll give you times on a snaffle. He never a cheque.” “Well," said he had a good mouth, though he " take him if you like, my dear and I got to know one another boy, but I tell you he's a real well that I could have brute; he can't gallop, he can't ridden him almost with my jump, but he's a good walker, voice and a pack - thread. I and he can and will run away am a great believer in the
“All right," said human voice with all animals. I; “if he's a good walker, he His first notable performance can do something else," and with Lord Middleton's thus I fortunately became the hounds in Yorkshire. There possessor of dear old Bally. were great festivities at the ragget, the best friend a young present Lord Middleton's comsportsman ever possessed. ing of age, a big ball, and lawn
I had him led on next morn- meet at Birdsall, for which all ing to a meet of the York and the houses round were filled, Ainsty, about fifteen miles off
. and many first-class wellWe found a fox. The hounds mounted sportsmen and sportswent away and so did he, keen women from the neighbouring as mustard, for he had had packs meant to “do or die nothing but oats and quiet the next morning. We found exercise for two months. a fox in the laurels close to the Shaking his head low to the house.
a holloa ground, fighting at his heavy forrard, most of the field galdouble bridle and noseband loped off down the ride, whilst which they assured me was the I and a few others stopped only thing you could possibly back and listened. The fox hold him in, he hardly seemed turned short back with the to see or rise at the first two hounds close at him, and with
a breast-high scent they rattled part of the country, but it is him through the laurels, back about nine miles as the crow past the house, and he was flies. I know it was very fast, a way pointing for Sledmere, and a run that was talked of with nothing to hold him till for many a day, and there are he got there. Nor was there possibly some who may reanything to stop hounds; but member it yet. those steep undulations on the Some twenty years afterWolds take the puff out of wards I met the huntsman, horses, and the double flights whom I had never seen since of rails take a bit of doing, as I left that country, out cubthose who know that country hunting one morning with the will tell you.
Essex. I went up to him and Some of the field who had said, “Do you remember the been left (and how mad they gallop from Birdsall to Sled. were about it afterwards) man
He looked at me and aged to cut in about half-way, said, "God bless me, sir, were but they had to gallop so hard you there?” and on my telling to do so that they were soon him I was, he said, “Why, we out of the hunt again, and for talk of it now, and I remember the last mile or so I saw no- there was a young officer from thing but the hounds racing the Barracks at York who was in front: one gallant young the only one with 'em into farmer close with them, an- Sledmere. They slipped me other a hundred yards or so too quick in that crowd in the behind him, and I was about laurels, and I never could catch the same distance again behind 'em ; you had to get away on him, and we could none of us their backs to see 'em,—there gain a yard on one another or was no catching 'em." And the hounds, for they were still he was about right. I have racing with never a check ridden
many a longer and Not another soul was in sight. harder run, but nothing faster I found my two gallant sports- whilst it lasted. men in the road, looking at the What gentlemen and what park palings into Sledmere, gallant fellows those Yorkshire with their horses dead beat. farmers were, and I hope are “Come up,” and old Bally was still, and how straight and over and into the covert, and hard they used to go, and he and I with the hounds ran what good cattle they used the fox to ground about a to ride. Alas! the days that quarter of a mile farther on.
Where are those Then I knew I had a "real horses now? In those days clinker," as I did not get too you could put together out of good a start, and had to make those two counties, Yorkshire up a lot of leeway.
and Lincolnshire, as good a I do not know what distance stud of hunters as could be we covered or what time we found in the world, and that did it in, as it was the only could only be rivalled by fartime I was in that particular famed Ireland; big upstanding
are no more.