An interesting paper on the food and care of working horses was lately read before the American Street Railway Association, at Minneapolis, by Mr. Geo. G. Mul-hern, of Cleveland, Ohio. In this paper and in the discussion whicn followed, considerable valuable information was elicited. Mixed ground feed in small quantities and at short intervals is now universally conceded to be the best food. The feeder should always have the same horses under his care, so as to become acquainted with the habits and wants of each animal. When a team comes in from a trip, a handful of loose hay should be given. When feeding time comes, which should never be just before or just after a trip, the horse should have from six to eight quarts of ground oats and corn mixed with cut hay and dampened. Should be groomed twice a day. This makes the horse feel and do better. Mouth and nostrils should be sponged every trip. Afterthe horses have stopped feeding, the feeder should see that each feed box is thoroughly cleaned. This is very important for the health of the horse. Iron and wood feed boxes should be avoided. The best 'feed box is the enamel-lined box, as the inside does not rust and is easily kept clean. If wooden boxes are used, the corners get foul, and it is difficult to clean them. It is of the utmost importance that horses should have pure water to drink. Perhaps the stables of no city are better supplied with water than New York, as the Croton water is soft and good. But, like all river waters, it contains microscopic germs; and great advantage is found from its nitration and the addition of a little sulphur. An easily made filter is as follows : Over each trough a barrel is arranged to receive the Croton water, which is made to flow through the barrel to the watering trough. Fill the barrel one-third full of coarsely ground charcoal, over which sprinkle a little powdered sulphur. Upon the charcoal place some brush, and on this place clean gravel until the barrel is half full, or a little more, with the filtering material. This filter will last for six months or more without cleaning, and will supply clean water that the horses love to drink and by the use of which they are kept in first-rate health, without colics or other sicknesses. In the country, pure spring or well water, always filtered, should be provided. The stables should be well lighted and ventilated. Disinfectants should be used. Drivers should always have the same horses to drive, as they become thus more or less attached to these animals, take better care of them, are more careful to avoid strains in starting, etc. In New York and Brooklyn, good car horses weigh 1,100 pounds, cost 150 to 160 each. Ten days' trial required. Flat-footed horses do not last well. Minnesota and Iowa horses prove good for New York. Average useful life of car horse in New York, three years ; Brooklyn, four or five years. Chumpy, well built horses, free from tricks and defects, 15% to 16 hands high, are in demand. As to color, the experience of Paris tramway companies is corroborated in New York, namely, that gray horses are the longest lived and give the greatest amount of service. The roan horse is equally good. Black and cream colored horses lack staying power, especially in summer. Bays show an average. Black-hoofed horses are the stronger and tougher. Select the hollow-footed horse. We hope the suggestions given concerning the care of horses will be helpful to stablemen and all who have control of these useful animals. In cities like New York the grossest ignorance and carelessness prevails in the treatment of horses. Many of the animals are crowded into dark cellars and holes, which reek with filth, and the only wonder is they live as long as they do. In many of the best of the stables the atmosphere is bad enough to make a dog sick. A rigid system of inspection by qualified health officers is greatly needed here and elsewhere. No one should be allowed to keep a horse unless the animal is properly housed and cared for.
This article was originally published with the title "The Food and Care of Horses" in SA Supplements 28, 725supp, 320 (November 1889)