MURRAY, General Sir Henry (1784-1860). Autograph manuscript of an unpublished work on horses and horsemanship, including approximately 350 essays, some initialled and dated, most with titles, and a few sketches, written in 14 notebooks (including some duplicated passages), occasional autograph annotations in pencil in the margins, contemporary marbled wrappers; and a quantity of loose leaves (mostly working drafts); altogether approximately 550 pages, 8vo and 4to.
'Let a person perfectly unacquainted with horses go into a stable -- the first thing which will strike him as remarkable if any one of the horses in dressing is that the groom or stable boy (perhaps a mere urchin) seizes the horse fearlessly by the tail when dressing the quarter. A natural question arises why he dares to do so? Simply for this reason that a horse must elevate his quarter to kick with both his hind-legs, & this holding the tail prevents. The mere lashing our with a single leg is of no consequence, as the stableman standing to one side is out of its directions; the horse does not raise his quarter ... The kicking out side-ways like a cow which some horses will do, is in general when the man is dressing them under the flank & when he has not hold of the tail ... Carry on the above known fact to riding: a horseman holds up his horses' head when the horse strives to kick, because by holding up his head it depresses his quarter, as holding his tail does in the stable'.
An interesting and substantial treatise, partly anecdotal and quoting from earlier writers, on every aspect of horsemanship and horse-management, giving scientific explanations for such practices as the centrifugal effects of riding in a circle; on 'horsewomanship ... It is desirable that a lady should have some knowledge of her horse furniture'; discussing matters such as using troop horses for draught; describing harnesses, 'to dress a horse', horse ailments, bad habits such as 'crib-biting', 'half-bred horses', 'sore shins', 'directions for driving', 'feeding .... Four horses would eat seven Bushells [of oats] ... per week', the character of horses 'as discovered from head or colours', breaking-in and shoeing, 'Driving or Riding a Horse to Death', referring to his own horses at Wimbledon, and also on breeding, racing, circus horses, and many related subjects.
The Hon. Sir Henry Murray, fourth son of the 2nd Earl of Mansfield, began his military career in 1800, serving in the Napoleonic wars in Sicily and Calabria, and taking part in the actions at Alexandria and Rosetta in Egypt in 1807. He commanded the 18th Hussars in Portugal in 1812, and in 1815 he joined Wellington's army in the Netherlands, and took part in the Battle of Waterloo, leading his regiment in Sir Richard Hussey Vivian's brilliant cavalry charge. On the disbandment of the 18th Hussars he was retired on half-pay, with as he says 'a great deal more leisure than suits my inclination', allowing time for the writing of the present work.