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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Tuesday, March 25, 2003

An 1863 legal advice book lists 56 'defects and diseases' of horses to be wary of when buying one, including:

"...glanders, farcy, "chink in the chine" (spinal problem eg sway back), strangles, poll evil, grease, grogginess, Mallenders and Sallenders (leg afflictions), thick wind, roaring, gutta serena (glass eye), enlarged hock, founder (fever in the feet), nasal gleet, Sandcrack and wind-sucking..."

...while other equine ailments include...

'sidebones, ringbone, grease heel, road puffs, thorough pin, monkey mouth, jack spavin, stringhalt, heaving, weaving, bog spavin, surra, parrot mouth, curbs, louping ill, sweeney and cribbing'.

A 17th century cure for a horse with congestion was to flush its nostrils with a mixture of snuff, mustard, garlic and strong ale, often using feathers to brush the mixture in. 'Fleaguing' was the practice of treating a lazy or sick horse with a raw ginger suppository to 'liven it up', especially before a horse sale. Especially sluggish horses could expect the rather more drastic treatment of the insertion of a live eel into the back passage.

Source: various (first list and 'cures' reproduced in the excellent 'Forgotten English' by J Kacirk, Quill 1997)

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