13 NOVEMBER 1909, Page 19


[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR, —I have lately returned from a three weeks' driving trip in my one-horsed dogcart through parts of Somerset, Dorset, Hants, Wiltshire, travelling some two hundred and forty miles along the highways. I was very much struck by the almost total disappearance of our faithful, once-loved friend the horse. In the course of my travels it was necessary to feed my roadster at various halting-places during the day, and of course stay somewhere at night. At all the hotels there is good stabling, in some places suites of loose-boxes, stalls, harness-rooms, grooms' rooms, &c., but in only one of them did I see a horse, which belonged to a lady who was driving her children. On the roads I met one gentleman driving a waggonette and pair of horses. The total number of horses I met, therefore, in my somewhat prolonged drive was three. I drove myself and looked personally after the feeding of my horse, and am therefore not speaking from hearsay. Of course in the hotel stables there is the usual poor old broken- kneed, heavy-hocked horse who drags the 'bus to and from the railway station, and there are lots of governess- cars with Exmoor, Dartmoor, New Forest ponies buzzing about. None of these can, however, ever be utilised for cavalry, artillery, or even mounted infantry pur- poses. Our stolid, hardy, cheery London omnibus horses are friends of the past. But we must take comfort, not- withstanding personal experience, for hath not a Minister of the Crown declared quite recently in Parliament that the supply of horses for military purposes is ample P He intends perhaps in the immediate future to make cavalry charges across ploughed fields in motor-cars and perform vedette duties on bicycles. In the course of my rambles I talked much on the subject with ostlers and stableboys whose occupation seems gone, but one of them on parting relieved his feelings by saying : " Never mind, Sir, in ten years' time these motor-cars will be knocked out of time by the flying- machine." That, however, does not satisfy me that we have sufficient horses suitable for military purposes in England at the present time.—I am, Sir, &c., B. B.