18 FEBRUARY 1949, Page 5

Nothing has stirred readers of this column so much for

a long time as the definition of a hinny. Letters about it have poured in on me from east, west, south and north. A hinny, I said, was the off-spring of a she-ass by a stallion, and I asked, why isn't this a mule? The answer (which, to tell the discreditable truth, I knew all the time) is that a mule is the other combination, offspring of mare by he-ass. But I still ask why isn't a hinny a mule and vice versa? These refinements of distinction tend to get carried too far. And when someone asks me if I know what a freemartin is I can only reply with some firmness that I am not talking about