30 AUGUST 1902, Page 2

The international military ride from Brussels to Ostend took place

on Wednesday. There were sixty-one competitors, and the winner, a French officer named Madame., covered the distance—eighty-two miles—in a little under seven boars. Perhaps the most significant feature of the contest is the fact that no fewer than thirteen horses, including that of the winner, died of exhaustion or were shot by their riders. If a prize had been awarded to the rider whose horse arrived in the best condition within a reasonable limit of time, say nine hours, the competition might have had some practical value. As it was oonducted it proved a gratuitous and disgusting exhibition of cruelty to horseflesh, without the excuse of having any "good news" to bring from Brussels to Ostend. It is interesting to note that one of the few horses which arrived in good condition was originally a London cab-horse. In this connection we may note the remarkable feat achieved by Mr. Holbein, who attempted to swim the Channel on Wednesday, and who, after remaining in the water upwards of twenty-two hours, in which be swam or drifted about fifty- three miles, was taken out of the water in an exhausted Condition when only three-quarters of a mile from Dover Castle. Such a performance may not subserve any useful purpose, inasmuch as it only repeats what Captain Webb did twenty-seven years ago ; but at least it involves remarkable endurance and doggedness of purpose, it is arranged so as to entail no danger to life, and it inflicts no discomfort or suffer- ing on any one but the performer himself.