New Zealand Herald, 12 January 1901, Page 5


[BY A travelling CORRESPONDENT.]



There are 14 Australian shippers commissioned by the Indian Government to send horses to Calcutta alone for the season 1900-1901, one of the shippers—Messrs. Gilder Bros, and Gascard— 600 horses on the present trip of the Euryalus. The following is a copy of the specification of the Indian authorities:- "I, with the sanction of the director, Army Remount Department, have great pleasure in giving you a commission for -- horses for the season 1900-1901, classed as follows: Horses fit for British cavalry; horses fit for horse artillery horses fit for field artillery; horses fit for heavy batteries. In the event of your accepting this commission, the following conditions will be strictly adhered to by me or my successor in office, when selecting them. 1. The horses will be purchased in Calcutta from the Ist of November, 1900, to the end of the purchasing season. 2. Each horse presented or purchased will be valued separately on his own merits; higher or lower prices may be given, but the average fixed by Government for an Australian, viz:, £45, is not to be exceeded on the whole number purchased. 3. That every horse of your shipment must be shown for purchase by the remount agent, with the exception of -- per cent, of the number landed, allowed for more highly-priced horses (such as racers, etc.), than those required by Government. 4. Horses for the British cavalry must be smart, active, well-bred saddle horses, with good shoulders and rein, and also bone and power, and not undersized draught horses. 5. Every horse, whether for artillery or British cavalry, must have both bone and breeding; but horses for heavy batteries should be powerful carthorses— too coarse— as near as possible to the stamp of the old-fashioned field artillery shaft wheeler. 6. The heights of the three classes of horses must be between the following limits: Horse artillery, 15 hands 2in and 16 hands field artillery, 15 hands 1/2in and 15 hands 3in heavy batteries, 15 hands 2in and 15 hands 3in British cavalry, 15 hands and 15 hands 3in. 7. Seven per cent, of your commission must be high-class chargers. 8. One-third of your horse artillery and field artillery must be wheelers. 9. In the event of your accepting this commission, you undertake to bring, on receipt of a telegram from the director, Army Remount Department, in the event of mobilisation of the Army in India, with the least possible delay the same number and description, of remounts as you undertake to bring in this present commission, and at the same price. The Government of India undertake to pay the difference, if any, between the cost of freight and insurance of the horses accepted and the cost of the freight and insurance of the same number of horses at the rates which obtained at the time of the last annual shipment. 10. Horses must be within the prescribed age, viz., four to six years old. Three-year-olds will not be purchased. 11. Greys will not be purchased for the artillery service, and very few for the cavalry. 12. No horse that I do not consider fit for the Army, and suitable in every way for the branch of the service mentioned in Paragraph I. of this letter will be purchased simply to complete the number you have been commissioned to bring. 13. In the event of your horses being stabled in commission stables other than those in which the Government Purchasing Yard be located, you agree to send your horses for inspection and sale to such Government Purchasing Yard, or to supply the remount agent with a purchasing yard, considered suitable by him, at your own stables. In this event, all horses purchased by the remount agent will be at your risk until handed over in the Government Purchasing Yard to the non-commissioned officer on duty. I particularly draw your attention to Nos. 2 and 3 conditions, the former of which states clearly the price you will in future get for Australian horses, and the latter imposing the necessity of showing every horse in the shipment for purchase, with the exception of per cent, of the number landed. Please let me know whether you accept this commission with all its conditions and, if so, about when I may expect your shipment to arrive in and with about how many horses." Superintendent Remount Dept."


Another large firm of shippers is Messrs. Krerouse and Madden, who are commissioned by the Indian Government, and ship mainly to Madras. On the present trip they have 170 horses on board, under the care of Mr. W. Foy, and for the year their total shipments will be just under 1000 animals. They have a splendid lot of animals on board, and included among them are 23 untried horses, sired by Penance, all from studbook mares. Penance ran second to the renowned Carbine, at Flemington, and also third in the Melbourne Cup, won by Glenloth. Penance was by Grand Flaneur, grand-son of Yattendon, and as these are such a superior class of remounts, some high prices are looked for. These 23 horses were all bred by Mr. Eickerson, of Cornelia Station, Deniligum. The firm are also fulfilling an order for a number of thoroughbred stallions, the intention of the Government being to breed horses for the use of native cavalry. These horses were walked ashore, put straight away into railway trucks, and taken to the private compound of the firm. Here they will remain for a few days, till thoroughly recovered from the voyage, when a clay will be appointed and a Government official will attend to pass the horses and arrange the prices for the same. Another choice shipment of 50 horses by Mr. S._Margarets went up on the Euryalus, in charge of Mr. T. Harrison, and were landed in first-class condition, taken up at once, and passed by the Government officers.


The depot for Government horses is at Garden Reach, on the Hoogly River, just below the city of Calcutta, and there are in the compound 1200' loose boxes. Colonel Kuper is the officer in charge, and who, in conjunction with a. veterinary surgeon, has to pass the horsey.


A few days after the horses have been landed and somewhat recovered from the voyage, a shipper will notify the officer in charge, and a time will be appointed to show six or eight horses. First they are walked about a triangular track, and their paces carefully noted, the vendor, of course, doing all ho possibly can in the way of grooming and cleaning to produce his animals in the best possible condition. The horses are then taken one by one into a " crush." where the eyesight of each animal is carefully noted, and he is also tested for soundness. He is then swum a distance of 200 ft across an artificial lake, being kept in his course by two rows of bamboo floats, and his head kept straight by a light line. This is considered an infallible test for wind and lungs generally. If the horse fails to pass in any one test he is at once disqualified, and if the trouble is slight he may be shown again or absolutely disqualified, at the option of the, examiners. It is no detriment to the sale of a horse if he be unbroken, as long as he will lead. Indeed, the Indian Government prefers them unbroken, because they can be taught their work better and have no lessons to unlearn.


It cannon be gainsaid that the climate of India is very severe on horses, but at the same time, where labour is so cheap horses are groomed and attended to in a way that would nob be dreamt of in the colonies. It is no unusual thing for one man to be engaged to devote the whole of his time to a horse, and good carriage horses or hacks are groomed and attended to in India as well as a Cup candidate in New Zealand.


There is a great deal of racing in India, and there are some very good racers there. Many have been sent from Australia, and others are of Arab descent. The racing season in Calcutta begins in December and lasts till the middle of January, the Viceroy's Cup being the principal race of the season,.


Polo is a very popular sport in India, and there will be a good market for polo ponies for a year or two, as a few months ago the height was raised from 15.3 to 14.1, hence all keen players will be desirous of getting ponies of the full height.


There is a good market in India for firstclass carriage horses. Owing to the heat, all travelling is done in carriages, and almost every white man, in Calcutta especially, owns at least one turnout. It is a particularly fine sight in Calcutta just outside the Eden Gardens from six to seven every evening. There is a bandstand here, and a full band plays every evening. The ladies all come down in their carriages, very often calling for their husbands from business, and the carriages line up in the street just outside the gardens. As many as 600 vehicles have been known to be outside the gardens in one evening, the ladies sitting in their carriages listening to the band. At seven p.m. the crowds disperse for dinner the fashionable hour in Calcutta being halfpast seven. Some very fine saddle horses are to be seen also, horse riding being a form of exercise largely entered into by the young men.


The first thing that strikes the visitor is the splendid lot of horses owned by the Europeans in India, and it is quite right to say that some of the finest horses raised in Australia have been sent to India at various times. It is no use for any shipper to send inferior animals, as they would probably have to bo disposed of at a low figure, while of first-class animals, almost any price may be got from private people. A large business is done by private speculators (not commissioned by the Indian Government), who bring up some fine horses to the private sales at Calcutta and Madras. Many of them have amassed considerable fortunes in a very few years, but it must not be forgotten that they have been men who are good judges of a horse and men who have thoroughly got the grasp of the requirements of the Indian horse market.

There will always be a market for first-class horses, as they cannot be bred in India as good as they are in the colonies, and in the near future the demand for colonial horses will probably be greater, though it is quite probable that there will not in the future be the large profits that in the past have been made out of the business.


The return cargo of the Euryalus from Calcutta consisted of gunnies, tea, linseed and castor oil, dates, and sundries. A call was made at Colombo en route, where some 800 tons of tea were shipped, and a pleasant run of 18 days was made to Port Adelaide. A day and night was spent here discharging cargo; two days run saw the steamer safely moored in the Yarra, at Melbourne, where two days were occupied in discharging cargo, and the Euryalus left for her further port, Sydney, which was reached after a very pleasant run of 48 hours. From the time of the arrival at Melbourne all the way to Sydney, in port there, and on the return voyage, carpenters were busy on board setting up the fittings, so that no delay should occur in despatching the Euryalus to Calcutta, via Colombo and Madras, there being some 600 to 700 horses waiting shipment for the outward voyage.


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