Just got this lovely book from eBay. The seller stated it was a first edition book, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The first edition of this book was published in 1859, and the edition I bought was printed in 1887. Still, that’s the oldest book I currently own – it’s over 134 years old!
The book title is Hints to Horse-Keepers: A Complete Manual for Horsemen. It was written by Henry William Herbert (who apparently died before the book was published) and several chapters were added by other people. It has chapters about horse and mule breeding, horse care, horse shoeing, and it also explains how to ride horses.
A chapter that I found particularly hilarious is “Ladies’ Riding”. The publishing thought it important to emphasize the fact that the chapter was written by a lady! Here are some quotes from this chapter:
“Every lady should learn to ride; not at a mature age, when her frame has become exhausted by a sedentary life, and consequent ill health; nor even when her school-days being over, she is though to have leisure for wholesome exercise; but in childhood, when her will is strong and her body obedient to it.”
“Even hundreds of miles of travel are more pleasantly accomplished in the saddle than in any other manner, even by ladies; provided always that they be well attired and well mounted… What so gay as a party of high-spirited equestrians?”
“The lady in mounting should, if convenient, be assisted by two persons… Ladies, of course, should never ride horses which are in any manner vicious.”
I guess that means no chestnut mares for us dainty women!
Hilarious as this chapter is, it’s a lovely little book and I am very happy to add it to my horsey book collection.