The CAA just received a wonderful donation of books from a member in Canada, and I admit that I (and several others) spent a good hour or so looking through the boxes when they arrived earlier this week.

One of the books is from a series called The Sports Library. This particular one: Riding, Driving, and Kindred Sports by T. F. Dale.

The book was published in London in 1899, and the Introduction says, “In preparing the Sports Library for the younger generation of sportsmen, the Publisher and the Editor had the following ideas in view:

“They intended that the books should be written by sportsmen of the younger generation in thorough sympathy with the needs of younger athletes and twentieth-century ideas. They hoped where necessary and practicable to deal with the cost of each sport, and also to show the public that many sports which are considered beyond the means of the ordinary man, are quite within the reach of all who are really interested. … Last, but not least, it was intended that the series should be a kind of cheap Badminton Library to the thousands of sportsmen who cannot command the price of that series.

“It is natural, perhaps, that the book on Riding, Driving, Hunting, &c., should come first. In no country is the interest in horses more widely felt than in England; it extends from the coster who drives his Russian pony to the Derby, and the City clerk on his hired hack enjoying Saturday afternoon, to the Earl of Lonsdale and the Duke of Westminster. It is anticipated that the motor cars and bicycles will so reduce the price of horses that the splendid exercise of riding will come within the reach of many who have hitherto regarded it as prohibitive.

“Mr. Dale needs no introduction to lovers of horse-flesh. Land and Water, the Field, and the Badminton Magazine have published his articles for many years, while he is well known as the author of Polo, editor of the book on Polo in the Badminton Library, “The History of the Belvoir Hunt,” &c., &c. Mr. Dale is, perhaps, the greatest authority on Polo in the United Kingdom; while in hunting and racing there are few other men who have seen so much sport at such a small expenditure of cash.

“The second volume of the Sports Library is a thoroughly up-to-date work on Football — Association and Rugby — Hockey and Lacrosse. …

“The Editor hopes to include in the third volume of this Library treatises on boxing, fencing, gymnastics, wrestling, and physical culture — each sport to be described by well-known men. Volume IV will include running, athletics, swimming, and water polo. … It is hoped that its readers, the younger generation of sportsmen, will show their appreciation of these efforts by encouraging the Publisher and Editor to produce a library of ten volumes covering every known sport.”

Mr. Dale may have been an expert on polo, but his book includes chapters on horsemanship, riding to hounds, ladies on horseback, polo (naturally), sport and health, dress and equipment, driving, tandem driving, four-in-hand driving, hog hunting, racing, and more.

Starting tomorrow, and continuing for several Saturdays, we’ll take a look at his amusing chapter on tandem driving. Stay tuned!