Here’s the fourth and final part of our look at the chapter related to driving horses in a horse-care book from 1731. If you’re just joining us, you can scroll down or click through to read parts onetwo, and three.

“As for those horses which carry burdens, there needs no other care to be taken of them, but what is in common with all others, exceptin that their pillions and packsaddles be well fitted, so as not to pinch or gall them, and that their loads be not more than they are able to bear. A load, when it is too heavy, must needs injure a horse very much; it exposes him to a swaying of the back, to burstenness, pissing of blood, strains in the shoulders and loins, and likewise to accidents in the knees, hams, and pastern joints, sometimes to chest-foundering, and to other mischances which affect the wind. And as all things ought to be moderate in the beginning, so a horse that is to carry burdens should, contrary to the usual method of some, have his first loads but of a moderate weight; and they may be increased to a horse’s strength and ability. When the saddle, pillions, and all the other appurtenances of a pack-horse are rightly fitted, and his load adjusted to his strength and ability, which is easily known after a short trial; and that a right economy is also observed in his feeding, &c. he will last many years in that service. And that some horses, though they be injured in their wind, will, nevertheless, carry burdens of a moderate weight, because their walk is easy, and their exercise no other than what conduces very much to their preservation.

“In short, there are no services wherein a horse will continue longer than in carriage or drawing. Those being to strong large horses no other than what is convenient to keep them in a perfect state of health; for as their bodies are, for the most part, gross and heavy, their proper business is work or labor, and not riding.”