Several weeks ago, we began a read-along of sorts: small weekly morsels comprising the chapter on tandem driving in the first volume of  The Sports Library (by Mr. T. F. Dale), published in 1899.

If you didn’t start reading along with us from the beginning, you can catch up by reading part of the book’s introduction (and the introduction to our look back at this nineteenth-century book) and parts one, two, three, four, and five of Chapter 10.

Today, the sixth part:

… It is therefore evident that the use of the whip must be mastered to some extent before a man can hope to drive tandem with safety or comfort. To learn the use of the whip neatly and effectively is a matter of practice.

The best and indeed the only way with which I am acquainted is to sit beside a good coachman and watch the action of his wrist as he lets out his thong and catches it again, bringing it round the crop with a couple of neat turns. As soon as you think you know how it should be done, the rest is simple — not easy — for that is quite another matter. Practice is what is needed.

Perched on a driving seat, you must throw out and catch the whip until you can do it with neatness, lightness, and precision. It is very seldom necessary in driving tandem to hit either of your horses hard, it is often necessary to hit them quickly. A light touch in time will often prevent a nervous leader from coming round. Then wheelers grow cunning and scamp the corners, necessitating often a sharp stroke with the double thong to keep them away at a turn.

And here I may say that it is well always to give yourself plenty of room at a corner, especially if you are unable to see round it. …

As we head into the big holiday weekend, I wanted to make sure that everyone, especially those of you new to the blog, had a chance to read the story I posted last December on Christmas dinner for horses (in 1918).

Enjoy!

The only information I have on this portrait of two men and the single horse presumably owned by one or both of them is that the photographer was based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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(from the Jack and Marge Day collection)

This portrait has a little bit of everything: two ladies in a buggy, men with rifles, a child, and dogs. They’re all posing for the photo in front of the (only?) hotel in the town sometimes known as Hartland Three Corners, in Vermont. According to the notation on the back of the photo, it was taken around 1880.

We’re left to wonder who these people were and why they (and the dogs) were all posing so formally. Were they (the adults, at any rate) the proprietors and employees of the hotel, perhaps?

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(from the Jack and Marge Day collection)

Unfortunately, the only information we have on this photo — a portrait of a young man and his horse — is the name “Charlie” written across the sky in pencil.

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(from the Jack and Marge Day collection)

This week, we’re diving once again into Jack and Marge Day’s fabulous collection of old photos.

Today we have a photo from 1890. Someone had written on the back of the photo, “My father & Arthur Comstock at the Center.” Unfortunately, we don’t know what or where “the Center” was, but thankfully, someone else added the date of the photo and the fact that the machinery pictured was road-grading equipment.

The actual photo is really quite faded, but you can see a good bit of detail in this restored version, thanks to the miracle of Photoshop:

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(from the Jack and Marge Day collection)

… and Canadian cowboys in “Olde England.”

Earlier this year, the Bowman family (father and sons, FEI competitors for England and coachmen) agreed to do a bit of a life swap with the Sutherland family, who race chuckwagons.

First, the Bowmans traveled to western Canada to participate in a rather wild-looking demonstration at the Calgary Stampede, and then in September the Sutherlands participated in a proper English coaching run, from Newcastle to Carlisle.

Here’s a short recap of everyone’s journey:

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If the embedded video won’t play on your computer, click here to go directly to YouTube.