Description and anecdote for our local pony. Published in 1830.

The Galloway Horse

The Galloway is a stout compact horse, about fourteen hands in height, and takes his name from the district of Galloway in Scotland, where he was originally bred. These horses are now nearly extinct; they were much celebrated as excellent, speedy, and steady roadsters; very sure footed, and, on that account, invaluable in travelling over rugged and mountainous districts. The beauty and spirit of the galloway was supposed to have arisen from the breed having been the produce of the Spanish jennets, that escaped from the wreck of the Invincible Armada; and these, crossed with our Scottish horses, gave rise to this esteemed breed. But we apprehend, they were famous at a date long prior to that event, as this district is known to have supplied Edward the First with great numbers of horses.

This breed seldom exceeded fourteen hands in height; their colour was generally bright bay, or brown, with small head and neck, legs black, and peculiarly flat and clean in the bone. Dr Anderson gives the following description of this variety: — "There was once a breed of small elegant horses in Scotland, similar to that of Ireland and Sweden, and which were known by the name of Galloways, the best of which sometimes reached the height of fourteen hands and a half. One of this description I possessed, it having been bought for my use when a boy. In point of elegance of shape, it was a perfect picture; and, in disposition, it was gentle and compliant. It moved almost with a wish, and never tired. I rode this little creature for twenty-five years, and, twice in that time, I rode one hundred and fifty miles at a stretch, without stopping, except to bait, and that not for above an hour at a time. It came in at the last stage with as much ease and alacrity as it travelled the first. I could have undertaken to have performed on this beast, when it was in its prime, sixty miles a-day for a twelvemonth running, without any extraordinary exertion."

Attachment of Pony and Lamb.

The following instance is very singular, if not unprecedented. In December, 1825, Thomas Rae, blacksmith, Hardhills, parish of Buittle, purchased a lamb of the blackfaced breed, from an individual passing with a large flock. It was so extremely wild, that it was with great difficulty he had it separated from its fleecy comanions. He put it into his field, in company with a cow and a little white galloway pony. It never seemed to mind the cow, but soon exhibited manifest indications of fondness for the pony, which, not insensible to such tender approaches, amply demonstrated the attachment to be reciprocal. They were now to be seen in company in all circumstances, whether the pony was used for riding or drawing. Such a spectacle, no doubt, drew forth the officious gaze of many; and, when likely to be too closely beset, Matilie would seek an asylum beneath the pony's belly, and pop out its head betwixt the fore or hind legs, with looks of conscious security; at night, too, it repaired to the stable, and reposed under the manger, before the head of its favourite. When separated, which only happened when effected by force, the lamb would raise the most plaintive bleatings, and the pony responsive neighings. On one occasion they both strayed into an adjoining field, in which was a flock of sheep; the lamb joined them, at a short distance from the pony, but, as soon as the owner removed him, it quickly followed without "casting one longing, lingering look behind." Another instance of the same description happened when riding through a flock of sheep: it followed on without shewing the least inclination to remain with its natural companions. The lamb afterwards fell into the possession of Mr Cunningham, teacher.

Extraordinary Equestrian Feats of the Galloway.

1701. In the year 1701, Mr Sinclair, a gentleman of Kirby Lonsdale, in Cumberland, for a wager of five hundred guineas, rode a galloway of his, the Swift, at Carlisle, a thousand miles in a thousand successive hours.

1753. Sir Charles Turner, Bart., of Berkleathem, made a match with the Earl of March, (afterwards Duke of Queensberry,) for four thousand guineas a-side, to be performed on the Fell, near Richmond, in Yorkshire.

The conditions of the match were, that Sir Charles Turner should ride ten miles within the hour, in which he was to take thirty leaps, each leap to be one yard, one quarter and seven inches high. Sir Charles performed it upon a galloway, to the astonishment of every person present, in forty-six minutes and fifty-nine seconds.

1754. In this year, Mr Croker's galloway went one hundred miles a-day for three successive days, over the course at Newmarket, by which he was not at all distressed.

1802. A chestnut galloway, belonging to W. Porter, Esq. of Shepperton, started at four a. m., on April 8th, 1802, from Staines, in Middlesex, to go a hundred miles in twelve successive hours, which it performed in eleven hours and thirty-six minutes, with great ease. The ground chosen on this occasion was Sunbury Common.

In 1814, a galloway performed a much greater feat than anything mentioned by Dr Anderson. He started from London along with the Exeter mail, and, notwithstanding the numerous changes of horses, and the very rapid driving, he reached Exeter a quarter of an hour before it; thus performing the astonishing distance of one hundred and seventy-two miles, at an average of about nine miles an hour. The experiment was a brutal one, and fatal to the future energy of this hardy creature, which, with good treatment, might have been long an invaluable servant. Twelve months after this astonishing feat, he was seen sprained, wind-galled, and ring-boned, exhibiting a picture of the utmost wretchedness, brought on by the barbarous inhumanity of man.

1822. A match over a two-mile piece of turf, in Ashford Park, near Romford, in August, 1822, on which at least five hundred sovereigns were pending, caused much sport. A Mr Goodchild undertook to ride first a galloway on the trot, thirteen miles, in one hour, and next a horse in another hour; and to complete the twenty-six miles, within two hours from the time of starting. The galloway performed the distance well in three minutes within the given time, and Mr Goodchild mounted the horse, and won the match, with forty-nine seconds to spare.

1822. In November, a match was made to do eight miles in half an hour, over a two-mile circle, in Ashton Park, for three hundred sovereigns, with a galloway, under fourteen hands, belonging to Mr Furzeman. This was won easily, with more than two minutes to spare. Betting was five to two against his winning.

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