Slitting the Nostrils Still Practiced In Some Parts of the World.
Slitting a horse's nostrils is still practiced in some parts of the world, as in Persia, Mongolia and even in northern Africa, and ponies with slit nostrils are often seen in the Himalayas and in Afghanistan. This mutilation is resorted to in the erroneous belief that the horse can inhale more air when going at a fast pace, and also that it prevents neighing, a disqualification of much importance during war, or when it is desirable to travel as silently as possible. It was practiced in Hungary not long ago, if we are to accept as evidence the copy of a finished sketch of a horse's head, by the celebrated Zoffani, given in Colonel Hamilton's work on horses. It is rather surprising that the fashion was not renewed in England, for two or three centuries ago, to prevent a horse neighing, it was recommended to tie a woolen band around the tongue. Markham says:
"If either when you are in service in the wars and would not be discovered, or when upon any other occasion you would not have your horse to neigh or make a noise, you shall take a lyste (band) of woolen cloth and tye it fast in many folds about the middle of your horse's tongue, and believe it, so long as the tongue is so tyed, so long the horse can by no means neigh or make any extraordinary noise with his voice, as hath often been tried and approved of."
A very barbarous and useless operation for the prevention of stumbling in horses was fashionable toward the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. This was the exposure of the tendon of a muscle that assists in dilating the nostrils and twisting it round two or three times, when it was divided. "In doing this you shall see the horse bring his hinder legs to his fore legs almost, when you have thus pulled and turned the sinew two or three times." Such a statement will give some idea of the pain the animal experienced during the senseless operation. — Nineteenth Century.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008